The Vayots Dzor Province has received a lot of attention in recent years, mostly for its rapidly developing wine industry. And it makes sense - Vayots Dzor is home to a 6,000-year-old wine making facility, the oldest wine making facility in the world, discovered just recently in 2011, and the revered Areni noir grape, indigenous to Armenia.
Beyond winemaking, visitors to Armenia can expect to find destinations like the 13th century Noravank Monastery and the city of Jermuk, a spa town known for its healing springs, on their itineraries. But Vayots Dzor is also home to a brand new network of hiking trails that we proudly built together with Trails For Change NGO (TFC) and the Transcaucasian Trail (TCT) back in 2018. These villages may be a little bit out of the way (they’re about an extra hour drive from Areni and Noravank), but we think they’re well worth the extra travel time, what for their untouched landscapes to the authentic experiences waiting there. Here’s why!
A new trail network connecting ancient footpaths
Smack dab in the middle of Eurasia, Armenia has for centuries been at the crossroads of many trading routes, including the ancient Silk Road. Marco Polo is said to have travelled through Vayots Dzor, and it's thanks to folks like him and centuries of foot travel that many ancient footpaths still exist in the region today. They just needed some modern, professional mapping and trail building to bring them back to life for you to use!
In 2017, together with our friends at TFC and TCT, we scouted the southern portion of the region to find these footpaths and figure out the best way to connect them to natural and cultural sites, as well as local villages. After extensive research and planning, TFC got to work on the ground, restoring old trails and building new ones with funding from us in 2018. The result: a world-class network of blazed trails that connects hikers to Armenia’s past, the country’s stunning natural landscapes, and village life.
There are 15 Vayots Dzor trails currently up one our website and free mobile app. Just filter by region to discover Armenia’s newest trail network!
Trails for everyone
Part of Vayots Dzor’s beauty lies in its rocky landscape - deep valleys, towering mountain ranges, and fast flowing rivers paint the countryside here. Not a professional hiker? You don’t have to be in order to enjoy this unique region of Armenia. You’ll find easy, medium, and hard trails in Vayots Dzor. Here are a few for you to consider.
Martiros Waterfall Trail
Old Martiros Loop
Stairway To Heaven
Berdakar Mountain Loop
Old Bandit Road
Looking for something in the middle? Just use the filter option on our app or website to find medium-level hikes.
The Vayots Dzor trail network centers around the village of Gomk, and connects to the surrounding villages of Artavan, Martiros, Akhta, Zaritap and others. Backpackers will surely love the opportunity to hike from village to village, with the option of camping or staying in local guesthouses.
While staying in a village guesthouse, don’t be surprised by what seems like your hosts’ overwhelming hospitality - this is just the way people accept guests in Armenia. To hikers from Western countries, local people’s friendliness and willingness to give - from food and drinks to even their personal time to make sure that you’re comfortable and having the best possible experience in their home - might seem strange. This is standard practice in Armenia. When it comes to food, expect lots of it. You can also expect to be offered homemade fruit vodkas called oghi. If or when you’re full, can’t drink anymore or don’t want to drink at all, don’t be alarmed when your host continues to offer you more. Simply say no thank you (Cheh, shnor-hah-kah-looh-tyoon in Armenian. Good luck saying that the first time).
You can find a number of different accommodation options on our free app and website, according to your needs and the type of experience you’re looking for while in Vayots Dzor. Choose from free campsites situated in the wild (just be sure to read up on each of them to see what you need to bring with you and don’t forget to clean up after yourself!), to campsites maintained by local organizations, to rooms in people’s homes.
If you’re not sure about where to stay, how to plan your trip, or just want more info about hiking in this and other regions, we’re available to take any and all questions. Just call us at +374 11 445326 or write us over email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on social media.
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