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Cycling in Armenia
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Cycling in Armenia

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 10 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 12 people
Destination(s): Armenia  
Specialty Categories: Bicycle Touring  
Season: May - November
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 940 Euro (EUR)
Maximum Per Person Price: 940 Euro (EUR)

Tour Dates for 2011:
- May, 9 - 19
- June, 4 - 14
- July, 9 - 19
- August, 5 - 15
- September, 10 - 20
- October, 7 - 17.

Tour Itinerary:

Day 1: Ararat Valley. The tour starts in Yerevan with pre-tour briefing with organizer and other tour participants. From the set up on Ararat Highway, begin a 30 km ride to Khor Virap Royal Prison. Climb to the top of the hill behind the monastery, presumably the site of Artashat, ancient Armenian capital. Fantastic photographic moments, the ascetic silhouette of the monastery with Mount Ararat in the background – perhaps the most famous photo of Armenia.

Short transfer to Zangakatun, the highest point of Tukh Manuk pass (1,795 m). Get on the bikes and start downhill ride to reach Yeghegnadsor. Transfer to guesthouse, a great place to hang around, swim in the pool or relax with a glass of cold beer under plum trees (ride app. 55 km). Overnight: Guesthouse in Yeghegnadsor. Includes: (B).

Day 2: Sightseeing on Two Wheels. After an early wholesome breakfast we get the bikes out and go sightseeing on two wheels. A gentle morning warm-up ride takes us downtown, we continue through surreal gorge of Noravank exquisitely dressed in wild flowers and red rocks of strange forms. The gorge is dominated by magnificent Noravank Monastery, the masterpiece of Momik, Armenia's famous medieval architect. Afternoon visit to Areni Wine Market, an ideal place to enjoy exceptional local wine, honey and fruits. Back to Yeghegnadsor for overnight (ride app. 55 km). Overnight: Guesthouse in Yeghegnadsor. Includes: (B).

Day 3: Gates of Syunik. The route today is quite long so is broken into a couple of riding stretches with transfers. Following an undulating country road through the foothills we are now heading to Syunik, the southern edge of Armenia. Short transfer from Saravan to Gates of Syunik and it’s time to pedal your bike again! Enjoy the delight of 50 km ride, descending through landscape that contrasts so dramatically with what you saw yesterday. Do not miss your chance of buying fresh fruits or simply chatting with locals at Tsghuk farm.

And in case you are tired remember the vehicle backup is there, otherwise ride straight to your hotel in Sisian. You can relax at hotel bar before spending the evening sharing a meal with your group. If you can drag yourself away from the restaurant, you can cycle to the local church to watch rare microscopic paintings on rice and hair! Optional cycle to graceful Shaki waterfall. (ride app.50 km). Overnight: Hotel in Sisian. Includes: (B).

Day 4: Legendary Tatev. Early breakfast and a 15 km ride leads us down the valley through restful pastoral scenery to ancient observatory of Karahunj. Back to tarmac and on to Tatev, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cycle 25 km and back to off-road again, pass Shinuhayr with its surprisingly huge shoe factory, continue through a narrow ravine so deep that the sun hardly reaches its bottom. Stop at Devil’s bridge to fill your bottles with healing mineral water and swim in the steaming pool. Reach Tatev - as you see the Monastery you will appreciate what has drawn people to this sacred place for hundreds of years. Back to Sisian for overnight (ride app. 60 km). Overnight: Hotel in Sisian. Includes: (B).

Day 5: Great Silk Route. Early morning cycling takes us away from the mountains of Syunik into an arid region as we traverse Selim pass (2,410 m). Stop and get packed lunch at a village market, continue the road gradually climbing up to 2,410 m in elevation following the historic Silk Route past Selim Caravanseray. This is one of the best places to see what fabled Silk Route looked like centuries ago. As we cycle down, we pass high country sheep stations and get into unsurpassed views of Lake Sevan. By vehicle and cycle we reach Lake Sevan and enjoy a superb final lakeside track taking us to our hotel (ride app. 70 km). Overnight: Hotel at Lake Sevan. Includes: (B).

Day 6: Armenia. Get on your bikes and head north from Shorzha, famous fishers' village. Today we get completely off the main tourist tracks and explore the eastern edge of Armenia, picturesque Tavush. By cycle and vehicle we gradually climb the picturesque pass (2,176 m) to get to Getik Valley for the last ride uphill to Chambarak (around 20 km). Have rest and lunch and continue to reach Berd - unparalleled views as your bike tours through thick forests with dramatic gray cliffs soaring above you.

A final 30 km of downhill rush with long sweeping corners will bring you to Ijevan, a small town of quaint appeal with its quiet, cypress-lined streets. Your vehicle will meet and deliver you to your accommodation (ride app. 65 km). Overnight: Guesthouse in Ijevan. Includes: (B).

Day 7: Ancient Shrines. Out from Ijevan on our bikes, we head to the highway and off to romantic Lori. The landscape here is an attractive patchwork of verdant pastures and woodlands. On beautiful sealed roads with lush forest lining the roadside we ride to Noyemberyan. Cycle another hour to reach sleepy Alaverdi hidden in scenic Lori Gorge. The lattice of quiet lanes and tracks follows Debed river and climbs into the hills to explore the enchanting countryside and ancient shrines. Our accommodation for the evening is in Alaverdi, once a mining town (ride app. 70 km). Overnight: Guesthouse in Alaverdi. Includes: (B).

Day 8: Local Villages. Transfer to the highway leading to Vanadsor. Today's route stays away from the main road and follows less direct but quieter series of back roads to allow us to experience the rural life of Armenia. Our passing encounters with friendly locals in small villages of Akori, Aygehat and Vardablur may leave us with some of our strongest memories. At the east end of the last village, the road leads us to half-ruined 6th century church. Finally you are in Kurtan and from here the paved road gradually descends east along the side of the gorge. Cycle straight to your hotel or use the support vehicle for this final leg (ride app.70 km). Overnight: Hotel in Vanadsor. Includes: (B).

Day 9: Mountain Aragats. Our day starts with cycling at 1,350 m between Pambak mountain range to the south and Bazum range to the north. Both ranges exceed 3,000 m above sea level. We will cycle to the west of Vanadsor, reach the main road to follow Debed river and pass by the town of Spitak, the epicenter of 1988 earthquake. As we head deep into the mountains, today's route is dominated by Mount Aragats, the highest peak of Lesser Caucasus (4,090 m). This is an area of stunning natural beauty. In the afternoon we reach Ashtarak, an area famous for its superb fruits. From here strong riders can cycle straight to the hotel in Yerevan and support vehicle can pick those who want an easier option to reach the city (ride app. 70 km). Overnight: Hotel in Yerevan. Includes: (B).

Day 10: Yerevan. Today is a rest day for a chance to explore Yerevan. There are many options available on this day, wandering in the red rose streets of old center, sampling a light snack at the busy outdoor terraces at the Opera Square, visiting Vernisage, the best place in Caucasus for souvenir shopping, taking a tour in the cellars of Yerevan Brandy Factory and many more. Overnight: Hotel in Yerevan. Includes: (B).

Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- Accommodation for 10 nights
- Meals as specified in the itinerary
- Tour leader/driver, cycling guide optional
- All sightseeing and activities as per itinerary
- All transfers in comfortable 4WD vehicles
- Travel permits in protected areas
- Luggage handling
- Cycling in Armenia information kit.

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