Armenia is a beautiful country with stunning, contrasting landscapes; in the north, stone churches lie hidden in luxuriant verdant gorges, whilst in the south remote monasteries perch atop red, craggy mountains. Enjoy a traditional lunch in the home of a local family, and wonder at the breath-taking sight of Khor Virap Monastery with its dramatic mountain backdrop. From the museums of the capital to the ancient caravanserais of the Silk Road, discover the highlights of Armenia on this 11-day holiday.
Take part in a wine-tasting in Areni, thought to be the oldest wine-growing region in the world. Ride the 3.5 mile cable car to Tatev Monastery. Learn how to make Gata, a traditional Armenian dessert, during a special class and then sample it after dinner one evening. All this and so much more awaits you on this incredible journey, where you can gain a real insight into this fascinating and little-visited country.
Depart London Gatwick for your flight to Yerevan via Kyiv, Ukraine.
Arrive into Yerevan in the early hours of the morning, where you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Take the rest of the night and the morning at leisure to recuperate from your flight. Enjoy a guided tour of Yerevan during the afternoon, starting with lunch at a local restaurant. Highlights include the Armenian Opera Theatre, The Cascade, and the Mother Armenia statue. Later ride the Metro with your guide to picturesque Republic Square, where you will visit the small Post Office before heading back to your hotel. (B,L)
Strike out from Yerevan to visit the incredible Geghard Cave Monastery, built in the 13th century, and then Garni Temple. The temple was built in the first century AD and has been fully restored, and stands as the last remnant of a great complex of palaces and temples that once thrived here. Enjoy a traditional lunch in a private home before returning to Yerevan to visit the Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial Complex. (B,L)
Depart Yerevan this morning and head to the mountain spa town of Jermuk. Stop en route at Khor Virap Monastery. The view of the monastery, perched on its hillock, with Mount Ararat towering in the background is one of the most iconic sights in Armenia. Press on to Noravank Monastery and also stop to do some wine-tasting in the vineyard region of Areni. Late in the day arrive in Jermuk where you will stay for two nights. (B,L)
Take a day-trip out of Jermuk to explore south east Armenia. Stop at Karahunj, the Armenian answer to Stonehenge, and then take the incredible 3.5 mile cable car up to Tatev Monastery, perched on the cliff-edge above a deep gorge. Move on to Goris, where you will visit the nearby village of Khndzoresk with its picturesque canyon and ancient cave settlement. Head back to Jermuk and enjoy the evening at leisure. (B,L)
Head north towards Selim Pass, sitting at an altitude of 2410m. Just below the top of the pass, stop to explore Selim Caravanserai, a 14th century Silk Road stop-over that is one of the best-preserved caravanserais in the world. Follow the shoreline of Lake Sevan for a time to find the Noratus field of khachkars (Armenian cross-stones). Continue on to Sevanavank Monastery, then travel onwards to Dilijan. Visit the 18th century museum street and then take an excursion out of the city to the 12th - 13th century Goshavank Monastery. Return to Dilijan and check into your hotel for the night. Before dinner, take a class to learn how to make the traditional Armenian dessert, Gata, which you can then enjoy for pudding! (B,L,D)
Leave Dilijan this morning and head to the Lori region. En route, drive through the Russian-populated villages of the Molokans and stop to visit a local home, where you can chat with your host over tea and traditional pancakes. Later, arrive in the city of Vanadzor where you will visit a stone-carver's studio, then travel to Alaverdi via Stepanavan, with a stop at beautiful Odzun Church en route. Enjoy lunch in Alaverdi then visit Sanahin Monastery, before checking into your hotel and enjoying the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. (B,L)
Today explore more of the Lori region, including the Akhtala Monastery with its unique frescoes and UNESCO World Heritage listed village of Haghpat, which overlooks the Debed River. Witness the making of traditional Lori cheese and then enjoy an afternoon and evening to relax after a busy couple of days' sightseeing. (B,L)
Drive to the mediaeval fortress of Lori Berd, then head south over the Pushkin Pass, via Spitak, to the city of Gyumri in north west Armenia. Enjoy a leisurely lunch before checking into your hotel where you have the chance to freshen up before enjoying a walking tour of the city. Highlights include the Town Square and Sev Berd, "The Black Fortress". The last stop of the day is the 10th century Marmashen Monastery. (B,L)
Enjoy an early breakfast then transfer to Gyumri Railway Station, the oldest railway station in Armenia. Enjoy a leisurely train ride back towards Yerevan, with a stop en route at Etchmiadzin. Etchmiadzin is Armenia's religious capital and offers amazing sights such as Etchmiadzin Cathedral and the ruins of the 7th century Cathedral Zvartnots. The entire area is UNESCO World Heritage-listed. After lunch, carry on to Yerevan. Visit the Ararat Brandy Factory for a brief tour and some brandy tasting of course! Enjoy the rest of your afternoon and the evening at leisure to explore or relax. (B,L)
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK via Kyiv, Ukraine.
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