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 – SEVABERD – LAKE AKNALICH
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Depart Yerevan on a shuttle bus, which will drive you to the starting point of the Geghama Trail, the Sevaberd (1 hour ride). The Sevaberd is a small village at the foot of the Geghama Ridge at the altitude of 2,100m above sea level. This entire area is a showcase for the powers and beauty of the forces of nature.
Leave your heavy packs behind in the 4WD support vehicle, which will transport your luggage to the overnight camp at the Lake Aknalich. The accompanying car would carry the equipment, such as, the bivouac gear, tents, sleeping bags, mats, gas burner and the utensils for cooking. All this will be supplied to you during the duration of the tour, along with the professional trekking guide and a first aid kit.
Carrying just a small backpack with the packed lunch box, start the hike, walking from the Sevaberd village to the Lake Aknalich (3,030m), next to which we set our camp, after an approximated 5-6 hours walk. Dinner. Overnight in a tent at the Lake Aknalich.
Total distance: 15 km (9,32 miles)
Estimated walking time: 5-6 hours
Maximum altitude point: 3,030m (9,842 ft)
Campsite altitude: 3,030m (9,842 ft)
Ascent: 970m (3,182 ft)
DAY 3 LAKE AKNALICH – MOUNT AZHDAHAK – LAKE KAPUT
Breakfast. Leave your packs behind in the 4WD support vehicle, and start the hike, walking from the Lake Aknalich to the top of the Mount Azhdahak, the highest peak of the Geghama Mountains (3,597m). The Geghama Range is of volcanic origin, including many extinct volcanoes. The range is 70 km long and 48 km wide, and stretched between the Lake Sevan and the Ararat Valley.
The gradual ascent enables you to build the slow, but steady rhythm required for long walking at higher altitudes. Reach the summit and enjoy the unforgettable views of the serene lake in the crater and the surrounding vistas. Descend to the Lake Kaput (3,100m), next to which we set our camp, after an approximated 6-7 hours walk. Dinner. Overnight in a tent at the Lake Kaput.
Total distance: 14 km (8,69 miles)
Estimated walking time: 6-7 hours
Maximum altitude point: 3,597m (11,801 ft)
Campsite altitude: 3,100m (10,170 ft)
Ascent: 550m (1,804 ft)
Descend: 500m (1,640 ft)
DAY 4 LAKE KAPUT – MOUNT SPITAKASAR – LAKE VANKI
Breakfast. Leave your packs behind in the 4WD support vehicle, and start the hike, walking from the Lake Kaput to the top of the Mount Spitakasar (3,560m). The Spitakasar is a dome-shaped structure with a 3,500 diameter at the base and 500 meters in height. The north and east slopes of Spitakasar are strongly indented by glaciers, and once you reach the top you’ll find an unparalleled view of the Biblical Mt. Ararat. Descend to the Lake Vanki (2,900m), next to which we set our camp, after an approximated 6-7 hours walk.
Along your route you will encounter two prehistoric vishapkars, a dragon stone, a long fish-shaped stelae. Found in various regions of Armenia and often associated with water sources, they resemble large, tailless whales with fish-like designs, sometimes with a stream of water flowing from the mouth of the fish.
You will also stumble across some petroglyphs on your path. A great number of petroglyphs and rock carvings have been found in this area of the Geghama Mountains. Most images depict men in scenes of hunting and fighting, the astronomical bodies and the heavenly phenomena: the Sun, the Moon, constellations, the stellar sky, lightning, etc. Dinner. Overnight in a tent at the Lake Vanki.
Total distance: 16 km (9,94 miles)
Estimated walking time: 6-7 hours
Maximum altitude point: 3,560m (11,679 ft)
Campsite altitude: 2,900m (9,514 ft)
DAY 5 LAKE VANKI – GEGHARD – YEREVAN
Breakfast. Leave your packs behind in the 4WD support vehicle, which will transport your luggage to the bus, waiting for you at the Geghard village. Start the hike, walking down from the Lake Vanki to the village of Geghard (1,750m).
You can notice the gradual change of scenery, from the volcanic moonscape of Mount Azhdahak to dramatic mountains, covered with undisturbed forests. Rare flowers will line your trail, snaking its way to rocky viewpoints, where you gain the impressive views of the surrounding landscape, bizarre rocks, and weirdly sculptured erosions to add to the impressions. The trail continues through the pleasant picnic areas, then the narrow dirt road descends into the wonderful rocky gorge, with the hidden small villages in it.
In the Geghard village you will board a bus, which will take you to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Armenia, the 13th century cave monastery of Geghard, a "Monastery of the Spear" (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. Return to Yerevan. Check into a hotel. Dinner. Overnight in Yerevan.
Total distance: 13 km (8.077 miles)
Estimated walking time: 4-5 hours
Maximum altitude point: 1,750m (5,741 ft)
Descend: 1,150m (3,772 ft)
DAY 6 YEREVAN
Breakfast. 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.
Visit one of the richest depositories of manuscripts and books in the world, the Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts. 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.
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.
Take a tour of the “Ararat” Brandy Factory, featuring degustation of the two types of the world renowned Armenian brandy. Stop at the popular fruit market “Shouka” to buy traditional sweets and dry fruits. Dinner. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 7 YEREVAN – KHOR VIRAP – NORAVANK – ARENI – YEREVAN
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. 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.
Continue in the Vayots Dzor Province, which is Armenia’s most storied wine growing region. Visit the masterpiece of medieval Armenian architecture, the 14th century Noravank Monastery, a major religious and cultural center of Armenia in the past. Stopover for wine tasting at the local winery in Areni village, which is famous for its rather delicious dry red wine. Return to Yerevan. Dinner. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 8 YEREVAN
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Transfer to Zvartnots International Airport. Departure from Yerevan.