How to Spend a Weekend in Armenia
Armenia is known for its deep historical roots that trace back all the way to prehistoric times. Armenia’s legacy is still very much alive through the many historic sites and artifacts scattered around one of the world’s oldest nations.
Aside from ancient ruins and old churches and monasteries, Armenia is also home to a vast outdoors waiting to be explored. If you are looking for your next outdoor weekend adventure, then Armenia is the place to go. Here are some exciting things you can do in this beautiful country.
Trekking and Hiking the Countryside
Armenia’s mountainous geography makes this country a prime destination for hikers and trekkers. There are plenty of points to choose from but the most popular ones are from the Geghama Mountain Range. This ancient volcano is now extinct and is known for its wide basin and snow-covered terrain.
Another popular destination is the country’s tallest peak, Mt Aragats. Standing at an astonishing 4000 meters, this mountain is one challenging trek. There are 4 peaks in total and the most difficult trail visits all three. The mountain is also home to various historical buildings, namely the Vahramashen Church and Amberd Fortress.
Rock Climbing the Gorges
If you want something more extreme to get adrenaline coursing through your veins, you can try rock climbing. Because of its general rocky and mountainous terrain, Armenia is chock full of gorges, cliffs, and rock faces that will surely test your limits.
Noravank Canyon is one such spot. Located over 100 kilometers from Yerevan, Noravank is one of the most accessible climb spots in the country. Incidentally, this is one of the most developed too. Plus, it is near the Noravank Church, a well-known historic site
Pedaling On and Off-Road
Cycling and biking is another fun way to spend a weekend in Armenia. The sport lets you explore the many different views of the country in a short amount of time. If road cycling is more your style, Syunik or the northern regions are the places for you. Many travel companies also offer cycling tours that offer a unique guided tour of the various important spots.
If you’re up for more challenges, mountain biking is another great way to spend your weekend in Armenia. Vardenyats Mountain Pass (Selim) in Ararat, Armenia is a popular scenic Mountain biking trail. This trail is where the old Silk Road used to run.
Take to The Skies with Paragliding
Paragliding is a relatively new sport in Armenia and has since been growing in popularity in recent years. Here are a few places you can try tandem paragliding in Armenia.
Mt Teghenis is the tallest peak in the Teghenyets mountain range. Located just a short drive from Yerevan, this site offers a stunning view of the surrounding forest and countryside.
Another popular site is Mt Hatis, an extinct volcano just 25km near the Armenian capital. The flight reaches a whopping 2000 meters into the air. This is not for the faint of heart. But the view is totally worth it.
Lazily Drift Across the Sky on a Hot Air Balloon
If heights do not faze you then definitely try a laid-back balloon ride across Armenian skies. The ride starts quite early in the morning in the nation’s capital, Yerevan. Also, a balloon ride is possible from Garni and you can see the beautiful view over one of the ancient Khosrov reserves. The ride lasts for about an hour—weather permitting. You get to have a stunning bird’s eye view of the surrounding mountains and the cityscape below. A truly magical way to start the day.
Explore Armenia’s Many Underground Wonders
Caves are everywhere in Armenia. Some of these underground chambers even played a major role in shaping Armenia’s history from ancient times until fairly recently. Some of the caves are open to the public and can be visited most of the year.
Tegh is a sprawling cave complex found in the Syunik region of Armenia. This ancient cave system is a series of small caves that served to be the dwelling of prehistoric civilization in the region.
Areni cave is another popular caving destination for adventurers. Also known as the Bird Cave, this ancient cave is just a few kilometers from Yeghegnadzor in the Vayots Dzor region. Like Tegh, this cave also played host to ancient civilizations. The cave is filled with various artifacts like jars, tools, and even a well-preserved leather shoe (the oldest leather shoe known in the world, 5,500 years old)! The Areni winery is a 6100-year-old winery that was discovered in 2007 in the Areni-1 cave complex by a team of Armenian and Irish archaeologists.
Braving The Rapids
Though Armenia is a landlocked country, it does not miss out on the exciting water sports department. In fact, there are plenty of water activities to do in the country. One of which is River Rafting. This adrenaline-pumping sport lets you ride the white rapids of a river as you navigate through natural obstacles like river rocks. A great activity to enjoy with friends!
Debed River is perhaps the number one river rafting destination in Armenia. The river is a 3rd level complexity which means it is open to all rafters regardless of experience making it one of the most beginner-friendly rapids in the country.
Water Sports in Lake Sevan
Aside from river rafting, there are other popular water recreational activities in Armenia that not a lot of tourists know. Some of these can be enjoyed in the majestic Lake Sevan.
Paddle boarding is fairly new in Armenia but is slowly gaining popularity. This is a unique cross between surfing and canoeing with all the fun from both. Paddle boards vary in sizes and can also be inflatable. A perfect way to enjoy the tranquil waters of the lake.
For a more chill vibe while enjoying the cool breeze of the lake on your face, a relaxing boat ride is also an option. There are several shared and rental boats within and around the lake which can be booked in advance as well.
* By Modelle Turrobia
How to Spend a Weekend in Armenia