- In the morning you will meet our tour guide in the lobby of the designated hotel in Mineralnye Vody (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email; private airport pickup and shuttle service available for a small additional fee).
- Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in the North Caucasus.
- We’ll spend the day touring the historical Russian towns of Mineralnye Vody, Kislovodsk and Pyatigorsk.
- These elegant cities used to be the romantic setting for rocambolesque intrigues, flings, duels and adventures during the later half of XIX century: such reputation still lives on thanks to the work of great Russian poets and novelists like Lermontov and Pushkin, who set many of their masterpieces in these stylish frontier towns.
- Dinner and overnight in Mineralnye Vody.
DAY 2 – North Ossetia: Beslan and Vladikavkaz
- In the morning we’ll head to Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia-Alania, a peculiar autonomous republic, where ethnolinguistic Persian roots blend together with Christian Orthodox traditions.
- We’ll break the 2-hour journey in Beslan, a small Ossetian city that sadly became famous for the 2004 school siege.
- We’ll then visit the somber remnants of the school and of the nearby memorial-cum-graveyard.
- Quick lunch in the city centre in front of one of the last Stalin statues in the whole former USSR and transfer to Vladikavkaz.
- Vladikavkaz walking tour: Lenin Statue, Prospekt Mira, Soviet Memorials, Ossetian Churches and Grand Central Mosque.
- Dinner and overnight in Vladikavkaz.
Day 3 – North Ossetia: Tsey
- We’ll devote this day to Tsey, a Soviet mountain resort renowned for the pristine nature of its surroundings and the mystic atmospheres of the ancient Ossetian temples scattered in its woods.
- On the scenic way to Tsey we will stop in Mizur, a rough-and-ready quintessential Soviet mining town.
- Once in Tsey, you will be spoilt for choice: for sporty ones there are plenty of hiking trails, of various length and difficulty, waiting to be trodden; whereas the bon viveurs will be able to indulge in culinary pleasures and lazy walks in the forest.
- Dinner and overnight in Tsey.
DAY 4 – South Ossetia: Northern Villages
- We will leave Tsey early in the morning and drive to the internationally unrecognised but de-facto independent Republic of South Ossetia.
- Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we’ll break the journey to visit some pretty roadside Ossetian villages, where we’ll be able to drink sulphuric water from natural springs and admire a huge Stalin’s portrait painted on a rock.
- Border Crossing: before lunch we’ll cross the border into South Ossetia. Unrecognised states are much safer and friendlier than you might think and we will take care of all the border formalities; however, this is a very sensitive area and you shall strictly follow the (rather simple) instructions your guide will brief you about.
- After entering the South Ossetia we’ll head to the mountain hamlet of Goret.
- Visit to the village and walk in the nature to admire stunning gorges and majestic peaks.
- Dinner and overnight with a local family in Goret.
DAY 5 – South Ossetia: Tskhinvali and Leningor
- We’ll drive towards Leningor, a small Ossetian town right next to the frontline with Georgia.
- We’ll then visit the ruined old town, the old castle and the colourful food market, which is usually full of Georgian fruits.
- After lunch we’ll move to Tskhinvali, formerly Staliniri, the capital of this tiny unrecognised country.
- Tskhinvali walking tour: Old Town, Tskhinvali Cathedral, Jewish quarter, National Museum and Farmers Market.
- Dinner and overnight in Tskhinvali.
DAY 6 – South Ossetia: Towers and Monasteries
- In the morning we’ll explore the ancient towers and churches of the Znaursky district.
- Lunch with a local family in the picturesque village of Tsorbis.
- We’ll then visit a haunting WWII memorial in Rustavi, some eerily fascinating ruins in Traskharo and the Tamara monastery, the biggest of its kind in the region.
- Dinner and overnight in Tskhinvali.
DAY 7 – Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
- After enjoying a last Ossetian-style breakfast together we’ll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
- For those flying out: we will arrange transfer to Mineralnye Vody International Airport for your flight back home.
- For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.
- End of the tour.