8 days in Georgia for our Honeymoon - Tour? Must-see?
Replies: 10 - Last Post: Mar 6, 2013 12:23 PM Last Post By: Aleks69
Jun 29, 2012 6:23 PM
8 days in Georgia for our Honeymoon - Tour? Must-see?Hi folks! My new husband and I are going to Georgia for our honeymoon in mid-August. (Yes I know it's hot at that time - it's our only window of opportunity :)).
Do you recommend using a private tour and/private driver(s)? For a couple days or use the same person the whole time? We are seasoned off-the-beaten-path travelers and I find it kind of weird to use a driver/tour guide, but it seems like that is a strong recommendation in the Bradt and other guides. And since we have only a week we're not really interested in spending half a day waiting at a bus terminals and having to negotiate with drivers...(we don't speak any Russian or Georgian)...
Also we are Orthodox - & we hope to hear some Georgian chant!
Here is an itinerary shared by one tour agency:
Day 1-3 Tbilisi – Mtskheta - Ananuri – Gudauri-Kazbegi
Day 4: Kazbegi-Gori-Uplistsike-Tbilisi
Day 5: Tbilisi- David Gareja- Telavi - Kakheti
Day 6: Telavi- Bodbe- Signagi-Tbilisi
Day 7: Tbilisi
How does this look?
Jun 29, 2012 11:09 PM
you can easily do this on your own, no need for a driver, although it is a pretty full program, so i would skip some of it. But travelling in Georgia is not too hard, and you don´t have to negotiate with drivers of marshrutka´s since it are fixed prices and they won´t try to rip you off (at least in my experience).
Be sure to see Tbilisi, Kazbegi, Gori & Uplistsikhe, but also the rest of the country is beautiful!
Jun 30, 2012 5:44 AM
I spent a week in Georgia with my friend. 5 days we were guided by driver and a friendly tour-guide and they really did their best. We saw a lot of exiting staff. They will show you all "must see" places and tell history about them in a way you cant do it yourself. After all - its their country and you will miss a lot of things thinking that you can figure it out without help.
Here is the web-site with contacts - http://privategeo.site88.net/
Its basically one man company who is very professional to compare to my experience of been guided in several countries. Only one thing - bargain from the start on what you need and what you dont - it will save you a lot of money. Two of us spent around $2200 in 5 days - (tours, meal, hotel, driver, gas). And we are absolutely amazed by this country. I am even thinking of buying a house in a countryside there.
Jun 30, 2012 6:47 AM
Jul 1, 2012 1:47 AM
4If you rely on public transport, it is difficult to visit all sights on the way. For instance, Kazbegi mashrutkas are not goins to stop Ananuri. The same for Uplistsikhe, ...
But of course the budget for taxis is not at all the same.
Jul 1, 2012 2:09 AM
5Given the number of days you are staying in Kazbegi, I advise to include a hike in Truso gorge - it is quite scenic...
Jul 1, 2012 5:27 AM
6Georgian chant is not the same as Gregorian chant. Gregorian chant is the central tradition of Western "plainchant" or "plainsong", a form of liturgical music within Western Christianity that accompanied the celebration of Mass and other ritual services. It is named for Pope Gregory, not the country of Georgia and is not Orthodox, but rather Catholic.
There is such a thing as Georgian chant but it is much less well known. It is unique with its polyphonic character. There are three voices, but while listening it is heard as one voice. The great Georgian scholars explain the dogma of the Holy Trinity by the phenomena of the Georgian chant tradition—three voices, but one chant. You might want to check this site Georgian Chant for information on churches and monasteries where you can hear this type of music.
Jul 1, 2012 7:49 AM
7Thank you - I was indeed referring to Georgian chant. We are Orthodox and sing in the choir in our church in Boston - we love Georgian music, both folk style and liturgical (we sing the Georgian setting of "Christ is risen" and the Georgian cherubic hymn setting at our church). We are also in touch with John Graham - thanks! It's one of the reasons we want to go to Georgia...
Jul 1, 2012 8:48 AM
8Just back from 7 weeks on Georgia and agree that 2 is far too expensive for Georgia.
We met several people who hired private drivers and said it was a great idea. There are so many scenic places along the roads to stop in Georgia. With a private driver, you can also try lots of wine at the vineyards and let someone else do the driving ;0) major plus is my opinion!
Not sure how these folks booked their driver however, the spoke Russian, so I think they may have been better able to negotiate. With your packed schedule, I recommend emailing some guesthouses, or tour companies in TBS and seeing if they have drivers.
On the music topic, be sure to check out the BBC's program on Georgian polyphonic singing if you have not already: it is so beautiful. You can find it online by Googling 'BBC world routes Georgia'
Congratulations to you and your husband and have a blast in Georgia! It'll be hot, but you can drink lots of Borjomi to cool down!
Jul 2, 2012 10:48 AM
9For your Tbilisi and Mtskheta day(s), I wouldn't get a driver. Mtskheta is only 20 minutes away from Tbilisi via marshrutka and you pick that up at Didube station. One lari.
If you throw a rock in Georgia, you'll hit a church. Given this, I'd skip Ananuri en route to Kazbegi. I'd also skip Gdauri in August - you'll drive through it on the way to Kazbegi and you'll see nothing happening there. It's all about winter in Gdauri. Stopping at these places will just reduce your time in Kazbegi and I think you'll want every minute possible there. Besides, there's a church on top of the mountain by the village.
Do go to St. David's Church (Mamadaviti, I think)on the side of Mtatsminda, above Tbilisi. You can take a city bus there for about 30 tetri from Rustaveli Street. It will take about half an hour to get to the top of the mountain, then you can walk down to the church (where we heard beautiful chanting when we stopped by), then walk down to the city.
In Sighnaghi, the man who owns the Mexican restaurant is a member of a Georgian chant group. He spent time in California teaching Georgian chant to some monks. Here's a link of mine to infor about him and which includes a link to one of their performances on youtube: http://livingrootless.blogspot.com/2012/05/sighnaghi-revisited.html.
I do know of a driver who charges (I think) 50 lari per day plus gas in his own vehicle. You can pm me for the lead to this guy. I have not used him myself, and I'm not willing to bet my life on the rate, but I'm reasonably sure it's correct.
Definitely recommend a driver for the Kakheti (which includes Telavi) and David Gareja trips. This could include Sighnaghi as well.
It would be really nice if your August trip coincided with the celebration of St Mariam on the 28th (especially in Gori) or so of the month, but it doesn't look likely. The 19th, though, is the Transformation, so if you're there, this may be a good day to hear chanting at some churches.
Know that Davit Gareja's heat will be brutal. A trip to Vardzia might be more pleasant and just as rewarding in other respects.
Hope this is helpful.
Edited by: mzurie
Jul 8, 2012 3:03 AM
10"Unless you are rich, i wouldn't follow the advice of #2. For that amount of money (2200 dollar!!) you can do a lot more things in Georgia (and in almost any other country) than just those 5 days. "
Guys, I am not rich, just have a tendency to spend a lot of money when traveling. And I am sure I could spend twice less but when I travel - I often act like a king)))
(4 star Hotel)
From US$319.00 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$439.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$255.55 per night