DAY 1 YEREVAN ARRIVAL
Arrival to Zvartnots International Airport. Transfer to the hotel. Check in. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 2 YEREVAN CITY TOUR
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.
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 (the fountains are on from May until the end of October).
Take a tour of the legendary "Ararat" Brandy Factory, featuring degustation of the two types of the world renowned Armenian brandy. The Yerevan Brandy Factory, the only and constant producer of "Ararat" brandies, is one of the key stops for official visits of delegations, cultural figures and visitors from all over the world.
Take a tour of an open air “Vernissage” market, where you can buy some gifts, souvenirs, jewelry and other handicrafts made of wood, semi-precious stones, silver and other materials.
Stop at the popular farmers market “Gumi Shuka” to buy traditional sweets and dried fruits. It's a fun place to meet vendors and spend time, sampling their foods. The aromas and colors of the local produce will add up to a wonderful and unique experience.
Welcome dinner at the popular Armenian restaurant, accompanied with the lively and colorful folk show - the best place for anyone who likes to indulge in traditional Armenian cuisine, seated among the locals.
The main dish served this evening will be the Beef Khashlama, the favorite of Armenian food lovers, who enjoy natural, plain flavors. Khashlama is a rich, delicious broth of beef, lamb or mutton, seasoned with herbs and vegetables. Wine or beer are also often added to Khashlama because they help to enhance the flavor of the broth and tenderize the meat.
The second dish served will be the Lamb Khurjin, a delicate lamb fillet, slow cooked with bell peppers, onions, tomatos & local spices, and wrapped in Armenian traditional bread lavash. The Lamb Khurjin is a traditional mountainous dish, where the wives of shepherds used to make Khurjin for their husbands as they went up the mountains for weeks and months at a time. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 3 YEREVAN – KHOR VIRAP – NORAVANK – VAYOTS DZOR WINERIES – YEREVAN
Breakfast. Drive to Khor Virap Monastery, located on the foothills of the Biblical Mount Ararat, where it reveals its breathtaking size and splendor. It was here, that the Saint Gregory the Illuminator, the future head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, was imprisoned in a deep dungeon for 13 years for spreading Christianity in Armenia.
Continue to the masterpiece of medieval Armenian architecture, the 13th century Noravank Monastery. Set in the spectacular valley of red rocks, the monastery built out of the local stone, blends into the background of the molten red gorge, that contrasts with the stark blue sky.
Continue in the Vayots Dzor Province, which is Armenia’s most storied wine growing region. Stop at the local family run the “Momik”, or the “Old Bridge” wineries for wine testing. During the visit to the wineries, the guests will learn about Armenia’s winemaking tradition, meet the winery owners, listen to their story, and try a selection of their delicious wines. An early traditional Armenian dinner from the local ingredients will be served at the winery. Return to Yerevan. Free evening.
There is plenty to keep you occupied in the city with its shopping malls, film screenings, concerts and performances. There are numerous cafés and wine shops line the main streets and side alleys around the city’s downtown. The city fills up with people at night, and you’ll find a number of trendy clubs, pubs and bars, where you can party till dawn Yerevan style! Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 4 YEREVAN – GEGHARD – GARNI – SYMPHONY OF STONES – LAKE SEVAN – HAYRAVANK – MIKAELYAN FARM – YEREVAN
Breakfast. Drive to one of the most beautiful monasteries in Armenia, the 13th century cave monastery of Geghard (UNESCO World Heritage Site), a former home of the spear, which had wounded Jesus at the Crucifixion.
Continue to the masterpiece of Hellenistic architecture in Armenia, the 1st century pagan temple of the Sun in Garni. The temple was destroyed in 1679 in an earthquake, but was reconstructed in Soviet times.
Take a local 4x4 jeep down to the bottom of the Garni gorge, where the unique natural monument the “Symphony of Stones” is located. This landmark consists of huge basalt pillars hanging above the ground at a height of about 50 meters. These breathtaking orderly octagonal columns look almost like an organ, that is why they are called "Symphony of Stones".
At the Garni village house, with its pleasant atmosphere, take part in the masterclass of baking traditional Armenian flatbread lavash. Customarily, the light refreshments with herbs, local cheese and hot lavash right from the oven, are served to the guests.
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 the Mikaelyan Family Farm on the Lake Sevan shores, one of the largest high-mountain freshwater lakes in the world. En route to the farm stop at the 9th century Hayravank Monastery, located at the top of a hill. Enjoy the serene setting and panoramic view of the lake.
Visit the Mikaelyan Family Farm to taste the unique and ecologically clean Armenian cheeses. For several years now, this creamery has been supplying craft cheeses to wine restaurants and cellars of the Armenian capital (in particular, wine cheese, brandy cheese and parmesan).
For example, the making of unique brandy cheese (brewed with Armenian brandy, cinnamon & grape leaves) takes a long time. This exclusive cheese is processed for about 4-6 months, and as a result it has an uncomparable taste and aroma. No wonder, the cheesemakers from the USA, Switzerland and other European countries come down to this farm to learn the art of Armenian cheesemaking and to exchange experience.
Tour to Mikaelyan’s creamery consists of visiting underground cheese cellar, learning about Armenian cheesemaking process, traditions and, of course, the tasting of the 8 selective types of craft cheeses. The lovely dinner from the local ingredients will be served at the farm right after the tour. Return to Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 5 YEREVAN DEPARTURE
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Transfer to Zvartnots International Airport. Departure from Yerevan.