Top 22 Things to do and see in Armenia [Nature edition]
Armenia isn’t on a lot of people’s radar, making it even better for whoever is reading this post since swarms of tourists have not yet made their mark on this enchanting land. Individuals looking for unique experiences of natural landscapes, breathtaking sceneries, and distinctive outdoor activities in a culturally rich environment will find Armenia to offer more than they bargained for. Shimmering waters, rich red earth, snow caps, vivid flowers, and luscious greenery, will surround you on your journey, guaranteeing the creation of timeless memories. If you’re looking for things to do in Armenia, its nature will not disappoint.
*There’s a map at the end of this list, you can download it as it features all the places mentioned.
Mount Azdahak is one of Armenia's most beautiful mountains. It is nestled within the Geghama mountain range, which has volcanic origins and includes many extinct volcanoes. The highest peak of this range is Mount Azhdahak, at 3597m. Azhdahak is an evil dragon in Armenian and Iranian mythology, who is said to have fought against the god of thunder Freydun. Throughout most of the year, Mount Azdahak is covered in snow with smooth slopes. The top of the mount gives way to a gorgeous view of the surrounding mountains. Once the snow melts during the hotter months, the crater of the Volcano on top of Mount Azdahak is filled with water, creating a small lake that you can swim in.
2.Carahunge - Zorats Karer
Քարահունջ և Քարենիշ
Carahunge is considered as one of the oldest scientific artifacts on Earth. Its name is split into two Armenian words: kar meaning stone, and hoonch, meaning sound, translating to “speaking stones.” It is also sometimes referred to as the “Armenian Stonehenge.” This archaeological site is located near the town of Sisian in the Syunik Province of Armenia. Carahunge consists of a prehistoric mausoleum and around 200 massive stone monoliths, 80 of which have distinctive well-polished holes that emit a whistling sound when the wind blows. The monument is stunning and located in a gorgeous area with natural beauty, making it an attractive destination for many tourists each year.
3.chknagh village aparan
Chknagh village Aparan is a stunning little town near the Aragatsotn region of Armenia with picturesque Chamomile fields. You can ask anyone in town, and they will give you the exact directions to get there. The smell is delightful, and the view is gorgeous: a breathtaking background of a mountainous range ideal for taking memorable pictures.
Akna Lake or Aknalich in Armenian is a natural jewel at the bottom of mount Azhdahak. It's a gorgeous volcanic mountain lake with fresh, clean water that vividly reflects the sky's blue color. The lake almost feels like an oasis when you reach it after a trek in the intimidating Geghama range. Surrounded by beautiful lush meadows -either green or yellow, depending on the season- the sight is truly ethereal and a must-see when you visit Armenia.
5.garni symphony of stones
This striking monument consists of large, absurdly symmetrical hexagons and pentagons basalt columns stretching up to 50 meters high. These stone pieces hang on the side of a cliff as if rebelling against gravity. The way they are so gorgeously stacked next to each other reminds one of the enormous, impressive vintage organs present in big churches. Some people even call them "Basalt Organ Pipes" in reference to their intricate shape. The river of Azat flows through the canyon, while simultaneously spraying the mesmerizing beauty of the Organ Pipes with a bright light mist. It's near Garni Temple, so you can enjoy the short walk there.
6.ZUAR HOT SPRINGS
Zuar Hot Springs is rich mineral water source, also known as "Tak Jrer" literally meaning hot waters. Zuar Hot Springs is located on a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan: Nagorno-Karabakh. Visas can be issued in advance or at the border, Here's more information on the visa process. Regardless, the springs are worth the hassle due to their distinctive formations, and, as some say they even have healing properties.
7.angel's canyon armenia
Angel’s Canyon is a bewitching short Canyon with unique beauty situated in Ararat province. The rough pointy red rocks give the Canyon a Martian vibe and might remind you of similar canyons found in Arizona. It is near the Khosrov State Reserve, so there’s a chance of encountering a variety of wild animals on your walks such as tortoises or even eagles.
Charent’s Arch was built by the famous architect Rafael Israyelian, it overlooks Ararat Valley, Ararat mountain, and all of Yerevan, which gives for a truly breathtaking scene at any time of the day. The Arch is dedicated to and named after the famous Armenian poet Yeghishe Charents, who drew inspiration from various Armenian locations and even wrote several pieces about the charm of Mount Ararat. There’s an excerpt of a poem he wrote that’s engraved on the stones of the Arch:
«Pass the whole world, there’s no summit as white as that of Ararat,
Like glory road, unreachable, I love as well my Mount Massis!»
Jermuk Waterfall is known to the locals as the "Mermaid's Hair Waterfall" due to the beautiful ribbon-like water strands rushing down its stream. It isn't the largest and most intimidating waterfall out there, but its beauty is beyond question. Even in the scorching hot summer days, the waters of Jermuk Waterfall are always freezing cold. Bonus information: the water from this waterfall is used to produce the famous Jermuk mineral water.
10.Khndzoresk suspension bridge
Խնձորեսկի ճոճվող կամուրջ
The Khndzoresk suspension bridge is 160-meter long, rising 63 meters high above the ground and is one of the main attractions in Syunik province. It stretches across a vast valley connecting two banks of a village, the so-called Old and New Khndzoresk. Old Khndzoresk lies on both sides of the mountain, and its inhabitants used to live in natural and human-made caves until the mid-20th century. The new Khndzoresk however, was built in the 1950s. The scenery atop the bridge is truly breathtaking, but there are a good number of staircases to take before reaching it.
Satani Kamurj is a spectacular bright-colored canyon carved out by mother nature. The water which flows in these springs has pink, yellow, and green hues it borrows from the colorful rocks of the riverbed. There’s a natural bridge formed by travertine (a type of rock) over the centuries with immense limestone formations and stalactites hanging at the edges of the bridge and naturally occurring hot springs and baths that have alleged healing properties. It is a very narrow canyon, about 30m long and 50-60m broad.
12.Canyon of the river Dzoraget
Canyon of the river Dzoraget is the most common rafting route in the town of Stepanavan. The river converges with that of Pambak Dzoraget, and both end up flowing into the river Debed. If you're in search of a good dose of an adrenaline rush, look no further. The Lori Berd fortress is located on your way from Stepanavan to the river Dzoraget, and on the right river bank there is the Hnevank monastery complex built in the XII century if you’d like to check out some other cool spots.
Azat Reservoir was put in operation in 1976. The area around it is mainly grasslands and prairies with gorgeously lush greenery all around. You can drive by, enjoy a walk, or bike across the dam. The sunset is fantastic from there as the sun reflects on the mountains and makes them glow red.
Sevan Lake is a beautifully serene and calm lake with clear blue water and a breathtaking view of the ice-capped Geghama mountain range. Its colors and shades change with the sun's reflection, exposing a stunning array of turquoise and dark navy hues. It is one of the largest freshwater alpine lakes in Eurasia and a perfect ocean replacement for land-locked Armenia. Ideal for a refreshing dip in the summer heat, the area has a couple of restaurants serving fresh local grilled trout that's not to be missed, you can also rent a speed boat and take it for a ride. There is an old monastery on the hill right across the lake with a stunning view of the lake.
Shaki Waterfall is the ideal place for a cool trip on a hot summer day. There are some niches and caves behind it that are interesting to check out. A hydroelectric dam depends on it, so you can only witness an active waterfall between 11 am till 5 pm, as the water gets diverted to the turbines during the remaining time. Legend has it that the Shaki Waterfall gets its name after a girl who refused to obey a conquerors' orders, so she rushed from the cliff and, while falling, her dress opened up in the wind and turned into a waterfall.
16.Waterfall Astghik + vahagn waterfall
Ջրվեժ Աստղիկ + վահագն ջրվեժ
Astghik and Vahagn waterfalls are two gorgeous cascades that you can find in Armenia. Freshwater flows into natural pools beneath them, where you can take a dip and enjoy a swim. The waterfall six to seven meters and is awe-inspiring, but in spring, after the ice has melted, the flow is too intense to allow for swimming.
17.Star Shaped Spillway Kechut Reservoir
The Star Shaped Spillway Kechut Reservoir is a large water basin collecting water from the Jermuk Waterfall. It's one of the main attractions due to its weird-shaped shaft. The spillway is used to control the release of water from the nearby Kechut Dam during flood periods so that the reservoir does not overflow. The water is typically released back into the Jermuk river so that nothing is spilled or wasted.
Matosavank Monastery is a 12th-century hidden gem tucked away amidst the woods of Dilijan National Park. It is a small, destroyed, unrenovated church and is a bit difficult to find, but it still maintains its charm and mystery. Ensure you know the GPS location before heading on to the forest and be sure that the weather will be pleasant since it’s easy to get lost in the wood if it’s raining or gloomy.
19.Old Khndzoresk Cave Village
Old Khndzoresk is a town entirely made out of natural and human-made caves on the cliffs of Eastern Armenia. These historic hand-dug cave settlements lay on the steep slopes of a gorge and were inhabited well into the 20th century until 1950. Around 15,000 people inhabited these caves due to their inability to find a ground-leveled area to build their villages. These resilient people created homes to live in, as well as three schools and two churches, and developed a complex system of ropes and ladders to reach all the community corners. After 1950, the Soviet officials judged the caves unfit and uncivilized, obliging the remaining villagers to abandon the caves. Nowadays, the caves are mostly frequented by local livestock that grazes away around them, and some are also used as barns and stables.
Lake Gosh is located 2.2 km southwest of Gosh Village in a tranquil uphill area, perfect for a calm getaway in nature. The lake is replenished by rainwater and by neighboring water springs. It's 100 meters in length, 80 meters in width, and around 8 meters in depth. The water temperature reaches up to 14 C (57.2 F) in summer, making it ideal for a refreshing dip in the heat! There are a lot of different sights to see around the lake: hand-made monuments, several rock formations, and fresh mineral springs. Aside from spending time on the lake's outskirts, people also visit Goshavank, the village's Monastic Complex.
Hunot Gorge is a gorgeous little umbrella waterfall located on the bank of the river Karkar. To get there, you have to go on a small hike through the forest, passing by magnificent views and fresh mountain springs. You will also stumble upon the ruins of Hunot village, then finally, cross the medieval bridge to reach the waterfall from Shushi's side. Huge rocks are encircling the gorge, giving the scene a dreamlike beauty. Maps locate it in Azerbaijan, but it's actually located in Armenia, in the Republic of Artsakh ( Nagorno-Karabakh territory). Visas can be issued in advance or at the border. Here's more information on the visa process.
Spandaryan Water Reservoir was built in 1980 along the Arpa River Basin. You can see it on your way from Yerevan to the South of Armenia and villages like Goris, Meghri, or Kharabagh. It is a magnificent sight to behold with clear blue water and lush meadows surrounding it. You can stop to take pictures or simply enjoy nature and have a small picnic there.