The Best of Armenia/8 days
Discover how the former Soviet republic Armenia has blossomed into cosmopolitan visitor-friendly destinations on this action-packed tour of the Caucasus. Discover UNESCO-listed churches and monasteries in the worlds first Christian country – Armenia. Enjoy a vast variety of scenery from alpine slopes to dramatic gorges, dense forest to serene lakes, mineral-rich waterfalls to the barren slopes of Mount Ararat.
Day 1. Yerevan
On arrival at the airport you’ll be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2. Yerevan - Echmiadzin - Zvarnots - Yerevan
After breakfast we begin our city tour of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Yerevan is older than Rome, making it one of the oldest cities in the world. Our first stop will be at the city’s history museum before we move on to the remarkable Matenadaran Library. It has a collection of 17,000 rare items and is one of the world’s oldest repositories of Greek, Persian and Arabic manuscripts. Later, we’ll have the opportunity to taste Armenia’s favourite drink, cognac, with a tour of a brandy factory. Leaving Yerevan, we drive to the centuries-old monuments of Echmiadzin and Zvartnots, which are both listed on UNESCO World Heritage list. The Cathedral of Echmiadzin, built in 303AD, is still an official residence of Armenian Catholicos to this day. Today’s programme concludes at Zvartnots, the Temple of Vigil Forces or Heavenly Angels, constructed from the 7th century onwards. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 3. Yerevan - Khor Virap - Noravank - Areni - Tatev - Goris
After breakfast, we’ll head out to Khor Virap Monastery, which dates from the 4th century. This monastery is associated with Gregory the Illuminator, credited with introducing Christianity to Armenia. Here you can enjoy a spectacular view of Armenia’s most enduring symbols: sacred Ararat Mountain. We continue the tour to Noravank, a twelfth century monastery perched on a lofty ledge set into the sheer cliff face of a meandering gorge. Moving on, you’ll visit Areni village to taste some local wine. Next, we drive to Goris, where we will have a memorable excursion to the ancient Tatev Monastery. To reach it, we’ll have to catch the world’s longest non-stop reversible cable car. Tatev Monastery, constructed in the 9th century, is a former centre for the sciences and the arts. These days the complex consists of three churches, a refectory, a library, a vault and several residences. Spectacular canyons surround the monastery. Overnight in Goris.
Day 4. Goris - Selim Caravanserai - Noratus - Yerevan
Today, following breakfast, we’ll travel to Sevan, taking the Selim Pass, through which the Great Silk Road passed. Our stop is at Selim Caravanserai, built in the 14th century to look after weary travellers and their animals as they crossed from, or into, the mountainous Vayots Dzor region. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 5. Yerevan - Garni - Geghard - Yerevan
After breakfast, we’ll take a trip to Garni. We’ll stroll along the edge of the canyon, past the beautiful columnar basalt 9th century stone bridge over the Azat River. The path takes us to Garni the Pagan Temple, built in the 1st century AD. This ruined temple was destroyed in 1679 by an earthquake, but restored in 1975. Afterwards, we’ll head to Geghard Monastery, which takes its name from the legendary lance that was used to pierce the body of Christ, and which was kept here for centuries. Though the exact date of the monastery’s foundation is undetermined, the present complex was built in the mid 13th century. Afterwards we’ll take you to a local house where you will have the chance to watch and participate in the preparation of the Armenian bread, lavash, before heading back to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 6. Yerevan - Sevan - Dilijan - Haghpat
Today, following a tasty breakfast, we’ll leave Yerevan bound for Lake Sevan, the pearl of Armenia, which is located at a height of about 2,000m and is one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world. We will also visit the Monastery of Sevanavank situated in the Sevan Peninsula. After Sevan, our tour continues to Dilijan. We’ll enjoy a tour of this pretty resort and spa town which sits in a beautiful forested location in the midst of the area known as Armenian Switzerland. From there, we’ll drive to Yerevan. Overnight.
Day 7. Yerevan – free day
Breakfast in the hotel. Free day
Day 8. Yerevan
Breakfast in the hotel before your transfer to the airport.