DriveThru Tours

   

Caucasus Mountain Range Tour

 

On this page we visit the mountain of Noah's Ark, Mt. Ararat, and the highest peak in Europe, Mt. Elbrus.

I would like to state that I haven't researched the practicalities of driving the route from Mt. Ararat to Mt. Elbrus in terms of safety or with respect to any visas required. There are a number of border crossings to be made and the political situation can be somewhat unstable in this region at times to say the least. As I write this there is the continuing war between Russia and Ukraine so much of the Northern side of the Black Sea region is definitely off limits. In any case, check before you go.

All distances stated should be used only as a rough guide. The minimum distance of this tour along the routes shown will be about 6600 miles. Expect to drive many more miles by diverting to other places of interest along the route.

 
 

Map courtesy of Copyright holder © https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/17/Caucasus_topographic_map-en.svg

 
 

Genesis chapter 8 reminds us of the story of Noah and where the ark came to rest at the end of the great flood:

1But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.

New International Version © at URL: Genesis 8 NIV (biblehub.com)

Map below courtesy of Google Maps © If driving straight from Calais to Mt. Ararat, the distance through Europe and Turkey is about 2738 miles, however, there are many diversions one can make to visit many wonderful places along the way.

 
   
 

The route shown above really does indicate the wonderful touring opportunities there are along the way. An alternative would be to travel along the coast road of the South coast of the Black Sea, following part of the route travelled by René Kägi and Sonja Kostezer at URL: Black Sea (rsverlag.ch) during their tour of Armenis and Georgia. Sad to say, but as mentioned above, the North coast of the Black Sea is off limits at present (and is likely to remain so for a considerable time) because of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Although the route could be driven in just a few days, it would be much better to spend a few months (or years!) én route exploring - with numerous diversions adding to your mileage. Sad to say, but travel restrictions (such as the 90 days in any 180-day period limit for staying in the Schengen Zone) prevent a great deal of long-term travel - surely this must be contrary to our human rights!

The route below, from Mt. Ararat to Mt. Elbrus is about 470 miles. There are alternative routes that avoid Azerbaijan. The recent conflict was over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous, landlocked region inside the borders of Azerbaijan which is some distance from the route shown on the map below. It may be wise to avoid crossing the border into Azerbaijan from Armenia - if it is open at all, as the two nations are not exactly best of friends at present and you may encounter some difficulties.

 
 

Routes shown above and below courtesy of TomTom © at URL: TomTom MyDrive

 
  An alternative route (545 miles) that avoids Azerbaijan, and takes a different route in the north, is shown below:  
   
 

A visit to Yerevan is well worth while as it was founded in 782 B.C. and is therefore one of the oldest constantly inhabited cities in the world. On a clear day a great view of Mount Ararat (a symbol of Armenia even though it is now within part of Turkey) can be seen from this ancient city.

Photograph above courtesy of URL: 1200px-Mount_Ararat_and_the_Yerevan_skyline_in_spring_(50mm).jpg (1200×800) (wikimedia.org)

Further reading at URL: Welcome to Yerevan (armenia.travel). You may besurprised to know that Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 A.D. Today, about 94% of Armenians are members of the Armenian Apostolic Church. There are three UNESCO world heritage sites in Armenia so allow a considerable amount of time to explore this historic and beautiful country. Refer to URL: Armenia - UNESCO World Heritage Centre and:
List of World Heritage Sites in Armenia - Wikipedia.

 
  For further information about this region - including border crossings and visa requirements.  
     
 

As you will see on the map, the route passes Lake Sevan which is well worth a lengthy stay in one of the many campsites or hotels near the lake.

Photograph (above) courtesy of TripAdvisor at URL: Lake Sevan 2021: Best of Lake Sevan Tourism - Tripadvisor

Map courtesy of Google Maps © showing just a few of the camp sites near Lake Sevan.

 
     
     
 

I'd like to make special mention at this point of a new walking trail, much of which is also able to be cycled, that is now ready for use. This is the Transcaucasian Trail, a world-class hiking trail across the Caucasus in Georgia and Armenia. Don't miss out on this while you're in the area.

 
     
 

Photograph of Georgia (above) courtesy of TripAdvisor - see button below.

There are a number of fascinating places to visit in Georgia too, so it is well worthwhile staying in this incredibly beautiful and historic region for as long as possible. As in Armenia, there are a number of UNESCO world heritage sites, details of which can be found here:

Georgia - UNESCO World Heritage Centre and:
List of World Heritage Sites in Georgia (country) - Wikipedia

 
     
   
 

Please note that the Gerogia National Tourist Office website was not working at the time of uploading this web page.

 
       
           
     
           
     
 

A possible (subject to visas) route home is shown below courtesy of TomTom © at URL: TomTom MyDrive

The route shown is a distance of 3338 miles. Once again, many interesting diversions are possible. Had the war between Russia and Ukraine not occurred, one interesting aspect of the route shown on the map below is a trip along the The Transfagarasan Highway in Romania - one of the most challenging drives in the world and most definitely NOT suited to caravans! However, a diversionary trip from Turkey may well be worthwhile.

 
   
   
 

An alternative, and very interesting route from Calais to Istanbul and back is shown below, (courtesy of TomTom) - a return journey of 5108 miles which also includes visits to other great ancient cities; Athens, Dubrovnik and Pula (see complete list below map).

A tour of Turkey, Armenis and Georgia could (and should!) also be added.

 
   
   
     
 

 

 
     
     
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