(Tbilisi, Kvareli, Kutaisi)
This exploration through Georgia’s wine region is a culinary adventure for the most well-travelled of foodies. Known as the oldest wine producing country in the world, the flavours on this trip are sure to surprise and delight. Try your hand at making Shoti, a uniquely Georgian bread, and indulge in locally produced red and white wines. Spend time at rural wineries, enjoy lunches with resident families, and discover a side of Georgia many will not, as stories are revealed around a tables of Churchkhela. An absolutely fascinating place to travel, this trip to Georgia is not one you will soon forget.
This gourmet tour, through a land where Asian, European and Middle Eastern cuisines meet, is sure to delight even the most well travelled foodie. Explore the birthplace of wine, and some truly unique dishes beside the locals who have perfected them. Welcome to Georgia!
Transfer by private vehicle between the airport and your hotel.
Today you will explore both the Old and New Town of Tbilisi. The city offers a great variety of sights, most of them very ancient. In the Old Town many of the sites are within walking distance of each other; start on foot from the Metekhi Church, a riverside structure dating back to the middle ages, with a commanding cliff side location. Continue to the Great Synagogue, and then on to Sioni Cathedral and Anchiskhati Church. Next move into Tbilisi's New Town and visit the National Museum of History (note the museum is closed on Monday). Stroll Rustaveli Avenue – the main thoroughfare of the city, and home to many important architectural sites such as the Opera and Ballet Theatre, and former Parliament buildings. In the late afternoon, take a cable car ride to Narikala Fort, which was built in the 4th century, and overlooks the city. Finish your day of Tbilisi touring with a walk towards the brick-domed Sulphur Baths.
This morning embark on a trip to the Kakheti wine region, and explore the areas incredibly unique traditions and culture, taste Georgian wines, and indulge in some delicious food. Archaeologists believe Georgia is the oldest wine producing country in the world, and this trip is not to be missed. En route discover romantic Sighnaghi, one of Georgia's smallest, and most well preserved towns. Stop for lunch with a local family and enjoy homemade dishes, and try your hand at making “Shoti”, a local form of bread. Visit a farm where you can try “Churchkhela” (Georgian sweets). Try meat barbequed on vine branches, locally produced white and red wines, and “Chacha” – Georgian fire water. Visit some local wineries before finishing your day in Kvareli. Driving time is roughly 2.5 hours. This is a full day excursion with multiple stops.
Visit Gremi, a 16th century architectural monument set against the stunning backdrop of the Great Caucasus (please note Gremi is closed on Mondays). This site was once a stop along the Silk Road. Continue on to Alaverdi Cathedral, a church built at very high altitude, where you will meet a local master who will show you a Georgian “Qvevri”, or wine vessels buried underground. Transfer next to Telavi to enjoy a locally prepared lunch. Here you can also visit a bustling food market and shop for fruit & vegetables, meat & fish, and spices. Visit the Tsinandali Palace and Museum, and stop into a winery for some wine tasting. Finally, ascend Gombori Pass before returning to Tbilisi for the evening. Driving time is roughly 2 hours, with multiple stops.
Depart today from Tbilisi for your final destination Kutaisi. On route, you will stop off to visit some fascinating places. First is Mtskheta; the ancient capital and religious centre of Georgia. This site dates back 3000 years and houses many historical buildings including Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (known as the burial site of Christ's mantel) dating from the 6th and 11th centuries respectively. Both are UNESCO world heritage sites, and both are venerated places of worship to this day. Continue to the town of Gori, the heart of the Kartli region, birthplace of Joseph Stalin and home to the Stalin Museum. Finally, drive to your final destination for the day - Kutaisi - which is the ancient town from the legend of Jason and the Argonauts.
Transfer by private vehicle from Kutaisi to Tbilisi. Driving time is roughly 3.5 hours.
Choose the Marriott Tbilisi Hotel (4.5*) for a luxurious stay in one of the world's most unforgettable cities. Once you enter the grand atrium-style lobby adorned with crystal chandeliers, you're greeted with renowned Georgian hospitality. Overlooking the Main Avenue or patio, their 127 luxury Tbilisi hotel accommodations and suites feature a safe, mini-bar, individual climate control and broadband internet. Enjoy galleries and theatres, all within walking distance in the centre of Tbilisi, Georgia. Dine in Parnas restaurant or have a light snack, or a cup of coffee and fresh danish at Parnas Café & Lounge. Visit their Fitness Gym for your workout and relax in the sauna.
Designed in the style of middle ages, Royal Batoni Hotel (3*) is situated in the charming area on the bank of the Ilia Lake between the Kvareli Mountains and Dluriji River. The hotel offers breath taking views that can be seen from your hotel room or from the infinity swimming pool that overlooks the lake. Each of the rooms offer modern furniture and design and comfortable beds which provide a cozy and relaxing atmosphere.
The stunning Bagrati Hotel (3*) is located on the left bank of the river Rioni and is situated in the city’s tourism and shopping district. Sixteen comfortable and beautifully decorated rooms will satisfy the guest of any taste. The hotel restaurant offers a great variety of Georgian traditional dishes and European cuisine for you to enjoy. Or relax in the hotel bar with a refreshing cocktail.
Vanessa Oquendo ,
April 21, 2014
"Melissa Field was extremely helpful! She was courteous, professional, knowledgeable, and friendly! She kept me updated on the status of everything and provided timely correspondence. She took ownership for any problems I had and remedied them. I had the most amazing time of my life in Iceland and Paris! I would not have experienced everything without the help of Kensington Tours."
Marilynn Weaver ,
April 21, 2014
"All of our guides were beyond fabulous! Our time in Dublin was much too short, would have loved to stay there at least one more full day. Would recommend extending this package to 15 days for any future visits. The train to Edinburgh was super! Beautiful scenery and great steak pies!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery Westlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bent over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangements made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
Randy Gramlich ,
October 07, 2013
"Thank you for your follow up, we both loved our time in Croatia. It’s really a beautiful place, especially the coast. Your choice of hotels was great. It was an incredible view from the Bellevue hotel in Dubrovnik and the Vestibule in Split was in the best possible location. We were able to relax in our room listening to the wonderful singers in the courtyard and its central location made it so easy to walk anywhere we wanted to see with ease. "
Jay Steffan ,
September 24, 2013
"We just returned from a 10 day trip to Paris and Normandy. We spent three nights in Paris and then enjoyed a seven night cruise on the Seine to Normandy with AMA Waterways. The time in Paris was well spent and has piqued our interest to return for a more thorough visit. Guide Wafaa Lankey was superb in our visit to Versailles. The Seine cruise was relaxing and beautiful. So many wonderful little towns and we wished we had more time in each one to explore and enjoy.
We traveled to Croatia and Slovenia using Kensington earlier this year which was a fantastic trip."
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