Between Erzurum and Yusufeli, a series of stupendously attractive valleys marks the southern extent of medieval Georgia. The most atmospheric approach is from Erzurum – about 70km out, you’ll spy a pair of castles crumbling away atop dramatic pinnacles, announcing the southern frontier of ancient Georgia more effectively than any signpost ever could. Pressing on, you’ll find some superlative ruins – the churches of Haho, Öşk Vank and İşhan are simply gorgeous, though access is tricky without your own transport.
There are no real travellers’ bases in this area; most visit the sights en route between Erzurum and Yusufeli. However, simple accommodation near Haho and right next to İşhan makes it tempting to stay the night in such rarified surroundings.