The summer is in full swing which means that it’s time to think about your summer hiking adventures. There is a gorgeous part of the world that is often not at the top of most hiking lists, however, it is certainly one to include on ours! In the South Caucasus, there are two beautiful countries: Armenia and Georgia. Their lush and picturesque landscapes have a great potential for hiking and trekking. Read on to learn about the most popular hiking and trekking itineraries in Armenia and Georgia.
Trekking in Armenia
Trekking in Armenia in search of the main sights and natural beauty is fairly straightforward. All popular attractions are located close to each other within a relatively small territory. You can choose one of the following and visit all of the popular other spots on the way.
Sevan – Dilijan
One of the most popular destinations in the summer months is Lake Sevan. This freshwater lake is located at an altitude of 1900 meters above sea level and is surrounded by the Geghama Mountain ranges. The picturesque lake is perfect for summer holidays starting from July (at the beginning of summer it is still cool, and even cold in the evenings). For trekking, two days is ideal. During the tour, you can visit the monastery of Sevanavank on the peninsula as well as the Ayrivank monastery. Camping on the lake with a fresh fish BBQ will make your days unforgettable.
The next stop is Dilijan. The locals are used to calling it “small Armenian Switzerland” and it really looks like a heaven. The resort is located on the territory of the national park. The main attraction is the unique nature and valuable coniferous forests. It is definitely worth exploring on foot and the first destination is Lake Parz. The lake is also a part of the reserve and is protected. From the lake take a walk to Lake Gosh and the Goshavank monastery which once played an important role as an educational center. The Haghartsin monastery is located to the north of Dilijan. With a spectacular backdrop, the White Monastery is hidden in the mountains and is surrounded by a beech forest.
Areni – Noravank – Tatev
Another popular trekking itinerary starts from the caves of Areni. In this cave were found the first traces of winemaking. That’s why Areni is considered the land of winemaking. The road from Areni leads to the monastery of Noravank – an amazing monument located at the very edge of the gorge.
On the way to this famous historical monument you will see the amazing cave city of Khndzoresk. There you will cross the long suspension bridge and see the most ancient cave settlements. The last stop is the monastery complex of Tatev which can be reached by the cable car “Wings of Tatev”.
Lastiver – Yenokavan
Lastiver is one of the most attractive places in Armenia. The territory is covered with deep forest that hides a stormy river and waterfalls. However, the main value of Lastiver is the oldest cave with traces of the Mesolithic settlements. The cave has halls and niches with polished walls. When locals hid in the caves during the invasions, they built a narrow path leading to the cave. You will get a high dose of adrenaline on the way, but it is really worth checking it out.
The Tavush region is rich in both natural and historical sights. The next stop is the village of Enoqavan. There are three more caves, a beautiful canyon, a dense forest, a river, a XII century church and the popular Yell extreme park in Enoqavan.
Trekking in Georgia
Georgia is a wonderful country not only for lovers of hiking and camping, but also for professional rock climbers and those who love mountains and clean air. There are hundreds of trekking routes in Georgia and you can even organize a tour without having any ready plan and route. After all, mountains and forests are everywhere.
Tusheti – Khevsureti
One of the most popular destinations for trekking and camping is Khevsureti region. This picturesque region is located at an altitude of 4000 meters above sea level and is surrounded by mountains. The mountain path to another beautiful region of Tusheti runs along the gorge. Khevsureti is popular as one with the best trekking routes due to its natural features and numerous historical monuments. During your trekking, you will see Abudelauri colorful lakes, the dead town of Mutso, the village of Omalo where the popular Soviet movie “Mimino” was shot and, of course, you will enjoy the beauty of the Greater Caucasus.
Tusheti is one of the most hard-to-reach areas in Georgia and trekking in the area is suitable for experienced trekkers. The route from Khevsureti to Tusheti is considered to be the best mountain trekking route in Georgia. It will take about 5 days, so you will need to have tents and appropriate gear.
Trekking in Svaneti
Svaneti is another colorful mountainous region located in the north of the country. Several tracks take you to the tops of the Caucasian mountains from Svaneti. The region is famous for its ancient settlements and medieval towers. Given all of the medieval towers, Svaneti is called “the land of a thousand towers”.
During the journey through Svaneti you will see the Svan Sea (water reservoir), alpine meadows, high-mountainous Korundi lakes, Ushba Mountain, waterfalls in the rocks, a huge number of observation towers and, of course, the Greater Caucasus mountain range.
Lagodekhi National Reserve
Trekking in the reserve is an easy way to see the virgin beauty of the nature of Georgia and spend a couple of days in a quiet place. The Lagodekhi reserve is one of the most suitable directions for trekking. Almost the whole reserve is covered with forest, the rest are meadows, lakes, rivers and thirty waterfalls.