Armenia – Ancient Armenia Tour – a 10 day Small Group Tour.
Armenia is a fascinating mixture of cultural influences.
Proud of its independence, its alphabet, and its Christian heritage, Armenia has more than a whiff of former Soviet Republic, indeed crossing Yerevan’s busy Republic Square (built over a nuclear bunker) risks being run over by one of many shiny white Lada Nivas.
Except for Georgia, relations with neighbouring states are best described as mixed. The Armenian Genocide, despite overwhelming evidence, is denied by the Turkish government, while the unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno Karabakh still festers. However, among contemporary Armenians, certainly in the towns and cities, these realities lead to a strong sense of identity and a desire to live life loud.
Fine wines, an excellent local cuisine and a penchant for jazz are perhaps manifestations of this – Charles Aznavour was Armenian, but then again so is Kim Kardashian?
Among Graeco-Roman ruins and ancient monasteries the country’s landscape is characterised by wide expanses, grassy plains and big skies – Armenia feels like a frontier state, and that’s because it is.
Day 1 – Arrival in Yerevan
Upon arrival in Armenia, you will be welcomed and transferred to the hotel in central Yerevan. Overnight Tufenkian Historic Hotel or similar. No meals.
Note if you arrive early we can provide a quote for early check in and for any extra activities you may wish to do.
Day 2 – The sights of Yerevan
(Approximate driving time: two-hours)
Enjoy a city tour of Yerevan, including Victory Park with its high-scale view point over the city, Cascade and the Gafeschian Centre of Art, The North Avenue, the Opera House, Republic Square, and etc. Visit the Genocide Memorial and museum dedicated to the victims of the Great Genocide that took place in 1915 and the memorial with eternal fire. We also have a short visit of Matenadaran – a Museum and Scientific Institute of ancient manuscripts, which houses a unique collection of ancient manuscripts covering such topics as philosophy, law, mathematics, medicine and geography. Later visit the Yerevan Brandy Factory for a guided excursion to the cellars and enjoy a degustation of 2 types of local brandy. End the tour for the day with a visit to a craftsman specialized in khachkars (Armenian cross-stones). Later this afternoon there may be some time for your own exploration. Overnight in Yerevan (B)
Day 3 – Yerevan – Khor Virap – Areni – Noravank – Karahunj – Goris
(Approximate driving time: four-1/2 hours)
Start the day by driving through the fertile Ararat valley to the picture postcard monastery of Khor Virap (4-17c), one of the sanctuaries of the Armenian Apostolic church and an important pilgrimage site. Continue to the monastery of Noravank, surely one of the most majestic monuments of medieval Armenia. The church had an atrium, which was rebuilt by the famous sculptor Momik. Visit Karahunj or Zorats Stones (Armenian Stonehenge), an outstanding archaeological site. We spend time exploring this magnificent place before travelling to Goris for the overnight stay. Overnight in Goris (BLD)
Day 4 – Goris – Khndzoresk – Tatev Monastery – Selim – Lake Sevan
(Approximate driving: six-and-a-half-hours)
This morning we drive to the cave village of Khndzoresk. The Village of Khndzoresk is a huge complex with interesting caves waiting to be explored and we will spend some time walking around this atmospheric site. Continue to Tatev Monastery which we will explore. Journey to beautiful Lake Sevan via Selim Caravanserai and take the stairs to the top of the peninsula to enjoy breathtaking scenery of the splendid mountain chain surrounding the glittering surface of the lake. Continue to Dilijan, also known as Armenian Switzerland. Overnight in Sevan (BL)
Day 5 – Sevan – Haghpat – Dzoraget
(Approximate driving time: three and a half hours)
Stroll through the picturesque old quarter of Dilijan, particularly Sharambeyan Street, renowned for its pottery, carpentry and other artisan shops. Continue to Haghpat and explore the monastery, a masterpiece of medieval Armenian Church architecture. Continue to Gyumri. Overnight in Gyumri (BLD)
Day 6 – Dzoraget – Gyumri – ArmAs Winery – Yerevan
(Approximate driving time: four-hours)
Travel to Gyumri and attend a ceramics workshop. We explore the streets of the old town on foot to try to understand why since the ancient times Gyumri has been considered the cultural capital of Armenia and the birthplace of arts and crafts. ArmAs Winery Estate is a picturesque display of agricultural achievement, set against the backdrop of the inspiring Mount Ararat. The 180 hectares of previously desolate and disconnected rock-strewn countryside was diligently transformed into a stunning panorama including vineyards, orchards, and a world-class winery. Here you’ll have a guided excursion though the vineyards and distilleries, as well as a degustation of wines. Later we return to Yerevan. Overnight Royal Plaza Hotel or similar (BL)
Day 7 – Yerevan – Echmiadzin - Zvartnots
(Approximate driving time: two-hours)
Visit Echmiadzin, the spiritual heart of the Armenian Church including the Mother Cathedral A short distance from here we visit the ruins of Zvartnots dating back to the 7th Century. Later we enjoy a gastronomic master class of Lavash bread making before finishing the day at the Vernissage flea market, a large open air market for handmade souvenirs, carpets, silver and jewellery. Overnight Royal Plaza Hotel (BL)
Day 8 – Yerevan – Garni – Geghard (UNESCO) – Megeryan Carpet – Yerevan
(Driving time approximately 2.5 hours)
Travel to Kotayk province to explore Geghard Monastery, astonishingly partly carved out of a mountain. Continue to Garni. Continue to nearby Garni to visit the pagan temple. Have lunch in the village of Garni in an authentic rural environment with a master-class of baking lavash – traditional Armenian flatbread. Return to Yerevan and visit Megeryan Carpet where we learn about centuries-old traditions of Armenian carpet weaving. Overnight Royal Plaza or similar (BL)
Optional Walk: 1 hour walk in the gorge of the Azat River. The duration of the walk is approximately 1 hour, with no difficult passages. The walk starts from the village of Garni, taking you down to the Azat river gorge and the famous “Symphony of Stones” basalt columns, located at an altitude of about 50 meters above the ground. Difficulty: Easy to Medium.
Day 9 – Yerevan
Spend your last full day in Armenia to discovery Yerevan at your own leisure, perhaps to take in some museums or shop for souvenirs. Overnight Royal Plaza Hotel or similar (B)
Day 10 – Departure from Yerevan
Bid farewell to Armenia as you are transferred to the airport for your onward journey (B)
Dates & Price.
Ancient Armenia tour single supplement is from £245
Return flights from London to Yerevan return start at £340. Contact us for a quotation.
Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Yerevan costs from £40 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £60 per person in a solo occupancy room.
Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.
Ancient Armenia - Private Tour
If you prefer not to travel as part of a group tour then kindly note that we can arrange this Armenia tour on a private basis. Prices start from £1440 per person based on 2 people travelling sharing a room. Larger private tour groups and solo private tours can also be arranged – please contact us for prices.
If you prefer to have a tour tailored to your exact requirements, then please get in touch with Mark Huggins who will be happy to work with you to design your ideal tour.
Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?
Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.
For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA
- Arrival and departure transfers
- All accommodation
- Transportation throughout
- Services of English-speaking guide / tour leader
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
- International flights
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Tips (Discretionary)