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Armenia

Destination Guide: Armenia

Armenia, a land of ancient history and dramatic landscapes, offers a unique blend of cultural heritage and natural wonders. Nestled in the South Caucasus region, this landlocked country is known for its beautiful monasteries, delicious cuisine, and hospitable people, making it an exceptional destination for history buffs, culinary enthusiasts, and nature lovers.

Highlights & Must-See Attractions

  • Yerevan: Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Explore its vibrant streets, visit the Republic Square, and enjoy local cafes. Don’t miss the History Museum of Armenia for a deep dive into the country’s rich past.
  • Geghard Monastery: A UNESCO World Heritage site, this medieval monastery is partly carved out of a mountain and surrounded by cliffs. Its architecture and the sacred atmosphere make it a must-visit.
  • Lake Sevan: Known as the ‘Jewel of Armenia,’ Lake Sevan is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world. It’s perfect for swimming, sailing, and enjoying fresh fish by the shore.
  • Khor Virap: This monastery offers an unparalleled view of Mount Ararat, where Noah’s Ark is said to have landed. It’s a significant pilgrimage site and a place of stunning natural beauty.
  • Dilijan: Often referred to as the “Armenian Switzerland,” Dilijan is famous for its lush forests and mineral waters. It’s also a hub for artists and musicians, with galleries and workshops dotting the town.

Our Lesser-Known Favourites

  • Noravank Monastery: Set in a narrow gorge made by the Amaghu River, the monastery is known for its two-storey Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) Church.
  • Zorats Karer (Carahunge): Often referred to as Armenia’s Stonehenge, this prehistoric archaeological site features hundreds of standing stones, some with mysterious holes pointing at the stars.
  • Tatev Monastery: Accessible by the world’s longest non-stop double track cable car, Tatev Monastery stands on the edge of a deep gorge of the Vorotan River and offers breathtaking views.
  • Areni Wine Country: Visit Areni village to taste some of the world’s oldest wines; the region is famous for its vineyards and archaeological sites where the oldest leather shoe and winery were discovered.

Did You Know?

  • Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its state religion in 301 AD.
  • Armenian is an independent branch of the Indo-European language family, unique and unlike any other language in the world.

Food and Cuisine

  • Khorovats: Armenian barbecue, typically made with marinated lamb, pork, or chicken, grilled to perfection over charcoal.
  • Lavash: A soft, thin flatbread, essential at any Armenian meal and included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
  • Dolma: Grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of minced meats and rice, seasoned with herbs and spices.
  • Gata: A sweet pastry that comes in various shapes and sizes, often filled with a sugary butter filling.

Practical Information

Best Season to Visit:

  • Spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) are the best times to visit Armenia. The weather is mild, and the natural scenery is at its peak.

Temperature:

  • Summer temperatures range from 22°C to 36°C, while winters can be cold, especially in mountainous regions.

Visa Requirements:

  • Many tourists can enter Armenia without a visa for up to 180 days. Be sure to check the latest visa requirements or ask us for assistance!

Getting Ready for Departure

  • Local Currency: Armenian Dram (AMD). While credit cards are accepted in many places, carrying some cash is advisable, especially in rural areas.
  • Culture & Dress Code: Modest and comfortable attire is suitable for most places. It’s respectful to cover shoulders and knees when visiting religious sites.
  • Language: Armenian is the official language. Russian is also widely spoken, and younger people often know English, but having a translation app might come in handy.
  • Electronics: Armenia uses type C and F plugs, so a universal adapter might be needed.
  • Local emergency numbers: Police: 102; Ambulance: 103.

Before setting off for Armenia, make sure to review our Ultimate Packing List to prepare for an unforgettable journey. Consider picking up traditional Armenian handicrafts, like handmade carpets or beautiful ceramics, as souvenirs from your travels.