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Turkey & Western Georgia Tbilisi - Istanbul

Trip Overview

This 12 day overland tour journeys from Tbilisi to Istanbul through Georgia, Turkey
12 DAYS THROUGH Georgia, Turkey
of 19 reviews
$1,110 (USD) + 390 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 - Tbilisi ( 30th Sep 2019 )

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

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.

This afternoon we will visit the old town of Tbilisi and visit sites including the National Museum, Sioni Cathedral and the Metekhi Temple.

Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Tbilisi 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 Tbilisi.

In Tbilisi we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

*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.

Learn all about the history of Georgia during Soviet times, and the struggle for independence, at the Museum of Soviet Occupation

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

GEL 35
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
Day 2 - Stepantsminda ( 1st Oct 2019 )

Today our journey begins with 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 - 4-5 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!).

Daily Activities

Included Activities

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

Included in Kitty
Day 3 - Stepantsminda, Mtskheta ( 2nd Oct 2019 )

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 have a beautiful drive to the UNESCO world heritage site of Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia. Whilst here we will explore the 11th century Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.

In Mtskheta we will stay overnight in a local guesthouse. 

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours.

Day 4 - Kutaisi, Gori ( 3rd Oct 2019 )

This morning we drive to Gori, the birthplace of Stalin - here we will have a guided tour of the city and the Stalin Museum.

We then 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 - 4-5 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.

Visit the beautiful 11th-century Bagrati Cathedral, a symbol of the city of Kutaisi
Day 5 - Batumi ( 4th Oct 2019 )

This morning we will continue to the port town of Batumi, where we will have a free afternoon to explore.

In Batumi we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 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 6 - Sumela ( 5th Oct 2019 )

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

This morning we will continue to the border and cross into Turkey. We will reach the awe-inpsiring Sumela Monastery near the town of Macka, which we will either visit in the afternoon or the next morning.

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 - 5-7 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Exploration of the Black Sea mountain monastery at Sumela

Included in Kitty
Day 7 - Zara ( 6th Oct 2019 )

This morning we will visit the beautiful Sumela Monastery if we didn't have time yesterday, and then start our drive through central Turkey towards Göreme.

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

Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours.


Day 8 - Göreme ( 7th Oct 2019 )

Today we will complete our drive 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 - 6-8 hours.

Day 9-10 - Göreme ( 8th Oct 2019 to 9th Oct 2019 )

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.

Take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia

USD 180

Explore the ancient pre-iconoclastic Byzantine rock monastery of Zelve

TRY 15

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 11 - Istanbul ( 10th Oct 2019 )

Today we will have a full day's drive west to arrive in Istanbul, the only city in the world that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia.

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.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

Day 12 - Istanbul ( 11th Oct 2019 )

Border information: if leaving the trip in Istanbul, you will most likely exit Turkey from Istanbul Atatürk International Airport (IATA code: IST).

Today 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!

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Istanbul. 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.

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

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

USD 17

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


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

USD 20

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


This group overland journey has multiple departures.
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Trip Notes
Departing: 30 Sep 2019
Returning: 11 Oct 2019
Duration: 12 days
Route: Tbilisi - Istanbul
$1,110 USD + $390 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: Full Payment
Departing: 11 Nov 2019
Returning: 22 Nov 2019
Duration: 12 days
Route: Tbilisi - Istanbul
$1,110 USD + $390 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