Travel Inspiration Trekking In Armenia

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Trekking In Armenia

Armenia is a small landlocked country in the Caucasus with Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north and Azerbaijan to the east. Despite its small size, Armenia has a diverse landscape with stunning mountains, sweeping valleys and historic villages that make it perfect for trekking holidays.

With epic mountain landscapes, fairytale villages and alpine meadows, Armenia is one of the most underrated trekking destinations in Europe. From challenging trails through the Caucasus Mountain Range such as the Transcaucasian Trail to easier day-hikes in Dilijan National Park, there are treks in Armenia to suit all ability levels.

There are so many breathtaking places to hike in Armenia it can be difficult to know where to start. In this guide we’ll cover all you need to know about trekking in Armenia including which destination to choose as your base, which trails to take and what to expect on your adventure.


Best Time of Year for Hiking in Armenia

The best time of year to hike in Armenia is mid-spring to mid-autumn, though each season and each region offers trekkers a chance to experience something different. Spring and autumn in Armenia bring mild weather and vibrant landscapes that are perfect for trekking in. Just be aware of the occasional rain showers and check the specific weather conditions for the region you’ll be hiking in.

The climate in Armenia is continental and dry with four seasons. Summer is dry and sunny, lasting from June to mid-September. Winter is short and quite cold with plenty of snow. Spring in Armenia brings mild temperatures, blooming wildflowers and lush green landscapes. Autumn in Armenia is mild and sunny with hot weather, bright colours of landscapes and an abundance of autumn fruits.

Temperatures can vary considerably between the seasons with summer months reaching pleasant temperatures of around 25 °C and temperatures climbing to 40 °C in the Ararat Valley. Lightweight cotton clothing with rainwear for sudden showers is recommended in summer.

Winters in Armenia can be quite cold with temperatures falling to -5 °C in the capital of Yerevan, -30 °C in the Ararat Valley and -46°C in the Lake Arpi area. Medium to heavyweight clothing is necessary for the winter and be prepared for extreme low temperatures in the Ararat Valley and near Lake Arpi.


5 of the Best Treks in Armenia:

1.       Transcaucasian Trail

The Transcaucasian Trail is a long-distance hiking trail stretching over 3,000km through Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The trail has been developed by a small group of locals, having only opened to the public in the last 5 years. It showcases the very best of the unique cultural and natural landscapes on the Caucasus Mountains, offering a world-class hiking experience.

The Armenian section of the Transcaucasian Trail takes hikers through 827km of the most spectacular terrain the country has to offer. In Armenia, you’ll discover a diverse landscape of mighty mountains, lush forests, picturesque valleys, remote villages, ancient monasteries and stunning viewpoints as you trek along the trail. The enchanting town of Dilijan in the Tavush Province of Armenia, which is passed through on the trail, is even referred to as the “Little Switzerland” of Armenia.

Kandoo Adventures Transcaucasian Trail offers a 14-day itinerary that explores some of the Armenian and Georgian section of the trail. Setting off from Yerevan, we follow a scenic route through the sweeping passes and remote nature of Dilijan National Park. Crossing the border from Armenia into Georgia, we then venture into the Kazbegi region of the Caucasus Mountains.

If trekking in Armenia and Georgia isn’t currently on your radar, then get ready because the Transcaucasian Trail is quickly becoming a popular destination in the trekking community.

2.       Dilijan National Park

Famous for its forests, mild, humid climate and mineral springs, there are plenty hiking trails in Dilijan National Park. The forest trails here are very convenient for hiking, horse riding and biking. While Kandoo Adventures Transcaucasian Trail trek does explore some of the Dilijan National Park’s most popular sites such as Lake Parz, Gosh, Jukhtakvak Monastery and Haghartsin Monastery, there are a great deal more jewels to be discovered in this beautiful national park.

We go up Mount Apakekar on our Transcaucasian trail route, for example. Located between the villages of Teghut and Hovk in the Tavush province, Mount Apakekar is 1,651m at its highest point but this does not make the route less interesting. The route passes through meadows where you will meet grazing animals, weaves through forests and goes to the cliffs where the summit of the mountain is located. It is about 11km and offers views of the Sartsapat Mountains.

3.       Mount Aragats

Mount Aragats is an isolated mountain in Armenia, northwest of Yerevan and north of the Arat Plain, with four summits. At 4,090m its northern summit is both the highest mountain in Armenia and the Lesser Caucasus range, though this route requires technical mountaineering skills and equipment such as snowshoes, crampons and an ice-axe. At 3,888m, the southern summit is the easiest of its four peaks to climb. Near the jagged summit are high mountain meadows and rockfalls.

Mount Aragats is about 80km from Yerevan. Given the weather conditions in this area, the best season for hiking Mount Aragats is from May to September. And depending on your preferences and level of experience, you can set out on a one-day hike to the mountain or arrange an overnight trek.

Starting from Lake Kari at an altitude of 3,200m, the climb to the southern peak of Mount Aragats takes between 2.5-3 hours. The trail is moderately difficult, but it is not necessary to be an experienced climber, though you need to have an instructor or hiking guide with you.

4.       Kasagh Gorge

Located just a 45-minute drive away from Yerevan in the Western Armenian province of Aragatsotn, there is an 8km trail between the villages of Saghmosavan and Ohanavan that has lots to offer history and architecture buffs. The route passes through the Kasagh Gorge, where the beautiful river flows and dramatic geological formations along the rock cliffs can be seen.

The Kasagh Gorge is overlooked by two striking monasteries; Saghmosavank which was built in the 13th century and Hovhannavank, which dates back to the 5th century.  In the Middle Ages, the Saghmosavank monastery was known for holding valuable manuscripts, which were created and copied in the monastery. Legend tells that Saghmosavank was a saviour of Armenia at one point in time. Hovhannavank monastery, on the other hand, is known for its history of producing manuscripts, and has many inscriptions and carvings.

Following the Kasagh River Canyon, hiking between the two monasteries perched on top of the picturesque canyon, this trail is perfect for trekkers looking for day-hikes in Armenia. There is a bridge near Oshakan which crosses the gorge and from either church, Mount Aragats, the highest peak in Armenia, can be seen.

5.       Yeghegis Valley

Surrounded by dramatic peaks, picturesque villages and medieval churches, the Yeghegis Valley in Armenia’s Vayots Dzor province is excellent hiking territory.

There is a good path from the farming village of Yeghegis that gradually ascends to the western end of the Smbataberd Fortress that looms over the beautiful Yeghegis Valley. Little remains inside the fort itself, but the views down three sides are spectacular. It is one of the most beautifully placed locations in Armenia. From here you descend along the ridge to pick up the path to Tsahats Kar and then back to Yeghegis via an alternative route. The hike takes about 1.5 hours in total.

Armenia is a paradise for trekkers, with an abundance of trails to explore such as the Transcaucasian Trail and those in the Dilijan National Park. So, lace up your hiking boots and get ready to discover the best of this incredible country with Kandoo Adventure’s trips to Armenia. The experts at Kandoo Adventures know all there is to know about trekking in Armenia and we believe the best way to experience a new country is on one of our trekking tours in Armenia. Working with local guides that have a passion for the area you will be trekking in, our team in the Caucasus are committed to your safety so you can immerse yourself in a new culture with total peace of mind.