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Cycle the Silk Road Across Georgia

Cross the stunning Lesser Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea, pedalling along the ancient trails of the Great Silk Road

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Trip Ref #10002

Cycle the Silk Road Across Georgia

Cross the stunning Lesser Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea, pedalling along the ancient trails of the Great Silk Road

DURATION

6 nights

LOCATION

Georgia

ANNUAL LEAVE

5 days off work

SEASON

Jul—Sep

GROUP SIZE

Up to 10 people

MEETING POINT

Tbilisi International Airport, Georgia

ACCOMMODATION

Classic

Hotel · Guesthouse

OVERALL RATING

4.8

Based on 4 reviews
DIFFICULTY

Challenging

You'll need cycling experience, along with a good level of fitness and a serious sense of adventure

Cycle the historic trading route that once connected East and West and tackle the famous Goderdzi Pass (2200m)

Wild swim in the volcanic Lake Paravani and take a celebratory dip in the turquoise waters of the Black Sea

Visit the labyrinthine cave city of Vardzia, carved deep into Erusheti Mountain, and explore the Fortress of Rabati

Day 1

Welcome to Georgia!

Check into your hotel in Tblisi's historic old town. If you have time, it's well worth exploring as the capital is packed full of UNESCO-listed sites. Meet your guide and fellow adventurers for a briefing about the journey ahead, then sit down for your first traditional Georgian meal at a local restaurant.

Day 2

Lake Paravani

Cycling

5.5hrs · 66km · 1200m up · 600m down

After getting your bike set up, set off early for Manglisi and overload on dramatic, wild scenery as you cycle to the spectacular Dashbashi Canyon. Ride the long open track that leads to the treeless Javakhti Plateau, known locally as the Georgian Siberia. Take a dip in the volcanic Lake Paravani before visiting a famous convent to try their locally produced variety of chocolates and chacha (Georgian brandy). End your day at the guesthouse enjoying a tasty fusion of Georgian and Armenian cuisines.

Day 3

The Labyrinth of Vardzia

Cycling

4hrs · 75km · 520m up · 1100m down

Pass the beautiful Lake Saghamo on your way to Vardzia: a city carved into the mountain. Seeming like something straight out of the Lord of the Rings, this ancient cave-palace-monastery was built for the fabled Queen Tamar and is still protected by a small group of monks. Explore some of the two hundred cave dwellings and learn about its fascinating history of earthquakes and invasions, before another delicious dinner.

Day 4

The Rabati Fortress

Cycling

4hrs · 65km · 1000m up · 900m down

Cycle from village to village, keeping your eyes peeled for the legendary Caucasian sheepdogs and their semi-nomadic owners. Wander the impressive 9th-century Fortress of Rabati. For castle geeks, this really is something, having been liberated many times over the centuries and now housing a mosque, an Orthodox church, a synagogue, a Catholic church and a citadel. Phew!

Day 5

The Goderdzi Pass (2043m)

Cycling

5hrs · 70km · 1350m up · 1800m down

Time for a big day as you tackle the Goderdzi Pass. Climb your way through lush green forest and into the Adjara Mountains. Stop for a picnic lunch with 360-degree views and then enjoy 30km of downhill riding to your overnight spot. Georgians take their drinking seriously and this usually means chacha – a potent, homebrewed grape brandy. Tonight, as most of the climbing for the trip is done, you can relax and enjoy the homemade chacha offered by your host and learn how to correctly make a traditional Georgian toast (or join the sensible and go to bed!).

Day 6

The Black Sea

Cycling

4.5hrs · 65km · 725m up · 1530m down

Leave the mountains behind and pass through the Adjarian countryside to the coastal flatlands and on to the Black Sea. Finish your journey at one of the quiet beaches, where you can grab a swim before enjoying a night in sub-tropical Batumi – Georgia's famous summer resort.

Day 7

Back to Tbilisi

Load the bikes into the truck and road trip back to Tbilisi, stopping for lunch along the way, before heading to the airport in time for your flight home.

Included

Guides

Expert, English-speaking guides and a bike mechanic

Accommodation

1 night in a hotel, 5 nights in local guesthouses

Meals

Munch on tasty food throughout

Transfers

To and from the airport and everything in between

Equipment

Hardtail mountain bikes; plus bike helmets can also be provided if you don't have your own

Permits

All permits and entry fees

Support Vehicle

To hop in to if your legs need a rest

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Personal expenses

Travel insurance

Tips for your guides

Visas where required

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2 – Day 6

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

You’ll experience a delicious mix of local and national Georgian cuisine, cooked with fresh produce that's often grown or reared by the guesthouse owners themselves. Georgian cuisine is renowned for its mix of eastern and western flavours, aromas and colours. It can be slightly spicy and consists mainly of meat, vegetables, cheese and fruit. There are plenty of traditional dishes without meat, so vegetarians are well catered for. Lunches will be picnic-style in the wilderness.

Local, energy-giving cycling snacks will be provided, but if you would like specific things then it's best to bring them from home.

Vegetarians and vegans can be catered for – please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Tbilisi

You'll stay in a twin-share room at the GTM Kapan Hotel (or a similar hotel, depending on availability) in the historical centre of town: the perfect base for exploring the city.

On the road

You'll stay in small, locally owned guesthouses in twin-share rooms. These are clean and comfortable with shared facilities and are usually family run, so come with their own cuisine and stories.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Tbilisi Airport

Any time on Day 1

Ends

Tbilisi Airport

Catch any flight departing after 18:00 on Day 7

Transfers

As long as you've supplied your flight details, private transfers between the airport and the hotel are included for any time you choose to arrive on Day 1 and depart on Day 7 (your flight must depart after 18:00).

If you are arriving before Day 1, you can easily get a taxi from the airport to your hotel for around £10 ($13). If departing after Day 7, then your hotel can arrange a transfer to the airport for you.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Tbilisi from major airports across the UK and Europe.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What do I need to bring?

Clothes

  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Sports top or cycling jersey
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Cycling gloves
  • Buff or neck scarf
  • Bike helmet (if you have your own; otherwise, your host can provide one)
  • Cycling shoes (bring your own pedals if using cleats)
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Sandals
  • Fleece jacket or similar for the evenings
  • Trousers/leggings for the evenings

Other

  • Swimwear
  • Bumbag or small light rucksack for riding
  • Padlock for left luggage
  • Universal travel adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Insect repellent
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (including blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle(s) and electrolyte hydration tablets
  • Energy bars and snacks

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Additional Night in Tblisi - Single Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Tblisi - Single Room

Per Night

Additional Night in Tblisi - Twin / Double Room Room

Payable Before Departure

Additional Night in Tblisi - Twin / Double Room Room

Per Night

- Ashley(August 2023)

The Georgia Silk Road Bike Adventure was an incredible experience. From the vast grasslands, to the high mountains stunning views and of course glorious food, the ride through Georgia will be one that will stay with me for years to come.

- Ciara(July 2023)

Oh, Georgia, you've truly outdone yourself! With your captivating diversity and vibrant culture, you delivered a daily infusion of new wonders and memories waiting to be embraced.

Let's talk cycling – a challenge but the kind you run towards rather than from. Each day I was left full of accomplishment and anticipation for the day ahead. Much of this involved peddling through picturesque landscapes with occasional stops for snacks and photo opportunities. Fellow riders became cheerleaders, to friends, sharing stories sweets and motivating each other up mountains meeting four legged friends along the way. 🐄🐶 🚴‍♂️💪

Lucky for me and my inability to navigate myself around a slightly larger than average supermarket, we had the amazing David! (our guide). This modern-day explorer navigated us though the sometimes questionable terrain, to offbeat local hideaways, rivers and yes Mountains! And oh boy, the food! 🍽️🌮 David unveiled a world of culinary delights (seriously, the portions were massive), all while immersing us in the vibrant tapestry of Georgia's culture through the guest houses that hosted us.

And guess what? David had a squad that nailed the logistics! Navigational wizards and van-driving heroes made sure we were never without hydration, snacks, or that much-needed pick-me-up. 🚐💧🥪

Whether you're a thrill-seeker with in pursuit of an adventure, a trailblazer chasing challenges, or simply a nature enthusiast yearning for some quality time outdoors, I'm shouting from the handlebars– this trip is your calling! And let's not forget the pièce de résistance – the cheesy bread that'll have your taste buds dancing with joy! 🧀🍞🌄 So, are you ready to roll? Georgia awaits with open arms and wheels spinning! 🗺️🚴‍♀️🌟

- Mark(July 2023)

It was a brilliant trip and a great way to see Georgia. An opportunity for the adventurous-minded to test themselves while also savouring the landscape, history, cuisine and people of the country. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

- R-beca(July 2023)

A fantastic way to enjoy the scenery of this beautiful country - although not for the faint hearted, definitely a trip requiring fitness and determination at times. The excellent Georgian food (and vast quantities thereof) complements a trip with significant physical effort! We were wonderfully well looked after by our guides who were kind, funny, knowledgeable and patient. Our accommodation was varied and interesting and the pace of the trip was perfect. Thank you to David, Alex, Leven and David

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 288kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2023 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

This trip is designed for cyclists of good fitness with a sense of adventure. You should feel comfortable riding back-to-back days covering an average of 65km a day. The terrain is undulating and the roads are quiet; you will often ride on gravel tracks that enable you to experience village life.

The Goderdzi Pass (2034m) is the most challenging section of the trip and although it's a quiet road, there is a lot of climbing (1300m of ascent!). However, there is always the option to hop in the support vehicle if necessary.

You will be riding on a mix of gravel trails, farm tracks and quiet tarmac roads.

You will be using hardtail mountain bikes with front suspension and hybrid tyres. These are light aluminium mountain bikes, perfect for riding on roads and rough tracks. The bikes are equipped with a water bottle cage and standard flat pedals. If you would like to bring your own SPD pedals and saddle, these can be fitted for you.

Bikes are available in the following sizes:

  • Small (for people 155cm to 165cm tall)
  • Medium (for people 165cm to 175cm tall)
  • Large (for people 175cm to 183cm tall)
  • Extra Large (for people 183cm to 193cm tall)
  • Extra Extra Large (for people 193cm to 203cm tall)

If you are outside of these ranges, our local host suggests you bring your own bike and the cost of bike hire can be deducted from your trip after booking. Please consider that your own bike may require special parts for maintenance which may not be locally available, nor possible for the support vehicle mechanics to repair, so the use of the bikes provided by your host is recommended.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Your host will provide you with clean safe drinking water from large containers. Bring a refillable bottle, it will be used well.

The average temperature during summer in Georgia ranges from 25-35°C in the lower valleys. Up on the plateaus and in the mountains it will be colder (down to 5°C at night) so you will need to pack accordingly. Rain at this time is rare, although it could be windy.

As you will traverse the entire country, you will pass through several climatic regions, so be prepared for all seasons. By the time you reach the Black Sea, it will be hot and humid due to its year-round, moderate climate.

Extra luggage can be stored at the hotel in Tbilisi and collected at the end of the trip. There will also be a support vehicle on-hand to transfer your overnight luggage and meet you at stops if you need to grab an extra layer. The van also carries tools and spare bike parts that may be needed.

We would suggest bringing a small bag that can be attached to yourself or your handlebars for essentials like money, phone, suncream and a snack.

We recommend checking out the country specific information and also talking to a travel nurse.

Tips are not included in the trip cost and are entirely at your discretion; however, there is usually a quick whip around at the end of the trip and most choose to leave approx. 200 GEL (£60) for the driver and the guide.

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality – a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

For current advice about travelling in Georgia, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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