Once Tonino Guerra said that Armenia is a journey upward. It is a journey through Armenia, which later becomes essays and travel notes.
What do we understand by saying “a journey to Armenia”? Walking in Yerevan? Or seeing Ararat? Or exploring Khachkars? Trying national food? Communicating with local people? Spending the night in a village house? Climbing mountains? Feeling the nature?
The answer is very simple: all the above mentioned and something more. We are offering for you to discover Armenia through hiking. Our trips are accompanied by stories about the history and visiting the landmarks. Every time you reach a medieval fortress or an ancient church, you are travelling through time and space. Touching the stones, you touch the history of ancient Armenia. And the overnights in a rustic atmosphere will help you to understand modern Armenia, to see it from within and feel the whole colorite.
Day 1: Yerevan
Meet the group at the airport and transfer to the hotel. The participants introduce themselves to each other and then we will go to a city tour. During the walking tour we’ll explore the city architecture, and see the landmarks, which are the hallmark of Armenia.
Day 2 / On the Road to South Armenia
In the morning of the second day we will move to South Armenia. On our way we will see a well known and significant temple – Khor Virap. The temple is built on a deep pit, where in the 4th century Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for almost 15 years. We’ll go down to that place and try to feel the spirits of the past. From Khor Virap there’s a good view of Mount Ararat.
Next we will have a stop in Areni, to try the famous wines of Vayots Dzor.
An Alpine Fortress on the Edge of the Cliff
Chronologically walking in the history we appear in the 5th century, when Smbataberd was built, which is one of the best preserved fortresses of Armenia now. It is surrounded by steep rocks from 3 sides and has strong walls with semicircular towers with the height of 8-10 meters and the width of 3-4 meters. There are many stories and legends about this fortress. The stories are connected to one of the greatest kings of Armenia. From here we can clearly see Mount Teksar. After exploring the fortress we will continue our trip to a village, which once was a fortified medieval town.
Day 3 / Along the Slopes of Teksar Mountains
In the morning we’ll start with a hike from narrow gorges up to the monastery, loacted on the slopes of the Teksar mountains. The whole Vayots Dzor will be seen from a bird’s eye view during this trip. Passing the ridge, we’ll go down by a different road, where the microbus will be waiting for us.
Day 4 / Phantoms of Vorotan Gorge
After the breakfast we will move to Syunik region and on our way we’ll visit the famous Carahunge. Until now scientists couldn’t figure out what for was Carahunge built. We’ll continue our way and descend to Vorotan Gorge, where we will see several abandoned villages with huge houses carved out of the rock. After witnessing all these you can easily believe that people once lived in the caves, and imagine how hard it was to live in such conditions.
And again we’ll travel through time and move to a Village Khndzoresk. Old Khndzoresk – a village spread over about 3 km on the slopes of the deep gorge, was one of the most populous villages of Syunik region. In the 20 century the settlement was moved to the top of the cliff. One can reach Old Khndzoresk only by the long rocking suspension bridge, passing over a deep gorge. The bridge itself is a landmark and attracts not only tourist, but the local people as well.
Day 5 / Wings of Tatev & Devil’s Bridge
In the morning we will cross the deep Vorotan Gorge on the world’s longest ropeway, which will take us straight to Tatev monastery. Tatev monastery is one of the must-see places of Armenia.
“Wings of Tatev” was recorded by Guiness World Records as the world’s longest non-stop double track cable car. The record was not only the length 5 752 meters, but the construction time as well – only 10 months. The ropeway is passing over the Vorotan River Gorge and connecting two villages – Halidzor and Tatev. At its highest point over the gorge, the car travels 320 m above ground level.
From the monastery we’ll walk down to Vorotan gorge and after a short hike we will reach the monastery Tatevi Mets Anapat (Great Hermitage of Tatev). From here we will continue our way to the Devil’s Bridge. Devil’s Bridge is the only bridge made by the nature itself. There are stalactite formations and natural “baths” of mineral water. If the weather would be hot, you can swim in those natural baths.
So passing through the centuries, we will reach, let’s say, the late medieval period and visit the Noravank monastery, which the locals also call the Red monastery. The gorge where the monastery is situated is known for its steep red cliffs, towering behind the monastery. Here in Soviet times a rock climbing championship took place. Noravank is also known for its bas-relief where the image of God is.
Day 6 / Climbing Aragats
The medieval fortress Amberd is located on the slopes of Aragats. After observing the complex we will go to Kari Lake. The Alpine lake is situated at the height of 3200m, on the plateau, under the mountain peaks. And from here we will start climbing mount Aragats.
An extinct volcano Aragats is powerful with its energy and beauty. It is the highest point of modern day Armenia. It has four peaks. A huge and picturesque crater is situated between them. We are going to climb the Southern peak (3887 m).
Day 7 / Through Sevan to Tavush
Through the mountain passes we’ll go down to a real treasure, which is absolutely beyond time, to eternal and magnificent lake Sevan. The lake is on the height of 1900 meters. People call it the pearl of Armenian mountains and this metaphor reflects the whole essence of the attitude to lake Sevan. The lake, surrounded by mountains, is changing all the time depending on the season, and reflecting the slightest change in the weather, even because of the movement of the clouds, because of light and shadows, it may change beyond recognition. However, you should see all these with your own eyes, to understand.
Continuing the theme of lakes, we’re moving to another mountain lake lost in the forests. Starting our trip from a lake and through the mountains , surrounded by thick forests, going down to village Gosh. One of the biggest monasteries of the region is located here. This is a medieval Armenian monastery complex of the 12-13th centuries. There is a two meter high khachkar in the territory of the monastery, which is recognized as the best for the skillful work of its creator, master Poghos.
Day 8 / Fairy Lastiver
We will start our journey through Khachakhbyur gorge to a fairy place called Lastiver. We will see small houses constructed on the trees, waterfall, caves, where the hermits used to live. This place looks wonderful in every season.
Day 9 / Sunny Yerevan
Before leaving we will have time to have a walk in Yerevan. There is a market known as “Vernisazh” very close to Republic Square. Here you can get souvenirs and many other things unique to Armenia.
At the end we will exchange contacts and transfer you to the airport.
The price includes:
- the service of the guide-translators
- transfer from the airport and back
- transportation within Armenia
- food service during the whole tour
- tickets for “History Museum”
- tickets for “Wings of Tatev”
- excursion & degustation in “Areni Wine Factory”
For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.
Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.