Best of Armenia
- Duration : 15 days / 14 nights
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
- Day 9
- Day 10
- Day 11
- Day 12
- Day 13
- Day 14
- Day 15
- Price and conditions
Day 1/Yerevan – Arrival
Arrival in Yerevan. Meet and greet at the airport. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
Day 2/Yerevan city tour (Matenadaran, Tsitsernakaberd, Brandy Factory, Megerian Carpets)
After breakfast at the hotel the cheerful city of Yerevan will welcome us in its cozy streets in all its modesty and luxury. This ancient city is 29 years older than Rome. The city is situated on the left bank of the river Hrazdan, rushing across the Ararat valley. It is impossible to imagine Yerevan without the famous Opera and Ballet House, The Republic Square with its colorful fountains and the Government House. Mount of Ararat forms an indispensable part of Yerevan. Everyone from Diaspora, who buys an apartment in Yerevan, takes care that the mount be seen from their windows. An unforgettable view can be enjoyed just on top of the Cascade monument. From here the whole city seems to be in our hand. Ararat is straight ahead and the quadruple peaks of Mount Aragats right on the left. The nightlife in Yerevan is really wonderful. When we are already tired from the daily routine, Yerevan will embrace us in the cozy and friendly cafes and restaurants. Meanwhile, we will have the first stop at Matenadaran Manuscript Depository. With about 16477 surviving materials and around 300,000 archive documents, among them about 2500 fragments collected in the depository, Matenadaran is a major center for study and preservation of Armenian works of ancient literature. The manuscripts include almost all of the areas of ancient and medieval Armenian culture and sciences 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. We will then walk to the Cascade Complex (a huge staircase) to breathe fresh air and admire the beauty of this architectural complex nestled among pink apartments of the locals. Lunch tasting traditional dishes at a local tavern or restaurant. Afterwards we will taste the legendary Armenian cognac and learn the techniques of its production at Yerevan Brandy Factory. We will then proceed to Tsitsernakaberd Hill and visit Genocide Museum. The museum and the monument are devoted to the victims of the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Empire in 1915. During these mass killings more than 1.5 million people were massacred, and even more spread around the world, thus, forming a huge Armenian Diaspora. Return to the hotel for a short rest and preparation for a special welcome dinner and an excursion at the Carpet weaving factory of the famous Megerian family. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
Day 3/Yerevan – Echmiadzin – Zvartnots – Yerevan
After breakfast at the hotel, we will visit the holy city of Armenia – Echmiadzin with the Mother See of the Armenian Catholicos (UNESCO), St. Hripsime (UNESCO) and St. Gayane (UNESCO) churches. According to many scholars, Mother Cathedral (4th century) is considered to be the first cathedral (not the first church) erected in Armenia, and one of the oldest cathedrals around the world. The Cathedral of St. Echmiadzin is full of sacred relics, among them the Lance that wounded Christ on the cross, the hand of St. Gregory the Illuminator, the hand of the Apostle Thaddeus, a finger of St. Jude, a drop of St. Hripsime's blood. The place where the Cathedral sits is not an occasional one. It is said that the first Armenian Catholicos Gregory the Illuminator had a vision in his dream that Jesus descended from heaven and pointed to the place where the Cathedral of Echmiadzin is currently situated. Thus, the name Echmiadzin means “the coming of the only begotten”. Lunch tasting traditional dishes at an art school. Return to Yerevan with a stop at the 7th century Zvartnots Temple (UNESCO)- a colossal and unique masterpiece of Armenian architecture. Zvartnots was built at a time when much of Armenia was under Byzantine control and during the early invasions of Armenia by the Muslim Arabs.
Day 4/Yerevan – Odzun – Sanahin – Akhtala – Dzoraget
After breakfast at the hotel we will drive to the region of Lori. The region is rich in water resources including rivers Debed, Dzoraget, and Pambak as well as many rills. The rivers flowing across the region contribute to the wonderful nature of the territory. The mountain arrangement in Lori provides a mild climate protecting from cold northern air masses. We will first drive to the village of Odzun. The village boasts of the church of Odzun dating back to 5-7th centuries. Even though the church was rebuilt, it has been preserved for us quite well. A generally known memorial can be seen within the territory of the church of the period 5-6th centuries. Walls of the church have geometrical, vegetation ornaments, images of apostles. The church of Odzun is a wonderful representation of the early Middle Age Armenian architecture. After breakfast tasting traditional dishes in the fresh air, we will drive to the 10th century Sanahin Monastery (UNESCO). Situated in the Debed Canyon, the monastery is a precious gem of Armenian architecture. The complex of Sanahin is rich in Armenian traditional carved stones called khachkars, which were put not only as memorials, but also as a mark of various events such as the construction of an inn in 1205 and construction of a bridge in 1192. This bridge stands out amongst all other bridges discovered within the territory of the complex with its high artistic virtue, integrity and perfect harmony. The bridge is an outstanding one in the whole Transcaucasia. We will continue our tour visiting Akhtala Monastery (10th century). The fortress played a major role in protecting the north-western regions of Armenia and is among the most well preserved of all in modern Armenia. The main church at the compound is famous for its highly artistic frescoes, which cover the inside walls, the partitions, and the bearings of the building. The group will be transferred to the medieval castle by the river, Avan Dzoraget Hotel that sits along Debed River, nestled among the forest-covered hills and rocky slope of Caucasus Mountains. Overnight at the hotel in Dzoraget.
Day 5/Dzoraget – Yenokavan (horse riding)
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive directly to the village of Yenokavan for a fantastic horse riding experience in the luxurious nature of Tavush region. The canyon behind the village, lush forest, river and the caves with interesting carvings will make the tour more captivating. We will saddle our horses to journey down the Path of Love. A legend says if we pick up a flat stone at the beginning of the route, carry it to the end, and throw it into the small river, at that time our beloved person will think of us. Passing through sparse woods, we will be awarded with wild roses and meadows of strawberries and mint bushes. After a 450 m rise in the land, the trail will bring us to an area full of flowers that blossom from early spring to late autumn. This glade is full of the colors of the rainbow: bright green, red, yellow, purple, white. All this truly makes a wonderful view over the valley and Hachahpyur River. It is an ideal place to relax, breathe some fresh air, do some sunbathing, or to meditate. The trail continues through the woods and leads us to the Tree of Love, a tree with crossed trunks. Legend has it that if we put both hands on the tree and make a wish, the wish is guaranteed to come true. Afterwards the climb becomes steeper and after 500 m we will reach the Vansi Kap Stone and the Path of the Hermit. The last part of the trail will be a journey through a lush forest to a spring at the edge of an alpine meadow. Return to the hotel passing through Puchur Sar with small groves and meadows. Leisure at the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the complex in the village.
Day 6/Yenokavan – Lastiver – Dilijan
After breakfast at the hotel we will start our hiking tour with Janjakar (Stone of Fly) as our first destination. We will hike at about 1,380 meters to reach this installation built for defensive purposes. The path will lead us down through woods to an elevation of 1,238 meters. The path, with cliffs next to it, will then have a small rise in the altitude till 1.241 meters. The trail winds through a forest and is full of many broken cross-stones. We will climb to about 1,300 m until we reach the cross-stones, which are at an elevation of 980 meters. The place is most famous as Lastiver. During the entire trip we will be crossing beautiful, green forests. Lunch with lunchboxes. When we are already relaxed enough to have as much hiking as we had, we will 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 the hotel in the Dilijan.
Day 7/Dilijan – Sevanavank – Biking till Noratus – Transfer to Vayk
After breakfast at the hotel we will enjoy the changing views all around by driving to the pearl of Armenia – the high mountain Lake of Sevan. This wonder of nature is surrounded by Geghama Mountains. Situated in the northern part of Armenian volcanic highland in Gegharkounik region, Lake Sevan has a unique combination of great size, high mountain location, and comparatively “soft water”. Lake Sevan is the greatest lake in the Caucasian region, and one of the greatest freshwater high-mountain lakes of Eurasia. It is located at about 2000 meters above the sea level. We will visit Sevanavank Monastery, which used to be the summer residence of the Armenia King Ashot the Iron, who received his name thanks to the numerous glorious victories. During the lunch at a local tavern, we will have an opportunity to taste the crayfish barbecue or another fish type from the lake prepared with a unique local recipe. Continue the tour biking to Noratus village. The village is famous for its cemetery of cross-stones, 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 carved in the 10th century. A popular folktale associated with the cemetery concerns the invading army of Tamerlane. According to one story the villagers placed helmets on top of the khachkars and leaned swords against them. From a distance the khachkars looked like armed soldiers holding a defensive position as a result of which Tamerlane’s army retreated. Transfer to Vayk town. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Vayk.
Day 8/Vayk – Karahunj – Tatev – Khndzoresk – Goris
After breakfast at the hotel we will visit the oldest Stonehenge, which is no longer in Britain. This archaeological 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. We will continue the tour driving to the 9th century Tatev Monastery. The 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 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. An hour drive along scenic views will take us to the 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 name Khndzoresk is literally translated from Armenian as “apple like”, as many varieties of apple trees were grown here. According to another version the village was called Khor Dzor or Khordzoresk (Deep Gorge) due to its location. The village is also famous for participation in the liberation movement of David Bek. Drive to Goris town. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Goris.
Day 9/Goris – Noravank – Maguili Cavern – Khor Virap – Yerevan
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive to the capital city with several stops on the way. The 13th century Noravank Monastery will be the first in the list. The whole magic of Noravank trip starts right at the point of turning the road to the Monastery. The narrow road leading to the monastery is blocked by beautiful rocks on both sides. And after a few minutes’ drive we will appear on the rock where the complex is situated. Once there high above the main road we’ll have the impression as if we are in heaven, and if we stretch our hand we will touch the sky. Here we will have an opportunity to watch the process of “lavash” baking in the underground oven “tonir”. Beyond is the entrance to Maguili Cavern. One and a half kilometers deep, the cavern was inhabited as far back as the Neolithic period. Stone tools and artifacts have been discovered in the cave, as well as more "recent" ceramic fragments from the 9th century on. Because of its depth, Maguili cavern holds a constant temperature of 14 degrees centigrade. The passageway varies from just enough for a person to crawl through to a spacious 10-15 meters in width. The cave is a unique underground eco-system, home to thousands of bats. Free style camping in the river canyon near an ancient apricot forest at a mineral spring. Drive back to Yerevan with a stop at Khor Virap Monastery. This is the very place where Armenia adopted Christianity as a state religion in 301. Here we can descend the deep pit, where the first Armenian Catholicos Gregory the Illuminator was jailed for long 13 years for disseminating Christianity. Afterwards transfer to Yerevan. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
Day 10/Leisure day
After breakfast at the hotel, we will have a leisure day for exploring the city on our own. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
Day 11/Yerevan – Saghmosavank – Amberd – Lake Kari
After breakfast at the hotel, we will start a jeeping day with the first visit to the 13th century Monastery of Saghmosavank, surrounded by Mount Aragats, Mount Ara, and the deep Kasakh Gorge. Saghmosavank was once a religious, academic and cultural center of medieval Armenia. We will continue jeeping to the 7th century Amberd Fortress, located 2,300 meters above the sea level, on the slopes of Mount Aragats at the confluence of the Arkashen and Amberd rivers. The name translates to “fortress in the clouds” in Armenian. The road leading up to our next stop, Lake Kari at Mt. Aragats, is virtually uninhabited and has gently sloping hills with the occasional shepherd and beekeeper, many wildflowers and great views. Installation of camps near the lake. Dinner and overnight at the camp near the Lake Kari.
Day 12/Climbing Southern and Western Peaks – Jeeping to Yerevan
After breakfast at the camp, we will start our adventure of Mount Aragats by trying to overcome the Southern (3887) and Western (4001) peaks to enjoy the panorama around and bellow. The scenic view will always stay in our memory for the rest of our lives. The South Summit of Aragats is an easy walk, and climbed quite frequently. However, the weather can change rapidly even during the hot summers. There are no set paths, but the summit is visible from Kari Lake. From the South Summit, the West can be reached with about an additional 1-2 hours. We will descend to the SW saddle and work our way around to the left. After ascending the first 100 meters or so through the boulders, we will find trails leading to the summit. When we had enough rest to continue, we will return to our camp at the Lake Kari for lunch. Afterwards we will drive back to Yerevan. Leisure time. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
Day 13/Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Vernissage – Yerevan
After breakfast at the hotel a pleasant drive along Avan Canyon will take us to the top tourist destinations of Armenia: Pagan Temple of Garni and Cave Monastery of Geghard (UNESCO). With its location on the right bank of the Azat River, as well as being dedicated to the God of the Sun Mihr, the first century temple of Garni is one of the famous examples of ancient architecture. The temple is comprised of 24 columns and symbolized the 24 hours of the day. Of particular interest is the bathroom located in the northern part of the temple. The floor is decorated with mosaic and has an inscription saying: “Work without being paid.” The inscription referred to the illiterate workers who were involved in the construction of the building. After the adoption of Christianity, pagan temples were barbarously destroyed and churches of the new religion were erected on their sites. The pagan temple Garni is the only survival of the Hellenic epoch in the whole territory of the Caucasus. Another complex, which occupies an important place in Armenian architecture, is the monastery of Geghard situated on a wild narrow mountain gorge of unusual beauty. The Monastery of Geghard (geghard meaning spear) is a unique architectural construction. The chapel was built in 1215, but the monastic complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator, as the site of a sacred spring inside a cave. Nowadays nothing has remained of the structure of Ayrivank. The monastery was destroyed by the Arabs in the 9-10th centuries, and the architectural parts that survived belong for the most part to the 12-13th centuries. According to the inscription on the west door, there is a church dating from 1215 inside the monastery walls. The monastery is also famous due to the relics, among which the most important one is the spear which had wounded Christ on the Cross presumably brought there by the Apostle Thaddeus. Drive back to Yerevan and visit Vernissage art and craft open air flee. Dinner at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
Day 14/Paragliding day
After breakfast at the hotel, we will have an early morning drive to Mt. Hatis for a unique life time experience - paraglyding. Drive back to Yerevan. Farewell dinner with a folk show at a local tavern or restaurant. Overnight at a hotel in Yerevan.
Transfer to the airport. Departure.
|HB suppl.||110 EUR (14x breakfasts, 10x dinners)|
|FB suppl.||220 EUR (14x breakfasts, 11x lunches, 10x dinners)|
The rates include*
- Accommodation at a hotel on a DBL basis
- Accommodation at camps where indicated
- 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
- Professional instructor services during mountaineering
- Meals (BB): Breakfast at the hotel
- Dinner at Megerians
- Entrance tickets to all museums and attractions
- “Wings of Tatev”
- Cognac degustation at Yerevan Brandy Factory
- Bikes (Trek, Scot, Salcano) with necessary accessories
- Jeeps on jeeping day
- 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
- Portage at the hotels
- Travel insurance
- Meals except described
- Armenia visa fee 3000 AMD ( ~ 6 EUR)
- 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