Tbilisi to Istanbul 29

Tbilisi to Istanbul 29

From AUD 2,150.00 + LTP: GBP 399.00
Trip Length 29 Trip Code CA - OO - TI29
Tour Group 10 - 24 Age Range Open

Tbilisi to Istanbul 29: Tour Information

Go beyond the boundaries of most travellers and start your journey in Georgia's capital, Tbilisi. Visit beaches on the Black Sea, mighty Cathedrals and even Stalin's birthplace, before arriving in to Turkey. Here you'll immerse yourself in culture and soak up the sun on the Mediterranean coast, view Ephesus from the top of a Roman amphitheatre and walk amongst the WW1 battlefields of Gallipoli. Take a hot air balloon ride at Goreme and venture off the tourist trail along the Old Silk Road and explore ancient Nemrut Dagi and relax on the shores of Lake Van, finishing off your expedition in Istanbul.

Please note that our itineraries are not set in stone and can be subject to change.

Days 1 to 4
Uplistsikhe & Mtskheta - cave city (dating to 1000 BC) and a World Heritage Site
Gori - visit Stalin's old house - now a museum
Kutaisi - hike up to the 1000 year old Bagrati Cathedral
Caucasus mountains
Batumi - stroll along the promenade and maybe try the local delicacy - dried mackerel
Eastern Turkey - explore the little visited Kars area close to the Armenian border.

Days 5 to 10
Dogubeyazit – overlooked by Mt. Ararat, the legendary resting place of Noah's Ark.
Lake Van - relax on the lake shore, visit Akdamar Island, or take in the history of Van Castle.
Nemrut Dagi - see the huge statues scattered at the summit of this mountain.

Days 11 to 22
Cappadoccia - explore dwellings carved from the eerily eroded landscape.
Olympos - relax on the beach & hike up to view the eternal flames.
Turquoise Coast - relax along the beautiful beaches of this stunning coastline.

Days 23 to 29
Ephesus - built by the Greeks 1000 years BC, then rebuilt by the Romans.
Troy - thought to be the location of the legendary city.
Gallipoli - visit the battlegrounds and war graves of the forces that fought here in WWI.
Istanbul - Free day to enjoy the many sights and attractions.

Tbilisi to Istanbul 29

Please note that our itineraries are not set in stone and can be subject to change.

Days 1 to 2
Leaving Tbilisi we take a short drive to Mtskheta, the former capital of Georgia and today a World Heritage site.  The historic churches are outstanding examples of medieval religious architecture. They show the high artistic and cultural level attained by this ancient kingdom that have lived here for 3,000 years.
Next we visit Uplistsikhe, a cave city dating back to around 1000 BC.  In the times of the ancient Silk Road and Asian / European trading routes, the main caravan road ran just a few kilometres to the north of the city and Uplistsikhe became an important trade centre.
Continuing west we arrive in to Gori, the birthplace of Josef Stalin, where we spend the night.  The museum is worth a visit and just outside is the tiny house Stalin lived in until he was 15, along with his bullet proof train carriage.  Gori Fortress dominates the town and those in need of a hike can take the well trodden path to the top of the hill to take a closer look.
We travel further west looking for a good camping spot close to Kutaisi.
We have the morning to explore the town and there is opportunity to visit the 1000 year old ruined Bagrati Cathedral that overlooks the town from a high hill. There is a cable car option to the top of the hill!

Days 3 to 4
Housing a natural port on the Black Sea, the intriguing town of Batumi is our last stop in Georgia.  Here we have time to visit the chaotic market, or stroll on the attractive promenade sharing the holiday atmosphere with the local Georgians.  Maybe try the dried mackerel, best tasted with the horseradish mustard, served in small cardboard pots!We cross the border and enter Turkey.  Heading south we possibly spend a night under canvas en-route to Kars.
For those travelling on across Turkey, we may not visit the border town of Dogubeyazit, but use this time to explore more of Eastern Turkey and the Kars region.

Days 5 to 10
Our journey in Turkey starts off in the border town of Dogubeyazit (known by travellers as Doggy Biscuit!)  Here lies Mount Ararat - in legend, the final resting place of Noah's Ark.
Continuing west we pass through small towns well off the normal traveller's route, and there is the opportunity to visit Van Castle, before finally reaching Lake Van. 
We spend a day on the shores of the Lake, the largest in Turkey.  Time can be spent relaxing, or for those interested in the history of the area, why not take the ferry to Akdamar Island to see the Armenian Church of the Holy Cross (10th Century).
Travelling west, we arrive in the town of Kahta.  Nearby we climb the 2150m Nemrut Dagi - where the statues of the gods of antiquity lie scattered at the summit. These huge statues were carved from solid rock by King Antiochus during the reign of Emperor Nero.

Days 11 to 16
After a long days drive, we arrive at the visually powerful, windswept landforms of Cappadoccia.  Here, over the centuries, houses, churches, fortresses and even underground cities have been carved into this eerily eroded volcanic rock. The Goreme Valley provides us with an astonishing setting in which to spend a few days investigating the region. We will take you to one of the underground cities where you can explore alone or with a guide this ancient and mysterious area!
We head southwards for a day, to the Ihlara Valley where we have time to visit the underground rock-cut dwellings and churches from the Byzantine period.
Heading down towards the coast, we stop off at a well preserved Caravanserai.

Days 17 to 23
Further down, on the Mediterranean coast, we stop off at Saklikent Gorge where there is the opportunity to go river tubing on our way to Olympos where you can relax on the beach and hike up to the eternal flames.
We then travel via either Pamukkale where you can swim in warm, mineral-rich water, or take the more visually scenic route towards Marmaris and camp in the mountains.  We spend a few days relaxing along the stunning Turquoise Coast, where you can take boat trips, and go paragliding.

Days 24 to 29
We visit Ephesus on our way to Troy and spend the next 2 nights camping on the coast. Built by the Greeks a thousand years before Christ and then rebuilt by the Romans, this immense ancient city boasts an amphitheatre that can seat 24000 and a harbour with no water - still in good condition after all these years.
Our overland trip is almost at an end, as we embark on a half day drive through olive groves and rural settlements to Gallipoli and the Straits of the Dardanelles. In World War I, on this blustery and exposed peninsula, ANZAC and British Forces struggled unsuccessfully for nine horrendous months to dislodge Turkish troops from the hills above the beaches. It is a moving experience to visit the war graves and battlegrounds where so much suffering and unnecessary loss of life took place. From here we cross the Straits of the Dardenelles, leave Asia and enter the continent of Europe!

Our final day is free to enjoy the many sights of Istanbul.

Local Tour Payments (LTP) or a Kitty payment, if stated is paid direct to your tour leader / crew on day 1.


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