Armenia has a checkered and extensive past that few other countries can match. It is a small but charming country with a vibrant culture and beautiful natural landscapes. For those who don’t know, Armenia was the first country to embrace Christianity, which is why it has some of the oldest churches and monasteries in the world. It is one of Asia’s most underrated tourist destinations, as the country’s tourism is still in its infancy and only slowly gaining international recognition. Here is a list of things to do in Armenia to help those interested in visiting the country.
ten Explore the capital of Yerevan
The best way to start a trip to Armenia is through its capital. Yerevan is the largest city in the country and a great starting point for anyone interested in exploring the country. The city is historically significant, as it is home to the Armenian Genocide Memorial and other museums for those wishing to learn more about the country’s checkered history. Other must-see attractions in the city include the large Republic Square, the city’s Cascade complex, and the Vernissage flea market. Moreover, travelers are also recommended to join a sightseeing tour in Yerevan to make sure not to miss anything.
9 Try Armenian cuisine and artisanal wine
Besides its thriving culture and history, Armenia also offers local delicacies. One of the must things to do when visiting Armenia is to try its handcrafted cuisine and wines. Some of the must-visit restaurants for Armenian staples include Dolmama, Tapastan, Our Village, and Anoush Restaurant. Most of Armenia’s best restaurants are located in the country’s capital, Yerevan. Moreover, the country is also known for its local fresh fruits and vegetables, so it is also worth visiting the local markets.
8 Walk around Dilijan
Dilijan, located in the northern part of the country, is famous for being a perfectly preserved historical city. Visitors without a private vehicle can travel from Yerevan to Dilijan by train or taxi, which costs $8 to $20 and takes about 2 hours. The town is worth visiting, especially since it includes a riverbank. The Haghartsin Monastery, as well as the Tsaghkadzor Cable Cars, are both nearby, so visitors can also include them in their itinerary to the city.
7 Visit the Shikahogh State Reserve
Shikahogh State Reserve was founded in 1958 and is the second largest forest reserve in the country, covering 103.3 km2. Although it has been discovered for 64 years, the forest has remained intact since vast areas are still unknown. Its fauna has not yet been widely explored, but the reserve now has over 1,100 plant species, with leopards, wild goats, pit vipers and bears among the wild animals observed. Additionally, the breathtaking waterfalls that hikers may encounter along the way add to the stunning beauty of the reserve.
6 Go hiking
Armenia is undoubtedly an oasis for hikers as it is a country rich in mountains and beautiful landscapes. There are several hiking trails in Armenia, depending on whether the hiker is looking for the best vistas, wildlife or ancient ruins. Nevertheless, there is not a single path in Armenia that would bore hikers. The Aghveran loop, a 5 hour hike starting at Arthurs Aghveran Resort and ending in the beautiful mountain ridges of Tsaghkunyats, is one of the best hikes. Hikers will pass fields of brightly colored flowers along the way, with the serene Tsaghkunyats Lake serving as the centerpiece of the trail.
5 Climb the highest peak in Armenia
Mount Aragats, an inactive volcano in northern Armenia, is one of the country’s most beautiful natural wonders. It is considered the highest peak among the number of peaks in the country, with an altitude of 4,090 meters. The summit is surrounded by a plethora of rock formations, including centuries-old human figures and animal designs. The best months to climb the summit are from July to September, and the southernmost summit is the easiest to reach.
4 Enjoy the ski resorts
The country’s mountainous terrain makes it an ideal location for winter sports, and Tsaghkadzor is home to the country’s best ski resort. It is located in the heart of Armenia, 60 kilometers from the capital Yerevan. The ski resort has a maximum elevation of 9,452 feet and has a total of five lift systems. In addition, Tsaghkadzor is also home to the country’s largest entertainment destination, Senator Royale Casino. The Kecharis Monastery, which dates from the early 11th century and is one of the most important religious structures in the country, can also be seen nearby.
3 Visit Geghard and Garni
The historic Geghard Monastery is located in Kotayk province, specifically at 4RR9+74, Mets Gilanlar. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is surrounded by steep slopes. The monastery is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and admission is free. The Temple of Garni, an important religious structure nestled in a pretty valley, is also a must-see destination near Geghard. Additionally, Khor Virap is only a short distance away and is a monastery with stunning views of the snow-capped mountains of Armenia.
2 Take a day trip to Gyumri
Gyumri is the second largest city in the country after Yerevan. Well worth a visit, especially for a day trip. The city is home to the huge statue of Mother Armenia as well as several major cultural centers in the country. The Sergey Merkurov House-Museum, the Dzitoghtsyan Museum of Social Life and National Architecture, and the Aslamazyan Sisters House-Museum will almost certainly be included in most guided tours, as well as a visit to the oldest quarter of the city, which contains more than a thousand ancient monuments.
1 Explore Vanadzor
Vanadzor is a city in Armenia with an altitude of 1,350 meters and an area of approximately 32 km², making it the third largest metropolis in the country. It is located in the northwestern region of the country and is an excellent choice for visiting the beautiful Lori region of Armenia. The various mineral springs in the Lori region have given rise to a plethora of fantastic spas around Vanadzor. Other popular attractions to visit include the Botanical Garden and several theaters such as Vanadzor Puppet Theater and Vanadzor Chamber Theater.
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