The Caucasus of Eurasia is famous for its rich history and booming wine scene, and this vast expanse of land is no stranger to natural beauty either. Equipped with iconic natural features like the eastern shores of the Black Sea, the western shore of the Caspian Sea, and the entirety of the Caucasus Mountains, there is no shortage of outdoor adventure and ecotourism opportunities on a visit. in this legendary region.
Whether you vacation in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, or combine all three for a bucket list worthy adventure, be sure to spend time basking in the spectacular beauty of these national parks and reserves. natural.
Mtirala National Park
Located just east of the city of Batumi, Georgia Mtirala National Park is best known for a particular natural phenomenon: rain, to be precise. This lush preserve receives approximately 175 inches of rainfall each year, supporting countless waterfalls and a uniquely diverse array of native plants across the park. The area’s vast chestnut, beech and rhododendron forests are also home to a fascinating collection of native Georgian wildlife, with brown bears, Eurasian lynx and Caucasian salamanders. Birdwatchers take note: Mtirala National Park is renowned for its high concentration of raptors, offering plenty of opportunities to spot booted eagles and saker falcons during the migration season.
Khosrov Forest State Reserve
While it is widely recognized that the first national park was established in 1872, Armenia Khosrov Forest State Reserve beat Yellowstone by around 1,500 years, first established in the 300s by King Khosrov III the Little to serve as a royal hunting ground and refuge for native species. In modern times, this expanse of juniper and oak forest is renowned for its great diversity of flora and fauna, with a particularly interesting array of emblematic predators. Gray wolves, Eurasian lynx and brown bears all inhabit the park, while lucky visitors may be able to spot one of the few Persian leopards that still exist in Armenia.
Absheron National Park
The Azerbaijani capital of Baku is renowned for its stunning modern architecture and charming historic walled city, but for those in need of an ecotourism-focused getaway, Absheron National Park is just a short drive away. Equipped with both coastal marshes and semi-desert ecosystems, the reserve has become a popular spot for local and visiting birdwatchers, with purple herons, short-eared owls and horned grebes just a few of the species that visitors can look forward to spotting. As well as avian species, the park is also home to a multitude of native reptiles, while the lucky ones might spot a Caspian seal, one of the smallest pinniped species found on earth today.
Dilijan National Park
Officially elevated to national park status in 2002, the vast Dilijan National Park offers vast forests, native wildlife and age-old structures right in the heart of Armenia. While the area is teeming with typical Armenian mammals, birds, and amphibians, one of the main tourist draws comes from the human inhabitants of the area. Dilijan is home to a host of historic religious structures, including the ornate Haghartsin Monastery as well as Goshavank, a massive complex that was built around 800 years ago. After exploring the wilderness of the park, visitors are invited to spend a few hours wandering around Dilijan, an idyllic town that is popular thanks to its charming Armenian architecture and high concentration of spas.
Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
Measuring 422 square miles of protected forest, the iconic Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is one of the largest national parks in all of Georgia. This vast expanse of land has given rise to serious outdoor adventure potential, with mountain biking, horseback riding and plenty of hiking available throughout the park. While traveling in the region, visitors can expect to spot a wide range of Georgian wildlife scurrying through the forest, ranging from wildcats to chamois. During the late night hours, the starry sky lights up with countless insects alongside a wide array of bats, with 20 different species calling the area home.