South Caucasus: Baku to Batumi with Turkey

11- or 16-Day Journey from Azerbaijan to Georgia with Turkey Extension

South Caucasus: Baku to Batumi with TurkeyRoute: Baku – Tbilisi – Stepantsminda – Uplistsikhe – Gori – Borjomi
–Akhaltsikhe – Kutaisi – Batumi – (Kars – Erzincan – Divrigi –
Ankara - Istanbul)

What Makes Your Journey Unique

  • Journey on exclusively chartered special train
  • A unique route from Baku on the Caspian Sea, through the Caucasus mountains, to Batumi on the Black Sea (or vice versa)
  • First-class service from English-speaking tour manager and local guides throughout journey
  • Spectacular train route filled with cultural and scenic diversity
  • 1 night in a hotel in the Caucasus mountains with view of 16,000-foot/5,000-meter Mount Kazbek
  • Vardzia, a gigantic cave city that once housed up to 50,000 people
  • Historic city of Goygol, a former German settlement in Azerbaijan
  • Tbilisi and Baku, two colorful and complementary metropolises
  • Insight into local life with visits to a Georgian religious service, vineyard, bazaar and artisanal handicraft center
  • Doctor on board the train (between Baku and Batumi)

Turkey Extension Highlights

  • Travel by special train Turistik Doğu Ekspresi from Ankara to Kars
  • Right across Anatolia with a Euphrates boat trip and visit to Erzurum
  • Natural paradise of the Pontic Alps – mountain pastures, waterfalls and mountain lakes
  • Kars and Imerkhevi – highlights of the Georgian-Armenian Middle Ages
  • Istanbul and Ankara: two metropolises, two worlds


    Info & Booking

    Magda Zhghenti
    Click here to email us

    Day 1. Baku Skyline on the Caspian Sea

    On your first day, you arrive in Baku, the capital of Azerbeijan, known as the City of Winds. In the evening, you take in views of the city’s breathtaking skyline on the Caspian Sea, which includes the spectacular Flame Towers, a symbol of the city’s modernity.
    Overnight: Hotel Sapphire Inn (or similar) (D)

    Day 2. Baku The Old City

    In the morning, you set out to explore the historical center of Baku, where you see gorgeous mosques, the Maiden Tower, and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You marvel at the ornate Art Nouveau buildings from the city’s first oil boom and the futuristic architecture from its second oil boom. In the afternoon, you have free time to spend as you wish. Either take a dip in the Caspian Sea or to go on a shopping spree in Baku’s upscale pedestrian retail district.
    Overnight: Hotel Sapphire Inn (or similar) (BL)

    Day 3. Rock Art, Mud Volcanos and Fire

    In the morning, you head toward Gobustan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you can admire the thousand-year-old rock carvings situated near the country’s famous mud volcanos. In the afternoon, you join an excursion to the Absheron Peninsula, where you see a Zoroastrian fire temple and Yanar Dag, a flame that burns continuously due to a seepage of natural gas. In the evening, the friendly crew of your private train gives you a hearty welcome at the station, where your train sets off westward by starlight through the Azerbaijani steppes.
    Overnight: On board (BD)

    Day 4. Shaki and Goygol From the Khan’s Palace to the Georgian Border

    The city of Shaki lies at foot of the forest-covered Caucasus Mountains and doubles as a unique open-air museum. You see the city’s many caravanserai, trading posts that served as stops along historic trade routes, like the Silk Road. Later, you visit the Khan’s Palace, where brilliant decorative carvings, stained glass and frescoes take you back to a fantastic medieval world. On the train route south from Sheki, the Azerbaijani landscape begins to turn green. In the afternoon, you reach the city of Ganja, from which you travel to the nearby city of Goygol, known for its nineteeth-century German settlements. Here you see carefully restored villas, the Lutheran church of St. John and the home of the last German settler, Viktor Klein, who passed away in 2007. Later you head to the Azerbaijan–Georgia border, where the ochre, earthy steppes gradually transform into green hills. Next stop: Georgia’s vibrant metropolis Tbilisi.
    Overnight: On board (BLD)

    Day 5. Tbilisi From the Capital to Stepantsminda

    Sturdy churches, colorful wooden houses on the banks of the Kura River, classical villas—this is Tbilisi, capital of Georgia and straight out of a fairy tale. From here, you take a ride along the historic Georgian Military Road, which reaches an altitude of approximately 7,800 feet/2,300 meters. The view of the Ananuri Castle complex from such heights just takes your breath away. In the horizon, snow-capped mountain peaks come into view, each one higher than the last. However, the view of the 16,000-foot/5,000-meter Mount Kazbek from your hotel terrace in Stepantsminda tops them all! On a green ridge just in front of this immense peak sits the comparatively small Gergeti Trinity Church, which you can visit via Jeep excursion.
    Overnight: Hotel Porta Caucasia (or similar) (BLD)

    Day 6. Tbilisi The Jvari Monastery and Mount Mtatsminda

    On the way back to Tbilisi, you stop at the Jvari monastery high above the Aragvi River and marvel at the former capital of Georgia, Mzcheta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In Tbilisi, you have free time in the afternoon for a shopping spree on the famous Rustaveli Avenue. Alternatively, you can take a cable car to the top of Mount Mtatsminda for more spectacular views.
    Overnight: Hotel Biltmore (or similar) (BLD)

    Day 7. Gori In Vino Veritas, a Taste of Georgia’s Wine Regions

    Today your train takes you from Tbilisi through the country’s fertile lowlands. You soon arrive In Gori, birthplace of Joseph Stalin, the once General Secretary of the Soviet Union, whose personal railroad car is displayed in a museum. In nearby Uplistsikhe, once a Silk Road trading post, you discover a sixth-century town built into a cave complex. Later a historic wine house opens its cellar just for you. Kartli, Imereti, Kakheti—Georgia’s wine regions are more than 7,000 years old, placing then among the world’s oldest. In the afternoon, your train reaches Borjomi, a famous deep valley resort town that once provided the entire Russian Empire with mineral water. Its beautiful villas, boutique hotels and its curative health spas draw visitors from near and far.
    Overnight: On board (BLD)

    Day 8. Akhaltsikhe and Vardzia Land of Castles

    From the small city of Akhaltsikhe, over which the Rabati Castle looms, you go on a unforgettable excursion and guided tour of Vardzia, a twelfth-century cave monastery. Reminiscent of a honeycomb, there are more than 3,000 cave dwellings for up to 50,000 people built into the rock face. The brilliance of the frescoes of legendary Queen Tamar in the cave cathedral has not lost its intensity. The train route from Akhaltsikhe through the lesser Caucasus mountains puts everyday Georgia right outside your window—vineyards, idyllic towns, imposing castle towers. From the top of the Bagrati Cathedral, you enjoy the view over the historic city of Kutaisi, just a stone’s throw away from the picturesque Gelati monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
    Overnight: On board (BLD)

    Day 9. Batumi On the Black Sea

    The last stop on your journey is Batumi, Georgia’s second largest city, on the spectacular Black Sea coast. To your left, palm trees. To your right, the sea. In Batumi, it’s a bittersweet goodbye to your private train and its crew. This Georgian port and seaside resort is quaintly situated on a bay against the backdrop of green mountains. The sparkling skyline of the palm-lined promenade is astounding—thanks to recent developments by international investors. Later you enjoy a city tour of Batumi’s historic center, where merchants from all over the world have left their footprints. Orthodox churches, synagogues, and mosques—the city’s stunning architecture is a testament to its diversity.
    Overnight: Hotel World Palace (or similar) (BL)

    Day 10. Batumi Paradise in the City

    The Batumi Botanical Garden is a subtropical paradise whose terraces on the steep coast provide an amazing view of the seashore and the city skyline. That evening, you explore the city at your leisure before a delicious farewell dinner, where you reminisce with fellow travelers about your journey.
    Overnight: Hotel World Palace (or similar) (BD)

    Day 11. Batumi Goodbye, South Caucasus!

    On your final day in the South Caucasus, you head to the airport for your flight home, reflecting on the fulfilling, unforgettable adventure you just completed. (B)


    Highlights of Anatolia between the Caucasus and the Bosphorus

    Day 12. Welcome to Turkey

    Drive from Batumi across the Georgian-Turkish border into the valley of Imerkhevi. Churches and monasteries were built here in such large numbers that people claim the mythological giant Athos helped build them. Which church is the most beautiful? The crossed-dome Dolishana Church, the fortress ruins of Ardanuç Kalesi or Yeni Rabat Church? Decide for yourself! In Kars you will visit the Armenian castle and the Holy Apostles Church, highlights of the Armenian-Georgian Middle Ages. Tonight you will stay at the comfort hotel in Kars.
    Overnight in Grand Ani Hotel (BD)

    Day 13. By special train through Anatolia

    After breakfast, the special train Turistik Doğu Ekspresi (Touristic Eastern Express) awaits you and your train journey through Anatolia’s highlands begins – one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world! Spectacularly, the tracks meander through breathtaking mountains and canyons with panoramic views of the Euphrates. In Erzincan you can visit the old town and the bazaar and take a trip to the 30 m high Gürlevik Waterfalls. In the afternoon your train will reach Divriği. Here you will find one of the most beautiful buildings in Turkey, the Seljuk ruler Ahmad Shah’s Mosque with its hospital (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
    From here, your train continues west. You will spend the night on board the train. (BLD)

    Day 14. From Ankara to Istanbul

    Your train journey with the Turistik Doğu Ekspresi ends in the morning in Ankara train station. Take a city tour in the Turkish capital, visit the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. In the afternoon you take the express train from Ankara to Istanbul. For the next two nights you will stay at the comfort hotel in Istanbul.
    Overnight in Antea Palace Hotel (BD)

    Day 15. 1001 Nights

    Your sightseeing tour begins at the Hippodrome with the Serpent Column. From Hagia Sophia, you’ll head to the Yerebatan Cistern, an underground water reservoir with 336 columns, and the photogenic Blue Mosque. After a detour to the Gülhane palace garden and to Sirkeci Station, the terminus of the historic Orient Express, oriental scents enchant all the senses at the Egyptian bazaar. In the afternoon you will experience the most beautiful side of Istanbul on a boat trip on the Bosphorus. The crowning glory of the day: Istanbul by Night.
    Overnight in Antea Palace Hotel (BD)

    (B) = Breakfast, (L) = Lunch, (D) = Dinner

    In the South Caucasus, from the sunny plains of the Caspian Sea to the subtropical Black Sea coast—a historic adventure awaits. It’s where the snow-covered peaks of the Caucasus mountains touch the vast blue skies of the Transcaucasian steppes and where Eastern and Western traditions mingle to create a unique culture.

    And the food! Almost nothing compares to Khachapuri and Khinkali dumplings; stuffed pomegranates; chicken with green walnuts; and of course—Georgian wine! Experience it all on this unforgettable journey.

    Complement your South Caucasus private train journey with a visit to Armenia, the oldest Christian country in the world. On a pre-tour between Yerevan and Batumi, you can relive the varied history of a nation that has been shaped by distinct cultures and great powers.

    Rates Include

    • 4 nights on board your special train in booked category
    • Express Train ride Ankara – Istanbul in 2nd class according to itinerary
    • 6 nights/9 nights (Turkey extension) in high-end hotels with double bed, and bath or shower
    • All meals as per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
    • All transport and excursions in modern tour buses with air-conditioning as per itinerary
    • Airport transfers on the first and last day of the itinerary
    • Entrance fees for all sights as per itinerary
    • English-speaking tour manager and guides during train journey between Baku and Batumi

    Hotels Planned

    City Nights Hotel
    Baku 2 Hotel Sapphire Inn (or similar)
    Stephansminda 1 Hotel Porta Caucasia (or similar)
    Tbilisi 1 Hotel Builtmore (or similar)
    Batumi 2 Hotel World Palace (or similar)

    Turkey Hotels Planned

    City Nights Hotel
    Kars 1 Grand Ani Hotel (or similar)
    Istanbul 2 Antea Palace Hotel (or similar)

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Visa invitation letters (if required)
    • Visa fees (if required)
    • Gratuities
    • Personal expenses

    Entry Requirements

    • Passport and visas required
    • Health, entry & vaccination regulations as prescribed by the visited countries. Please check with your local embassies and national guidelines for travel

    Important Notes

    • We regret that due to the intricate logistics of this tour, itinerary changes are sometimes unavoidable
    • Minimum number of guests to operate the journey: 45
    • This journey is generally not for guests with limited mobility or who depend on CPAP machines. Please contact us for more information about your specific requirements before booking

    Important Notes

    • We regret that due to the intricate logistics of this tour, itinerary changes are sometimes unavoidable
    • This journey is generally not for guests with limited mobility or who depend on CPAP machines. Please contact us for more information about your specific requirements before booking
    • Minimum number of tour participants: 45 (10 Turkey Extension)

    Payment Conditions

    • No deposit until 181 days before departure.
    • At 180 days out a non-refundable deposit of 15% of net rate is required.
    • The rest amount should be paid 40 days prior to departure

    Cancellation Conditions

    Days Refund
    Up to 181 days prior to departure full refund
    Between 180 and 91 days prior to departure 15% of total price
    Between 90 and 41 days prior to departure 45% of total price
    Between 40 and 11 days prior to departure 80% of total price
    10 and less days prior to departure/ no-show 90% of total price

    Cat. IV - Bolshoi

    Number and Size of Beds

    • Sleeps up to 2 guests
    • 1 large lower bed
      (43.3 × 72.4 in/110 × 184 cm)
    • 1 large upper bed
      (31.5 × 68.5 in/80 × 174 cm)


    • Large compartment
      60 sq ft/5.57 sq m
    • Large window
    • Small sofa
    • Table
    • Small closet
    • Private bathroom with sink, toilet and integrated shower
    • 6 compartments per car

    Cat. II - Superior

    Number and Size of Beds

    • Sleeps up to 2 guests
    • 2 lower beds
    • 26.7 × 73.6 in/68 × 185 cm


    • Large window
    • Table
    • 2 shared bathrooms with sink and toilet per car
    • 9 compartments per car
    • Shower shared between 1 to 3 cars

    Cat. I - Standard

    Number and Size of Beds

    • Sleeps up to 4 guests
    • 2 lower beds
    • 2 upper beds
    • 26.7 × 73.6 in/68 × 187 cm


    • Large window
    • Table
    • 2 shared bathrooms with sink and toilet per car
    • 9 compartments per car
    • 3-person occupancy is available for a supplemental charge

    Additional Services

    DescriptionPrice per Person
    Price0 $
    Turkey extension (5 days)
    Single supplement Turkey extension (hotel)
    Total price $