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While everyone is boarding the trains to the hot, touristy, and crowded the Black Sea, the pearl of Armenia Lake Sevan is left untouched, magnificent as ever, and with more things to offer each year.
If you’re in Armenia and want to take a nice relaxing day trip, Sevan is the place to go. Taking a newly renovated highway towards the north of Yerevan and reaching Sevan city, the lake offers a wide variety of activities ranging from sightseeing at monasteries dating back to the 9th century to calm beaches with occasional summer festivals. Don’t forget to pack a nice jacket with you, as the lake is located roughly 2,000 meters above sea level.
Getting out of the city in the morning is the easiest part, as the traffic is driving towards the city, it should not be hard to make your way out to Tbilisi Highway onto Sevan. So take your car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car in the morning and head north to explore the jewel of Armenia.
As the lake is one of the few and largest freshwater lakes in the world placed at such a high altitude, the taste of the fish largely benefits from it. While near Sevan, try cooked Sevan trout or crayfish with some nice cold beer. While the trout is served in all seasons, the price for crayfish differs from season to season and from year to year, depending on how many crayfish there is that year. As the Sevanavank is the closest site to the city, most of the hotels are located near the monastery as it is a good base to spend a night.
The first stop is Sevanavank Monastery. Dating back to the 9th century, the monastery, no longer an active one, will prove how prominent Armenian architecture can be. The parking area near the monastery is wide and big, however, while the entrance to the monastery is free, parking costs about ~$1.
After Sevanavank Monastery east of the lake to Hayravank Monastery then up northwest of the lake towards Shorzha village or Drakhtik, which means little Paradise in Armenian where you can see some trees lined up near the lake. As you reach the beaches there, you will understand the meaning of the village. Parking and camping are possible nearly at any beach.
As the Geghama mountain range is located near the lake, there are quite a lot of hiking options. Although hiking trails are not developed yet near the lake, there are quite a lot of mountain peaks that are easy to hike without a guide or any special equipment. While on the northeastern part of the lake, check out the small mountain Artanish, it is a quick 1.5-2 hour hike, and the view is worth every minute of it. From the top opens up the scenery of the lake, which spans all around.
Due to harsh weather conditions, most of the events at Sevan are packed into late spring and summer.
Since 2016 Sevan Startup Summit has set a tradition of startup businesses gathering at a camp business forum at the shore and has become one of the most significant startup events in the region. Brainstorming, sharing ideas, and presenting one’s projects, is a great place and way to meet motivated Armenians who are willing to share the startup culture of the country with you as they are boiling with energy to help develop young independent Armenia.
If you are looking for a more relaxed and more festive event, then Sevan International music Festival and Sevan Swing Festival are for you. Every August in the early weeks Sevan hosts a few days of music festival for beginner and not-so-beginner musicians, this year, however, the first-ever Swing Dance Festival in Armenia will take place at the lake, what better way to spend last summer days exploring a country than meeting its people through an international language of dance.
Remember, Armenians love their traditions but even more, they love sharing them, which means you will definitely pick up some Armenian moves even at a Swing Festival.
Although Sevan is the pearl of Armenia, it can behave boldly, too. For the bold and crazy ones looking for adventures, the Savage of Sevan bike ride is the event to attend. Riding 212 km in total along the lake making a whole loop will make sure you do not miss any of Sevan’s beauties.
You will get to meet Armenian athletes as well as triathletes and they will tell you all about the rising culture of sport in the country. After the race, take your comfortable car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car back to the city where the athletes will be celebrating one more savage ride around the glorious lake.
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Road Trip to Lake Sevan in Summer