Experience

A Gourmet Cultural Discovery of Turkey and Georgia

We’ve always loved discovering somewhere new and, recently, we haven’t been able to get enough of Georgia. In the far reaches of Europe, it’s yet another culture to explore. Drawn in by the peaceful landscapes to the north, every visit has uncovered a new reason to return. Whether its the evolving nightlife of Tbilisi or the wine-fuelled history of Khaketi, our European travel experts have got all the secrets on creating a truly irresistible getaway combining rural Georgia with cosmopolitan Istanbul. The perfect marriage between East and West, this 11-night discovery will treat you to an exclusive stay in a private chateau, helicopters through the snow-capped Caucasus mountains and leisurely cruises down the Bosphorus. Trust us, you’re going to want to make Georgia and Turkey your next getaway.

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Cultural Crossover

Straddling the Bosphorus River and a divide between East and West, Europe and Asia, Istanbul is a city unmissable to the culturally-curious and the perfect starting point. Check in at Tom Tom Suites and spend an afternoon getting your bearings before heading off to the Old Town at Sultanahmet tomorrow for a private tour of some of the city’s most iconic sights. Your route for the day is laid out before you from your first stop at Topkapi Sarayi, with the iconic dome of Aya Sofya drawing you down the hill into the former imperial mosque and now a grand museum. You’ll then stroll on through the Yerebatan Sarayi cisterns, across the Hippodrome and up to the famous Blue Mosque before finishing up this privately guided tour perusing the many stores of the Grand Bazaar.

Tomorrow’s walk is a little more and the gourmet side as you taste your way through two markets and two continents. Starting on the European side, you’ll enjoy breakfast at an esnaf lokantasi in Karakoy before taking a walk through the market to a caravanserai teahouse. Across the Bosphorus, you’ll then sample the market specialities of tantuni and lamacun before indulging your sweet tooth with dessert in the Moda neighbourhood. Capping off the quintessential Istanbul experience, tomorrow morning, you’ll take to the water on a leisurely cruise down the Bosphorus, past the many mosques and palaces that line its shores. Spend the afternoon relaxing in the sulfur springs before leaving Turkey behind the next morning.

Escape to the Country

From Istanbul, it’s then just a quick flight across the Black Sea into Georgia. Touch down in Tbilisi before taking to the skies once more in a helicopter out to Kazbegi. Framed by the snow-capped Caucasus mountains, check in at Rooms Hotel and gaze out the floor to ceiling windows of this architectural masterpiece at the adventures to come. Spied from your cloud-like bed, you’ll spend tomorrow visiting the Gergeti Tsminda Sameba Trinity Church. 7000ft up, its an irresistible silhouette on an otherwise sparse mountainscape, capped in glaciers and dusted in permafrost, where the dramatic views speak for themselves. Hike done, take a few moments to relax in the natural spring waters down at Sno Gorge.

Wine as Old as Time

After an evening spent beneath the stars on Rooms Hotel’s panoramic terrace, in the morning you’ll continue east to Signagi; the birthplace of Georgian wine – in fact, it’s the birthplace of wine full stop. With a history stretching back as far as the fifth millennium BC, this is a real must-visit for any wine connoisseur. Spend a few days getting behind-the-scenes with an exclusive stay at a private chateau owned by a family of traditional winemakers and a visit to the Qvevri Wine Museum. Better still, visit in the Autumn and lend a hand in the harvest. Save some time for a stroll inside the hilltop city walls where views extend across the Alazani Valley and vineyard riddled hillsides. Get a glimpse of local culture too with a private cooking class, learning to whip up specialities such as khinkali, mtsvadi and khachapuri – all washed down with a glass of chacha.

Tales of Tbilisi

Your trip comes to a close with three nights in Tbilisi, with stops along the way at the fascinating Tsinandali Museum and Academy of Ikalto Monastery to learn all about Georgian life past and present. Arrive in Tbilisi with your stomachs rumbling ahead of dinner and a folklore show at a traditional restaurant followed by a night slumbering it off surrounded by the unique design of Stamba Hotel. Over the next few days, you’ll take in iconic sights such as Stalin’s birthplace in the town of Gori, the rock-hewn cave town of Uplistsikhe and the traditional architecture that lines the banks of the Mtkvari River in the old quarters. Before you leave, be sure to take a dip in the famous sulfur baths and enjoy a drink in one of the many underground bars. Ahead of the curve, leave Georgia behind knowing you’ve experienced a place few others have.

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