Activities

Bird-watching Armenia has quite a reputation among bird-watchers – 346 species have been recorded here, including one-third of Europe’s threatened species, and 240 species breed here. The Birds of Armenia Project at the American University of Armenia has maps and books on the country’s profusion of avian plumage. A Field Guide to Birds of Armenia and Handbook of the Birds of Armenia are both by Martin S Adamian and D Klem Jr. For further information, see the website of the Armenian Society for the Protection of Birds (www.aspbirds.org). The Birds in Armenia (www.armeniabirding.info) website is also informative.

Caving There are karst (limestone) caves in Vayots Dzor, largely unexplored and for experienced spelunkers only. The cave villages around Goris are an easier challenge.

Hiking It's possible to hike to the top of Mt Aragats in summer, and there are great walking trails in the forests and mountains around Dilijan and the Yeghegis Valley. Country hikes are made easier by the profusion of piped springs. Adventure Armenia: Hiking and Rock Climbing by Carine Bachmann and Jeffrey Tufenkian will serve you well. It details 22 hiking routes and several rock-climbing spots. The book is produced by the Kanach Foundation (www.kanach.org), which supports environmental protection programs in Armenia.

Horse riding This is a great way to explore out-of-the-way places; Lucytour Hotel Resort in the Yeghegis Valley can help you organise this.