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Silk Route between Istanbul and Tbilisi

If you need to book for more people, please contact one of our travel advisors who'll happily and merrily assist you with your booking.

  • Tbilisi
  • Göreme
  • Batumi
  • Mtskheta
  • Zara
  • Sumela Monastery
  • Istanbul
  • Kutaisi
  • Stepantsminda
  • Gori

This overlanding adventure is the first leg of the ancient Silk Road, along which traders would journey between Europe and China.Our journey starts in the magnificent city of Istanbul, once the capital of the Byzantine and Ottoman empires.We will then overland through Turkey to the magical land of Cappadocia, where we explore the underground cities and Byzantine rock-hewn churches of the Goereme Valley before heading northeast to the breathtaking ancient monastery of Sumela.Our route then skirts the Black Sea and crosses over into Georgia. Here you'll discover the port town of Batumi, the ancient city of Kutaisi and its fantastic Orthodox churches, and the town of Gori, birthplace of the infamous Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.We then head to the charming capital of Georgia, Tbilisi.

  • Day 1 Istanbul

    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.*

    Activities(Optional)
    Visit the incredible Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century - Cost: TRY 25
    Explore the atmospheric underground Basilica Cisterns, built by the Byzantines in the 6th century - Cost: TRY 20
    Explore the majestic Topkapi Palace, the huge palace of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years - Cost: TRY 35
    Visit the Cemberlitas Baths, a traditional Turkish Hamam, for a bath and massage! - Cost: USD 20
    Explore the phenomenal Blue Mosque, built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I - a stunning icon of Istanbul - Cost: USD
    See the splendour of Istanbul from a boat trip on Bosphorus Strait, which marks the boundary of Europe and Asia - Cost: 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 - Cost: USD

  • Day 2 Goereme

    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 to 4 Goereme

    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.

    Activities(Included)
    Explore the Early Christian underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymakli, used as a hiding place from persecutions for centuries
    Walk through the beautiful ancient valley of Ihlara, containing the beautiful rock-hewn churches built by the Cappadocian Greeks during the Byzantine era

    Activities(Optional)
    Explore the ancient pre-iconoclastic Byzantine rock monastery of Zelve - Cost: TRY 15
    Take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia - Cost: EUR 135
    2-3 nights to discover Cappadocia's Goreme Valley and underground troglodyte cities and caves - Cost: TRY 15
    Guided tour of Cappadocia and underground troglodyte cities and caves - Cost: TRY 5
    Discover the ancient techniques of Cappadocian pottery at the village of Avanos - Cost: USD
    Head out for a fun evening of dinner and various Turkish dancing displays - Cost: TRY 90
    Witness the hypnotic Sufi Whirling Dervishes ceremony at an ancient caravanserai near Göreme - Cost: EUR 35

  • Day 5 Zara

    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

    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.

    Activities(Included)
    Exploration of the Black Sea mountain monastery at Sumela

    See full itinerary

Transport

Overland expedition vehicle.