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Armenia – Cappadocia – Istanbul Combined Tours

  • Duration : Duration 17 days / 16 nights
from 500 EUR
 

Day 1/Arrival 

Meet and greet at the airport. Transfer to the hotel. Check in formalities at the hotel. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.

Day 2/Yerevan city tour (Matenadaran, Brandy Factory, Erebuni Museum)

After breakfast at the hotel, we will have an early morning walk in the pink city of Yerevan. This ancient city is 29 years older than Rome. We will start walking in the most pleasant Republic Square with Government buildings, History Museum and Marriott Hotel surrounding it. Walking up one of the oldest streets in Yerevan – Abovyan Street – we will appear in the richest avenue in Yerevan – Northern Avenue with many brand shops, luxurious cafes and restaurants. Our next stop – the Opera and Ballet House and the Swan Lake – faces the Northern Avenue. Continue the tour in the depository of ancient manuscripts – Matenadaran thatnow protects about 16477 surviving materials and around 300,000 archive documents, among them about 2500 fragments collected in the depository. The manuscripts include almost all of the areas of ancient and medieval Armenian culture and sciences, as well as manuscripts in different languages. The building guards the most ancient parchment book that is the Gospel of Lazarus written in 887. Visitors can also see the biggest and the heaviest Armenian manuscript, weighing 34 kilograms. Documentary heritage of Matenadaran ancient manuscript collection was submitted by Armenia and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 1997. We will then enjoy our time in the fascinating weather of the sunny Yerevan while walking around Cascade Monument. It has 2780 stairs designating the 2780 anniversary of the capital city. If we walk up the “huge staircase” of 500 meters height and 50 meters width, we can enjoy the wonderful panorama of the city with the spectacular Opera House, Mount Ararat as well as the view to the whole city. We will then walk up the huge stairs to the Park of Freedom. Here the whole city seems to be at our hands. Continue the tour in Yerevan Brandy Factory, where we will learn the techniques of cognac production and taste several types of world famous Armenian cognac. When we learnt a lot about the modern city, it is time to know the history of its foundation at Erebuni Museum Fortress. In the evening we can enjoy the colorful singing and dancing fountains. Welcome dinner at a local restaurant or tavern tasting traditional dishes in a traditional atmosphere with an opportunity to enjoy a nice folk show. During the dinner we will enjoy the enchanting sounds of the Armenian Duduk. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.

Day 3/Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Miracle Cave – Vernissge – Yerevan 

After breakfast at the hotel, we will explore the top tourist attractions of Armenia: Garni Temple (a pagan temple built in 1st century, the only survival of the Hellenic epoch in the whole territory of the Caucasus) and the Monastery of Geghard (UNESCO). The monastery was first recorded in a document of 1250. Geghard is famous due to the relics, among which the most important one is the spear which wounded Christ on the Cross. It was presumably brought there by the Apostle Thaddeus. Here in Geghard, we can also watch the process of “lavash” baking in the traditional underground oven “tonir”, and (optional*) enjoy the medieval vocal concert. We will drive back to Yerevan with a stop at the Miracle Cave, a miraculous subterranean cave of 21 meters depth. After descending 80 stairs we find ourselves in a round hall, in a pavilion decorated with candles. Each person should enter here individually and making a wish he/she should light a candle. As the master used to say, a candle lit here by all means serves its purpose and the wish comes true. It took more than two decades to the Master to build this cave-shrine. This cave is often compared with the Noah’s Ark and considered to be the second ark which is to save the humanity not from flood but from fire.  Drive to Yerevan and stop at Vernissage open air art and craft market, where we can buy a souvenir as a sweet memory from Armenia (Note* the market is open only on Saturdays and Sundays). Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.

Day 4/Yerevan – Noratus – Hayravank – Sevanavank – Dilijan

After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to the village of Noratus to get acquainted with khachkars (cross-stones) - a cultural element surviving from times immemorial. This is unique to Armenia, and wherever you see these stones, it is either brought from Armenia or has some relation with an Armenian. This cemetery of cross-stones is the largest one in the territory of Armenia. Many khachkhars in the cemetery of Noratus, date back to the 13-17th centuries, and the oldest one was curved in 10th century. After a few minutes’ drive a paved road will lead to a rock outcrop with a fine view of Lake Sevan. There stands Hayravank Monastery - a cyclopean fortress with megalithic tombs, with a late 9th century church, a 12th century gavit, and khachkars. The view of the pearl of Armenia, the azure waters of the Lake Sevan, will accompany us till the semi peninsula with Sevanavank Monastery.  During the 8th century a few monks settled on the former island of Sevan and began to build their churches. Due to the strategically good location, many others came here. For a while it was the residence of the king Ashot Erkat (Ashot the Iron) who received his name due to his numerous glorious victories. With the time the walls of the monastery were destroyed and in 1930 the last monk left the monastery. Here at Lake Sevan we will have an opportunity to taste the fish from the lake prepared in unique local recipe (fish barbeque, crayfish barbeque). Drive to Dilijan to enjoy the 19th century appearance of the town. This wonderfully forested region is rich in mineral waters. Some of them are compared with Wichi in France and Davos in Switzerland. Dilijan is “the Switzerland of Armenia.” Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Dilijan.  

Day 5/Dilijan – Sanahin – Haghpat – Dsegh – Yerevan

After breakfast at the hotel, visit two of the UNESCO sites of Armenia – Monasteries of Sanahin (10th century) and Haghpat  (10th century). The name Sanahin literally translates from Armenian as "this one is older than that one", presumably representing a claim to having an older monastery than the neighboring Haghpat Monastery. As for Haghpat, it once housed libraries, scriptoriums, schools and refectories. Among the numerous magnificent manuscripts copied here, Haghpat Gospel is the most significant one. It was a “masterpiece of religious architecture and a major center of learning in the Middle Ages”. We will then pay a visit to a fairy tale village of Dsegh to get acquainted with an old Armenian village life. Drive back to Yerevan. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.

Day 6/Leisure time

Breakfast at the hotel. Leisure time for shopping. 

Day 7/Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni – Tatev - Goris

After breakfast at the hotel we will drive to the Northern part of Armenia to pay the first visit to Khor Virap Monastery. This is the very place where Christianity was spread in Armenia in 301 AD. It is the very place where the first Armenian Catholicos Gregory the Illuminator was jailed for long 13 years for disseminating Christianity in Armenia. Here we can also enjoy the best view to the Biblical Mount Ararat. Half an hour’s drive along beautifully changing views will take us to the village of Areni, where will visit Areni Winery to taste delicate Armenian wine. The winery discovered in the village of Areni quite recently in 2007 is the oldest proved winery facility in the world. It is 6100 years old. We will continue the tour driving to Tatev Monastery. Perched atop the Vorotan River Gorge, the 9th century Tatev monastic complex was one of Armenia’s most advanced medieval universities hosting students in humanitarian sciences and an important political stronghold. Because of its forbidding location, it was once hard to access. But now a 5.7 kilometer long cableway, the longest in the world, has been built to connect visitors to the monastery and its surrounding villages, offering an exciting journey with breathtaking views of the river gorge bellow. Drive to Goris town. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Goris.

Day 8/Goris – Khndzoresk – Karahunj – Noravank - Yerevan

After breakfast at the hotel, we will explore the captivating nature of the beautiful Syunik Region with the first visit to cave village of Khndzoresk, a place where a visitor can feel as if the time stopped at some point in the past just for us to admire all the beauty of the wildness. The caves, many of which were carved by men, were used not only as dwellings, but also as a sanctuary (military base). According to an Armenian Catholicos, the houses were situated 20-30 meters far from each other and the inhabitants had to go up and down with the help of ropes. The roof of each cave house was kind of a garden for the other making the impression of a block of flats. With 1800 houses and seven functional schools Old Khndzoresk was the largest village in Eastern Armenia. Continue the tour to visit the oldest Stonehenge (called Karahunj or Zorats Karer) in the world, which is no longer in England. This archeological site, which dates back to the second millennium BC, is spread on a rocky promontory near the city of Sisian in the province of Syunik 1770 meters high above the sea level. Thus, we can boast of having the oldest astronomical observatory ever found in the history even older than the British Stonehenge and even the pyramids in Egypt. This is another evidence of primeval civilization in Armenia existing from times immemorial, when neither Mesopotamia, nor Egypt, nor any other civilization on earth existed. Continue driving to Noravank Monastery (13th century). A monastery of picturesque panorama, ancient history and great significance. The whole magic of Noravank trip attracts a traveler just at the point of turning the road to Noravank. The narrow road leading to the monastery is blocked by beautiful rocks on both sides. And after a few minutes’ drive you will appear on the rock where the complex is situated. The place is famous for the red cliffs. Drive to Yerevan. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan. 

Day 9/Yerevan – Echmiadzin – Zvartnots – Brandy Factory - Yerevan

After breakfast at the hotel, we will start a UNESCO tour in the region of Armavir with the first visit to the Holy See of Armenian Catholicos, Echmiadzin Cathedral (4th century). The cathedral is considered to be the oldest cathedral (not the first church) in Armenia and one of the oldest cathedrals around the world. Continue the tour visiting St. Gayane (7th century) and St. Hripsime (7th century). A legend says that the young and beautiful Hripsime, who at the time was a Christian nun in Rome, was to be forcefully married to the Roman emperor Diocletian. She and the abbess Gayane among other nuns fled the tyrant emperor and left to Armenia. The pagan Armenian King Trdat received a letter from Diocletian in which he described her beauty. Trdat fell in love with Hripsime and later Gayane. After her refusal of his advances, Hripsime was tortured and martyred at the location of this church, while Gayane was tortured and martyred at a separate location where the church in her name was later built in 630. The remaining thirty-eight unnamed nuns were martyred at the location of Shoghakat. In the church of St. Hripsime relics of the martyr St. Hripsime are kept. Today St. Hripsime is considered one of the oldest churches in Armenia, famous for its architecture of the classical period. St. Hripsime together with the other churches in the territory and the main Cathedral are inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Drive back to Yerevan with a stop at Zvartnots Temple (7th century, UNESCO). The structure stands out among others with its unique architectural solutions. In Yerevan we will pay a visit to Brandy Factory. The legendary Armenian land has a long history of cognac and wine making behind. According to a well known legend Noah planted the first vine in the fertile Ararat valley. After that people tasted the first wine, and thus the production of wine and cognac began and spread throughout the country. Farewell dinner with music and dances at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.

Day 10/Yerevan – Istanbul – Cappadocia

Transfer to Zvartntos Internation Airport in Yerevan, departure from Yerevan to Istanbul. Upon arrival, we need to clear customs and collect our luggage and walk 10-15 minutes inside the airport to get to Domestic departures and check in our domestic flight an hour before. Take the flight to Cappadocia (09:50 a.m.). Meet and greet at Cappadocia airport, transfer to hotel, where we can gather energy for our next day tours. Overnight at a hotel in Cappadocia.

Day 11/Standard hot air balloon flight – Cappadocia North Tour – Cappadocia

We will start hot air balloon tour early in the morning at around 04:15-05:00 a.m. This once in a lifetime experience should not be missed in Cappadocia. We will be flying over the fairy chimneys with beautiful early morning sunlight dances over them. Flight takes 1 hour and entire tour takes about 2 hours. We will have snacks and champagne to toast to successful landing. We will then drive back to the hotel for breakfast. After breakfast at the hotel, we will start our tour, which will include the following sites: Devrent Imagination Valley (a lunar landscape), Pasabaglari (Fairy chimneys), Avanos (pottery demonstration with the Hittite technique), Uchisar rock-castle, Esentepe (panoramic view of Goreme valley) and Goreme Open Air Museum (rock cut churches, frescos, monastery). Transfer to the hotel. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Cappadocia. 

Day 12/Cappadocia Green Tour

After breakfast at the hotel we will start our tour, which will include the following sites: Derinkuyu Underground City, Ihlara Canyon (4 km trek), Belisirma Village, Selime (Panoramic view point) and 13th century Seljukian caravanserai on the Silk Road. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Cappadocia.

Day 13/Cappadocia Blue Tour - Istanbul

After breakfast at the hotel, we will start our tour, which will include the following sites: Mustafapasa (old Greek village Sinasos), Keslik Monastery, Taskinpasa Medresesi (an Ottoman theological school), Soganlı Valley (3 km walking in the traditional village, churches and Lunch), Cemil (Greek-orthodox church) and Kaymakli Underground city. Transfer to the airport for our flight to Istanbul. Meet and greet at Istanbul airport. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at a hotel in Istanbul. 

Day 14/Istanbul Classic and Ottoman Relics Walking Tour – Istanbul

After breakfast at the hotel, we will start our Istanbul Classic walking tour. This tour covers the most famous historic monuments and sights in Old City area, like 1500 year old Hagia Sophia Museum, gigantic Blue Mosque with its famous blue tiles, Hippodrome area where the Byzantium era chariot races were held, Topkapi Palace. Transfer to the hotel. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Istanbul. 

Day 15/Golden Horn and Miniaturk Tour - Istanbul

After breakfast at the hotel, we will start our tour with a short boat trip on Golden Horn to discover magnificent architectural mosques, churches and bridges. Upon arriving to Eyup, we will climb the hill by Cable Car to Pierre Loti Hill with an amazing view of Golden Horn with a sip of famous Turkish coffee and then continue to Byzantine Chora Church followed by Panaroma 1453 Museum. Continue with driving on 8 km. long Byzantine City Walls bordering the Old City. After the visit to Miniaturk, we will transfer to the hotel. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Istanbul. 

Day 16/Bosphorus Cruise and Two Continents Tour - Istanbul

After breakfast at the hotel, we will start the Bosphorus Cruise Tour. We will cruise along the Bosphorus Strait by boat. We will also visit Spice Bazaar, the last residence of the Ottoman Empire, Dolmabahce Palace and Rustempasha Mosque. We will also cross the Bosphorus Bridge and have the lunch at Camlica Hill to see the two sides of Istanbul better. Transfer to the hotel. Farewell dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Istanbul. 

Day 17/Departure

Transfer to the airport. Departure

Number
of pax
Hotel 3* (*)Hotel 4* (**)Hotel 5* (***)
15+1 1130 EUR 1440 EUR 2,185 EUR
20+1 1090 EUR 1390 EUR 2,115 EUR
25+1 1080 EUR 1380 EUR 2,100 EUR
30+1 1070 EUR 1370 EUR 2,090 EUR
35+1 1020 EUR 1320 EUR 2,040 EUR
SGL suppl. 284 EUR 535 EUR 706 EUR
HB suppl. 205 EUR (7x dinners in Armenia, 6x dinners in Turkey)
FB suppl. 325 EUR (7x dinners in Armenia, 7x lunches in Armenia, 6x dinners in Turkey)

The rates include*

  • Accommodation at a hotel on a DBL basis
  • Transfer to/from the airport in a comfortable air conditioned transportation
  • Transfer during the tours in a comfortable air conditioned transportation
  • Guide and driver services 
  • Meals: Breakfast at the hotels, 6x lunches in Turkey
  • Entrance tickets to all museums and attractions
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia
  • Bosphorus Cruise
  • A bottle of water per person per day
  • Company presents
  • 24 hour service
  • Maps of Armenia and Yerevan

The rates do not include*

  • Air tickets
  • Travel insurance 
  • Portage at the hotels
  • Meals except described 
  • Armenia visa fee 3000 AMD (~ 6 EUR)

Tips* 

*11 MARCH-1 APRIL = +120 € in Single p.p. / +60 € in Double p.p.

**11 MARCH-1 APRIL = +150 € in Single p.p. / +75 € in Double p.p.

***11 MARCH-1 APRIL = +150 € in Single p.p. / +75 € in Double p.p.

Optional activities*

  • Medieval vocal concert in Geghard Monastery (lasts 30 minutes) – 150 EUR total
  • Opera and Ballet Theatre – starting from 6 EUR per person
  • Tonacuyc Theatre – 150 EUR total
  • Cooking Master Class – 20 EUR per person
  • Dinner (including wine) and big folk show in Ararat Restaurant – 50 EUR per person
  • Lavash baking master class – 16 EUR per person
  • One full day trip to Mount Aragats for unforgettable views and Armenian style breakfast

 

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