Classic Armenia9 days, 8 nights
Day 1: Arrival (-/-/-)
Arrival at Zvartnots International Airport. Transfer to the hotel, check-in and overnight.
Day 2: Yerevan city tour – Tsitsernakaberd Memorial – Matenadaran (B/-/D)
The day will start with a city tour in the capital of Armenia, Yerevan, one of the world’s ancient cities dating back to 782 BC. Yerevan is often called “The Pink City” since most of the buildings are designed with a pink volcanic stone called tuff. We will walk around the center of the city and visit the Republic Square, Opera House, Swan Lake, walk down the Northern Avenue – the coolest street of the city, climb the stairs of Cascade – a giant stairway with works of art exhibited at all levels of the complex and admire the enchanting panorama of Yerevan and the biblical Mount Ararat from the top of the monument. Thereafter, we will head to the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex or Tsitsernakaberd, dedicated to the commemoration of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Today’s excursion will end with a visit to Matenadaran, one of the world’s largest repositories of ancient manuscripts containing more than 17.000 manuscripts, 450.000 documents, and 3000 ancient books. Welcome dinner will be held in a local traditional restaurant. Overnight in Yerevan.
Day 3: Yerevan – Zvartnots Temple – Etchmiadzin Cathedral – Brandy Factory (B/L/-)
Today we begin our journey with a visit to the ruins of Zvartnots, a UNESCO listed monument, constructed in the 7th century. Zvartnots is one of the magnificent landmarks of medieval Armenian architecture. Even the ruins of this unique architectural structure give us the idea of its rare and majestic beauty. Thereafter, we will head to Etchmiadzin, the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, built in 303AD after the adoption of Christianity. The monastery complex of Etchmiadzin is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. After an excursion here, we will enjoy a local lunch and head back to Yerevan. Today’s last destination will be Ararat Brandy Factory where we will taste some excellent Armenian brandy, well-known all over the world. Free time and overnight in Yerevan.
Day 4: Yerevan – Khor Virap Monastery – Noravank Monastery – Areni Winery – Goris (B/L/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, we will have a one-hour drive to Khor Virap Monastery, the closest point to Mount Ararat. The name Khor Virap means “deep pit” which symbolizes its history. The monastery was built over an underground dungeon, where Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for about 14 years by the Armenian king Trdat for spreading Christianity in Armenia. From the beautiful monastery opens one of the most impressive views to the biblical Mount Ararat. Our next stop will be Noravank Monastery, a true treasure of Armenian religious art. This monastic complex belonging to the 13th century is considered an architectural masterpiece created by the eminent sculptor and architect Momik. What makes it especially unique is that Noravank is one of the few monasteries in the world consisting of two floors. Noravank is a must-see place not only for its cultural importance but also for its magnificent location. The stunning architecture of the monastery contrasts amazingly with the red rock cliffs surrounding it. Moving on, we will have a local lunch in Areni and visit Areni Wine Factory, the oldest winery in the world dating back to 6100 BC. Here we will taste Armenian delicious wine, made from unique grape sort Areni and head to Goris, one of the oldest towns of the country. Dinner and overnight in Goris.
Day 5: Goris – Tatev Monastery – Zorats Karer Observatory – Selim Pass – Noraduz – Sevan (B/L/D)
After breakfast we will head to Tatev Monastery, one of the most amazing sights of Armenia. It is built right on the edge of a cliff surrounded by stunning nature. The best way to get to this jewel of medieval Armenian architecture is to take the cableway called “The Wings of Tatev”. This cableway stretching over the picturesque gorge of the river Vorotan is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest reversible aerial tramway in the world (5752 m). During this 12-minute impressive flight we will admire the breathtaking scenery of the gorge. After enjoying a local tasteful lunch, we will continue to the Armenian Stonehenge called Zorats Karer or Karahunj. According to archaeologists this is one of the world’s most ancient observatories – used for astronomical purposes in prehistoric times. Thereafter we will drive to the Noraduz Cemetery, the largest graveyard with khachkars in the world. Khachkars (Armenian cross-stones) are the most remarkable heritage of Armenian architecture inscribed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The cemetery contains around 900 khachkars of various ages and architectural solutions. On our way to Noraduz we will have a short stop at Selim Caravanserai. It was built along the Vardenyants Mountain Pass in the 14th century to bridge the passes of Europe and Middle East and accommodate travelers and their animals while crossing the Silk Road. Dinner and overnight in Sevan.
Day 6: Sevan Lake – Dilijan – Goshavank Monastery – Haghartsin Monastery – Dzoraget (B/L/D)
Today we begin our journey climbing the stairs to Sevanavank Monastery, one of the most outstanding historical and cultural sites of Armenia, located on the peninsula of the lake Sevan. The blue-eyed beauty of Armenia lake Sevan, also called the “Blue Pearl of Armenia”, is one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world. Sometimes it seems that the water surface is about to touch the sky. The beauty of Sevan landscapes is especially marvelous from the Sevan peninsula, thus Sevanavank monastery has become one of the most famous tourist destinations of the country. Continue to Dilijan, often referred to as “Armenian Switzerland” due to its rich nature with lush green forested areas. After a short tour in the historical part of the town we will visit a local house to enjoy tea and participate in the “gata”- baking master class, a typical Armenian multi-layered dessert with very soft and delicate flavor which has become the symbol of Armenian cuisine. Moving on, we will head to Goshavank Monastery. The medieval monastic complex of Goshavank, built in the 12th century, is named in honor of the great Armenian scientist, historian and politician Mkhitar Gosh. The monastery used to be not only a religious, but also an important educational and cultural center. The view of the monastery is majestic because of its location in one of the most picturesque places of Armenia. Our next destination will be Haghartsin Monastery, one of the most mysterious places of the country located high in the woody mountains. The monastery complex represents an amazing harmony of architecture and nature. After an excursion here, we will head to the North of the country. Dinner and overnight in Dzoraget.
Day 7: Dzoraget – Haghpat – Sanahin – Saghmosavank – Yerevan (B/L/D)
We will start the day with a visit to the UNESCO listed monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin, built in the 10th century. Both monasteries were major educational and spiritual centers in the Middle ages. On our way back to Yerevan, we will have a stop in the village of Saghmosavan to visit Saghmosavank Monastery, located at the edge of a canyon with a fascinating view to the precipitous gorge. Its name comes from the word “saghmos” which is the Armenian word for psalm- a spiritual song or a lyric poetry. Legend has it that the first church of the complex was founded by Saint Gregory the Illuminator who taught psalms to clergymen here. Continue to Yerevan. Overnight.
Day 8: Yerevan – Geghard Monastery – Garni Temple – Vernissage (B/L/D)
Our last day in Armenia will start with a visit to Geghard Monastery, one of the most stunning monasteries of medieval Armenian architecture. This unique monastic complex, part of which is carved in the rock is included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The monastery was named Geghardavank – the Monastery of Spear. Legend has it that St. Thaddaeus the Apostle brought here the spear with which the Roman soldier had pierced the heart of crucified Christ, the so-called Spear of Destiny. The spear had been kept in the monastery for about 500 years (now it is kept in the Museum of Etchmiadzin). The monastery has unbelievable acoustics- in some places, the sound can be heard even up to 40 seconds, the mystery of which has not yet been revealed. Our next destination will be the pagan temple of Garni, one of the most famous and important tourist attractions of the country. The temple was constructed in the 1st century AD, by the Armenian king Trdat I. It was dedicated to God Mihr, the Armenian pagan god of the Sun. After an excursion here, we will enjoy a local lunch accompanied with lavash-baking masterclass, a pure Armenian traditional bread inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Then we will drive back to Yerevan and visit Vernissage, an open-air market and an exhibition displaying different Armenian artworks and handmade items. It offers various kinds of national souvenirs, rugs, bags, paintings, jewelry and other traditional items. Farewell dinner will be held in a local restaurant accompanied with folk music. Overnight.
Day 9: Departure (B/-/-)
Check-out formalities. Transfer to the airport. Departure.
- Accommodation according to the program
- Meals according to the program
- Transfers and transportation according to the program
- Professional English-Speaking guide during the program
- Entrance tickets
- Ropeway in Tatev
- Master Classes of baking “Lavash” and “Gata”
- Wine and Brandy Degustation
- Flight tickets
- Tips and portage
- Alcoholic beverages
- Meals not mentioned in the inclusions
- Insurance and visa fee
- Services not mentioned in the program