7 of the best experiences you can have in Armenia
Rich in folk traditions and one of the historic destinations along the Silk Road, Armenia is an undeniably beautiful country. If youre looking for a getaway that will provide you with fascinating, thought-provoking sights and a real sense of the legacy of the Caucasus, then this is a beautiful place in which to do that! Youll explore lonely rural churches, have picnic lunches overlooking the magnificent Lake Sevan, and climb craggy mountains to find monasteries carved out of their cliff edges, not to mention sip delicious hot tea in the culturally significant Republic Square.
Regent Holidays is an award-winning tour operator, with whom we partner. They are experts in Armenian travel and their escorted tours will ensure you visit all the main attractions of the country, as well as enjoy a number of local off the beaten track experiences. For instance, your capable guide might take you to a host familys home, where youll learn how to bake Lavash, the traditional bread, or a special sweet consisting of threaded walnuts. You might also go to an artisan studio to discover how an Armenian wind instrument, the Dudak, is made, distill your own vodka in the Armenian way, or sample wines at the local vineyard. One things for sure – Your trip will be unique and memorable!
Curious to know more about why so many people who visitArmenia, return here for a second, or third holiday? Lets have a look at thelandmarks youll visit and the things youll witness here, by exploring indetail a few of the top destinations on Regents itineraries which lift theveil on this exciting crossroads of the country. Here are our top 7 Armenianexperiences:
Climbing the Mother Armenia Statue in Yerevan
The pink stone buildings of Yerevan are a unique sight and theres so much to discover once youre inside the city. One of the best panoramic views of the skyline is from the towering Mother Armenia statue in Victory Park. Youll take a short, winding path to get to the monument, then climb the stairs to survey the city buildings of Yerevan in one direction, and the iconic Mount Aragat in the other.
Another incredible view is that of the interior of YerevanCathedral. If youre lucky enough to be here during a ceremony, you may even getto see the auspicious blowing of candles ritual.
For shopping, youll either want to head over to the foodmarket with its incredible range of organic produce, or the Vernisage; thehandicraft market, where you can pick up souvenirs and craft products madelocally.
There are two main museums to enjoy in Yerevan. They are theMatendaran Manuscript Museum, which houses one of the largest collections ofancient manuscripts in the world and the Parajanov Museum. The latter documentsthe life and art of Sergei Parajanov; a Soviet era filmmaker, as well as thework and paraphernalia of other Armenian and international artists.
However another cracking day out in this capital city, andone which is included on most Armenian tours, is a trip to the Yerevan BrandyFactory. Here you can see how the spirit is made, as well as taste it! Itsdelicious!
Visit Goshavank Monastery in the middle of the forest
This preserved 13th century stone monastery sits proudlyamongst the forest-covered mountains near Dilijan. Its construction is oftenheld up as a fine example of Armenian cross-stone architecture.
Youre close to the Pearl of Armenia here – Lake Sevan, aswell as the beautiful 19th century artisan houses of Museum Street. Some of thetours will build in a learning experience, while youre here. It might be atour of a local woodcarving, or ceramics, studios.
Listening to the Divine Lithurgy, as performed by the church choir at the Cathedral of Echmiadzin
The cathedral at Echmiadzin is the religious heart ofArmenia. Even if youre not a regular Mass-attendee, you wont fail to be movedby the choral strains of the Divine Lithurgy bouncing off the buildingsimpressively ornate interior walls.
While youre here its also worthwhile visiting themasterpiece that is the 7th century Zvartnots Cathedral. Its a UNESCO worldheritage site.
That wow moment when you first walk inside the cave monastery at Gheghard
The medieval Gheghard cave monastery is another UNESCO worldheritage site. It is carved out of the side of the mountain and is surroundedby sheer cliffs. There are many churches contained within the monastery walls,some more elaborate than others. The complex dates back to the 4th century andhas withstood many earthquakes.
As you walk up to the monastery, you can buy dried fruit,sweetbreads and souvenirs from the street sellers lining the paths. Musicianswill serenade you in. As you enter through the stone gateway, thats whenyoull catch your first glimpse of the stone interior surrounded by itsspectacular backdrop.
Viewing Mount Ararat from the mountainside Khor Virap monastery
Christianity was first adopted in Armenia in around 301 AD,and in the biblical Khor Virap monastery in the foothills of Mount Ararat iswhere it all happened. From this vantage point, youll have a seriouslyimpressive view of the mountains as they tower above you.
Doubtless it will seem all the more majestic and surreal ifyouve stopped at the nearby village of Areni to sample the home-made wine atthe local family-run vineyard there!
Eating traditional Armenian barbecue food in a village beside the Garni Pagan Temple
The Garni Gorge will be a highlight of your trip for anumber of reasons. The Symphony of Stones is a registered historic site andconsists of basalt column formations along the cliff-edge of a canyon, whilethe ancient Garni Temple consists of numerous palaces and temples. It was builtin 1AD and was the summer residence for the then Armenian kings.
Youre close to Lake Sevan here and youll almost certainlypay a trip to the waters edge. Whats astonishing about this lake, as well asits ethereal beauty, is its very high altitude.
On at least one of the tours, the Garni Gorge is a spotearmarked for a feast of Armenian barbecue food. Expect fine kebabs of meat andfish, accompanied by Lavash, vegetables, aubergine and bulgar wheat.
Taking the longest cable car ride in the world to the Tatev Monastery
Its 3.5 miles long and known as the Wings of Tatev. This isa record-breaking cable car track and included as part of a tour that will alsotake you to Karahunj; the Armenian version of Stonehenge and into themysterious mountain region of Nagorno Karabakh.
The latter, geographically speaking, is inside Azerbaijan,but is an independent Armenian enclave. On this trip, youll visit the capitalof the region, Shushi and the 13th century Gandzasar Monastery; which is whereJohn the Baptist is believed to be buried.
Booking your trip toArmenia
Having read about all the highlights of the country, perhapsyoure now not sure which tour of Armenia is going to best suit you? Why notlet our team of friendly travel advisors help you make the best decision. Welltake into account the sort of package youre looking for, based on what youdlike included, with whom youre travelling, the sort of experiences youd liketo have, as well as your holiday budget.
Let us match you up with your uniquely perfect break and get you the best deal at the same time. Well take care of the booking process for you, answer any queries you might have, and generally remove all the hassle that usually comes with making holiday arrangements. Please give us a call to find out how easy we can make holiday planning!