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Having recently featured on ITV's popular show, Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure, Azerbaijan and Georgia are on their way to becoming two of the hottest places to travel right now! If, like us, you were inspired by Joanna's travels, read on to learn more about these beautiful destinations and what they can offer you.

Situated at the cultural crossroad where Europe and Asia meet, Azerbaijan and Georgia are countries of confusing contrasts and bewildering beauty.

On one hand, these post-soviet countries are known for their ancient empires and rich historical narratives while on the other, the landscapes' lush green valleys, clusters of vineyards and snow-capped mountains make them a perfect playground for hikers, bikers and explorers alike.

One country complements the other, and being right next to one another, it makes perfect sense to explore them both in one trip! Here are a few unmissable experiences in both countries that your trip wouldn't be complete without.

 

A visit to the capitals

Baku is a city on the move. Azerbaijan's capital has developed rapidly over the last few years, and shows no sign of slowing down! Stunning architecture, a UNESCO-listed Old Town framed by medieval walls and a world-class shopping scene occupy the vibrant centre, while the Caspian Sea cradles the more tranquil waterfront, where wooded parks and promenades offer a retreat from the city's towering skyscrapers and bustling bazaars.

Georgia's capital, Tbilsi, shares Baku's love for eye-catching architecture, but offers more in the way of trendy bars, restaurants and cafes. The art scene is growing here too, with museums and galleries springing up all over, making Tbilisi one of Europe's most up-and-coming capitals right now. Nestled in the deep valley of the Mtkvari River, the city benefits from a beautiful backdrop too. Add to this the historic Old Town that you can easily explore on foot, and you have a city that will truly appeal to anyone!

 

Wine tasting in Kakheti

Kakheti, Georgia's wine region is where three-quarters of the country's wine grapes are grown. Of course, it would be a crime to not stop for a local wine-tasting here, but while you're here why not explore the rest of the region too?

Kakheti may be most famous for its wineries, but it's also a region that's rich in history: pay a visit to the famous Ikalto Monastery and learn about the buried clay jugs used to store wine and the monastery's ancient academy.

 

Discovering mountain towns and villages

While cities like Tbilsi and Baku are beginning to gain traction with tourists, a trip here wouldn't be complete without venturing off the beaten track to some of the remote mountain towns and villages that encircle the Caucasus Mountain range. It's here that you'll be able to witness and experience a more traditional way of life, while soaking up the spectacular scenery that's behind you wherever you turn!

Nestled in the foothills of the mountains, Azerbaijan's picturesque village of Kish is not only home to the oldest church in the Caucasus but is also one of the oldest villages in Sheki. In Georgia, the mountain town of Signagi promises visitors breath-taking views of the Alazani Valley to complement its picturesque landscape, pastel-coloured houses and narrow cobblestone streets.

Witness part of the Silk Road for yourself next year as we journey through the diverse landscapes of Azerbaijan and Georgia (departing 7th May 2019). Highlights of this nine-night trip include visits to cave towns, awe-inspiring Caucasus Mountain scenery and Georgian wine tasting.

Click here for more details, or for more inspiration watch Joanna Lumley's journey through the Silk Road.

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