Adventures / Summit Fever

Adventure Hiking in Armenia

Trek the Great Silk Road, explore caves and zip-line above a gorge before summiting Armenia’s highest peak, Mount Aragats (4090m)

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Trip Ref #9998

Adventures / Summit Fever

Adventure Hiking in Armenia

Trek the Great Silk Road, explore caves and zip-line above a gorge before summiting Armenia’s highest peak, Mount Aragats (4090m)

DURATION

6 nights

LOCATION

Armenia

ANNUAL LEAVE

5 days off work

SEASON

Jun—Sep

GROUP SIZE

Up to 13 people

MEETING POINT

Zvartnots International Airport, Armenia

ACCOMMODATION

Hotel · Guesthouse · Wild camping

DIFFICULTY

Moderate

A decent level of fitness is required: for the most part, this tour is Moderate, but the Mount Aragats climb is Challenging

Hike along the Great Silk Road, the ancient trading route which linked the West with the East for millennia

Trek through gorges, forests and meadows and take a dip in the second highest freshwater lake in the world

Spend a night under the stars on the slopes of an extinct volcano and hike under the shadow of Mount Ararat - fabled resting place of Noah's Ark

What's it like?

    See the photos our community shared

    All our reviews are verified

    We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

    Jo, June 2022

    Fantastic country with beautiful scenery, incredible food & history & an amazing knowledgeable & helpful local guide. Highly recommend!

    Simon, July 2022

    This was an interesting and really dynamic experience of Armenia and The Silk Road. Our guide Levon worked hard to keep our group happy and informed about the history and trends we were experiencing. Armenia has a rich and storied culture, it was a pleasure being able to learn and experience how it links the East to West. The range of activities we undertook, from caving and zip lining to summiting a major peak, was both challenging and fulfilling. Exploring the history, culture and geography of this small but mighty nation is something I won't forget. Looking forward to going back!

    Andras, July 2022

    Brilliant trip. It showcases the best of this wonderful country - ancient, stunningly beautiful and fascinatingly complex! After a day in Yerevan, an incredibly lively and attractive city, we headed out to the countryside, staying in charming guest houses and taking in the picturesque & uniquely varied landscapes of Armenia. The final hike to the north peak of Mt Aragats was a tough challenge for sure, but highly rewarding. Our local guide Levon was simply world-class, sharing so much insight about the country’s past and present, and was totally dedicated to making sure we had a great time in Armenia.

    Madelaine, July 2022

    This trip had a great mix of hiking in stunning scenery, caving, swimming and learning about the history and culture of Armenia. The hikes during the week are fairly easy but be aware that the July heat and the walking pace of the rest of the group may make them more challenging. There is no drinking water at the campsite at the bottom of Mount Aragats so bring plenty. There are 4 different hikes up Mount Aragats - the southern peak is the easiest and has great views and the northern peak is the most challenging.

    David, July 2022

    Outstanding tour with stunning hiking scenery, loads to learn about the history and culture of Armenia, an enjoyable range of activities, and well-fed with tasty food! Our guide Anahit was excellent.

    Thomas, July 2022

    Overall a brilliant trip. The food is some of the best I have ever eaten, and the host Anihe was super tough and top of her game (submitting Aragats 3x in 1 week!). Lots of opportunity for wild swimming in lakes, rivers and waterfalls. The zip lining and caving was fantastic and really well organised. We made the Northern summit of Mt Aragats. For this, due to the loose rocks, hiking poles and gaiters are a must. Also there is a lack of bottled water at base camp. Make sure you bring enough for the summit attempt (at least 4 litres). The walking in the week is fairly easy/moderate. On the summit day, if you choose the Northern summit, this should be graded more on the tough scale due to the terrain underfoot and the ascent/descent of the crater prior to the summit. One of the best holidays I have ever been on!

    Jan, July 2022

    Overall really enjoyed the trip. Our tour guide Anahit was truly amazing. She was very knowledgeable, passionate, flexible and went out of her way to make our trip enjoyable. on average the trip difficulty is medium, with most of the trip being easy ramping up to the last day which is hard (in a good way: distance, elevation and terrain). This is a tour of Armenia so be prepared to spend time on the minibus. The activities such as the caving or zip lines were really excellent.

    Oliver, July 2022

    Overall very good trip. Worth noting: food same every night, difficulty of climb much more difficult than advertised (compared to Toubkal for example), kit list omitted need for gaters for climbing and proper caving clothes.

    Somers, July 2022

    Fantastic week in a beautiful country. Great food, extremely knowledgable guide and lovely accommodation. Would 100% recommend.

    Patrick Bettle, July 2022

    I had a fantastic time in Armenia and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. The hiking is brilliant, if challenging in places (particularly on the Western Peak of Aragats), the scenery is beautiful and the people are some of the friendliest you will ever meet. Armenia is truly a hidden gem and you will not regret making the effort to discover it!

    Included

    Guides

    Expert, English-speaking local guides

    Accommodation

    4 nights in hotels, 1 night in a local guesthouse and 1 night wild camping on Mount Aragats

    Meals

    All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

    Transfers

    To and from the airport and everything in between

    Equipment

    All your camping equipment for the hike to Mount Aragats summit

    Permits

    All permits and entry fees

    Not Included

    Flights to and from the meeting point

    Travel insurance

    Personal expenses

    Some meals as described

    Tips for your guides

    The Area

    map

    Logistics

    Starts

    Yerevan Airport

    Any time on Day 1

    Ends

    Yerevan Airport

    Any time on Day 7

    Transfers

    Your host will pick you up on arrival and drop you off on departure, all flights will be met.

    Travel options

    There are regular flights to Yerevan from major airports across the UK and Europe.

    Day 1

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 2

    Guesthouse · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 3 – Day 4

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 5

    Wild camping · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 6

    Hotel · Twin share

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    Day 7

    Departure day

    Breakfast

    Lunch

    Dinner

    What is the food like?

    On hiking days you will have lunch boxes provided with sandwiches, a salad and dessert (cookies, fruits etc). In restaurants, you will find traditional Armenian dishes - lamb, aubergine, yoghurt and bulgar wheat are all staples of the Armenian diet. Armenian meze, served with a traditional bread called lavash, is a must. For dessert, be sure to try baklava.

    These are generally meat-based meals, though vegetarians and vegans can be catered for if you let your host know in advance. Food allergies or other special dietary requirements can also be catered for, just let your host know on the passenger info form.

    What is the accommodation like?

    Yerevan

    You’ll stay in a modern 3-star hotel in Armenia's capital. The hotel has a central location close to bars and a popular arts centre.

    Yeghegnadzor

    After the caving day, you'll stay in a beautiful family run winery and guesthouse set in a lovely location, with mountain-view balconies, an open fire and an outdoor swimming pool.

    Herman Village

    At the end of your first hiking day you'll stay in a hotel in a peaceful location in Herman Village with a sauna and a pool to help sooth your limbs.

    The Great Silk Road

    You'll stay at the Apaga Resort in an amazing natural setting with incredible mountain views all around.

    Mount Aragats Camp

    You’ll wild camp on Mount Aragats at an altitude of 3200m. There are no facilities and you’ll have to pitch-in to set up and take down the camp before and after reaching the summit. Sleeping bags and mats will be provided.

    Upgrades

    For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

    Day 1

    Explore Yerevan

    Check into your hotel and - depending on your arrival time - head out late morning on a guided walking tour around Yerevan, soaking up the cosy cafes and bars of Armenia’s capital city. Meet the rest of your team and then head out for dinner (at your own expense) before bedding down for the night ready for the adventure ahead.

    Day 2

    Going underground

    Caving

    3-4hrs

    Driving

    2.5hrs

    Head out of Yerevan for your first taste of the Armenian countryside. Stop off at Khor Virap Monastery for some sweeping mountain views, then have a traditional Armenian BBQ as you stare out at Eastern Turkey's enormous Mount Ararat - the fabled resting place of Noah's Ark. Spend the afternoon hanging out with the bats as you explore the winding and narrow tunnels of the Magel and Areni-1 cave systems. This is a proper caving experience with some very tight squeezes through dark and dusty tunnels and chasms.

    Day 3

    The road to Spitakavor

    Hiking

    4-5hrs · 11km

    Driving

    1hr

    Trek through Armenian villages and past ancient monasteries as you make your way towards Spitakavor, gateway to the Great Silk Road.

    Day 4

    The Great Silk Road

    Hiking

    4-5hrs · 12km

    Driving

    3.5hrs

    Hike along the Great Silk Road, the ancient network of trade routes that once connected East and West. Soak up the amazing views of the Caucasus mountains and the medieval fortress of Smbataberd. This was likely built for King Smbat II Tiezerakal, known as the Master of the Universe. Have a picnic lunch with gorgeous views of the Lower Caucasus Range and then carry on to the ancient trading post of Selim Caravanserai. End the day with a well-deserved dip in Lake Sevan - the second highest freshwater lake in the world at a whopping 1900m above sea level.

    Day 5

    Ride the zip line

    Hiking

    2-3hrs · 7km

    Driving

    3-3.5hrs

    Begin the day flying over a 300m deep canyon on a vertigo-inducing zip line (for anyone who isn’t keen on heights, you can swap this for horse riding for a small extra cost - just speak to your guide). Back on the ground, hike into an unspoilt and rugged part of Armenia. Considered one of the nation's best-kept secrets, you'll pass through a dense forest and a deep gorge into a large and picturesque meadow region of the Caucasus foothills. After dinner, help set up camp for the night and sleep beneath the peak of Mount Aragats.

    Day 6

    Summit Mount Aragats

    Hiking

    7-9hrs · 17km · 890m up · 890m down

    Driving

    1.5hrs

    Set off early, walk to Kari Lake (3200m) and then climb to the summit of Mount Aragats. The mountain is a four-peaked volcano massif. If conditions permit, we'll aim for the highest point in Armenia - the northern summit (4090m). Expect some rocky sections, some loose scree, and a bit of a scramble to the summit. However, if your guide has safety concerns about either the hiking/weather conditions or the group's ability, they will suggest a suitable alternative such as the southern summit (3888m) or the western summit (3995m). All going to plan, you’ll have lunch on the summit looking down on all of Armenia and deep into neighbouring Turkey. Descend down the mountain to the campsite, pack up and head back to Yerevan, the last stop on your Armenian adventure.

    Day 7

    Free day in Yerevan

    Use your spare time to explore Yerevan, before heading to the airport and back to reality.

    15% Off Outdoor Gear

    In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

    Whats provided?

    • Tents, sleeping bags and mats are provided whilst camping

    What do I need to bring?

    Bags

    • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
    • Daypack (35+ litres)
    • Waterproof liner for kitbag or rucksack / drybags

    Clothes

    • Waterproof jacket
    • Waterproof trousers
    • Breathable wicking layers
    • Fleece jacket or similar
    • Buff or neckscarf
    • Warm hat and gloves (especially for May/June/early July departures)
    • Lightweight gloves
    • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts (winter trekking trousers for May/June/early July departures)
    • T-shirts
    • Underwear and socks (thermals for May/June/early July season departures)
    • Swimwear
    • Sunglasses
    • Sunhat
    • Something to sleep in
    • High-top hiking boots (worn-in, waterproof, with ankle support)
    • Gaiters
    • Old clothes for caving (that you don't mind getting dirty)
    • Sandals

    Other

    • Trekking poles (highly recommended for Mount Aragats)
    • 2 x 1-litre reusable water bottles
    • Padlock for left luggage
    • Universal travel plug adapter
    • Power bank or solar charger
    • Spare camera batteries
    • Passports (and visas if needed)
    • Travel insurance documents
    • Ear plugs
    • Insect repellent
    • Suncream
    • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
    • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
    • Quick-dry towel
    • Alcohol hand-gel
    • Headtorch or torch
    • Quickdry towel
    • Biodegradable wet-wipes
    • Energy bars and snacks

    Single room in Yerevan

    Payable Before Departure

    Single room in Yerevan

    Double/Twin room in Yerevan

    Payable Before Departure

    Double/Twin room in Yerevan

    Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

    Payable Before Departure

    Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

    We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

    What's the number?
    It works out on average at 240kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

    The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

    But what does the number mean?
    Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

    • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
    • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
    • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

    What are we doing about it?
    Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

    Want to know more?
    Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

    The overall grade of this tour is Moderate, as for most days a regular level of fitness will be enough to see you through. However, the hike to the northern summit of Mount Aragats is a Challenging grade hike to the highest point in Armenia at 4090m. You'll walk in the region of 7-9 hours on this day, cover 17km in distance, and gain 890m in elevation. There can be snow on the ground, especially early in the season (May/June). The hikes on earlier days are all 3-4 hours at a gentle/moderate pace and serve as good warm-up hikes.

    During the caving on Day 2, you can expect some very tight squeezes through narrow dusty chasms within the dark Magel cave system. We do not advise anyone who suffers from claustrophobia to take part in this. If you have a head for heights then you'll love the zip line across the canyon on Day 5 but if not, you can swap this out for some horse riding for a small extra cost.

    Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

    We'd suggest you bring a couple of reusable water bottle to fill up before each hike. The tap water is safe to drink in Armenia and it's famous for its spring waters, so if you have a Water-to-Go bottle or a Lifestraw please bring that with you to safely enjoy natural water sources on your hikes. You can find many drinking fountains in Armenia in the streets which are also safe to drink from.

    In May, June and September the weather is mild, warm and sunny. In some regions on this trip it might be a bit cooler and windy in the evenings. July can get pretty hot with the average temperature between 30-35 degrees celsius. There may still be snow on the peaks, including Mount Aragats.

    Sure can! Just ask your host and they will be able to store it for you.

    We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

    For current advice about travelling in Armenia, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

    Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

    Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

    We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

    We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

    If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

    All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

    You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

    Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

    Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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