ADVENTUROUS ARMENIA

ADVENTUROUS ARMENIA

Some people come to Armenia for the exquisite cuisine and the calmness of our fascinating landscapes, or the rich cultural heritage monuments which can be found in all parts of the country. Nevertheless, have you ever thought of Armenia as a destination for adventure tourism? Our nature and mountainous territory perfectly fit into the ideas of this type of tourism. Regional Post presents the top 5 adventure tourism opportunities in Armenia.

Text : Margarit Mirzoyan    Photo : ArmGeo

 


Hiking

What’s the one thing Armenia has in abundance? Of course, mountains. Pick your peak; you can climb either one of the four peaks of Mount Aragats – the highest mountain in the territory of the country (4090 meters), or Khustup Mount in Syunik province, or hike down to Lake Arpi in the Shirak region. Hiking is the best medium to look at Armenia and have a glimpse of the most magnificent scenes of this small mountain-locked country.

  

 

Additionally, this kind of tourism provides a certain amount of adrenaline which upscales the overall impression. All you need to do is to take your hiking essentials, clothing and gear and start your way towards the heart of Armenia. Usually, the hiking season in Armenia is July-August, however, if you’re a skilled climber you can enjoy it at any season. The most popular hiking and mountain climbing project in Armenia is ArmGeo, which, since its establishment in 2012, has already organized around 3000 hiking trips and mountain ascents in the territory of Armenian Highlands. Contact them and join the numerous hiking enthusiasts in Armenia, who, overcoming their fears, witness something new during each hike.

 

Paragliding

If you wish to fly like a bird witnessing the edge where the world collides with the sky, paragliding is what you need. It is a recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders – a non- motorized, lightweight, free-flying and foot-launched glider aircraft with no exact primary structure which enables you to experience the sense of freedom in real-time. The feeling you get while flying with a paraglider cannot be compared with anything, maybe just a jump with a parachute.

Flying season is quite long in Armenia – from May till the end of November. In winter flights are rare. The enthusiasts of paragliding in Armenia have started practicing it since 1996, and currently, there are a few companies which provide this type of service – the Sky Club, AeroClub and Armenian Paragliding Club. It’s important to note that if you aren’t experienced and have a certain fear, the best option for you will be tandem paragliding i.e. a flight with a pilot. The vehicles designed for this type of paragliding are usually faster with higher trim speeds and are more resistant to collapse. If you choose tandem paragliding, the pilot will take care of everything for you and you will just be admiring the fascinating beauty of the Armenian highlands. Besides, in this case, you won’t need physical skills or training to paraglide. After a 5-minute instruction, you will make the take-off run, and the next minute you will leave all your fears behind and enjoy the adrenaline rush. Of course, experienced and fearless participants can have a solo flight. The choice is yours. Bring your hiking boots or running shoes, take on some warm clothes, and have some sunscreen on your face. This is all you need.

 

Zipline

Zipline is the most popular adventure sport in Armenia. In older times, ziplines were a necessity of life, designed, for example, to transport people or supplies across the rivers. Fortunately, with the emergence of new technologies, and after the creation of bridges, the ziplines have become just a part of entertainment. Quite interestingly, the longest zipline in Armenia is located in Yerevan (870 meters), starting from the famous Malakan park, enabling you to fly over the Hrazdan gorge. But the most fascinating one is in Yenokavan (Tavush province) in the Yell Extreme Park. The nature in Tavush is magnificent and ziplining in this area doesn’t only make you feel the adrenaline, but your way towards the end of the zipline is accompanied by the picturesque sites typical to this particular region. Zipline has five different lines: 135, 268, 200 375, and 750 meters. The height is approximately 200-300 meters above the ground. There’s no need for any technical knowledge or prior experience, and also there’s no exact season for ziplining in Armenia. The whole year is at your disposal.

 

Rafting

Rafting has only recently gotten its momentum in Armenia. The country has many wild rivers with a powerful flow where the local extreme lovers are currently developing the rafting culture. The main rivers where rafting has become a common tradition are the Dzoraget River (30 km) and the Debed River (152 km) located in Lori province. The first river, even though it’s shorter than the Debed River, is more suitable for the professional rafters, as it has the 6th − the highest difficulty level of rafting and has many obstacles along the way which are too hard for the beginner or amateur rafters. The rafting trip here may take from four to seven days, depending on the difficulty of the session. There are several sites to visit while rafting across the river, among which are the Lori fortress and Khnevank monastery. The best time for this activity is May, as the weather conditions during this month are favorable and the water level is high. The Debed River, in its turn, has the fourth difficulty level. The best period here is from June to October. The famous Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries are located near the river, enabling the lovers of extreme tourism to experience also the cultural aspect of the local peculiarity. You might also consider having a hike to the Kobayr Monastery complex to complete your overall impression of the Lori province.

 

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing has definitely been the most popular extreme tourism in Armenia for many years. Each year, both locals and tourists from all over the world travel to Armenia to visit one of the most popular skiing resorts in Armenia − Tsakhadzor, established in 1967, which was famous even during the Soviet times.

The resort is located on the slope of Teghenis mountain which ranges from 1966-2819 meters above the sea level. On the highest peak, where you get by the ropeway in 32 minutes, opens a mesmerizing view of the whole country, and in good weather conditions, it’s possible to witness the magnificence of Mount Ararat.

There are three routes taking you to the three height levels. The first route will get you to the 1137 meter-spot, the second one, which includes two ropeways − lines 2 and 4, will take you to the 2476 and 2354 meter-spots, and finally, the third route will bring you to the highest peak of the resort (2819 meters). Even though the resort has a long history, the ropeway was updated several times and currently matches all the international standards, guaranteeing a safe and comfortable trip. Here, you may also find a café-restaurant where you can have a warm soup during cold weather. There are also instructors at your disposal who will quickly train the beginner skiing and snowboarding tourists. You may rent all the equipment that you need and enjoy your ride up and down by the numerous skiing and snowboarding lines of Tsakhkadzor resort.

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