Armenia is one of the oldest countries in the world and not many people know much about this beautiful country. Armenia is located in the South Caucasus between Asia and Europe, offering visitors a blend of history, culture, nature and gastronomy.
This small yet remarkable country was the first nation in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. Christianity has played an important role in the shaping of the Armenian people for over 1,700 years.
Around 3 million people call Armenia home, but the Armenian Diaspora is estimated to be more than 10 million worldwide. Armenia is a unique country and one of the safest ones in the world and it should be on every traveller’s bucket list.
The country has a lot to offer and it is a great destination for all types of travellers. If you are planning to visit the country, you should check out my article about all you need to know before visiting Armenia, where I talked about things I wish I had known before travelling to the country. In this post, I am going to share the top 7 places you must visit in Armenia. We not only visited all of these places but we also made a series of detailed travel vlogs on our YouTube channel.
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Best Places to Visit in Armenia
If you are flying to Armenia, you will start your journey in Yerevan, the capital and largest city in the country. It is home to more than one million people, one-third of Armenia’s population. Yerevan is a small but lively city. It is a place where you want to spend at least a few days.
Yerevan looks modern but it is actually one of the oldest cities in the world. It might come as a surprise to you, but Yerevan is older than Rome. In 2018, the city celebrated its 2800th birthday. For a better understanding of the history of the city, you should join the Cultural Walking Tour in Yerevan.
Yerevan has a long history and it has been ruled by Arabs, Persians, Turks, Georgians and Russians. You can still see their impact on the city and you can find many Soviet architecture buildings here.
Perhaps, the most impressive example of Soviet architecture is the Cascade complex.
Northern Avenue is the most lively place in the city. This car-free street connects the Opera House to Republic Square and it is my favourite place in Yerevan.
There are a lot of good restaurants and cafes around this area. The famous Lavash restaurant is also located just a few minutes walk from Northern Avenue.
A visit to Armenia is not complete without visiting the Armenian Genocide Memorial. The present identity of Armenians was very much shaped by the Armenian Genocide in 1915 when over one million people lost their lives. This is definitely not a happy place, but it is important to understand the history of Armenia and its people.
Best Hotels to Stay in Yerevan
Downtown Suites Yerevan is a modern 4-star hotel, located in the centre of the city. Some rooms are equipped with a kitchen and dishwasher.
Dave Hotel Yerevan is another 4-star hotel in Yerevan, situated less than 1 km from the Cascade. It features an indoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and a restaurant.
Bourbon Boutique Hotel is a modern and stylish hotel in Yerevan, located less than 1 km from the Armenian Opera and Ballet Theatre. The hotel is within walking distance from the main attractions.
Tsaghkadzor which translates to the Valley of Flowers is one of the popular destinations in Armenia for outdoor lovers. It is located just 50 km northeast of the capital.
This area is known as the country’s ski capital it is home to the largest ski resort in Armenia. Most tourists visit Tsaghkadzor in the winter, but it is also a great place to visit in the summer.
Many locals who want to escape the hustle and bustle of busy life, travel to this area for an active family holiday. Since we travelled to Armenia with my parents we also stayed in Tsaghkadzor for a few days.
One of the fun things to do here is to take a cable car. There are various types of accommodation and local restaurants around the area.
Best Places to Stay in Tsaghkadzor
Teghenis Resort is a great place for a family or a group of friends. It has a beautiful outdoor area with a river on-site, offering an indoor swimming pool and a spa.
Alpina Hotel is a 4-star accommodation in Tsaghkadzor, within a 10-minute walk of the Kecharis Monastery. There is a spa and wellness centre and a children's playground.
Garni is located in central Armenia and it is just a 40-minute drive from Yerevan. Most visitors don’t feel comfortable driving in Armenia, because many local drivers don’t follow basic driving rules. But we think you can still drive here as long as you are an experienced driver.
The temple was created in honour of the ancient Armenian god Mihr – the god of the Sun, light and purity, but no one knows the original name of Garni Temple.
The temple that you see today was part of a complex which had a Roman bath, a royal summer palace and a 7th-century church. But they were all completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1679.
300 years after the earthquake, the reconstruction of the temple was completed. Here we can still see the ruins of the church and other parts of the complex.
From here we can also have a great view over Garni Gorge which is also known as the Symphony of Stones.
Lake Sevan is the largest lake in the Caucasus region located at an altitude of 1,900 meters. It is located 65 km from Yerevan in the east of the country. Lake Sevan is one of the most popular places in Armenia and it is also an important part of the country’s economy. The lake is a crucial source of freshwater for Armenia and it plays a vital role in agriculture.
There are so many things to do and see here, the most iconic place here is the Sevanavank Monastery, located on a peninsula in the northwest of Lake Sevan. It used to be a complex of three churches but only two of them are still standing.
Back in the 9th century when the monastery was built, this peninsula was an island, which meant you could only get there by boat. At the time, the water level in Lake Sevan was much higher than it is today.
Best Places to Stay in Lake Sevan
Tsovazard Beach House is one of the best places to stay in Lake Sevan. All rooms include a terrace with sea views and free WiFi.
Black Diamond Sevan is a one-bedroom apartment, offering a lake view. It is a great place for couples who are looking for a romantic break.
Armenia has many ancient monasteries and churches and a lot of them were built in difficult-to-access and remote areas all over the country. The reason was to protect them from enemy attacks at the time, one of them was Geghard Monastery. This monastery is also listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is only 10 km away from Garni Temple.
The monastery of Geghard is unique because the complex was cut into the rock, illustrating the very peak of Armenian medieval architecture. There is a common belief that if you make a wish here, it will come true.
Visiting this monastery is free of charge and it is actually an active church, while we were there we saw two weddings and four baptism ceremonies.
Khor Virap is another amazing monastery in Armenia, located in the Ararat Plain, near the border with Turkey.
The Khor Virap monastery began as a castle and dungeon in the 5th century. It got its name, 'Khor Virap,' which means 'deep dungeon,' because it's where the pagan King Trdat III imprisoned St. Gregory the Illuminator for 12 years. St. Gregory cured the King after he fell ill, and with the persuasion of his sister, the King released St. Gregory. This event led to the King's conversion to Christianity, making Armenia the world's first Christian country.
Dilijan National Park
Dilijan National Park is one of the most beautiful places in Armenia, located in the Tavush region. Dilijan National Park is one of the best places in the country for adventure seekers. Here, you will find many beautiful hiking trails. One of the popular spots in the park is Lake Parz, here, you can go ziplining or rent a boat on the lake. Not far from the lake, you can visit the Red Deer Breeding Centre.
You can stay in the National Park for a couple of nights or you can take a day trip from Yerevan.
Best Places to Stay in Dilijan National Park
DiliJazz Hotel & Restaurant is a beautiful 4-star hotel with an indoor pool, a fitness centre and a shared lounge. The hotel is located in the area which is popular for hiking.
Green Villa Resort Small Gray is a stunning resort with individual unique villas in the heart of the national park, offering mountain views.