On foot in Armenia

10 days / 9 nights

1

Day 1: Arrival in Yerevan – Transfer to the hotel (-/-/-)

Arrival at the Yerevan airport. Meeting with guide and driver.
Transfer to the hotel. Accommodation.
Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

2

Day 2: Yerevan (City tour) – Garni – Havuts Tar – Garni - Geghard – Yerevan (B/L/D)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.
Start overall city tour on foot in Yerevan.
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia, and one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Yerevan is older than Rome for 29 years. Situated on the left-bank (along the river Araks) part of the Ararat valley Yerevan offers breathtaking views of holy mountain Ararat. The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC. In 2018 Yerevan celebrated its 2800th anniversary.

Drive to Kotayk region. Visit open-air museum of Garni pagan temple. It is the only surviving monument of the Hellenistic period in Armenia. The temple is dedicated to the God of the sun Mithra and was built in the 2nd half of the 1st c AD during the reign of king Tiridates I. Garni pagan temple has unique design and is the only type of temple across the Caucasus and the former Soviet Union.
Start hike from the temple to Havuts Tar monastery complex (11-13th cc.) through the Azat river gorge.

Garni temple is situated on a high hill (height above sea level is 1413 m) and behind the hill you can find an unforgettable view of the canyon of the Azat river. So you are going to hike along the canyon to see cliff walls of well-preserved basalt columns. These wonderful basalt rocks seem to be artificial – so much beautiful they are. For their beauty rocks are called «Symphony of the stones».

The Havuts Tar monastery complex is located to the east of Garni on the left bank of the Azat River and was one of the major religious and cultural centres of medieval Armenia. This formidable 11th century walled monastery stands half ruined on an outcrop across the Garni River gorge from the village of Goght.

Lunch in a peasant house in Garni village.

Geghard Monastery, which is cut into the rock (13th c), is one of the most famous medieval monasteries in Armenia. The complex of medieval buildings is set into a landscape of great natural beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs at the entrance to the Azat river valley. According to the legend, the monastery housed the spear which had wounded Christ on the Cross and from which comes its present name, Geghardavank (the Monastery of the Spear). Allegedly it was brought there by the Apostle Thaddeus, first recorded in a document of 1250. The church with its surrounding structures is included in the UNESCO World Cultural heritage List.

Hiking Route: Garni – Azat river gorge – Havuts Tar – Garni
Hiking distance: 11 km / 6,5 miles
Hiking duration: 4 hrs
Elevation: Garni 1380m – Azat river goge 1220m – Havuts Tar 1600m
Ascent: 300m, Descent: 250m

Drive back to Yerevan.

Welcome dinner in typical Armenian restaurant with Armenian folk music and dances.

Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

3

Day 3: Yerevan – Khor Virap – Yeghegis – Smbataberd - Tsakhats Kar - Sisian (B/L/D)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.

Today’s excursion will take you to Ararat region. Here Khor Virap monastery (meaning “deep pit” or “deep well”) is located. The monastery was host to a theological seminary and was the residence of Armenian Catholicos. Khor Virap’s notability as a monastery and pilgrimage site is attributed to the fact that Saint Gregory the Illuminator has been imprisoned here for 13 years. A chapel was initially built in 642 AD at the site of Kirat Virap by Nerses III the Builder as a mark of veneration to Saint Gregory. Lunch.

We drive to Yeghegis village from where we start our hike to the 10th century Castle of King Smbat nestled on top of a mountain. Once we get there we feel as if we are on the roof of the world.

Smbataberd (Smbatavan) castle lies to the southeast of Artabuink village (old Yeghegis) on top of a narrow mountain top. From here you can also see the village of Yeghegis (old Alayaz). On three sides the castle is protected by the ridge. The wall made it impregnable for most of its life, the mountain is approached only on its north end.

Hiking route: Yeghegis – Smbataberd – Tsakhats Kar
Hiking distance: 12 km
Hiking duration: 4-4.5 hrs.
Elevation: Artabuynk 1680m – Smbataberd 1970m
Ascent: 400m, Descent: 400m

Drive to Sisian. Free time. Overnight in the hotel.

4

Day 4: Sisian – Ltsen – Tatev (B/L/D)

Sisian. Breakfast in the hotel.

Transfer to Syunik, the southern province of Armenia. Drive to Ltsen village and start hiking towards the village of Tatev. The road passes through the oak and hornbeam forests, singing forest birds accompanying you along the entire route. Start your day ascending, and after walking for about 8 kilometers, we will start descending to the Tatev village, where the 9th- century Tatev Monastic Complex is located.

In a small village named Ltsen (located in Syunik Province) there is a marvelous place few people have heard of. The villagers call it “Anapat” (desert). It is full of unknown mysteries and secrets. Ltsen is fascinating, and attracts tourists throughout the year for good reason. Anapat is a sacred place and it is necessary to take water with you from the nearby Armaghan water spring.

Start your hiking to Tatev. On your way have lunch.

And here you are on the territory of Tatev monastery. The monastic ensemble stands on the edge of a deep gorge of the Vorotan River. In a sunny day you will witness such a beautiful view.

Hiking Route: Ltsen – Tatev
Hiking distance: 16 km/5-6 hours
Elevation: Ltsen 1550m – Tatev village 1550m
Ascent: 280 m, Descent: 200 m

Drive to Tatev. Overnight in the hotel.

5

Day 5: Tatev – Devil’s bridge - Halidzor – Goris (B/L/D)

Tatev. Breakfast in the hotel.

Taking Tatever cableway (included in the Guinness World records as the world’s “longest non-stop double track cable car”) start your hiking to Tatevi Mets Anapat (Great Hermitage of Tatev) build in 17-18th centuries. It was a religious and educational center found by monks from Harants Anapat. Continue to natural beauty: Devil’s bridge.

Devil’s Bridge located 150m above the Vorotan river, is considered one of the natural wonders of Armenia. It is a natural “roof” that overhangs the frantic waters beneath. The Gorge, with two steep yellow-red slopes, stretches down to meet the edges of the bridge. The cliffs are so close to each other that they create just a narrow corridor, 180-200 meters in width.
For centuries, people used this water for various purposes, especially for the treatment of rheumatic diseases. Formerly, at a loss for an explanation of its geological processes, locals simply considered it the devil’s deed, giving this formation its name.

Start your hiking to Halidzor village. Halidzor Fortress is located 5km southwest of Kapan, Halidzor was built in the 10th century as a monastery. In the beginning of the 18th century, Armenian military commander David Bek turned the ancient monastery into an unassailable fortress and a symbol of many victories.

Hiking Route: Tatev village –– Tatevi Mets Anapat – Devil’s bridge
Hiking duration: 3 – 3.5 hours
Elevation: Tatev village 1550m – Tatevi Mets Anapat/ Devil’s bridge 1000m
Descent: 600m

Drive to Goris. Overnight in the hotel.

6

Day 6: Goris –Khndzoresk - Karahunj – Shaki waterfall – Selim caravanserai - Sevan (B/L/D)

Goris. Breakfast in the hotel.

After breakfast start your trip to Khndzoresk – a cave village with a large cave system. There are a very large number of caves, although most of them are manmade and rather small.

There is a 160-meter long swinging bridge that was built using nothing more than local funds and labor in 2012 and which shakes with every footstep. The new bridge connects Old Khndzoresk and New Khndzoresk, the modern village, linking Armenia’s history with the present both figuratively and literally.

Visit to Karahunj (also called Zorats Karer) – a prehistoric archaeological site near the city of Sisian in the Syunik province of Armenia. It is alike famous Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England and Carnac Stones in Carnac, France. The phrase Zorats Karer is translated from Armenian as “Worrier Stones or Stone Army”. The stones make whistling sounds on a windy day, presumably because of multiple reach-through holes bored under different angles into the stones in prehistoric times.

Shaki Waterfall is situated in Armenia, above Lake Shaki. According to the legend, enemies kidnapped 93 beauties from the Gegharkuni village for their commander, who had stopped in Mughan with his army. When the caravan of captives was on the spot, ladies turned to the invader with request: “The road was long and exhausting. We got dusty and dirty. Let us have a bath in the river and then only show up to your majors.” The invaders agreed. The ladies undressed and jumped into the River Vorotan. They sank and disappeared. Only blue-eyed lady, named Shake, swam across the river, trying to escape. The invaders managed to catch up with her, but on that very moment a rock appeared under her and the water, flowing above the rock, hid her under its foams. After that story, the waterfall and the village, where it is located were called Shaki.

Drive to Selim Caravanserai. In medieval Armenia many buildings were built along commercial routes for the accommodation of travelers. According to an inscription in Armenian and Arabic, one of those, the caravanserai of Selim, was built in 1332 by Prince Chesar Orbelian. This caravanserai offered hospitality to travelers along the highway crossing the Selim (Sulema) mountains. Being the best preserved of all medieval caravanserais in Armenia, it comprises a vaulted antechamber and a large hall partitioned into three sections lighted through openings in the ceiling. This building is an excellent example of Armenian secular architecture in the Middle Ages.

Next thing to be admired is Sevan Lake, the “blue-eyed beauty” of Armenia. Being one of the biggest highland freshwater lakes in the world it is 1900 m above sea level. The tour will continue along the coast of Lake Sevan to the peninsula. After rising to the peninsula, you will see the monastery of Sevanavank (IX cent.). An amazing view to the lake and surrounding beauties opens from the hill. The monastery of Sevan (Sevanavank), which stands on what was once an island of the same name, can be dated to the 9th-10th centuries. For several hundred years, as an important spiritual centre, housing many monks, it has been visited by thousands of pilgrims from all parts of Armenia.

Hiking Route: Old Khndzoresk village, Shaki waterfall
Elevation: Old Khndzoresk 1200m-1400m
Khndzoresk – Ascent: 200 m, Descent: 180 m – 2- 2.5 hrs
Shaki waterfall – Ascent: 180m, Descent: 160m – 2 hrs

Overnight in the hotel in Sevan.

7

Day 7: Sevan – Tsovagyux – Geghatap – Gosh Lake – Goshavank - Dilijan (B/L/D)

Sevan. Breakfast in the hotel.

Early in the morning start your hiking to Tsovagyux then continue to Lake Gosh passing from Geghatap village.

Lake Gosh is located in the heart of the Dilijan Reserve. The name of the pond comes from the village named after the outstanding Armenian writer and public figure Mkhitar Gosh, who lived in the 12th-13th centuries. Dense forests stretches around the lake. This place is loved both by tourists and by the residents of Armenia due to the rich nature and picturesque views.

Lunch near Goshavank.

Goshavank was erected in the place of an older monastery once known as Nor Getik, which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1188. Mkhitar Gosh, a statesman, scientist and author of numerous fables and parables as well as the first criminal code, took part in the rebuilding of the monastery.

Hiking Route: Tsovagyux – Geghatap – Gosh lake – Goshavank
Hiking duration: 6-7 hours
Elevation: Gosh lake 1410 m
Ascent: 509 m, Descent: 1400m

Drive back to Dilijan. Overnight in the hotel in Dilijan.

8

Day 8: Dilijan – Echmiadzin – Zvartnots -Yerevan (B/L/D)

Dilijan. Breakfast in the hotel.

Visit to Echmiadzin Cathedral – the first Christian church in the world. Echmiadzin has been one of the most important locations (not only religiously) in Armenia since its foundation. The cathedral complex is called the “Armenian Vatican” for its significance. The Echmiadzin Cathedral was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000 along with several important early medieval churches located nearby.

On the way back to Yerevan you will visit Zvartnots temple (means “celestial angels”) 7th century wonderful architectural masterpiece. The remnants of Zvartnots, even in ruins, are a majestic sight. These sights are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The site has been the focus of worship from pre-Christian times. Excavations also uncovered Urartian temple foundations, a sacrificial alter and a large cuneiform stone celebrating the construction of a large canal system during the reign of King Russa II. The canal system, connecting to the Hrazdan River, is still in use.

Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

9

Day 9: Yerevan – Lake Kari – Mount Aragats - Amberd -Yerevan (B/L/D)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel.

Early in the morning drive to the mountainous Lake Kari (3200m). Get ready for hiking to the southern summit of the highest mountain of Armenia and South Caucasus. Mt. Aragats with its unique nature has sub-alpine and alpine zones as well as four peaks and one of the biggest craters in the world, created by a volcano eruption in the distant past. The highest northern peak is 4090m. We are ascending the southern one (3880m). Descend from the mountain and return to the capital Yerevan

On your way to Yerevan you will visit the fortress Amberd (8th c). Amberd is one of the rare witnesses of Armenian military architecture of the Middle Ages. During the walk you can enjoy the scenery of colorful alpine meadows and mountain.

Hiking route: Lake Kari – Aragats southern summit 3880m – Lake Kari
Hiking distance: 9 km / 5.5 miles
Hiking duration: 6-7 hrs
Elevation: Kari Lich (Stone Lake) 3200 m – Southern summit 3879 m – Western summit 4,080m
Ascent: 700m, Descent: 700m.

Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight in the hotel.

10

Day 10: Departure (B/-/-)

Yerevan. Breakfast in the hotel (depending on the time of departure). Transfer to the Yerevan Airport. Departure.

6 pax8 pax10 pax12 pax
DBL / TWN1054 EUR958 EUR900 EUR862 EUR
SGL1229 EUR1133 EUR1075 EUR1036 EUR

Hotels:
Yerevan: Silachi 3*
Sisian: Basen 
Tatev: Saro B&B
Goris: Mthnadzor 
Sevan: Noy Land
Dilijan: Art Guest House

Price includes:
• Transfers;
• Comfortable transportation with air conditioning system;
• Accommodation in DBL\TWIN rooms in the hotels on BB basis;
• Professional English-speaking hiking guide’s service;
• Local attendants’ service;
• Lunch* 8;
• Dinner* 7;
• Welcome dinner with folk show* 1;
• “Tatever” ropeway ticket (one-way) (Day 5);
• Entrance fees as per program;
• Water 0,5l p/p for excursion days.

Price excludes:
• Air ticket;
• Medical insurance;
• Personal expenses.

Please note:
• Some changes may appear in the program according to arrival/departure time and weather conditions.

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