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Discover North Armenia: tips and must-dos in Gegharkunik, Tavush and Lori

Armenia is getting more and more visible on the world tourism map. For good reason, indeed. With its rich cultural and historical heritage, heart-warming hospitality and friendly people, picturesque landscapes and 300+ days of sun, this small but amazingly diverse mountainous country has so much to offer to any touristic taste and in any season of the year.

Are you an avid hiker craving for breathtaking landscapes and unforgettable adventures? Or, perhaps, a history lover seeking answers to mysteries of the ancient world? Even if you’re the most demanding gourmet, you’re sure to go back home pleasantly surprised with delicacies of the Armenian cuisine. All you need to do is look for the earliest possible flight to Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, pack your things and voila!

Still wondering why? Let’s have a look at some of the amazing things you can do in 3 northern regions of first – Gegharkunik, Tavush and Lori - and you’ll be definitely enticed to continue your journey to the South as well (just follow our blog section – and we’ll guide you!).

  1.      Unveil mysteries of Geghama Mountains while hiking (Gegharkunik region)

Did you know that Armenia was included in the CNN Travel’s list of 23 best hiking trails this year? Another reputable online edition – Walks Worldwide – points out exciting trekking options you can find in this land of changing landscapes. Indeed, you can find unrivaled sites for hiking and trekking throughout the country, but let’s begin with hiking options in magnificent Geghama Mountains in Gegharkunik region.

Hiking in Geghama Mountains (70 km in length and 48 km in width) will make you feel detached from civilization and hustle and bustle of the city life, releasing your mind from daily worries and re-fuelling it with energy and inspiration.

The highest peak of the range is Mount Azhdahak (translated as “gigantic”): it’s over 3000 meters above the sea level!  The crater of this extinct volcano is perhaps one of the most enigmatic sights in Armenia. It’s home to a pristine lake permanently fed with icy waters running from snow-capped Geghama Mountains. The territory south from the crater of the volcano boasts rock carvings – petroglyphs - featuring extinct and existing animals, scenes of fighting and hunting men as well as the sun, moon, constellations and other astronomical bodies. Other than petroglyphs, the peak houses a bunch of vishaps (“dragon stones”) on its slopes. Vishaps feature mythological characters in the Armenian folklore - dragons, who blocked the water springs demanding sacrifices- human lives.

 

Already itching to further explore enigmatic Gegharkunik region? Book your stay at Avan Marak Tsapatagh hotel and take guided hiking tours to explore the beauty in the neighborhood. There’s so much to admire in this enthralling region!  

 

 

 2.      Explore Dilijan city and its neighborhood (Tavush region)

Cozily located in the picturesque Tavush region, Dilijan is often called “the small Switzerland of Armenia”. Getting there in spring and summer you’ll instantly understand why.  Fresh air, somehow laid-back ambience and, of course, mountains, mountains, mountains covered with pristine forests… However, that’s not all that this picturesque town has to offer. Take a stroll in the center, Old Dilijan Complex, to go back in time and find yourself in the 19th century Armenia.

On a lookout for more activities?

Want to get closer to the nature and history? At Dilijan National Park (around 20 minutes’ drive from the town) you’ll admire the beauty of the Lake Parz  (“Clear Lake”) and its surroundings and have a more relaxing time. By the way, for active rest lovers, there is an operating zipline at the Park, which offers stunning views on the lake and its vicinity; here you can also opt for hiking, horseback riding tour and lessons for beginners!

    

Finally, discover two gems of Medieval Armenian architecture, visiting Haghartsin and Goshavank Monasteries in Dilijan neighborhood, and admire the uniqueness of Armenian khachkars (“cross-tones”) you’ll find in the territories of these churches.

   

3.      Marvel at UNESCO World Heritage Sites and mesmerizing Debed Gorge (Lori region)

Let’s now head for picturesque Lori. Besides lush nature and benign climate this region boasts rich culture and history, including two UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites - Sanahin and Haghpat Monasteries. (By the way, we wrote about other Armenian cultural heritage sites on UNESCO list in one of our previous entries).

These treasures of the medieval Armenian architecture as well as some others – Akhtala, Kobayr, Karasnits Mankants monastery, Bardzrakash St. Grigor monastery - are beautifully lined up on the coastal area of the Debed River. Over the past years, the area has gained in popularity for its extreme tourism options as well: the fast-running Debed is a perfect place for river rafting. So, if you feel like an adrenaline rush after your cultural and historical explorations, consider having some extreme time on the river.

  

Of course, this is not the full list of the things you can do and discover in Armenia. Follow our blog and we’ll guide you through the most popular sights as well as untrodden paths this emerging tourism destination.

 

 

Text by AmatunyCopywriting

Pics from www.google.com

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