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Turkey & Caucasus Explored Istanbul - Baku

Trip Overview

This 30 day overland tour journeys from Istanbul to Baku through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey
These are 2020/2021 departures only. For 2019 departures, click here.
30 DAYS THROUGH Armenia, Azerbaijan (+ 2 more countries)
PRICE FROM:
$3,870 (USD) + 830 KITTY (USD)
DURATION:
30 days
TRANSPORT:
Overland expedition vehicle, Private bus, Overnight boat
CREW:
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
ACCOM:
20%
80%
PHYSICAL CHALLENGE:
LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE:
TRIP CODE:
TBT
DEPOSIT:
$350 USD

Highlights

  Explore the amazing sights of Istanbul

  Guided tour of the valley & underground cities of Cappadocia

  Take an optional balloon ride over Cappadocia

  Visit the Galipolli Peninsular and the battlefields

  Stay in the fascinating city of Tbilisi

  Visit the Prometheus Caves near Kutaisi

  Visit Vardzia, a cave monastery on the UNESCO World Heritage list

  Explore Armenia's capital, Yerevan and learn about its extensive history

  Explore the mud volcanoes and wilds of Gobustan

  Guided tour around the old town of Baku

  SHOW MORE HIGHLIGHTS  

Itinerary

Day 1 - Istanbul ( 17th Mar 2020 )

Border Information:  If joining in Istanbul, you will most likely enter Turkey at Istanbul Ataturk Airport (IATA code: IST).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10.00am - on arrival please look out for a note from your leader with more information about this important meeting. If you are travelling beyond Tbilisi, your tour leader will need to carefully check your visa situation for your entire trip. 

The afternoon will be free to explore the many sights of the incredible exotic city of Istanbul, including the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus River, Hagia Sophia and the phenomenal Blue Mosque!

In Istanbul we will stay in dorm accommodation in a fantastic hostel with good facilities, which is a 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Istanbul before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales Team or your Sales agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Istanbul. 

* Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details. *

 

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the incredible Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century

TRY 25

Explore the atmospheric underground Basilica Cisterns, built by the Byzantines in the 6th century

TRY 20

Explore the majestic Topkapı Palace, the huge palace of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years

TRY 35

Explore the phenomenal Blue Mosque, built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I - a stunning icon of Istanbul

Free

See the splendour of Istanbul from a boat trip on Bosphorus Strait, which marks the boundary of Europe and Asia

USD 17
Explore the colossal markets of the Grand Bazaar - once the centre of all trading between Europe and Asia, and the most visited tourist attraction in the world
Free

Visit the Çemberlitas Baths, a traditional Turkish Hammam, for a bath and massage!

USD 20
Day 2 - Gallipoli Peninsula ( 18th Mar 2020 )

This morning following breakfast we will depart Istanbul and begin our journey to the shores of Gallipoli. 

After lunch we will get an insight into what happened between the ANZAC, Allied and Turkish foreces during the first World War and have a guided tour of the Battlefields and Anzac Cove. 

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours

Tonight we will stay in a local hostel in Ecebat

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Pay your respects to the fallen at Gallipoli on a guided tour through the battlefields.

Included in Kitty
Day 3-4 - Troy, Selcuk ( 19th Mar 2020 to 20th Mar 2020 )

Today we will cross the Dardenelles by ferry and head to Helsik where we will do a short tour of the Troy Ruins. 

We will then continue onto Selcuk where we will be staying for two nights. In the evening we will have free time to explore the area or simply relax in one of the many cafes or tea bars which are great for people watching. 

The second day we will spend the day exploring the Ephesus Ruins and Terraced Houses.

Estimated Drive Time 7 - 8 hours

For the next two nights we will stay in a local hostel

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Guided tour around the ancient ruins of Troy

Included in Kitty

Walk the marbled streets of Ephesus, one of the best preserved ancient cities.

Included in Kitty

Guided Tour of Ephesus Ruins and the Terraced Houses

Included in Kitty
Day 5 - Pamukkale ( 21st Mar 2020 )

Following breakfast we will drive inland towards the small village of Pamukkale. 

After lunch we will have free time to visit the thermal hot springs and traverse through the travertine pools and terraces.

Estimate driving time  3 - 4 hours

Tonight we will either camp near the village or stay in a local hotel

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Admire the brilliant white travertine terraces and submerge yourself in the warm mineral rich pools and hot springs

TRY 35
Day 6-7 - Olympos ( 22nd Mar 2020 to 23rd Mar 2020 )

Today we continue our drive south and aim to reach the popular beach town of Olympos by lunchtime.

We will have free time in the afternoon to relax or explore the local area. 

Estimate Drive Time 5 - 6 hours

On the second day there will be plenty of time to explore and participate in optional activities, in the evening we will walk up to the Chimera Fire Mountain and toast some marshmallows

Tonight we will stay in a basic guesthouse

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Hike up Chimera Mountain and witness the natural phenomenon of never ending fires emerging from the rocks. 

TRY 7

Half day Sea Kayaking adventure exploring the many different caves and beautiful coastline of the Southern Turkish Coast. 

EUR 15
Day 8 - Egirdir ( 24th Mar 2020 )

After breakfast we will leave the beachside town of Olympos and make our way north. 

We will have an included visit of Termessos on the way before continuing our journey towards Egirdir where we will find a good spot to bush camp for the night. 

Estimated Drive time 6 - 7 hours

Tonight we will wild camp near Egirdir

Day 9-10 - Göreme ( 25th Mar 2020 to 26th Mar 2020 )

We have an early start this morning to reach the small enchanting town of Goreme in the heart of the Cappadocia mountians. 

In Goreme we will stay in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are generally used here. 

Estimated Drive Time 6-7 hours

We now have a full day to explore Goreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will also be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during your time here. 

 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the Early Christian underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymaklı, used as a hiding place from persecutions for centuries

Included in Kitty

Walk through the beautiful ancient valley of Ihlara, containing the beautiful rock-hewn churches built by the Cappadocian Greeks during the Byzantine era

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia

USD 180

Guided tour of Cappadocia and underground troglodyte cities and caves

TRY 5

Explore the ancient pre-iconoclastic Byzantine rock monastery of Zelve

TRY 15

Discover the ancient techniques of Cappadocian pottery at the village of Avanos

Free
Day 11 - Zara ( 27th Mar 2020 )

Today we continue our journey east with a full day's drive towards the Sumela monastery.

We will break the journey with a wild camp near Zara or the village of Alucra.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 12 - Sumela ( 28th Mar 2020 )

Today we will reach the awe-inpsiring Sumela Monastery near the town of Macka, which we will visit in the afternoon.

We will camp overnight in a campsite near Sumela if conditions allow. In cold weather we may opt to stay in a local hotel in Macka or Trabzon.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Day 13 - Batumi ( 29th Mar 2020 )

Border Information: Exit Turkey at Sarp, enter Georgia at Sarpi.

This morning we will continue to the border and cross into Georgia, reaching the port town of Batumi.

In Batumi we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Batumi Archaeological Museum, home to many historical exhibits found in excavations in the area
GEL 2
Day 14 - Kutaisi ( 30th Mar 2020 )

After a relaxing morning, we leave the port town of Batumi behind us and make our way to the ancient town of Kutaisi. This afternoon we will visit the medieval Bagrati Cathedral and the Gelati monastery.

In Kutaisi we will stay in a local hotel or a family-run guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Explore the colossal and awe-inspiring Prometheus Caves near Kutaisi
Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the beautiful 11th-century Bagrati Cathedral, a symbol of the city of Kutaisi
Free
Explore the incredible 11th-century monastery complex of Gelati, near Kutaisi (if time allows)
Free
Day 15 - Tbilisi ( 31st Mar 2020 )

Border Information: if joining in Tbilisi, you will most likely enter Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 6.00pm - please meet at the joining hotel reception at this time. Please do not be alarmed if there is no note from your leader on arrival, as this is often a travelling day for the crew and they will not arrive until about 4.00pm. 

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tbilisi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales Team or your Sales Agent if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Tbilisi. 

In Tbilisi we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. 

*Important note - Please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Enjoy an evening of local dancing and music at a Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi

GEL 35
Day 16 - Tbilisi ( 1st Apr 2020 )

Today we will visit the old town of Tbilisi and visit sites including the National Museum, Sioni Cathedral and the Metekhi Temple. 

We will have a second night in our comfortable local hotel in Tbilisi. 

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Learn all about the history of Georgia during Soviet times, and the struggle for independence, at the Museum of Soviet Occupation
GEL 3
Explore the ancient Narikala Fortress and take in the fantastic views of Tbilisi below
Free

Visit the beautiful Orthodox Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi's Old Town

Free
See the incredible collection of historical artefacts at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia
GEL 3
See the grandiose modern Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Church
Free
Day 17 - Lake Sevan ( 2nd Apr 2020 )

Today we will have a short drive to the border and cross into the country of Armenia. Once the formalities are over we will continue on through the beautiful Dilijan National Park stopping for a truck lunch along the way. 

Estimated Drive Time - 5 - 7 hours

Tonight we will either stay in the National Park or continue on to Lake Sevan where we will camp. 

 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Camp on the shores of Lake Sevan 

Included in Kitty
Day 18-19 - Yerevan ( 3rd Apr 2020 to 4th Apr 2020 )

After breakfast we will leave the sparkling waters of Lake Sevan behind and make our way towards the city of Yerevan. On the way we will visit the World Heritage - listed Geghard Monastery which has been carved out of the rock face of the Azat River Gorge. We will also spend some time exploring the Garni Temple before finally arriving at our destination.

 We will have 2 nights in Yerevan on the 2nd day we will have free time for optional activities or simply relaxing and soaking up the city atmosphere.

For the next 2 nights we will stay in a comfortable hotel. 

Estimated Driving Time 4 - 5 hours

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit the Garni Temple and learn about its fascinating pre-Christian history

Included in Kitty

Visit the Medieval Geghard Monastery

Included in Kitty

Explore the beautiful Khor Virap Monastery near the Turkish border. On a clear day you will have stunning views of Mt Ararat in the background.

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a tour of the Ararat Brandy Museum and discover the history of Armenian Brandy

USD 25
Day 20 - Armenian Highlands ( 5th Apr 2020 )

Today we leave the city of Yerevan. We will start off with a visit to the Khor Virap Monastery before we begin to make our way north through the beautiful Armenian Highland.

Tonight we will wild camp in the Northern Armenian Highlands. 

Estimated Driving Time 2 - 3 hours

Day 21 - Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Vardzia ( 6th Apr 2020 )

Today we continue north and head towards the Georgian border. We aim to arrive after lunch and if time permits have an included visit to the Vardzia Caves. If we arrive too late we will be able to explore the caves tomorrow morning also. 

Tonight we will find a wild camp in the valley close to the caves. 

Estimated Drive Time 5 - 6 hours

Day 22 - Mtskheta ( 7th Apr 2020 )

After breakfast we will make our way to Borjome National Park where we will have time to do a small hike through the ancient forest and an optional cable ride up the mountain. 

We will then continue on to Mtsehketa, the ancient capital of Georgia. Whilst here we will explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. 

In Mtskheta we will stay overnight in a local guesthouse. 

Estimated Driving Time - 3 - 5 hours

Day 23 - Stepantsminda ( 8th Apr 2020 )

Today our journey begins with a beautiful drive to the spectacularly located town of Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi). 

Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, we will take a trek up to the Tsminda Sameba Chruch (the church of the Holy Trinity), a beautiful small church nestled in the mountains. 

In Stepantsminda we will stay in a local family run guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 4 - 5 hours

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Hike to beautiful 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church, set in the stunning mountains above Stepantsminda

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Learn how to make the local delicacy of kinkhalis (Georgian meatballs) at a cookery class in Stepantsminda (if time allows)

GEL 20
Day 24 - Telavi ( 9th Apr 2020 )

This morning we will drive to the Alazani valley and on to Telavi, where we will base ourselves for 2 days to explore the area on arrival. 

In Telavi we will stay in a local family-run guesthouse. 

Estimated Drive time 2 - 4 hours

Day 25 - Telavi ( 10th Apr 2020 )

The area of Telavi is well known for its vineyars and winereies - there are hundreds of different grapes grown here, and every village has its own particular variety. We will visit some of the local vineyards today, where we can hopefully see some of the local traditions including grape harvesting and wine making, and enjoy some famous Georgian hospitality. 

We will spend a second night here in a local family-run guesthouse. 

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Head out on Telavi's 'Big Day Out' - a tour of the town's monasteries, bee-keepers and textile-weavers, followed by lunch and wine tasting at a local family-run winery

Included in Kitty
Day 26 - Lagodekhi ( 11th Apr 2020 )

Today we leave the wine region behind us as we make our way towards the Azerbaijan border. We will visit the Gremi citadel en route. 

We will wild camp tonight, most likely in the Lagodekhi National Park close to the Azeri border. 

Estimated Drive Time 2 - 3 hours

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Discover the ancient capital of the 16th-century Kingdom of Kakheti at the Gremi Architectural Complex

GEL 10

Take some short exploratory walks around our wild camp in the beautiful forested Lagodekhi National Park

GEL 5
Day 27 - Sheki ( 12th Apr 2020 )

Border information: Exit Georgia at Lagodekhi, enter Azerbaijan at Balakan.

Today we cross the border to Azerbaijan and continue to the old town of Sheki, where we can visit the exquisite Khan's Palace. 

In Sheki we wills tay in a comfortable hotel built inside an old caravanserai. 

Estimated Drive Time 3 -4 hours

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Overnight in an atmospheric converted Caravanserai at Sheki

Included in Kitty

Explore the exquisite Palace of the Sheki Khans, built in 1797

Included in Kitty
Day 28 - Lahij Village ( 13th Apr 2020 )

This morning we will continue on to Lahic Village. An old coppersmiths village, nestled in the mountains. 

Tonight we will camp with facilities. 

Estimated Drive Time 4 - 5 hours

Day 29 - Baku, Gobustan ( 14th Apr 2020 )

We will continue our journey this morning to Gobustan, near the coast of the Caspian Sea where we will have a visit to the ancient petroglyphs and the mud volanoes that this area is famous for. 

This afternoon we will continue on to the Old City of Baku where we will have free time on arrival to explore. 

Estimated Drive Time 3 - 4 hours

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Day trip to Gobustan to see the mud volcanoes and the petroglyphs

Included in Kitty
Day 30 - Baku ( 15th Apr 2020 )

Border Information: If finishing in Baku, you will most likely exit Azerbaijan at Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (IATA code: GYD).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Baku. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below. 

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Audio Guided trip around old town Baku including the Maiden Tower & Shirvan Shakh Palace

AZN 10

Explore the mysterious and iconic Maiden's Tower in Baku's Old Town

AZN 2.50
Learn all about the Shirvan Muslim history of Baku at the Palace of the Shirvanshahs
AZN 4

DATES & PRICES

This group overland journey has multiple departures.
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Trip Notes
Departing: 17 Mar 2020
Returning: 15 Apr 2020
Duration: 30 days
Route: Istanbul - Baku
$3,870 USD + $830 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 28 Apr 2020
Returning: 27 May 2020
Duration: 30 days
Route: Istanbul - Baku
$3,870 USD + $830 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 23 Jun 2020
Returning: 22 Jul 2020
Duration: 30 days
Route: Istanbul - Baku
$3,870 USD + $830 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 1 Aug 2020
Returning: 30 Aug 2020
Duration: 30 days
Route: Baku - Istanbul
$3,870 USD + $840 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 26 Sep 2020
Returning: 25 Oct 2020
Duration: 30 days
Route: Baku - Istanbul
$3,870 USD + $840 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
closed
FULLY BOOKED
Departing: 17 Oct 2020
Returning: 15 Nov 2020
Duration: 30 days
Route: Baku - Istanbul
$3,870 USD + $840 Kitty (USD)
DEPARTURE GUARANTEED
Deposit: $350 USD
limited
Departing: 16 Mar 2021
Returning: 14 Apr 2021
Duration: 30 days
Route: Istanbul - Baku
$3,975 USD + $830 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 27 Apr 2021
Returning: 26 May 2021
Duration: 30 days
Route: Istanbul - Baku
$3,975 USD + $830 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 22 Jun 2021
Returning: 21 Jul 2021
Duration: 30 days
Route: Istanbul - Baku
$3,975 USD + $830 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 31 Jul 2021
Returning: 29 Aug 2021
Duration: 30 days
Route: Baku - Istanbul
$3,975 USD + $840 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 25 Sep 2021
Returning: 24 Oct 2021
Duration: 30 days
Route: Baku - Istanbul
$3,975 USD + $840 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available
Departing: 16 Oct 2021
Returning: 14 Nov 2021
Duration: 30 days
Route: Baku - Istanbul
$3,975 USD + $840 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
available