Your day will start with a sightseeing tour around Yerevan: general information about the capital city of Armenia, including visits to the Victory Park, on the territory of which the monument of Mother Armenia is located, Tsitsernakaberd – a monumental complex dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and Cascade – an open-air museum. From Cascade starts 1-hour walking tour of the city center.
After that you will visit the only pagan temple of Garni (1st century) preserved on the territory of Armenia, dedicated to the Sun God Mithra.
Your trip will continue to Geghard cave monastery (XIII century). The monastery is named after the spear by which Jesus Christ was pierced during his crucifixion (Armenian word “geghard” literally means “spear”), which was kept here for many years.
Next stop will be the Symphony of Stones – a unique natural wonder consisting of hexagonal basalt cylinders at an altitude of approximately 50 meters. This non-man made phenomenon, formed as a result of the rapid freezing of magma, resembles organ pipes, which is why it received its second name “Basalt Organ”.
This day will start with a visit to Khor Virap Monastery, on the territory of which, according to legend, there was a deep dungeon for mortal prisoners (“khor virap” translated from Armenian means “deep pit/dungeon”), where our first Catholicos (Patriarch) Gregory the Illuminator was thrown and where he spent 13 years. The sight also offers the best view of the biblical Mount Ararat.
Afterwards, you will travel to Noravank Monastery. The road to Noravank goes through a beautiful canyon, the rocks of which abound with caves. In these caves, traces of human settlement of the 6th-5th millennia BC were found. Noravank, surrounded by bizarre red rocks, is considered to be one of the most beautiful monasteries in the world.
Later, you will visit the Bird Cave or Areni-1 Cave. This is a complex of caves, during the study of which scientists discovered several cultural layers, including clay buildings dating back to 4200 – 3500 BC. The oldest footwear from a solid piece of leather, which is 5,500 years old, was also found here.
In the same area you will visit one of the best wineries in Armenia – Areni, and enjoy wine tasting.
A trip to Shaki village will allow you to admire the beauty of the Shaki waterfall and the surrounding nature. Shaki is considered to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Armenia.
This day will start with a trip to Khndzoresk cave settlement. This is the oldest village where the authentic view of cave dwellings has been preserved, however, not a single inhabitant is living there anymore. Walking through the cave settlement will allow you to feel the spirit of the mountain inhabitants of these caves. It is possible to get to the settlement by a suspension bridge connecting the two banks of the picturesque gorge.
Afterwards, you will visit Tatev Monastery, which is considered to be the pearl of the Armenian architecture. The monastery harmoniously fits into the surrounding nature. It used to be one of the spiritual and academic centers of medieval Armenia (one of the famous universities of Armenia operated on the territory of the monastery for many years). The monastery can be reached by the Wings of Tatev aerial tramway, which is recorded in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest reversible cableway in the world.
– The tour will end in Kapan city, with a walk around the city. Overnight in Kapan.
We will start from Halidzor Fortress, founded in the 17th century. David Bek, who led liberation movement of the Armenian people in the beginning of the 18th century, chose the fortress of Halidzor as a headquarters and stronghold.
Vahanavank Monastery, founded in 911 by the younger son of Prince Dzagik, Vahan, very soon became the religious center of Syunik Principality.
Baghaberd Fortress. The date of the foundation of this architectural miracle causes controversy among experts till nowadays. Many researchers attribute the foundation of the fortress to the III-IV centuries. The fortress, located at a height of 200 meters, was considered inaccessible, which is why the manuscripts and valuable property of several Armenian monasteries were hidden here during the enemies’ invasions.
You will start the tour with a trip down the canyon of the Vorotan River, to the famous watch point of Harsnadzor. It was the third in the chain of signal to yours, the powerful bell of which used to inform the Tatev Monastery of enemies’ invasions.
Traveling more down the same canyon of the Vorotan River you will enjoy another attraction, the natural Devil’s Bridge, which was formed in the Vorotan gorge over many stalactites. Pools with hot mineral water, which has healing properties, are formed under the bridge.
Afterwards, you will have a trip to Zorats Karer, which is often called the “Armenian Stonehenge”. Many experts consider Zorats Karer to be one of the oldest observatories in the world, which dates back to the 1st quarter of the 2nd millennium BC.
Next stop will be in Jermuk city, which is famous all over the world for its mineral water springs. You will have the opportunity to taste the thermal mineral water from the springs, afterwards, admire the famous Jermuk waterfall.
Free day. There is a large swimming pool and a sauna in the hotel, where you can relax and take spa treatments.
This day you will enjoy a jeep tour in the mountains of Armenia. Having a ride to a height of about 3000 meters above sea level, you will see the ruins of a medieval settlement, as well as plunge even deeper into the history seeing petroglyphs, 6000 – 8000-year-old tombs (cromlechs and dolmens).
Return to the hotel. Rest by the pool. Optional: mud or mineral baths.
You start the tour traveling through Selim Pass, which used to form a part of the Silk Road and offers amazing views of the surroundings. A steep winding road rises to the top of the pass, to the famous medieval Selim caravanserai, where the caravans of merchants used to find shelter.
Later, you will travel around Lake Sevan along a non-tourist road you will get to the village of Noratus, famous for the largest collection of Armenian khachkars (cross-stone) in the world.
Afterwards, you will visit Sevan Peninsula and Lake Sevan. Sevan is the largest high-mountainous lake in the Caucasus and one of the larges high-mountainous freshwater lakes in the world. On the peninsula, after climbing more than 100 steps, you will find yourself on the top of a hill, where Sevan monastery complex (IX century) is located. From here you will also enjoy an amazing view of the pearl of Armenia.
– The tour will end in Dilijan city. Overnight in Dilijan.
This day will start with a tour around Dilijan city, where, according to Rubik jan (a beloved hero from the famous Soviet film “Mimino”, played by popular Armenian actor Frunzik Mkrtchyan), “you open a simple tap in the kitchen, water flows, which occupies the second place in the world.” You will feel the flavor of old Dilijan while walking through the old part of the city.
– In the heart of Dilijan National Park you will visit Haghartsin Monastery. This monastery is surrounded by mountain ranges covered with virgin forests. No less picturesque is the road leading to the monastery.
– Later, you will visit Vagharshapat city, one of the ancient capitals of Armenia (II century).
– Mother Cathedral of Holy Etchmiadzin – the spiritual and administrative center of the Armenian Apostolic Church and all Armenians around the world. The cathedral is often referred to as the Armenian Vatican and is considered to be the oldest church in the world.
The church of St. Hripsime (618), where up to 15 couples get married per day.
The church of St. Gayane, which, owing to its architecture, is considered to be the standard of the Armenian church building.
Returning to Yerevan you will have a tour of the museum of the Ararat Brandy Factory and get acquainted with one of the brands of Armenia – Armenian cognac.
Visit to the cognac cellar, where cognac is aged, with the introduction to the production of Armenian cognac.
After the tour, you will enjoy the tasting of 2 types of cognac.