History & Hiking in Armenia - 8 Days
- Discover some of the best hiking trails of Armenia
- See the classic Armenian cemetery cross-stones
- Visit ancient monasteries and churches
- Stroll the bustling streets of Yerevan
|Day 1||Arrive in Yerevan||Yerevan|
|Day 2||Sightseeing in Yerevan||Yerevan|
|Day 3||Ararat and Noravank||Goris|
|Day 4||Khndzoresk and Tatev||Goris|
|Day 5||Khachkars of Noratus Cemetery||Dilijan|
|Day 6||Monastery of Akhtala||Yerevan|
|Day 7||Geghard Monastery and Garni Temple||Yerevan|
|Day 8||Depart Yerevan|
Day 1: Arrive in Yerevan
Welcome to Armenia! You'll arrive in the capital city of Yerevan, the eternal city of Armenia. Head to your hotel and enjoy some free time post-travel to warm up your legs with a walk around the city.
Day 2: Sightseeing in Yerevan
Take a morning tour of Armenia's capital city. The largest city in the country, Yerevan was founded along the banks of the river Hrazdan along with the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BCE. Stop at the Republic Square, Esplanade, Opera House, and more as you walk through its streets. Pay a visit the Cascade monument and climb up its 2,780 stairs, one for each year since the city's founding, to take in the panoramic view of the Opera House, Mount Ararat, Swan Lake, and the Northern Avenue.
Spend some time in the History Museum of Armenia, founded in 1920. Its national collection houses 400,000 objects as part of its conservation and restoration operations and publishes works on Armenian architecture, archaeology, ethnography, and history.
Day 3: Ararat and Noravank
Travel south under the foot of towering Mount Ararat. You'll visit the pilgrimage site at the monastery of Khor Virap, where Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 14 years before becoming King Tiridates III's religious mentor and leading proselytizing activity in the country.
Continue to the Vayots Dzor region and the 13th century Noravank monastery, where you'll find carvings of how its residents imagined the face of God, and take a two-hour hike through the Noravank Canyon for roughly 3 miles (5 km). You'll also visit the prehistoric archaeological site at Karahunj, used as an observatory in the 2nd millennium BCE before you arrive in Goris, your stop for the night.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Khndzoresk and Tatev
Explore the picturesque rock formations and ancient cave settlement of Khndzoresk with a one-hour, mile-long hike (2 km). The artificial caves, some of which are currently used as stables and warehouses, were inhabited until the 1950s. Then head over a mountain road and steep canyon to the town of Tatev, over the Devil's Bridge monument. Your destination is the 9th century Syunik Tatev monastery, an Armenian Apostolic monastery sitting on a large basalt plateau. The nearby village of Tatev was the site of a renowned medieval university in the 11th century, where hundreds of monks lived and studied.
You can choose to return to Goris via the cable car of Tatever, which holds the Guinness World Record for the longest cable car in the world.
Day 5: Khachkars of Noratus Cemetery
Visit the Selim caravanserai, a former Silk Road stop that offered hospitality to travelers crossing the Selim mountains. You can also stop at the Noratus cemetery and its collection of historic khachkar cross-stones, one of the largest clusters in the country and the largest surviving cemetery that still houses them.
Then pass the blue shores of Lake Sevan to visit the Sevanavank monastery before you end at the forest town of Dilijan, a spa town in the Tavush region.
Day 6: Monastery of Akhtala
Head to the monastery-fortress of Akhtala. Dating back to the tenth century, the fortress played a significant role in protecting the northwestern regions of Armenia and is now one of the best-preserved in the country, with a main church renowned for its frescoes.
Continue on to the village of Odzoun to visit its namesake church. The Odzoun Church houses an Armenian basilica constructed between the 5th and 7th centuries. You can enjoy a lunch of Armenian barbecue complemented by honey, herbal tea, and local vodka. Then make your way back to Yerevan for more city evening wanderings.
Day 7: Geghard Monastery and Garni Temple
Today's time travel takes you to the medieval mountain monastery of Geghard. The structure of this UNESCO World Heritage monastery is partially carved out of the adjacent mountain and is believed to have existed as a center of art and spirituality since before the 4th century.
You'll also visit the temple of Garni, a Hellenistic pagan temple considered to be the best-known structure of pre-Christian Armenia. King Tiridates I built the temple in the first century CE in honor of the sun god Mihr. Spend two hours hiking through the Garni Gorge to survey its natural basalt formations.
Day 8: Depart Yerevan
Wave goodbye after breakfast as you head off homeward or onto your next adventure.