“Cycling in Armenia and Arcakh” 12 days

Вело тур Армения и Арцах

Tour Description:

Among our cycling trips this tour is the longest one which stretches from the south to north and from the east to west including the most remarkable sights of Armenia together with Nagorno Karabakh Republic. Cyclists will ride through the most significant places of our small landlocked Armenia and cozy Nagorno Karabakh. Five overnights are in the capital city of Armenia, two overnights are in a calm town of Goris, two overnights are in NK, the other two are in different towns: in Sisian and in Tsakhkadzor a lovely place for Armenians.Armenia has 11 regions including the capital – Yerevan. During this tour you will have the opportunity to see 8 of them as well as Nagorno Karabakh with its fascinating nature and historical places.

Armenia is a brilliant place for cyclists. This 12 days cycling holiday is designed for travelers interested in experiencing the mysteries of nature and architectural monuments which belong to early Christian times. Discover the different trails of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. We are giving you a great opportunity to travel and enjoy the beautiful landscapes while cycling across to our part of the world. This cycling tour is designed for cyclists in good physical condition.

If you are interested in being familiar with a new culture and traditions as well as cycling in inaccessible trails surrounded with spectacular landscapes and mountainous environments then join us in our ”Cycling Nagorno Karabakh’’ trip.

Let’s cycle in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh together!

Type of tour: Guided cycling tour in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh

Duration: 12 days / 11 nights

Activity level: Moderate

Distance: 1485km (923 miles)

Total Cycling distance: 611 km (380 miles)

Average cycling per day: 68 km (42 miles)

Group size:  2 – 12pax

Accommodation: Hotels, B&B

Best period: May – October

Start/End point: Yerevan, Armenia

 

 

Highlights:

  • Armavir region with religious center of Echmiadzin city and Zvartnots temple (UNESCO)
  • Kotayk region with Tsakhkadzor recreational center,Garni- the only pagan temple in Armenia and Geghard monastery (UNESCO)
  • Gegharqunik region with the highest freshwater lake in Caucasus, Lake Sevan with the monastery on the peninsula and Noratus ancient cemetery with medieval khachkars (cross stones) 
  • VayotsDzor region with Selim Caravanserai on the famous Silk Road, Noravank monasteryand Areni winery
  • Syunik region with Shaki Waterfall, Karahoonj observatory,Khndzoresk cave village, Tatev monastery, the longest Tatever ropeway (5.7km)
  • NagornoKarabakh Republic with the most beautiful sights including historical Tigranakert city, Gandzasar monastery, 2000 years old huge plane tree, Shushi, etc
  • Ararat region with Khor Virap monastery where Armenian first Catholicos has been imprisoned for 13 years
  • Aragatsotn region with beautiful Ashtarak town, Hovhannavank and Aruch monasteries

 

Detailed Itinerary:

DAY 1:Arrival

Arrive at the airport. Meet and greet, transfer to the accommodation.

Meals: (–/–/–)

Overnight: Yerevan

Transfer: Airport-Hotel

 

DAY 2:    Yerevan –Echmiadzin – Margara – Zvartnots – Yerevan

EchmiadzinStart cycling to the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the worldwide Armenian Church. Visit the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin (302-303 AD) the oldest state-built church in the world and the seat of the Catholicos. Continue to Margara village on the banks of Araks River. Possibility to admire the river from a close distance. Return to Yerevan with the stop at Zvartnots temple (means “celestial angels”) 7th century wonderful architectural masterpiece. The remnants of Zvartnots, even in ruins, are a majestic sight. These sights are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Yerevan

Distance: 105 km / 65 miles

Cycling route: Echmiadzin-Griboyedov-Apaga-Yeraskhahun-Margara-Zvartnots-Yerevan

Cycling: 60 km: 95 % → / 5% ↑

Difficulty: 5/3

 

DAY 3: Yerevan –Arzni – Bjni – Tsakhkadzor

arzniToday’s ride takes us through the beautiful nature of Kotayk province. Stroll to the charming town to Arzni town known for its mineral waters. Continue to Bjni which is a village situated in a valley between canyon walls and a small river. Transfer to Tsakhkadzor (means The Valley of Flowers) a spa town and a popular winter resort in Armenia located in a picturesque valley on the eastern slope of Mt Teghenis to 1845m. Visit Kecharis Monastery (11-13th century), in the 12th and 13th centuries the monastery was a major religious center of Armenia and a place of higher education.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Tsakhkadzor

Distance: 70 km / 43 miles

Cycling route: Yerevan-Arzni-Argel-Qarashamb-Bjni-Hrazdan-Tsaghkadzor

Cycling: 70 km: 80% ↑ / 20% →

Difficulty: 5/4

 

DAY 4: Tsakhkadzor – Sevanavank – Noratus – Vardenyats Pass – Sisian

noratusStart cycling towards Lake Sevan and visit Sevanavank 9th c. (Sevan monastery) located in the peninsula which used to be an island before. Note that the track leading to the monastery consists of 220 stairs. Proceed and visit Noratus Cemetery a medieval cemetery with a large number of early khachkars (cross-stones) dating back to 10th century. Continue the cycling tour through the Vardenyats Pass (2410m) and visit the Caravanserai built in 1332, by Prince Chesar Orbelian. It used to be an important trade point on the famous Silk Road in order to accommodate weary travelers and their animals as they crossed from, or into, the Vayots Dzor Mountains. Drive to Sisian.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Sisian

Distance: 270 km / 168 miles

Cycling route: Noratus-Martuni-Geghhovit-Nshkharh-Vardenyats Pass-Getap

Cycling: 95 km: 20% ↑ / 40%→ / 40% ↓

Difficulty: 5/4

 

DAY 5:    Sisian – Karahoonj – Shaqi waterfall – Tatev – Goris

Shaki-Waterfall_smallCycling towards Shaki Waterfall Armenia’s highest waterfall (18 m) situated on the left side of Vorotan River Gorge. Ride to the first observatory in the world – Karahoonj (kar-means stone, hoonj-means voice, sound). It has a history of 7.500 years and scientists believe that there is a tight connection between the observatory in Armenia and Stonehenge in Britain, since the latter is much younger (about 4000 years).The long road will takes us to Goris a beautiful city with a very charming regional style of stone architecture surrounded by high mountains and some great rock formations striving to the sky with ancient cave settlement. Visit the 4th century Tatev monastic complex not far from Gorislocated on a large basalt plateau near the village of the same name in part of Zangezur. Monastery is known for the unique monument called “Gavazan” (pillar) which aimed to give early warning signals about possible earthquakes and invaders.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Goris

Distance: 100 km / 62 miles

Cycling route: Sisian-Karahoonj-Shaqi-Shinuhayr-Halidzor-Tatev

Cycling: 80 km: 20% ↑ / 60% → / 20% ↓

Difficulty: 5/4

 

DAY 6:    Goris – Khndzoresk–Shoushi – Stepanakert

ghazanchetsotsToday we will relax in a mountainous city and do some hiking while our bicycles are being technically examined. Drive 20 minutes and appear in a fantastic cave village with a picturesque view to the ruins of an old village, churches, tombs, nature, springs and a new bridge that spans the gorge. Khndzoresk is an ideal place for hiking. In the end of the 19th century Old Khndzoresk was the biggest village of Eastern Armenia.Our next destination is NagornoKarabagh. Drive to the border and after visa regulations proceed to the cultural centre of Karabagh – Shousi. Sightseeing at the beautiful Holy AmenaprkichGhazanchetsots Cathedral (1868-1887). Drive to Stepanakert the capital city of Nagorno Kharabakh nestled in a bowl of mountains. If time permits  we will visit the central bazzar to taste juicy local fruits, vegetables, greens, dried cornel that is made only in Nagorno Karabakh.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Stepanakert

Distance: 130 km / 81 miles

Hiking: Khndzoresk / 1.5 hours

Cycling route: Berdzor-Stepanakert

Cycling: 51 km

Difficulty: 5/3

 

DAY 7:    Stepanakert – Askeran – Tigranakert – Gandzasar

Tigranakert_middleWe’ll begin the day pedalingto Askeran’s remarkable fort (18th century).  On the way visit ‘’We and our Mountains’’ monument that considered to be a national landmark.Since ancient times the fort together with the medieval Armenian village next to it has been called Mayraberd. Continue cycling tour and visit Tigranakert (an important archaeological site) a ruined Armenian city dating back to the Hellenistic period.  Visit Tigranakert Hellenistic city museum. RIdeto Vank village with an interesting entertainment complex. Visit Gandzasar Monastery (10-13th cc.) one of the most renowned and well-preserved ecclesiastical complexes of medieval Armenia and a first-class example of outstanding universal value of the Armenian architectural and decorative tradition. Walk and explore the village.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Gandzasar

Distance: 90 km / 56 miles

Cycling Route: Stepanakert-Askeran-Tigranakert-Gandzasar

Cycling: 90 km

Difficulty: 5/4

 

DAY 8:    Gandzasar – Amaras –Plane Tree – Goris

gandzasarToday the bicycles will have rest. The tour starts in the fascinating surroundings of Karabakhmounains. Visit NikolDuman Memorial Museum, which honours the life of the renowned Dashnak leader. The home, once occupied by Duman himself, is fully restored to its XIX century condition.Continue to the south and visit Amaras Monastery (4th c.) one of the most treasured historical and religious sites of the South Caucasus, and one of the world’s oldest Christian monuments. On the way back to Stepanakert visit a huge plane tree (54m) that is more than 2030 years old.Transfer to Goris.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Goris

Distance: 250 km / 155 miles

 

DAY 9:    Goris – Noravank – Areni – Khor Virap – Yerevan

Khor VirapDrive to Noravank 13th c. (means “New Monastery”) a masterpiece of Armenian architecture which is situated in a narrow gorge and encircled by tall, sheer, brick-red cliffs highlighting spectacular nature of VayotsDzor province. Drive to the village Areni famous for its special sorts of grapes and wine production.Continue cycling tour to historical Khor-Virap monastery (4- 17th cc.). Take the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful view to the biblical Ararat Mountain, were Noah’s arch cast anchor. Khor-Virap monastery (means «deep dungeon») rests atop a little hill in an otherwise very flat Ararat Valley; it is where GrigorLuisavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned for 13 years before adapting Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. Drive back to Yerevan.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Yerevan

Distance: 280 km / 174 miles

Cycling Route: Saravan-Noravank

Cycling: 50 km: 30% ↑ / 70% →

Difficulty: 5/3

 

DAY 10:  Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan

GarniCycling to Kotayk province and visit Garni fortress (3rd-2nd cc.BC) the summer residence of the kings and Garni temple (1st c.) which is the only survived pagan temple of heathen culture in Armenia. Nowadays the ruins of the royal palace and the bathroom with a stunning mosaic work can be found near the temple. Northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of Azatriver, there is an outstanding monument of medieval Armenian architecture – Geghard monastery (4-12th cc.) listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Drive back to Yerevan.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Yerevan

Distance: 80 km / 50 miles

Cycling Route: Yerevan-Garni-Geghard-Yerevan

Cycling: 80 km:50% ↑ / 50% ↓

Difficulty: 5/4

 

DAY 11:  Yerevan – Ashtarak – Hovhannavank –Aruchavank – Yerevan

HovhannavankStart cycling to Ashtarak one of the oldest cities of Armenia with numerous historical and cultural monuments that allowed the town to retain the flavor of the ancient and beautiful Armenian town on the left bank of Kasagh River along the gorge. Continue cycling tothe monastery complex of Hovhannavank (4-13th cc.)perch on the edge of the precipitous gorge of the Kasakh river.The most ancient structure in Hovhannavank is a basilica typical of the fifth century. Go on riding towards Aruch villagewhere we can see the Cathedral (7th c.) a remarkable monument of Armenian architecture and the Caravanserai (13th c.) a medieval roadside inn which had an important role in the development of international trade.Drive back to Yerevan.

Meals: (B/–/–)

Overnight: Yerevan

Distance: 110 km / 68 miles

Cycling Route: Yerevan-Ashtarak-Hovhannavank

Cycling: 35 km: 50% ↑ / 40% → / 10% ↓

Difficulty: 5/3

 

DAY 12:  Departure

Transfer to the airport. Have a safe flight home.

Meals: (–/–/–)

Transfer: Hotel-Airport

 


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