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 (email@example.com) or on social media.
Winter Hiking in ArmeniaThe temperature may be dropping, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still fun to be had in the great outdoors of Armenia. You’ve got skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating – why not hiking? It’s not only good for your overall health and wellbeing, it offers an opportunity to see Armenia’s vast countryside transformed from its usual green, lush lands to white, glittering snowscapes. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with a list of the trails we recommend trying out this winter season and tips and tricks for having the best winter hiking experience!
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Re-Introducing The RoadReleased in September 2017 by the Public Television of Armenia, "The Road" follows Armenian-American horticulturist and repatriate Roffi Petrossian as he embarks on a journey across Armenia in search of what it means to be Armenian. Starting on July 31st, the popular reality documentary series is being re-released in English so that non-Armenian speakers too can experience the beauty of Armenian nature. In tandem with the show’s re-release, we will be uploading, in parts, the entire route Roffi hikes across Armenia on a special trail that will be available to view and navigate using our website. Though we don’t recommend following his exact path due to safety concerns, there are plenty of trails in several regions on our app and website to try out should you find yourself inspired to get hiking!
Avoid Crowds, Embrace Nature: 4 Tips To Really Getaway In Dilijan This FallWhen it comes to destinations in Armenia, Dilijan lands at the top of most lists for both local people and foreign tourists. That’s no exception this year. In fact, with international travel all but impossible this year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, internal tourism in Armenia has seen a noticeable increase. If you’re here, all you have to do is pay a visit to a tourist attraction, like a monastery, outside Yerevan - they’re packed right now with holidaying local people.
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One App For All Hikers!At HIKEArmenia, we believe that everyone should be able to access world-class trails and experience nature to the fullest. It’s why we created our app! Before us, there were few resources about Armenia’s beautiful and often hidden trails that were both free and easily accessible to international hikers.
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