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South Caucasus From Baku to Batumi

Baku ► Tbilisi ► Stepantsminda ► Uplistsikhe ► Gori ► Borjomi ► Akhaltsikhe ► Kutaisi ► Batumi

8 nights from UK £ 3,540 per person

Price based on 2 people sharing a shared Category I Class cabin. These prices are based on 2019 rates. See below for full pricing.
Please note that this is group tour with fixed date departures (see full pricing and dates further down this page). We can also book your international flights if required.

► Journey on an exclusively chartered special train.
► A unique route from Baku on the Caspian Sea, through the Caucasus mountains, to Batumi on the Black Sea.
► First-class service from English-speaking tour manager and local guides throughout the journey.
► Spectacular train route filled with cultural and scenic diversity.
► 1 night hotel in Caucasus mountains with view of 16,000 ft Mount Kazbek.
► Vardzia, a gigantic cave city that once housed up to 50,000 people.
► Historic city of Goygol, a former German settlement in Azerbaijan.
► Tbilisi and Baku, two colourful and complementary cities.
► Insight into local life with visits to a Georgian religious service, vineyard, bazaar and artisanal handicraft center.

Route Map

tsars south caucasus map

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrival Baku

Baku’s Unique Skyline on the Caspian Sea

On your first day, you arrive in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, known as the City of Winds. In the evening, take in views of the city’s breathtaking skyline on the Caspian Sea, which includes the spectacular Flame Towers, a symbol of the city’s modernity.

Free time to relax before joining the group for a welcome dinner.

Meals Included: Dinner.

Day 2 - Baku

The Old City & Joining Your Train

In the morning, you set out to explore the historical center of Baku, where you see gorgeous mosques, the Maiden Tower, and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You marvel at the city’s ornate Art Nouveau buildings and its futuristic architecture.

In the afternoon, you join an excursion on the Absheron Peninsula where you see a Zoroastrian fire temple and Yanar Dag, a flame that burns continuously due to a seepage of natural gas. In the evening, the friendly crew of your special train gives you a hearty welcome at the station, where your train sets off westward by starlight through the Azerbaijani steppe.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 3 - Shaki & Goygol

From the Khan’s Palace to the Georgian Border

The city of Shaki lies at foot of the forest-covered Caucasus Mountains and doubles as a unique open-air museum. You see the city’s many caravanserai, trading posts that served as stops along historic trade routes, like the Silk Road. Later, you visit the Khan’s Palace, where brilliant decorative carvings, stained glass and frescoes take you back to a fantastic medieval world. Look for bargains at an artisanal handicrafts center and at a local bazaar.

On the train route south from Sheki, the Azerbaijani landscape begins to turn green. In the afternoon, you reach the city of Ganja, from which you travel to the nearby city of Goygol, known for its nineteeth-century German settlements. Here you see carefully restored villas, the Lutheran church of St. John and the home of the last German settler, Viktor Klein, who passed away in 2007. Later you head to the Azerbaijan–Georgia border, where the ochre, earthy steppe gradually transforms into green hills.

Next stop: Georgia’s vibrant metropolis Tbilisi.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 4 - Tbilisi

From Georgia’s Capital to Stepantsminda

Sturdy churches, colorful wooden houses on the banks of the Kura River, classical villas – this is Tbilisi, capital of Georgia and straight out of a fairy tale. From here, you take a ride along the historic Georgian Military Road, which reaches an altitude of approximately 7,800 feet/2,300 meters.

The view of the Ananuri Castle complex from such heights just takes your breath away. On the horizon, snow-capped mountain peaks come into view, each one higher than the last.

However, the view of the 16,000-foot/5,000-meter Mount Kazbek from your hotel terrace in Stepantsminda tops them all! On a green ridge just in front of this immense peak sits the comparatively small Gergeti Trinity Church, which you can visit via a Jeep excursion.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 5 - Tbilisi

The Jvari Monastery & Mount Mtatsminda

On the way back to Tbilisi, you stop at the Jvari monastery high above the Aragvi River and marvel at the former capital of Georgia, Mzcheta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In Tbilisi, you have free time in the afternoon for a shopping spree on the famous Rustaveli Avenue. Alternatively, you can take a cable car to the top of Mount Mtatsminda for more spectacular views.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 6 - Gori

In Vino Veritas – a Taste of Georgia’s Wine Regions

Today your train takes you from Tbilisi through the country’s fertile lowlands. You soon arrive In Gori, birthplace of Joseph Stalin, the once General Secretary of the Soviet Union, whose personal railroad car is displayed in a museum. In nearby Uplistsikhe, once a Silk Road trading post, you discover a sixth-century town built into a cave complex. Later a historic wine house opens its cellar just for you.

Kartli, Imereti, Kakheti – Georgia’s wine regions – are more than 7,000 years old, placing then among the world’s oldest. In the afternoon, your train reaches Borjomi, a famous deep valley resort town that once provided the entire Russian Empire with mineral water. Its beautiful villas, boutique hotels and its curative health spas draw visitors from near and far.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 7 - Akhaltsikhe & Vardzia

Pass Through a Land of Castles

From the small city of Akhaltsikhe, over which the Rabati Castle looms, you go on a unforgettable excursion and guided tour of Vardzia, a twelfth-century cave monastery. Reminiscent of a honeycomb, there are more than 3,000 cave dwellings for up to 50,000 people built into the rock face. The brilliance of the frescoes of legendary Queen Tamar in the cave cathedral has not lost its intensity.

The train route from Akhaltsikhe through the lesser Caucasus mountains puts everyday Georgia right outside your window—vineyards, idyllic towns, imposing castle towers. From the top of the Bagrati Cathedral, you enjoy the view over the historic city of Kutaisi, just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque Gelati monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 8 - Batumi

On the Black Sea

The last stop on your journey is Batumi, Georgia’s second largest city, on the spectacular Black Sea coast. To your left, palm trees. To your right, the sea. In Batumi, it’s a bittersweet goodbye to your special train and its crew.

This Georgian port and seaside resort is quaintly situated on a bay against the backdrop of green mountains. The sparkling skyline of the palm-lined promenade is astounding thanks to recent developments by international investors.

Later you enjoy a city tour of Batumi’s historic center, where merchants from all over the world have left their footprints. Orthodox churches, synagogues, and mosques – the city’s stunning architecture is a testament to its diversity. The Batumi Botanical Garden is a subtropical paradise whose terraces on the steep coast provide an amazing view of the seashore.

This evening at a delicious farewell dinner where you can reminisce with fellow travellers about your journey.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 9 - Depart Batumi

Goodbye South Caucasus!

On your final day in the South Caucasus, transfer to the airport for your flight home, reflecting on this fulfilling, unforgettable adventure just completed.

Meals Included: Breakfast.

2019 Dates & Prices

Starts Batumi 4th October 2019 and finishes Baku 12th October 2019

Starts Batumi 18th October 2019 and finishes Baku 26th October 2019

CATEGORY IV BOLSHOI

£ 6,980 per person or £ 10,990 for single occupancy of cabin & hotels

CATEGORY II SUPERIOR

£ 4,270 per person or £ 5,980 for single occupancy of cabin & hotels

CATEGORY I STANDARD

£ 3,540 per person based on 4 people sharing a cabin. If there are 3 people in a 4 berth cabin then the price is £ 4,180 per person. Single supplement for hotels only is £ 300 per person.

2020 Dates & Prices

Starts Batumi TBC October 2020 and finishes Baku TBC October 2020

Starts Batumi TBC October 2020 and finishes Baku TBC October 2020

CATEGORY IV BOLSHOI

£ TBC per person or £ TBC for single occupancy of cabin & hotels

CATEGORY II SUPERIOR

£ TBC per person or £ TBC for single occupancy of cabin & hotels

CATEGORY I STANDARD

£ TBC per person based on 4 people sharing a cabin. If there are 3 people in a 4 berth cabin then the price is £ TBC per person. Single supplement for hotels only is £ TBC per person.

Inclusions & Exclusions For This Trip

What is included?

4 nights on board your special train in booked category.

4 nights in first-class hotels with double bed, and bath or shower.

All meals as per itinerary.

All transport and excursions in modern tour buses with air-conditioning as per itinerary.

Airport transfers on the first and last day of the itinerary.

Entrance fees for all sights as per itinerary.

English-speaking tour manager and guides during train journey from Baku to Batumi.

Doctor on board.

Financial Peace of Mind as your trip is protected.

Porter services at all railway stations.

What is not included?

International flights – we can book these for you if you wish.

Visas – we provide the paperwork and can recommend visa agents to help with applications.

Travel Insurance (every passenger is obliged to have medical insurance for the whole duration of the Tour) – we recommend ABTASure (UK residents only)

Discretionary gratuities to drivers and guides

All beverages in bar car.

Vaccinations: Consult your doctor for specific health advice.

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