"Country in shade of Biblical Ararat", "The museum under open air", "The land of thousand tales"... Armenia has numerous names and is unspeakably unique in its charm. Each traveler brings his own inimitable impression that never fades and our tours will help you to collect such souvenirs.
Below you can find few types of tours:

Armenia is located between the Black and Caspian seas in the Lower Caucasus Mountains. It is contiguous to Iran, Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan and situated at the junction of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Armenia is primarily a mountainous country with elevations above sea level ranging from 379m to 4090m, and it combines elements of three geological-botanical regions: the mesophilic Caucasian, desert/semi-desert, Iranian and subtropical Eastern Mediterranean. Various factors, such as the country`s geographical situation and complex geomorphology, lead to there being a variety of landscapes and habitats from rocky sem-deserts and mountain steppes to ancient mixed and deciduous forests and alpine meadows up to the snowline. Armenia also has numerous rivers running down the mountain gorges, and a large system of artificial wetlands and reservoirs. Moreover, Lake Sevan is unique in the Caucasus region.

This, in turn, results in unusually rich diversity of flora and fauna in a relatively small country. Up to the present about 347 bird species have been recorded in Armenia, of which about 237 species breed here. Many of European bird species are represented in Armenia by particular subspecies, while almost all of the Caucasian specialities are habitually encountered during a birdwatching trip.

Some of these most sought-after birds (but by no means all) are Caspian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Armenian Gull, Radde`s Accentor, Persian Wheatear and Semi-collared Flycatcher. Other species longed for by keen birdwatchers are Pygmy Cormorant, Marbled, Ferruginous and White-headed Ducks, White-tailed Plover, an excellent selection of raptors, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Bimaculated Lark, White-throated Robin, Finsch`s Wheatear, Menetries`s, Upcher`s and Green Warblers, both Rock Nuthatches, Wallcreeper, Grey-necked Bunting, Pale Rock Sparrow, Red-fronted Serin, Crimson-winged, Trumpeter and [recently discovered] Mongolian Finches.
Situated on an important migration flyway Armenia offers superb opportunity to see, among many others, such species as Demoiselle Crane, Black-winged Pratincole, Broad-billed, Terek and Marsh Sandpipers, Greater Black-headed Gull, Calandra Lark, Moustached Warbler, with most spectacular, of course, parties and strings of migrating eagles, harriers and buzzards.

The richness of birds in conjunction with the hospitality of the local people, numerous ancient historical and cultural monuments and some of the most impressive scenery in the Western Palaearctic, makes Armenia a worthwhile and rewarding destination for every birdwatcher.

Anybody who interested in, or already planning, a birdwatching trip to Armenia, may contact Vasil Ananian by e-mail [see below] for all the necessary information and individually tailored itineraries. We recommend the best time to visit is from the second half of May to the second half of July and during the whole of September and October. During the summer trips shorts, T-shirts, sun-hat and hiking boots are suitable, but nevertheless, particularly high in the mountains, a warm pullover, hat, gloves and rain parka are essential too. A note too, about optics. While looking for a high-Montane species (Caspian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Wallcreeper); sometimes it is necessary to walk a kilometre or so in heavy terrain, so the equipment, particularly, telescopes and tripods should be as lightweight as possible. Also, on occasion, birdwatchers inevitable have to scan mountain slopes below them, and for this straight-thru scopes are essential; angled ones are pretty useless.

Vasil Ananian lives in Yerevan, Armenia. Vasil is one of the foremost ornithologists in Armenia today. He studied biology at Yereven State University. During the years 1994 - 1996 he was instrumental in the production of A Field Guide to Birds of Armenia. He has a pleasant nature and his knowledge of Armenia`s birds is of the highest quality. In August 1999 he took part in a survey of migrating hawks in Pennsylvania, USA. His other hobbies include line drawings of animals and music. In 2001 he led two successful tours in Armenia for Birdwatching Breaks.

Source of information http://www.fatbirder.com/links_geo/middle_east/armenia.html


Those who desire to know more about Armenia's rich flora and vegetation structure may participate in the sightseeing tours to many amazing sites and areas covered with different plant communities - semi-deserts, hamadas, phryganoids,tragacanth communities, steppes, subalpine and alpine meadows, broadleaf deciduous forests,petrophytous vegetation and aquatic ecosystems. Excursions will be supervised by sophisticated staff of the Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences and include the gathering materials for morphological and genetic studies.
Several options have been provided for the tour participants:
1. Popular and mainstream tours, including the visits to ranges which are prominent in botanic and geographic terms.
2. Scientific tours, including detailed research.
3. Special tours, including visits to rare and endangered plants formations and habitats which are of particular interest to the scientists.

Botany tour sample - one of the shortest in close proximity to Yerevan.
Acquaintance with early spring/mid-summer flora of Armenia. Yerevan - Vedi - Ararat - Sevakavan.
This route lies south-east of Yerevan by Ararat Valley - one of oldest centers of civilization at altitude of 700 to 1200 m above sea level. Centuries ago this area was a semi-arid desert zone with salted swamps and different species of Tamarix trees in the western part. Currently, the entire Plain is cultivated and covered by vineyards, fruits gardens and orchards. However, in some spots the semi-arid desert areas have been preserved where wormwood, such as the Arlemisia fragrans grows. In this area is common thorny shrub known as Capparis spinosa (valued in gourmet cooking when dried or pickled). Those plants have large, white exotic appearance, with large buds that generally blossom in the evening.
On a low hill ridge near Narek village visitors can see and shoot beautiful Iris elegantissima with amazing variety of forms and shades. Other rare and endemic flowers such as the Leontice aremeniaca, Ornithogalum navaschinii, the lovely onions such as Allium matercule, Allium leonidis, Gladoilus atroviolaceus, Scorozonera gorovanica also can be found in this location etc.
Near the city of Ararat in unique swamps it is possible to view beside Juncus acutus and Iris musulmanica also rare disappearing specie known as the Merendera sobolifera.
Due to swamps drainage and land privatization, disappearing species such as endemic flax Linum barsegianii, Thesium lycaonicum, Microcnemum coralloides, Orchis laxiflora, Falcaria falcarioides and recently found Humiphusa salsula. It is worth to note that the species of Linum barseghiani morphologically, ecologically and biologically differs from domesticated and wild varieties of flax and thus can be irreplaceable in breeding other salt-resistant varieties.
The final destination of this route is the area near Sevakavan. Dry rocky and clay slopes of adjacent hills grows the ravishing Iris lycotus with petals, colored from a pale-wine to deep red, even purple-black.

The tour starts with arrival to Horse Riding Club "Ayrudzi" in Ashtarak. During the first day expert guides will provide training in riding English saddle and carefully match riders with horses before setting out on mountain trip.
The first destination is Mount of Ara (alt.2566 meters), dominating picturesque raws of vineyards and fruit-gardens. The name is connected to king Ara the Handsome and dramatic story when mighty Assyrian Queen Semiramis fell in love with him. In the evening the group reach the IXc. Tsaghkavank (Church of Flowers) carved in a volcanic cave and encamps nearby.
Next morning riders return to Horse Club to have a rest and enjoy the concert.
The next route is to picturesque Akhts village, where the Royal Mausoleum of Armenian Arshakid Dynasty (IVc.AD) and early Christian basilica is situated. The way leads farther to the slopes of Mount Aragats (alt.4095m) towards the Tegher Monastery of XIIIc. where the group will camp for the night. In clear nights it seems that one can touch the stars
Then ascent through alpine meadows and canyons brings to romantic ruins of Amberd fortress, situated at the triangle rock almost hundred meters above the junction of roaring mountain rivers. It was built as a summer residence of medieval Kamsarakan princes and includes the remains of dwelling, administrative, household facilities and small charming church of XIc. In the evening riders reach their base at Ashtarak.
Next morning group drives to Oshakan to visit the church, raised above the tomb of St. Mesrop Mashtots - the creator of the Armenian Alphabet at the 4th and 5th centuries boundary. Then the road leads to the Echmiatsin, the Holy See of Armenian Apostolic church. Here is the 4th - 18thcc. Cathedral and the residence of the Catholicos for All Armenians. The legend about peasant girl Hripsimeh, who rejected the King Trdat (4th c.), leads us to two beautiful monuments of early Middle Ages - 7th c. Hripsime Cathedral and Gayane church.
After rest and night at "Ayrudzi" base riders will follow the trails of the picturesque Kasakh River canyon. Here, on the precipitous canyon's shore, the group visits two cultural centers of Middle Ages, 12th 13th cc. Saghmosavank and 5th-13th cc. Ohanavank monasteries. Later that day group reaches the Aparan Lake to have a rest, and camp for the night.
Next day the riders reach Hartavan church of XIIIc and have overnight camp in the groves on the northern slope of Mount Ara.
Riding back to Ashtarak travelers enjoys another evening of rest, games and entertainment with overnight in the Horse Club base.
The last day at "Ayrudzi" base is devoted to romantic coach driving around the Ashtarak. The town and its environs resemble the magic store of antiquities and farewell dinner completes the evening with overnight in Yerevan.

Anyone in this lived-in and predictable world who dreamed of surprises and unusual impressions have to experience his own discovery of Siunik, where natural wonders neighbor the architectural masterpieces of ancient Armenia. On the first day after 3 hours drive travelers reach Tatev monastery - largest spiritual, political, cultural and educational center of Medieval Armenia. The architectural complex, built inn IX-XIII AD is situated at the edge of canyon and easily blends into amazing beauty of surrounding mountains. Monastery that hosted university millenium ago was ruined by strongest earthquake in twenties and just recently rebuilt. After sightseeing the group has its meal and overnight in nearby village.
On the next morning travelers start to discover innumerous attractions of the canyon and early in the evening reach Tatev Women's Abbey of IX-XIIcc. that is the place for second night camp.
The descending trail leads to the unique natural monument - the "Devil's bridge" over Vorotan River. Here, hundreds of meters deep in canyon, few fallen rocks created a span 15m long and 10m high, ornamented by stalactites. Just few meters away warm mineral water spurts and adding the number of wayfarers who stop to have a break here. Then the group marches to visit the medieval village of Galidzor and later be picked-up to town of Goris, situated at the bottom of huge rocky bowl. After rest and meal in that small cozy town travelers will visit the cave settlements of Old Goris and Khndzoresk. But the strongest impression of the day waits near village of Karahunj - it's a megalithic observatory built of dark brown rocks dated by XXIVc BC.
On its way back to Yerevan the group passes one of the narrowest canyons in Armenia to visit famous architectural ensemble of XIIc Noravank Church. Built by Momik as a mausoleum of Orbelian princes it is an excellent example for symphony of natural surroundings and man-built monument.
Vine-testing in Areni.
Overnight in Yerevan.

That five days are mixture of different tours and entertainment around Sevan.

The yachts cross the lake to the beaches near Shorja and picturesque settlements of Artanish and Jil. The windsurfing fans will be happy to find constant air streams of any strength and direction.

Hiking routes bring to numerous natural and historical monuments including unique open air collection of Noradus cross-stones from early medieval until the late examples of that national tradition.

Mountain trails lead those who always long to stay on the top to numerous summits at ridges encircling the lake.

Connoisseurs of ancient art visit numerous current excavation sites to enjoy the pure beauty of Bronze Age crafts and jewelry.

To taste just processed goat-cheese and alpine herbs at the shepherd camp in alpine meadows.



That tour starts at Sevaberd village by 5km march to Upper Spring where the group encamps for night and acclimatization. On their way to the foot of Ajdahak trekkers will pass the alpine meadow of rare beauty and see the prehistoric rock carvings. The climbing starts on early morning of third day to reach the summit (3597m) on midday and give a chance to enjoy the unforgettable view of gleaming crystal clear crater lake. Then group will traverse to Little Spitakasar foot, where it will tent camp for the night rest. On the fourth day trekkers will climb Little Spitakasar (3556m) where another amazing surprise - the cave of multi-colored obsidian - awaits them. Descending from the top the group will have the night camp at mountain shepherds' site and share the feast with them. On next day the group will continue descent by picturesque Azat River canyon, visit Kakavaberd Fortress of IXc and finally reach the Upper Spring to have the meal, be picked-up for Geghard cave monastery (IXc) and Garni Hellenistic temple (I CE) sightseeing. After night in Yerevan the following day will be dedicated to rest, walk in city and farewell dinner.

The best period to climb the highest mountain (4095m) in the Republic is from mid-June until mid-September. At the foot of Aragats is situated Biurakan village with adjacent world-known center of science - Biurakan observatory (second large telescope in Europe) at altitude of 2...m. The path leads up by the canyon in bloom towards the wondrous Amberd fortress. Built at the triangle peace of rock rising over 80m above the junction of roaring mountain rivers, Amberd was in tune with the heyday of Armenian kingdom in X-XIc. That site will become the first night camping. In the morning the group will continue ascent and at altitude of 3200m reach the Kari Lake, surrounded by colored rug of alpine meadow. After break and meal travelers climb the Southern summit (3900m), from where opens up the fascinating view of volcano crater and Ararat Valley. The night stay is at the nearby base of Physics Institute and early in the morning ascent starts on highest Northern Paramount that dominates three other peaks. From here climbers can observe Ararat and even mountains deep in Iranian territory, as well as Shirak Plateau and if lucky to have favorable weather - Caucasian Range. After the feast and night at the Kari Lake the group drives to visit Tegher Church (XIc.) near Biurakan and returns to Yerevan.

The miniatures from ancient Armenian manuscripts are used in this website
©2000 Armenian Ecotourism Association Design by Armen Galyan