You love hiking and trekking? You like to climb mountains and sleep in tents in a beautiful nature, near a lake and surrounded with beautiful mountain?! Then this trip is right for you! Within this program we will be climbing 2 highest peaks of Armenia: Mount Aragats (4090m) and Azhdahak (3597m). Well, geographically, Azhdahak is the 3rd highest, but as the 2nd one (mt. Kaputjugh) is located on the Armenian-Azerbajian border, where are military posts, it’s not possible to travel there, hence why Azhdahak is more popular considered as the next highest mountain after Aragats! Those are not technical climbings! No ropes or equipment needed. However, it can be considered as moderate, challenging. During the trip we will be hiking approx. 15km in a day on average, around 5-6 hours (including rest and lunch picnics). Overnights will be mainly in tents, except 2 days in Dilijan. Now, the best part! You don’t have to carry the heavy backpacks with tents, sleeping bacs and food etc. There were 2 offroad vehicles, which will be using mountain roads and get to our camping places before us! They will set up the tents for us, make a delicious food with some Armenian wine and fresh watermelons! Sounds great, right?! Price includes: - All accommodation during the trip: Including hotels in Yerevan (Double/Twin rooms3*-4*, very convenient with available Wi-Fi, each room will have its own bathroom!), the best local BNB in Dilijan, and Camping (tents) in the mountains - Everything organized!!! No need to carry heavy backpacks!! - 2 off road vehicles with stuff to set up the camps and prepare the food in the mountains during the whole trip! - Transportation (with local driver) during the entire trip - Guiding/Trip leader services during the whole trip (including trekking in the mountains!) - All breakfasts - All lunch and dinners during the trip, except in Yerevan (however, last farewell dinner in Yerevan is included as well!!) - All necessary tickets for places mentioned in the program (when needed, like Garni temple) - Bonus: photography tips and advises from your trip leader During the entire time, I will be personally guiding you! From start to finish! My name is Hrach Hovhannisyan, I'm a professional trip leader, guide, and a photographer! I've graduated Bachelor's degree in Tourism in Armenia! Have been working more than 10 years in tourism field and know Armenia as we say "like my ten fingers" :) From in and out! Have worked as tour manager, adventure guide, off-road driver and camping organizer! Since 2017 living in the USA, working as a professional photographer, and organizing trips in Armenia and in the United States! During this trip, we will have a minivan bus (like a Mercedes Sprinter or similar) for our transportation (of course not when we are in the mountains :) Who am I searching for? From my TripMates, I expect to be very energized and passionate about traveling and exploring new places, respect local culture, be willing to be part of the team, be kind to other TripMates and of course follow the directions of the trip leader, for your own safety and quality time. And of course, have fun! :) Few important things: You must speak English besides your native language! Please understand, that it's possible that many of the TripMates will be from different countries or nationalities, so we all have to communicate with each other in English. Another important point. You must have Travel Insurance! (free for German and Austrian residents by JoinMyTrip) And of course! You Love hiking and trekking! Have experience before! And are in a good physical shape!!! Please understand, those 2 offroad vehicles will carry only the equipment, kitchen, tents and staff. But not group members! You can't just one day say hey I'm not hiking today and will take a Jeep to the camp side. So please make sure to read the whole program carefully and ask me any questions, if you are not sure if you are a good fit or not! Equipment and outfit: Well, you will think the trip is in July, and it's very hot in Armenia at that time… yes and no.. :) It can be very hot in Yerevan, or even at lake Sevan. Sometimes even in the mountains under that harsh sun… But! Those are 3000m+ mountains! Please! Consider getting even under the snow and hail, with winds and fog! That weather is not unusual even at August! However, mid-July is the Best season there! Not a lot of snow like in May-June, and not dry and hot as in August-September. Some nice wild flowers, nice green, partly snow and beautiful views! But again! We never know the mountain weather… and it can be very changeable. We have to be ready!! Please have with you: Sleeping bag (for up to -10 C but won't be getting that cold, but may feel..) both warm and light clothes, winter coat, raincoat, gloves, winter cap and summer cap, hiking poles, good hiking/trekking boots which are waterproof! Sunglasses, sunscreen, and a small backpack or medium, probably max. 30-50L. Headlamp and a water bottle. Join the trip and let me know if any questions, and I will see you in July in Armenia! We will create an amazing, adventurous experience with unforgettable memories!
July 8. Day 1. Arrival to Yerevan, the Capital of Armenia (Zvartnots Int. Airport) - Transport to the hotel. Free day in Yerevan. Depending on each TripMates arrival, we will arrange the transportation to be in 1 or 2 groups. Also, depending on the time when the whole group arrive, we might have a short briefing in Downtown Yerevan. Yerevan is really nice, especially when the weather is warm and everyone is out enjoying the city... The main highlights within the center are the Opera House, The Republic Square, The Northern Avenue, Matenadaran Museum, Mother Armenia statue, The Cascade stairways, etc. If the weather is clear, you can see mount Ararat from the top part of the Cascade! Overnight in a hotel in Yerevan.
July 9. Day 2. Heading to Mount Aragats! The highest mountain in Armenia, which has 4 peaks: South peak (3879m), West Peak (4008m), East Peak (3915m) and the highest North Peak (4090m). This is an acclimatization day. We need to get used to altitude, by gradually changing it. So first we will visit ancient Amberd fortress (2180 m), from where we will start our hike through alpine meadows toward lake Kari (Stone) 3200m. On the way we will see some local shepherds who are staying in the mountains the whole summer. Hiking distance about 14km, Altitude change over 1000m, duration 5-6 hours (including stops and lunch picnic). Overnight in tents down from Kari lake. 2 4x4 off road vehicles will organize the camping + a cook, so that we have a great comfort and food!
July 10. Day 3. Summit day. Early morning start after breakfast. First climbing the South Peak, after which, depending on group's physical conditions and will, we will continue either West Peak or North Peak, and hike down towards Gegharot waterfalls till 2nd camp (2800m) in nice Gegharot valley, where our tents will already be set up and the food waiting for us. Hiking distance approx. 16km, altitude change 800-900m., hiking time approx.. 7-8 hours, depending on how much we rest on the route… sometimes we enjoy a short nap in the crater, if the weather permits. There is a great energy there, surrounded with those majestic peaks... Just incredible! Overnight in tents.
July 11. Day 4. Hiking from our camps through Gegharot valley till Aragats village. Lunch stop with a tasty fresh watermelon 😊 then continue with a bus till Dilijan. Having a nice rest in one of the best BNBs in Armenia! Super convenient, amazing food and great hospitality by a local family! Overnight in BNB. Hiking distance approx.. 11km, around 3 hours, alt. change 800m.
July 12. Day 5. Easy hike and fun day. Exploring Dilijan area and Tavush region. First we will visit Haghartsin monastery (10-13th cent.), after which continue to Yenokavan village, where we will hike one of the best places in that area, Lastiver gorge, with many caves, a waterfall, small houses on trees etc. Optional, Zipline and horse riding are available there with different levels and pricing options. Back to BNB in Dilijan.
July 13. Day 6. Early morning breakfast. Heading to one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Armenia, the Geghama mountains. It has a volcanic origin, with many summits with craters and crater lakes. On our way first quick stop will be Sevan lake and Sevanavank monastery, after which we will drive till Tsaghkashen village (2150m), from where our hike starts. Hiking till Akna lake(3030m), where our tents will be waiting for us, in camp 1. Dinner. Overnight. Hiking distance around 15-16km, 5-6 hours. Alt. change about 900m.
July 14. Day 7. Summit day. Start from Akna lake. Climbing Mount Azhdahak (3597m). Azhdahak is the 3rd highest mountain in Armenia, geographically. But as the 2nd highest mountain is located in Armenian-Azerbaijan border, where is military and not permitted to climb, so theoretically Azhdahak became the 2nd highest and 2nd most popular mountain in Armenia, after Mount Aragats! Ajdahak has a very beautiful crater lake on its summit. After summiting, hike down till the slopes of Mt. Vishapasar (Dragon Mountain) where we have our Camp 2 (2900m). The tents and food waiting for us! 😊 Hiking distance around 15km, 6-7 hours. Alt. change about 560m.
July 15. Day 8. Hiking down from the mountains till Geghard village (1915m). Around 15km, 3-4 hours hike, alt. change 1000m. From the village the bus will take us to Geghard Monastery (13th cent.), the biggest rock-cut monastery in Armenia, then Garni pagan temple (1st cent. !!) and back to Yerevan. Both Geghard and Garni are in the list of UNESCO World’s Heritage. Overnight in hotel in Yerevan.
July 16. Day 9. Last day. Easy, cultural program for today, exploring some part of South-East Armenia, to see the landscape differences… First stop will be the best view point of Mt. Ararat (if we are lucky with weather), Khor Virap. After which will be wine degustation in Areni village and visit Noravank monastery in beautiful red rocky gorge. Lunch. Back to Yerevan. Farewell dinner.
July 17. Day 10. Transfer to the airport. Departure. Unfortunately, each trip has to come to an end! But I hope you will enjoy this great adventures with me in my home country, and will take a lot of amazing unforgettable memories with you...