Walks Europe Armenia Beyond the Silk Road

Beyond the Silk Road / Group Tour

11 days | From £1350 | Guided Group and Private Guided departures

Listed as one of the best new trekking holidays in Wanderlust magazine. Trek in the shadow of Ararat in a land of dramatic canyons, volcanic formations, turquoise lakes, lush forests, expansive highlands and spectacular mountains where East meets West.

11 days | From £1350 | Guided Group and Private Guided departures

  • Trek above Lake Sevan
  • Hike close to the Turkish border and see views of Mount Ararat
  • Experience Armenia's rich history, culture and ethnic heritage

Armenia presents the discerning traveller with an excellent backdrop for a trekking and cultural journey through its landscapes and history.

Without doubt, this is one of the best holidays in our entire worldwide portfolio. Varied walks, history, culture, great food and great hospitality in one of the most spectacular and interesting countries that many have never thought to visit.

Trek above dramatic canyons and gorges and meet nomads, enjoy traditional Armenian food, see vultures soar, walk between ancient monasteries, travel the Silk Road and see Lake Sevan - the Titicaca of Armenia.

All of this in just 11 days.

Armenia Beyond the Silk Road Map
Day 1. Arrive Yerevan
Depart from UK and fly to Armenia's capital city, Yerevan. On arrival, we will be met and transferred to a city centre hotel. After dinner, there is time to relax after the flight.
Day 2. City tour in Yerevan
After breakfast, we meet and take a guided city tour of Yerevan. Yerevan is a mixing pot of old and new, which is best highlighted in the cities architecture. Tonight we will settle at the hotel for a welcome dinner, and leader briefing.
Day 3. Garni Canyon trek and Garni
After breakfast, we drive to Goght village (approx 90mins) for the start of our first walk in Armenia. Initially there is around 400m of continual ascent up a 4wd drive track and out of the Garni Canyon to reach a high plateau (approx 1900m). As we continue there are breathtaking views down into the canyon and to the strategically located Geghard Monastery below. This afternoon we then begin our descent into the canyon itself. The trail becomes more firm underfoot but the sting in the tail to today's walk is a stiff and steep 200m to reach the ancient and scenically located Garni Pagan Temple (1300m). Before returning to Yerevan, we'll take dinner tonight at an outdoor village restaurant in Garni Village where Lavash (Armenian bread) is baked in a traditional underground oven.
Day 4. Odzun Monastery and Debet canyon
Leaving Yerevan we head for the Lori Region, famous for its handmade carpets. Today's walk will begin at the 6th Century Odzun Monastery above the Debet Canyon, one of the best preserved examples in Armenia. From Odzun we descend part way into the canyon down a series of rough stone steps (the original way to the monastery). We then follow a narrow, ancient and at times overgrown trail along the side of the canyon, although now mostly level this is an incredibly atmospheric walk as we contour along the canyon hillside. We continue to contour and more of the extent of this massive canyon is revealed as it becomes increasingly wider. We then descend to the canyon floor down an old rocky footpath that zig-zags its way down. Emerging onto the road, there's a small local bar, where the option of cold beer/soft refreshment will be no doubt most welcome.
Day 5. Rural walk from Sanahin to Haghpat
Today we have the opportunity to discover the more rural side of Armenia, whilst remaining in the charming Lori region. A drive of approximately one hour takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Sanahin, and from here we'll be walking to another UNESCO World Heritage site at Haghpat. With views across the Debed gorge are incredible with a 'Lost World' like plateau and soaring limestone peaks on the other side. Our route through this bucolic landscape affords us the opportunity to witness a way of life long since past in most of Europe. The descent to the valley floor is relatively short, but steep on a sometimes muddy trail. It's then up to Haghpat by way of an old horse and cart road that is mostly gradual ascent. After a look at the monastery we transfer to the Armenian soviet resort town of Dilijan Spa by road in time for dinner.
Day 6. Lake Parz and Goshavank complex
We start todays walk from Lake Parz (1350 m). The road goes through thick forest and wide meadows, passing several little rivers and with views of the beautiful scenery opening towards Ijevan Mountain Range. From the beautiful meadow we descend to the village of Gosh where Goshavank monastery is beautifully nestled. We drive to Lake Sevan on the way just past an unpronounceable named village, which is in fact populated entirely by Russians whom observe quite an austere way of life, which your guide will tell you more about. As the trail rises you should begin to get your first glimpses of the incredible lake of Sevan. After around 375m of ascent the first hill summit is reached and Lake Sevan should be revealed in all its impressive glory beneath you.
Day 7. Dilijan National Park hike
This morning you will drive to Aghavnavank Village for the start of your walk. Taking you through lush forests of fritillaries, veronica and cedar trees, your walk will b lead you to Aghavnavank Monastery, set the enchanting Dilijan National Park. With its nickname 'Small Switzerland of Armenia', Dilijan is on of the most famous resorts in the country. This afternoon you have the chance to visit the home of a local artist to observe his work and enjoy a cup of coffee. You will also visit the Haghartsin Monastery, nestled within the forest and on a mountain side.
Day 8. A fascinating day on the Silk Road
In order for us to gain an appreciation of other aspects of Armenian heritage we need to take a day off from walking and do a spot of touring instead. In a beautifully photogenic location, the Sevanavank Monastery is set on a peninsula in Lake Sevan. We then follow the lake shore line road for around an hour before turning west and driving along part of the Silk Road to the Selim Pass (2530m). Viisiting a Caravanserai at Selim that dates back to 1332. Marco Polo is known to have passed through this way too. Driving down into the valley and close to the border with Iran, the temperatures rise once more. Heading uphill once again to Noravank Monastery. We'll leave you to contemplate what an incredible feat it must have been to construct this monastery in such a location in the 13th Century as you enjoy the spectacular views. We then head into the Ararat Valley dominated by Mount Ararat itself. Our final stop is Khor Virab Monastery, this is as close as we can get you to Mount Ararat, which is now only 20km away.
Day 9. Climb Mt. Hatis
We start our hike from Kaputan village (1550 m) (the car takes us there), and from here we hike towards the peak (2528 m), and on the way we pass through beautiful valley from where the scenery opens to Aragats mount, Arailer, Geghama range as well as to Biblical mount Ararat. On the way back we descend to a very nice church called Poghos-Petros. (1500 m). Then the vehicle transfer back to Yerevan.
Day 10. Amberd fortress-Byurakan hiking options
Option 1: Hike from Amberd Fortress to Byurakan - Today we start our day with a transfer to Amberd fortress (2200 m). From here we start our hike towards Byurakan village. The route is about 8 km. From Amberd fortress, we descend Arkhashen canyon passing the river we ascend towards the forest where you can admire the oak trees, nice flowers. After passing 400-500 m you?ll find yourself in Byurakan village. Option 2: Arai Ler - Today we start our day with a transfer to Zoravan village located on the lower slope of Mount Ara. The mountain is a stratovolcanic cone in Armenia with the height of about 2577 m. Being not so high and not covered with many green areas it is still very attractive. On our route we'll have an opportunity to visit Tsaghkevanq monastery that is hewn in the rock and is situated on the slope of Moun Ara.
Day 11. Depart Yerevan, arrive UK
In the morning transfer for the hotel to Yerevan Airport, in time for your return international flight. For those, wishing to extend the stay in Yerevan, additional nights can be booked for you.
  • Trip grade: B/C - Moderate/demanding
  • Duration: 10 days
  • Trip code: TBSR
  • group size: 4 - 12 (Max)
  • Max Altitude: 2528m
  • accommodation: Hotels x 8 nts
  • meals: 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 10 dinners
  • Departs: June, July, September
  • important: Make sure your chosen holiday is guaranteed to run before you purchase your air tickets and make any other travel arrangements