We’re kicking off the hiking season with a trip to the region of Vayots Dzor! This province is known for its rugged terrain, with red jagged rocks and orange hued mountains jutting out of the ground. Medieval ruins, archeological digs of ancient caves and wineries, along with picture-worthy wildlife make Vayots Dzor distinguishable from other areas in Armenia.

Vayots Dzor
The land protects species like the bezoar goat and the brown bear, which can be spotted hiking through many of the surrounding trails.

On this mid-Apil day, the bloom hadn’t yet made its appearance in full, but there were sure signs that it was about to. In a few months time, the flora will wilt under the hot sun and the heat itself can become too overwhelming for long hikes in exposed areas. For no better reasons than these, it’s best to explore Vayots Dzor in the springtime. While everywhere else will be rainy and muddy, this region’s colors will shine under the sun with beautiful flowers showing themselves off.

Here’s what you can expect to see only two hours outside of Yerevan and how to explore it on foot!

Noravank Monastery

Noravank Monastery
The backdrop of this monastery is too dramatic to miss and will make you feel like you’re on the set of a movie where archeology meets adventure. Interesting engravings with Gothic inspiration are found throughout the grounds with a uniquely carved staircase you’ll want to see in person. Bonus: Keep your eyes open for sightings of the mountainous bezoar goats.

Hike: Gnishik to Noravank Trail (Wild Life Oasis)

Nearby Accommodations: Eco Lodge in Gnishik, Areni Wine Art, Areni Wine Cellar, Areni Taverna B&B, Areni House B&B, Areni Lodge Guesthouse & Cottage


Smbataberd Fortress
Walk along the fence walls of this impressive fortress built high on a hill in Yeghegis. Here, visitors can play medieval times and imagine what life was like during the reign of powerful dynasties. Only one side makes this fortress accessible, so views from the top will include the surrounding deep gorges and cliffs.

Hike: Smbataberd Fortress Trail (Tour Through Wine Country)

Nearby Accommodations: The River House Yeghegis, Hotel Arevi, Crossway Camping


Spitakavor Monastery
Make the pilgrimage to this underrated 14th-century monastery referred to as the “Monastery of Flowers” - spring visitors will understand why. You’ll be surprised to see how well the sculptures and reliefs are preserved, with views well worth the trip. Bonus: in the distance, you can see the fortress Proshaberd sitting atop a steep hill.

Hike: Vernashen to Spitakavor Trail (Blooming Monastery Loop)

Nearby Accommodations: Izabel B&B, Vernatun Guesthouse

Nature and Hidden Churches

Vayots Dzor
Tucked away behind the cliffs of Vayots Dzor lay beautiful villages that are separated by rolling green hills. You can find hidden churches and ruins that are scattered throughout, each with their unique story. Here, spring flowers are on display and welcome you to enjoy its kaleidoscope of colors.

Hike: Gomk to Artavan Trail (Old Bandit Road) and the Gomk to Martiros Trail (Cobblestone Road)

Nearby Accommodations:
Artavan - Artavan Campsite, Taron’s Homestay, Zartonk Guesthouse, Arman Guesthouse 
Gomk - Gomker’s House, Nvard’s Homestay, Benson Tour Guesthouse
Martiros -  Old Martiros Guesthouse
#Hiking #Inspiration #Practical Advice