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Armenia itinerary (for 3-4 weeks)

This small country today was once a great Kingdom and has a long long history. Among other things, it was the first people in the world to embrace Christianity. Hence its legendary temples scattered throughout the territory. Many have ancient inscriptions in the Armenian alphabet, one of the oldest in humanity. Its position between the worlds of the West and the East, however, was a double-edged sword: throughout history it enjoyed periods of independence... alternating with periods of submission to contemporary Empires. Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Mongols, Ottomans, Russians... all of them decimated the population and the territory. Although at the same time they contributed to the wide cultural range that we see today in the Armenian people, their gastronomy and their music. The most recent history is the one that hurts the most, with Turks and Azeris in the role of villains. Villains to use a kind word, because the genocide they carried out last century with the Armenian people has been one of the greatest barbarities of humanity. Today, tensions and disputes continue with both neighbors, especially due to the struggle in Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh), lands populated by more than 90% Armenians. That is why it is understandable that a large percentage of the Armenian population leans towards Mama Russia (unlike Georgia).

Armenian flag. Khor Virap

I love Armenia. Because of the kindness of its people, its surprising and delicious food, its history and culture, its fairy-tale monasteries... and, of course, because it was one of the easiest destinations to travel to with Cocaí. Shnorhakalutyun Armenia!

We arrived in the country from Georgia and traveled from north to south, passing through some of the most emblematic natural and historical treasures. After almost a month and a half we crossed into Iran. Armenia is not a country that many people have on their list and I believe that, however, any traveler will fall in love with it. This was our route:

Bavra (border with Georgia)


Dilijan National Park (Hagartsin & Parz Lake)

Sevan Lake

Garni & Geghard Monastery

Azat Lake


Khor Virap

Noravank Monastery




Shikahogh State Reserve

Agarak (border with Iran)


Near Bavra, Georgia - Armenia border

The Ninotsminda-Bavra border crossing is very little traveled, as everyone chooses the other two alternatives, south of Tbilisi. A shame because they miss this place of powerful nature. Bavra is a small town immersed in Lake Arpi National Park. These are highlands, moorland type, where the strong wind blows. A great place to start your Armenian adventure.



Gyumri is a pleasant city, even with the ruinous legacy of frequent earthquakes. The center stands out, with its enormous main square, the surrounding streets full of modern Cafes, a couple of churches and its green areas. Of course, the “Mother Armenia”, since Armenians, like Georgians, also have their Motherland represented in various cities as a gigantic sculpture. A few meters from there is the Black Fortress, a very interesting place: from the outside it looks like an Arena or a Roman coliseum; Inside it looks like the setting of “Romeo and Juliet”. They let Cocaí in, write it down if you go with a dog. Also, if it happens to be your first stop in the country (as was our case), you will be amazed by the Armenian flavors. Armenian food is wonderful.


There are all kinds of options. I recommend Hostel #1. Because of the location (in the center), cool atmosphere and because it allowed us with a dog. Bravo!


Parz Lake, Dilijan National Park

Northeast of Armenia is this natural treasure. The Park is large and offers different and varied points, such as monasteries, springs, waterfalls and lakes. Here I am going to recommend the two places that we visited, but you can also stop by the Dilijan National Park Visitor Center, in the town of Dilijan.

Hagartsin. Beautiful monastic complex, immersed in the middle of the forest. After visiting the different naves of the monastery, you can take a trip to some nearby pools and a waterfall. Perfect for a dip.

Hagartsin, Dilijan National Park

Parz Lake. A jade green beauty, both the water and the surrounding forest. If you don't have a car you can get there on foot, although you have to walk quite a bit and uphill. You can also hitchhike.


Although it is a National Park, you can camp. We did it next to Parz Lake. There are also different types of accommodation in Dilijan town.


Sevan Lake, Armenia

Largest lake in Armenia. So big that it looks like a sea. The best thing is not the lake itself, but the life it attracts: Armenians love to gather and have picnics with all kinds of foods, fruits and drinks. Watching them enjoying themselves with family and friends is great. It is possible that, given their curiosity about foreigners, a group will invite you to sit with them. You can also take a bath, obviously. You can camp in front of the lake.



They are two different places, but I put them together because everyone does them as a combo: the pagan-Greek temple of Garni and the monastery of Geghard.

Garni. A place that breathes history. It has a temple similar to the Parthenon in Athens and the mountainous environment that surrounds it is awesome. Also, a big plus: they let dogs visit the site.


Geghard.The entire complex is incredible, architecturally speaking and also because it is in a natural environment of red mountains that is incredibly beautiful. Also, if you are lucky enough you will witness a choir. I heard one of five female voices under the dome of a nave and my hair still stands on end when I remember it.



I recommend camping next to Geghard, in a kind of canyon at the foot of the monastery. The vegetation and landscape are amazing (they reminded me a little of Cafayate, in the north of Argentina).


Azat Lake

"El sitio al que nos llevaron era espectacular. Uno de los más chulos que he visto en tierras armenias: el Azat Lake. Un espejo de agua en total calma custodiado por unas paredes de roca de tonos blancos, naranjas y rojos. Del otro lado se puede ver a lo lejos la picuruta nevada del monte Ararat, y con ello Turquía. Era la primera vez que lo veía…". Fragment of my book "El Pekín Express Canino" (only in Spanish).

An incredible secret place that we reached thanks to some Armenian friends we made along the way (blessed hitchhiking). It is close to Garni and also Yerevan, and is a highly recommended excursion from either location.


Yerevan views, with the Ararat behind

“… lo que más me sorprendió del centro es la modernidad que destilan tanto su arquitectura como sus gentes, que contrasta notablemente con el resto del país… mucho más rural. A pesar de ese toque tan a la última de Yerevan, resulta que es una de las ciudades más antiguas del mundo. ¡30 años más vieja que la mítica Roma! Hayk me contó que el anterior Gobierno había derribado los pocos edificios antiguos que quedaban para construir más infraestructura moderna. Una pena. Por lo visto solo hay un sitio en la ciudad que prueba la vejez de Yerevan: la Fortaleza de Erebuni…”. El Pekín Express Canino.

The capital of Armenia is a must-see stop for every traveler. Modern, clean, full of cafes and sculptures. Some of the most popular places to visit are: Republic Square, Northern Avenue (and surrounding streets), the Opera House, the Cascades monument, and Mother Armenia. What I liked the most was Cascades, an immense structure with different levels or floors with different fountains and sculptures. The only common element is water. From above you get a great panoramic view of the city with the Ararat as its guardian.


Khor Virap Monastery and the Ararat behind

“Érase una vez un reino pagano que creía en diferentes dioses. El Dios del Agua, el Dios de la Tierra, el Dios del Sol… Un día, allá por el año 300, llegó desde otras tierras Gregor el Iluminador con una nueva historia: el mundo lo había creado un solo Dios. El rey Tiridates el Grande, muy ofendido por semejante blasfemia, mandó a este mesías del cristianismo a las profundidades de una mazmorra subterránea. Lo que no sabía era que una viuda cristiana del pueblo iba a ayudar al bueno de Gregor… Durante trece años le tiró agua y pan para mantenerlo con vida. Un día el rey pasó por allí y vio que el tipo seguía vivo. ¡Milagro! Como consecuencia decidió abrazar al cristianismo, mandando a todos sus dioses al carajo. Y es así que Armenia se convirtió en el primer país del planeta en aceptar abiertamente la religión cristiana”. El Pekín Express Canino.

The hole where Gregor the Illuminator stayed was called Khor Virap, where a church was built in his honor several centuries later. And in addition to all this legendary attraction that surrounds it, it turns out that it is the best place in Armenia to see Mount Ararat, just 30 km away, rising towards the sky in all its splendor. This creature is more than 5100 meters high, on whose slopes Noah placed his ark. Turkey may have managed to get it within its borders, but Armenians will always have it tattooed on their hearts. Because as they define themselves, they are the children of Noah.


If you have a tent you can camp at the top of the summit, looking down on the Khor Virap monastery and with incredible views of the Ararat. An Armenian flag flies from the top of a huge flagpole to make it clear where we are. There is a town next door, but I don't know of any rooms, guest houses or campsites.


Noravank Monastery

This monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, both for the beauty of the monastery and the surroundings and for the antiquity of the Christian temple. I think the photo says it all.


To get here you have to follow a river through a canyon sandwiched between stone walls. Anywhere is good for camping :)


Tatev Monastery

Another marvel of a monastery where beauty and history merge to the delight of the visitor. It can be reached in three ways: on foot, by road... and by flying. I mean, flying above the skies on the world's longest cable car! Wow! However, if you go with a dog, as was my case, you will not be able to because they are not allowed.

Tatev cablecar

I recommend making the return trip, after having enjoyed the wonderful monastic complex and several adjacent viewpoints, on foot. The trekking route through the mountains goes unnoticed by almost all tourists (because they go by cable car) and is super beautiful. Wrapped in a fairy-tale wooded landscape, finding along the way a beautiful hermitage devoured by trees and, best of all, a beautiful final stretch below parallel to the river. The walk runs through a canyon whose walls get closer and closer until they touch, forming a structure that the Armenians have nicknamed the Devil Bridge. Furthermore, in this area underground waters emerge that the locals claim to have healing powers, and they have made some small pools for the enjoyment of locals and visitors. I waited until everyone left to set up the tent and enjoyed them alone the next morning :)

Devil's Bridge, Tatev


Goris, Armenian Cappadocia

Small and beautiful city, perfect to rest for a few days and discover the surprising mountains that surround it: the Armenian Cappadocia. As in the interior of Turkey, this geographical area experienced a series of volcanic eruptions that then solidified and created a weak… and moldable limestone rock. The forces of nature (and the years) gave rise to these mountains and picturesque geological formations called Fairy Chimneys and troglodyte houses.


I recommend the Lovely Goris Hostel, whose owners are very nice and they accept dogs (even if it's in the garden). Good price and very cool to meet other travelers.

You can also camp on the outskirts of Goris, among Martian rocks in Armenian Cappadocia.



City with nothing apparent on a tourist level, but interesting, built on the Voghji River, which crosses its entire length. The environment is beautiful, surrounded by mountains, and you can stay to see a different side of Armenia.


There are options, but I can't recommend anything because we camped in a park.


Shikahogh State Reserve

Most travelers do not come here, as they go south along the main route via Meghri. Badly done! First because the road from Kapan is gorgeous, and second because of the reserve itself. Located in the foothills of the Arevik National Park it is a natural spectacle. The ideal place to spend a few days camping next to the river. Especially if you then go on to Iran and its intensity (as was our case). Also, I can't think of a better place to say goodbye to Armenia.


Agarak, Armenia

“Del cruce de Meghri llegamos a pie a la fronteriza Agarak, sintiéndome un poco delincuente al ir durante la hora y media que duró la caminata acompañando a la valla de espino que divide Armenia de Irán. Eso sí, muy de película el paisaje del oeste con sus montañas peladas y el río Aras dividiendo dos países tan dispares”. El Pekín Express Canino.

It is a transit point for most travelers who stop here. And we all (or almost all) come because we want to cross into Iran through the only land crossing open to tourists. Even so, it has its charm, surrounded by rocky mountains, bordering Iran and also the Azeri territory of Nakhchivan.

Note. If you go to Iran this is the last stop to withdraw money (you won't be able to there due to Western economic sanctions).


We stayed at the Samuel Hostel. Cocaí had to camp outside, next to the door, but I still recommend it because they treated us well and it was cheap.


“No hay país en el mundo al que tenga más ganas de ir que a Irán. Pero no os voy a mentir: me da miedo también. Más que miedo vértigo. Porque se dicen muchas cosas sobre este pueblo y su relación con los perros. Que si no gustan demasiado. Que si la policía no es amigable con ellos. Hay quien dice incluso que está prohibido caminar en algunas ciudades con tu peludo por la calle. Pero quiero ir y verlo con mis propios ojos. Para poder desmentirlo. Porque estoy convencido de que vamos a hacerlo. Al menos en parte. Habrá quien no entienda que vayamos. Habrá quien incluso me critique por la decisión. Pero si queremos documentar la realidad perruna de Asia y mostrar que hay amantes de los perros en todos los rincones no podíamos dejarnos en el tintero a este país. Uno de los más importantes de nuestro proyecto dados los estereotipos que le rodean. Probablemente esta parte del viaje sea más difícil, especialmente en cuanto al transporte. No importa, porque estamos preparados para el reto. Allá vamos Irán”. El Pekín Express Canino.


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El Pekín Express CaninoEn marzo de 2019 mi perra Cocaí y yo salimos de Madrid con una mochila, una tienda de campaña y una misión entre ceja y ceja: llegar a China a dedo. Cuando andábamos en India hizo entrada en escena un "pequeño invitado" que puso el mundo patas arriba, incluido nuestro viaje. Tres años después volvimos a casa con un camino plagado de aprendizajes, aventuras, seres maravillosos... y una perra nueva: Chai :-) Más info sobre este libro, en realidad trilogía, aquí.

La Reina Leona. Un cuento ilustrado basado en una historia real de una perra que conocí durante la pandemia en India y con quien formé un vínculo muy especial. Puedes conseguirlo aquí.

Diarios de viajes por Sudamérica y Norteamérica. Estos dos libros cuentan, a modo de diarios, mis primeros años como mochilero, incluyendo el encuentro con Cocaí en Bolivia y todas las aventuras vividas con ella. Hago especial énfasis en la conexión con la naturaleza y las personas que nos brindó el camino. Leer más aquí.

Únete a nuestra iniciativa y recibe novedades sobre viajes, perros y viajar con perro 😉

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Somos Rober, Cocaí y Chai, tres amigos de tres naciones distintas que recorren el mundo en autostop. Desde el año 2013 hemos hecho tres grandes viajes: Sudamérica, Norteamérica y Asia. Nuestra próxima aventura es África. El objetivo principal de este blog es animar a otras personas (¡y perros!) a lanzarse también a conocer los bellos rincones y culturas que nuestro planeta atesora

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La trilogía más esperada desde el Señor de los Anillos


El Pekín Express Canino, portada
La Reina Leona, portada
Queen Leona, cover book
Diario de Viajes por Sudamérica, portada
Diario de Viajes por Norteamérica, portada

El Pekín Express Canino

En marzo de 2019 mi perra Cocaí y yo salimos de Madrid con una mochila, una tienda de campaña y una misión entre ceja y ceja: llegar a China a dedo. Cuando andábamos en India hizo entrada en escena un "pequeño invitado" que puso el mundo patas arriba, incluido nuestro viaje. Tres años después volvimos a casa con un camino plagado de aprendizajes, aventuras, seres maravillosos... y una perra nueva: Chai :-) Más info sobre este libro, en realidad trilogía, abajo.

La Reina Leona

Un cuento ilustrado basado en una historia real de una perra que conocí durante la pandemia en India y con quien formé un vínculo muy especial. 

¡Disponible también en inglés!

Diarios de Viajes por Sudamérica y Norteamérica

Estos dos libros cuentan, a modo de diarios, mis primeros años como mochilero, incluyendo el encuentro con Cocaí en Bolivia y todas las aventuras vividas con ella. Hago especial énfasis en la conexión con la naturaleza y las personas que nos brindó el camino. 

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