It is very useful. Check out the baths and walk through the Peace Bridge. Sighnaghi is one of the most popular getaways for both visitors and Georgian locals alike, therefore, there is a lot of accommodation choice in the small town. If youre planning to visit both Azerbaijan and Armenia, I urge you to visit Azerbaijan first. Azerbaijan has geothermic activity pushing flames from the earth. Despite its very small size, there are numerous guesthouses and even some luxury accommodation in Kazbegi. Enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery and take in all of the fascinating historic sites, one of which (The Palace of the Sheki Khans) has newly been inscribed into UNESCO. The easiest way is to be truthful and simply say, Tourism.. After spending two days in Sighnaghi, its time to venture up into the beautiful Caucasus mountains to the town of Stepantsminda, most commonly referred to as Kazbegi. Traveling the Caucasus is often as safe as staying in your hometown. Check out more Baku hotels here. Not quite what youre looking for? Traveling in these countries is much more challenging than traveling in Europe. Click here to check their availability, Red Stone Guest House Another small guesthouse in Gergeti Village, close to the trailhead to the hike to the church. Have you planned a Caucasus itinerary before? The most logical next stop would be in the Kakheti region and thats why we recommend spending days 9-11 in Sighnaghi. Click here to browse more Tbilisi hotels. Take the time to see the main sites in the city and may go on a day trip. There are numerous rooms available, 24-hour reception, and breakfast is included in your nightly rate. If you have three weeks to spend in the Caucasus and you have your heart set on a Georgia-Armenia-Azerbaijan itinerary, we suggest spending your trip as follows: Four weeks is the absolute ideal amount of time to spend on a Georgia-Armenia-Azerbaijan itinerary as it allows you to see the most of the three countries without feeling too rushed and overwhelmed. Here are our top recommendations: Marco Polo Hostel A budget backpacker hostel with great common areas and high ratings. Not quite what youre looking for? Next is time to venture north and spend days 14-15 in Dilijan enjoying the nature and laid-back energy of Armenias Switzerland. The well-planned streets of the city centre are easy to navigate and the cafe-culture in this cosmopolitan city is enough to rival other European capitals like Paris, Budapest, or Vienna. Cover up when visiting churches in Georgia and Armenia. Click here to see their latest prices. I am think of visiting Georgia-Armenia-Azerbijan approximately 2 weeks in year 2020, but I have no idea at all about these 3 countries. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Dilijan calls itself the Switzerland of Armenia, which I think is a bit overly laudatory, but it is a beautiful, quiet, peaceful region with mountains, lakes, and evergreen forests. This was my favorite hotel of 2019. Thats the beauty of travel we do whats right for each our travel needs.
Follow the above suggestions about where to stay in the city. JayWay builds custom trips to destinations and organizes your trip in full, arranging hotels, transportation, special experiences, and guides along the way. Heres where we suggest: Kartuli Hotel If youre looking for a hip and beautiful place to stay in Batumi that will provide excellent views over the Black Sea, then this is the place for you. I recently visited the Caucasus for the first time: first Azerbaijan, then Georgia, then Armenia. Keep in mind the Tbilisi flights will arrive and depart from two different airports. You may receive a few questions at either border about your travel history, but this is largely dependent on the border agent you are dealing with. Backpackers staying in hostels can live on $40 per day. This is also the most popular time for visitors in all three countries, however, most places in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan are far from overrun. There are also the fewest tourist crowds between the months of December-February and ample affordable skiing opportunities throughout all three countries. Click here to see their latest prices, Hotel Level This hotel is another great option if youre looking for a more high-end place to stay in Mestia. If youre wondering where to stay in this village, check out our recommendations: Guest House Kavtarashvili 38 A well-located, family-run guesthouse with a handful of clean rooms available. Spend your first day exploring the best of Baku: explore the UNESCO World-Heritage-listed Old City, stroll the streets and check out the cool cafes in the city; pose for photos at the modern, curvaceous Heydar Aliyev Center. Click here to check their availability. Gouroo Club and Garden has a beautiful outdoor setting and terrific international food. They also give you a SIM card or even a cell phone so you can stay in touch easily. Click here to see their latest prices. Women must cover their heads and must wear long skirts (even if youre wearing pants). Click here to see their latest prices. Many people will know that Georgia is quickly becoming more and more popular amongst western tourists looking to get off the beaten path in Europe. Azerbaijan requires a visa for most visitors and you must get it in advance. Two of my favorites are Temurnots, home to the absolute best bread I had in Armenia (dont forget to stuff it with thick matsoni yogurt, cheese, and fresh herbs). After exploring Sheki for a couple of days, its time to head back to Georgia. Check out more Tbilisi hotels here. Before you get to planning the route for your Georgia-Armenia-Azerbaijan itinerary, youre going to want to know when is the best time to visit the Caucasus countries. Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. You also have the option of breaking up the journey by overnighting in Kutaisi, Tbilisi, or even Mtskheta. But this itinerary would work whether youre on a trip with them or planning an independent journey of you own!
We recommend spending a least two full days exploring Yerevan in its totality and then using the rest of your time seeing some other areas of the country via day tour or independent day trip. Not quite what youre looking for? Often, you will need to connect in Tbilisi or Yerevan. All in all, it is very easy to get around all three countries with a few different options depending on your budget and preferences. Conversely, summer in the Caucasus countries can be incredibly hot especially in the cities and lowland areas. This is a popular spot for Tbilisi residents to get married if youre lucky, you might spot a wedding! But most of the fun of Tbilisi is just wandering and see what you find. Hidden high amongst the Caucasus mountains is Svaneti, a fascinating region unlike anywhere else in Georgia. Let me put it this way someone like me can travel independently in the Caucasus, but most casual travelers I know would have a harder time. How to Travel to Mestia from Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Zugdidi & Batumi, What to do in Kutaisi, Georgia: A 2 or 3 Day Itinerary, The Ultimate Armenia Itinerary: 5 to 7 Days (or More!). They have helpful staff, clean facilities, and good common areas. Click here to browse other options in Yerevan! Click here to see their latest prices, Seven Boutique Hotel A well-located boutique hotel with have a range of clean and comfortable rooms available and a helpful staff to make your stay a great one. Click here to see their latest prices. Kutaisi isnt as exciting as Tbilisi, but its worth a few hours. There are plenty of regularly scheduled 44 journeys from Mestia. After exploring Georgias, hop on the night train from Tbilisi to Baku and get ready to spend three days in Azerbaijans capital city. The Caucasus is home to incredible natural beauty, interesting cultural hotspots, and fantastic cuisine. Depending on the popularity of the route, the more frequently a bus will leave. If its more than that, you may be on an imposter site. Call ahead and book a whole meal. No matter when you decide to plan your Caucasus itinerary, you are sure to have an amazing time exploring Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Baku is an incredibly interesting city that combines ultra-modern architecture with grand European boulevards and a Persian-style old town. The problem is, however, due to its geographic location in the far east of Europe, it is a long way to go just for a short Georgia itinerary. Next, learn about the 8,000-year-old Georgian wine culture with days 6-8 in Sighnaghi. However, it is worth it to take the time to explore the beautiful palaces and admire the local handicrafts while learning about the towns Silk Road history. Where to Stay in Yerevan: I recommend the Tufenkian Historic Yerevan Hotel. It is likely that you will want to see more than just the capitals, however, and because of that we really urge you to try to spend as much time as you can in this region of the world. Why Azerbaijan first? Heres how to spend two weeks in the Caucasus.
Click here to browse other rooms in Sheki! Enjoy the incredible hike up to the Gergeti Trinity Church or even take it a bit farther to and head all the way to the glacier. Mestia is a popular destination for those looking to see what mountain village life is like in Georgia or for travellers who are interested in doing some serious trekking. From there, spend days 17-20 in Kutaisi. Svaneti is home to stunning mountain scenery, world-famous stone towers, and villages so isolated that you feel accomplished just for surviving the trip there. If you plan to visit Azerbaijan, it is almost certain that you will need a visa in advance. Plan to spend days 9-13 in Yerevan, enjoying the different pace of this capital city, going on a few day trips, and experiencing its killer restaurant scene and cafe culture. Its a popular party spot, especially in the summer. It wont save you money the flight takes an hour and often costs around the same but it can be a fun cultural experience. Borjomi isnt quite as popular a destination as many of the other places mentioned on this itinerary through Georgia and Armenia, but it still draws in its fair share of visitors. Again, if you are coming from Kazbegi via public transportation, it is going to be necessary to transfer in Tbilisi. Culturally, Georgia and Armenia feel much more like Europe, while Azerbaijan feels more like the Middle East. JayWay added all three Caucasus countries as destinations in 2018. click here to get a quote from WorldNomads, A Perfect Day Trip to Lahemaa National Park from Tallinn, The Perfect 2 to 3 Days in Cinque Terre Itinerary, 12 Best Things To Do In Saaremaa, Estonia, The Ultimate 7 to 10 Days in Puglia Itinerary, The Ultimate 2 to 3 Days in Death Valley Itinerary. And the three capitals Tbilisi, Yerevan, and Baku are stunning and enthralling and incredibly different from each other. I wouldnt recommend reducing time in any of these locations, but you can absolutely strike certain locations altogether. Check out more hotels in Kutaisi here. Kutaisi is Georgias second city, home to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gelati Monastery. Try to get a flight to Tbilisi on the afternoon or evening of Day Three. Sheki is also located near some fantastic hiking areas. Usually, they do not operate on a set schedule and only tend to leave when they are full. Not quite what youre looking for? Tbilisi is one of the most beguiling cities Ive visited in quite some time. Click here to check their latest prices. If you cant fly, drive instead, but know it takes a long time. Citizens of the EU, USA, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand can apply for an e-visa at least three days prior to travelling. Dilijan is an incredibly popular weekend destination in Armenia and, therefore, there are lots of places to stay in the town. Many people treat Kazbegi simply as a day trip from Tbilisi, however, we recommend planning to spend two nights (one full day) in order to fully appreciate the scenery and to give yourself enough time to do the hike. If you have less than two weeks, I would recommend axing Azerbaijan and just visiting Georgia and Armenia. You could, perhaps, choose to go the popular Mestia to Ushguli trek or you could spend longer in Tbilisi, Yerevan or Baku. Youll find fewer tourists, limited travel resources and service tends to be at a lower standard. Marshrutka routes between major cities operate frequently and they are easy to catch. We had no questions in Armenia about our previous visits to Azerbaijan and met some people in Azerbaijan who were briefly questioned about their previous visit to Armenia and some who were not asked at all.
The visa application process is very easy and all you need to do is print out the visa and show it to the border guard upon entering Azerbaijan. Luckily for you, we spent many months exploring the Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan and have gathered all of the knowledge that can help you plan the perfect Caucasus itinerary! Check out more hotels in Yerevan here. For instance, there may still be metres of snow on the highest peaks in the Caucasus in August and a city only a couple of hours away would have temperatures well over 35C (95F). If you arent interested in trekking and dont mind the cold, then planning your Georgia-Armenia-Azerbaijan itinerary in the winter can be a decent idea. My top day trip recommendation is to visit Khor Virap monastery (dont miss the view from the road with Mount Ararat in the background), Noravank Monastery, and the town of Areni, where you can stop for lunch and perhaps some wine tasting. Officially, there are no restrictions and you can legally enter Azerbaijan after having visited Armenia or Armenia after visiting Azerbaijan. One that I loved was El Depo in Kutaisi. Four-star hotels in the capital cities will usually run you $100-150. Get an early start on Day 7, driving from Kutaisi to Mestia via Zugdidi the drive should take around 4.5 hours. Click here to browse more accommodation in Mestia! Alternatively, you can also rent private cars directly from locals through Myrentacar. If you arent interested in the mountain villages, then you could easily spend days 18-20 in Batumi instead, soaking up the sun on the Black Sea coast. Georgia is home to gorgeous mountains, outstanding wine, and a unique culture in the region of Svaneti. Like I said earlier, if you only have two weeks to devote to this region, we recommend sticking only to two countries. On the whole, you can expect train travel to be a lot slower than the bus with far fewer connections, but it definitely is more comfortable than a cramped marshrutka. The above being said, the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan are completely closed and it is impossible to travel between the two. Explore the villages (including UNESCO World Heritage-listed Chazhashi) and marvel at how the colors change in the valley depending on the time of day. The correct price is $20. Georgia is one of the oldest wine-producing nations in the world. Other popular flight routes from the US to Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul (not to Armenia for obvious reasons) and via Kyiv on Ukrainian Airlines. Follow this route: If you have more than 4 weeks to devote to a Georgia-Armenia-Azerbaijan itinerary, then you would have a lot more flexibility for your route. Click here to check their availability. I traveled throughout the Caucasus as a guest ofJayWay Travel, a bespoke travel agency specializing in Central and Eastern Europe. Being the cosmopolitan capital that it is, there is a tonne of option when it comes places to stay in Yerevan. Get the bathtub room if its available! Like most everywhere in Europe, arguably the best time to visit the Caucasus is in the shoulder seasons between March-May and September-November. Located in the central southwest of Georgia, Borjomi is a popular spa town known for its natural spring water and beautiful nature. If you drink, a visit to the Ararat Brandy Factory is a delicious and interesting experience! They have a range of private and dorm rooms available. I look forward to going back to the Caucasus for some solo journeys. Where to Stay in Baku: While I had a good stay at the mid-range Deniz Inn Boutique Hotel in the Old City, I recommend staying in the hopping neighborhood just east of the Old City instead two top-rated places around here are Passage Boutique Hotel and The Merchant. This itinerary is for fairly energetic travelers youre going to be seeing a lot in a fairly short amount of time. Even if you only have time for a Georgia-Armenia itinerary or a Georgia-Azerbaijan itinerary, there are so many places to visit in these countries that it can be a bit of a headache to figure out what is worth visiting and for how long. If you plan on getting around Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia using public transport, you will find that it is pretty easy and there are a couple of options available for you. The only downside is that, especially in spring, there may be mountain areas that are closed to visitors due to snow and ice. Yerevan is an excellent base in Armenia as it also gives you the opportunity to explore many other areas of the country via day trip. We like WorldNomads and always use them for our trips click here to get a quote from WorldNomads. Spend a couple of days here sipping wine, enjoying the beautiful scenery and taking in all of the incredible historic sites. The one issue is that Georgians often drive recklessly. Crime is low. All three countries in the Caucasus are very affordable to travel. 2022 The World Was Here First All rights reserved. Spend your first three days exploring all of the amazing sites in the capital of Georgia. Alternative option: If youre up for an adventure, consider taking the overnight train from Baku to Tbilisi. Click here to browse more Batumi hotels! Start your day by driving to Gori, the hometown of Stalin, and take a walk through his train car, which has been preserved as is outside the Stalin Museum. Kutaisi, Georgias third-largest city, is a logical place to end this Georgia-Armenia itinerary as it has its own international airport with many budget connections throughout Europe. There are also ample other hiking opportunities in this area. Heres where youll be spending your days: For your two weeks in the Caucasus, start in Azerbaijan. You wont regret it. Youll need to call or have a local travel agent secure them for you. So you need to be ready to avoid a lot of potholes and to drive over a number of rough, unpaved roads. Be sure to always wear your seat belt. After exploring Armenia, it is time to head back to Georgia. Many monasteries will provide a box of scarfs at the front for women small ones for your head and large ones with ties to tie around your waist. Summer is the best time for a Georgia-Armenia-Azerbaijan itinerary if you plan to spend a lot of time in the mountains and do a bit of trekking. Keep in mind that tickets are limited and sell out quickly book as soon as possible. Men must wear long pants. While the town itself doesnt have a lot of sights to see and things to do, it is surrounded by hiking trails and there is a helpful tourist information centre that can tell you the best places to go for a short stroll in the woods or a full day trek. All in all, unless youve visited Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), you likely have nothing to worry about regardless if youve visited Armenia first or Azerbaijan first. Click here to see their latest prices, La Casa Fountains Square Situated in Bakus vibrant downtown and within easy walking distance of the citys top attractions, this is an excellent mid-range option. Their food is sensational, too! In the afternoon, set off on the epic two-hour drive to Ushguli. Whether youre looking for a backpacker hostel or a boutique hotel, Tbilisi has it all. Unfortunately, Canadian citizens do still need a visa before entering Armenia, however, it is possible to obtain a visa on arrival or through an easy e-visa process. The driving in Georgia is terrible. Devoting three weeks to your Georgia-Armenia itinerary will give you all the more time to dig deeper in each country and see more places, do more things, and eat more of the delicious local cuisine! Tip: Khinkali, or Georgian dumplings, are a delicious (and dirt-cheap!) Later on Day 9, if youre able to, fly from Mestia to Tbilisi on Vanilla Sky Airlines, then fly from Tbilisi to Yerevan, Armenia. It is possible to arrange a day tour through the tourist information centre in the town of Borjomi or to get a private driver just for yourself. Click here to check their availability, Rooms Hotel Kazbegi A luxury hotel with great views of the mountains, numerous amenities, very comfortable rooms, and a great on-site restaurant.
Spend one day here exploring the town of Sighnaghi itself and another on a tour of the region, visiting some historical sites and a few wineries. The Greater Caucasus mountains are in the far north of Georgia and just beyond the border into Russia. If you have your heart set on visiting all three and you have fewer than 2 or 3 weeks to play around with, we suggest only concentrating on the capital cities of Tbilisi, Baku, and Yerevan. Be sure to book these flights on Vanilla Sky Airlines in advance, as seats are limited. If you want to rent a car in the Caucasus, we recommend using RentalCars.com to find great prices from major car hire companies. In Ushguli I recommend Hotel Panorama, with basic ensuite rooms (and nice food). Theyre interesting sites in a unique city. It is also possible to spend the day hiking in the nearby national park. This mode is more expensive and less reliable than a marshrutka, but it can still be a decent budget option if you dont want to be crammed into an uncomfortable minibus for a few hours. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. This is another way to see the mountains without the long drive to Mestia. No matter whether you visit Azerbaijan or Armenia first, be prepared to answer a lot of questions about visiting the other country at immigration. This is why I recommend with a company like JayWay Travel if youre not used to traveling in countries like these. English is spoken in touristy areas in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Spend the first two weeks of this three-week Georgia and Azerbaijan itinerary following the same route as in the two-week itinerary above.