- Riding style(s): Cycle touring, road cycling
- Length: 215 km / 134 miles
- Elevation gain/loss: 878m / 2,880ft
- Suggested duration: 2–4 days
- Road conditions: Fully paved, with one section of broken asphalt
- Terrain: Flat lakeside road with occasional undulations and one small climb
This classic ride follows the paved road around the shore of Lake Sevan, the largest high-altitude lake in the Caucasus, with a few short optional off-road detours to reach sites of interest. We recommend at least two days to enjoy the route in full, with plentiful options for overnight stays in many of the towns around the lake.
The ride begins from Sevan peninsular, which in summer is reachable by train from Yerevan. From the peninsular, ride north along the hard shoulder of the highway to the junction signposted Chambarak. An excellent bakery is a few hundred metres north of this junction and worth the detour to stock up on food for the ride ahead. In any case, ride east on the Chambarak road, skirting the north end of the lake. The road from here grows ever quieter, following the lake shore closely with mountains rising to the east. Numerous private beaches exist along this stretch of road, as well as a couple of hotel resorts. We recommend Wishup Shore, just before Shorzha, which allows overnight camping (AMD2,000pp) and has a beach restaurant and bar.
Continue south through Artanish and Tsapatagh, where the upscale Tufenkian hotel can be found, as well as the Zanazan restaurant. From here the road worsens significantly for several kilometres, so allow extra time to negotiate all the potholes! Thankfully the road improves as you approach Vardenis, another place where it is possible to stay the night in one of several homestays. The main road from Vardenis west sees more traffic, so take extra care as you ride through the tree-lined coastal plains, perhaps detouring to one of several scenic monasteries in the villages south of the road.
In Martuni you’ll find plenty of places to stock up and refuel, or to stay the night if you’re passing through. Otherwise, continue along the same lakeside road which bears north towards Gavar. Don’t miss the incredible field of khachkars (cross-stones) at Noratus, which is just a few hundred metres off the highway. From here it is a pleasant, rolling road with great views across the lake until you reach the junction with the highway to Yerevan. Pass beneath it and through the town of Sevan to reach the peninsular by a quiet, backroad route.