Armenia Classic Tour

Yerevan, Khor-Virap, Noravank, Areni, Garni, Geghard, Aragatsotn Province, Etchmiadzin

Armenia Classic Tour leaves no stone unturned as you marvel at Yerevan’s pink tufa, Garni Temple’s basalt slabs, Geghard Monastery’s granite veneers and Zvartnots Cathedral’s crumbling blocks. Explore rocky crags in Areni Cave before admiring the ruby brickwork of Khor-Virap Monastery and Aragatsotn Province’s Karmravor Church. From skipping pebbles at Sevan Lake to standing in reverent awe at the masonry of Etchmiadzin Cathedral, this trip is packed with unforgettable discoveries.
Armenia, widely regarded as a cradle of civilization, is home to a sophisticated people and a cultured history nearly as old as time itself. Come lose yourself in this breathtaking mountain land as you revel in its ancient heritage and reclaim a sense of wonder and insatiable curiosity.

Arrive in Yerevan, the 2800-year-old capital of Armenia. Transfer to the hotel, where check-in begins at noon, and have a rest after your flight.
Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: none

In the morning, your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel to begin your private city tour to the following:

  • Matenadaran, also known as the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, which holds nearly half of the world’s 30,000 Armenian manuscripts, including original texts and early 5th-6th century writings, plus over 400,000 scientific texts in multiple other languages.
  • Cascade Complex, whose 500 steps serve as a modern city symbol and house the Cafesjian Center for the Arts.
  • Holy Mother of God Katoghike Church (13th century), one of the city’s oldest churches which is famous for the historic engravings on its walls and for its mysterious disappearance from the public eye on two occasions.
  • Republic Square and Vernisaj Market, the largest souvenir bazaar in Yerevan which holds some of the finest examples of Armenian folk art, a large selection of unique jewelry and exclusive handmade masterpieces.
  • Saint Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral (2001), the world’s largest Armenian Apostolic cathedral. It sits atop a hill and consists of three churches, a bell tower and dozens of arches.
  • Tsitsernakaberd (1967), the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex on Tsitsernakaberd Hill which is dedicated to the victims of the massacres of the early 20th century.
  • Megerian Carpet Museum, where you can observe the production of rugs firsthand and see colorful carpets from each region of Armenia.
Transfer back to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: breakfast

After breakfast, meet your private guide and driver in Yerevan to travel to Khor-Virap in southeast Armenia (45km, 50min), passing through green pastures on the way.

  • Discover Khor-Virap Monastery (dates vary), located near Mt. Ararat in Artashat (Artaxata), ancient capital of Armenia. Originally a royal dungeon, the site now includes a beautiful monastery, the remains of an old chapel, monks’ cells and the original dungeon.

Drive to Noravank (85km, 1hr 30min).

  • Visit Noravank Monastery (13th century), located on a beautiful mountainous precipice near Zangezur Canyon. The complex includes St. Karapet Cathedral, built by Armenian noble Liparit Orbelian, and the St. Gregory and St. Astvatsatsin sepulchers, as well as various cross-stone khachkars.
  • Explore nearby Areni Cave, where the world’s oldest shoe and winery were discovered and where ancient qvevri wine vessels are still on display.
  • Tour Areni Winery, one of Armenia’s most popular wineries. Admire its traditional stone walls and wooden door and taste local wines distilled from grapes, apricots and pomegranates.
Return to Yerevan for drop-off at the hotel (110km, 2hrs). Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, meet your private guide and driver for a trip to Garni in Kotayk Province (30km, 45min), where you’ll tour the following:

  • Garni Temple (1st century AD), ancient Temple of the Sun dedicated to Mithra and built by King Tiridates. Admire the huge basalt slabs as you explore this Hellenistic structure, which strongly mirrors the architecture of the Greco-Roman Empire.
  • Garni Fortress (3rd-2nd centuries BC), a once-powerful fort and the summer residence of Armenian kings which is perched atop a plateau overlooking the Azat River from a height of 300 meters.
  • Mashtots Hayrapet Church (12th century), a small chapel located in Garni village built to replace a pagan temple and noted for its cross-stone khachkars and pre-Christian carvings.
Depart Garni and drive to Geghard (10km, 20min).
Explore Geghard Monastery (4th century), a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Upper Azat Valley. Also known as Ayrivank Monastery, it is famous for its stone veneers, bas-reliefs and stunning scenery. Explore its tombs and tunnels and see the spear believed to have pierced Christ's body (‘geghard’ means 'spear' in Armenian).
Return to Yerevan (40km, 1hr). Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: breakfast

Meet your guide and driver in Yerevan to travel to Aragatsotn Province (22km, 25min), where you’ll visit the following:

  • Karmravor Church (7th century), whose named aptly means “reddish”. Situated in the small town of Ashtarak, it is also known as the Holy Mother of God Church and is the only historical church in Armenia still covered in its original roof.
  • Hovhannavank Cathedral (13th century), a famous educational and theological center on the cusp of the Kasagh River in Ohanavan which is famous for its cruciform design and umbrella-shaped dome.
  • Saghmosavank Monastery (13th century), erected by Prince Vache Vachutian and known for its manuscript collection. Its dazzling view of the Kasagh River Canyon leaves many speechless.
  • Armenian Alphabet Monument (2005), larger-than-life recreations of local letters which were created in Artashavan village to celebrate the 1600th anniversary of the Armenian alphabet.

Drive to Amberd village (27km, 50min) to explore:

  • Amberd Fortress (dates vary), located 2300 meters above sea level on the slope of Mt. Aragats, the highest peak in Armenia. Much of the famous castle’s bath house and robust walls, as well as the 11th-century Vahramashen Church, remain intact.

Continue to Oshakan (30km, 40min) for one final stop:

  • Saint Mesrop Mashtots Church (dates vary), an Armenian Apostolic Church and popular pilgrimage destination built to mark the grave of Mesrop Mashtots, father of the Armenian alphabet.
Drive back to Yerevan. Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: breakfast

In the morning, your guide and driver will pick you up from your Yerevan hotel to drive to the city of Vagharshapat, commonly known as Etchmiadzin (20km, 30min). Upon arrival, discover the following sights:

  • Zvartnots Cathedral (643AD), ruins of a 49-meter-tall, three-tiered pyramidal church with unusually beautiful carvings and perfect form. Built by Catholicos Nerses III, it collapsed in an earthquake in 930 A.D.
  • Zvartnots Historical-Cultural Museum-Reserve, which contains artifacts unearthed on the territory and a replica of the original Zvartnots Cathedral.
  • Saint Hripsime Church (7th century), one of the oldest houses of worship in Armenia which has served as a blueprint for numerous other churches in the country.
  • Shoghakat Church (17th century), a domed medieval chapel with cross-stone khachkars. The church is noted for its brown limestone walls and scenic environ.
  • Saint Gayane Church (7th century), which was built in memory of a nun’s tragic martyrdom. The cathedral’s original design has been preserved to this day.
  • Etchmiadzin Cathedral (301AD), the world’s first official Christian church and the main cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Participate in Holy Mass, admire the bell tower, rotundas, vestry and frescoes and view manuscripts and religious treasures in the small museum.
Return to Yerevan (20km, 30min). Overnight at the hotel in Yerevan.
Meals provided: breakfast
Free morning for packing or independent exploration of Yerevan. Discover Yerevan Ararat Brandy Factory, an old cellar with 120 years of experience in brandy making. Taste the world-famous brandy and learn how it is produced.
Check out of the hotel by noon and transfer to Zvartnots International Airport. End of Armenia Classic Tour.
  • Private, local guide;
  • Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
  • Wine tasting at Areni Winery;
  • Accommodation in a double/twin room in a 3-star hotel with breakfast (6 nights);
  • Mineral water (1 liter per person per day);
  • Round-trip airport transfers;
  • Transportation throughout the tour.
  • International flight tickets before and after the tour;
  • Hotel charges for additional services;
  • Lunches and dinners;
  • Personal travel insurance;
  • All other charges and services not mentioned under Inclusions;
  • Tips are not included but are appreciated.

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