Armenia is a country of hauntingly beautiful natural scenery, strong ties to the past and exceedingly warm hospitality, and yet it still remains almost untouched by tourism. Surrounded by Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan, it will amaze you with its ancient monasteries, dazzling lakes and traditional villages perched between soaring mountains. With thousands of years of rich history, this country is now ready to step into the limelight. Here is everything you need to know about travelling to Armenia.
What to do in Armenia
Explore the charming streets of Yerevan
Yerevan is the exuberant capital of Armenia, humming with historical and cultural treasures. Take to the streets with our Local Specialists on your Armenia tour to discover historic monuments, ornate gardens and Kond, the 17th-century old quarter where Persian, Muslim, and Ottoman houses line the tiny alleyways.
Experience the famous Armenian hospitality
The highlight of any Armenia travel experience is the welcoming embrace of the locals, which can be summed up with this Armenian proverb: “Guest in a house – three days he’s a guest; on the fourth, he’s a younger brother,” Wherever you go, you’ll find smiling Armenians who will be happy to share stories about their country with you.
Admire the stunning Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan, located right in the heart of the country, is the largest lake worth visiting when travelling to Armenia. Surrounded by a handful of stunning monasteries (the most impressive being the Sevanavank Monastery), it provides a scenic backdrop to a relaxing trip. The lake has a wide choice of excellent restaurants along its shore where you can tuck into delicious seafood or traditional Armenian shashlik. It also has a number of popular beaches which, in a landlocked country, the locals are really appreciative of.
Climb the steps of Yerevan Cascade for the best view
Set at the heart of Yerevan, the Yerevan Cascade is a monumental staircase featuring terraces decorated with beautiful statues and flowers. Climbing the staircase for a panoramic view is one of the best things to do in Yerevan. Once you reach the top, you can take in the breathtaking sights of Mount Ararat and the city below.
Visit the cave city of Khndzoresk
Khndzoresk is a unique settlement where time stands still. The old part of the village is comprised of huge caves where people lived until the 1950s. A new bridge connects the two parts of the village and the views from the bridge are quite literally breathtaking. Definitely worth a visit when you are in Armenia.
Best museums to visit in Armenia
Yerevan History Museum
Located in Yerevan, the History Museum of Armenia is home to 400,000 artifacts, with highlights including a large collection of Bronze items from the 3rd to 2nd millennium BC, and a cuneiform inscription from 782 BC about the founding of the city of Erebuni. Definitely worth a visit!
Created as a tribute to Sergei Parajanov, a Soviet Armenian director and artist, the Parajanov Museum is a celebration of his artistic legacy. The museum is situated in a traditional Caucasian-style building and consists of two floors. Around 1,400 exhibits are located over two floors, with unpublished screenplays, drawings, artworks, original posters and signed letters and gifts by famous visitors.
Officially known as the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, the Matenadaran is the largest archive of Armenian manuscripts in the world. Named after Mesrop Mashtots, the founder of the Armenian alphabet, the museum is an incredible showcase of Armenian and international written cultures.
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Armenian food & drink to try
Dolma is a popular national dish of Armenia made of minced pork, beef or vegetables and wrapped in fresh grape leaves or steamed cabbage leaves. Dolma is popular in other neighbouring countries too, however what makes it authentically Armenian are the spices such as mint, parsley and oregano.
Immerse yourself in Armenian culture and sample the finest Armenian brandy at the Ararat Brandy Factory. Founded in 1877 during the reign of the Russian Empire, the Ararat Brandy Factory is now the primary Armenian brandy production company in Yerevan, and it’s one of the top Armenia tourist attractions. If you visit an Armenian family, they will not let you leave without trying this national drink.
Baklava is a rich dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup. It’s popular all across the Middle East, South Caucasus, Balkans and Central Asia, but the Armenian version is something special.
When to travel to Armenia
Armenia generally has a highland continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold winters. The best time to visit this beautiful country is in May and June when it’s not too hot, or else late September and October when the fruit collection and the winemaking season begins. The brilliant autumn colours of Armenia’s forested regions are truly striking and are guaranteed to amaze you.
What to pack for an Armenia trip
If you would like to visit Lake Sevan, which is well-known for its beaches, you’ll definitely want to take a dip. Be sure to come prepared and bring a towel with you, either from a hotel or just your travel one.
Something you will need for long walks is comfortable shoes. Sneakers, sandals or flats for the summer months or a pair of comfy boots for the colder months. Both the sandals and the boots are perfect for travel because the rubber soles make them extra durable and comfortable at the same time.
From the magnificent Caucasus mountains to the lush green valleys, Armenia is truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and you’ll need a camera to capture it all. Don’t forget batteries and memory cards if you’re a keen photographer.
Though many hotels will have adaptors available for use, being prepared with your own will ensure you’re always charged and ready to go.
Transport in Armenia
You’ll be pleased to know that getting around Armenia is safe, easy and cheap. The main means of Armenia’s public transportation is a system of crowded minibuses and a modest one-line subway in Yerevan. Taxis are also widely available through numerous agencies or just in the streets. Not all taxis are metered though, so make sure to agree on a price with the driver before you start your taxi journey.
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