Grass Routes - Georgia, Spain, Thailand

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Mountains and Vineyards of Georgia

* Wonderful insights into Georgian village life  * Tailor-made trips, with own guide  * Diverse landscapes, from vineyards to high mountains

From the splendid wineries and monasteries of Kakheti in the lowlands of East Georgia to the breath-taking mountains and valleys of Tusheti - discover a fascinating country, full of surprises. Enjoy delicious local food, and wine made in traditional qvevris. Walk in the rugged Caucasus mountains between traditional farms and stone villages, accessible only by foot. A wonderful exploration of one of Europe's most fascinating and hospitable countries.

 

Into the Vineyards

Kakhetian nectar - Georgian winery

From the charming city of Tbilisi, you venture east into Kakheti province - home to some of the country's most splendid landscapes, wineries and ancient architecture. Spend three nights exploring the vineyards, where wine is made in traditional, vast clay Qvevris. Visit the delightful town of Sighnaghi, enjoy delicious local delicacies and visit fascinating ancient monasteries.

 

 

Walking in the Mountains of Tusheti

Tusheti landscape - Georgia

From the wineries in the Georgian lowlands, you travel up into the mountains of Tusheti, where handsome, stone villages cling to the hillside. This is the heart of the Caucasus mountains. Enjoy three days of fine walking through the valleys and hills, staying in village guesthouses where your hosts welcome you into their traditional way of life. 

 

 

 

This holiday includes transfers and journeys to the hills, accommodation in small hotels and simple village guesthouses, with all meals provided, and your own guide.

Outward Journey

Day 1

Welcome at Tbilisi airport, transfer to centre, with a short guided tour of this laid-back, intriguing city full of history. Enjoy dinner in a wine-themed restaurant, and overnight in a family-run hotel.

Day 2

In the morning you depart for Kakheti province in eastern Georgia. Kakheti is home to some of the country’s most splendid scenery, wineries and ancient sights. On your way, you stop at the village of Magaro, where you meet Lamara Bezhashvili, who practices the ancient art of sericulture. She keeps the silk worms, spins the silk by hand and makes local handicrafts from silk. Lamara inherited a vast knowledge of old silk traditions from her grandmother, as well as a deep understanding of herbs and flowers, used in dyes in addition to their medicinal qualities. After lunch, you continue to Sighnaghi, a charming 18th century town, visiting, en route, the fascinating monastery of Bodbe.
In the evening enjoy a stroll along the winding streets of the town and visit a wine cellar, before dinner at the Pheasant’s Tears Wine restaurant, and overnight in a small hotel.

Day 3

The morning offers vineyard visits, including to the Pheasant’s Tears vineyard, where over 430 different grape varieties grow out of the 525 that are native to Georgia. Visit the cellar and enjoy some wine tasting. After lunch, you return to Sighnaghi for some free time, before visiting the John Okruashvili wine cellar, with a wine tasting followed by a dinner at the Sanadimo restaurant.

Day 4

Today you leave Sighnaghi and journey towards the central part of the Kakheti region. On your way, you visit Sopo Gorgadze, a local farmer who produces interesting verities of goat cheese and owns a family restaurant where you a enjoy lunch. You then pause at the village of Vardisubani to meet a family where the knowledge and tradition of Qvevri making has been passed through the generations. You can visit the studio to learn how these gigantic vessels are made. You then continue to the monastery of Ikalto, the only wine academy in the region in the Middle Ages. You stay in a guesthouse in Laliskuri village. 

Day 5

Today you head into the mountains of the Tusheti region, traveling by 4WD. This is a magnificent part of Georgia, with rugged mountain villages in astounding landscapes, and an extraordinary tradition of hospitality, continued by your friendly hosts at the small guesthouses where you stay during your days in the mountains. Your first village is Shenako.

Day 6

Today's walk is through the local villages and valleys. Winters are harsh here, and most locals leave their native houses in the mountains and descend to the lowlands to pass the cold season. There are a few exceptions and you may meet a man in the village of Chigho who lives here all year round. You continue walking to reach the beautiful village Dartlo where you have dinner and stay overnight in a local family-run guesthouse.

Day 7
You have a full day exploring the old villages of Pirikita Tusheti, a beautiful and culturally distinct region that has survived hundreds of years of occupations and conquests, and retains its traditional ways of life. It is a perfect place for walking, with some twenty small villages, many accessible only on foot or on horseback, in two valleys. Overnight at the guesthouse in Dartlo.

Day 8
After breakfast, you have a car transfer to the Gometsari Valley, with time to visit the fortress of Keselo, from where you have sweeping views over the Tusheti valleys.  You then continue to the village of Bochorna, the highest village in Tusheti, and then to Verkhovana. From here, you head towards one of the most remote parts of Tusheti - Tsovata, nestling by the Chechnya border. You
overnight at the guesthouse in Dochu.

Day 9

After breakfast, you have a morning walk to Ilurta village, where you meet the car for the transfer back down to the lowlands of Kakheti. Dinner and overnight in Sighnaghi.

Homeward Journey

Day 10

Transfer to Tbilisi airport for homeward flight.