Water Sports in Armenia
Whether you're an adrenaline junkie or simply seeking a peaceful day on the water, Armenia has something to offer for every water sports lover… from jet skiing on massive, mountain-ringed Lake Sevan to rafting on the rapids of the Debed River.
Jet Skiing and Windsurfing in Lake Sevan
Surrounded by the peaks of the Armenian highlands, Lake Sevan is rightfully called the jewel of Armenia. Located in the Gegharkunik region, it occupies 1242 square kilometers (one sixth of Armenia’s surface area)! At 1900 square meters above sea level, it is one of the world’s largest high-altitude freshwater lakes.
As you can imagine, Sevan is Armenia’s most popular destination for recreational water activities, including swimming, fishing, and boating. There are several public beaches on the northern side of the lake, and several more remote options on the southern shore. From July to September, jet skiing is particularly popular. Visit most public beaches to hail a driver for a thrilling spin on the lake, or better yet – drive one yourself! At Shorzha beach, you can try windsurfing and waterskiing.
Did you know you can also SCUBA dive and free dive at Sevan? At the lake’s PADI dive center, you can take classes, get certified, rent gear and stay overnight in the lakeside resort. Underwater, divers can explore reefs, stromatolites and 300 types of plants.
In addition to its recreational opportunities, Lake Sevan is also an important ecological site, home to a variety of endemic species, including the Sevan trout, which is found only in the lake. At the end of your adventure, treat yourself to fish barbeque and a wonderful view at one of the many lakeside restaurants. If you still have energy, visit the ancient monasteries Sevanavank and Hayravank and the massive field of Khachkars (cross-stones) in the village of Noratus.
SUP at Azat Reservoir
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has gained popularity in Armenia in recent years. Lake Sevan is a beautiful destination for SUP boarding, but Azat Reservoir is perhaps even more popular for this sport. You can easily rent a board and hit the water with your friends and a guide!
Located in the picturesque Ararat region under the ruddy peak of Mt. Yeranos, Azat offers an idyllic setting for SUP boarding. After a snowy winter, visit in April to see Azat at its fullest. With its calm, clear, turquoise waters, the reservoir provides the perfect conditions for beginners and experienced paddlers alike. Azat is not huge like Sevan, but it’s just big enough for ample adventure.
Marvel at the rugged landscapes above you, explore the curvy shoreline, and even spot local wildlife while gliding on the water. And if you stay for sunset on a clear day, you’ll see Mt. Ararat like you never have before. Azat Reservoir is truly a SUP paradise.
Debed River Rafting in Lori Province
Located in Northern Armenia, the Lori region is known for its forests and greenery. The province is home to a number of gems, including the mediaeval Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries, the Lori fortress, and the picturesque Dsegh village.
For adventure seekers, group rafting with a guide on the Debed River is one of the most popular attractions. Visit between April and October for the highest water levels and the most exhilarating experience. Just be prepared for cold water temperatures and unpredictable rapids!
Swimming in Mountain Lakes
Set against stunning backdrops of snowy peaks or flowering meadows, Armenia’s mountain lakes are clear, inviting and crisp (even in the summer). But if you enjoy a cold swim after a hike, you’ll love them.
Akna Lake is a hidden gem in the Geghama Mountains in Armenia’s Kotayk region. Situated at an altitude of over 2,000 metresmeters above sea level, Akna is accessible by a rocky road. Most hiking groups travel there via a large truck called a berrnatar. But the bumpy ride is worth it. Akna boasts crystal-clear, calm waters perfect for swimming. The lake's serene ambiance and untouched surroundings make it a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Hike in the surrounding peaks, enjoy a swim and then have a picnic on the shore!
Not far from Akna Lake, Nazeli Lake is also located in the Geghama Mountains. Because of its shape, it’s also called “Duck Lake.” Swimming in Nazeli is a treat after hiking down the neighbouringneighboring peak Spitakasar. While in the area, you can also hike up to the stunning volcanic crater lake at the top of nearby Azhdahak, Armenia’s third tallest mountain. Don’t let the water’s caribbean blue hue fool you; it’s freezing! But if you’re down for a thrill, just bring warm clothes to change into afterward. You won’t ever forget the experience of swimming there.
Tsaghkari Lake, nestled in the Zangezur Mountains of the Syunik region, is pristine and set against a dramatic backdrop of peaks. For the best photos, catch the crystal-clear waters of the lake in early summer before the snows have melted. For the best swimming, visit in late summer.
Mt. Aragats has several beautiful lakes along its slopes, including Kari, Astghkan and Rapi. Situated at the base of the Northern peak of Mt. Aragats, Rapi is delightful in springtime when the flowers are in full bloom. In the summer months, hike up to the lake and treat yourself to a swim!
In sum, whichever activity you choose, Armenia's natural beauty provides a stunning backdrop for water-based activities that cater to both adrenaline seekers and leisure enthusiasts alike. So don’t forget to pack your swimsuit!