Tour overview

7 days/ 6 nights:

Yerevan – Lake Sevan (Sevanavank) – Shaki Waterfall – Tatev Monastery – Goris – Khndzoresk – Carahounge – Areni (Wine Village and Cave) – Yerevan

*Dates Are Flexible

Day 1/Arrival – Yerevan Sightseeing Tour (Erebuni Museum, Yerevan Railway Station, Victory Park, Cascade Complex, Genocide Memorial, Parajanov Museum)

Yerevan is one of the most ancient cities in the world founded in 782 B.C. The city is 29 years older than Rome, is the same age as Babylon and the Assyrian city of Nineveh. It has celebrated its 2800th anniversary in 2018. Despite the fact of having complicated and dramatic history, the city is a home to hospitable people who will always be there to help discover many interesting and fascinating things to do and places to go in Yerevan. Our first stop is the ”Erebuni” Historical and Archaeological Museum-Reserve, which showcases three amazing archaeological sites: Arin Berd, Karmir Blur, and Shengavit, where the history of Yerevan starts. Up in the hill, in the museum area you can find the relicts of the Erebuni fortress which was established by king Argishti in 785–753 B.C., during the time of the ancient Kingdom of Urartu. Then we’ll visit the Yerevan Railway Station with the statue of Sasuntsi Davit – the main hero of Armenian national epic ”Daredevils of Sassoun”. In 2012 the national epic was included in the UNESCO list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. On the way back to downtown it is worth to give a visit to the Cascade Complex and Cafesjian Sculpture Garden. There you can find some of the best Yerevan coffee shops and restaurants for lunch. Then we’ll drive to the Victory Park to see the towering statue of Mother Armeniaone of the biggest and most recognizable statues in Yerevan. There you will have an opportunity to enjoy the panoramic view of city.   After lunch we’ll visit Sergei Parajanov’s Museum. He was one of the 20th century’s greatest artists, filmmakers and film directors, who made significant contribution to Ukrainian, Armenian and Georgian cinema. The museum represents Parajanov’s diverse artistic and literary heritage. Tsiternakaberd Memorial Complex (Swallow’s Fortress) is only 4 km away from the museum. It is Armenia’s official memorial built during the Soviet era, dedicated to the 1.5 millions of victims of the Armenian Genocide of 1915. Another hidden gem of the city is the Megerian Carpet Museum, which is only 7 km from the memorial complex. With a history of about 200 years, and exclusive samples from their personal collection, the Megerian family established the museum in 2014. A rich collection of rugs from Armenia and other countries worldwide are displayed in the museum. During a tour, you will be exposed to the history and culture of Armenian carpet dyeing and weaving traditions, and of course, get a chance to see weavers working on their patterns and learn about the history of this ancient craft. The Megerian Carpet Museum will be last stop of the day. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan. (B/-/-)

Day 2/ Yerevan – Lake Sevan – Sevanavank Monastery – Boat Trip – Hayravank Monastery – Noratus – Orbelian’s Caravanserai – Jermuk

After breakfast at the hotel (09:00) we drive to the blue pearl of our mountainous country – Lake Sevan, which is one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in Eurasia. The view is spectacular there and this trip is considered an unforgettable experience due to its great landscape value. First, we’ll visit a 9th century Sevanavank Monastery – the highlight of this fascinating area, and the most famous historical and cultural monument in Gegharkunik region. The monastery is located on the peninsula of Lake Sevan and it overlooks the lake. No tourist itinerary is complete without an unforgettable boat trip on the lake and a glass of Armenian wine on board. After this wonderful experience we’ll continue our way to Hayravank Monastery, a 9-12 century monastery located on the north-eastern edge of Hairavank village on a rocky at the Lake Sevan. There you will be enchanted by the stunning views of lake and its surroundings.  We will then drive to an ancient Armenian village Noratus, which is famous for its medieval cemetery of khachkars (cross-stones). Noteworthy to mention that the site has been occupied since the Bronze Age, as attested by the megalithic fort near the village and other artefacts dating to the Bronze and Iron Age. The present-day village was founded in 1829. There are two churches in this area: the first, dedicated to the Mother of God, is situated in the center of the village and was founded in the 9th century by the prince Sahak. A great number of khatchkars and gravestones remain in the courtyard of the church, among which is the oldest known dated khatchkar, from 996, now on show in the Historical Museum in Yerevan. Khachkars (cross stone) are typically Armenian, these are a unique product of Armenian Christian cultural development. Since 2010 khachkars are included on the UNESCO list of intangible Cultural Heritage. It should be pointed out that Noratus became the largest Armenian cemetery in the world – it spreads over a seven-hectare field. Traditional lunch at a local restaurant, where we’ll have an opportunity to taste fish from the lake cooked according to the special local recipe (optional*). Then proceed to the Vardenyats Mountain Pass to visit the Orbelian’s Caravanserai, which was situated on the Great Silk Road, at an altitude of 2410 meters above sea level. It points north to Vayots Dzor and south towards the mountainous lands in Iran (Zagros range) The Caravanserai is a unique structure for 14th-century Armenia and a rare piece of medieval Armenian civil architecture. The Caravanserai is the best-preserved structure in the entire country and an impressive spot from another period of time. In 2 hours’ drive we will explore the spa town of Jermuk and one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Armenia, the waterfall on Arpa River is of 70 meters height and is considered the second highest waterfall in Armenia. It reminds of hair flowing freely and therefore locals call it ”Mermaid’s hair.” Another favorite spot in Jermuk making it well worth a visit, is the Gndevank Monastery of 10th century. It is an ideal place to go for the enjoyment of being surrounded by the harmony of nature. The monastery is one of the most charming landmarks in the country, and is the best example of medieval Armenian architecture. Dinner and overnight in Jermuk. (B/-/-)

Day 3/ Yerevan –Shaki Waterfall – Aghitu Memorial – Vorotnavank Monastery – Wings of Tatev – Tatev Monastery – Devil’s Bridge – Harsnadzor Watchpost – Goris

After breakfast at the hotel we drive to Syunik region, one of the most underrated and mysterious regions of Armenia. Here you are given a unique opportunity to explore the cultural heritage, the local traditions and historical attractions of the region. An opening tour for the Syunik is definitely the Shaki Waterfallone of the most beautiful landmarks of Syunik region. The 18-meter waterfall is formed on the Shaki River and perfectly harmonizes with the view of the nearby Paleolithic caves. Then we will drive to Aghitu, which was one of the first settlements of Syunik region in the Middle Ages and here we will stop for a unique 6th century funerary monument. Aghitu memorial is one of the rarely mentioned tombs in Armenia. The surrounding area is rich with archeological monuments. According to one of the versions, this is a mausoleum of martyrs for Christian faith. While we are still in Sisian it is worth to say that. the town is one of the most underrated ones in Armenia, and it hides another miracle worth to see, the Tolors Reservoir. The reservoir is nestled in the confluence of the Sisian and Ayri rivers and is fed by them, it is considered as one of the main power generating complexes in Armenia. While spinning around, you can easily spot ruins from an old church in right the middle of the dam. After the Tolors trip, our next stop will be the Vorotnavank. This monastic complex is a medieval architectural monument. It is also one of the well-known religious and cultural centers of the 10th-15th centuries. The monastery has served as a pilgrimage place and has been renowned for its magical ability to heal snakebites. We will then stop to experience the longest reversible cableway in the world, the ”Wings of Tatev” (5.7km), which is recorded in the Guiness Book of Records. Then traditional lunch at a local restaurant or at one of rural houses in Tatev village, where you will have chance to try tasty local food.  After lunch we will visit a craftsman’s house who makes traditional Armenian old leather shoes, called ”trekh”.  Afterwards we visit Tatev Monastery. Tatev Monastery was one of the religious, cultural and enlightenment centers of Armenia in the 9th century. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the monastery hosted one of the most important medieval universities of Armenia, the University of Tatev, which played an important role in the development of religious and cultural life in Armenia. Our next stop the will be one of the most underrated canyons of Armenia, the Vorotan canyon- Devil’s Bridge. This is a natural bridge, formed from the sediments of mineral waters known as travertines. This natural wonder, formed over the millennia, is about 30 meters long and 60 meters wide. Adventure seekers can still take a swim under the bridge and admire the breathtaking scenery of hanging stalactites – but taking an experienced guide with you is strongly advised. Then we stop at Harsnadzor for the watchtower, which used to forewarn of enemy invasions. Dinner and overnight in Goris.  (B/-/-)

Day 4/ Walking Tour in Goris – Local Art Gallery – Old Goris – The House -Museum of Axel Bakunts – Khndzoresk – Goris

One of the most beautiful cities of the South of Armenia is the city of the red roofs – Goris. The town of Goris is one of the most important historical and cultural sites in Armenia.  It is often regarded as a cultural capital of the Syunik region. The humankind has settled here since the Stone Age. Over the centuries, Goris has seen invasions from Persia (modern-day Iran), Russian Empire, and later the Soviet Union. Still, during all of that chaos, it kept its unique and beautiful traditions, including its architecture and religion. Not to mention friendly and hospitable people and the nature across the town will make your day more enjoyable and memorable. We start our morning with a walking tour. Walking towards the city center, we will see the stone buildings built in a style unique to Goris, called ”barkash”, the beautiful wooden balconies and the semi-arched windows. We will then visit the city Art Gallery to admire the artworks of local artists and to absorb some local colors. Afterwards we visit the stone-pyramids of Old Goris, which is situated on the left bank of Goris River. Travelers are surprised to learn that the residents of Goris had been living in cave-dwellings until the 18th century. In Old Goris we will visit the dwellings cut into the rock, the natural caves and St. Hripsime church, which was first built in the 4th century. There are also ruins of chapels, a destroyed butter churner, water mills and numerous cave houses that have been preserved. Then we have lunch and a cooking   masterclass of a local dish (”tan” or ”khashil”).  After lunch we visit one of the interesting sights of Goris – the House-Museum of Axl Bakunts. Axl Bakunts was a great prose writer, who was born and lived in Goris. The house of the legendary poet is a typical 19th-century Armenian house with an interesting interior of old-style furnished rooms, showing where he worked and lived. Goris was his inspiration. In his works he always described the nature of his home town and the beauty of Goris. Our next stop is in one of the abandoned villages of the Syunik region, Khndoresk, which is famous for its antique cave dwellings. Since ancient times people lived in these rocky hills, constructing artificial shelters and places for food storage. One of the most underrated facts about the village is that, Khndzoresk used to be the biggest village in the region in the 19th century. Before that, in the 18th century, it was a military fortress. A mysterious ”swinging bridge” connects the two banks of the old Khndzoresk and offers breathtaking views of the caves below. Dinner and overnight in Goris. (B/-/-)

Day 5/Portakar – Zorats Karer – Areni Cave – Areni Winery –Yerevan

After breakfast we head to Yerevan. On the way back from Goris we will stop to visit Portakar (”Navel stone”). Portakar is a traditional ritual stone in Syunik Region. It was considered as the symbol of fertility and motherhood. In pre-Christian times, infertile women, who wanted to become pregnant held certain ceremonies here. Candle lighting was part of the cult. Afterwards, we visit Zorats Karer (Armenian Stonehenge). Zorats Karer or Carahunge is a prehistoric archaeological site and one of the world’s oldest astronomical observatories which is at least 3500 years older than British Stonehenge. Our next stop is the Birds’ Cave or Areni-1, where the oldest leather shoe of the World was found: it is more than 5500 years old.  We will then have lunch and wine tasting in Areni village, which is considered to be the “cradle” of Armenian winemaking. Then we drive to Ararat valley – a great place to admire the most picturesque views of the Holy Mount Ararat. We pay a visit to the Monastery of Khor Virap. It is the most visited pilgrimage site in Armenia, where the first Catholicos Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 13 years for spreading the light of Christianity in Armenia. Dinner and overnight in Yerevan. (B/-/-)

Day 6/Shopping Day – (Shopping at North Avenue, Dalma Mall, Yerevan GUM Food Market, Vernissage open-air market for souvenirs and handicrafts).

Free for leisure. Farewell Dinner with live Armenian music and folkloric dance. Overnight in Yerevan. (B/-/-)

Day 7/Departure

Transfer to the airport. (B/-/-)

The rates include*
Accommodation at the hotel on a DBL basis
Meals BB
Transfer to/from Zvartnots International Airport
Transfers during the tours
English speaking guide services on tour days
All entrance fees
Boat trip
A bottle of water per person per day
Maps of Armenia and Yerevan
24-hour service
The rates exclude*
Visa and visa documents’ related fees (if any)
All other services not mentioned above