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Armenia The Caucasus - A Cultural Discovery

  • Off the beaten track
In the South Caucasus, Armenia is an exceptional Christian cradle, the oldest Christian nation in the world with its tormented history. Despite the economic difficulties and the hostility of its neighbors, at the crossroads of East and West Armenia continues to believe in a better destiny and to prosper ... Beyond its ethnological and cultural diversity, the region of Caucasus offers many other in...

In the South Caucasus, Armenia is an exceptional Christian cradle, the oldest Christian nation in the world with its tormented history. Despite the economic difficulties and the hostility of its neighbors, at the crossroads of East and West Armenia continues to believe in a better destiny and to prosper ... Beyond its ethnological and cultural diversity, the region of Caucasus offers many other interests such as history, biodiversity, architecture and gastronomy with some foreign influences of the region. Ancestral traditions such as viticulture in Georgia, where wine making has an important place for the majority of the population, are worthy to experience in the Caucasus, to discover and to feel ...

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Customisable trip itinerary

This tour idea is fully customisable

The itinerary has been created by our local agency with one idea in mind: to inspire you. Every element can be adapted to your needs and interests, from duration to accommodation and activities.

Day 1: Arrival at Zvartnots airport

Transfer to the 3* hotel in the city centre (20 km). Overnight in Yerevan.


Day 2: Yerevan - City Tour 

After breakfast, let's go to see Yerevan, which is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, it is the administrative, cultural, and industrial centre of the country. The birth date of the capital of Armenia is 782 B.C., which is revealed by a cuneiform inscription engraved on a block of basalt found in the citadel of Erebuni. Discover cascade, opera, republic square. Then, let's relax and have a coffee pause in JAZZVE café, ‘’must-visit’’ and very popular place among “Yerevantsi”. Next stop is the Museum of History of Armenia, which represents an integral presentation of the history and culture of Armenia from prehistoric times (one million years ago) till our days. After that, you will be free to choose your own activity. Dinner in a folk restaurant with traditional music and dance. Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

Visited:
Yerevan

Day 3: Saghmosavank: Monastery of Psalms

Departure towards the region of Atagatsotn. Then, we will carry on with the monastery of Saghmosavank, standing at the edge of the picturesque canyon Kasakh. Next stop is the fortress Amberd (X-XIII century). Visit the fortress and the church of Amberd - the heritage of Pahlavuni princes. As many other feudal fortresses, Amberd was erected on the territory of Armenia to protect its land from the Romans and the Parthians and then the Byzantines, Persians, Mongols and Turks. Then, let's continue and visit the small church Karmravor, dating back to VII century, which is very well preserved. A unique church with red tile roof.

Return to Yerevan for visiting the Armenia Genocide Museum and Memorial. It is designed to memorialize the innocent victims of the first Genocide of the XX century. The Genocide Museum’s mission statement is rooted in the fact that understanding the Armenian Genocide is an important step in preventing similar future tragedies, in keeping with the notion that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.


Day 4: Gueghard: A cave monastery UNESCO world heritage

Breakfast eaten, we will continue with a tour of Garni. The pagan temple of Garni is the only remaining monument from the Hellenistic period in Armenia. It is dedicated to the God of the sun Mithra and was built in the 2nd half of the I century A.D. during the reign of king Trdat I. The sanctuary is built of basalt stone. Soon after Armenia adopted Christianity, it became the summer residence of the Armenian royal family. After that, way down to the Garni canyon surrounded by amazing basaltic formations. Lunch at a villager’s home, degustation of the fish from the river, discovering Armenian hospitality. Next stop is Gueghard – cave Monastery – UNESCO world heritage. The monastery was renamed Gueghard, which meant "lance". According to the facts, the monastery was the depositary of one of the relics of the Armenian Apostolic church: the lance that one of the Roman guards used to pierce the rib of crucified Christ.

Return to Yerevan and you will have free time. In the evening dinner. Overnight in the hotel in Yerevan.

Walk duration 1.5h, distance 5km, altitude ↑200 ↓200


Day 5: Hripsime, Zvartnots: Masterpieces of Armenian medieval architecture 

Departure to Echmiadzin which is located at 30 min outside of the city and considered as the holiest city in Armenia – Vatican of Armenia. Now, this former capital is the residence of the Supreme Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The main cathedral was founded by St. Gregory the Illuminator in 303 and stands on a former pagan temple - UNESCO world heritage. Then, let's visit the church of Hripsime, dedicated to the martyred Christian virgin. On the way back, we will go to check the ruins of Zvartnots cathedral, UNESCO world heritage. It is one of the most original masterpieces of Armenian architecture. The cathedral was built in the VII century by Catholicos Nerses III Shinarar. It was collapsed by an earthquake in the X century.

After lunch, our next stop will be the Khor Virap Monastery, famous pilgrimage destination from where you may witness the stunning view of the Mount Ararat. According to church history, it was a municipal jail of the capital of Armenia Artashat, where Gregory the Illuminator, who was accused of preaching Christianity, was thrown. Gregory spent 13 years there. Continuation to Yeghegnadzor. Dinner and overnight homestay in Yeghegnadzor. Discovering Armenian hospitality. 


Day 6: ​The Silk Road - Selim Caravanserai

On the way, visit to Monastery Noravank , one of the most splendid monuments of medieval Armenia, built in a location of significant natural beauty. The monastery is overhanging in the gorge of the river. Between the XII and XIV centuries Noravank monastery was the residence of the bishops of Syunik. Then, we will carry on with the trip by Selim pass for visiting Selim Caravanserai, witness on ancient Silk Road. According to the two building inscriptions, the caravanserai was built by Prince Orbelyan Chesar. Our next stop will be Noraduz, a cemetery of crosstones (khachkars). It is a big cemetery and widely known thanks to its great numbers of unique khachkars mostly of the XIII to XVII century. Now, let's drive to Lake Sevan, called «Blue Pearl» in Sevan. This huge mountain lake, which covers 5% of Armenia’s surface, is about 2000m above sea level and is the second highest freshwater lake in the world. We will also visit the peninsula and Sevanavank with its two small churches. Dinner in the restaurant by the lake. Overnight in the hotel in Sevan.


Day 7: A walking tour from Sevan, passing Dilijan and Marmashen until Gyumri

After breakfast, let's explore Dilijan, a lush, green city located in the northern province of Tavush. It is one of the most important resorts in Armenia, situated in Dilijan national park. The Sharambeyan street in the centre has been preserved and maintained as an "old town," completed with craftsman's shops, gallery and museum. Then, let's take a new direction to the region of Shirak for visiting the monastery of Marmashen, a great cultural and spiritual centre of the X century founded by Vahram Pahlavuni. Continue to the city of Gyumri. Formerly Alexandropol and Leninakan, it is the second largest city of Armenia, severely affected by the earthquake in 1988. Finally, let's go for a walk around and discover the cooking master class. Dinner and overnight homestay in Gyumri.

Visited:
DilijanShirakMarmashen, Gyumri

Day 8: Looking at Vardzia, a cave city of the XII century

Breakfast eaten, we will go to the Armenian-Georgian border Bavr, for a meeting with the Georgian side of the border. Then, we will carry on with the Meskkhet-Javakheti region. There, we will have the chance to discover Vardzia - cave city of the XII century with about 3,000 caves. We will also visit a church carved into the rock and famous for its frescoes, pharmacy and secret tunnels. In the evening, we will arrive at Akhaltsikhe, where we will have dinner. Overnight in a homestay in Akhaltsikhe.


Day 9: Let's go to Borjomi to enjoy the nature and hike on a mountain

In the morning, you will be moved to Borjomi. On the way, short stop in Borjomi park, known for its sparkling water. You will have the chance to see the natural water tasting that flows from the fountain made especially for visitors. Now, let's go on with Imereti region (West Georgia) to arrive at Kutaisi, the city was part of the kingdom of Colchis, where Jason and the Argonauts had captured the Golden Fleece. Discovery of the monastic and academic centre Gelati (XII century, located 12 km from Kutaisi and visit Bagrati Cathedral of the XI century – UNESCO world heritage, on mount Ukimérioni. Overnight homestay in Kutaisi.

Visited:
Kutaisi

Day 10: ​Mtskheta, one of the oldest cities in Georgia

Breakfast. In the morning visit to Kutaisi local market. After departure to the province Kartli, visit the major city Gori, where we will visit the museum of Stalin, the house where he was born. Lunch in a local restaurant. Continue to Uplistikhe – troglodyte city (IV century B.C.), located on the famous Silk Road, where you can see caves, wine cellars (marani), Georgian stoves (Thone), the three-nave basilica carved into the rock and the ancient theater. Departure to Mtskheta, one of the oldest cities in Georgia, 26 km from Tbilisi. Visit Jvari Monastery (VI century) and the Cathedral of Svetiskhoveli (XI century) considered as one of the holiest places in Georgia since the mantle of Christ is buried at this location. Both monuments are UNESCO world heritage. Arrival and transfer to Tbilisi, where we will enjoy our dinner in a traditional restaurant. Overnight in the hotel in Tbilisi.

Accomodation
Hotel Kopala (Tbilisi)

Day 11: Kakheti and Its Wine

Transfer to Kakheti region, famous for its wineries. Visit a local family of farmers, where you can see the 300-year old wine cellar ("marani") with pots ("kvevri") full of wine, buried in the ground. Then, you will have the chance to taste directly from these pots. We will continue to Gremi monastery complex and the ethnographic museum, Palace - Fort of King Levan I and explore Nekressi with the oldest church in Georgia - IV century. Return to Tbilisi where we will have our dinner in a traditional restaurant. Overnight in the hotel in Tbilisi.

Accomodation
Hotel Kopala (Tbilisi)

Day 12: ​Tbilisi – City Tour

Departure to discover Tbilisi with its old and new neighbourhoods and a large number of historical monuments close to each other. We will see the Metekhi Church (XIII century), baths, Narikhala fortress (IV century), one of the oldest synagogues in Tbilisi, Sioni Cathedral that holds the cross of St. Nino and the Anchiskhati church (VI century). Visit the State Museum with silverware and enamels. Lunch in a traditional restaurant and then you will be free for your own activities. Dinner in a restaurant. Overnight in a hotel in Tbilisi.

Visited:
Tbilisi
Accomodation
Hotel Kopala (Tbilisi)

Day 13: ​Departure

Transfer to the airport and take a flight to go back home.

Visited:
Yerevan

Zvartnots International Airport Yerevan Saghmosavank’ Amberd Garrni Geghard Hripsime Khor Virap Yeghegnadzor Noravank’ Sulema Noratus Lake Sevan Sevanavank Dilijan Shirak Marmashen Gyumri Vardzia Akhalts'ikhe Kutaisi Gori Uplistsikhe Mtskheta Tbilisi Kakhétie Gremi

Price details

This tour idea is fully customisable

The price reflects this specific tour itinerary and is designed to give you an idea of the budget required for this destination. Throughout the trip-planning process, our local agency will tailor your itinerary around your budget.

Approx. £1,280 / 13 days
Excluding international flights
2 Pax4 Pax6 PaxSingle supplement
Price per person£1,610£1,280£1,130£180

Included in price:

  • Transfer airport - hotel – airport in Armenia and in Georgia
  • Accommodation (12 nights) in hotels 3*, homestay based on standard double room, breakfast included.
  • Vehicle with air-conditioning
  • Full board (from breakfast of day 2 to breakfast of day 13)
  • Water, tea or coffee during meals during whole the trip
  • All excursions, cultural visits mentioned in the program
  • Entrance fees for museums and historical monuments mentioned in the program
  • Services of an English speaking guide
  • Guarantee secured payment
  • From January 2013 the citizens of Europe do not need an entry visa for Armenia

Not included in price:

  • Air tickets
  • Alcoholic, soft drinks and other drinks that are not mentioned in the section “the price includes”
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips for guide, driver and doormen

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