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What better way to welcome in 2023 than with an experience of Georgian Christmas?
Georgian Christmas (celebrated in the Georgian Orthodox tradition on the 6-7th January) is one of the biggest holidays in Georgia. Every Georgian family looks towards to this time of year and its promises of great hospitality, big feasts and much celebration.
On this small group trip, you will first spend time in the beautifully decorated capital, Tbilisi with its Christmas Markets. You will visit a local family to share (and learn how to make) traditional Georgian dishes. You will have the opportunity to attend a Christmas service, and enjoy a packed itinerary exploring Georgia - a country rich in variety and culture.
(Available as a small group tour or tailor-made holiday)
For a truly special experience, visit Georgia during their Christmas and New Year celebrations in January.
This tour encompasses ancient historical architecture, beautiful landscapes, delicious food and warm hospitality during one of the most special times of the year.
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With group members arriving throughout the afternoon, evening and night, today is a 'free' day for you to arrive, be transferred to the start hotel, and to shake off any travel fatigue and get your bearings. Your adventure starts in earnest, tomorrow, after breakfast.
If you are able to arrive earlier in the day, please feel free to ask us for guidance on how to spend this free day, where to eat and what to visit (or to try to save for the tour). We are on hand to help!
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Today, we will explore Tbilisi and soak up the festive atmosphere. Wander in the old districts of the city which are structured like terraces, as well as walking through winding streets admiring patterned balconies and wonderful samples of modern architecture. We will start the tour from Metekhi church built in the 13th century which boasts magnificent views of old Tbilisi.
We will also enjoy a cable car trip up to the ancient Narikala Fortress, built in the 4th century and crucial for the capital’s former defence strategy. On the way enjoy panoramic views of the whole city. After exploring the fortress we will continue our tour into the historical domed sulphur bath quarter, where hot springs run under the ground.
No trip to Georgia at Christmas would be complete without a stroll along Rustaveli Avenue. With huge festive lights and stalls selling traditional Georgian toys, gifts and food it is a worthy contender for a place in Europe’s best Christmas markets. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner with your guide and really get to know the rest of your group. The evening continues with a truly special experience - attending the Christmas Midnight Mass. We`ll see a lot of people standing before the altar, thousands of candles lit up and the choir singing a beautiful hymn in multipart harmony.
After the service we will return to the hotel to wind down for the night.
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After breakfast, we will drive to the Kakheti region. This side of Georgia is considered the homeland of wine. However, apart from winemaking, Kakheti has a rich cultural history and has several monuments from different periods as well as beautiful and diverse nature. We will visit the fortified town Sighnaghi, which leaves a special impression with its beautiful streets and distinctive natural location. Walk along the cobbled streets with colourful houses and balconies, enjoy the amazing view of the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains and the vast valley of Alazani. Afterwards, visit Bodbe monastery, built in the 4th century, which holds the tomb of St. Nino, the Cappadocian maiden who converted Georgian people to Christianity as early as 337 AD. A visit to Kakheti is incomplete without a local family lunch to taste a variety of Georgian cuisine. The tradition of generously hosting guests is further intensified during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
We will get into the pre-Christmas spirit helping the family prepare New Year’s sweets – Churchkhela and Gozinaki, made from honey and walnuts. We will also be able to try special homemade wine before visiting a Georgian traditional wine cellar. The host has a special passion for wine, which is reflected in the quality produced by him. Here we taste wine made in the traditional way using a Kvevri (clay vessel). This method of wine making is even inscribed in UNESCO intangible heritage list. After a day of delicious food and wine we will return to Tbilisi where the remainder is free for you to enjoy.
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In the morning, drive to the historical town and the first capital of Georgia, Mtskheta. In Mtskheta, we will visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Jvari Monastery built in the 6th century and the beautiful Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. From Jvari Monastery there is an amazing panoramic view of the city at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers. Later, we will visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, which is the largest surviving historical building in Georgia. Continue our adventure to the fabulous Chateau Mukhrani, the royal estate of Duke Ivane Mukhranbatoni. During his travels to France, he learnt more about winemaking and on his return home he decided to start producing wonderful Georgian wines on his forefathers’ land. After visiting the cellar we will have lunch and taste the premium wines made by combining the traditional Georgian wine technology and the classic French method.
Later we will return to Tbilisi where the remainder of the day is free to enjoy.
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After breakfast we will take a train to the Western part of Georgia, Kutaisi. We will arrive in time for lunch at a local restaurant before driving to visit Gelati monastery, which dates back to the 12th century and used to be a complex of churches and educational centres. It was an academy in the 12th century, founded by King David the Builder, who is buried in the complex, as well. The main church of Gelati has fascinating 12th century frescoes and mosaics. We will then continue to Bagrati Cathedral, built in the 11th century. Both Gelati and Bagrati Cathedral are UNESCO World heritage sites.
Georgia has a rich and vibrant traditional music genre, which is primarily known as arguably the earliest polyphonic tradition of the Christian world. It was recognized by UNESCO as a Human masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage in 2001. After the accession of Georgia to the Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Heritage, Georgian polyphonic singing was inscribed on its Representative List in 2008. In the courtyard of the Bagrati Cathedral, with the background of the beautiful views, we will have the opportunity to listen to the ensemble, which will sing a traditional Georgian song for us, a truly memorable experience.
Tonight we will stay in a hotel in Kutaisi.
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In the morning, we drive to the Black Sea coast, Batumi, Georgia`s summer holiday capital.
We will take a stroll along the pleasent Batum Boulevard, with its trees, paths, fountains, cafes, beach bars and some quirky attractions. On the Boulevard you`ll find a large Ferris wheel, the Alphabet Tower, a monument to Georgian script and culture, an ornamental lake which showcases the Dancing Fountains, an entertaining laser, music and water show. During the city tour we'll visit Europe square with its Astronomical clock and Medea statue. We will also visit Piazza Square, one of the most beautiful squares in the whole Georgia. Distinguished by its painting, as well as by its exquisite mosaics and stained glass windows, Piazza Square has become the venue of numerous entertaining and cultural events.
Enjoy some free time here before returning to Kutaisi for the night.
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In the morning, we drive to visit Uplistsikhe Cave Town which dates back to the 1st millennium BC. This is an old and interesting complex with dwelling quarters, wine-cellars, bakeries, a three nave basilica church hewn out in rock and even an amphitheatre.
Afterwards, we drive to Gori, which is the birthplace of Joseph Stalin and here we will visit his house and museum, stopping for lunch on our travels. In Kaspi we will visit a local wine cellar. This place is a great example of how the younger generation continues the tradition left by their ancestors. Here we will learn about the history of wine making and will taste the natural wines made from the unique grape varieties, that were on the verge of extinction, just a few years ago
Finally, we will return to Tbilisi.
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Today is a free day for you to enjoy Tbilisi sites and pick up any last minute souvenirs. Today is a wonderful opportunity to visit the thermal baths (speak to your guide!), browse the Christmas markets for a final time and try even more local delicious Georgian food.
In the late afternoon, we will drive to a local family for a little cooking class and final dinner together. It will be last opportunity for you to sit at the local's table, share a delicious meal prepared with family recipes, and eat like a Georgian...
Today your adventure in Georgia comes to an end. It's time to return home, rejuvenated!
Carbon Compensation is not the perfect solution, and it is important to first reduce our carbon emissions as much as we can, yet trees remain an excellent natural technology to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to slow global warming.
For every client and guide who attends a YellowWood Adventure, we donate £30 to our partner charity WeForest to plant 15 trees to (over) compensate for the carbon footprint of the tour.
We also invite our clients to match this with an optional additional £30 for another 15 trees to be planted to help compensate for the carbon footprint of their international flights.
WeForest run many tree planting and tree maintenance projects such as this seedling nursery in the Amhara region of Ethiopia, the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil and many other projects in other countries including Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania & India.
Click Here to find out more about their amazing projects around the world.
We fully believe in, and practice, Responsible Tourism, using hotels run by locals. The accommodation on this adventure is comfortable and welcoming hotel accommodation offering rooms with ensuite facilities. We put time and effort into building our relationship with accommodation suppliers to ensure you have a great trip.
We choose accommodation based on cleanliness, comfort, safety, proximity to our route (to avoid unnecessary extra travel) and a warm client welcome, as well as reliability in their service to us. Wherever we can we will choose smaller, more characterful, individual hotels, but in areas where tourism is still developing, or in remote areas (like the mountains), we may not have a wide range of options. An aspect of our adventures is to escape the ‘trappings’ of modern Western lifestyles and to experience new things with are exciting and memorable and reflects the countries we are visiting.
Unless you have booked a single room (where they are available) and paid the single room supplement for those nights, you will be sharing a twin room with another client (of the same gender).
Supporting you on your holiday will be a local, English-speaking, qualified guide who knows the area like the back of their hand, as well as the history & heritage of the area!
We work jointly with our Georgian Tour Operator partners both before and during your adventure to ensure that they understand your needs and the standard that YellowWood Adventures expects. We believe that it is a very important positive aspect of Responsible Tourism, to employ the expertise of reliable and suitably qualified local suppliers, as well as offering you a much more informative and authentic experience.
Your group will be any number from our minimum group size of 4, up to a maximum of 12 fellow travellers. This number works really well with the ratio of guides, and ensures the optimum level of service to you during your adventure.
We get clients booking alone, as couples and in small groups of friends. If you have a group of friends or family who are interested in having their own customised trip, then please let us know and we can cost it for you.
Your YellowWood adventure starts in Tbilisi. We understand that arriving into an unfamiliar airport can be daunting, so we aim to give you as much information here as possible to help you prepare.
Flights are not included in the cost of your holiday, and whilst we are happy to help advise you, responsibility for booking the correct flights rests with you. We recommend that you use a comparison tool when searching for flights, such as skyscanner or www.momondo.co.uk.
For the latest travel advice from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice. As the situation in our destination countries can change, please do ensure you check regularly before your adventure.
We also receive notifications direct from the Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) so we are always aware of the ‘status’ in our destination countries.
Tbilisi Airport is a fully functioning, international airport welcoming domestic flights and those from Europe. Airport services include Duty Free, ATMs and Currency Exchange. On arrival at the airport you will go through passport control to baggage reclaim and onwards to Arrivals where you will be met by a driver / guide with a YellowWood Adventures sign.
All group specific, final details on where to meet your guide will be sent to you prior to the start of your adventure.
Holiday insurance is essential for all Yellow Wood Adventures. Unfortunately anyone without insurance is not able to take part in the holiday, so please make sure you arrange cover. We recommend sorting your insurance when you book so that if you have problems during the run up to your holiday, and need to cancel, you are covered, particularly in the light of effects that the pandemic has had on travel.
Prior to the holiday, we will ask you to send us details of your insurer, policy number, 24hr emergency assistance contact details and the name, address, and telephone numbers of your NOK or persons to be notified in the event of an emergency.
Your insurance needs to cover you for moderate hiking with the following fairly standard inclusions:
We would also recommend that you have cover for the following optional items:
For general information on Georgia, such as climate, weather, language, social norms, food & drink etc, please have a head to our Country Specific Page packed full of information about Georgia.
All adventures can be tailored as private bespoke trips.
Please contact us for more information:
+44 207 846 0197
Select dates & add any extras or 'Add on' adventures. Complete our Booking Form
Check out our Covid-19 friendly booking conditions & check the box to agree to our Terms & Conditions.
'Make Booking': You will be redirected to secure WorldPay to make your deposit (£300/$400/person) payment (receipted), if booking >56 days before your adventure or full payment if 56 or <56 days before your adventure. Your monies are held securely by the Travel Trust Association.
Your booking will show as 'pending' in your YellowWood online account.
Enter booking information for all guests in your party.
We will be in touch as soon as we are able, to confirm your booking or discuss any availability limitations. Do not book transport/flights until we have emailed you to confirm your booking (receipt of your booking form is not confirmation). We will change the status of your final invoice from 'Pending Approval' to 'Outstanding', when it becomes payable online.
This payment is due 56 days before departure date (we send reminders).
Contact us with any questions about your adventure or booking.
+44 207 846 0197
To help you choose the right adventure for you, we have given each itinerary a grading that relates to the level of Walking / Trekking you will experience during the trip. This grading can be found on the Yellow map on the adventure page of the website.
All of our trips involve a level of general activity so are designed for people who are in good health, enjoy the outdoors, and have a taste for adventure and some level of fitness. As will be clear from our destinations, the climate (and altitude) may be different to that which you are used to, so please take this into consideration when choosing the most suitable holiday.
Please read our Adventure Itinerary & Essential Information for more information and don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to chat through whether you have found a suitable adventure for you.
You need to be in good physical health to enjoy your active holiday, but you don’t need to be an experienced hiker. These itineraries offer a mix of sightseeing and easier walking for around 2-4hrs a day, with the emphasis on sights and cultural experiences.
Walks will be well marked or on defined pathways, and often around sites of interest. The expected amount of descent/ascent will depend on the landscapes of the destination, but will not exceed 400m/day, and will often be much less. Walks are at low altitude (below 3000m).
You will not be required to carry more than a day sack with water and essentials. Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have a pair of comfortable and worn in walking shoes/boots.
You need to have a good level of fitness and be a regular walker for these adventures, with ideally some trekking experience. You can expect to be walking for 3-6 hours per day, not including rest stops, normally on good trail paths but with some uneven surfaces at times.
You will not be required to carry more than a day sack. You may be walking in more challenging temperatures. You will generally be walking at low altitude (below 3000m) but may walk at altitudes up to 4000m. The amount of ascent could be up to 800m in a day but will frequently be less. You may walk on consecutive days.
Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable clothing for this adventure.
You need to have a good level of fitness with previous experience of trekking. Extra training before your trip will ensure that you get the most out of your adventure. Areas will be remote and terrain uneven.
Expect to walk for 5 – 8 hours a day, not including breaks, with some very steep ascents and descents. You will be walking at altitude (over 3000m but not higher than 5000m).
Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable equipment/clothing for this adventure (see the packing list for your adventure).
Please check individual itineraries for details of what you will need to be carrying with you.
Get in touch via our Enquiry form to check our availability, discuss the adventure and check we can meet your needs.
Complete our Enquiry Form; contact details, additional requirements (eg diet or health requirements) & questions you may have. Include as much information as you are able to, so we can help you with the detail you are looking for
Click on 'Send Enquiry' (receipted).
We will be in touch as soon as we are able, to answer your questions and help you plan your adventure.
+44 207 846 0197