This year we offer a twelve-day tour from Derbent to Istanbul. It is for everyone keen on off-road adventures.
First we travel from the shores of the Caspian Sea in the Republic of Dagestan to the coast of the Black Sea in Georgia. Then we continue going along the coast to get to Istanbul by crossing the north of Turkey.
We have new body-on-frame SUVs and all the camping gear items for you to enjoy a thousand kilometres of dirt and serpentine roads of the Caucasus ridge.
Tour details and highlights
8650 USD inc.VAT*
the tour coast (the cost of tickets to Moscow and from Istanbul are not included) *cost per person
tour length (time spent on transfer is not counted)
the level of difficulty (convenient for beginners)
the distance to drive the SUVs
4x4 off-road expedition
the type of our tour
Derbent (Russia) - Istanbul (Turkey)
the starting point and destination respectively
DAY 1 MOSCOW
Tour organizers bring all travel group members together for accommodation at the People Red Square Hotel. It is a cozy place with a wonderful view of Moscow Kremlin. Welcome dinner and Moscow city centre tour are held according to the time of arrival.
DAY 2 MAKHACHKALA - DERBENT - KUBACHI
Flight to Makhachkala, the capital of the Republic of Dagestan (1587 km). Our team members meet a travel group at the airport. All the SUVs are prepared for travelling to Derbent. This town was founded in the eighth century BC. That is why it is interesting to visit its local museum and the Old Town. Then we go to an ancient mountain village called Kubachi. It is situated at an altitude of 1600 metres. Since the ninth century it has been famous for its jewelers. Also there is a campsite where we stay overnight.
DAY 3 KUBACHI - LAKE KEZENOY-AM
It is pretty challenging to go through the mountains of Dagestan to get to the border of the Chechen republic. Yet it deserves to be done. There is a beautiful lake at an altitude of 2 km. This lake is called Kezenoy-am. It is the largest and deepest lake in the North Caucasus. The maximum depth is 74 meters, the length of its coastline is about 10 km. We stay at the four-star hotel Kezenoy-am Hotel. If it is enough time, it will be possible to go boating or fishing or even zip lining at a speed of 100 km per hour.
DAY 4 LAKE KEZENOY-AM - VLADIKAVKAZ
We move to Vladikavkaz, the capital of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania. We get to go through the Andi ridge, visit the ethnographic complex called Shira-Yurt and enjoy such unforgettable views of the Caucasus Mountains. We stay the night at the Veterok Hotel in Vladikavkaz. There you can enjoy the view of mountains and the Terek River.
DAY 5 VLADIKAVKAZ - TBILISI
We should cross the border separating Chechnya and Georgia to get to Transcaucasia. The Georgian Military Road (also known as Jvari Pass) is impressive. There are many beautiful things to see while driving along it, such as waterfalls, gorges, storage reservoir, ancient citadels and churches. We have to visit the Ananuri Fortress that has been famous since the 16th century. Then we walk around Mtskheta. It was the capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia. There is one of the oldest cathedrals of Georgia, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, in Mtskheta. The next point is Tbilisi. After getting accommodation at a wonderful hotel we have dinner. It is impossible not to be charmed by hospitality of that ancient city.
DAY 6 TBILISI - SIGHNAGHI - VASHLOVANI PROTECTED AREAS
Right after having breakfast we have to say goodbye to Tbilisi. We need to get to the Eastern Georgia. During the day we go down to a place where it feels like in African savannah. We spend the night near the canyon. There are many ancient fortresses and cathedrals of the I-III centuries AD to see on the way. We have lunch in Sighnaghi. This place is also called the city of love. Then we get to the Vashlovani National Park where we are supposed to pitch our camp. If to pay an extra fee, it will be possible to rent a bungalow.
DAY 7 VASHLOVANI PROTECTED AREAS
This national park is so unique that we should stay here for the whole day. We have to try to explore the Patishara, mud volcanoes and mountain trails. Group members can go fishing or wander around the area. Meanwhile, rangers in the parking lot are ready to treat them to some fresh fish and kebabs.
DAY 8 VASHLOVANI - BORJOMI - BATUMI
From the Vashlovani National Park we travel to Batumi. It means we get to cross the whole country. Camping in Goderdzi is followed by 160 km of gravel roads, car shaking and amazing views. Semi-desert is followed by vineyards of Kakheti and the fields of Kakheti are followed by coniferous forests. After crossing the pass we get to subtropics. There are bamboo groves in this city. Here is Batumi! It is located on the coast of the Black Sea and well-known for its resorts.
DAY 9 BATUMI - TRABZON - SAMSUN
We leave Georgia and move to Turkey. Now we need to cross Trabzon. The Old City of Trabzon is literally merged with the ancient Byzantine Fortress. If we have enough time, we will visit the Panagia Soumela Monastery. It is one of the oldest Orthodox monasteries in the world. By the evening we plan to be in Samsun.
DAY 10 SAMSUN - ISTANBUL
In the morning we leave Samsun and go to Istanbul. It takes almost the whole day to get there. Thanks to the beautiful six-lane highway Anadolu otoyolu it doesn't seem that awful. Of course, we should stop to have a picnic. Anyway, we get to Istanbul by the evening. After driving through the tunnel beneath the Bosphorus we get to the Sultanahmet Hotel for accommodation. It is one of the coziest hotels in the old city.
DAY 11 ISTANBUL
There are lots of incredibly beautiful places to visit in Istanbul. All this day is dedicated to sightseeing. One of the best local guides helps us explore the legendary places of the Old City. It is necessarily to visit the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar. Also we should take a boat ride on the Bosphorus. Of course, we celebrate this day by having a big dinner. There are so many impressions to share after such a long journey and wonderful day. The most persistent of the group members can go to see the Bosphorus at dawn.
DAY 12 ISTANBUL
It is the saddest day of our tour. It is time to say goodbye. During this day the group members are transferred to the airports. Probably, some of them would like to stay for several more hours to walk down the streets of this beautiful city.
COST OF THE TOUR
The price is 8 650 USD. It includes:
Specially prepared SUV fare
There are only 4 crew members including a driver. All cars are new. They are body-on-frame UAZ Patriot SUVs. Each of cars has one 220/110 v 800 w power socket, reinforced suspension elements, one winch, differential lock and an expeditionary trunk. The wheels of SUVs are reinforced Mud-terrain 33. All vehicles are equipped with climate control system. Also each passenger gets one USB 2.1 A.
Meals: everyday breakfast, lunch and dinner
During the whole tour we have meals at local restaurants. We have breakfasts at the hotels. When we are on the road, we will use our equipment for cooking. Besides, we have sandwiches and thermoses of drinks to grab a bite. Moreover, there a lot of bottled still water prepared for each crew.
According to the Booking.com and Tripadvisor.ru the rating of any hotel in big cities is always about 8+ When we need to pitch a camp, every member of a travel group is given a hiking kit. Camping is equipped with the portable shower and WC.
Tents, sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses and disposable tableware. First Aid Kit. Camping gas stove. Portable hanging cooking pot.
We will have the experienced guides when there are dangerous parts of the route. Satellite connection. We have GPS beacons for each crew to make online tracking possible. It means that you can send a link to your relatives to let them see us on the map. Also we interact with the local rescue services.
BESIDES, you pay for
Our assistance in getting the visas. The economy flight from Moscow to Makhachkala. Additional insurance for each crew member. It costs 60 000 euros. Urgent evacuation from any point of the route to the nearest settlement that has an airport and hospital.
One small thermos, a water bottle with a sports cap, cables for your gadgets. Of course, your good mood!
Always useful things
Trekking backpack (60 - 100 l), hydraulic dry bag for documents, several bags for clothes and hygiene items. There is no opportunity to transport large suitcases. So, take the number of things that you are able to carry by yourself in case of any eventuality.
Passport, money (and a card), smartphone, visas to Russia, Georgia and Turkey.
Sunburn cream and anesthetic. The rest is up to you.
Personal Hygiene Items
Hygienic lipstick, toothbrush, wet wipes, paper napkins, toothpaste.
TRAVEL WITH US!
Yay, you decided to take part! Fill out the form below to learn more about the tour. We will contact you as soon as possible!
THE LEADER OF EXPEDITION
He started to go hiking in 1998. Since 2008 he has been keen on off-road tours. He has traveled to the ridge of the Caucasus Mountains, Transcaucasia, Western Tan-Shan, the mountains of Southern Urals and Crimea by his SUV. Generally, he has an experience about 30 000 kilometers of expeditions and off-road adventures. Ruslan speaks English and Turkish. His driving experience is 15 years.