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Turkey & Western Georgia Istanbul - Tbilisi

Trip Overview

This 12 day overland tour journeys from Istanbul to Tbilisi through Georgia, Turkey
12 DAYS THROUGH Georgia, Turkey
of 19 reviews
$1,110 (USD) + 370 KITTY (USD)
12 days
Overland expedition vehicle, Private bus
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
$350 USD


  Visit the incredible Blue Mosque

  Explore the many amazing sites of Istanbul

  Guided tour of the valley of Cappadocia

  Take an optional balloon ride over Cappadocia

  Visit the Black Sea at Batumi

  Visit the Stunning Bagratu Cathedral & Gelati monastery

  Trek up to the Tsminda Sameba Church at Stepantsminda

  Stop at Gori, the birthplace of Stalin and tour the museum

  Explore the fascinating city of Tbilisi



We are running a new route for this trip in 2020! See here for more details.
Day 1 - Istanbul ( 9th Apr 2020 )

Border Information: if joining in Istanbul, you will most likely enter Turkey at Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IATA code: IST).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - on arrival please look out for a note from your leader with more information about this important meeting. If you are travelling beyond Tbilisi, your tour leader will need to carefully check your visa situation for your entire trip.

The afternoon will be free to explore the many sights of the incredible exotic city of Istanbul, including the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus River and the phenomenal Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia!

In Istanbul we will stay in dorm accommodation in a fantastic hostel with good facilities, which is a 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Istanbul before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Istanbul.

*Important note - do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the incredible Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century

TRY 25

Explore the atmospheric underground Basilica Cisterns, built by the Byzantines in the 6th century

TRY 20

Explore the majestic Topkapı Palace, the huge palace of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years

TRY 35

Visit the Çemberlitas Baths, a traditional Turkish Hammam, for a bath and massage!

USD 20

Explore the phenomenal Blue Mosque, built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I - a stunning icon of Istanbul


See the splendour of Istanbul from a boat trip on Bosphorus Strait, which marks the boundary of Europe and Asia

USD 17
Explore the colossal markets of the Grand Bazaar - once the centre of all trading between Europe and Asia, and the most visited tourist attraction in the world
Day 2 - Göreme ( 10th Apr 2020 )

Today we start our journey with a full day's drive east to Göreme, a small enchanting town in the heart of the Cappadocia mountains.

In Göreme we will stay in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are sometimes used here.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Day 3-4 - Göreme ( 11th Apr 2020 to 12th Apr 2020 )

We now have a 2 full days to explore Göreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during our time here.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the Early Christian underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymaklı, used as a hiding place from persecutions for centuries

Included in Kitty

Walk through the beautiful ancient valley of Ihlara, containing the beautiful rock-hewn churches built by the Cappadocian Greeks during the Byzantine era

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the ancient pre-iconoclastic Byzantine rock monastery of Zelve

TRY 15

Take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia

USD 180

Guided tour of Cappadocia and underground troglodyte cities and caves


Discover the ancient techniques of Cappadocian pottery at the village of Avanos


Head out for a fun evening of dinner and various Turkish dancing displays

EUR 30

Witness the hypnotic Sufi Whirling Dervishes ceremony at an ancient caravanserai near Göreme

EUR 35
Day 5 - Zara ( 13th Apr 2020 )

Today we continue our journey east with a full day's drive towards the Sumela monastery.

We will break the journey with a wild camp near Zara or the village of Alucra.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.

Day 6 - Sumela ( 14th Apr 2020 )

Today we will reach the awe-inpsiring Sumela Monastery near the town of Macka, which we will visit in the afternoon.

We will camp overnight in a campsite near Sumela if conditions allow. In cold weather we may opt to stay in a local hotel in Macka or Trabzon.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Exploration of the Black Sea mountain monastery at Sumela

Included in Kitty
Day 7 - Batumi ( 15th Apr 2020 )

Border Information: Exit Turkey at Sarp, enter Georgia at Sarpi.

This morning we will continue to the border and cross into Georgia, reaching the port town of Batumi.

In Batumi we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Batumi Archaeological Museum, home to many historical exhibits found in excavations in the area
Day 8 - Kutaisi ( 16th Apr 2020 )

After a relaxing morning, we leave the port town of Batumi behind us and make our way to the ancient town of Kutaisi. This afternoon we will visit the medieval Bragrati cathedral and the Gelati monastery.

In Kutaisi we will stay in a local hotel or a family-run guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Explore the colossal and awe-inspiring Prometheus Caves near Kutaisi
Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Explore the incredible 11th-century monastery complex of Gelati, near Kutaisi (if time allows)
Visit the beautiful 11th-century Bagrati Cathedral, a symbol of the city of Kutaisi
Day 9 - Gori, Mtskheta ( 17th Apr 2020 )

This morning is free to explore the charming town of Kutaisi. This afternoon we make our way to Gori, the birthplace of Stalin - here we will have an included guided tour of the city and the Stalin Museum. 

We will then continue on to the ancient UNESCO world heritage site of Mtskheta where we will stay overnight in a local guesthouse. 

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities
Learn about the early life of Joseph Stalin, one of the 20th century's most infamous world leaders, at his birthplace in Gori
Included in Kitty
Day 10 - Stepantsminda ( 18th Apr 2020 )

This morning we will explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

This afternoon we have a beautiful drive to the spectacularly located town of Stepantsminda (formerly known as Kazbegi).

Either this afternoon or tomorrow morning, we will take a trek up to the Tsminda Sameba Church (the Church of the Holy Trinity), a beautiful small church nestled in the mountains.

In Stepantsminda we will stay in a local hotel or family-run guesthouse.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Hike to beautiful 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church, set in the stunning mountains above Stepantsminda

Included in Kitty
Day 11 - Tbilisi ( 19th Apr 2020 )

We spend this morning in and around Stepantsminda where we can trek to the Tsminda Sameba Church if we haven't done so already.

This afternoon we will drive to Georgia's capital Tbilisi.

In Tbilisi we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Enjoy an evening of local dancing and music at a Georgian restaurant in Tbilisi

GEL 35
Day 12 - Tbilisi ( 20th Apr 2020 )

Border information: if you are leaving in Tbilisi, you will most likely exit Georgia at Tbilisi International Airport (IATA code: TBS).

Today will be a free day in Tbilisi to relax and freely explore the city, or take an optional city tour where we can visit the old town, the National Museum, Sioni Cathedral and the Metekhi Temple.

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Tbilisi. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Learn all about the history of Georgia during Soviet times, and the struggle for independence, at the Museum of Soviet Occupation
Explore the ancient Narikala Fortress and take in the fantastic views of Tbilisi below

Visit the beautiful Orthodox Sioni Cathedral in Tbilisi's Old Town

Discover the folk architecture, craftwork and culture of the various regions of Georgia at the Giorgi Chitaia Open Air Museum of Ethnography
GEL 1.5
See the incredible collection of historical artefacts at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia
See the grandiose modern Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, the seat of the Georgian Orthodox Church


This group overland journey has multiple departures.
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Trip Notes
Departing: 9 Apr 2020
Returning: 20 Apr 2020
Duration: 12 days
Route: Istanbul - Tbilisi
$1,110 USD + $370 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD
We are running a new route for this trip in 2020! See here for more details.


Tremendous experience for a first trip of this kind. I thought the 2 tour leaders were a great team and organised everything extremely well but would have liked an extra day in Istanbul at the start of the trip
Robert B
Great company and guides as always!
Julia L
I had never been in such trips and before this trip my friend told me that after it I would become a Dragoman addict and he was right. Now I think about other travels with Dragoman. My journey was magnificent, everything was very well organized and the team worked like a clock.
Tetiana F
Zaza is definitely a great asset in Georgia!
Peter D
Gino and Jim are a perfect match and they turned my first overland trip from Istanbul to Xi'an into a truly unforgettable adventure! Both are very helpful and very pleasant persons and it is great fun to travel with them. I always felt safe and secure with them, no matter where we were. Many thanks to you guys, you are incredible!
Julia S
Impressive work in all aspects, no matter if it was maintaining the truck or making sure that everybody was having a good time!
Stine J
Once again, really outstanding crew who are credits to Dragoman.
Jennifer P
Zaza in Georgia was excellent, if a little quietly spoken.
Jennifer P
Trip completely as descibed and very profressionally lead.
Richard C
Excellent - having travelled with Tim previously, it was great to do so again.
Richard C
Tim and Lynsey were absolutely tops. I could not have asked for better drivers/leaders.
Joshua C
Sophie had very good English skills. She had a great sense of humor and was knowledgeable about her country of Georgia.
Charleen K
On long trips or when spirits were down, Domingo did a wonderful job at cheering people up. Euan the driver was great, he drove very well, and had a very good attitude.
Kushal I
Our guide in Georgia was Sophie - she was helpful, pleasant and knowledgeable of the country's history, geology, and past events. Very willing to help.
Joseph K
Domingo and Euan were just perfect at their jobs!
Elva B
The truck was capable and roomy. It was set-up really well and easy to utilise during camping.
Kelly P
Overall the trip was fantastic. The two guides added to my overall satisfaction; they were responsible, approachable, friendly and honest.
Kelly P
They were both fantastic. I don't think we could have asked for a better crew.
Kelly P
Zaza was also great; really helpful, knowledgable, and friendly.
Kelly P