14 – 17 SEPTEMBER 2023
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23

15 September Tbilisi – Yerevan
After breakfast at around 09:00 hrs, you will be driven to the Georgian-Armenian border of Sadakhlo / Bagratashen. Meet your Armenian guide and change transport.

Note: You will need to clear immigration with Armenian officials. No visa is required for USA passport holders.
Drive to the Lori Region to see Haghpat Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage site.


location of Haghpat

Built on a high plateau amidst low structures, it stands out against the background of steeply forested slopes. The ensembles are complemented by small churches built near them. Among them are churches and chapels, four annexes, sepulchres, bell-towers, the building of the Academy, book depositories, refectories, galleries, bridges and other monumental structures.

The largest church in the complex, the Cathedral of Surb Nshan, probably begun in 976, was completed in 991 by king Smbat. It is a typical example of tenth-century Armenian architecture, its central dome rests on the four imposing pillars[dubious ] of the lateral walls. The outside walls are dotted with triangular recesses. A fresco in the apse depicts Christ Pantocrator. Its donor, the Armenian Prince Khutulukhaga, is depicted in the south transept (a transversal nave intersecting the main nave). The sons of the church's founder, Princes Smbat and Kurike, are shown with Queen Khosravanuysh in a bas-relief on the east gable. Apart from one or two minor restorations carried out in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the church has retained its original character.

Proceed to Dilijan, a place known as Armenian Switzerland. Dilijan attracts many visitors with its lush forests, fertile meadows and rushing river Aghstev. Stroll through the picturesque old quarter.

Next stop is at Lake Sevan famous for its emerald water. This mountainous lake covers approximately 5% of Armenia’s surface area, is 2000m above sea level and is amongst the biggest mountain lakes of the world. There are many historical and architectural monuments in Sevan.

Visit the Monastery of Sevan (9th c). It is on the present day Sevan peninsula.
The congregation settled on the island at the end of the 8th century and
undertook the construction of a monastery. Three churches were built but
only two of them have survived: the church of St. Arakelots and the church of
St. Astvatsatsin. Both were built in 874 following the cross-shaped pattern.


Photo by Vigen Hakhverdyan - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Continue your journey to visit Hayravank Monastery which is located in Gegharkunik region, on the south west shores of Lake Sevan, not far from Hayravank village. It dates back to the 9th-12th centuries. The three main constructions of the monastery are the church, the chapel and a gavit.

After that continue to Noradouz (Noraduz, Noratus) - a big cemetery
which is widely known thanks to its great numbers of “khachkars”
mostly  from the 13th - 17th cc.
Many of these khachkars are set on special foundations.


Photo by Henri Moreau


En route to Yerevan visit Mikayelyan Family Cheese Farm. The farm specializes in milk production and processing, in particular, cheese production: wine-cheese, cognac-cheese and parmesan-type cheeses. During the tour you will taste different cheeses paired with wine. You can also visit the underground cellar, see cheese making process and learn about Armenian cheese making traditions.  (I haven't seen it, but their FB page suggests they take cheese very seriously.)

Arrive in Yerevan. Check-in at the hotel.
Accommodation: The Alexander by Marriott Hotels
Grand Deluxe Room; Meals: Breakfast, Lunch


You can see the general circular shape of the downtown.
It's about 2 km across.  You can walk everywhere.
Note the Tsitsernakaberd monument to the left, That's a 15 minute drive.

Cascade Complex and Matenadaran are also within walking distance.  Lotsa restaurants near Cascade.


16 September Yerevan – Garni – Geghard – Yerevan
An hour’s drive along a winding road through the green hills above Yerevan, is the superb Roman temple at Garni.

 Dating from the 2nd century BC it was once a pagan Temple of the Sun and also forms part of a palace complex for the Armenian Kings. It is spectacularly situated on a cliff top above a deep and craggy gorge. See if you can get lunch at the nearby "7 Qar"  restaurant.  It hangs on the gorge, amazing view including the Garni temple and really yummy food.

Twenty minutes further on is the Monastery of Geghard (UNESCO heritage site), a unique architectural construction partially carved out of the adjacent mountain and surrounded by cliffs. A World Heritage site, the monastery complex was founded in the 4th century by Gregory the Illuminator. Geghard means ’the Holy Lance’ and the lance in question is said to be that used to pierce Jesus’ side as He hung on the cross and is now housed at Echmiadzin.  With luck you will see/hear a good singer in one of the stone rooms at Geghard.  It's better than singing in the shower.

Lunch in Garni where you will be able to observe “Lavash” (Armenian bread) making. In 2014, "Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia" was inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


Return to Yerevan and explore Armenia’s capital:

- Genocide Memorial and Museum. (See Tsitsernakaberd on the map above.  Tsitsernak is a swallow (bird).  
- Victory Park, famous for the statue of “Mother Armenia" (It's the green area upper right corner of the map.  Great view of the city and Ararat.  You could walk there from Cascade.  You can see Mother Armenia (Mayr Hayastan) from anywhere in the downtown.)
- Republic Square with water fountain.  
- "Ararat Brandy Factory”. The history Armenian brandy dates back more than 130 years. Today you sample 3 varieties of locally produced brandy. (We've been to their competitor Noy Factory.  It's pretty cool, especially if you like brandy.)
- Explore and experience ride on the Soviet era Metro connecting different parts of the city. (Great way to get around town, but not so much of a tourist attraction unless you love trains.  Maybe ride from downtown to Marshall Baghramian station, where you can get a look at American University of Armenia, the Parliament building, and chill out at Lover's Park.  I'd take an N95 mask.)

If you do chance to walk along Marshall Baghramyan or any other steep street, walk on the "downhill traffic" side so you aren't near as much car exhaust.

Accommodation: The Alexander by Marriott Hotels – Grand Deluxe Room Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

17 September Yerevan – Tbilisi
In the morning check out of the hotel and visit the flea market – Vernissage. It is a large open air market for handmade souvenirs, carpets, silver and jewelry.  (Vernissage is fun.  For a more manageable souvenir hunt, I recommend Dalan on Abovyan Street.  They also have good food and a fun wine bar.)

Next stop is at the Parajanov Museum, celebrating one of the most original and critically-acclaimed filmmakers of the 20th century. His work reflected the ethnic diversity of the Caucasus where he was raised. The Museum contains more than 200 works of the artist as well as furnishings of his home in Tbilisi.  (Parajanov was a really interesting character, an icon.)

 Drive to the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots (UNESCO heritage site) that graphically illustrates the evolution and development of the Armenian central-domed cross-hall type of churches, which exerted a profound influence on architectural and artistic development in the region. (interesting outdoor museum that you could check out in 20 minutes)


Lunch at Tasty Guesthouse with the “Gata” (Armenian sweet bread) baking masterclass. There are many variations of “Gata” in Armenia. Typically, specific towns or regions will have their own version. It can be found in a variety of shapes, sizes and may be decorated or left unadorned.

Continue to Etchmiadzin (UNESCO heritage site), seat of the spiritual leader (Catholicos) of the Armenian Church and a place of pilgrimage. Built on the site of a pagan temple, Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the oldest state built church in the world.  (Etchmiadzin is pretty cool, but you'll be seeing a lot of churches.  And you may not get inside if they are still remodeling.)

Drive to Georgian-Armenian border of Sadakhlo / Bagratashen. Arrive to the border at around 18:00 hrs. Meet your Georgian guide and change transport.  (the drive takes 3.5 - 4.5 hrs depending on how much caffeine your driver had)

Note: You will need to clear immigration with Georgian officials. No visa is required for USA passport holders.

Drive to Tbilisi takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Arrive in Tbilisi. Transfer to the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

*** End of the Tour***

Basic Armenian

Hello:  Barev  (bah-rev)  (rroll the R like Cesar Molina would)

How are you:  Inch bes es?  

Thank you:  Merci 
You can really impress folks if you say "shnorhakalutyun" 
practice:  Knick Knack Paddywhack, shnore-ah-ga-loo-tyoon

Very delicious:  Shahd hamov eh

Very beautiful: Shahd siroon eh

very good:  shahd lahv

I want:  g'oozem

I want coffee:  Soorj g'oozem

I want water:  Joor g'oozem

I want beer:  Gareh-joor g'oozem

I want (red wine /white wine):  carmir gini g'oozem / spitak gini g'oozem

Ararat is very beautiful today:  Ararat-uh shahd siroon eh i-sore

You will not need to use any other Armenian than this   ;-)



Here is an example of Ararat-uh shahd siroon eh.  Shot through our kitchen window!




In Armenia
- 2 nights in Yerevan at luxury hotel “The Alexander by Marriott Hotels” on the 15th and 16th of Sep. (Grand Deluxe Room)
- As specified in the itinerary - all breakfasts and 3 lunches.
- One bottle of water per person per day.
- Cheese tasting at “Mikayelyan Family Cheese Farm”.
- Lavash (Armenian bread) making.
- Gata (Armenian sweet bread) baking masterclass.
- Brandy tasting at "Ararat Brandy Factory” (3 varieties of local brandy).
English-speaking guide throughout the programme.
- All land transportation as per itinerary by a comfortable a/c car - Honda Odyssey or Mercedes Viano
- Transfer from and to the Georgian - Armenian border of Bagratashen / Sadakhlo.
Entrance fees:
- Entrance fees to the visited sites as per programme.





USA passport holders currently do not require visas for Georgia or Armenia.

Latest itinerary update: 9 June 2023/FB

Fiona Brijnath
Far Frontiers Travel Ltd
South Zeal
EX20 2PZ
Tel: 01837 840640
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

6 September 2023