DAY 1 YEREVAN ARRIVAL & CITY TOUR
Arrival to Zvartnots International Airport early in the morning. Meet your Phoenix Tour representative. Transfer to the hotel. Check in. 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 "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. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 2 YEREVAN – GEGHARD – GARNI – YEREVAN
Breakfast. 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.
Return to Yerevan. Visit 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. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 3 YEREVAN – KHOR VIRAP – NORAVANK – ARENI – ZORATS KARER – GORIS
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 to 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 delicious dry red wine.
Drive to one of the oldest observatories in the world, the megalithic complex Zorats Karer. Zorats Karer (often called Karahunj) is a prehistoric monument consisting of hundreds of vertically set large stones with holes in the top, and frequently referred to in international tourist lore as "Armenian Stonehenge".
Continue 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 – TATEV – SELIM PASS – NORATUS – LAKE SEVAN
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Drive 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.
Drive to Lake Sevan 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 Lake Sevan. Visit the Noratus medieval cemetery, with the biggest cluster of the early khachkars (cross-stones) on the territory of Armenia, and presently the largest surviving cemetery with the khachkars in the world.
Arrive in 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. Check into a hotel. Overnight in Sevan.
DAY 5 LAKE SEVAN – DILIJAN – HAGHARTSIN – GOSHAVANK – SANAHIN – HAGHPAT – AKHTALA
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Walk up to the 8th century monastery of Sevanavank on Sevan Peninsula, one of Armenia’s iconic landmarks. Continue to Dilijan, a resort town renowned for its charming nature and some traditional Armenian architecture. Stroll through the Dilijan’s Historic Center, the cobbled Sharambeyan Street, with its collection of stone and wooden traditional buildings, shops, restaurants, souvenir stalls and workshops.
Visit the splendid 12th century Haghartsin Monastery, situated in the picturesque gorge of the upper reaches of Haghartsin River. The monastery is famed for housing an image of the Virgin and Child, which has distinct Mongolian features - added to convince the next wave of Mongol invaders not to destroy the church.
Visit the beacon of science and culture of ancient Armenia, the 12th century Goshavank Monastery. Haghartsin and Goshavank are one of the iconic examples of the developing Armenian architecture during the Middle Ages.
Drive to Alaverdi, the largest city in the Debed Canyon, an area rich with historical monuments and natural beauty. Visit the moss-covered 10th century Sanahin Monastery, a fascinatingly detailed monastery complex, packed with ancient graves, darkened chapels and medieval gallery schools (UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Visit the 10th century Haghpat Monastery. This pearl of a monastery, perched on the lip of the Debed Canyon, has a UNESCO World Heritage Site status, along with Sanahin Monastery. These two magnificent monastic complexes are among the most outstanding examples of Armenian religious architecture.
Continue to the 10th century Akhtala Monastery, famous for its highly artistic frescoes, which cover the inside walls, the partitions, and the bearings of the building. Return to Alaverdi. Check into a hotel. Overnight in Alaverdi.
DAY 6 ALAVERDI – AMBERD – ARMENIAN ALPHABET MONUMENT – SAGHMOSAVANK – YEREVAN
Breakfast. Check out from hotel. Drive to Yerevan. En route to Yerevan visit the Amberd Fortress, located at 2,300m above sea level. The southern slope of Mt. Aragats hosts this 7th century medieval fortress, the patrimony of Pakhlavuni princes, and one of the few surviving castles in the country.
Continue to Yerevan and stop by the massive stone carved letters of the Armenian Alphabet clustered under the skirts of Mt. Aragats. You can climb some of the letters for a photo with your favorite letter.
Visit the 13th century Saghmosavank Monastery, famous for its manuscripts and the creation of the large number of illuminated miniatures. Return to Yerevan. Check into a hotel. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 7 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). 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 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.
Return to Yerevan. Visit one of the richest depositories of manuscripts and books in the world, the Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts. Stop at the popular fruit market "Shouka" to buy traditional sweets and dried fruits. Overnight in Yerevan.
DAY 8 YEREVAN DEPARTURE
Check out from hotel. Transfer to Zvartnots International Airport. Departure from Yerevan early in the morning.