Armenian Travel Bureau

Inbound travel to the Republic of Armenia



Eco, 6 days, 900 km (563 miles)

We offer you the tour «Botany-6», developed with the participation of the President of the Botanical Society of Armenia, professor, Doctor of Biological Sciences Eleonora Gabrielian, our scientific advisor. We offer you an excellent opportunity to combine leisure in nature with the possibility to collect different herbs. Our experts will surely help you observe some of more than 3500 flora species that inhabit Armenia and explain their use in popular medicine.
Day 1
After a brief rest at the hotel, guests will embark on a tour of Yerevan city that includes stops at Republic Square, Victory Park, Mother Armenia, Cafesjian Center for the Arts, The Cascade, a carpet factory, the monument to A.Tamanyan, Opera House, and Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial.

(Note: Arrival day activities will be adjusted as needed according to the itinerary of the traveler.)
Meals: Lunch
Hotel Accommodations: Regineh
Travel Distance: 70 km (44 miles)
Day 2
Yerevan - Vedi - Ararat - Sevakavan - Yerevan
End of April – beginning of May, or end of June-July.
Early spring or summer flora of Armenia.

This route goes south-east of Yerevan and lies at an altitude of 700-1200 m in the Ararat plateau – the cradle of the Armenian nation and one of the ancient centers of civilization. In the distant past, the plateau was covered by wormwood scrub or salt marshes. In its western part, there were forests consisting of various Tamarix species, stretched along the perimeter.

Now almost the entire plain is cultivated and planted with grape vines, orchards and gardens. However, here and there small, strongly camphor-scented colonies of Artemisia fragrans survive. The characteristic plant of wormwood scrub seems to be Capparis spinosa, whose buds, pickled and dried in salt, are a much valued culinary item. Entire plants are covered in white aromatic flowers of exotic appearance. These open usually in the evening.

In the vicinity of Vedi near Narek, on a low mound among wormwood scrub, one can see and photograph a large number of the beautiful Iris elegantissima whose variety of forms and colours is impressive. Other rare and endemic species can also be found there: Leontice armeniaca, Ornithogalum navaschinii, the lovely Allium materculae, Gladiolus atroviolaceus, Scorzonera gorovanica, etc.

Near the town of Ararat, in the unique mixed rush-iris marshes of Juncus acutus and Iris musulmanica, one can find a rare, disappearing Merendera sobolifera.

Due to the draining of marshes and land privatization, only small areas of ather threatened species remain: the endemic annual flax, Linum bersegianii, Thesium lycaonicum, Microcnemum coralloides, Orchis laxiflora, Flacaria falcarioides, and a recently discovered Sphaerophysa salsula. Interestingly, by its morphology, ecology and biology, Linum barseghianii is so different from the cultivated flax and all other wild relatives that Egorova classified it in a separate section.

The final stop of this route is in the vicinity of Sevakavan. Here, on dry stony or clay slopes of the nearby low hills among the scrub grows another beauty of dry habitats, the lovely Iris lycotis.

In contrast to Iris elegantissima, found with differently coloured cream and wine standards and falls, these are identical in the above species. However, varied colours of the large flowers of this iris, ranging from pale purple-red to a vary dark, almost black shade, are amazing.

Back to Yerevan. Overnight.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch
Hotel Accommodations: Regineh
Travel Distance: 220 km (138 miles)
Day 3
Yerevan - Garni - Geghard - Yerevan
May or June-July. Spring or summer flora.

The rout generally lies east of Yerevan on the south-facing slopes of lower Geghama ridge, in an altitude of 1200-1600 m.

The rout begins in wormwood scrub with Artemisia fragrans. In early spring miniature ephemera flower here: Androsace maxima, Ceratocephalus falcatus, a strange tiny umbellifer Hohenackeria excapa and various ephemerals: Allium, Muscari, Ornithogalum and others.

Towards the end of April and beginning of May, there is a short flowering season of the beautiful Iris elegantissima, whilst Capparis spinosa flowers all summer. Its spreading, shrubby growth can reach 2 m and more in diameter. Characteristic members of the wormwood scrub include also prickly cushions of Acantholimon armenum, covered in pink flowers, and various species of Astragalus, Centaurea, Consolida, etc.

On a high hill near Vokhchaberd stands an arich, erected in memory of a famous Armenia poet Eghishe Charents. A wonderful panorama of the Ararat valley opens here, trailing into the distance towards the foot of the biblical Mt Ararat. A little to the side of it the beautiful double-peaked massif of Mt Eranos is visible. Its slopes are covered with rose-red, cream and violet slabs of marlaceous limestone.

On this background here and there appear dark candles of evergreen juniper. This, together with the blue-white, as if on air floating Mt Ararat, makes a most poetical impression. A little higher there are various grasses (Stipa capillata, S. caspia and others), giving the flora a steppe character. Here one can see a beautiful composite Gundelia tournefortii, a rare umbellifer Actinolema macrolema, wild wheat, Aegilops sp., etc.

The route then winds down towards Garni with its picturesque neighborhoods, unique architectural monuments and very rich and interesting flora. Garni is located on a basal plateau on the right bank of the Azat river. The uncommonly beautiful river runs through 100 m deep canyons in places, flanked on both sides by regular basalt prisms.

The river bed is lined with smooth hexahedrons which form alcoves in the canyon walls. The dry, steep, rocky terrain is similar to monotonous stony semi-desert and upland steppe. Here one can recognize another type of flora – phrygana, characterized by xerophytic shrubs, briars, etc.

In rocky crevices, among the stones and on scree slopes, wild pistachios, almonds, cherries, pears, rhamnus and spirea (Pistacia mutica, Amygdalus fenzliana, Cerasus incana, C. mahaleb, Pyrus salicifolia, Rhamnus pallasii, Spiraea crenata) are common.

Cushion plants such as Astragalus, Acantholimon, Onobrychis cornuta have an important role here. The latter is very beautiful in spring when the entire cushion is covered by bright pink or purple flowers. Another shrub, Hymenocrater bituminosus, a labiate with violet-blue flowers and a large yellow calyx, is also pretty.

By crossing bridge from the 11th century, one can reach the left bank of the Azat river where, near a steep path a little higher, one can find Tulipa Julia, beautiful sky-blue Linaria armeniaca, Verbascum phoeniceum, Iris caucasica, Muscari, Bellevalia flowering in May. A whole range of new species has been described from the vicinity of the river Azat, including Pyrus sosnovskyi, P. takhtajanii, Scrophularia zvartiana, to name but a few.

The phrygana is composed of many interesting plants, among them Michauxia laevigata and Allium materculae. The first is noticeable by its appearance, unusual for the Campanulaceae, as it has a rather large red-green basal rossete and a thick, strangely bent, often taller than a man stem with open, white flowers. The other plant, Allium materculae, is jokingly called “Armenian Welwitschia” by botanists because, as that plant, it has 2 wide, flat, prostrate, twisted leaves.

Before one reaches Gekhard, on dry, very steep stony slopes, many different species of rare larkspurs and other plants flower in June-July, such as Serratula serratuloides, S. coriacea, Tomanthea aucheri, and Lotus gebelia with bright pink flowers and silvery-grey leaves.

Lunch in Garni.

In the Geghard area, fragments of an oak forest (Quercus macranthera) have been preserved. Apart from the oak, 5 spacies of rowan grow there (Sorbus aucuparia, S. persica, S. graeca, S. kusnetzovii, S. hajastana), and also Fraxinus excelsior, Acer ibericum and other species (Crataegus, Malus, Pyrus, Cerasus, Prunus, Vitis) etc. The area around Geghard is very beautiful; huge rocks drip with decorative flowers of Symphyandra armena, Campanula choziatovskyi and others. In amongst the rocks, the grassy slopes are aflame with the flowers of Papaver orientale whilst near the water grows a rarer, interesting Datisca cannabina.

In March-April-May the following are commonly seen: blue Scilla sibirica, pale blue Puschkinia scilloides, lilac coloured Crocus adamii, Primula macrocalyx, purple Dactylorhiza romana, D. flavescens and other species.

Back to Yerevan. Overnight.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch
Hotel Accommodations: Regineh
Travel Distance: 110 km (69 miles)
Day 4
Yerevan - Sevan - Dilijan - Haghartsin - Yerevan
March–June-July: Early spring to summer flora

The rout goes south-west to north-east through central and northern Armenia at altitudes between 960 and 2114 m above sea level (Sevan pass).

The rout starts at a stony semi-desert with wormwood – Artemisia fragrans – as its primary plant. In early spring (end of February - March) Poa bulbosa transforms the uniform, grey appearance of the semi-desert with its soft green carpets. In amongst the stones, pale pink flowers of Merendera trigyna, smelling of honey, appears; it is a favourite with the Armenians. A tiny tilip, Tulipa biflora, with colourful flowers, white-rose-yellow inside and pink-purple on the outside, and white and golden-yellow stars of various Ornithogalum and Gagea species flower at the same time.

A little later appears the beautiful Iris elegantissima, lazure Ixiolirion, and later still Capparis spinosa with large, aromatic flowers. In the same area one can also find Astragalus, Cousinia, Glaucium, Verbascum and others. Thymus Kotschyanus is everywhere. Later all signs of plant life more or less vanish. In the autumn, after the first rains, the semi-desert comes alive again. The stately wormwood comes into flower. Scattered here and there, particularly in marshy clay, there are yellowish-white to rose-red or dark purple flowers of Seidlitzia florida and other saltworts – Salsola macera, S. glauca, S. ericoides.

As one gradually climbs to 1400 m, the terrain changes to upland steppe and grassland. Various species of grasses and wild cereals appear. On the canvas of juicy green a profusion of steppe and meadow flowers is painted: clover (Trifolium bordzilovskyi, T. trichocephalum etc.), huge white umbrellas of Crambe orientalis, blue-violet patches of Vicia variegate, groups of poppies and many others.

Lake Sevan is very beautiful. It is situated at an altitude of some 2000 m a.s.l. Sevan peninsula (an island in the past) is connected to the Tsamakaberd cape by a low causeway. Flora of the southern and northern slopes on the peninsula is sharply different, as is that on the banks of the lake. South and south-east slopes are covered by upland plants – Astragalus spp., Prangos ferulacea, Festuca ovina, pale rose Papaver fugax and P. persica. North slopes are covered by more moisture-loving plants.

Here one usually finds forget-me-nots, crowfoots (Ranunculus), wind flowers (Anemone fasciculata), primulas (Primula) and similar plants. In amongst the rocks one can find Sorbus hajastana from where the species was originally described. From the north end of the lake, the road climbs towards the Sevan pass at masses of Gladiolus caucasicus and G. tenuis together with Ornithogalum, Filipendula, Centaurea and other lovely plants. Still higher are white and yellow Centaurea fischeri, C. glastifolia.

Near the ridge, in small hollows, there are sub-alpine meadows, covered in the spring by Primula macrocalyx, P. ruprechtii, and a little later by the exquisitely beautiful Anemone fasciculate, whose large flowers vary from snow white or pale pink to sharp pink and dark purple. Rarely one can see yellow Trollius patulus. Commonly encountered is Betonica with large lilac fowers, orchids, blue campanulas, gentians, yellow Ranunculus, violet irises (Iris furcata) and many others.

Later, in June-July, the beautiful Armenian lily flowers in profusion in wet meadows together with huge, bright red poppies, Papaver paucifoliatum and P. orientalis, dark blue Nepeta betonicifolia and Betonica grandiflora, white larkspur (Delphinium) and soft grey-blue Scabiosa caucasica.

Beyond the ridge, the environment of north Armenia contrasts sharply from the southern part. Over the distance of 11 km (the length of the Sevan pass) the serpentine drops 800 m towards Dilijan, a city with a much milder climate. All mountains here are covered by deciduous forest with some pine (Pinus kochiana).

Not far from Dilijan, close to north Tekhut, we go off the main road through an oak forest reserved on to the road leading to a beautiful 11th-13th century monastery – Haghartsin. Apart from oak, the forest also has Greek walnut, wild pear, maple, hawthorn, elm, hornbeam, ender, euonymus and other trees. On the edge of the forest and in forest clearing, there are many white and blue campanulas, geraniums, impatiens, various ferns and other plants.

Back to Yerevan. Overnight.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch
Hotel Accommodations: Regineh
Travel Distance: 280 km (175 miles)
Day 5
Yerevan - Hor - Amberd - Amberd Fortress - Aragats - lake Kari - Yerevan
Altitude 1000-3200 m; the route encompasses an area of south-west Armenia with a vertical cross-section of plants.

Aragats is a large late Tertiary and Quaternary uplift of volcanic origin. Four peaks rise sharply, the highest of which reaches 4095 m.

Our excursion starts in a grassy semi-desert near Ashtarak where, as always, there is Artemisia fragrans. Typical local plants also include Capparis spinosa, Helichrysum undulatum, Cousinia armena, Thymus kotschyanus, Acantholimon armenum, Vrbascum saccatum and a number of grass species. Flowers of Merendera, Muscari, Gagea and similar species appear in April-May.

In the foothills a little higher, amongst remnants of sparse forest cover, one can identify Paliurus spina-christi, wild cherries, almonds, buckthorn, etc. Higher still (2000 m) starts a thin oak forest of Quercus macranthera. The understory consists of Viburnum lantana, Prunus divaricata, P. spinosa, honeysuckle, Berberis orientalis, various species of Rosa, etc.

At the upper edge of the forest, stands of Juniperus depressa start, and higher still Astragalus, xerophytic sub-shrubs and steppe plants appear.

In May, one can see here an expanse of meadow plants: beautiful dark grey-blue Puschkinia scilloides, dark blue Scilla armena, S. siberica, pink Merendera raddeana, Colchicum bifolium, amazingly large, compact blue-black inflorescences of Bellevalia pycnantha, large numbers of scattered golden flowers of Gagea glacialis, little white stars or bells of various Ornithogalum species. Also here one can find graceful, drooping blue-grey or ehitish bells of Pulsatilla armena and lovely colourful Corydalis persica. All this variety of flowers gladdens the heart and makes an indelible impression.

Near the fork in the road leading to Amberd fortress, at an altitude of 2300-2400 m close to the road amongst the rocks and in meadows, there are large numbers of beautiful polymorphous Tulipa Julia. Toward the end of May and in June, large flower heads of Ornithogalum gabrielianae, endemic on Mt Aragats and found only here, are clearly visible from the distance.

In the vicinity of the ruins of Amberd fortress one can see Nectaroscordum tripedale – a close relation of the onion, whose tall inflorescences wave gracefully in the breeze. This is a rarely seen plant, now listed in Armenia’s Red Book; it attracts attention by its elegantly drooping, large pink flowers which seem to be made of wax. On grassy slopes amongst the rocks, one can find Ornithogalum transcaucasicum, O. hajastanum, O. brachystachys, Caucasian endemic Gladiolus tenuis, golden patches of Chartolepis glastifolia, and huge flowers of Papaver orientale in large numbers.

On Mt Aragats at an altitude of 2600-2700 m, large areas are covered by alpine flora which goes up to 3700-3800 m. The upper part of the alpine zone (2900-3000 m) has a special, typically alpine flora. A range of grasses and sedges is dominant here. Dwarf rossete forming plants with large bright flowers are mixed in the grassy cover. Dense networks of roots protect a thin layer of soil, similarly to grass turf.

Typical upper alpine zones in Armenia are very beautiful and are characterized by their colourful, mosaic-like appearance. They are well represented in the vicinity ok lake Kari where our route ends.

Back to Yerevan. Overnight.
Meals: Breakfast Lunch
Hotel Accommodations: Regineh
Travel Distance: 170 km (106 miles)
Day 6
Yerevan – Matenadaran – Vernissage – Yerevan Brandy Company «Ararat» – airport Zvartnots
Before departing from Armenia, this eight-day tour concludes with visits to the Matenadaran where ancient Armenian manuscripts are stored and exhibited, Vernissage crafts and flea market, and the Yerevan Brandy Company for a tour and brandy tasting.

(Note: Departure day activities will be adjusted as needed according to the itinerary of the traveler.)
Meals: Lunch
Travel Distance: 50 km (31 miles)
Tour Price

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Tour price includes:
  • Entrance to museums and historical-cultural centres
  • Tour service
  • Meals per itinerary
  • Accommodation in a chosen hotel
  • Daily transportation and hotel transfers
  • Professional guide
  • Transfer airport-hotel-airport

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