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Istanbul to Tbilisi

13 days  |  Istanbul to Tbilisi  |  from USD $5,299  |   Guaranteed Departure 

From Istanbul to Tbilisi, take a journey through Eurasia, combining the best of Armenia and Georgia on this exciting off the beaten track adventure. Discover medieval cities and ancient ruins, magnificent palaces and shimmering lakes, set against the imposing backdrop of Mt Ararat, the alleged resting place of Noah's Ark.

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Day 1

Friday. Welcome to Turkey, the first country on our amazing adventure through Eurasia. Arrive Istanbul with included transfer to your hotel where the rest of the day is free to enjoy at leisure.
Overnight: Istanbul

Day 2
City tour of Istanbul

Today we explore the fascinating city of Istanbul, straddling the border between Europe and Asia. Our tour begins with the majestic Blue Mosque built by Sultan Ahmet I between 1603-17 and continues with the Hippodrome of Constantinople. St. Sophia Church is one of Istanbul’s most iconic monuments. Originally an Eastern Orthodox Church, it was converted to a mosque and is of great religious and architectural significance. We next visit the opulent Topkapi Palace, once the seat of the Ottoman Empire and subject of dozens of colourful stories.
Overnight: Istanbul  |  Breakfast

Day 3
Akdamar Island

This morning we take an early flight to Van, the cultural centre of Eastern Turkey’s Kurdish majority. We head over to the stunning Akdamar Island where we visit the beautifully restored 10th century Armenian Church of the Holy Cross. Originally built as part of a religious palace complex between 915 and 921, the church features an extensive range of bas-relief carvings. From Akdamar we continue to the city of Van where we will spend the night.
Overnight: Van  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4
Hosap Castle and Van

Following the old Silk Road south from Van we arrive at Hosap Castle, a large medieval structure that was built to straddle the Silk Road, protecting the thoroughfare and acting as a toll point for passing travellers. From Hosap we return to Van with time for lunch and some free time to explore this sophisticated city. We end the day with a visit to the Citadel of Van to enjoy a magical sunset. Once the centre of the Urartian capital, the 3,000 year-old castle stands tall on a large rock outcrop and commands stunning views of Van city and the lake, and the nearby mountains of Suphan and Nemrut
Overnight: Van  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5
Ishak Pasha Palace

After breakfast we depart Van and leave for Dogubeyazit, a settlement with a long history, surrounded by some of Turkey’s highest peaks. The drive takes us via Muradiye and the beautiful Bendimaahi Falls. In Dogubeyazit we visit the spectacular Ishak Pasha Palace, a unique fusion of architecture from Seljuk, Ottoman, Georgian and Armenian-Persian styles. Completed in 1784, the palace complex stands on a hill to the south of town. Later we continue our journey south skirting the western edge of Mt. Ararat to arrive into Kars, an atmospheric city with stately, pastel-coloured stone buildings.
Overnight: Kars  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6
Ani - medieval city

Today we spend the morning in Ani, an uninhabited medieval Armenian city that has fallen into ruin. Located near the Armenian border, the remains of the ruined city include several churches as well as the shell of the Cathedral of Ani, the citadel and a mosque. The extensive city walls once encircled the entire city and remain remarkably well-preserved. The Church of St. Gregory also contains the remains of some fascinating frescoes, despite their exposure to the elements over many centuries.
Overnight: Kars  |  Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7
Crossing into Armenia

Today we make our way to Armenia, via Georgia. After border formalities at the Georgia/Armenian border we head to Gyumri, Armenia's second biggest city and still deeply rooted in local traditions. Gyumri seems to have been frozen in time as the voices of hammer smiths echo down the cobbled streets and carts appear around street corners.
Overnight: Gyumri. Hotel: Berlin  |  Breakfast

Day 8
Holy city of Echiadzin

Our first stop of the day is the holy city of Echmiadzin, the Vatican of the Armenian Apostolic Church and home to the Ejmiatsin Cathedral. Built in 480 the cathedral is enclosed in a walled compound that features manicured gardens and various stone structures. Nearby is the Zvartnots Temple, a complex of temples and palaces built in the 7th century. The magnificent ruins are UNESCO-listed and considered of great architectural importance. We later continue to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia and one of the oldest cities in the world, stretching under the gaze of biblical Mt. Ararat
Overnight: Yerevan. Hotel: Ani  |  Breakfast

Day 9
Brandy tasting!

A short drive from Yerevan brings us to the Khor Virap Monastery, a place of pilgrimage for Armenians all over the world. Khor Virap affords stunning views of the biblical Mt. Ararat and photo opportunities abound. We next proceed to the region of Vayots Dzor to visit the Monastery of Noravank, one of the most splendid monuments of medieval Armenia. Built in a spot of tremendous natural beauty, the surrounding mountains often display a beautiful array of colours from the sun’s reflections. On our way back to Yerevan we visit a brandy factory offering the chance to sample three different types of cognac.
Overnight: Yerevan  |  Breakfast

Day 10
Entering Georgia!

The day begins with a visit to the 1st century Roman-built Garni Temple, once the summer residence of Armenian royalty after the country adopted Christianity. Our next stop is the unique architectural construction of Geghard, a cave monastery partially carved out of the flanking mountain. Founded in the 4th century it is listed an UNESCO World Heritage Site. We then visit one of the world’s largest freshwater high-altitude lakes – Lake Sevan, and tour the remains of the St. Astvatsatsin and St. Arakelots churches located on the peninsula. Proceeding to the Bagratashen border we cross over into Georgia and make our way to the capital of Tbilisi.
Overnight: Tblisi. Hotel: Holiday Inn  |  Breakfast

Day 11
Ancient Mtskheta

Our touring of Georgia starts with a trip to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of the country that has been dated back to the 2nd millennium BC. Enjoying an attractive location at the confluence of two rivers, Mtskheta is the place where the people of Georgia accepted Christianity in the beginning of the 4th century. Architectural highlights include the Jvari Monastery, the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the Samtavro Monastery. Return to Tbilisi for overnight.
Overnight: Tblisi.   |  Breakfast

Day 12

Standing proud on the banks of the Kura River, Tbilisi contains a handsome old town and today we explore the 12th century Metekhi Temple and the famed Abanotubani bath houses, host to poets, writers, musicians and kings throughout the ages. Dominating the city’s skyline, the 4th century Narikala Fortress offers excellent views of the Kura River and stands as a symbol of Tbilisi’s defensive brilliance. Walking through narrow streets lined with carpet and souvenir stalls we reach the Sioni Cathedral and the Anchiskhati Church, the oldest surviving church in the country. Our day of touring concludes with a visit to the Georgian State Museum and Rustaveli Avenue, the city’s main thoroughfare lined with elegant buildings.
Overnight: Tbilisi  |  Breakfast

Day 13

Wednesday. Today marks the end of our exciting journey through Eurasia. After breakfast and hotel check out we transfer you to the airport for your onward departure journey.

The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.

Accommodation on Tour

For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.

Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.

Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.

Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.

Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.

Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!

Titanic City Hotel, Istanbul
Our Category: Superior   |   Regional Category: 4 Star Hotel

One of Istanbul’s most popular hotels, Titanic City offers modern accommodation in a central location. Rooms are bright and comfortable offering state of the art technology and luxurious walk in rain showers. Complimentary Wi-Fi is available and the views from the trendy Compass Bar and Restaurant are simply stunning. Sipping a refreshing beverage overlooking the mighty Bosphorus is a great way to unwind at the end of the day. Perfectly located in Taksim, the beating heart of Istanbul with lots of great shops, restaurants and bars.

Rescate Hotel, Van
Our Category: Deluxe   |   Regional Category: 5 Star Hotel

Affording great views of Lake Van, the Rescate Hotel is a chic and luxurious hotel. Guestrooms are tastefully decorated with modern amenities and wonderful views of the lake, city or mountain. Ending the evening with a delightful Turkish Bath is the perfect way to relax after a busy day sightseeing. Perfectly located on the shores of Lake Van just south of the city and 5 minutes away from the airport.

Trip Highlights

Turkey - Istanbul - old city, Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia, Hippodrome and Topkapi Palace.
The stunning Hasop Castle that straddles the famous Silk Road.
Dogubeyazit - beautiful settlement surrounded by some of Turkey's highest peaks.
Ani - deserted medieval city near the Armenian border.
The holy city of Echmiadzin - the Vatican of the Armenian Apostolic Church
Monastery of Noravank - Armenia's most splendid medieval monuments.
Ancient Roman Garni Temple - one time home to Armenian royalty
Lake Sevan - one of the world's largest freshwater high-altitude lakes.
Tbilisi - Abanotubani bath houses, Narikala Fortress, Kura River, Sioni Cathedral and Georgian State Museum
Akdamar Island and a beautifully restored 10th century Armenian church.
Van - 3000 year old citadel in all its glory at sunset.
The beautiful Bendimaahi Falls
Gyumri - Armenia's second largest city
Khor Virap Monastery - popular Armenian pilgrimage site.
Brandy factory and brandy tasting!
Geghard - stunning monastery partially caved out of flanking mountain.
Mtskheta - Georgia's ancient capital.


12 breakfasts and 4 hotel dinners
Airport arrival and departure transfers (Istanbul Atiturk Airport on day 1 and Tbilisi Airport on day 13)
Guided sightseeing in Turkey - Istanbul, Akdama Island, Van, Hasop Castle, Ani.
Guided sightseeing in Georgia - Mtskheta, Tbilisi
Escorted by an English speaking Turkish tour leader, with the services of degree qualified local guides for all scheduled sightseeing.
12 nights 4 star hotels
Economy flight from Istanbul to Van
Guided sightseeing in Armenia - Gyumri, Echmiadzin, Zvartnots, Khor Vrap Monastery, Vayots Dzor region, Garni.
Brandy tasting at a brandy factory
All relevant transfers and transportation in private modern air-conditioned vehicles.

Not Included

International flights and visas.
Items of a personal nature.
Tipping - an entirely personal gesture.
Tipping Kitty: $50 USD

Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged provided there is another single traveller booked on the tour date of your choosing.

Single Supp.
USD $5299
USD $3199
USD $5299
USD $3199
USD $5299
USD $3199
USD $5299
USD $3199
USD $5299
USD $3199
Tour Details
Hotel Rating
4 star
Local Payment
Tour Guide
Yes - escorted by a tour guide
Breakfast: 12, Dinner: 4
Tour Bolt-ons
Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and bolt-ons
Princes Islands
USD $179 / 1 day
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This tour is 100% guaranteed to depart with 4 travellers.