Samtskhe–Javakheti
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From Tbilisi: Full-Day Tour of Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi

1. From Tbilisi: Full-Day Tour of Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi

Explore southern Georgia and see the most important monuments, including the Rabati Castle complex or the fascinating Vardzia cave complex. Visit the world-renowned Borjomi Resort. Start your tour at Rabati Castle, a 13th-century medieval castle complex, and admire the influence of different cultures reflected in the architecture. See a mosque, orthodox church, catholic church, and a synagog. Follow along the upper Mtkvari River, traversing narrow canyons at Aspindza along a stunning valley with rocky hillsides. Arrive at Vardzia, famed for its paintings and unique architecture. Tour the bell tower, main church, cave dwellings, rooms, chapels, pharmacy, and wine cellars. Finally, arrive at the Borjomi Resort, a hydro-thermal health spa resort in the southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Walk in the Borjomi Central Park and taste Borjomi mineral water which has unique healing qualities.

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From Tbilisi: 2-Day Tour to Vardzia

2. From Tbilisi: 2-Day Tour to Vardzia

1 Day: Tbilisi-Paravani Lake - Vardzia - Rabat Fortress - Borjomi (Driving distance 250 kilometers) Begin the tour from Tbilisi and have a stop at Paravani Lake (2.073 meters). Get pleasure from delightful views at Paravani, the largest and deepest lake in Georgia. Next stop will be Vardzia, grandiose cave city, one of the favorite destinations of Queen Tamar. Here, not far from the border with Turkey, see all the splendor of this tiered cave city where there are hundreds of dwellings, transitions, ladders, churches, library, dining, warehouses, workshops and where urban residents had running water and entertainment. Fifty thousand persons were able to live in this cave city. Continue your way towards Rabat fortress in Akhaltsikhe. The complex of the 9th-century was developed under the influence of different cultures over subsequent centuries and this is reflected in its architecture such as rare examples of traditional Georgian houses from the 13th-century, a mosque from 1752 and the ruins of a medrese (Islamic school). The Rabati also has a synagogue, an Armenian church and a Catholic church. Rabat was reconstructed in 2012. At the end of the day, arrive and overnight in Borjomi in either a family type guesthouse or 3-star hotel. 2 Day:  Borjomi - Gori - Uplistsikhe - Mtskheta - Tbilisi (Driving distance 250 kilometers) Tour starts from Borjomi - a spa resort famous with mineral water springs. This place is known far beyond the borders of Georgia. Go on a 1-hour walk in Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, located in central Georgia and creates an eastern border with the lesser Caucasus Mountains. Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is one of the oldest and largest of the protected areas in Georgia and became a member of the European network of protected areas. In the beginning of the 20th-century, the Russian Tsar Nikolai II built in the park his summer residence. On the way to Uplistsikhe, you will visit Joseph Stalin Museum. There is also a small house where one of the cruelest world tyrants of 20th-century was born and raised. Everything is still kept. After Gori, your next stop will be Uplistsikhe - an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the early Iron Age to the late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran, as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture. At the summit of the complex is a Christian basilica built of stone and brick in the 9th to 10th-centuries. Uplistsikhe cave city is the oldest populated place in Georgia. On the way back to Tbilisi, visit Mtskheta, the old capital of Georgia. Some monuments of the city are UNESCO World Heritage Site listed. In Mtskheta, visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, built in the 11th century, the main church of Mtskheta is a sacred place where the robe of Christ is being kept. Visit Jvari Monastery (6th to 7th-century), located on top of a hill above Mtskheta. The monument for its architectural and historical importance is included into the UNESCO list. Located at the precipice of a vertical cliff, Jvari Monastery is a remarkable sacred landmark visible from the ancient city Mtskheta. The building techniques and high standards of engineering, as well as the diverse decorative program of the landscaped monastery exemplify exceptional centuries - old Georgian building practices alongside a wide range of Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions. The church represents the peak of this architectural typology and serves as a model for numerous other churches. Jvari has been an important pilgrimage site since its founding and is considered one of the most sacred places in all of Caucasus.

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From Kutaisi: Day Trip to Rabati, Vardzia, and Borjomi

3. From Kutaisi: Day Trip to Rabati, Vardzia, and Borjomi

Wander around the biggest cave city in Georgia, and experience the astonishing Rabati Castle. Then, breathe in the fresh air of Borjomi Forest, and taste its famous spring water. Depart from Kutaisi and head to the first stop, Rabati Castle. Explore the Asian-style 13th century Rabati Castle in Akhaltsikhe, with its striking and varied architecture. Enjoy its modern amenities like cafes and shops, or explore its ancient area including the Ahmediyeh Mosque, Jakeli Castle, and Historical Museum. Take a break for lunch, before heading to the next stop. Next, continue your trip to the 12th-century Vardzia Cave complex. Follow the upper Mtkvari River as you pass through narrow canyons. See the monastery with its ancient paintings, and marvel at other features like the bell tower and wine cellars. Visit the hydro-thermal health spa resort of Borjomi. Enjoy strolling through the forest and taking in the fresh air, before tasting the award-winning local spring mineral water with its unique healing qualities. Spend some time in Borjomi Central Park and enjoy the surrounding nature.

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Tbilisi: Private Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi Tour

4. Tbilisi: Private Vardzia, Rabati, and Borjomi Tour

Explore southern Georgia and see the most important monuments, including the Rabati Castle complex or the fascinating Vardzia cave complex. Visit the world-renowned Borjomi Resort. Start your tour at Rabati Castle, a 13th-century medieval castle complex, and admire the influence of different cultures reflected in the architecture. See a mosque, orthodox church, catholic church, and a synagog. Follow the upper Mtkvari River through narrow canyons at Aspindza along a valley. Arrive at Vardzia, famed for its paintings and unique architecture. Tour the bell tower, main church, cave dwellings, rooms, chapels, pharmacy, and wine cellars. Finally, arrive at the Borjomi Resort, a hydro-thermal health spa resort in the southern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Walk in the Borjomi Central Park and taste Borjomi mineral water which has unique healing qualities.

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What people are saying about Samtskhe–Javakheti

What a well-organized tour. It's a long day (14hrs because of distance) but you never felt bored or that you didn't have enough time at the sites. Nika, our guide, did an excellent job explaining the country and all the regions along with the specifics insights on Vardzia, Rabati and Borjomi. You could tell he enjoyed telling us about the places. The bus was comfortable, the lunch stop excellent, overall, it's a must do when in Tbilisi.

The trip to Vardzia is a long one, so I would suggest the tour to start slightly earlier say around 8am to 830am instead of 9am. Cause by d time after the 2nd attractions which is Vardzia ended, guest would have already quite exhausted as it was already late noon around 5 plus 6pm, and they probably won't be showing much interest with the 3rd attraction which is Bonjomi.

Kleine Gruppe, super netter Guide, leckeres Essen und einfach nur beeindruckend!!! Ich kann jedem nur diesen Ausflug und vorallem auch das Tour Unternehmen empfehlen.

Amazing trip. Thanks Tamuna for such a lovely guided trip. Vardzia was the highlight of the trip. Definitely recommended to check these places.

It's a must to do the Vardzia tour If you travel to Georgia,I really enjoyed myself