Driving Distance: 210 km (3 h 52 min)
The tour starts at 09:00
The guide will pick you up from the lobby of Kutaisi hotel.
Drive east through the picturesque Rikoti Pass between the Likhi Range, a natural watershed of river basins of the Black and Caspian seas. On the way, we can make a short stop at the honey, mushroom and pottery market in the village of Shrosha. Within a few minutes from the pottery market, visit the Ubisa Basilica (9th c), painted by the great local master Damian in the 14th century. These gorgeous frescoes are the best and rare example of Palaeologus art in Georgia.
The ride to the Rikoti Pass takes about an hour and ends through a 1,772 m long tunnel. After tunnel, locals call the area East Georgia. Drive along the river Mtkvari to the spa-town Borjomi. Borjomi is famous for Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park and its mineral waters. Take a walk in the Central Park, taste bubbling mineral waters coming right from the springs.
Continue the trip to Akhaltsikhe, the main town in Samtskhe-Javakheti municipality. Visit historical district Rabati, Castle and fortress. Samtskhe-Javakheti History Museum is located inside the fortress and has wonderful collection of manuscripts, archaeological, numismatic and ethnographic artifacts. The tour will take about forty-five minutes.
Follow the road along the river Mtkvari. We can see ruined mediaeval fortresses on the way – Atskuri and Tmogvi. Make a stop for pictures at well preserved Khertvisi Fortress.
The next site to visit today is Vardzia caves. Established in the 12th century, Vardzia cave monastery represents the culmination of spiritual inspiration during the reign of lady King Tamar, Goldan age of Georgia. The frescoes from that time depicts her together with her father, king George III Bagrationi dynasty.
In the evening check in at Valodia’s cottages, surrounded by family farm.
Wine tasting and dinner will be served by hosts.
Overnight in Vardzia.