Jul 21, 2017
Weekend Road Trips in Armenia: Your Next Travel Discovery – Part 2
Aside from discovering a country with rich landscapes and historical monuments on your own terms, a road trip in Armenia will give you a hands-on experience to witness the spontaneity, warmth, and hospitality characteristic of Armenia.
Here are some more road trip destinations worth exploring while in Armenia.
1. Garni and Geghard
The route to Garni and Geghard is a perfect quick escape from the city, and can easily stretch into a full day trip. In less than an hour’s drive from the capital city of Yerevan, this road offers a spectacular view of Mt. Ararat with a famous photo stop, followed by a visit to the Garni temple before stopping at Geghart Monastery.
Garni, a pagan temple and the only Hellenistic building surviving in the region, was built in the 1st Century AD. On the site, there stands today the restored temple, along with ruins of the royal summer palace and bath complex. As a bonus, the temple is right on the cliffs overlooking the magnificent Garni Gorge.
As for Geghard Monastery, its name originates from the spear that wounded Jesus, brought to Armenia and now displayed at the Echmiadzin Museum. Partly carved inside a huge rock, Geghard is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For a culinary stop at the Monastery entrance, make sure to peruse the offerings of villagers selling traditional desserts, such as dried fruits, sujukh (threaded walnuts dipped in spiced fruit syrup), and gata (Armenian sweet bread).
2. Tatev Monastery
Tatev Monastery, one of the oldest spiritual and educational centers of medieval Armenia, is another exquisite architectural masterpiece. Dating back to the 9th Century, this architectural complex is nestled amidst massive cliffs.
While at the historical site, take your time and tour the religious complex and ancient oil mill right outside the monastery walls. Now turned into a museum, the oil mill was built in the 17th Century and still features a massive millstone once rotated by oxen.
To reach the cliff, you may take a 40-minute drive along an old winding road passing through an ancient village.
Alternatively, take the shortest and most picturesque route to Tatev Monastery on the Wings of Tatev, the world’s longest cable car. The Wings of Tatev will fly you over the gorgeous Vorotan Gorge and River.
3. Caves of Lastiver
An exciting route for the fans of extreme activities is a trip to the Caves of Lastiver, near the village of Yenokavan up in the Tavush region in the northeast of the country. Once a sacred place for pre-Christian Armenians, this region with stunningly beautiful nature combines millennia-old history and the most modern of extreme activities.
Take a hike through the woody gorge to step inside the caves and marvel at the carvings depicting men and beasts. Upon reaching the caves, a marvelous view of the waterfalls of Lastiver will open up before your eyes.
As a bonus, Yell Extreme Park is located nearby, offering some cool extreme adventures!
Photo credit: garnigeghard.com