August 8, 2018
Trip Report: Five Day Road Trip through Armenia

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I was eager to explore more of Armenia after my visit to the European country last year. I only spent three days in the capital Yerevan in 2017 and definitely needed more time. I spent a total of 10 days in Armenia this summer (still not enough time) seeing as much of the country as I could outside of Yerevan. Before I get into writing about my travels, here’s a quick video I put together from my trip. I recorded all the footage with my drone.



Geghard Monastery



Geghard is a monastery founded in the fourth century. It’s located in the mountains about an hour outside of Yerevan.



It’s a beautiful site with crosses carved into stones all around the church.


Garni Temple



Garni is a first century pagan temple about a 15-minute drive from Geghard. It’s the last surviving pagan temple in Armenia. I visited both Geghard and Garni in the same day since they’re so close to one another. You’ll find great views of the mountainside behind the temple along with a great trout restaurant nextdoor.


Khor Virap



Khor Virap is a 7thcentury monastery located right next to the Turkish border. This is one of the best places to see Mount Ararat and is a perfect photo spot. Khor Virap is about an hour drive from Yerevan but not really on the way to Gehgard or Garni.


Hin Areni Winery



Areni Winery is one of several wine distilleries in Armenia. We popped in for a quick tour as it was on the way to our next destination. Areni specializes in dry wines made from locally harvested grapes.



Wine tasting was a lot of fun!


Noravank



Noravank is another monastery worth checking out if you’re heading into southern Armenia. This is a country full of ancient religious sites built in the mountains.


Jermuk



Jermuk is a resort town known for its hot springs and healthy water. Locals come here to relax, enjoy nature, and take a dip in the natural hot springs.



We had a delicious Armenian lunch here.



One of several hot springs in Jermuk. Just throw on a bathing suit and take a dip!



You’ll also find this beautiful waterfall here. Notice how small the man is next to the waterfall.



You have to take the ropeway to the top of the mountain if you’ve made it all the way here. It’s a fun and relaxing ride.



The views are amazing! I’ll be sure to bring food with me next time I visit so I can picnic at the top 🙂


Shaki Waterfall



Shaki waterfall is a gorgeous waterfall located just outside the village of Sisian in southern Armenia. I loved it there.


Karahunj, Goris



Karahunj is a 7,500 year old observatory (older than Stonehenge) located near the town of Goris. It’s a series of ancient stones off the beaten path that were used to study the stars.


Tatev Monastery



Tatev monastery is located in one of the southernmost points of Armenia. It’s a ninth century monastery overlooking the side of a mountain. This was one of my favorite sites in Armenia.



The easiest way up the mountain is to take the ropeway called the “Wings of Tatev.” You’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the surrounding gorge from your all glass cable car.



The monastery at Tatev is huge.



And the views are incredible. Tatev should definitely be at the top of your Armenia bucket list.


Khndzoresk Swinging Bridge



This is a 160 meter bridge connecting two sides of a mountain. It was built by hand by the nearby villagers but the crazy thing is that it swings-a lot.



Make sure you hold on tight and enjoy the adrenaline rush. Try not to look down at the massive drop below! Once you cross the bridge, you’ll find a mountainside filled with holes dug out by the people who lived here long ago.


Alphabet Park



Everything I discussed until now has been focused around southern Armenia. I also visited several sites north of Yerevan. Alphabet park is a monument off the side of the highway about an hour drive north of Yerevan. Those shapes are the various letters of the Armenian alphabet.


Amberd



Amberd is a 7thcentury fortress near Mount Aragats. It was about 30 minutes from Alphabet park so it makes sense to visit these two sites together. The fortress is in ruins at this point but I still loved exploring the area. Anything on a mountainside is worth seeing.

 

Overall I loved my experience driving through the Armenian countryside. While I saw a lot more that my previous trip, there’s still a lot left to explore. I’m looking forward to coming back in 2019 for a longer trip 🙂

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