South Caucasus: Batumi to Baku with Turkey

11- or 14-Day Journey from Georgia to Azerbaijan with Turkey Pre-Tour

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

from4,400 $per person

What Makes Your Journey Unique

  • Journey on exclusively chartered special train
  • A unique route from Batumi on the Black Sea through the Caucasus Mountains to Baku on the Caspian 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 (Batumi–Baku)

Turkey Pre-tour 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


  • 11 Oct 23 - 21 Oct 23 (11 days)

Info & Booking

Magda Zhghenti
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Day 1. Arrival in Istanbul

You will spend the next two nights at a comfort hotel in Istanbul.
Overnight in Antea Palace Hotel (or similar) (D)

Day 2. 1001 Nights

Your sightseeing tour starts at the Hippodrome. From the Hagia Sophia we go to the grandiose Basilica Cistern and the Blue Mosque. After a detour to the Gülhane palace garden and Sirkeci train station, the scents of the Egyptian bazaar will enchant all your senses. In the afternoon you enjoy a boat trip on the Bosphorus, to end the day: Istanbul by Night.
Overnight in Antea Palace Hotel (or similar) (BD)

Day 3. From Istanbul to Ankara

Early in the morning you take the express train along the Marmara Sea to Ankara. In the Turkish capital, take a city tour and visit the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations. In the late afternoon, one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world begins on board the special train Turistik Doğu Ekspresi (Touristic Eastern Express). You’ll sleep overnight on the train.
Overnight on board (BD)

Day 4. Train ride through Anatolia

The tracks wind spectacularly through Anatolia’s breathtaking mountains. Your boat trip on the Euphrates through the Karanlık, one of the largest canyons in Europe, also known as the Dark Canyon, begins at the town of Ilic. In the afternoon you will visit architectural gems of the Seljuk era in Erzurum: the Grand Mosque of Bursa, the Çifte Minareli Medrese and the tombs of Üç Kümbetler (Three Tombs) complex. Shortly before midnight, your special train will reach Kars, where you will stay at a comfort hotel.
Overnight in Grand Ani Hotel (or similar) (BLD)

Day 5. Ani

In Kars you will visit the castle and the Holy Apostles Church, highlights of the Armenian-Georgian Middle Ages. On the border with Armenia is Ani, once the capital of the Armenian Empire. Ancient churches on a high plateau make this place the highlight of a visit to Turkey. Pass Çıldır Lake and drive over the Cam Pass to the mountain resort of Şavşat, where you will stay for the next two nights.
Overnight in Laset Motel & Bungalows (or similar) (BD)

Day 6. In the Pontic Alps

A day out of a picture book: green spruces, colourful flowers, rippling springs, wooden alpine chalets. This region is a real insider’s secret! From the castle in Şavşat, we head to the ruins of the Tbeti Monastery and the turquoise-blue Karagöl lake.
Overnight in Laset Motel & Bungalows (or similar) (BD)

Day 7. At the Black Sea

The valley of Imerkhevi contains so many churches and monasteries that people claim the mythological giant Athos helped build them. Which one was the best? The cross-domed church of Doliskana, the fortress ruins of Ardanuç Kalesi or the Yeni Rabat Church? After a stop in the mountain village of Artvin, which nestles on a terraced hillside, you will reach the Black Sea coast. You will spend the night in a hotel in Hopa.
Overnight in Paluri Hotel (or similar) (BD)

Day 8. Farewell Turkey

Drive across the border to Batumi where your main journey begins. (B)

Main tour

Day 1./Day 8. Batumi The Black Sea Coast

You cross the Armenia–Georgia border through the mountainscapes of the Lesser Caucasus until you reach Batumi on the spectacular Black Sea coast. (BL)

If you would like to start your journey in Georgia, your first day is here in Batumi, Georgia’s second largest city.

This port city 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.
Overnight: Hotel World Palace (or similar) (D)

Day 2. / Day 9. Batumi On the Black Sea

Today 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. In the afternoon you have free time for individual activities.
Overnight: Hotel World Palace (BL)

Day 3. / Day 10. Welcome on Board!

The Batumi Botanical Garden is a subtropical paradise whose terraces on the steep coast provide an amazing view of the seashore. Later that day, the friendly crew of your special train gives you a hearty welcome at the station, where your train sets off towards Kutaisi. 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 4. / Day 11. Akhaltsikhe and Vardzia Land of Castles

The train route from Kutaisi through the lesser Caucasus mountains puts everyday Georgia right outside your window—vineyards, idyllic towns, imposing castle towers. Borjomi is 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. 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. Reminiscient of a honeycomb, there are more than 3,000 cave dwellings for up to 50,000 people built into the rockface. The brilliance of the frescoes of legendary Queen Tamar in the cave cathedral has not lost its intensity.
Overnight: On board (BLD)

Day 5. / Day 12. Gori In Vino Veritas, a Taste of Georgia’s Wine Regions

Today your train takes you from Akhaltsikhe 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 Tbilisi.
Overnight: Hotel Builtmore (or similar) (BLD)

Day 6. / Day 13. 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 Caucaisa (or similar) (BLD)

Day 7. / Day 14. 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 board your train and head to the Georgia-Azerbaijan border, where green hills bradually transform into ochre, earthy steppes.
Overnight: on board (BLD)

Day 8. / Day 15. Shaki and Goygol

In the morning, 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. On the train route towards Shaki, the Azerbaijani landscape begins to turn green. 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. In the evening, you head towards the Caspian Sea.
Overnight: On board (BLD)

Day 9. / Day 16. Baku Skyline on the Caspian Sea

In Baku, it’s a bittersweet goodbye to your special train and its crew. From Martyrs’ Lane, formerly known as Kirov Park, you enjoy the spectacular view of the city’s breathtaking skyline, which includes the Flame Towers, a trio of modern skyscrapers. Later 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 city’s ornate Art Nouveau buildings and its futuristic architecture. That afternoon, you are free to do as you wish. You can enjoy a swim in the Caspian Sea, or a shopping spree in Baku’s gorgeous pedestrian zone.
Overnight: Hotel Sapphire Inn (or similar) (BL)

Day 10. / Day 17. 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, you enjoy a farewell dinner amid Baku’s glittering nightscape.
Overnight: Hotel Sapphire Inn (or similar) (BD)

Day 11. / Day 18. 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)

(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.

Combine your train journey through the Caucasus with this extraordinary special train ride through the highlands of Anatolia, the cradle of civilization. Enjoy the beautiful nature on a boat trip on the Euphrates through the Karanlık Canyon and on walks in the Pontic Alps. Ottomans, Georgians and Armenians left invaluable cultural testimonies in these mystical landscapes.

Rates Include

  • 4 nights on board your special train in booked category
  • Express Train ride Istanbul – Ankara in 2nd class according to itinerary
  • 6 nights/12 nights (Turkey pre-tour) 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 Batumi and Baku

Hotels Planned

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

Turkey Hotels Planned

City Nights Hotel
Istanbul 2 Antea Palace Hotel (or similar)
Kars 1 Grand Ani Hotel (or similar)
Savsat 2 Laset Motel & Bungalows (or similar)
Hopa 1 Paluri 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
  • 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

  • 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

  • Guaranteed
  • Available
  • Limited
  • Waiting List
  • to be announced
  • Excursions and lectures conducted in: EN=English, FR=French


Dates StandardSuperiorBolshoi
Price $
11 Oct 23 - 21 Oct 23EN,Excursions and lectures conducted in: English FRExcursions and lectures conducted in: French | Batumi - Baku
Single supplement hotel
Supplement for use of the compartment by 3 persons
Single use supplement in compartment + hotel

Additional Services

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