Day 1, September 3, Monday: Early arrival at Zvartnots International Airport you are met by your Tour Guide and immediately begin your unique journey in Armenia; Transfer to the hotel; Check-in; Rest Time. Wine & Brandy tasting day. Breakfast served. Yerevan the rose-colored capital of Armenia it is named as such because most of its buildings use a pink shade of "tuf" stone which is quarried in Armenia. This is the most prominent feature of Yerevan’s cityscape. As we get acquainted with Yerevan, we should start with the Erebouni museum and Fortress.
Wine – making epoch in Armenia began from – 782 B.C. when was found the fortress. During excavations in Erebouni fortress, 18 clay vats (karas) for wine were discovered, each having more than 600 liter capacity. Counting our day we’ll have a chance not only see the vats and barrels of wine and brandy, but also to taste some kinds of Armenian brandies and oldest wine in “NOY” ARARAT Brandy, Wine Factory: “…one does not drink brandy, one derives pleasure from it”. Tsitsernakaberd memorial and museum to the 1915 Genocide, one of the most impressive monuments in Yerevan. Lunch in Armenian Traditional Restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 2, September 4, Tuesday: Bread making day. Breakfast served. Ashtarak, where we can find numerous churches and various ancient buildings at every turn; Artashavan - New Complex of Armenian Letters: “It is difficult to express the deep feeling Armenians have for their language, which many regard as the lifeblood of their culture”, Saghmosavank Monastery perch on the edge of the precipitous gorge of the Kasakh river. Oshakan – most famous as the last resting place of Mesrop Mashtots; Lunch and traditional table/lavash making is loved and famous all over the country. Armenian cuisine without lavash simply does not exist. Not without a reason the expressions meaning to eat, have dinner, have breakfast, have supper in Armenia are replaced with one – “to eat bread”.
Our first task is making our own Armenian bread. It's not easy task but the grandmother of the family, where we will experience the true hospitality of the Armenian people, will show the techniques used in making this bread. Roll up your sleeves and proceed our doing for today, we need to open the soft dough into broad sheets no thicker than 3-4mm by rolling pin after we have to bake the draw-stretch-open sheet in a tonir. Until today this thin bread is baked using traditional Armenian way – in tonirs with dry grapevines - a traditional Armenian hearth. Now it's the time to feel the real taste of fresh lavash. "Eat thy bread with joy". Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 3, September 5, Wednesday: Dolma making day. Breakfast served. Today we embark on our Journey to the lands of ancient treasures of Christian history…the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, It's the "religious capital" of the Armenian Church and the seat of the Supreme Patriarch-Catholics of all Armenians. It has 4 main churches, including the Cathedral. Built in 303AD, the cathedral is a masterpiece of Armenian classical architecture and considered to be one of the world’s earliest Christian churches. Admire Hripsime and Gayane Churches (7th c) named after faithful virgins. In this holy place we’ll visit one very unusable cultural, traditional area for Dolma making and Lunch.
Dolma is an Armenian traditional and delicious dish. It’s stuffed kind of meal. First we have to prepare the the filling, in a medium mixing bowl we combine the rice with the meat, tomato paste, lemon juice, spices and salt. Before rolling let’s taste and correct seasoning. And start the surfacing decoration of Dolma. We take and place about a tablespoon of the filling along the stem end of each grape leaf, fold over the sides, and roll from the stem up to form a sausage-like roll. Cover the bottom of the pan with some of the leftover leaves. Although it takes time and effort to make, it is very delicious. It depends on season we can make Summer Dolma with cabbage leaves, eggplants, tomatoes and peppers.
Day 4, September 6, Thursday: Harisa making day. Breakfast served and Check out. Driving to Sevan - Dilijan. We are ready to visit Lake Sevan – the emerald of Armenia, a beauty under the sky. Lake Sevan is considered to be one of the biggest lakes in the world with sweet water situated at the altitide of 1,897 meters above sea level. Gorgeous view to Lake Sevan is opened from the peninsula atop which Sevan Monastery is nicely nestled dating to 9th centuray. As we are in special lakeside location we’ll have different kind of Lunch. It's easy, fast and tasty! Check in.
On the charming town of Dilijan we’ll enjoy an extraordinary cooking class in a private house with housewife. This special cooking class experience in Dilijan is a "hands-on" lesson based on the preparation of 1st course of dinner - Harisa! For making of Harisa we combine skinless whole wheat kernels with chicken, with a good amount of hot water and broth or a combination, salt, butter, cumin, and if desired, paprika too. The trick is to cook this for a very long time until dinner without stirring until the return from the tour!
Tour to Dilijan: “A piece of Switzerland in Armenia” - Earth and sky, woods and fields, rivers, the mountains are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn otherwise… The old approach in the new century “Old Town Dilijan” complete with craftsmen workshops, small shops with traditional Armenian products and crafts, museum, showing typical 19th century living with all its local customs and handmade wood furnishings 10-13th centuries Goshavank Monastery. Rest time. Dinner! Today it’s much tastier than before! Over to Dilijan.
Day 5, September 7, Friday: Breakfast served - Check out. From the Tavush Region we’ll drive to Lori Region. The nature of the pass between the regions is full of genius, full of the divinity. Just enjoy it! The day will be busy for the visiting of sightseeing in the Lori Province. First we’ll pass through Vanadzor city – the historical and modern center of the province of Lori. Alaverdy - town in a canyon, between Yerevan and Georgian, our visit will start and complete within the Wonderful monasteries Haghpat and Sanahin where artistic merits transcend the limits of the national culture. Lunch on the way. Today we have opportunity to attend“Rock” Concert, which is organized especially in this region for the BBQ festival. Check in. Overnight. Dinner in Lori region.
Day 6, September 8, Saturday: Khorvats (Barbeque) making day. Breakfast served - Check out. Day is special as well we have another interesting event connected with the Armenian traditional meal making process – it’s Khorvats (Barbeque) Festival in Akhtala, where we can have a chance to see in how many different ways Armenians can make Barbeque: “Barbeque in the fireplace”, “Barbeque on the horizontal bar”, “Barbeque in the hole” (shepherd barbeque), “Barbeque in ground oven”, etc. During this festival will be various interesting kind of event as competitions for “The best taste”, “The best look”, “The best idea”, “The best traditional barbeque”, music, dance and etc. Lunch with the taste of BBQ. Return to Yerevan! Check in. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 7, September 9, Sunday: Ghapama tasting day. Breakfast served. Today we will proceed to Garni, the rare pre-Christian pagan temple maintained in Armenia and Garni canyon, with a view magnificent sheer vertical cliffs, whichappear to be a gigantic basalt organ carved in the rocks. Continuing we are driving to Geghard (Cave monastery) architectural complex, rising out from the mountain, carved from one monolithic rock in the 12th-13th centuries. Sing an ancinet hymn while inside; the acoustics in this chamber are extraordinary. Farewell dinner at Armenian Traditional Restaurant. Enjoy it with live Armenian music and Folk Dances, completeing your journey with unforgettable memories!
Day 8, September 10, Monday: Transfer.
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