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Traveling to the Caucasus mountains has been in my mind for a while.

I missed it on my way to Africa in 2011 because of a late start from France, and cold and snowy conditions when i arrived in Turkey in October 2011. Since then, i have been waiting for the chance to go there. 4 years later, i made it possible.

Time has been set to 2015 autumn, which i think is a good season to visit the area, and, i hope, not as touristic as late spring or summer.

The mean of transport will be new : the mountainous tracks of Caucasus will be the test ride for me and my newly acquired land cruiser. (you can see it here)


For the last years, most travelers had to limit their visit of the area to the 3 countries of the southern side of the Caucasus, from west to east : Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, because of the tourist-proof border of Russia and the north Caucasus. But recently, some have reported the opening to all nationals of the border between Georgia and Russia first, and between Azerbaijan to Russia too.


The planned route was the following :



For political and practical reasons, we eventually followed that route:





across eastern europe
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Saturday, 20 June 2015 07:18

In order, among other things, to test jeremy s new 4WD, we are going for a trip of 2 months in the Caucasus. after some stormy discussions, we won t drive the initial route through Crimea, which seems too risky to Sophie and anyway unlikely to go ahead because of a mandatory permit requiered to leave Ukraine. we will then go across the balck sea on a ferry to Georgia.

Once the last prep works done on the 4WD, we hit the road on the 15th of august at the end of the day and aim to reach Odessa on the 19th to take the boat. We don t have time to losse so we go to the shortest and use the highways.

We went straight across Italy, with only one stop in Venice, to eat a slice of pizza on the Piazza San Marco. We spent the night hidden in a small wood in Slovenia, under the rain which made a bit harder the cooking the the use of the solar shower.

grand canal de venise grand canal de venise

first steps in the caucasus
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 06:35

4 days in the middle of the sea, eating sausages, that s long! Especially on rough sea. But we had a bit of distraction with some dolphins who came to swim along the boat. We were rather pleased to arrive in Batumi, a seaside city which attract a lot of russian tourists.

sur le bateau sur le bateau batumi batumi

We camped on the sea shore, and during the night a huge storm broke and would last for the next 3 days. Our first feeling of Georgia is thus very humid. Driving is tricky, as georgian drivers are reckless and drive rather fast and on the wrong lane, without using indicators, in dying old Lada, on rough roads in between cows and pigs.

sur les route georgiennes sur les route georgiennes


russian caucasus
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Sunday, 06 September 2015 18:41

Roads are bad and checkpoints are numerous, but we did enjoy beautiful landscapes in complete tranquility.

44 dans la nature 44 dans la nature

Because of the persisting conflicts in this area, we have probably been amongst the first travelers to wander there for some time. As a matter of fact, policemen and soldiers most of the time don t know what to do with us and think we are lost. In anyway, they were all nice and willing to help, but only in russian language. Many the big green 4WD helped, as it created interest almost everywhere. The main drawback of traveling by car in Russia are the russian drivers, slightly more civilized than the georgian ones, but much more aggressive.

landscape 1 landscape 1 landscape 2 landscape 2

debent and shalbuz dag
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Saturday, 12 September 2015 06:25

Derbent city, historical border between Europe and Asia, is supposed to be 5000 years old. We take a bit of time to visit the old town, helped by improvised russian speaking guides. It s circled by walls going from a hill top fortress into the sea. The walls are being renovated to celebrate their 2000 birthday in the coming weeks.

derbent fortress derbent fortress derbent walls derbent walls

across azerbaijan
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Monday, 14 September 2015 19:53

We follow the shore of the Caspian sea to the south, the landscape becomes more barren and dotted with oil wells. Here more than the previous countries we visited are more small stalls along the road, selling anything from engine oil to honey, fruits, meat or other supposedly edible food (the one we tried tasted quite bad and we never got to know what it really was).

oil wells oil wells

back in georgia
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Tuesday, 22 September 2015 10:05

After a border crossing in record time, we are back in Georgia. We first explored the Kakheti winery region, which is also well stocked with churches and monasteries.

gremi church and fortress gremi church and fortress alaverdi cathedral 1 alaverdi cathedral 1

Written by sophie et jeremy   
Thursday, 01 October 2015 12:20

We enter Armenia through the deep and green Debed canyon without any particular hassle except the 60€ we are asked by the customs for the temporary importation of the car (or anything else).

debed canyon debed canyon

karabakh and armenia continued
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Saturday, 03 October 2015 05:45

Karabakh is a self proclaimed country, only recognized by Armenia and officially part of Azerbaijan for anybody else. Borders have been stable since the war 20 years ago and are still kept by armenian army and land mines. Yet another place not too touristy!

entering karabakh entering karabakh karabakh symbol karabakh symbol

georgia final instalment
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Thursday, 08 October 2015 10:18

Because we like it, we took again a secondary rough road to go to the cave monastery of Vardzia ; we did right as it rewarded us with a spectacular view over the canyon and the city.

Vardzia canyon Vardzia canyon

return via Turkey part 1
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Saturday, 17 October 2015 10:32

Before being back to the civilization on the turkish side and it tarmac roads, we drive 200km in georgia along the border. It s a pretty serie of gorges and passes, we even see a surprising ski resord with one slope.

adjaria adjaria

return via Turkey part 2
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Sunday, 18 October 2015 07:26

After having found a camping near the beach, we visit some of the numerous ruins of the region : the old greek / roman cities of Perge and Olympos, and the natural eternal flames of Chimaera.

perge 1 perge 1