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Shida Kartli

Bus & minivan tours

Our most recommended Shida Kartli Bus & Minivan Tours

Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Jvari, Gori and Uplistsikhe Day Tour

1. Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Jvari, Gori and Uplistsikhe Day Tour

Explore one of the most mysterious regions of Georgia – Kartli and hear a lot about the country's history. First, visit memorable Uplistsikhe cave-town and dive into the antique life of Georgia. Then, find out more interesting facts in Gori, the hometown of the most famous Georgian, Stalin, and see the unique old capital of Georgia – Mtskheta, where you visit two UNESCO heritage sites Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Your first stop is Uplistsikhe, an antique rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia. It contains multiple structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages. It is notable for the unique mixture of various rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran's pagan and Christian architecture coexistence. After exploring Uplistsikhe, you have a chance to have lunch in the region and try delicious local food. After lunch, you have two options, have free time and explore Gori, the hometown of Stalin, or visit Stalin Museum, which is a museum dedicated to the life of Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, who was born in Gori. The Museum retains its Soviet-era characteristics, Stalin's Original house, and Stalin's railway carriage. The next stop is Jvari Monastery. The name of this monastery is translated as the "Monastery of the Cross." Jvari Monastery is the 6th-century Georgian Orthodox monastery near Mtskheta. Along with other historic structures of Mtskheta, it is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Jvari Monastery stands on the rocky mountain top at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the town of Mtskheta, which was formerly the capital of the kingdom of Iberia. The last site on tour is Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta. UNESCO recognizes Mtskheta as a World Heritage site due to its historical significance and several cultural monuments. It was the capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. Svetitskhoveli is known as the burial site of Christ's robe and has been one of the principal Georgian Orthodox churches and is among the region's most venerated places of worship.

Tbilisi: Cave Town, Gori, Mtskheta Private Tour

2. Tbilisi: Cave Town, Gori, Mtskheta Private Tour

Explore one of the most mysterious regions of Georgia. Visit the cave town of Uplistsikhe, Stalin's hometown of Gori, and the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Mtskheta. Start at the cave town of Uplistsikhe, an antique rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia. View its unique mixture of cut-out cultures from Anatolia and Iran's pagan and Christian architecture, then pause to purchase a local lunch. Next, visit, Gori, the hometown of Stalin. Explore the town or visit the Stalin Museum, including the dictator's old house and railway carriage. Follow that with a trip to Jvari Monastery. Admire this 6th-century Orthodox structure which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy the view from the rocky mountain top down onto the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers. Conclude your tour at the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, the old capital of Georgia, another World Heritage Site. Spend some time at a location known as the burial site of Christ's robe, which is among the region's most venerated places of worship.

Mtskheta, Gori and Uplistsikhe Full-Day Tour

3. Mtskheta, Gori and Uplistsikhe Full-Day Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel at 10:00 AM and will travel to Mtskheta, the previous capital of Georgia. Mtskheta is an ancient town of extraordinary importance to the Georgian nation and is located about 20 km out of Tbilisi. It was the capital of the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. It was also the site of Georgia's adoption of Christianity in 334 and remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Mtskheta is of primary interest to any travelers interested in Georgian history or Orthodox Christianity. During the tour, you will see Svetitskhoveli Orthodox cathedral, located in the historic town and built in the 11th century. Walk in the old city, and visit Djvari monastery, built in the 6th century. You have the opportunity to take photos with a very beautiful view of Mtskheta.  At 1:30 PM, you will visit Gori town where the Joseph Stalin Museum is located. Joseph Stalin’s Museum was established in 1951 as a local history museum but clearly intended to become a memorial to Stalin, who died in 1953. The main building of the complex is a large palace in Stalinist Gothic style. The exhibition is divided into six halls in roughly chronological order and contains many items actually or allegedly owned by Stalin. There is also much illustration by way of documentation, photographs, paintings and newspaper articles.  At 4:00 PM, visit Uplistsikhe town, an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, some 62 miles west of Tbilisi. Uplistsikhe is identified by archaeologists as one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. The central part of Upliscikhe is the largest and contains a bulk of the Uplistsikhe rock-cut structures. Narrow alleys and sometimes staircases radiate from the central street to the different structures. End your day trip with a return to your hotel at 7:30 PM. 

Tbilisi: Guided Mtskheta, Gori, and Uplistsikhe Tour

4. Tbilisi: Guided Mtskheta, Gori, and Uplistsikhe Tour

Your tour will begin in the morning as you are picked up from your hotel, after which you will begin with a drive through the fertile lands of the Kartli region. Your first stop is the 6th-century Jvari Monastery, which is located 19 kilometers away from Tbilisi. Here you will receive an introductory story of the area, whilst enjoying the wonderful panorama of the conjunction of the two rivers Aragvi and Mtkvari, the Armazi Mountains, and the city of Mtskheta. You will then drive 88 kilometers west of Tbilisi to Gori, a city in the Kartli province. Gori was an important military stronghold in the Middle Ages, and at the foot of a sand-stone hill stands the Medieval Gori Fortress Tskhra-kara. You will do a short walk around the area, before then continuing to the Stalin Museum. Excursions in Joseph Stalin's museum will take about 30 minutes, with the museum consisting of 3 sites. Following your museum tour, you will drive to the ancient temple town of Uplistsikhe. Translated as the “Fortress of the Lord“ and dating back to the 6th century B.C., this town is mentioned in the "Chronicles of the 1st Century A.D". Here the echoing halls, long meandering corridor-streets, chambers of pagan worship, and even the remains of the oldest theater in Georgia are all carved into the rocky plateau and waiting to be explored. You will then drive back to Tbilisi passing through the ancient capital Mtskheta, which presents a living museum including the UNESCO Heritage Listed Site of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, as well as other architectural landmarks. You can take a walk through the historical part of town, and enjoy a relaxing evening tasting local sweets at the souvenir shopping rows.

From Tbilisi: Georgian Highlights in One Day Private Tour

5. From Tbilisi: Georgian Highlights in One Day Private Tour

Your guide will pick you up in the morning in a comfortable car and head first to the Tbilisi sea. You might be surprised by the existence of a sea in the Georgian capital, but in fact, the Tbilisi sea is the unofficial name of the reservoir created in 1952 to serve the city with water. The Tbilisi reservoir is located at a height of more than 500m above sea level and it is a pleasure to spend time here during the summer heat. Here, you’ll also visit a monument that amazes with its size. Known as the Georgian Stonehenge, the monument is officially titled the Chronicle of Georgia and was created by the Georgian-Russian painter, sculptor, and architect Zurab Tsereteli. The memorial was erected in order to celebrate 3,000 years of Georgian sovereignty and 2,000 years of Christianity in Georgia. The next stop will be the Jvari Monastery, the 6th-century Georgian Orthodox monastery built on a hill opposite Mtskheta at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Jvari Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Continue to the Shida Kartli region where you’ll visit Uplistsikhe, an ancient cave town and one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. Uplistsikhe — literally “Fortress of God" — is an ancient town that played a significant role in Georgian history over a period of approximately 3,000 years. Archaeological excavations have revealed extraordinary artifacts dating from the late Bronze Age all the way up to the late Middle Ages. The next stop will be at Borjomi Central Park, home to the most remarkable virtues of Borjomi with its striking nature and unique mineral waters. One of the best places to experience this is Mineral Water Park. The park itself dates back to the 1850s and is an attractive destination throughout the year. Here you can taste the natural Borjomi mineral water and relax in a beautiful environment, or you can try riding the cable car up to the top of the park. After this last stop, your guide will drop you off in Borjomi or Bakuriani, or you can return to your accommodation Tbilisi.

Georgia: Day-Trip to Mtskheta, Stalin Museum & Uplistsikhe

6. Georgia: Day-Trip to Mtskheta, Stalin Museum & Uplistsikhe

Start your tour at your accomodation in Tbilisi where your driver/guide will be waiting to meet you. After a short meet and greet you will set-off to your first location, starting your sightseeing adventure for the day! After a short and scenic drive your first stop will be Jvari Church (6th -7th cc), the most important religious center and an architectural masterpiece of medieval Georgia. Enjoy the breathtaking view from the church that towers over the city of Mtskheta. Continue on to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, known as the burial site of Christ's robe and the second largest church building in the country. The Cathedral has long been the principal Georgian church and remains one of the most venerated places of worship to this day. Take an excursion to Uplistsikhe Cave Town, an ancient cave town and one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. The town represents a complex of various structures dating from the 12th-century. BC to the 17th-century. AD. Finish your tour at the Stalin Museum in Gori, dedicated to the life of Joseph Stalin. This museum is the perfect location for any Stalin or politic enthusiasts. End your day in comfort with a relaxing car ride back to your accomodation in Tbilisi. 

Mtskheta, Gori, and Upliscikhe Private Tour

7. Mtskheta, Gori, and Upliscikhe Private Tour

Escape the crowds and visit the oldest city of Georgia, Mtskheta, which used to be the capital in the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd-century BC to the 5th-century BC. Enjoy panoramic aerial views of the mountains around the Jvari Monastery, which was Georgian Orthodox in the 6th-century. The name translates as the Monastery of the Cross. It represents the peak of architectural typology as a true masterpiece of the early Medi period. It overlooks the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers from the top of the hill.  Journey back to the early centuries at the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Samtavro Church. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral was built in the 11th-century but the site itself is even older, dating back to the early 4th-century. It differs in artistic value and the special role that it has played in history. The monument has an elongated cross which appears to touch the sky. It was the main pilgrimage place on the Silk Road, the burial place of the Christ"s Robe, and the tomb of Georgian Kings. The cathedral is the second largest church building in Georgia and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Samtavro monastery complex was built in the 11th-century. It contains the graves of queen Nana and Mirian III King of Iberia, who established Christianity as an official religion in Georgia. The famous Georgian monk Gabrieli is also buried inside the Samtavro church. Complete your tour of Mtskheta with a Georgian wine degustation. In Gori-Uplistsikhe, visit several sites from different periods of Georgian history, including Uplistsikhe cave town, Joseph Stalin’s home museum, and Gori fortress. Uplistsikhe, translated to Fortress of the Lord, is a cave town fortress situated on a rocky massif on the bank of the river Mtkvari. Dating back to the first and second millennium BC, Uplistsikhe was an important religious, political, and cultural center in the Hellenistic and the late Antique periods. Take a walk among the ancient streets, rock-carved theatre, royal halls, pharmacy, pagan temples, and Christian churches, while the remains of granaries and large clay wine vessels give clues as to the daily life of the inhabitants.  Continue to the Joseph Stalin Museum in Gori. Stalin was originally Georgian and the secretary general of the Communist Party during the second world war. He is one of the most influential dictators of modern times. The museum features Stalin’s home, a hut where he was born, his armour plated railway carriage, and a statue that controversially stood in the main square of Gori until 2010. In addition, see many items owned by Stalin, including some of his office furniture, his personal belongings, and gifts given to him over the years. Gori Fortress is a medi citadel in Georgia. It stands above the city of Gori on a rocky hill. Archaeological evidence shows that the area was already inhabited in the final centuries BC. The fortress controlled major strategic and economic routes and accommodated a large garrison.

From Tbilisi: Guided Group Tour Jvari, Mtskheta, Uplistsikhe

8. From Tbilisi: Guided Group Tour Jvari, Mtskheta, Uplistsikhe

Your tour starts at 10:00 AM in Liberty Square in Tbilisi upon meeting your friendly local guide. After a short meet-and-greet, set-off on a scenic drive to the Jvari Monastery as your guide entertains you with fascinating information about this country and the itinerary ahead.  You will eventually arrive at the first destination of the day, the Jvari Monastery. This monastery stands on top of a large hill, overlooking the confluence of two rivers. Guests will get to enjoy breathtaking views of the two rivers and the stunning landscape. Whilst here, you'll also get to visit an old church and take a look around. Continue on your tour to Mtskheta, the city museum listed as a UNESCO heritage site. In the city, your guide will take you to visit the grandiose cathedral of Svetsitskhoveli, known as the 'life giving pillar', it is said according to legend that this is where Christ's robe was buried. Be fascinated by the history of the church and learn of kings who were buried in the cathedral.  The last stop on your tour is the famous Uplistsikhe, an ancient cave dating back to the 8th to 10th century BC. You'll receive 1.5 hours to explore the cave and be in awe of its perseverance. After your visit to the cave, you'll head back to Tbilisi after a full day of adventure.

Tbilisi: Guided Gori Fortress, Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Tour

9. Tbilisi: Guided Gori Fortress, Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Tour

Take the chance to visit Uplistsikhe, a cave town fortress situated on a rocky massif on the left bank of the river Mtkvari. Dating back to the 1st and 2nd millennium B.C., Uplistsikhe was an important religious, political and cultural center in the Hellenistic and late Antique periods. The place was founded in the late Bronze Age, around 1000 B.C., and continued to be inhabited until the 13th century A.D. Between the 6th century B.C. and the 11th century A.D., Uplistsikhe was one of the most important political and religious centers of pre-Christian Kartli, one of the predecessors of the Georgian state. Visitors can still walk among the ancient streets, rock-carved theater, royal halls, pharmacy, pagan temples and Christian churches, while the remains of granaries and large clay wine vessels give us some clue as to the daily life of the inhabitants. You can also visit Joseph Stalin’s Museum in Gori, Stalin (originally Georgian) was the secretary general of the Communist Party during World War II. The museum features Stalin’s house (a hut where he was born), his armor plated railway carriage and a statue that was controversially standing in the main square of Gori up until 2010. Afterwards, discover Gori Fortress, a medieval citadel in Georgia which stands above the city of Gori on a rocky hill. Following this, you will venture to Borjomi, a picturesque resort town in south-central Georgia located on the edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. It is one of the districts of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and is situated in the northwestern part of the region in the picturesque Borjomi Gorge, on the eastern edge of the National Park. The town is famous for its mineral water, which is the number one export of Georgia. Borjomi is also home to the most extensive ecologically themed amusement park in the Caucasus. Due to the supposed curative powers of the area's mineral springs, it is a frequent destination for people with health problems.

From Tbilisi: Uplistsikhe Caves and Mtskheta Town Day tour

10. From Tbilisi: Uplistsikhe Caves and Mtskheta Town Day tour

Visit the sights that reflect the historical significance of the Kartli region on a guided tour with included tickets to Uplistsikhe. The region was the crossroads of the Old Silk Road and the birthplace of the spread of Christianity in Georgia. Embark on a journey through the Kartli region from the period of the Kingdom of Iberia to present day. The first place you'll visit is Jvari Monastery, built on a high hill near Mtskheta in the sixth century. Jvari is one of the rare sights preserved in Georgia with its important religious purpose and architectural solidity. The monastery is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. From this place is an unobstructed view above the city of Mtskheta. The next stop is for a walking tour in Mtskheta. Visit another World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO: the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Through the centuries it represented the religious center of Christian Georgia. In the cathedral is buried the Robe of Jesus Christ. The next city to visit is Gori, where you'll see a medieval citadel of the city. If you wish, you can visit the museum of Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union (entry fees not included). After lunch, travel even further in history to explore the Uplistsikhe cave town. The city was carved out of rock and is one of the oldest settlements in the Caucasus. There are archaeological monuments kept around Uplistsikhe, of which the oldest one belongs to the Early Bronze Age and Mtkvar-Araksi culture. The whole complex of caves served a variety of household purposes: residence, cellar, storehouse, chapel, prison, etc. It is impossible to correctly describe in words what the ancient people created at the cost of labor.

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What people are saying about Shida Kartli

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 102 reviews

The places and the stories were quite interesting. Lika was very informative and fun. I especially loved the climb to Uplistsikhe and the traditional lunch at Joseph's. Their version of Caesars salad, mushroom chakapuli and cutleti were so good.

The tour is great very well organized and worth every lari, the tour guide Buta was very friendly and created a good atmosphere the whole trip, the (optional) food was ok, the trip is very recommended!

Really a nice tour and the young guide was very knowlageable. Can fully recommend the trip and tour company.

a really interesting day out and great to experience taster of Georgian dance with lunch

A fun, interesting and informative trip that was very well organised.