De Agostini/Getty Images

Lake Sevan

Set 1900m above sea level and covering 1240 sq km, the vast expanse of Sevana Lich (Lake Sevan) is the largest lake in the Caucasus and one of the largest freshwater high-altitude lakes in the world. Its colours and shades change with the weather, forming dazzling azure to dark blue hues, and a thousand shades in between. Fish populations include the endangered ishkhan (prince trout) as well as introduced crayfish and sig (whitefish).

In the 1950s, Soviet planners irrigated the nearby Hrazdan River, causing Lake Sevan's water level to drop 20m. The drop uncovered forts, houses and artefacts dating back 2000 years, but combined with overfishing and sewage dumping, also led environmentalists to declare the lake is on the brink of destruction.

Lake Sevan's beaches are very popular with Russian tourists and noisy day-trippers. For some tranquillity, head to the eastern side to visit Wishup Shore or the Tufenkian Avan Marak Tsapatagh Hotel.