Discover the Enchanting Lakes of Armenia
While best known for its majestic Lake Sevan, Armenia is dotted with roughly 100 other lakes and ponds. These pristine bodies of water are found hidden in forests, nestled in mountainous valleys, or crowning the craters of summits. Let’s explore the mesmerizing beauty of the most captivating lakes in Armenia.
Situated at an altitude of 1,900 meters above sea level, Lake Sevan is the crown jewel of Armenian lakes. It is the largest body of water in the whole Caucasus region and also one of the largest alpine lakes in Eurasia. An underwater rampart divides the lake into two parts – “Major Sevan” and “Minor Sevan.” For half of the year, Sevan’s shimmering turquoise waters are set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Because the winter is long and temperatures are much lower than those in Yerevan, visit in July or August for water sports. The lake is surrounded by numerous beaches and offers a range of recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, paraplaning, paragliding, jet-skiing, and boating. While in the area, visit Sevanavank and Hayravank, two ancient stunning monasteries overlooking the waters. End the day with a delicious fish dinner at one of the many beachside restaurants.
Located in the northwest Shirak region lies Arpi, Armenia’s second-largest lake. Arpi is serenely nestled in Arpi National Park, a protected reserve on Armenia’s border with Georgia. This nature lover's paradise boasts a diverse ecosystem. It’s a haven for numerous species of birds and wildlife. Enjoy the hiking trails which loop around the lake, picnic on the beach, and camp in the pine forest. Note: Bring your passport. Since Arpi is close to the border, park guards sometimes ask to see it.
Located in Armenia’s Aragatsotn region, Aparan is a vital water source for agriculture. It’s also one of the most beautiful lakes in Armenia. Situated north of Mt. Ara and east of Mt. Aragats, the reservoir is stunning year-round, most especially when the weather is clear. Then, Mt. Aragats’ southern and eastern summits stand tall and sharp against the sky. Enjoy a long walk along the trail which loops around the lake, passing pine forests and monasteries along the way.
Perched at an elevation of 3,205 meters on the slopes of Mount Aragats, Kari Lake is best known as the starting point for hikers on their way to Armenia’s highest summit. The lake owes its name to the Armenian word for "stone." The calm surface of the waters reflects the volcanic rocks around its shores.
Nazeli is also called “Badi” or Duck Lake, but not because of its wildlife. The high-altitude body of water sits at the foot of Mount Spitakasar and appears in the shape of a duck from above. Visit in July when the wildflowers are rampant, but don’t expect a leisurely swim – the water is always freezing!
Situated in the high-altitude Geghama mountains, Akna is crystal clear and calm. Due to the rocky nature of the roads that lead to it, the lake is accessible only by off-roading vehicles. It’s a great spot for a picnic or a swim. Combine your visit with hikes to the surrounding peaks and see if you can spot Lake Sevan from above.
Tucked away in the lush forests of Dilijan National Park, Lake Parz is most beautiful in autumn, when the red and yellow foliage surrounding it is reflected in the surface of its waters. "Parz" translates to "clear" in Armenian, and you’ll see why. Many hikers visit the lake as the start of a long trek through the park. Others simply enjoy a leisurely walk along the shore, rent a boat, or enjoy a bird’s eye view with the lake’s zipline.
Nestled at the foot of ruddy Mt. Yeranos, Azat Reservoir is a captivatingly beautiful reservoir with uniquely curved shorelines. Paraplane above the lake to admire its splendor in full or stand-up paddleboard at sunset to catch unforgettable views of Mt. Ararat in the distance.
The third tallest summit in Armenia, Mt. Azhdahak is one of the country’s most unique peaks. An extinct volcano, the mountain boasts a kaleidoscope of color. On Azhdahak, rusty red slopes and greenery stand in beautiful contrast to the turquoise waters of the small lake in the crater. Jump in if you can brave the cold!
Located near the remote village of Artavan in Armenia’s Vayots Dzor region, Lake Artavan is most beautiful in May when the surrounding nature is a vibrant green. Also known as Hayeli or “Mirror” Lake, Artavan appears like a world map from the rocky outcropping above. Combine your visit with a hike to nearby Mt. Parakatar.
Tucked away in the forests of Dilijan National Park, Gosh Lake is a hidden gem accessible by foot. Hike 2.5 kilometers from Goshavank monastery to reach it. The lake is most beautiful in October when the autumn foliage is still vibrant.
Dramatically set against a backdrop of the Zangezur mountains, Tsaghkari is stunning in late May or early June when the wildflowers have started to bloom but the surrounding snows have not yet completely melted.
While not exactly a lake, Arevatsag is a natural widening of the Pambak River in Armenia’s lush Lori region. Located in a broad valley surrounded by cliffs, the small lake rests under a dramatic outcropping of rock. Bring a picnic or camp overnight to see the sunrise.
Those are only 13 of Armenia’s 100+ stunning lakes. Get exploring!