Listed as one of the best new trekking holidays in Wanderlust magazine, this holiday in Armenia sees you 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.
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. Enjoy varied walks, history, culture, fabulous 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, 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!
Depart the UK and fly to Armenia’s capital city, Yerevan, where you will be met and transferred to a city centre hotel. After dinner, there will be time to relax after the flight.
After breakfast, we meet and take a guided city tour of Yerevan, a mixing pot of old and new, which is best highlighted in the city's architecture. Tonight we will settle at the hotel for a welcome dinner, and leader briefing.
After breakfast, we drive to Goght village (approx 90 minutes) for the start of our first walk in Armenia. Initially there is around 400 metres of continual ascent up a 4WD drive track and out of the Garni Canyon to reach a high plateau (approx 1,900 metres). 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 200 metres to reach the ancient and scenically located Garni Pagan Temple (1,300 metres). Before returning to Yerevan, we will take dinner at an outdoor village restaurant in Garni Village where Lavash (Armenian bread) is baked in a traditional underground oven.
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 no doubt be most welcome!
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 walk to another UNESCO World Heritage Site at Haghpat. The 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 by road to the Armenian Soviet resort town of Dilijan Spa in time for dinner.
We start today's walk from Lake Parz (1,350 metres). The road goes through thick forest and wide meadows, passing several little rivers, 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, about which your guide will tell you more. As the trail rises you should begin to get your first glimpses of the incredible lake of Sevan. After around 375 metres of ascent, the first hill summit is reached and Lake Sevan should be revealed in all its impressive glory beneath you.
This morning you will transfer by road to Aghavnavank Village for the start of today's walk. Taking you through lush forests of fritillaries, veronica and cedar trees, your walk will lead you to Aghavnavank Monastery, set in 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.
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 follow the lake shoreline road for around an hour before turning west and driving along part of the Silk Road to the Selim Pass (2,530 metres), visiting 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 20 kilometres away.
We start our hike from Kaputan village (1,550 metres), from where we hike towards the peak (2,528 metres), and on the way we pass through a beautiful valley from where the scenery opens to Aragats Mount, Mount Arailer and the Geghama range, as well as to the Biblical Mount Ararat. On the way back we descend to a very nice church called Poghos-Petros. (1,500 metres), after which our vehicle transfers us back to Yerevan.
Option 1: Hike from Amberd Fortress to Byurakan. We start the day with a transfer to Amberd fortress (2,200 metres), from where we start our hike towards Byurakan village; the route is about eight kilometres. From Amberd fortress, we descend Arkhashen canyon and, passing the river, we ascend towards the forest and admire the oak trees and pretty flowers. After passing 400-500 metres, we reach Byurakan village.
Option 2: Arai Ler. We start the day with a transfer to Zoravan village, located on the lower slope of Mount Ara. The mountain is a stratovolcanic cone in Armenia with a height of about 2,577 metres. 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 Mount Ara.
In the morning transfer from the hotel to Yerevan Airport, in time for your return international flight. For those wishing to extend their stay in Yerevan, additional nights can be booked for you.
Price and Other Information
- Duration and price excluding international flights: 11 days from £1,379 per person
- Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 11 days from £2,099 per person
- Single room supplement: From £270
- Walking grade: Moderate to Demanding
- Guiding: Guided Group Private-Guided
- Max alt: 2,528m
- Group size: 4-12
When to go: View Dates & Prices
- Hotels x 9 nights, guesthouse x 1 night
- 10 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 10 dinners
- Experienced English speaking guide
|Year||Starts||Ends||Price From (Exc. Flights)||Holiday Status||Options|
|All prices are per person. All our guided group trips have the option to be taken as a private guided itinerary. * Available: this holiday is available to book. ** Guaranteed: this holiday is available to book and is guaranteed to run.|
|2019||29 Jun||9 Jul||£1,379||Available*||Book or Enquire|
|2019||14 Sep||24 Sep||£1,379||Available*||Book or Enquire|
If you can’t see the holiday or departure date that you are looking for please contact us. We may be in the process of finalising further departures and are often able to arrange a holiday for you according to your own requirements.