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Albania or Caucasus in May? Please advise.

Albania or Caucasus in May? Please advise.

Old Mar 18th, 2023, 06:06 AM
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Albania or Caucasus in May? Please advise.

Hi everyone!

My wife and I are planning a trip for mid May 2023. Since there are logistical and time issues with paper visa applications, we are limiting ourselves to countries which we can quickly get an electronic visa from. We have narrowed down to these two options:
  1. Albania - 10 days
  2. Georgia + Armenia - 13 days
We haven't been to this side of the world and are not sure about which of the options to go with as both of them seem very tempting. Do you have any recommendations for us? We would love to experience the architecture, historical sites, local culture/food and nature.

Looking forward to your suggestions
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Old Mar 18th, 2023, 07:21 AM
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Have been to both and would definitely pick the Caucasus - more to see and more interesting. I understand that the character of the capitals has been changing due to the influx of Russian "refugees", but I don't think that's a reason to stay away. Try to make it up to the mountains.

I didn't care much for Batumi, so start here for my trip report (links at the top of the page): https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...op-in-kutaisi/
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd
Have been to both and would definitely pick the Caucasus - more to see and more interesting. I understand that the character of the capitals has been changing due to the influx of Russian "refugees", but I don't think that's a reason to stay away. Try to make it up to the mountains.

I didn't care much for Batumi, so start here for my trip report (links at the top of the page): https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...op-in-kutaisi/
Thanks for your feedback. The Caucasus does indeed look great! Will this require more detailed planning as compared to Albania? We are a bit tight on time and would be great to factor in the level of planning required into our trip as well.
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 07:51 PM
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I have not bent to Albania, so I can't compare the two.

I spent 21 nights in the Caucuses (13 in Armenia, 8 in Georgia). This is an area rich in ancient history and a crossroads of culture, with the sorrow of genocide and troubling geopolitics. Great food, spectacular scenery, and the most outrageously welcoming people you will ever visit. We traveled mostly by car, and in Georgia we arranged for a guide and 4x4 for 5 nights to go to the Svaneti region.

When I think about travel planning, I think about nights on the ground, not "days," which makes it less clear about how much time you have.

Wherever you go, I encourage you to spend some time at guesthouses, the more traditional the better. These are as far from luxury as you can get, though. In Georgia, I focused on the Svaneti and it was a dream destination for me.

In Armenia, I went to some of the most important (and convenient!) monastery sites. 13 nights is doable if you are focused on one region in each country.

I don't think it takes a lot of planning. We slipped in at a time that was post-vaccination and pre-delta variant, so the Caucuses were one of the few places that would let us in. All planning was somewhat last minute.

Here is the link to my trip report:
Armenia and Georgia Trip Report, Jun 9 - Jul 1, 2021
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 08:03 PM
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I found it extremely cheap and easy to get around Georgia - see: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...round-georgia/ - but that was 2009.

I needed to change my plans while I was there and it wasn't a problem. In Armenia I used a local travel agency for a couple of day tours and a trip to Nagorno-Karabakh (obviously not advisable right now): https://hyurservice.com/en
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Old Mar 19th, 2023, 08:18 PM
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It is still an extremely inexpensive region for travel. I was often shocked at the low prices.
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Old Mar 28th, 2023, 02:53 AM
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Thanks all! This is helpful feedback.

Our time frame has changed slightly and we now have only 8 days available to travel. Hence, we have decided on Albania and leave the Caucasus for next time when we have more time and are able to explore all the three countries at once
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