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Armenia and Iran Unveiled

from £2749
Explore the treasures of Iran and Armenia - two beautiful and often misunderstood and underestimated countries.

Experience the underexplored on this dual country holiday through Armenia and Iran. In these two visually opposing countries, this trip meanders through the stunning lush expanse of Armenia and the romantic desert wilderness of Iran.

Armenia is a country immersed in history and the first to adopt Christianity as the state religion; you will see how religion plays a huge part in Armenian culture. Beginning in Yerevan or ‘The Pink City’, enjoy a guided city tour before discovering the countryside the best way possible, on foot. Explore and experience the beauty of monasteries, ornate fortresses, a volcanic crater view, and the cave village of Khndzoresk.

Your time in ancient Persia offers a wonderful insight into modern day Iran. Often unexpected is how overwhelmingly friendly Iranian people are, and how good the food is. You’ll visit sites including the Towers of Silence in Yadz, the impressive stain glass illuminations in Nasir Almolk mosque, and the Persian city ruins at Persepolis. Savour aromas of spices, sweet tobaccos and rich cuisine, observe ornate tilework and magnificent domed buildings. You’ll also hear the call to prayer and people watch at Si-o-se Pol bridge as the sun drops from the sky and lights reflect off the water.

In both countries you have not only a Ramblers tour leader, but also a local guide. The way we see it, local guides know their country inside out and are the ideal people to help you delve beneath the surface. Of course, the best way to explore both countries is on foot, so we have carefully selected what we consider to be the best walks to show you the culture, history and contrasting beauty of Armenia and Iran.

This holiday has a pioneer status to indicate the spirit of adventure, as things may not always go as expected. Hotel standards are not as fancy as they are in Europe, and cultural differences require you to adhere to an alternative dress code. This tour combines traditional walking in mountains, with city sightseeing walks.

Come explore and experience Armenia and Iran with Ramblers Walking Holidays!

 


Holiday Highlights

  • Discover two countries away from the tourist trail
  • Explore the lush countryside and trails of Armenia on foot
  • Visit Persepolis - one of the world’s more significant archaeological sites
  • Ancient Persia - discover tea gardens, tombs, mosaics and bazaars
  • Uncover Tehran’s highlights including Golestan Palace - a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Dig beneath the surface with local guides who help you uncover the culture, history and idiosyncrasies of each country
The holiday inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What's included in this holiday Items that are covered in the cost of holiday price.

      Return flights from Heathrow to Yerevan via Paris (Air France) returning Tehran to Heathrow via Istanbul (Turkish Airlines) 
      Airport transfers 
      Road transfer between countries 
      En suite accommodation with breakfast
      All lunches and dinners taken in hotels or in local restaurants 
      English speaking Armenian and Iranian guide throughout
      All local transport costs. 
Whats not included in this holiday Items that are not covered in the cost of holiday price.

  • Entrance fees to some museums and historic buildings (unless otherwise specified)
  • Personal expenses (such as your bar bill)
  • Discretionary tips
  • Optional excursions
  • Insurance
Please select Departure Date to view:

Please see Holiday Information Sheet for this holidays individual departures itinerary (located under View Departures & Book tab)

Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.

This departure: Grade 4

  1. Day 1

    Welcome to Yerevan in Armenia, you will transfer to the hotel where we have a late welcome dinner upon arrival.

    Accommodation: Cascade Hotel

    Meals included: Welcome dinner

  2. Day 2

    After breakfast, we enjoy a full day guided tour of Yerevan, also known as ‘The pink city’ because of the colour of the stone used for building. This city is full of contradictions; top of the range Mercedes drive alongside Ladas which look like they should be behind glass in a museum.  Hipster wine bars and fashion boutiques nestle themselves beside old-fashioned teahouses. Few traces of the city's ancient past remain intact, with most buildings dating back only as far as the Soviet era. There is, however, a wealth of gardens and parks, and beautiful public areas.

    On today’s tour we visit Republic square, Mashtots Avenue, the House of Opera and Ballet after Aram Khachaturian and the park ‘Cascad’.

     We then visit the Manuscript Museum of Armenia, better known as Matenadaran where all the ancient Armenian Manuscripts are kept. Finally, our day takes a different twist as we pay a visit to The Genocide Memorial complex, Armenia's official memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, built in 1967 on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd.

    Accommodation: Cascade Hotel

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  3. Day 3

    Following breakfast, we depart for Garni to explore this centre of Hellenistic and Roman culture, as well as the ancient residence of the royals of the Arshakuni dynasty. We stop at the temple dedicated to the sun goddess Mythra, and the remains of walls of the third century BC, as well as Roman baths. We enjoy a walk to the Monastery of Havuts Tar, an impressive half ruined walled monastery, on a point of high land across the Garni River gorge from Goght which is reached in just under an hour on foot.

    For a local flavour, we stop by a local Armenian house for the opportunity to participate in the preparation of the ‘Lavash’ Armenian bread. From here we continue to Geghard Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site named after the spear that pierced the body of Christ. This medieval monastery in the Kotayk province, partially carved into the rock face, and located in a very spectacular deep canyon. It dates back to the 4th century according to local tradition.

    Duration: 3.5-4 hours

    Distance: 5.6 miles

    Accommodation: Cascade Hotel

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  4. Day 4

    Today we drive to Mount Aragats (60 kms / 1 hr 20 mins) and we start our walk from Kari Lich Lake. The lake is at 3,200m and will be the highest point we will reach on this holiday. We descend from the lake, across open moorland on good tracks to the castle ruins of Amberd Fortress. On the way we may see the nomadic Yazidi sheep herders in their summer pastures. We drive back to Yerevan for dinner.

    Duration: 5-6 hours

    Distance: 16km (10 miles)

    Ascent: 100 meters

    Descent: 1200 meters

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

    Accommodation: Cascade Hotel

  5. Day 5

    After breakfast we take a trip to Khor Virap Monastery, a living witness of Armenian Christian history, notable as a monastery and pilgrimage site thanks to Gregory the Illuminator, who introduced Christianity to Armenia, was imprisoned there for 13 years. Here we enjoy spectacular views of the sacred Ararat Mountain - an immortal symbol of Armenia.

    We then depart for the village of Artabuynk, where we begin trekking to one of the largest fortresses in Armenia, Smbataberd and to Tsakhats Kar. Monastery consists of two groups of structures; the western group was built in the 10th century and now is half ruined, the eastern group is comparatively well-preserved. Both buildings were built during the 11th century. We continue onto Yenghis  Village and overnight. The drive distance is 150 km and approximately 3 hours.

    Distance: 6.21 miles

    Duration: 3-4 hours

    Ascent/descent: 670 meters

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

    Accommodation: Arevi Hotel in Yeghegis Village

  6. Day 6

    We make our way this morning to visit the monastic complex of Tatev, one of the main tourist attractions in Armenia. Not only are the buildings stunning, but the surrounding scenery is magnificent. Previously a famous educational institution, many contemporary scientists and philosophers were educated there. Here we can use the world’s longest rope-way and visit the cave village of Khndzoresk.

    After this visit, we stop for lunch before continuing onto Goris where we overnight. The approximate drive time today is 140 km and 3.30 to 4 hours. 

    Accommodation: Mina Hotel

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  7. Day 7

    After breakfast, we drive to Norduz border crossing where we wave goodbye to Armenia, vehicle and local guide, before meeting another vehicle and a guide who stays with us for the remainder of the trip. This is where we enter the city walking and sightseeing portion of the holiday. Before crossing over to the border, women will need to cover their hair with a scarf and all group members need to be modesty dressed. Please see the holiday information sheet for more details.

    From here we continue onto the city of Tabriz, en route stopping off to visit Saint Stepanos Monastery in Jolfa. Registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Saint Stepanos Monastery is a treasure which dates back to the 9th century and is located within a deep canyon of the Aras River. It is perhaps one of the most brilliant examples of Armenian monasteries (whilst being located in Iran) in the world, with many decorative features. Please note this is a long day and we will not arrive into Tabriz until late afternoon.

    Accommodation: Tabriz International Hotel

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

  8. Day 8

    Today with the local guide, we head out and enjoy a city tour visiting the Blue Mosque, Municipality tower, Tabriz grand Bazaar, Mashrooteh house, and Arg Ali Shah.

    The Blue Mosque is one of those attractions that stops you in your tracks. Incredible architecture and ornate tilework leave visitors with the ‘mouth hanging open’ experience. The Tabriz Municipality Palace, also known as Sa'at Tower (Clock Tower), was built in 1934 as the municipal office of Tabriz and was previously the office of the Azerbaijan Democratic Party after the Second World War. For fantastic people watching, we then head on over the Grand Bazaar to explore the UNESCO-listed labyrinth which covers some 7 sq km, with 24 caravanserais (sets of rooms arranged around a courtyard) and 22 impressive timches (domed halls). We finish the tour with a stop to Mashrooteh House and Arg Ali Shah, a 700-year-old city symbol and one of the oldest historical attractions in Iran, as well as Tabriz itself. According to historical notes and quotations, this citadel was the only high-rise building visible from a long distance. From here we transfer to the airport for our flight to Shiraz, before transferring to the hotel.

    Duration: 6 hours walking approximately

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

    Accommodation: Arg Hotel

  9. Day 9

    Today we enjoy a guided city walking tour of Shiraz. We begin the day when the light is just right, by visiting Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque. This mosque is so beautiful that when the light shines through the stained glass windows, it emanates rainbow like projections onto the inside like a kaleidoscope. This is truly one of Iran’s real gems. Other attractions we will visit include Karim Khan Citadel, Vakil complex (Bazar, Bath and Mosque), Shah-e-Cheragh Shrine, and Narenjestan Garden.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

     Duration: Seven hours walking approximately

    Accommodation: Arg Hotel

  10. Day 10

    This morning we make out way towards the mud-brick city of Yazd, stopping en route to visit Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam.

    Persepolis is the Greek name for the ancient city of Parsa, which loosely translates as 'City of The Persians' and was at one time the capital of the Persian Empire. Due to its remote mountain location, Parsa was almost impossible to visit during the rainy season of the Persian winter and so the city was used mainly in the spring and summer warmer seasons. These ruins give a fascinating glimpse into history which our guide will bring to life.

    From here we move onto Naqsh-e located approximately 12 km northwest of Persepolis, an ancient necropolis where magnificent rock reliefs have been cut into the cliff face. These monstrous tombs of Persian kings stand as a lasting memory of the once powerful empire which ruled over a significant portion of the ancient world. We then make our way onto the city of Yazd. 

    Accommodation: Laleh Hotel

     Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

  11. Day 11

    Yazd is a magical city to explore on foot and feels very much like the place that time forgot. Sculpted mud buildings merge with the most incredible blue tiles, and domes rise to the skyline. Today we enjoy a full day guided walking tour of Yazd including the Zoroastrian Fire temple, many wind towers, Friday mosque and Amir Chakhmaq Complex.  On top of this we will visit the older part of Yazd city named Fahada, visiting the Prison of Alexander and 12 Imam Dome.  In the evening, we have the option to visit a wrestling event. Wrestling is so entrenched in Iranian life and is taken very seriously indeed. This is likely to be a local club event as opposed to a ticketed event, however it does depend on the day.

    Duration: 6 hours walking approximately

    Accommodation: Laleh Hotel

     Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

  12. Day 12

    This morning we leave Yazd behind and make our way slowly towards the city of Isfahan. En route we stop and visit the city of Na’in. More than 3,000 years ago, the Persians constructed aqueducts underground to bring water from the mountains to the plains. In the 1960s, this ancient system provided more than 70 percent of the water used in Iran and Na’in remains the best place to see these qanats functioning. We visit Jomeh Mosque to marvel again at the ornate architecture of the early Persians, plus Pirnia house.

    In the afternoon, we continue to Isfahan where we check into the hotel upon arrival. When the sun goes down, we enjoy a walking tour to one of the most beautiful bridges in the world, Si-o-se Pol. This is a meeting place for young lovers and where stories are swapped, but the architecture and careful lighting of the bridge is truly something to behold.

    Duration: 3 hours walking approximately

    Accommodation: Piroozy Hotel

     Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

  13. Day 13

    Today we enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Isfahan visiting all the main attractions of the city. It is hard to comprehend how one city can have such a magnificent array of sites and beautiful architecture, but it does. On this walking tour, we visit Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Aali Qapu Palace, the magnificent Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Shah Mosque, Chehel Sotoun Palace, Vank Cathedral and a wander around the Grand Bazaar. Today really platforms highlights what has made this city so famous. When we explore the Grand Bazaar, we have the chance to watch and learn from the metal workers, crafting their wares using old techniques.

    Duration: 5 hours walking approximately

    Accommodation: Piroozy Hotel

     Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

  14. Day 14

    This morning after breakfast, we begin making our way to Tehran, the capital city of Iran and Tehran Province. En route we visit the Fin Garden complex in Kashan city, one of the UNESCO registered Iranian gardens along with Pasargadae, Eram, Shazdeh of Mahan, Chehel Setun, Dowlat Abad gardens. In total, it spans 23000 square meters with a central courtyard surrounded by fortifications. We also visit Borujerdi House with its magnificent ceiling and immense detail, before continuing onto Tehran where we check into our hotel.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

    Accommodation: Parsian Enghelab Hotel

  15. Day 15

    Today is our final full day so we take the opportunity to make our way around Tehran on a guided city tour. We will visit the city theater building from the outside, jewelry museum (open from Saturday till Tuesday), National Gate, Golestan Palace, National Museum and old Bazaar of Tehran.

    In the evening, we enjoy a penultimate meal and farewell dinner as we take the time to reminisce over the past 15 days in Armenia and Iran.

    Duration: 6 hours walking approximately

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

    Accommodation: Parsian Enghelab Hotel

  16. Day 16

    Unfortunately, today, our two-country adventure comes to an end and we transfer to the airport in Tehran for our flight home with a bag full of memories and new friends.

    Meals: Breakfast

Travel Details

  • Return flights from Heathrow to Yerevan via Paris (Air France) returning Tehran to Heathrow via Istanbul (Turkish Airlines) 
  • Airport transfers 
  • Upgrades are available on most flights. For scheduled flights Premium Economy, Business or First Class and most low-cost carriers have extra legroom seats. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • If direct regional flights are not available, we can often offer add-on flights to a London airport at a competitive rate. Please ask us for details and a competitive quote.
  • Visa is required.

Trip Map

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Our Accommodation on this holiday

Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday. If you are on a multi-centre holiday, these are highlights of the places where we stay. Please refer to your Holiday Information sheet (which can be found under View Departures & Book), for your departure date and for all your accommodation details.

Arg Hotel

The Arg Hotel is located in the heart of the city and walking distance to most tourist hotspots, yet it remains quiet both during the day and night, allowing our guests the full opportunity to both see the city and its attractions and relax at the same time. Refurbished in recent years, the hotel has its own restaurant and coffee shop on the rooftop making your stay comfortable. The rooms offer a television, a small fridge and laundry and room service for food and drinks.


Laleh Hotel

The Laleh Hotel in the centre of Yazd and located nearby to the Hazireh Mosque and the Alexander Place; some of Yazd’s top attractions. The hotel provides a restaurant and a bar/lounge (non-alcoholic) to make socializing easy. Other facilities include air-conditioning, minibars, complementary Wi-Fi and a refrigerator in every room.


Tabriz International Hotel

Positioned in the center of Tabriz, the Tabriz International Hotel is perfect to reach the city center easily by bus, metro or on foot. Some of the room features include use of the pool and lounge, room service, a refrigerator, a minibar and air conditioning. Getting online is easy with complementary Wi-Fi.


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