Two weeks in Georgia and Armenia

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Jun 17th, 2016, 04:01 AM
  #1
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Two weeks in Georgia and Armenia

I'm planning for a two week trip to Georgia and Armenia. My main challenge has been shoe horning in a visit to Svaneti - the planning would be a lot easier otherwise! It just feels like I don't QUITE have enough time to do everything I want to (always the way, right?). Anyway, in the plan below I only have 1 full day in Mestia, and no time to visit Ushguli, or vice versa. If I change my plan to spent another day in Svaneti that means I can't fly back, as there are no flights on Saturdays. It would also mean cutting something else from my (fairly frantic) rest of itinerary. Any advice much appreciated!

Day 1 - Flight to Tbilisi, arrive 5pm
Day 2 - Day in Tbilisi
Day 3 - Fight to Mestia 9.30-10.30, to Chalaadi Glacier in pm?
Day 4 - Full day in either Mestia, or day trip to Ushguli
Day 5 - Flight Mestia to Kutaisi (11.30-12.30), Kutaisi to Akhalsikhe
Day 6 - Vardzia and Sapara day trip by taxi
Day 7 - Akhaltsikhe to Gyumri, Gyumri to Yerevan
Day 8 - Yerevan - Geghard Monastery, Garni Temple, Khor Virap
Day 9 - Yerevan - Lake Sevan - Dilijan (or stay in Yerevan and do a day trip)
Day 10 - Alaverdi, Haghpat and Sanahin
Day 11 - Alaverdi to Tbilisi
Day 12 - Tbilisi to Kazbegi
Day 13 - Kazbegi to Ananuri, Ananuri to Tbilisi
Day 14 - Mtshketa, Tbilisi
Day 15 - Flight home, 5am
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Jun 17th, 2016, 04:59 AM
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If you don't already have your flights, plan to fly home from Yerevan instead of Tbilisi - it will save time and money spent backtracking.

I would do northern Armenia on the way to Yerevan, rather than as day trips. If you have to cut, I would cut in Armenia rather than Georgia.

I did not get up to Svaneti in Georgia (I had a medical issue) but I would give it more time rather than less. For my trip to Georgia and Armenia, start here and use the links at the top of the page:

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...ttered-batumi/
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Jun 17th, 2016, 08:37 AM
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Jun 17th, 2016, 08:38 AM
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Flights are booked - cost meant I had to fly in and out of Tbilisi.

Aha! I've read (and enjoyed) your website before! Where would you cut in Armenia specifically?

I'm not religious, nor particularly interested in seeing lots of monasteries for architectural reasons (although I am a keen photographer)

That might help me decide where to cut I guess?
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Jun 17th, 2016, 10:20 AM
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Thanks for the kind words.

Probably Day Nine - I don't think I was too impressed with Dilijan. I preferred the churches in Georgia to those in Armenia although some were in bad shape (likely better now, there was a fair amount of renovation going on). The crosses in Armenia were interesting, but could get repetitive after a while if you're not an expert.
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Jun 17th, 2016, 10:33 AM
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Thanks. Yes, I was thinking that might be the day to cut.

But then I thought that trying to do Geghard and Garni, as well as Khor Virap, on one day was too much. So possibly I should spread out those into two days.

I could gain another day by travelling from Yerevan to Haghpat and Sanahin and on to Tbilisi in one day. Not sure if that would be possible though?
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Jun 17th, 2016, 11:38 AM
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Might be possible, but rushed. You'd need to consult an up-to-date guidebook for the times for marshrutkas/buses. And you'd have to get a really early start. There may not be transport from Vanadzor to Tbilisi late enough for it to work, and I think you'd have to rely on flagging down a Yerevan to Tbilisi marshrutka with space. It might work better on the way TO Yerevan.

Ah, further research suggests that doing it in the Yerevan to Tbilisi direction would work if you took the night train on from Vanadzor. See this link from seat61.com: http://ukzhd.am/batumi2012/eng/schedule.html (link is old, but schedule probably not much changed).
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Jun 19th, 2016, 12:47 PM
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Great, thanks! Yes and that would tick off a rail journey, I am a fan of travelling by train.
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Jun 19th, 2016, 12:54 PM
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I'm a big rail fan too, but I didn't take any in the Caucasus - will be interested to hear how it works out for you.
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Jun 19th, 2016, 12:56 PM
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And wouldn't I take the train from Sanahin rather than Vanadzor?
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Jun 19th, 2016, 01:28 PM
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I visited Debed Canyon and the monasteries by taxi from Vanadzor. My guidebooks are now out of date, but they suggest that if you want to eat dinner you are much better off doing it back in Vanadzor. Plus, I'm not sure you would want to hang around in Sanahin waiting for the train. Your guidebooks may have a different view and info on public transport.
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