Dilijan and Parz Lich:Located in Northern Armenia, Dilijan is like the Armenian Alps. Check out the beautiful old wooden homes in Old Dilijan or take a hike around the crystalline Parz Lich.
Aragatz: Get caught in a lightning storm and be pelted with hail on the peaks of Armenia’s highest mountain. Slide down through the snow and tap dance on flat stones that sound like xylophones. Make sure you have your transportation to get down the mountain worked out before hand or discover yourself with the surliest group of friends you’ve ever had. Also make sure to admire the nomadic Yezidi settlements on the way up the mountain.
The other Shores of Lake Sevan – Noraduz and Shorzha: Buy fish from local fisherman who hold up their hands as an indication of the size of their fish, and not the size of the equipment that caught it. Check out Noraduz Cemetery with its medieval khachkars and head around the lake to Shorzha to feel like you’re the only person in the world.
Karahunj and Ughtasar:You might see people with stethoscopes trying to pick up vibrations in the rocks. If you’re truly adventurous, take a Soviet jeep up a nearby mountain to get to Ughtasar, where you’ll find the mountainside scattered with petroglyphs.
Geghard and Garni: Geghard is a beautiful monastery partly carved out of a mountain. Just nearby, Garni is the site of Armenia’s last standing Pagan temple. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the local lavash factory and lunch with local gangsters. Just don’t get into their large black SUV, even if they offer you land and livestock. Food for thought.
Goris and Khndzoresk: The last time Ani visited this place, she acted like a sullen teenager and refused to take in the breathtaking views. Don’t do that when you go. Do feel free to crawl into ancient caves where our ancestors used to live. Don’t lean against the car glaring at your parents, even if they started it. Because they did.
Tatev and Devil’s Bridge: The beautiful monastery of Tatev can only be reached by hiring a driver named Tarzan and his orange marshrutka (minibus). Well, no, that’s not really true, but it should be. Tatev can also be reached by the world’s longest teleferic (aerial tramway). Before you head up to the monastery make sure to check out Devil’s Bridge, a natural bridge above the Vorotan river. You can climb down the edge of the bridge to bathe in mineral pools and explore the taverns below with theirimpressive stalagmites and stalactites.
Lastiver:Climb through caves with carvings pre-dating Christianity and chip a front tooth while jumping off a large waterfall. Lastiver is one of our favorite adventure spots. If you like nature and hiking and benches made of tree trunks, this spot is a must. Go ahead and build a fire, City Kid. Builds character.
Ani (from Armenia):The only site on our list that might frustrate you, the medieval city of Ani can only be seen from Armenia and not actually visited. But if you can’t make it to Turkey to visit Ani properly, the trip to the border is definitely worth it. Ani headed straight to the border, charging through the weeds until they reached her hips, and only turned back when the soldiers at the Turkish base on the other side of the border spilled out in alarm. True story.
Haghpat, Sanahin and Berd: Berd was a once thriving city and served as a hub when the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan was still open. The townspeople now find themselves on the frontline and remember the days when the villages on the other side of the border contained neighbors and friends. They have a unique perspective regarding the Kharabagh conflict, and are remarkably forgiving considering they were nearly bombed to proverbial smithereens. The monasteries at Haghpat and Sanahin were chosen as UNESCO sites, need we say more?