5 tips for traveling to Armenia

Armenia is one of the most ancient and unique countries in the Caucasus. Despite its small territories, this country has so much to offer to its foreign guests: picturesque mountainous landscapes, ancient sights, delicious cuisine, exciting places for active holiday lovers! We must also note the hospitality and kindness of locals who warmly welcome their foreign guests. So no wonder that Armenia is becoming more popular day by day. If you get interested in Armenia as a tourist destination just get aqcuianted with some tips which will be very useful during your holiday.

lake-sevan-

What to take

The answer to this question depends on the season and the purpose you decide to go to Armenia. Just take into consideration that summer in Armenia, especially in the capital, is hot and rather dry with average temperature – 28-35 °C and few rainy days. Thus, it is better to take comfortable clothing suitable for hot Armenian days. However, if you decide to visit the countryside of Armenia in summer, consider that the temperature there is lower than in the capital and in the evening you may need some warm clothes.

The winter in Armenia varies from region to region. In the capital it is not very cold, however, sometimes is very snowy. The temperature ranges from +2 to -10 °C. In countryside and ski resorts the weather is much colder so without warm clothing in winter you won’t get along at all.

The most pleasant season in Armenia is the beginning of autumn, as the weather is so mild, pleasant and warm with few rainy days. In spring you should be ready for changeable weather and some rains, so prepare appropriate thing and clothing.

What concerns the style of clothing, Armenians dress like in Europe, so there are no any special warnings or tips.Etchmiadzin_cathedral

What to see

Armenia is of а great interest for cultural tourism lovers. And that’s no wonder: the country with its 3500 year- old history has so many unique historical and cultural attractions, that it is sometimes called «the museum under the open sky». Most of the sights here are connected with Christianity: ancient monasteries and churches with their amazing architecture, unique cross-stones.
Among religious sights we recommend not to miss and necessarily visit Khor Virap with its breathtaking view to Mount Ararat, Geghard known for its amazing rock architecture, Tatev, which is the best example of medieval architecture, Haghpat and Sanahin included into UNESCO world heritage list, Echmiadzin Cathedral – the religious center of all Armenians.

Armenia amazes not only by its architecture masterpieces but also by the beauty of its unique nature. So if you want to relax and feel in harmony with nature we recommend visiting the following natural sites. Firstly, of course, we should mention azure Lake Sevan, the beauty of which will not leave anyone indifferent. It is one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world and the largest in the Caucasus. It is impossible not to admire the picturesque landscapes surrounding the lake: hills covered with forests, rock cliffs, grasslands turning into alpine meadows. It is no accident that travelers choosing a tour to Armenia, try not to miss this wonderful and unforgettable place. Sevan is the best choice for those who prefer beach vacations, want to swim, sunbathe, play active games and have a good time.
For those who would like to relax in nature’s lap and improve the health, the best choice will be a cozy town of Jermuk with its healing mineral waters and high- quality sanatoriums.

The trip around Armenia will not be full without exploring its heart – the ancient city of Yerevan. Yerevan delights with its cozy atmoshphere, unique architecture, lots of educational museums, and well-designed cafes and restaurants. Visit the city center with its majestic Republic Square, Opera and Ballet Theater, and modern Northern Avenue, have a good time in one of the national restaurants and order national dishes like tolma, horovats, harisa, stroll around the night Yerevan with its friendly lights and singing fountains and you will get lots of positive emotions and impressions!

Paragliding

What to do

Did you know that Armenia is not only popular for its cultural tourism but also is an excellent destination for adventure travel lovers? Mountainous landscapes of Armenia are very favorable for different extreme sports and it has good conditions for paragliding, mountaineering, ski sports, snowboarding, rock climbing, trekking and others.

The most popular ski resort of Armenia is Tsakhkadzor which offers great eqipment and well-developed ski trails. The rope-way built on the slopes of Mount Teghenis ensures maximum safety for the visitors.

For paragliding, one of the most favorite places is a small village Covagyugh near Lake Sevan and Mount Hatis. By the way, paragliding tours to Armenia are gaining popularity day by day.

The favorite destination for trekking is Mount Aragats – the highest one in Armenia (4090 m).

Vernissage

What to buy

Buying souvenirs that will remind of the trip is an important ritual for any tourists visiting any foreign country. So what to bring home after the trips to Armenia as a souvenir or a gift to relatives and friends? That’s an easy question if you know what are the national symbols of Armenia and what has this country been famous for over centuries. In this list without any doubt we can include Mount Ararat and an apricot as living symbols, and brandy, carpets, duduk and jewelry as national treasures.

The best choice for buying souvenirs will be an open-air fair “Vernissage” that opens its hospitable doors every weekend and offers lots of unique work of crafts and souvenirs. Here you will find paintings, jewelry, woodwork, magnets, musical instruments, national souvenirs, carpets, costumes, semi-precious stones, rarity, and many-many other unique things.

Armenia is also known for its tasty national products, pastry and dried fuits. Want to buy something like that? Visit the famous market «GUM» at the intersection of Mashtots and Khorenatsi streets.

For buying or degustating Armenian brandy you can go straight to the cognac factory “Ararat” which is one of the most popular brands in the country.

view-of-Yerevan

How to communicate

Armenians are very kind and open-hearted people who warmly welcome the tourists and try to make them feel as comfortable as possible in Armenia. Any tourists after the journey around Armenia mention the warm attitude of the locals. So there will be no difficulties in communication at all. And it is also important to mention that residents of Yerevan have a good command of Russian language and youth generation speaks not bad English. So you can easily approach them in case you have any questions and they will be glad to help. However, out of Yerevan there may be some difficulties concerning the language barrier as not all the provincial residents speak English.

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16 thoughts on “5 tips for traveling to Armenia

  1. Mark

    My latest travel experience was in Georgia!! I arrived to Armenia, rented a car and crossed border to Georgia by myself!! That was the coolest self-drive tour ever!!

  2. Araxie

    Awesome article! I recently got back from traveling in Armenia for a month, and it was such an amazing experience, with friendly and interesting people, and amazing food. I’ve been blogging about all the amazing people I met, and it’s always so nice to see other people interested in this destination too!

  3. Sean

    Paragliding is the new extreme in Armenia. Glad to see such types of activities here.

  4. Dan Kablack

    I first went to Armenia more than ten years ago,and have been back there three more times since, a total of 50-60 days.
    .
    The places mentioned are all worth seeing, but they are the major tourist sites, often crowded with diaspora religious visitors (Ethmiadzin, Geghard, etc.], and some times “restored” in a non Western way. The front of Khor Virap, for instance, was literally torn down 9-10 years ago, and replaced with all new stone, so you have to go to the little visited north side to see walls and towers of original stone. Just something to keep in mind. Also, except for very specialized paid tours, most go to the same ten or twelve places most frequented by tourists.

    SOME OTHER SITES TO CHECK OUT:
    A mention was made of hiking ARAGATZ volcano. But with a rental car there is much more to see. This is Yazidi herder land. Many Yazidi (75,000 living safe from ISIS in Armenia) are centered around Aparan on the east side, on road from Armavir and the capital, and going up to Spitak. In the summer they and Armenian native herders are on the volcano. A trip to the Medieval fortress of Amberd will take you past n old Soviet missile installation, the national observatory, a drive up the mountains lined with Armenian and Yazidi camps that have walls of dried cow patties for fuel, dozens of gorges and endless views as you rise. Amberd fortress is a second tier tourist site because of its distance, but well worth exploring the Roman bath, bakery, chapel and the soaring walls that are left there. It also is one of at least four Armenian fortresses that had secret tunnels going hundreds of feet down the slopes to adjacent river far below.

    In the north, there is a great east/west drive from Spitak to Dilijan and then south to Lake Sevan after passing through the old Soviet tunnel, which has a surprising turn in it with loudspeakers blasting warnings. Spitak has an earthquake memorial for the 25,000 killed in 1988. The road goes east through a series of valleys lined on the south with snow-capped lerrnashg’ta, a beautiful mountain ridge with villages in the valleys and along the road. No restaurants, but sometimes roadside barbecues in summer, cooking lamb for passing trucks and drivers. The road ends at the cliff -encircled snow-less Dilijan, former resort for Soviet artists and playwrights and recently for the new headquarters for Armenian equivalent of the Federal reserve. There is a beautiful hidden lake north of town in the forest called Pars Lich, and some sidewalk restaurants.
    Going uphill east from Dilijan there are cows in the streets, and hay wagons lumbering slowly up hill. There is also almost always a family of of Persian-Armenians selling buckets of “tree mushrooms” on the side of the road, that go great sauteed with chicken and peppers and wrapped in lavash. You might also see NG-fired pickup trucks on the side of the road, hooked up to gas-burners and boiling some unusually long corn, which you can buy and munch on the way over the mountain..
    The road goes through aforementioned tunnel and down to Lake Sevan.
    SOUTH:
    Take the usual drive past Khor Virap and the view of Mt. Ararat (Sis) and Little Ararat (Masis) and continue to Vayats Dzor Marz, all scenic, and on till you see wine being sold in Coke bottles on the side of the road a few miles before turn to tourist site Noravank (“New Church”). You are approaching Areni village, the birthplace of wine-making. Stop and ask for “Zeran” (apricot wine, one of many specialties sold on the side of the road), about $3 a liter. You might get invited under a vine-covered open shelter for an Armenian coffee if you are friendly enough!
    Areni is world class site that you are better to Google in advance for the wine history, because just after the turn toward Goris, and just before the turn to Noravank, on the hillside is Areni Cave, where was found the oldest leather shoe in human history and a few years later the oldest wine presses in history, 4100 BC. It has 12 foot high cyclone fence around the entrance up and behind the last restaurant after you make the right turn. But if you go a few hundred meters up, there is a unique restaurant in a cave on the right, worth seeing, as they cook your meat in a tonir in the ground, and bake the lavash flat bread onsite. But take a fly swatter!

    SYUNIQ
    Syuniq is ancient ancient, virtually treeless, and a rolling plateau almost 2000 meters up. Turn to city of Sissian, on the right is Carahunge, now with its own hotel, gas station, and restaurant. Carahunge (Zorats Karer) is 30 circles of standing stones and neolithic tombs (all robbed and open) and an astronomical site estimated to be minimum age of 3500 BC, with estimates of part of it to 5500 BC. You can walk through the stones and lay in the tombs, as there is little money for more than a stone gift shop.
    The road is very good till the turnoff for Wings of Tatev, since 2012 the longest cable car ride in the world. About $13 a person to go to the isolated cliffside tatev Monastery, but what a view as it crosses side valleys on the east side of the 3000 foot deep Vorotan Valley. If you choose to drive, the road down and up the otherside fo the valley is also very good except for occasional boulders in bad weather. At the bottom is Devils’ Bridge, where you get out and hike a few hundred yards down a railed trail to see a hidden jungle with pools and weather carved cliffs. Two meters passed the end of the natural stone bridge there is a pipe coming out of the rock for naturally carbonated water–take as much Perrier there as you want, it flows all the time!

    Back on the main road and continuing east, there is Goris, City of Trees, which is located in a volcano crater, and has kind of neat downtown, called Central. The road goes past Yevghenut Hotel, mounted on side of the crater rim, and overlooking the city below. the road winds around the north, passes between a dozen volcanic spires worth stopping to photograph very unique stone (tuff) buildings with balconies hanging over the city streets

    The road goes on east to Nagorno Karabagh and the no-man’s-lands of unoccupied western Azerbaijan, still a war zone. But just before you enter “Artsakh” ( you can drive 15 km before they stop you for a visa), there is the last village of Tsegh over the hill on the left (north). Tsegh was an ancient cave village, forced to build houses over their caves with the coming of Soviet times, but incredible place to take photographs. When I first traveled there in 2005, I was advised NOT to walk in fields unless there were cattle there, “because the sheep do not set off the mines”.
    If you go into Artsakh (Karabagh), understand that you are in one of about six “countries” not recognized by the UN. They will let you in if you promise to buy a visa in capital of Stepnakert at foreign Ministry, which is about $8 a person and requires about a 90 minute wait. But this will allow you to proceed to the cliff town of Lachin, once the capital of Red Kurdistan before the Red Army arrived 95 years ago. It was center of Lachin corridor, and from the high eastern side you can look down on all the village roofs replaced after shelling in the nineties, many never replaced. It is a very poor,jobless area.

    Sorry– I got carried away with my places list; but the north and especially southern Syuniq are not to be missed!

  5. Cherry

    Hello Marysia, these tips are helpful. I think these tips are not just useful for traveling to Armenia but it is also applicable to any destinations. Armenia is such a beautiful place to visit. I will surely plan my next travel trip there.

  6. Sophie Singh

    Such a great post Marysia !!!
    I really enjoy your post that describe Armenia beautifully. Amazing place thanks to share this awesome tips.

  7. Travelsito

    Thanks for sharing this post Marysia. It was fun reading this story abour Armenia.

  8. RIghttravel

    Great tips. I love this destination. Few years back I was there. Really, I had a great experience in Armenia.

  9. Great tips Marysia! Love the list of adventure activities. How long were you there?
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted…Favs from around the worldMy Profile

  10. My Travel Affairs: 5 tips for traveling to Armenia

    […] transport packages to Armenia are apropos renouned day by day, My Travel Affairs Travel Blog provides 5 tips for roving to Armenia. The website records that “Armenia is one of […]

  11. Ara

    Republic of Armenia is not in the Caucasus. Geopolitics aside she is in the east of the Armenian Highlands which in turn is bordered by Asia Minor to the west, Syria/Levant to the southwest, Mesopotamia to the sounth, Iranian Plateau to the southeast, and the Caucasus to the northeast.

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