Combined Hiking and Cultural tour in Armenia and Artsakh

Do you want to discover Armenian as close as possible and immerse yourself in the wilderness of nature? Are you a hiker, who enjoys the achievements and the rewards that it brings? Then this tour is for you! Visit the Armenia, reveal its natural and cultural monuments and enjoy inspiring landscapes and mountains that rise up to the sky and which are heart and soul of the Armenians. Have the opportunity explore many Armenian provinces and regions, including Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) - an unknown destination for mass tourism.

Feel the difference !

ITINERARY

 

Day 1     Khor Virap - Amaghu - Noravank - Smbataberd - Yeghegis (Amaghu - Noravank, Artabuynk - Tsaghats Kar - Smbataberd: Hike of 14kms, 6h)
Your first day in Armenia will be dedicated to the southern part of the country. In the morning you will be picked up from your hotel in Yerevan and will be accompanied to the Monastery of Khor Virap, the jewel of the early Christian era, overlooking the fertile plain of Ararat with its Biblical Mountain, which was a significant cradle of the Armenian civilization. Later, we will drive to our first hiking trail located in the region of Vayots Dzor (Valley of Pain), an important stronghold of the Armenian nobility, located in the village of Amaghu. From here, we will start to descent through a canyon reminiscent of the American west, which leads to the Noravank Monastery, a 13th century medieval masterpiece. After visiting the architectural gem of Noravank, you will be driven to the village of Artabuynk, where the second hike will begin. You will head to the Tsakhats Kar Monastery, hidden in the proud mountains and then you will descend to the fortress of Smbataberd, the treasure of Armenian Bagratuni Kingdom. Your day will be concluded by going down to the village of Yeghegis, where you will have rest in a comfortable guesthouse.

Day 2       Yeghegis - Spitakavor - Vernashen - Herher (Vernashen - Spitakavor - Vernashen: Hike of 15kms, 6-7h)
After breakfast, we will head to the village of Vernashen, where we will discover the magnificent museum dedicated to the medieval Armenian university where many intellectuals and renowned thinkers of the Armenian church studied. After, we will take the hiking trail to reach the church of Spitakavor, hidden in the mountains. At the end of the day, we will rest in our guest house. We will continue our trip in the village of Herher, where we will have a delicious meal in a guest house.

Day 3       Herher - Vayots Sar - Karahunj - Goris (Herher - Vayots Sar - Herher: Hike of 10 km, 4-5h)
At the beginning of the day, we will prepare to climb Mount Vayots, an extinct volcano with beautiful terrain. Then we will leave for the southernmost region of Armenia, Syunik. We will stop on our way to admire the megalithic complex of Karahunj, Armenian “Stonehenge”. Later, we will drive to Goris where we will have dinner and spend the night in a comfortable guest house.

Day 4       Goris Walking Tour - Tatevi Anapat - Tatev - Goris (Old Goris, Tatevi Anapat-Tatev Monastery: 8kms Hike, 4-5h)
In the early morning, we will explore Goris and its fairy chimneys and chapels located in the old Goris. We will go up the hill of Lasti Khut which dominates the town and offers a magnificent overview. Then, we will be transported to our trail in the Vorotan Gorge, where we will walk towards Tatevi Anapat Monastery (annex of the Tatev Monastery) to have some picnic. The monastic complex overlooks the Vorotan Gorge, which we will reach later. The monastery was an important cultural, political and military center for Armenians in their resistance to foreign invasions. We will, then, take the Tatev cable car to reach Halidzor where our vehicle will be waiting to take us back to Goris.

Day 5      Goris - Khndzoresk - Hunot Gorge - Chouchi (Hounot Gorge: Hike of 4kms, 1h30-2h)
This day announces the departure to Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). We will leave Goris in the morning, and move towards Shushi, important cultural and strategic center of the region. On the way, we will stop at Khndzoresk, to unveil its troglodyte village and the suspended bridge. Then, we will head to Shushi and enjoy a city tour, and uncover its natural cliff with breathtaking views. The second part of the day will offer views over the gorge from where we will make a short hike through a marvelous nature and discover the "umbrellas" - natural waterfall, that is one of the kind. In the evening, we will settle at our hotel in Shushi.

Day 6      Shushi - Mets Qirs (2724m) - Stepanakert - Shushi (Kirsavan - Mets Qirs - Kirsavan: 14 km hike, 5-6h)
This day will be devoted to Mount Mets Qirs, located west of Shushi. We will start to climb the mountain admiring breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys. After the climb, we will visit Stepanakert where you will discover the monument "We are our mountains", then you may enjoy your free time and explore the city or to rest. In the evening, you will be taken back to your hotel in Shushi.

Day 7      Shushi - Mt Dizapayt - Amaras - Tjnri - Chouchi (Mount Dizapayt: Hike of 8kms, 4h)
We will depart from Shushi and head to Hadrout, the southern region. We will discover a very interesting mountain that is Mount Dizapayt. The history of this mountain is closely linked to a Christian legend and a chapel was built to perpetuate it. We will ascent it and discover a wide panorama offering views of the steppes of Iran on a clear day. Then we will discover the Amaras Monastery and ancient seminary, which is an important monument of the early Christian times in Armenia. On the way back to Shushi, we will make a short stop to discover the ageless plane tree of Tnjri which has great virtue and symbolizes strength. We will return to Shushi where we will enjoy a well-deserved rest.

Day 8      Cultural Day. Shrine - Fortress of Askeran - Museum and Imperial City of Tigranakert - House-Museum of Nikol Duman - Monastery of Gandzasar (no hiking)
This day will be dedicated to culture and history and will not include hiking. You will depart from Shushi in the morning to head to the Fortress of Askeran, then to the Tigranakert Fortress Museum to discover many ancient artifacts attesting the historical value of the region as well as the strength of the deep-rooted Armenian civilization anchored in this region: the ruins of Tigranakert, capital of the empire of Tigran the Great will emphasize this impression of greatness. In the second half of the day, we will discover a museum in an authentic village presenting the life of a local man whose mission was to be a fighter in the wars of liberation of the Armenian people. At the end of the day, we will arrive at the majestic monastery of Gandzasar, a real medieval jewel, strewn on a hill. We will then unfold many works of art in the village of Vank before spending the night there.

Day 9      Vank - Kachaghakaberd - Vank (Vank - Kachaghakaberd: Hike of 20kms, 8-9h)
At the beginning of the day, we will leave Vank (or Shushi according to the program selected on the eighth day) to begin our trekking in the most wooded spot of Artsakh. We will visit the old fortress Kachaghakaberd, located at a huge rock mass and dominates the surrounding forest, providing an unforgettable sciene. On the route will also come across a church. At the end of the day, we will return to Vank where we will rest before leaving Artsakh the next day.

Day 10      Vank - Dadivank - Hayravank - Noratus - Sevan (No hiking)
This day will be devoted to the exploration of the northern regions of Armenia and the discovery of important monuments located near the road. We will leave Vank to cover the valley of the Tartar River and Dadivank Monastery, overlooking the valley. Then, we will continue through this wild and picturesque valley and head towards the high Sotk Pass, which leads to the nearby area of the Lake Sevan. First, we will stop at the “Khachkar” (cross-stone) cemetery of Noratus, the largest cemetery of its kind in the present-day Republic of Armenia. We will make a last stop at Hayravank monastery, offering a panoramic view of the lake. In the evening, you will be comfortably settled at your hotel near Sevan.

Day 11      Sevan - Sevanavank - Drakhtik - Kalavan - Gosh (Drakhtik - Kalavan: Hike of 15kms, 8h)
In the morning we will have a stop at the Sevan Peninsula, in order to admire the 9th century Sevanavank Monastery and its panoramic view of the lake. Our hike will start in the village of Drakhtik, in the mountain range of Areguni located between the lakeshore and mountain vegetation. After a picnic, we will pass from meadows to wooded mountains to reach the village of Kalavan. Then our vehicle will wait for us in the village of Dprabak from where we will be taken to the village of Gosh and its monastery, stronghold of Armenian churchman Mkhitar Gosh, theoretician of medieval Armenian law and. We will settle in our cozy guest house in the village.

Day 12      Goshavank - Gosh lij - Matosavank - Jukhtak Vank - Haghpat (Goshavank - Gosh - Goshavank Lake, Dilijan - Matosavank - Jukhtak Vank - Dilijan: Hike of 10 km, 4h)
We will head to the adjacent dense forest of Gosh, where we will find a small clear lake. Then we will return to the monastery and later, leave for Dilijan to take our second path which will take us to two monasteries buried in the forest, Jukhtak Vank and Matosavank. After these hikes, we will take a well-deserved rest and discover the town of Dilijan, Armenian spa and popular destination for holiday. At the end of the day, we will be drive to the northern village Haghpat, situated in the Lori region, where we will be staying in a comfortable campsite.

Day 13      Haghpat - Sanahin - Odzun - Haghpat (Haghpat - Sanahin: Hike of 9kms, 4-5h)
This penultimate day will be devoted to the Lori with one of the most beautiful hikings of your stay. The day will begin with a visit to Haghpat Monastery. We will begin our hike rich in monuments and sites of interest. We will stop at the sites of Kusanats Anapat, Zarniayr, Kayanapert, the church of Saint-Karapet and the Monastery of Sanahin, one of the most famous masterpieces of Armenian architecture, also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then we will discover the 7-storey tower and the last point of this hike, which is the Sanahin Bridge located on the Debed river, that is an important river of Armenia. During this day we will reveal the landscapes including steep, green canyons “dug with a divine hand”. At the end of the day, you will be taken to the monastery of Odzun where a magnificent monastery of the 5th century will reward you with a stunning view of Debed Valley. After the visit, we will return to our bivouac in Haghpat.

Day 14      Aragats (Lake Qari - Mt Aragats - Lake Qari: 10,3 kms, hike of 5-6h) or Bjni - Tsaghkadzor (Bjni - Tsaghkadzor: 15.5 km, hike of 7h)

The itinerary for today will be designed according to the meteorological conditions at Mount Aragats (4090m) where the snowmelt comes late.


*Option 1 Mount Aragats:Our last day will offer us an alpine nature, with the ascent of the highest peak of the current Republic of Armenia, Aragats Mt (4090 m). We will leave Haghpat very early in the morning to head to the central part of the province of Aragatsotn where our vehicle will transport us to Lake Qari - beautiful mountain lake with crystalline water, located at 3185 meters above sea level.
We will begin our ascent to the southern summit of Aragats. At the summit, we will have a picnic. Then, we will descend to our lake, where our vehicle will be waiting to take us back to the hotel in Yerevan.

*Option 2 Bjni - Tsaghkadzor:We will leave Haghpat early in order to drive to Bjni, a small spa town famous for its mineral water. When we arrive on site, we will have the opportunity to explore the ruins of Bjni fortress (10th century), the church Saint-Gevorg (13th century) or the church of St. Astvadzadzin (10th century). During the hike, we will reach the highest part of this area, from where we will be able to admire the valley of Hrazdan, the Dzaghguniats mountains and even the chain of Gegham. We will also find some interesting geological formations like a natural arch. Our next point of arrival will be the town of Tsaghkadzor, a small recreation town and ski resort. The town and its surroundings include many interesting paths and trails for hiking. Moreover, the monastery of Kecharis of the 13th century, in the town, will be a very interesting discovery from the architectural point of view. You will find some of the oldest khachkars in Armenia here. After the exploration of Tsaghkadzor, your vehicle will be waiting for you in order to transfer you comfortably to Yerevan.

Prices/Services

Group 2-3 pax 4-5 pax 6-12 pax
Price per person 1310 EUR 790 EUR 660 EUR
  • Included Services
  • Transport
  • All transfers to the hiking trails
  • A return on Tatev cable car
  • Supervision
  • French or English speaking guide (depending on your wishes)
  • Accommodation, Meals, Drinks
  • Drinking water
  • Breakfasts, lunch and dinner (In the guesthouses or lunchboxes)
  • 13 nights including 2 nights in a tent

  • Excluded Services
  • International flights and reception at the airport
  • Overnight in Yerevan

  • Equipment
  • Sun hat or cap
  • Hiking sticks
  • Bottle for water
  • A backpack for the transportation of your personal belongings (camera, possible drugs etc.)
  • Trekking trousers
  • Hiking and trekking shoes for off-road comfort
  • Sunglasses
  • High protection sunscreen
  • Toiletry kit: take preferably biodegradable products
  • Personal pharmacy

  • Notes
  • The program may be modified according to your wishes, which may result in price changes.
  • The route may be modified for reasons of safety, weather, unexpected environmental damage, road access problems, strikes or local holidays. In this case, we will find the best solution possible.

  • Before leaving
  • We do not recommend this tour in the event of a health problem (heart trouble), it is also strongly discouraged for pregnant women.
  • It is also recommended to be physically fit and to have hiked quite often