DriveThru Tours


Caucasus Mountain Range Tour


On this page we visit the mountain of Noah's Ark, Mt. Ararat, and the highest peak in Europe, Mt. Elbrus.

I would like to state that I haven't researched the practicalities of driving the route from Mt. Ararat to Mt. Elbrus in terms of safety or with respect to any visas required. There are a number of border crossings to be made and the political situation can be somewhat unstable in this region at times to say the least. As I write this there is the continuing war between Russia and Ukraine so much of the Northern side of the Black Sea region is definitely off limits. In any case, check before you go.

WARNING: Almost all vehicle insurance policies will NOT provide you with fully comprehensive insurance cover for much of this tour on your normal policy. You will have to arrange this as a separate cover before you leave home and ensure you have it added to your policy. Read this too: Getting_Out.pdf (

All distances stated should be used only as a rough guide. The minimum distance of this tour along the routes shown will be about 6600 miles (not including the tour round the Caspian Sea and/or the Black Sea). Expect to drive many more miles by diverting to other places of interest along the route. To get the most enjoyment from this tour you will need to allow plenty of time and plan your stays in the various countries carefully to avoid overstaying the time permitted in each country and throughout the Schengen Area. I suggest 9 months or even one year would be insufficient to see these interesting and historic places in detail. This is easily accomplished because of the generous amount of time permitted for visitors to stay in the two main countries of this tour (Armenia and Georgia). If you choose to visit Azerbaijan, you will require a visa which permits only fairly short stays: Entry requirements - Azerbaijan travel advice - GOV.UK (

Be aware that the climate in this region can be very hostile and the best months to visit will be from mid-April to mid-September and the beginning and end of this period can still be cold and wet - with snow on the mountains until June.

Touring for such long periods is a wonderful experience, but be aware that the MOT Certificate for your vehicle (if appropriate) may necessitate a trip back to the UK.

An excellent reference book to this region is entitled: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, published by Lonely Planet.

One of the interesting places to visit enroute is very close to the border of Turkey and Armenia named Ani (previously known as Anni). This is the former home of the kings of Armenia and where there was once a wonderful palace. More can be found about this place at URL: Ani Ruins - Ani Ruins -,

Map Courtesy of Google Maps©

Here is a quote from page 173 of Travels in Georgia Persia Armenia and ancient Babylonia in 1817, 1818, 1819 and 1820 Vol. I. by Sir Robert Ker Porter (see link at the bottom of this page):

In the western extremity of this great town, in which no living beings, except ourselves, seemed breathing, we saw the palace, once of the kings of Armenia ; and it is a building worthy the fame of this old capital. Its length stretches nearly the whole breadth, between the walls of the city on one side, and the ravine on the other. Indeed, it seems a town in itself; and so superbly decorated within and without, that no description can give an adequate idea of the variety and richness of the highly wrought carvings on the stone, which are all over the building; or of the finely-executed mosaic patterns, which beautify the floors of its countless halls.

In fact, one could follow much of the route described by Sir Robert Ker Porter in his book(s) which would in itself be a fascinating tour.

An alternative grand tour would be to combine this tour with a tour of the Carpathian Mountains area:

Combining tours is great if you have unlimited time, but be aware that the MOT Certificate for your vehicle (if appropriate) may necessitate a trip back to the UK

The Caucasus Mountains:


Map courtesy of Copyright holder ©


Genesis chapter 8 reminds us of the story of Noah and where the ark came to rest at the end of the great flood:

1But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.

New International Version © at URL: Genesis 8 NIV (

Map below courtesy of Google Maps © If driving straight from Calais to Mt. Ararat, the distance through Europe and Turkey is about 2738 miles, however, there are many diversions one can make to visit many wonderful places along the way.


The route shown above really does indicate the wonderful touring opportunities there are along the way. An alternative would be to travel along the coast road of the South coast of the Black Sea, following part of the route travelled by René Kägi and Sonja Kostezer at URL: Black Sea ( during their tour of Armenia and Georgia. An alternative route would be through the mountains of central Turkey. Sad to say, but as mentioned above, the North coast of the Black Sea is off limits at present (and is likely to remain so for a considerable time) because of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Although the route could be driven in just a few days, it would be much better to spend a few months (or years!) én route exploring - with numerous diversions adding to your mileage. Sad to say, but travel restrictions (such as the 90 days in any 180-day period limit for staying in the Schengen Zone) prevent a great deal of long-term travel (refer to URL: Getting_Out.pdf ( (surely this must be contrary to our human rights!) although Georgia and Armenia are more accommodating and outside the Schengen Zone (as is Turkey).

Tukey allows you to stay for 90 days in any 180-day period.

Armenia permits you to stay for 180 days per year.

Georgia permits you to stay for 365 days.

The route below, from Mt. Ararat to Mt. Elbrus is about 470 miles. There are alternative routes that avoid Azerbaijan. The recent conflict was over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous, landlocked region inside the borders of Azerbaijan which is some distance from the route shown on the map below. It may be wise to avoid crossing the border into Azerbaijan from Armenia - if it is open at all, as the two nations are not exactly best of friends at present and you may encounter some difficulties, although there are signs that peace my be not too far away: The leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia talk about the prospects for peace in the Caucasus region | Euronews


Routes shown above and below courtesy of TomTom © at URL: TomTom MyDrive


An alternative route (545 miles) that avoids Azerbaijan, and takes a different route in the north, is shown below:



Taking this route will bring you very close to Mtskheta, an oustanding place to view medieval religious buildings dating back to the third century BC - refer to map below and URL: Historical Monuments of Mtskheta - UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

map courtesy of TomTom.



A visit to Yerevan is well worth while as it was founded in 782 B.C. and is therefore one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities in the world. On a clear day a great view of Mount Ararat (a symbol of Armenia even though it is now within part of Turkey) can be seen from this ancient city.

Photograph above courtesy of URL: 1200px-Mount_Ararat_and_the_Yerevan_skyline_in_spring_(50mm).jpg (1200×800) (

Further reading at URL: Welcome to Yerevan ( You may besurprised to know that Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 A.D. Today, about 94% of Armenians are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church. There are three UNESCO world heritage sites in Armenia so allow a considerable amount of time to explore this historic and beautiful country. Refer to URL: Armenia - UNESCO World Heritage Centre and:
List of World Heritage Sites in Armenia - Wikipedia.

  Wanderlust Travel Guide to Armenia  
  For further information about this region - including border crossings and visa requirements.  

As you will see on the map, the route passes Lake Sevan which is well worth a lengthy stay in one of the many campsites or hotels near the lake.

Photograph (above) courtesy of TripAdvisor at URL: Lake Sevan 2021: Best of Lake Sevan Tourism - Tripadvisor

Map courtesy of Google Maps © showing just a few of the camp sites near Lake Sevan.


I'd like to make special mention at this point of a new walking trail, much of which is also able to be cycled, that is now ready for use. This is the Transcaucasian Trail, a world-class hiking trail across the Caucasus in Georgia and Armenia. Don't miss out on this while you're in the area.

Click on the map below to enlarge it.

TCT Trail Status, 2023. Solid lines are developed routes; dotted lines are proposed and/or in development.
The 1500km trail through Armenia & Georgia is so close to completion!


Photograph of Georgia (above) courtesy of TripAdvisor - see button below.

There are a number of fascinating places to visit in Georgia too, so it is well worthwhile staying in this incredibly beautiful and historic region for as long as possible. As in Armenia, there are a number of UNESCO world heritage sites, details of which can be found here:

Georgia - UNESCO World Heritage Centre and:
List of World Heritage Sites in Georgia (country) - Wikipedia


Please note that the Georgia National Tourist Office website was not working at the time of uploading this web page.


A possible (subject to visas) route home is shown below courtesy of TomTom © at URL: TomTom MyDrive

The route shown is a distance of 3338 miles. Once again, many interesting diversions are possible. Had the war between Russia and Ukraine not occurred, one interesting aspect of the route shown on the map below is a trip along the The Transfagarasan Highway in Romania - one of the most challenging drives in the world and most definitely NOT suited to caravans! However, a diversionary trip from Turkey may well be worthwhile.


An alternative, and very interesting route from Calais to Istanbul and back is shown below, (courtesy of TomTom) - a return journey of 5108 miles which also includes visits to other great ancient cities; Athens, Dubrovnik and Pula (see complete list below map).


A tour of Turkey, Armenia and Georgia could (and should!) also be added. If time, politics and war permits, a tour around the full circumference of the Black Sea would be worthwhile if peace comes to this part of the world again or even a tour around the Caspian Sea with a visit to Tehran in Iran and the Ustyurt National Preserve in Kazakhstan (one of the most unusual landscapes on our planet) as additional attractions worth a diversion (below map courtesy of TomTom). Allow at least an extra 3700 miles for this trip from Yerevan, around the Caspian Sea and back to Yerevan. I'm adding a warning at this stage that much of the Caspian Sea is heavily polluted therefore I would not recommend swimming in it. I am well aware that there are areas where you'll see swimmers in the water but you should consider the risk very seriously before joining in. I suggest the same consideration be given to the Black Sea too. Is the risk of health problems ruining your tour (or worse!) worth taking?



Location of Ustyurt National Preserve, Kazakhstan. Map above courtesy of Google Maps.


An additional tour would be to explore the Greater Caucasus, by exploring Azerbaijan, possibly even going to visit the very remote and secluded village of Khinaliq at 7200 feet above sea level and one of the highest villages in the region. WARNING: Avoid the area of Nagorno-Karabakh as there is a military conflict ongoing there. This route lies quite close to this region.

Read more here: Photographing Khinalig: an exploration of Azerbaijan's remotest village (

As can be seen from the map above, there are a number of route variations that can be taken.

Maps above and below courtesy of Google Maps.


A diversion to Agh Gol National Park would be worthwhile too, particularly if you're a bird-watcher.


Additional References and Books.

Two very old travel books by Sir Robert Ker Porter:

Thanks to The Gutenberg Project (Free eBooks | Project Gutenberg) there are many more interesting old books available for travellers to read.

These include:

Armenia, Travels and Studies (Volume 1 of 2) by H. F. B. Lynch

Armenia, Travels and Studies (Volume 2 of 2) by H. F. B. Lynch

Armenia - A Martyr Nation - A Historical Sketch of the Armenian People from Traditional Times to the Present Tragic Days

Around the Black Sea by William Eleroy Curtis

A Vagabond in the Caucasus by Stephen Graham

Many other books can be found on the Gutenberg Project's website.

  Background image from: <a href="">Wall Vectors by Vecteezy</a>