Trip Ref #9998
Hotel · Guesthouse · Wild camping
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 iconic 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 before clambering to the top of Mount Aragats (4090m), Armenia's highest mountain
Welcome to Armenia
Touch down in Yerevan and transfer to your central hotel. If you arrive early enough, meet your fellow travellers and guide and head out late morning on a guided walking tour, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere and narrow streets of Armenia’s capital city. This evening, enjoy some free time in Yerevan to explore the lively local cafes and bars, then take a walk to Republic Square to watch the colourful show of the dancing fountains. Back at the hotel, bed down for the night and get ready for the adventure ahead.
Armenia's underground caves
Head out of Yerevan for your first taste of Armenia's majestic landscapes. Stop off at the iconic 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 amongst bats as you explore the labyrinth of underground chambers and tunnels of the Magel and Areni-1 cave systems. The latter has proven to be a treasure trove of Copper Age artefacts, where the oldest shoe, brain, and winery in the world have been discovered. This is a proper caving experience with some very tight squeezes through dark and dusty tunnels and chasms. Later, tuck into a delicious evening meal and bed down for the night at your cosy guesthouse in Yeghegnadzor.
The road to Spitakavor
After breakfast drive to the nearby village of Vernashen, the start point of today's hike which lead to the remote Spitakavor monastery, which dates back to the 14th century and is the gateway to the Silk Road. Enjoy the mountainous route and stunning views as you trek along rocky trails, past rivers and green fields. Keep your eyes peeled for the endemic Armenian Bezoar goats which roam the area. Tonight, enjoy authentic Armenian hospitality as you stay overnight in a tiny village (either Yeghegis or Hermon) tucked away in the mountains.
Hike the Great Silk Road
Enjoy an exhilarating exploring part of the Great Silk Road, an ancient network of trade routes which 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 hike on to the ancient trading post of Selim Caravanserai, where ancient medieval traders used to stop for a night. 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. Spend the night in Yenokavan village, which is surrounded by lush forests and deep canyons.
Ride the zip line
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, you'll 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, cascading waterfalls 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 mighty peak of Mount Aragats.
Summit Mount Aragats
Set off early and walk to Kari Lake (3200m), then climb to one of the four summits of Mount Aragats. The mountain is a four-peaked volcano massif: if conditions permit, you'll aim for the northern summit (4090m) – the highest point in Armenia. 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.
So long, Armenia!
Use your spare time to explore Yerevan, before heading to the airport and back to reality.
Expert, English-speaking local guides
4 nights in hotels, 1 night in a local guesthouse and 1 night wild camping on Mount Aragats
All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
To and from the airport and everything in between
All your camping equipment for the hike to Mount Aragats summit
All permits and entry fees
Flights to and from the meeting point
Some meals as described
Tips for your guides
Visas where required
Day 3 – Day 4
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?
You’ll stay in a modern, 3-star hotel in Armenia's capital, usually Cascade Hotel or similar. The hotel has a central location close to bars and a popular arts centre.
After the caving day, you'll stay in a beautiful family-run guesthouse and winery set in a lovely location, with mountain-view balconies and an open fire – this will be either Old Bridge guesthouse or Gohar's guesthouse.
Herman or Yeghegis Village
Spend one night tucked away in Armenia's picturesque mountains and immersed in nature. You'll stay either at the cosy Lucy Tour guesthouse in Herman Village, which has a sauna and a pool, or at the comfortable ecohotel Arevi in Yeghegis village.
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.
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).
Zvartnots International Airport, Yerevan, Armenia
Any time on Day 1
Zvartnots International Airport, Yerevan, Armenia
Any time on Day 7
Private transfers between the airport and Yerevan are included for any time (and day) you choose to arrive or depart. Please provide your flight information upon booking so that your host can book these services prior to the trip.
For those wanting to extend their trip, extra nights can be arranged with your host at an extra cost. Please see Optional Extras for more information.
There are regular flights to Yerevan from major airports across the UK and Europe.
Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear
In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.
- Tents, sleeping bags and mats are provided whilst camping
What do I need to bring?
- Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
- Daypack (35+ litres)
- Waterproof liner for kitbag/rucksack, or drybags
- 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)
- Underwear and socks (thermals for May/June/early July season departures)
- Something to sleep in
- High-top hiking boots (worn-in, waterproof, with ankle support)
- Old clothes for caving (that you don't mind getting dirty)
- 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
- Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
- Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
- Quick-dry towel
- Alcohol hand-gel
- Headtorch or torch
- Biodegradable wet-wipes
- Energy bars and snacks
Double/Twin room in Yerevan
Payable Before Departure
Double/Twin room in Yerevan
Single room in Yerevan
Payable Before Departure
Single room in Yerevan
Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade
Payable Before Departure
Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade
Our host Levon was excellent on this trip. He had great knowledge of the history of Yerevan and the Armenian people. He kept us informed all the way and engaged enthusiastically with us as a group and on a one on one basis.
Armenia is an untouched country and tourism is in its infancy. However, MBA found a way to pull together the best bits in a fun packed week. The food and accommodation were excellent and better than I expected from a hiking adventure holiday.
There were so many highlights but a few stood out:
- Topping out on Mt Arragats 2)Traditional Armenian BBQ 3)Swim in Sevan 4)Climbing into the prison of Gregor the Illuminator
Absolutely loved this trip., Armenia is one of the best kept secrets I have visited and so glad I did. We all got on grey as a group and respected each others privacy and socialised when wanted. Food and hospitality was remarkable! Certainly don’t expect to lose weight as so well looked after!!! I would Not change a thing and my highlights have to be the views from the accommodation 2nd night and 4th night across the mountains along with the caving which I did not think I would be able to do. But as a group we made it. Anyone with a sense of adventure and want to go somewhere new, this trip is for you!
Armenia is a hidden gem in West Asia. A country filled with so much and has a lot to offer. From caving in a bat cave to summiting the highest peak in the country, I truly enjoyed every moment of this fantastic tour and would easily highly recommend anyone to go and check it out!
We had a wonderful time on this MBA trip. Its a beautiful country with wonderful people, complex history and great food. The tour maximised our time and we got to see the varied landscapes Armenia has to offer. Highly recommended 😊
Overall great experience
Adventure hiking in Armenia was a fantastic experience Much better adventures provided a great itinerary and an awesome guide, I highly recommend this trip, my first with the company, already looking at where to go next.
It was my first MBA trip and I enjoyed it a lot. It was though somewhat different than expected. The hikes were easy to moderate with the exception of the last one, that’s a tough one varying in degree of toughness depending on which peak you do. My expectation was more of a hiking holiday than it actually was. However, the variety of activities easily compensated for this. The people of Armenia are very hospitable, the country is very beautiful. But don’t forget that situations with neighbouring countries can change quickly, so don’t be blissfully ignorant for the geopolitical situation.
The trip exceeded my expectations. Armenia offers a great variety of landscapes within 2hrs drive from Yerevan and the trip had a very interesting, varied programme. The local hosts (Sati and Leovan) went out of their way to accommodate to changing circumstances and our needs and to make our experience unique. This trip is for anyone interested in hiking, who doesn't mind crawling a bit through the cave and spending the night camping at 3200m high altitude at possibly 0°C condtions. Most of the trips on the programme as well as most of the accommodation offer fantastic views onto the mountains. Also other group members made the trip really fun and enjoyable. For June trips where there are still some ice packs left after the winter I would recommend taking mini crampons for Mount Aragats.
Armenia is a beautiful country. The hikes apart from the summit day were easier than I expected. Caving was shorter than described. Zip lining was fun. Some days have lots of free time and others are very busy!
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!
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 2023 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 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.
Mount Aragats is a four-peaked volcano and whilst the aim is to hike to the highest point (the northern summit) occasionally this may not be possible for safety reasons such as the weather or trail conditions. For instance, occasionally the weather is unseasonably cold and snow can remain on the northern summit until summer, in which case your guide may decide that the southern or eastern summits are a safer option. In order to offer the best chance of summiting (conditions permitting), you will be accompanied by a second guide so that those who are determined to reach the summit can continue even if others want to turn back sooner. Anyone who turns back early will descend with one of the guides back to Kari Lake and await the others' return.
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.
Owing to the nature of this trip, it is essential that your personal travel insurance policy provides cover to the maximum altitude visited on this trip (4090m).
Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.
Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.
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.
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