DAY 1 YEREVAN ARRIVAL & CITY TOUR
Arrival to Zvartnots International Airport. Meet your Phoenix Tour representative. 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 the Cascade Complex, with its Sculpture Park and Cafesjian Center for the Arts. Visit the magnificent building of the Opera House, the postmodern Northern Avenue and the city's main Republic Square. Be sure to return to Republic Square after dark to see the "Dancing Fountains", a choreographed water show synched with lights and music.
Take a tour of the "Ararat" Brandy Factory, featuring degustation of the two types of the world renowned Armenian brandy. Take a tour of an open air "Vernissage" market, where you can buy some gifts, souvenirs, jewelry and other handicrafts. Check into a hotel. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 2 YEREVAN – GEGHARD – GARNI – SYMPHONY OF THE STONES – LAKE SEVAN
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 name of the monastery originates from the spear, which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion, allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Jude, and currently stored amongst many other relics 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.
Take a local 4x4 jeep down to the bottom of the Garni Gorge, to see the breathtaking vertical cliffs of the well preserved octagonal basalt columns, called the "Symphony of the Stones". Usually, visitors must walk or take a local car, as our buses do not make trips down there.
At the Garni village house take part in the masterclass of baking traditional Armenian flatbread lavash. Throughout the ages, lavash have not only occupied the highest place in Armenian cuisine, but also acquired the sacramental meaning, symbolizing the soul of Armenian people. In 2014, "Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia" was included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Continue to Lake Sevan. 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. Walk up to the 8th century monastery of Sevanavank on Sevan Peninsula, one of Armenia’s iconic landmarks. Take a refreshing 30 min long boat ride along the peninsula. Check into a hotel. Overnight in Sevan.
DAY 3 LAKE SEVAN – SELIM PASS – TATEV – KHOT VILLAGE – GORIS
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Drive to Tatev via Selim Pass (Vardenyats Pass). Stop at the Selim Caravanserai, located at 2,410m above sea level. Tucked up on the Selim Pass, this caravanserai, built in 1332 under the reign of Khan Abu Said II is the best preserved caravanserai in Armenia, and its location on the pass renders it a spectacular stopping point.
Continue to one of the most spectacular and impressive places in Armenia, the 9th century Tatev Monastery, which hosted one of the most important Armenian medieval universities, whose scholars contributed to the preservation of Armenian culture and creed during one of its most turbulent periods in its history.
Take the cable car "Wings of Tatev" from the Halidzor Village to the magnificent complex of Tatev. The "Wings of Tatev" built by the Swiss company, is included in the Guinness Book of World Records as world’s longest non-stop double track cable car, clocking in at around 5.7 km.
Continue to Old Khot Village, more commonly known as Armenian Machu Picchu. The village is located on the left bank of the river Vorotan, at 1,500 meters above sea level, surrounded by gardens and inaccessible crags. The area had been inhabited since the 2nd century BC, but was abandoned as late as the 1970s for the fertile plains elsewhere. Take a local 4x4 car to visit the vista point for making incredible photos of the village.
Drive to Goris, a major junction stop between Yerevan, Stepanakert and Iran. Goris is known for its variety of homemade fruit vodkas, including the deliciously potent Mulberry and Cornelian cherry vodkas. Check into a hotel. Overnight in Goris.
DAY 4 GORIS – SISIAN – UKHTASAR – SHAKI WATERFALL – JERMUK
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Drive to Sisian. Arrive in Sisian and change your mode of transportation to a local 4x4 UAZ jeep for an uphill climb to Mount Ukhtasar (The "Camelback Mountain" in Armenian). Over 2,000 decorated rock fragments extend to the foot of the mountain. The petroglyphs, some believed to date back to the Paleolithic Era (12,000 BCE), are carved onto dark brownish-black volcanic stones left behind by an extinct volcano.
Return to your regular vehicle and continue to Shaki Waterfall, one of the beautiful waterfalls in Armenia, located near the city of Sisian. Shaki is a very picturesque spot, where cascades of water plunge 60 feet down over solidified basalt lava flows.
Drive to Jermuk, a spa town, famous for its hot springs and mineral waters. Stop at the Jermuk Drinking Gallery and taste the world renowned "Jermuk" mineral water. Visit the popular Jermuk Waterfall, located at 2,080m above sea level, and enjoy the beautiful nature of the area. Check into a hotel. Overnight in Jermuk.
DAY 5 JERMUK – OLD BRIDGE WINERY – NORAVANK – GNISHIK – ARENI CAVE – KHOR VIRAP – YEREVAN
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Drive to Yeghegnadzor and stopover for wine tasting at the local Old Bridge Wine Factory, which is very popular for its delicious wines. Depending on the time of year, the visitors can take part in grape-picking, distillation or bottling process at the vineyards.
Visit the masterpiece of medieval Armenian architecture, the 14th century Noravank Monastery, a major religious and cultural center of Armenia in the past. Take a local 4x4 jeep to visit the Gnishik Protected Area. You will get to the top of the mountain, from which you will have the unique opportunity to see the Noravank Monastery from a totally different angle, viewing it from the above. In addition, the guide will take you to the observation spot, from which you can see the gazing endangered Bezoar goats.
Continue to the Areni-1 Birds Cave. In 2007, a team of Armenian and Irish archeologists were doing excavations in the Areni-1 Cave, and they have discovered a 6,100-year-old winery and a 5,500-year-old leather shoe. The shoe was officially acknowledged as the oldest leather footwear in the world, and it is on the permanent display in the History Museum of Armenia.
Drive to the Khor Virap Monastery, where the Mt. Ararat reveals its breathtaking size and splendor. Khor Virap is one of the most popular destinations in Armenia, primarily because it is where the St. Gregory the Illuminator, the future head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, was imprisoned here for 13 years.
Return to Yerevan. Check into a hotel. Visit the Republic Square to see the "Dancing Fountains", a choreographed water show synched with lights and music. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 6 YEREVAN – ECHMIADZIN – ZVARTNOTS – YEREVAN DEPARTURE
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Visit the popular fruit market "Shouka" to buy traditional sweets and dried fruits. Visit the Yerevan Blue Mosque. The Blue Mosque is an 18th century Shia mosque, commissioned by Huseyn Ali Khan, the khan of Erivan. It is one of the oldest extant structures in central Yerevan and the only active mosque in Armenia.
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). 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 Echmiadzin Cathedral's Museum, where amongst other relics, you can see the Holy Spear, with which Jesus Christ was pierced on the cross.
Drive to Zvartnots International Airport. En route to the airport 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.
Transfer to Zvartnots International Airport. Departure from Yerevan.