- May 26 - June 5
- June, 17 - 27
- July, 8 - 17
- August 26 - September 5
- September, 15 - 25
- October, 1 - 11.
Day 1: Yerevan New and Old. The tour starts with a meeting with your tour leader and group participants before heading to an introductory tour of Yerevan. We start our exploration with the Republic Square with it magnificent buildings enhanced by singing fountains, continue to Erebouni Fortress, the birthplace of Yerevan. Take a guided tour of the fortress and explore the impressive ruins and museum. Drive back to city center, stopping at the Railway Station to see the beautiful monument of David of Sasun, national hero. Visit to the famous Closed Market on Mashtots Avenue.
Wonder among the stalls with a variety of fresh, dried and marinated fruits and vegetables, sample some of the delicacies on offer. Proceed to Lake Sevan, visit romantic Sevanavank Monastery, take a walk to Akhtamar trail to take the best photos of Sevan at sunset, visit to Stone Garden famous for its collection of intricate cross-stones, the oldest of which date from the 9th c, rest and overnight.
Overnight: Hotel at Lake Sevan. Includes: (B).
Day 2: Breakfast at hotel and off to the village of Gomer near Ijevan where we take a short transfer to the trailhead. We will spend the day hiking (20 km round trip) in this beautiful wilderness area, no roads, no shops, no TVs, just incredible views and marvelous solitude. A wonderful forested route into the most unspoilt and rugged area of north-eastern Armenia as we head into a deep gorge before descending to cascading waterfalls and the most scenic meadows in Armenia. Follow the hiking trail to reach hidden caves of Lastiver, perhaps Armenia's best-kept secret.
All the time we have open views of the beautiful green plateau of Lastiver. A fitting finale for the day full of impressions is a well-deserved dinner at a farmhouse in Akner where villagers adhere to their traditional ways of life, overnight at farmhouse. Optional: you have the option of exploring the stunning scenery of the nature park on horseback. Overnight: Farmhouse at Akner. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 3: Hiking in Kurtan Gorge, Lori. We travel by car to Kurtan village with a small 5th century basilica church, the start of our descent through the dramatically beautiful gorge, one of the deepest and longest in Armenia, home to hundreds of wildflowers. We spend about 2 hours walking to the 7th century Hnevank, a splendid monastery decorated with fine stone carvings. We continue to the junction of Dzoraget and Gargar rivers, time to walk around the dam and enjoy expansive views of the mountains. Here under huge chestnut trees, by a mountain spring we enjoy our lunch.
We continue through small villages of Dzoraget and Vahagni, time has more or less passed them by and life goes on as it has for generations. Do not miss the chance of buying fresh berries the area is famous for or simply chatting with the friendly locals. On to Dsegh, the birthplace of poet Hovhannes Tumanyan, our walk takes us to a high point where we can overlook the canyon hundreds of feet below. We explore nearby Karasun Mankats Vank and graveyard with Sirun Khach (beautiful cross), a unique cross-stone with the figure of the Christ, one of the four preserved in Armenia (route length 9 km). Evening drive to Byurakan, check in and good rest to prepare for tomorrow's trek at Mount Aragats. Overnight: Hotel in Byurakan. Includes: (B).
Day 4: Mount Aragats. Early morning start your trek to Mount Aragats (4,090 m), an extinct volcano, the highest peak of Lesser Caucasus. Reach Stone Lake whose waters glitter like polished mirror in the sunlight. Our local guides at Aragats have plenty of experience getting travelers to the Southern peak (3,879 m), whatever your physical fitness and age. A steep hike up is rewarded by superb panoramas of alpine meadows of rare beauty. If you're still keen for more, we will scramble up to the Western peak (4,080 m) for unbelievable views of endless crisp blue sky and Mount Ararat in the distance.
Continue our exploration of Aragats with a trip to medieval Amberd Fortress driving through camps of Yezidi ethnic group living in high mountains in summer, grazing sheep and goats on mountain pastures. Discover the traditional way of life of these "people of the mountains", visit their homes, try fresh cheese and yogurt. Back to Byurakan. Overnight: Hotel in Byurakan. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Khosrov Nature Park. In the morning drive to Geghard, explore legendary Monastery of Spear and Garni Temple of Sun, the only standing Hellenistic temple in the Caucasus. We start the hike in Khosrov Nature Reserve, a vast forest associated with the name of King Khosrov (4th c. AD) during whose time forest plantings and grounds for royal hunt were established. The reserve is unique in the Caucasus due to its diverse flora nad fauna with many rare and endangered species including Caucasian leopard, Armenian mouflon, bezoar goat and black vulture.
Rich historical heritage is another reason why we spend a two full days hiking in this area. The length of today's trail is 9 km, duration about 6-8 hours. We start at the junction of Vedi and Khosrov rivers and continue to Tapi Fortress with ongoing conservation activities and following the course of Khosrov river we will reach Khosrov abandoned village surrounded by forests and remnants of rare cross stones. The trail continues to explore unique natural monuments such as homogenous dense oak forest, mountainous slopes with skeletal stones and an impressive mountain called Trchnaberd.
In the evening we will reach the park shelter also used for tourist accommodation, there are only 8 places in the shelter, the rest of the group will camp around the shelter. Tents that fit 2 people, inflatable air mattresses and sleeping bags are provided. Dinner will be served at the campfire. There is a shower at the campsite and toilet facilities are basic but it is worth staying in this remote place. Optional: you have the option of exploring the stunning scenery of the nature park on horseback. Overnight: Camp or Lodge at Khosrov. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Khosrov Nature Park. Early start today to hike in Khachadzor area offering a complete change of scene from lush forests to rocky mountains. Very few visitors venture into this little explored landscape and human influence now is limited to small fish-farming communities and occasional historic monuments. Transfer by 4WD vehicles to the trailhead. The length of the trail is 18.5 km, duration around 8 hours. We will explore Spitak Monastery in the spectacular Mankuk river canyon with breathtaking views of Sakraberd Fortress on a mountainous plateau with almost vertical walls from three sides as well as twin lakes of Jghin, fantasy of nature.
Rare alpine flowers line our trail snaking its way up to rocky viewpoints where we gain impressive views of the surrounding landscape, bizarre rocks and weirdly sculptured erosions add to the impressions. The drive back takes us to the park shelter where we spend our last night in the reserve. Optional: you have the option of exploring the stunning scenery of the nature park on horseback. Overnight: Camp or Lodge at Khosrov. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Hidden Trails of Southern Armenia. We begin our exploration of Southern Armenia. After breakfast and a good look around we head south and reach the fertile valley of Yeghegis river where we hike to isolated Tsakhats Kar Monastery, an enchanting site hidden between the mountains and Smbataberd, a well-preserved medieval citadel built by King Smbat (12 km round trip). The setting of Smbataberd is perhaps the most beautiful in Armenia, with Arpi river valley at your feet. Drive to the south. First however, we will stop at Areni open market for coffee and lunch. You have free time to stroll around before we drive to Kapan for rest and overnight. Overnight: Hotel in Kapan. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Shikahogh Nature Reserve. Breakfast and leave very early to travel into the deep Armenian wilderness - an environment, which has barely changed for hundreds of years. Today's hike takes us to the remotest nature park of Armenia, Shikahogh Reserve and Plane Grove Sanctuary. Opened to ecotourism only recently, the park is one of the few places in Armenia where pristine broadleaf forests have survived. Rugged terrain, crystal-clear streams, cliffs and deep gorges are unforgettable. The cultural environment still retains ancient traditions and customs; caves and ruins of abandoned settlements, fortresses and churches are open to exploration.
The start of our route is Tsav village, from where we walk to the ancient settlement of Sananlu. Al fresco lunch en route. Later we follow River Mtnadzor southwards to the abandoned Mtnadzor village and church. Mtnadzor area retains the virgin oak forest, one of the most picturesque and untouched parts of the reserve where wildlife (roe deer Capreolus capreolus, wild boars Sus scrofa, brown bears Ursus arctos) can be spotted. We return by 4WD cars to Tsav village where we have dinner and sleep at a camp. The route length is 12 km, duration is 8 hours and it's a totally absorbing experience. Optional: you have the option of exploring the stunning scenery of the nature park on horseback. Overnight: Camp at Shikahogh. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Yerevan. Breakfast and free time for short walks in Shikahogh, later we say farewell to our hosts for whom we are rare visitors and drive back to Yerevan. Scheduled stops along the route break up the journey including a visit to Noravank, the masterpiece of medieval architect Momik situated above an awesome gorge and Khor Virap historical site near the border with Turkey. This is one of the most magnificent monastic sites in Europe, which illustrates the Spartan existence of the first Christians. Overnight: Hotel in Yerevan. Includes: (B).
Day 10: Free Day in Yerevan. Free day to explore Yerevan: the cultural sites, the National Gallery, or last minute shopping at Vernisage! Overnight: Hotel in Yerevan. Includes: (B).
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Europe Armenia Outdoor: Land Rambler Hiking & Trekking Cultural Journey