Culinary Armenia7 days, 6 nights
Day 1: Arrival (-/-/-)
Arrival at Zvartnots International Airport. Transfer to the hotel, check-in and overnight.
Day 2: Yerevan city tour – Etchmiadzin Cathedral – Zvartnots Temple – Megerian Carpet (B/L/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 drive to Etchmiadzin, the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church, built in 303 AD 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 Armenian traditional “dolma” (minced meat wrapped in grape leaves) and participate in the masterclass of its preparation. On our way back to Yerevan, we will visit the ruins of Zvartnots, another UNESCO listed monument. Zvartnots is one of the magnificent landmarks of medieval Armenian architecture, constructed in the 7th century. Today even the ruins of this unique architectural structure give us the idea of its rare and majestic beauty. Welcome dinner will be held in Megeryan Carpet restaurant, a museum of carpets and a traditional restaurant. Before the dinner, we will have an excursion here and see the production of Armenian carpets. Overnight.
Day 3: Yerevan – Khor Virap Monastery – Noravank Monastery – Areni Winery – Yerevan (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 enjoying traditional “khorovats”, commonly known as Armenian barbeque, one of the most delicious Armenian dishes. Then we will 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 return to Yerevan. Dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Yerevan – Sevan Lake – Goshavank Monastery – Ijevan Winery – Yerevan (B/L/D)
After breakfast we will drive to Sevan and climb 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, situated at an altitude of 1,900 meters above sea level. Sometimes it seems that the water surface is about to touch the sky. The beauty of Sevan landscapes is especially marvelous from the peninsula, thus Sevanavank monastery has become one of the most famous tourist destinations of the country. Then we will continue to Dilijan, often referred to as “Armenian Switzerland” due to its rich nature with lush green forested areas. Here we will have lunch at a local house and participate in the preparation of “gata”, a typical Armenian multi-layered dessert with very soft and delicate flavor which has become the symbol of Armenian cuisine. Then we will visit Goshavank Monastery, built in the 12th century. 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. Before returning to Yerevan, we will visit Ijevan Wine-Brandy Factory, one of the leading enterprises of winemaking in Armenia established back in the Soviet times. We will have an excursion in the factory and taste some varieties of wine produced here. Drive back to Yerevan. Dinner and overnight.
Day 5: Yerevan – Amberd Fortress – Saghmosavank Monastery – Fruit Market (B/L/D)
On the fifth day, we will drive to Amberd medieval fortress (the name means “fortress in the clouds”) standing on the slopes of Mount Aragats, at an altitude of 2300m. It is located on a rocky cliff protected from three sides with deep gorges. After an excursion here, we will continue to Saghmosavank Monastery (13th century), 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. During our lunch in Ashtarak, we will visit a local cellar and enjoy traditional harissa (national dish made with meat and cracked wheat) accompanied with homemade wine. Continue to Yerevan and visit the famous Fruit Market to get the real taste of Armenian fruits and take with you the tastiest pieces of Armenian dried fruits, aromatic herbs and food-seasonings. Dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Yerevan – Geghard Monastery – Garni Temple – Brandy Factory – Yerevan (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 our lunch at a local house and try Armenian Trout. Before sitting at the table we will participate in a lavash- baking masterclass, a pure Armenian traditional bread inscribed on UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Today’s last destination will be Ararat Brandy Factory where we will taste some excellent Armenian brandy, well- known all over the world. Farewell dinner will be held in a local restaurant accompanied with folk music. Overnight.
Day 7: 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
- Master Classes of baking “Lavash” and “Gata”
- Master Class of making “Dolma”
- Visit to wine and brandy factories
- Visit to a rural cellar
- Wine and Brandy Degustations
- Flight tickets
- Tips and portage
- Alcoholic beverages
- Meals not mentioned in the inclusions
- Insurance and visa fee
- Services not mentioned in the program