LEGENDARY HISTORY AND TROUBLED PRESENT
Yerevan – Tatev – Stepanakert – Shushi – Gandzasar
This tour is offered on a regular monthly basis. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the learn-more button below: we will match your preferences with the next relevant scheduled group departure. If you are still unsure about your desired departure date, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with more than 4 friends, you can set your own departure date: we will arrange a bespoke tour just for you for the same price per person advertised below. If you are travelling solo or with less than four companions, we will then organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
Day 1 - Armenia: Yerevan
In the morning you will meet our tour guide in the lobby of the designated hotel (exact hotel address and meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email; private airport pickup and shuttle service available for a small additional fee).
Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in the Southern Caucasus.
Soviet Yerevan full-day sightseeing: modernist architectures, Stalinist Empire Style masterpieces, Soviet statues and memorials, bustling bazaars and little-known urban hinterlands.
Lunch, dinner and overnight in Yerevan.
Day 2 - Armenia: Khor-Virap, Noravank and Goris
We will leave Yerevan early in the morning for the 6-hour-long journey to the southern city of Goris, close to the border between Armenia and the internationally unrecognised but de-facto independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the journey in Khor-Virap, an ancient Armenian monastery-cum-Ararat-mountain-view located near the closed border with Turkey, and in Areni to admire the marvellous church of Noravank, set against a background of flaming red mountain.
In the afternoon we’ll eventually reach Goris, where we’ll visit the quintessentially Soviet downtown and the curious rock formations surrounding this pretty little southern city.
Dinner and overnight in Goris.
Day 3 - Nagorno-Karabakh: Shushi and Stepanakert
In the morning we’ll finally enter the internationally unrecognised but de-facto independent Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Border Crossing: before dinner we'll cross the border into Nagorno-Karabakh. Unrecognised states are much safer and friendlier than you might think and we will take care of all the border formalities; however, this is a very sensitive area and you shall strictly follow the (rather simple) instructions your guide will brief you about. After entering Karabakh we'll head straight towards its capital: pleasant and lively Stepanakert.
Stepanakert sightseeing: Stepanakert Dramatic Theatre, Martyrs Museum, Karabakh Cultural Centre, Parliament, Central Bazaar, Soviet-era amusement park, Sport Complex, WWII Memorial and other socialist architectonic gems.
After lunch we'll drive to the nearby town of Shushi, which witnessed one of the fiercest battle during the recent conflict against Azerbaijan.
In Shushi we'll visit the ruins of the ancient part of the town, some melancholic Soviet remains, a newly built impressive church and the abandoned central mosque.
We'll also have the unique chance to meet with a local war veteran, who will guide us around town and tell us more about the bloody war that lead to the unrecognised independence of this narrow strip of land.
Dinner and overnight in Stepanakert.
Day 4 - Nagorno-Karabakh: Agdam, Gandzasar and Vank
After a morning pilgrimage to the national symbol of Nagorno-Karabakh, the oddly looking Tatik-Papik (We Are Our Mountains) monument, we'll drive to Agdam or the "Hiroshima of the Caucasus", a once thriving and now completely abandoned town located directly on the frontline with Azerbaijan.
This is an extremely sensitive area so you shall strictly follow the instructions your guide will brief you about.
Along the road and in the area surrounding Agdam we'll catch the sad glimpse of the minefields dotting the fertile but unusable pastures of Karabakh.
We'll then head north shortly stopping en route in Tigranakert to admire the local fortress.
While driving to the north of the country we will pass several traditional Karabakhi villages along the road: don’t hesitate to ask the driver to stop whenever you see something you like!
In the afternoon we'll visit the majestic Gandzasar Monastery, the biggest in the country, and the nearby village of Vank, where an eccentric Armenian oligarch built a Titanic-shaped hotel, a surreal amusement park and a rather somber little zoo.
Dinner and overnight in Stepanakert.
Day 5 - Armenia: Didavank, Lake Sevan, Hayravank and the Sevan Peninsula
We'll start the day early and head to back to Armenia.
We'll enter Armenia via its backdoor through a little-used but very scenic mountain road.
Before crossing back into Armenia, we'll stop at the ancient Dadivank monastery, close to the contested border with Azerbaijan.
Once in Armenia we'll find ourselves in Vardenis, a rather desolate Soviet town (our kind of stuff) close to the mighty Lake Sevan.
We'll drive along the rocky shores of the lake and slowly head to the Sevan Peninsula.
Besides the routine pauses for food, toilet and random landscape pictures, we'll break the long haul twice: in Hayravank to visit a not-to-be-missed lakeside monastery and in Noratus, a thousand-year-old cemetery located in one of the most beautiful area of the whole country.
In the afternoon we'll finally arrive in Sevan, an archetypical Soviet town, which we'll briefly tour (Soviet-architecture geeks will love this) before heading the world-famous namesake peninsula.
On the peninsula we'll enjoy stunning views over the lake while admiring the gracious shapes of the Sevanavank monastic complex and the modernist and constructivist architecture of the House of Recreation for the writers and artists of Soviet Armenia.
Dinner and overnight on the Sevan Peninsula.
DAY 6 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
After enjoying a last Armenian-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
For those flying out: transfer to Yerevan International Airport for your flight back home.
For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: transfer to the local train/bus station.
End of the tour.
3 to 8 participants: 880 € per person
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 18 euro/night), private transport in the region, entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, transport to and from the airport of arrival/departure (35 euros/ride), visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility.
Please note: It’s advisable to arrive in Yerevan one day before the actual tour begins. You should notice, however, that you’ll have to take care of your accommodation for any day and night preceding the actual start date of the tour. Without any additional charge we will reserve a room for you at our hotel of choice and you’ll be able to pay for it by cash or credit card once you check-in. If your flight lands on the same day as the tour begins and you prefer to rest a bit before going out sightseeing, you will then meet your tour guide and the rest of the group at the designated hotel in the late afternoon.
Airport pickup/transfer in Yerevan is available for just 35 euros per ride.
Disclaimer: the designations employed and the presentation of the material on this website do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of our company concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region is internationally recognised as integral part of Azerbaijan. Regardless of your/our position on the issue and for all travel-related intents and purposes, however, the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region is no longer under the control of Azerbaijani authorities.