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Antarut to Amberd

Antarut to Amberd

7.1 km

Things to see

Amberd Fortress

Ever been to Amberd, the legendary fortress in the clouds? This trail, which starts in Antarut village, will take you there! Follow ancient paths through forests and river valleys for this medieval adventure. 

The 7.1 km trail extends between the village of Antarut and Amberd, and can be hiked starting from either location. Starting at Amberd, take some time to explore the 10th-century fortress complex, which also features the Vahramashen Church (also known as the Church of Amberd). The name of the complex translates to “fortress in the clouds”, and one can understand why. Situated on the slopes of Mt. Aragats, Amberd stands at a staggering 2,300 meters (7,500 ft) above sea level!

Inside the fortress walls, you’ll find what were once reception areas and private rooms for royal inhabitants. Excavations have shown that these rooms were quite lavish, with elegantly carved decorations, oil lamps, incense holders, and walls decorated with silks and brocades. South of the fortress, you’ll find a 10th-century bath house which, when operational, used hypocaust heating, a system of central heating that produces and circulates hot air below the floor of the room. If you plan on entering the grounds of Amberd at the beginning or end of your hike, please note that the site opens at 10AM and the entry fee is 700 AMD for locals and 1400 AMD for foreigners.

From Amberd, wind your way down into the Arkashian River valley along an ancient trail. Immediately below the fortress, you will notice a rock formation that resembles the sun. Continue following the trail, and pass through wide open spaces and forested areas in the river valley. From here, and once you’ve fully crossed the valley, you’ll get unique views of the fortress. Be aware that there is a small 1 km section through grassland where the trail is not very visible, so pay close attention to the painted markers and your GPS. You’ll end your adventure in Antarut, just above the village of Byurakan (where we have another trail: Cosmic Trip!)


How to get there

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Frederic T.
Did this hike on July, 2022. Put 5 stars because of the breathtaking views especially close to Amberd. HOWEVER, please consider the following : -if you want to do it in reverse like we did (start from Amberd and hike down from there), you’ll need to wait for the fortress site to open and pay for tickets. So be careful if you planned to arrive there early, they don’t open until 9:30AM or even 10... on the other hand, if you do it from Antarut, you won’t need to pay the tickets ;) -Most of the hike isn’t done following a dirt path, but through a trampled wild grass path. We didn’t encounter any ticks or snakes, but be careful about those anyway; -the path is indeed marked, but the marks are far enough spaced that getting lost is easy; -we didn’t meet anyone the day we hiked; -the previous points, combined with the fact that there is NO cellphone network during most of the hike, makes it mandatory to have offline maps stored on a fully charged phone before starting the hike. A good old paper map can’t hurt either! -Someone mentioned a bridge missing a plank, that is indeed still the case. Not a problem to cross is though. -I didn’t measure the distance, but it is quite possible that it is 10 km long, as someone said. 3.5 hours seem a little optimistic considering the path (or the lack thereof), plan for at least one more hour if you do it from Antarut. For all of these reasons, I wouldn’t attempt this hike in winter, or with children or physically unfit people.
Capucine Tong
I am putting a 1 star review on this trail to raise awareness: it is very dangerous in winter, do not attempt it if there is snow. The road to Amberd fortress is closed when there is snow so always check before hiking and start from Amberd to Antarut. It is very difficult to follow the track since the signs are covered with snow. The bridge was missing a plank which made it quite dangerous. We hiked on March 1st.
Vladimir Grinenko
The trail is really great but looks like it is actually about 3km longer, i.e. 10km instead of 7.1.


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Get a taste of Armenian hospitality

Amberd Hotel

74 - 100 USD