The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Discover mountains, cities and unique culture on the dividing line between Europe and Asia.
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 42500
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain. Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m. Some days of this holiday will be dedicated solely to sightseeing (or include an element of sightseeing). To enhance your experience, a knowledgeable local guide will accompany your small group for part (or the majority) of the holiday.
Two wonderful countries so it makes sense to combine them together. Georgia is one of the gems of the South Caucasus and it’s easy to see why: its rich culture and diverse landscapes make it ideal for walkers, history buffs and nature lovers. Armenia offers an extraordinary collection of medieval monasteries, closely followed by a dramatic landscape that lends itself perfectly to walking.
The chant of monks reverberates around Geghard Monastery stone walls and the sound seems to fill the whole gorge. This scene has remained unchanged since the 12th century when the first monks found their way here.
We start in Georgia at Tbilisi, where our local guide will show us the attractions before we set off for the highlands in the north. The main route through the Northern Caucasus, the dividing line between Europe and Asia, inspired both Pushkin and Tolstoy and it is easy to see why. We enjoy magnificent views of Mount Kazbek which stands at over 5000m. During early season months, spectacular wildflowers cover the meadows, and late-season autumnal colours sweep across the landscape. We have time to visit the Georgian wine region before travelling the short distance into Armenia where there is much to see.
This is a country immersed in history, so much so that it was the first to adopt Christianity as the state religion. We will see how religion plays a huge part in Armenian culture and architecture as our walks take in prehistoric temples and ruined monasteries with mosaics. We visit an ancient caravanserai on the Silk Road which spans from China to Europe.
Everywhere we travel there is the feeling of experiencing an ancient land. We even stop at a village for dinner and see how food is prepared, possibly one of the most memorable barbecues we will ever have. We plan to walk at Kari Lich (3200m) surrounded by alpine peaks, fortunately, we walk down from here to the Amberd Fortress!
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
We fly to Tbilisi via Istanbul; two in-flight meals are provided. We arrive in the early hours of Day 2.
After our early morning arrival we transfer to our central hotel and go immediately to our rooms. After a late breakfast we start the holiday with a morning’s walking tour of this impressive city led by our Georgian National Guide. After lunch in a city restaurant we will go up to the fortress for superb views over the city. After dinner, we might have a short stroll to see Tbilisi at night.
After breakfast we head north out of the city to the mountains and the UNESCO listed town of Mtskheta. We will visit the visit the 11th C. cathedral. This afternoon we walk above the impressive Khada Gorge amongst mountain peaks and open meadows where wild flowers are abundant early season.
Today we walk to Gergeti Church perched high above the hotel to enjoy the classic view of Mt Kazbegi. At just over 5,000m it is the third highest peak in Georgia and the seventh highest in the Caucasus. Lunch is at a local guest house and after returning to the hotel the afternoon is free for you to relax.
Today we drive out into the Chaukhi mountains for a gentle walk through beautiful scenery. We will have a picnic lunch on the walk. We then continue down the Georgian military highway back to Tbilisi for dinner and overnight stay.
Today is a more relaxed day. We drive east to the Kakheti wine region and take a walk around the walled town of Sighnaghi We visit a local wine producer to see the ancient methods of wine production still in use after 6000 years and we can taste the local wines. Both Georgia and Armenia claim to be the historic home of wine making. Today is a good day to hear Georgian arguments to support their case. Later we return to Tbilisi for a traditional Georgian farewell dinner.
We drive south to the Armenian border. After the formalities we continue to the UNESCO listed Byzantine monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin, with their ancient Cross Stones and massive arched construction. They are on either side of a ravine about 3 km apart as the crow flies. We can walk between the two. We do have one quite steep section to negotiate on the way so will take our time.
Today we walk on good tracks, high on the sides of the Debed canyon, an impressive ‘Rift Valley’. We will walk from Odzun with is reconstructed church to the half ruined Horomyr Monastery, and finally to Kobayr monastery where can still be seen some spectacular frescos in the roofless shell. There is some exposure on the walk. Please discuss with the tour leader if you are uncomfortable with heights. Later we can visit a local honey farm for a chance to taste some of the produce.
Today is predominantly a sightseeing day. We drive by the enormous freshwater Lake Sevan beautifully situated at 6000ft above sea level. On the shores we will reach Noratus with the field of Khachkars (Cross stones) and continue up to the Selim Pass on the former Silk Road, the trade route from Asia to Europe. At the pass we can visit a caravanserai (an ancient roadside restaurant and lodging) dating back to 1332. After lunch we will visit Noravank Monastery at the far end of a spectacular red canyon. Later we may have views of Mount Ararat as we head for our hotel in the centre of Yerevan.
Today we take minibuses to Mount Aragats and we start our walk from Kari Lake. The lake is at 3,200m and will be the highest point we will reach on this holiday. We descend from the lake, across open moorland on good, gentle gradient tracks to the castle ruins of Amberd Fortress. On the way we may see the nomadic Yazidi sheep herders in their summer pastures. We drive back to Yerevan for dinner.
We start with a walking tour of central Yerevan visiting an unusual art gallery and a museum of illuminated scripts. We then head out to Echmiadzin Cathedral. This is the headquarters of the Armenian Apostolic Church, serving a similar purpose as the Vatican City does for Catholics. There is an opportunity to visit the museum of Armenian Genocide. This is a fascinating but harrowing experience. There is no compulsion for anyone uncomfortable with the situation to come into the museum. We finish with a visit to the Yerevan Brandy factory. Apparently Armenian brandy was Winston Churchill's favourite tipple.
We depart early to visit the spectacularly situated Geghard Monastery, part of which is carved out from solid rock giving the domed church wonderful acoustics. To demonstrate this, we will have a chance to hear the singing Armenian sacred music. We have lunch at an outdoor village restaurant at Garni where you will see Armenian bread being prepared and baked in a traditional underground oven. Later we visit a Greek style temple and walk down to the river on a step path to see some fascinating basalt rock formations. We return by coach to Yerevan for our final night in the capital. Maybe after dinner we can take a stroll to the main square, join the locals and watch the dancing fountains!
Today we drive back to Lake Sevan for a walk on the peninsular with two ancient churches and memorable views, then we continue to Parz Lich lake for a walk-through pine forests and alpine meadows to Goshavank Monastery. We head for our hotel stopping for a short walk through the farmland of the Molokan minority community. They were banished from Russia in the 19th C and their lifestyle is something akin to the Amish in America (we might even be invited in for tea).
After breakfast and some free time we travel north over the border back into Georgia and continue to Tbilisi Airport for our flight back to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
12th Jun 2021 - 25th Jun 2021 (13 Nights)
3rd Jul 2021 - 16th Jul 2021 (13 Nights)
4th Sep 2021 - 17th Sep 2021 (13 Nights)
2nd Oct 2021 - 15th Oct 2021 (13 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
The Hotel Museum is situated on a tree-lined boulevard a few minutes' walk from the Dry Bridge Flea Market and Freedom Square. Elegant rooms with art deco style touches provide free Wi-Fi, flat-screens, and tea & coffee makers. There's a cafe with a terrace, restaurant and a rooftop lounge.
In Stepantsminda, the Hotel Rooms Kazbegi was once a Soviet resort hotel, but has been given a remarkable makeover to produce a very stylish and up-market mountain retreat. Contemporary rooms, a long outside terrace with views of Mt. Kazbegi and a superb restaurant makes this a very popular destination. It is great fun to try to visualise the austere building from a former era which must lie underneath the transformation.
The Avan Dzoraget hotel is located midway between the capitals of Armenia and Georgia. It is designed to evoke the historical romance and excitement associated with medieval Armenian castles. around the lobby to the arched doorways throughout the property. Rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and tea & coffee making facilities. Amenities include a restaurant and cafe with terrace, pool and gym.
In an area with embassies and government buildings, The Tufenkian Historic Hotel is a modern building inspired by classic Yerevan architecture. It is a short walk from a metro station, the renowned, bustling Vernissage market and Republic Square. Rooms feature tea and coffeemakers, satellite TVs and minifridges. A relaxed restaurant serves Western and Eastern Armenian cuisine. There's also a terrace, a 24-hour bar/lounge and an outdoor cafe, as well as an indoor pool and a sauna.
Flanked by the Dilijan National Park, Hotel Best Western Paradise is a short drive from Lake Parz. Featuring park views, the warm rooms are equipped with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minifridges, and tea & coffee making facilities. Breakfast is buffet style. Amenities include a 24-hour bar, restaurant and cafe with veranda, swimming pool and a gym.
This Grade 4 moderate holiday includes full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain and is likely to include an element of sightseeing as well. Half day walking will probably include about 3 hours of walking, with full days having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to about 600m. See the 'Proposed Itinerary' section for more information.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Armenia
The currency in Armenia is the Dram. In Oct 2018 £1.00 = Dram 640. Cash can be changed at banks and in exchange bureaux. Sterling is difficult to change outside Yerevan. Credit cards and UK debit cards displaying the Maestro and/or Cirrus sign are accepted at major stores and restaurants in Yerevan but far less so outside the capital. There are many ATMs in Yerevan. They accept major credit cards and debit cards with the Maestro/Cirrus or Visa sign displayed on the card. As in Georgia there will be an opportunity to change a small amount of money into local currency in Yerevan.
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
To enhance your experience, as well as your tour leader, each holiday will be accompanied by a well qualified and knowledgeable English-speaking local guide.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Regional Flights (R3). We offer regional flight options on this holiday and there will be one or two transfer vehicles between the airport and hotel to minimise any waiting time at the overseas airport on the outward or return journeys.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Passport Information for Georgia
British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Georgia. You can visit for up to a year, visa-free. Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
Passport Information in Armenia
British passport holders do not require a visa to visit Armenia. The entrance stamp you receive on arrival is valid for a period of 90 days only. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Armenia.
Breakfasts are taken in hotels and will be buffet style. Lunches and dinners are generally in local restaurants. You will meat served kebab style on a skewer. You will be offered fresh local produce everywhere. Vegetarians will have no problem finding plenty of excellent quality food to eat. A nice touch you will see at meals is a big bowl of fresh herbs to much on while you await the courses to arrive. The herbs are seasonal and more abundant early season. All hotels offer free bottled water in the rooms. Our two coaches carry bottled water in refrigerated boxes. Tap water is, in fact, safe to drink, but is said to taste rather strange so perhaps it is best to avoid it. To avoid issue completely why not consider taking a Water to Go bottle. See later in this document
The hotel(s) listed within this document are examples of standard only. Whilst we strive to deliver the hotel(s) listed within this Holiday Information Sheet, there will be times throughout the year when they change. If this occurs, we will advise you as such. From time to time hotels will change near to departure and you will not be advised until after arriving into the destination. We always aim to provide a replacement of similar standard and location, although we cannot guarantee similar facilities such as pool or bar.
The walks are not particularly difficult underfoot, but the terrain is more suited to wearing hiking boots. As the coaches are with us every day, it is possible to leave boots on the coach and change when necessary. If you like to use walking poles, please bring them.
Whilst in Iran, we enjoy mainly city tours so you may wish to walk in comfortable shoes or lightweight trainers.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Armenia
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Georgia or Armenia. You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK. Hepatitis A immunisation is recommended. You may also wish to consider immunisations against Tick-borne Encephalitis and Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Rabies and Tetanus.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
Please take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you; it will help you in the event of you needing medical assistance during your holiday. Please note that the EHIC has an expiry date, so please check that your card is valid for the duration of your holiday. Please note however the EHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information please visit ehic.org.uk.
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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Visas and Passports
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