from $835

HORSEBACK RIDING TOUR

HIDDEN TRAILS OF NORTHERN ARMENIA

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE FROM YEREVAN

10 DAYS | 9 NIGHTS

Leave your stressful life behind and explore a foreign place away from the tourist rush and off the beaten path with our 10 days/9 nights special offer Horseback Riding Tour on the hidden trails of Northern Armenia. Cool climate, country living, and arguably the best views in Armenia – it’s hard to ask for anything more than what you get on this tour. Ride across the pasturelands and forests, along the misty trails and the ancient village sites of the majestic Tavush Province of Armenia, and get an authentic glimpse into Upcountry living on this family-run Yenokavan’s Apaga Resort ranch.  

DAY 1  YEREVAN
Arrival to Zvartnots International Airport in the evening. Meet your Phoenix Tour representative. Transfer to the hotel. Check in. Dinner. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 2  YEREVAN - ECHMIADZIN - ZVARTNOTS - YEREVAN
Breakfast. Drive to Echmiadzin, the spiritual and administrative center of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Visit the churches of St. Hripsime and St. Gayane (UNESCO World Heritage Sites). The St. Hripsime Church is one of the famous ecclesiastical buildings in the city of Echmiadzin. The church is notable with its architectural simplicity and loftiness, and the tomb of the Christian martyr Virgin Hripsime is located in the sacristy of the church. The church of St. Gayane is not far from the Echmiadzin Cathedral, and according to the legend, this church was constructed over the tomb of Virgin Gayane, who was martyred for preaching Christianity in Armenia.

Visit the Main Cathedral of Echmiadzin, the oldest state-built church in the world, having been built by St. Gregory the Illuminator in 303 AD (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Attend the colorful service of the Holy Liturgy on Sundays, which attracts a numerous visitors and pilgrims from around the world. Visit the Cathedral Museum, where amongst other relics, you can see the Holy Lance, with which Jesus Christ was pierced on the cross.

Drive back to Yerevan. En route to Yerevan visit ruins of the 7th century Zvartnots Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Zvartnots Cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake in 930 AD, and was lost to history until its discovery in the early 20th century. The Armenian and Arab historians alike marveled at the beauty of Zvartnots, calling it one of the most beautiful buildings ever built. Originally built to be the tallest church of the world at the time, and to last for 1,000 years (a projected date for the second coming of Christ), the Zvartnots Cathedral has been only partially reconstructed. Lunch.

Return to Yerevan. Start exploring Yerevan, the Armenia’s capital city and one of the oldest cities in the world. Stop at the Victory Park and Mother Armenia monument to get a spectacular view of the Biblical Mt. Ararat with a panorama of central Yerevan.

Take a walking tour of Cascade Complex, with its Sculpture Park and Cafesjian Center for the Arts. See Fernando Botero’s sculpture of “The Black Cat” and other renowned artist’s works decorating the Park. The Cascade is an Art Deco version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, a massive white stairway up a hillside of central Yerevan, decorated with green stretches, fountains and waterfalls, that run uphill and crowned with the obelisk of the Revived Armenia.

Visit the magnificent building of the Opera House, the postmodern Northern Avenue and the city’s main Republic Square, the centerpiece of the architect Alexander Tamanian’s master plan for Yerevan. The Republic Square is ringed by the National Gallery, National History Museum and several government buildings. Be sure to return to Republic Square after dark to see the “Dancing Fountains”, a choreographed water show synched with lights and music.

Continue to the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex on the hills of Tsitsernakaberd. The Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex houses both the Armenian Genocide Museum, and the Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial. The museum offers an account of the 1915 genocide in which as many as 1.5 million Armenians perished while Armenia was part of the Ottoman Empire. Dinner. Overnight in Yerevan.

DAY 3  YEREVAN - GEGHARD - GARNI - LAKE SEVAN - YENOKAVAN - APAGA RESORT
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Drive to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Armenia, the 13th century cave monastery of Geghard (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The Geghard Complex is set in the landscape of great natural beauty, surrounded by towering cliffs at the entrance to the Azat Valley. Geghard literally means “Monastery of the Spear”. The name of the monastery originates from the spear which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, called here Thaddeus, and stored amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin’s Cathedral Museum.

Continue to the oldest surviving building on the territory of Armenia, the 1st century Garni Pagan Temple. The Garni Temple was built by the Armenian King Tiridates with the money he received after visiting Emperor Nero in Rome, and was dedicated to Sun God Mithra. After adopting Christianity in 301 AD, the pagan temple lost its significance and the fortress of Garni became the summer residence of the Armenian kings. The temple was destroyed in 1679 in an earthquake, but was reconstructed in Soviet times.

Listen to traditional Armenian wind instrument duduk at the temple. Born in the early eons of Armenian history, the duduk is considered the most “Armenian” of all folk instruments, because of its origins and its ability to express the soul of the Armenian people.

Continue to Lake Sevan. Lake Sevan is one of the highlights of a visit to Armenia. The lakeshore is lined with sandy beaches, some teeming with activity and resorts, offering water sports such as sailing, jet skiing and windsurfing, and some quiet and secluded. Lake Sevan’s proximity to Yerevan, coupled with its cooler summer temperatures, outstretched blue waters and historic sights make it one of Armenia’s key places to visit. Lunch.

Walk up to the 8th century monastery of Sevanavank on Sevan Peninsula, one of Armenia’s iconic landmarks. Sevanavank is perhaps the most photographed part of the lake. The conical towers of the monastery set against the backdrop of the turquoise lake and blue sky may look idyllic, but it was once a place of penance, a place of exile for monks from the religious capital of Echmiadzin who were guilty of sinful acts.

Continue to Yenokavan Village in the majestic Tavush Province of Armenia. Accommodation in the cottages of the Apaga Resort. Situated at 1,390m above sea level, the Apaga Resort is a unique place in the mountains of Armenia where you can enjoy indescribably fascinating scenery, horses, dogs, sky full of stars, forests, meadows of daisies and rivers. Dinner. Overnight in Yenokavan.

DAY 4  APAGA RESORT - SERVANSI KHACH - APAGA RESORT (3hrs ride)
Breakfast. After a short training session, ride to the Servansi Khach Church. The trip starts at 1,380m above sea level, then you descend to 1,230m, where you arrive at the church. You should be able to ride to an intermediate standard, and be able to control a horse in open country at walk, trot and canter. The ride is not a fast ride, however, there are occasions where the more adventurous among you can have a good canter.

As all the riding will be in the mountains you should have a reasonable sense of balance as it will help the horses navigate the narrow switch-back paths. You should be reasonably fit, in a decent state of health and be comfortable riding for 5 hours a day. There will be points during the trip where you will have to get off and walk downhill with your horse. The horses used for the trips are local-bred horses, Arabian, English and Akhaltekin blood mongrels (half-blood).

Return to Apaga Resort. Lunch. Free time for traditional camp activities, such as tennis and volleyball, or take an extra riding lesson with an experienced instructor. An afternoon hike to the nearest pasture to participate in milking cow and cheese making master class. Return to Apaga Resort. Dinner. Overnight in Yenokavan.

DAY 5  APAGA RESORT - OKON - HRIPSIME AGHPYUR - APAGA RESORT (3hrs ride & 3hrs hike)
Breakfast. Ride to Okon. You will pass through the forests down to the gorge of Parvidzor, at an altitude of 1,305m, before making your way through more open country to the river, which you will cross to reach beautiful meadows. Lunch at the highland apiary. You can take a dip in the river, or just sit on the rocks with your feet dipped in the mountain river of Khachakhpyur. Continue to the Okonakhach Church, which is an old basilica church with an ancient cemetery of khachkars (cross-stones). Take a hike to the spring of Hripsime Aghpyur (“Spring of Hripsime” in Armenian), renowned for its healing powers. Return to Apaga Resort. Dinner. Overnight in Yenokavan.
DAY 6  APAGA RESORT - KRANATAKHT - APAGA RESORT (3hrs hike)
Breakfast. Hike to Kranatakht. Almost the entire route passes through the forest. The purpose of this hike is the Hach Church, a little chapel, lost in the beech forest, and surrounded with lots of intact and the broken khachkars (cross-stones). Lunch.

Return to Apaga Resort. Free time for traditional camp activities, such as tennis and volleyball, or take an extra riding lesson with an experienced instructor. Dinner, accompanied by singing and dancing around a campfire. Overnight in Yenokavan.

DAY 7  APAGA RESORT - YENOKAVAN - ASTGHABLUR - LUSADZOR - APAGA RESORT (5hrs ride)
Breakfast. Ride to the ruins of Astghablur, located on the outskirts of Yenokavan. At the northeast end of the Yenokavan Village, overlooking the gorge is the 6th-5th centuries BC Astghablur Hill with cyclopean walls and a huge tomb field. The main dirt road through Yenokavan bear right and up the ridge, cutting through the starkly beautiful mountain pastures of the Ijevan Mountain Range.

Pass Yenokavan Village and Lusadzor Marble Quarry. Lusadzor is located within a few miles east of Ijevan, the administrative center of Tavush Province, and is notable with its abandoned medieval settlements with khachkars, and an Iron Age cemetery. Lunch. Return to Apaga Resort. Dinner. Overnight in Yenokavan.

DAY 8  APAGA RESORT - PSTIKSAR - APAGA RESORT (5hrs hike)
Breakfast. Hike to Pstiksar by trailing along the route called “The Trail of Lovers”. The primary features of the day are the wonderful views along the trail. This trail is ideal for picking up wild herbs. You can pick up three kinds of herbs for your evening tea: mint, thyme, and chamomile. This is also an area rich with a bird variety,  and you will have a good chance to observe the eagles, hawks, jays and some others, as they fly very close, so you can just watch or take pictures. Lunch. Return to Apaga Resort by a different route. Dinner. Overnight in Yenokavan.
DAY 9  APAGA RESORT - HARSNAQAR - SAMSONAVANK - APAGA RESORT (5hrs ride)
Breakfast. Ride to the Harsnaqar meadow pasture. The trail will be full of ups and downs through the meadows, and in part forests, at the altitudes of 1,600-1,800m above sea level. It’s one of the most exciting days on the tour, with plenty of unforgettable views and the breathtaking scenery. Lunch. While some in the group will prefer to rest in Harsnaqar, the more inquisitive can hike to the 13th century monastery of Samsonovank. Return to Apaga Resort. Farewell dinner. Overnight in Yenokavan.
DAY 10  APAGA RESORT - YENOKAVAN - YEREVAN
Breakfast. Check out from Apaga Resort. Transfer to Zvartnots International Airport. Departure from Yerevan.

THE FEATURED TIER PRICE OF 835 USD PER PERSON IS BASED ON GROUP SIZE OF 10 PERSONS IN 3 STAR HOTELS

PRICE INCLUDES

all transfers according to a program in a 17 seater bus with A/C; accommodation in a DBL room in 3 star hotels (9 nights: 2 nights in Yerevan, 7 nights in Yenokavan); meals FB (breakfasts, lunches & dinners); tour leader/horse riding guide/instructor; foreign speaking guide services; 1 country map per person; 1 bottled water per person per day; entrance fees to museums and temples; duduk playing at Garni Temple; Wi-Fi access in the lobby of the Apaga Resort.

PRICE DOESN’T INCLUDE

airfare; entry visas; insurance; alcohol during the meals; all additional tours not mentioned in the program; tips.

 

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