Georgia & Armenia cultural vacation

“From cave dwellings & mountain monasteries to cosmopolitan cities & thriving wineries, the past will collide with the present at every turn on this small group adventure.”

Highlights

Tbilisi | Haghpat monastery | Sanahin monastery | Lake Sevan | 11th Century Havuts Tsar Monastery | Khosrov National Reserve | “Symphony of Stones” | Yerevan | Khor Virap Monastery | Amberd fortress | Ushguli | Gelati monastery | Uplistsikhe | National Museum | Narikala citadel | Metekhi Temple | Sioni Cathedra | Caucasus Mountains | Wine Tasting

Map

Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
04 Jun 2017
£ 1999
excluding flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 04 Jun 2017 departure
24 Sep 2017
£ 1999
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 24 Sep 2017 departure
02 Jun 2018
£ 1999
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 02 Jun 2018 departure
22 Sep 2018
£ 1999
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 22 Sep 2018 departure
Our top tip:
Walnuts & almonds are used in much of the cooking so best to consult your guide if you have a nut allergy.
Trip type:
Small group, 4-12 people.
Activity level:
Moderate/active.
Accomm:
9 nights hotel, 4 nights guesthouses, some with shared facilities.
Solos:
Welcome; small single supplement applies.
Included:
Transfers, all accommodation, English speaking guide, listed activities.
Meals:
13 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Georgia & Armenia cultural vacation

Environment

On this tour we spend time in the Caucasus Mountains, a stunning area of incredible scenery and unusual wildlife. We ensure that we stick to the trails at all times; the flora here can easily be damaged by going off track. By employing local guides here we contribute to the local economies of the villages in the region, thus helping to reinforce the idea that Georgia's natural heritage has value and is worth preserving.

Our guides will brief travelers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and when in the mountains we make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us. We work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues. This is an area that is perhaps not as fully appreciated in Georgia and Armenia as it is in other European countries, with environmental thinking a relatively new concept, however we endeavour to work with out local partners to ensure that hotels and other service providers adopt more environmentally friendly ways of operating.

Community

We visit a number of important historical sites on this tour. The entrance fees that we pay at these sites helps fund their preservation and ensure that this aspect of the region’s cultural heritage remains for others to enjoy in years to come – particularly important in a country where finding resources for this can be difficult. In addition to this some of these sites contain ancient and fragile religious frescoes that are very susceptible to damage. We make a point of advising our travelers not to touch these valuable paintings to ensure that they remain as they are.

While in Georgia we spend a couple of nights in homestay accommodation, in the remote region of Svaneti. This enables us to ensure that local people are able to benefit directly from our stay here - both the owners of the accommodation and local producers who grow and supply the food. This is a real highlight of the tour and allows travelers to interact with local people far more than would otherwise be possible.

Travelers also have the opportunity to support local communities by purchasing local handicrafts.

Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.

We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.

We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services. As well as our local guides and tour leaders, we employ guides from the communities and regions that we visit, ensuring that the benefits from tourism are more fairly shared and do not end up always being funnelled towards the capital cities.

We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects.

Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travelers. This has much less impact when traveling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasise our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travelers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.

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