Dates: December 30 – January 06
Type of tour: Guided
Duration: 8 days / 7 nights
Distance: 714 km (444 miles)
Group size: 2 + pax
Best period: Winter time
Start/End point: Yerevan, Armenia
Arrive at the airport. Meet and greet, transfer to the accommodation.
Start tour in the capital of Armenia and explore the important sightseeing places of 2795 years old Yerevan city including Food Market where we can taste and buy home-made dried fruit and fresh vegetables. Drive 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. Northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of Azat River, there is an outstanding monument of medieval Armenian architecture – Geghard monastery (4-12th cc.) listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Drive to Arinj city and visit the underground cave/museum dug by Levon. It’s interesting to realize that it’s a handmade labyrinth of a cave (with stairs, rooms, chambers, open shafts and sculpting) was supposed to be a simple potato cellar. Return to Yerevan and celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Distance: 170 km / 105 miles
Drive to the 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; it is where Grigor Luisavorich (St. Gregory the Illuminator) was imprisoned for 13 years before adapting Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. Proceed and visit Areni wine factory to taste local wine made from the special sorts of Areni grape. It is famous for its various kinds of wines. Visit 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 Vayots Dzor province. Drive back to Yerevan.
Distance: 270 km / 168 miles
Drive towards Lake Sevan the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It is also one of the largest fresh-water high-altitude lakes in the world. This huge mountain lake is situated at an altitude of about 1,900 meters above sea level. Visit Sevanavank 9th c. in the peninsula which used to be an island before. Note that the track leading to monastery consists of 220 stairs. Proceed to the town of Tsaghkadzor (means ‘gorge of flowers’) located at 1750m above sea level on the southeast slope of mount Teghenis. Spend the rest of the day in Tsaghkadzor enjoying the ski resort. There are 7 kms of piste at Tsakhkadzor and 5 lifts.
Distance: 105 km / 65 miles
Free day in Tsaghkadzor. Most trails in the Ski Resort are suitable for beginner level skiers and snowboarders. There are also excellent conditions for off-piste skiing and snowboarding.
Distance: 9 km / 5.5 miles
Visit Kecharis Monastic complex 11-13th cc. situated in Tsakhkadzor. In the 12th-13th centuries Kecharis was a major religious center of Armenia which had a higher school. In the evening return to Yerevan.
Distance: 70 km / 43.5 miles
Visit Tsitsernakaberd Monument designed to memorialize the innocent victims of the first Genocide of the 20th century. Visit Genocide museum.
Depart for the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the worldwide Armenian Church. On the way visit Zvartnots (means “celestial angels”) 7th century temple is a wonderful architectural masterpiece. The remnants of Zvartnots, even in ruins, are a majestic sight.
Continue and visit St. Hripsime church (7th c.). Visit the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin (302-303 AD) the oldest state-built church in the world and the seat of the Catholicos. Participate in a Special Christmas Holy Mess. Zvartnots and Ejmiadzin are listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Drive back to Yerevan.
Celebrate Armenian Christmas.
Distance: 90 km / 56 miles
Transfer to the airport. Have a safe flight home.