Run The Unexpected – Run Armenia: Itinerary

Share our passion for running as a sport away from the beaten path. For being in the open air. For discovering other cultures and new worlds. Run with us to the cultural and rural highlights of a wonderful country. Come with us – to Armenia, a small, proud country in the South Caucasus.We look forward to your provisional booking enquiry!

FIT-Laufurlaub Armenia: Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival and getting to know each other

Individual arrival in Yerevan, capital of Armenia

Day 2: Your first encounter with Armenia

We land in Zvartnots, Yerevan’s airport mostly in the morning. We might be lucky and catch a first glimpse of Mount Ararat in the dawn light while landing. After going through passport and customs control, we meet our German-Armenian tour guide, Markus Azadian. We drive through Yerevan and the Armenian morning with the bus that is at our disposal throughout the trip to Sisian, our first base. This drive of around 3 hours over 210 km will already give you a first impression of the wonderful Armenian landscape. We check into our hotel.

Sisian is a typical small Armenian rural town with a population of around 17,000 without any tourist impact at all. The town lies 1,600 m above sea level somewhat away from the main transport arteries going through Armenia towards Iran. This is where you will experience the real Armenia.

After a break, we will meet at 11.00 am for a joint breakfast. This is followed by introductions by the guides and coaches as well as an introduction to the programme. What’s more, we want to give you the opportunity to get to know each other in a relaxed meeting to talk.

At 2 pm, we start out on the first run on this trip. It leads us west of Sisian up over the gentle hills into the valley of the Vorotan River. After about 10 kilometres, we reach the Shaki Waterfall, the highest waterfall in Armenia. This is where the Vorotan plunges a good 18 m in depth. The way back leads us through the friendly valley back to Sisian and our hotel. At 7 pm, we meet up for a well-deserved dinner.

Running route – length: approx. 18 km
Metres in altitude: approx. 400 uphill/approx. 400 downhill
Duration: approx. 2 and a half hrs/8 mins per km
Height over NN: 1.600 m – approx. 2.000 m
Substrata: tarmac, gravel paths and forest roads, open terrain/country (grassland and forest)

Day 3: A run to World Cultural Heritage – and a ride on the longest aerial tramway in the world

After breakfast at 8 am, a bus transfer of around 20 km to Ltsen awaits us, a small town on the main road southwards towards Iran. From Ltsen (1,600 m NN), we walk through forests and grasslands to the Tatev Monastery (1560 m NN). The entire route is around 17 km long. The Armenian Apostolic monastery dating from 895 is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Armenian “cold cuts” await us in the small village of Tatev. Our return is with the longest aerial tramway in the world that conquers a distance of 5.7 km in 11 minutes with only three supports. In doing so, it hovers up to 320 m high over the Vorotan ravine. Our bus takes us back from Halidzor to Sisian where we enjoy a meal together at a local restaurant.

Running Route:
Running route:
Length: approx. 16 km
Metres in altitude: approx. 600 m uphill /approx. 600 m downhill
Duration: approx. 2 hrs and 10 mins /approx. 8 mins per km
Height over NN: start approx. 1450 m /target approx. 1560 m
Substrata: gravel paths/forest roads, open terrain (grassland)

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Day 4: Animal figures and hunting scenes – a run to the mystical sites of Ughtasar

After breakfast at 8.00, the probably most challenging and spectacular stage of our journey awaits us. After a 10-minute bus ride, we are in Ishkhanasar (1,600 m NN), the starting point of today’s stage on the main road southwards towards Iran. From here, we run around 18 km on a path just big enough for a four-by-four up to Lake Ughtasar. This small lake lies at 3,277 above sea level, which means that today we will be negotiating a height difference of nearly 1,700 m. We are very near to the border to Azerbaijan here in the still active volcanic area. Besides this unbelievable landscape, along the way we will marvel at the so-called Petroglyphs, animal figures and hunting scenes hewn into the stone up to 12,000 years ago. There are probably few places on earth as mystic as this. We will run or ride back in a jeep to Sisian and make a short stop in the Armenian Stone Henge, Zorats Karer. This is a burying place dating from the Bronze Age, which was already set up 2,000 years before Christ. Today’s evening is linked to a small celebration – each participant will receive their Finisher Medal and Certificate.

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Running route:
Length: approx. 17 km
Metres in altitude: approx. 1.700 m uphill
Duration: approx. 2 hrs and 45 mins/approx. 9 mins per km
Height over NN: start approx. 1,600 m/ target approx. 3,300
Substrata: gravel paths/forest roads, open terrain (grassland, scree, possibly some remaining snow depending on the time of the year)
Important:
The weather has to be suitable for this leg. Even at the height of summer, rapid and fierce weather changes can occur at the summit at over 3,000 m NN, or by the crater lake. In any case, it is advisable to take suitable clothing with you. We will only start this tour if the weather is stable. In case we cannot carry out this run, we have an attractive alternative programme ready for you.

Day 4 – Alternative programme

Today, we break out into a relaxed trot from Sisian northwards over the fields. After about 5 km, the first attraction awaits us: Zorats Karer, also known as the Armenian Stone Henge. Zorats Karer is an approximately 4,000 -year old burial field, where the outer edge is surrounded by around 150 large boulders, so-called megaliths. The path leads us further eastwards through the sleepy little village of Aghitu to Vaghatin. A little south of Vaghatin, we walk past the Vorotnavank Monastery. This 1,000-year old monastery stands on the site of what was once a temple. The path leads us a good 5 km further passing the small town of Vorotan by to the pre-Christian fortress ruins of Vorotnaberd. The famous Melik Tangi Bridge spans the Vorotan River directly under the fortress. The basalt formations here are spectacular. Our bus meets us and brings us back to Sisian.
Running route:
Length: approx. 22 km
Metres in altitude: the route is relatively flat
Duration: approx. 2 hrs and 45 mins /approx. 8 mins per km
Height over NN: approx. 1,600 m
Substrata: gravel paths/forest roads, open terrain (grassland)

Day 5: From Sisian via Noravank to Lermontov


Today, we will check out of the hotel in Sisian after breakfast. Our bus drives us through the spectacular landscape from Sisian to Lermontov. This drive is around 270 km long and takes about 7 hours including all the stops. On the way, we visit the probably most famous of all Armenian monasteries, Noravank and take part in wine-tasting in Areni. A large part of the route is alongside Lake Sevan. Here, you can already get a great impression of one of the highest lying mountain lakes in the world. It lies at 1,894 m above sea level and with 940 km2, it’s nearly twice as large as Lake Constance. We stop at the banks of the lake for lunch in a fish restaurant. In the afternoon, we check into the Hotel Tezh Ler Resort. It’s near Lermontov, a small village in the Lori province in the north of Armenia. Let’s not be deceived by the solitary, broad idyllic scene of the rolling hills with lots of deciduous forest and grassland: we are still a good 1,800 m above sea level. After checking in, we discover the wonderful landscape around our typically Armenian hotel. And throughout, we will have Mount Tezh Ler in view, the highest mountain in this region with a height of 3,101 m. This relaxed run in lightly contoured terrain leads us over 17 km in an estimated two hours.
In the evening, we will meet up for a joint dinner. Armenian delicacies are served at the hotel.
Running route:
Length: approx. 17 km
Metres in altitude: approx. 300
Duration: approx. 2hrs and 15 mins/approx. 8 mins per km
Height over NN: approx. 1,700 m
Substrata: gravel paths/forest roads, open terrain (grassland, scree)

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Day 6: A run through the Armenian Switzerland – to the wonderful Lake Parz

After breakfast at 8.00, a short bus transfer of around 27 km to Dilijan awaits us; this is a small idyllic town on the main road leading towards the East and Georgia. Dilijan is extremely appealingly placed in the so-called Armenian Switzerland and was already a much appreciated health resort in Soviet times. Dilijan is surrounded by fantastic deciduous forests and offers wonderful views on the rugged cliff formations of the South Caucasus. Our run today begins somewhat outside of Dilijan and leads us over not quite 13 km to Goshavank Monastery. Here, we will make a short stopover, and there’s a small refreshment. Then eight exciting and spectacular kilometres full of good prospects still lie before us heading to Lake Parz. We will settle down to a well-deserved light meal in a typical Armenian forest eatery. Our bus will pick us up here and bring us back to our hotel. In the evening, we will meet for a barbecue together at the hotel.

Running Route:
Running route:
Length: approx. 21 km
Metres in altitude: approx. 300 m uphill
Duration: approx. 2hrs and 50 mins /approx. 8 mins per km
Height over NN: start, approx. 1,000 m /target, approx. 1,300
Substrata: gravel paths/forest roads, open terrain (grassland, scree)

Day 7: Lake Sevan – the blue pearl of Armenia

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Today is entirely characterised by one of the highlights of the Armenian landscape: Lake Sevan, the blue pearl of Armenia. The lake takes up about 5% of the surface of Armenia. After breakfast at 8 am, a bus transfer of 70 km to Sevanavank awaits us. After visiting the church on the peninsula, we cross over to the east bank in a good hour’s boat ride. Starting from Shorzha, we walk over the savage peninsula upwards towards the mountains and then along the bank lying underneath at the foot of the Geghama Mountains towards Tsapatagh. The route is around 25 km long altogether and is lightly contoured. The Tufenkian Heritage Hotel, one of the most beautiful hotels in Armenia awaits us with an afternoon snack. Then it’s back to our hotel where we are expected for a joint dinner.
Running route:
Length: approx. 25 km
Metres in altitude: approx. 200
Duration: approx. 3 hrs and 20 mins /approx. 8 mins per km
Height over NN: approx. 2,000 m
Substrata: tarmac, gravel paths/forest roads, open terrain (grassland)

Day 8: The past in Tsaghkadzor – and the future in Yerevan

We break out at dawn on a 15 km scenery round, which will once again convey magnificent impressions at sun-up. After our return and breakfast, today is dedicated to a visit to Tsaghkadzor. Our bus drives us around 80 km to this special village. Tsaghkadzor lies not far away from Lake Sevan at 1,841 m above sea level and is a classical Armenian tourist magnet, which has an especially good reputation with skiers in the winter. Tsaghkadzor is known among sportspeople because it was here that the world’s first altitude training centre was built in 1966, in which sportspeople from the ex-Soviet Union prepared for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. Besides a walkabout through Tsaghkadzor, we have the opportunity to see this eerie place. The altitude training centre was built specifically for this purpose and also only used for this. For a long time, it was left to deteriorate. Renovation work was only begun in recent years.
Now, it’s back to the city! The drive to Yerevan is around 55 km and takes around 45 minutes. On the way, we can say farewell to bucolic Armenia before we are catapulted 50 years into the future in a time machine and plunged into the 1.3 million metropolis of Yerevan.
After checking into our hotel, today’s evening is free.

Day 9: Yerevan

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We meet early. Already at 07.00, we set out on a city run. While the city is still sleeping and we at best encounter smoking and chatting policemen, barking herds of dogs and the municipal water spraying vehicle, there is lots of space for us runners to sightsee the city in detail. The route is contoured, runs from 1,000 to 1,200 m above sea level and is around 15 km long. With a few sightseeing breaks and a hopefully clear view of Mount Ararat, we are en route for scarcely two hours doing a relaxed trot. After a late breakfast, we have time the whole day to thoroughly devote ourselves to this fantastic and charming city with its people, sights, coffee houses, bars and restaurants. Alternatively, an afternoon excursion to the Temple of Garni and the Geghard Monastery can be booked. This is, however, not included in the price.
In the evening, there is a last joint dinner with Armenian specialties. Back at the hotel, we can tank up some sleep before going to the airport at 2.30 am from where we fly with Austrian Airlines back to Germany via Vienna.

Looking forward to your Booking Request

Min.: pax, max 14 pax, changes due to weather etc. possible!