If you’re planning to visit Armenia and have no idea what to do and see in Yerevan, don’t worry, I got you covered. Yerevan is a wonderful city rich in history and culture, as well as an off the beaten path destination that shouldn’t be overlooked. I gathered this list of things to do in Yerevan for first-time visitors, including day trips and tips about traveling in Yerevan, to help you start and guide you along the way.
Yerevan is a lot more than I expected. I spontaneously decided to head to the Armenian capital and spend a few days there on my second trip to one of my favorite destinations, Georgia.
This time, I wanted to spend more time hiking in Georgia, but sadly the weather had different plans. As it was raining (a lot) pretty much for 10 days straight and I couldn’t do any proper hiking, I thought that now’s the time to visit Yerevan.
I was surprised by how much I happened to like Yerevan for the first few hours I spend there. On the day when I arrived in the Armenian capital, there was a rally about 100 days since the Velvet Revolution, and since Nikol Pashinyan became prime minister of Armenia. The Armenian Velvet Revolution was a series of anti-government protests in April-May 2018. In the evening, the rally gathered hundreds and thousands of Armenians on the iconic Yerevan’s Republic Square.
One of the best things about Yerevan was, undoubtedly, the people. I even got lucky to have Sara around at that time. Sara is a wonderful woman that I met a few months back on my two weeks trip to Malaysia. Sara is Armenian, but she lives and works in China. Anyways, I texted her the night before to let her know that I am going to Yerevan and check if there’s any chance that she’ll be around. Surprisingly and thankfully, she was.
Overall, I had a fabulous time in Yerevan, and although the 5 days or so that I spend there were not enough (for me). You can easily explore Yerevan for 5 days or less, but if you want to travel around the country, you’ll need some more time. I didn’t travel around Armenia and spend my time simply enjoying its capital city, Yerevan. For those of you who are planning a visit, here are my best tips and suggestions for things to do in Yerevan for first-time visitors.
What to do in Yerevan for first-time visitors:
Armenian cuisine is more than 2000 years old. It’s rich in meat, vegetables, and fresh herbs. Lamb, eggplant, and lavash are widely used for the preparation of different dishes. The preparation of meat, fish, and vegetables often requires stuffing. Generally, I liked the Armenian cuisine a lot, mostly because of the great, fresh, and real products that they use.
Here are some foods you can’t afford to miss in Yerevan:
- Lahmacun – the Armenian pizza
- Armenian kebab
- Dolma – meat or vegetables rolled in grape leaves
- Mante – baked dumplings served with yogurt garlic sauce
- Lavash – traditional Armenian bread
- Ghapama – stuffed pumpkin dish
- Armenian cheese
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Basturma – appetizer, spicy cured beef
I became a big fan of the Lahmacun, the Armenian pizza. It was the first Armenian dish that I tried and I loved it. Sara took me to probably one of the best places in Yerevan to have Lahmacun and I would highly recommend it. The restaurant is called Mer Taghe and is in the center of Yerevan. Click here to see its address on Google maps.
Another restaurant that everyone recommends is the restaurant Lavash. I didn’t manage to visit, but I was told by locals as well, that they serve great food. It’s also nice because you can see the preparation of lavash.
Armenian wine & brandy
Armenia is one of the oldest wine-producing regions of the world. And they do have great wines that they are proud of. Apart from the traditional grape wine, there are wineries producing apricot and pomegranate wines, too.
Another thing that Armenians are proud of is the Ararat brandy (cognac style), which is famous worldwide and has been produced since 1887.
Wine & brandy tasting:
You can sign up for a wine tasting tour, which will take you to wine yards outside of Yerevan, or you can DIY a wine tasting tour around the city. One of the most recommended places for wine tasting in Yerevan is In Vino, but there are many other places that you can choose from.
For an authentic brandy tasting, you can visit the Ararat Museum, which is located in the Yerevan Brandy Company building near the center of Yerevan. Tours can be booked 7 days a week from 9 AM to 8 PM. Or you can also find it pretty much in every restaurant or bar in Yerevan.
The local people
Armenians are very welcoming, friendly, and warm people. I experienced that first-hand many times. One of the best moments from my short trip to Yerevan is dining and having fun with some randomly met locals in a restaurant.
Two guys that I met in the hostel where I was staying and I went out for a dinner, ended up in this small restaurant where these local guys were having food and drinks. We asked them if we can join them and they kindly said yes. They hosted us as their guests for the whole evening. We had such a nice time.
Another cool thing to do in Yerevan is to go for a beer tasting. Dargett is a craft beer brewery located in the center of Yerevan. It’s Armenia’s first craft brewery and you definitely shouldn’t miss this place if you’re a beer lover! Of course, the beer list is great.
The place is quite big and has a nice garden where you can enjoy your beer tasting on the hot summer days. Downstairs you can find the brewery itself.
Dargett brewery is also very affordable. A pint of beer costs 900 AMD, while the tasting set costs 1 900 AMD.
Yerevan Cascade and Free galleries
The Cascade complex is a massive staircase with fountains, which was built to connect the northern and central parts of Yerevan. There are 572 steps leading to the top of the Cascade from where you can enjoy one of the best panoramic views in Yerevan. When the visibility is good, you can also see Mount Ararat. Unfortunately, I wasn’t lucky enough and didn’t have the chance to enjoy the view of the mountain.
The 572 steps to the top of the Cascade shouldn’t worry you because there are seven escalators inside the complex that can take you there. And you know what else – it’s absolutely free!
If you’re interested, you can also visit one of the free galleries inside the complex, they compose the Cafesijian Museum of Art.
One of my favorite things to do in Yerevan was exploring the Kond neighborhood. Kond is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Yerevan. It’s very authentic and is still preserved the old way – some of the buildings might seem like they are about to collapse, but that’s part of its charm.
I want to thank Todor from kashkavaltourist for telling me about this place!
I LOVE to explore local markets everywhere I go. Visiting the local markets is one of the best things to do in Yerevan and make sure you don’t miss those two:
Vernissage flea market
Vernissage is a big open-air market where you can find everything from traditional Armenian jewelry, handicrafts, books, wood artwork, carpets, etc. The best time to visit is the weekend.
At the GUM market, you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, dried fruits, herbs, and many other things. Here, you can also witness the preparation of the traditional Armenian bread, lavash. Perhaps the best time to visit the GUM market would be the morning.
Parks and chess
Yerevan has some pretty nice parks and green areas, and the locals make use of them to play chess, meet, and relax.
If there is something happening in Yerevan, it’s happening at Republic Square. This is the place where the 2018 Armenian Velvel Revolution was held as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. It’s a famous place for gatherings.
In the evenings, you can watch the singing fountain show. It usually starts around 9 PM and goes on until 11 PM.
Yerevan is also known as the pink city because of the color of the buildings. The stones used for the construction of the buildings are pink and coming from the surroundings. The color changes throughout the day based on where the sun hits it.
Much of the Soviet-era architecture remains. If you’re a fan don’t miss checking out the Central Railway Station, Moscow Cinema, the Opera Hall, Yerevan State University, the Brandy Factory, Mother Armenia.
Armenian Genocide Museum
The Armenian Genocide Museum aka the Armenian Holocaust was built to commemorate the events that led to the mass extermination of Armenian minorities by the Ottoman Empire when more than 1. 5 million people found their death during the first world war.
But you know what? There are many other things to do in Yerevan and I’m looking forward to visiting this beautiful city again to explore more of it.
One of the things to do in Yerevan is to go and explore other parts of Armenia. Armenia nowadays is a relatively small country and day trips from Yerevan are very convenient for travelers who want to see more of the country.
As I mentioned above, I spend my time enjoying Yerevan and went for a trip outside of the city only once. It wasn’t anything exciting because we couldn’t see what we went there to see – the half-day trip from Yerevan was to Khor Virap, from where usually you can see one of the best views of Mount Ararat. Well, we didn’t get lucky enough to see anything.
I asked a few fellow travel bloggers to share their experience and recommend a day trip from Yerevan for you. Here’s what I got:
Day trips from Yerevan
”One of my favorite day trips from Armenia is to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Geghard Monastery and the Upper Azat Valley. The monastery dates back to the fourth century, with most of the main features you see today being built in the thirteenth century. The site was a historically important pilgrimage site even before the introduction of Christianity in Armenia, and today it receives visitors from all over the world as well as local Armenians who come to drink from the holy spring that runs into the monastery.
”It’s very easy to visit Garni Temple as a day trip from Yerevan. You can take an organized driver or take the public bus which takes about an hour. The temple itself has been recently renovated and looks a bit modern but the location is what makes it truly special. Set in a picturesque valley there are views for miles and some of the best can be found at the café/restaurant next door to the temple which also has a huge balcony seating area with stunning views of the temple and the surrounding area.
While you’re there make sure you don’t miss the walk down into the gorge to see the Symphony of Stones. These hexagonal stones appear to be melting down the cliff sides and fit perfectly together. There are similar formations in Ireland a the Giant’s Causeway but coming upwards from the ground. A visit to these sites can easily be done in half a day and is usually paired with the nearby Geghard monastery. If you have more than a day, consider staying at the gorgeous BnB 3Gs which has a campground and spacious rooms set on an orchard with views of the valley.”
Recommended by Travels of a Bookpacker
”Echmiadzin is sometimes seen as the Vatican of Armenia. The Echmiadzin Cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Because Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity it is seen as the oldest cathedral in the world. Over the years, it has been reconstructed and renovated leaving interesting reliefs and ornaments on the walls from different times throughout its history. The interior is equally stunning with beautiful frescoes and still an active center of worship. For Armenians, Echmiadzin has a deep historical and cultural significance.
It is an easy day trip from Yerevan and from the bus station, there are frequent minivans to the small town of Echmiadzin taking less than an hour. You can also stop to see the ruins of the Zvartnots cathedral that is located midway between Yerevan and Echmiadzin. Even though not much is left of this church, the ruins are scenically located with Mount Ararat in the background.”
Recommended by Backpack Adventures
”Lake Sevan is the perfect day trip from Yerevan to see a different piece of nature in Armenia. Not only is Sevan the largest lake in Armenia, but is it also the largest lake in all of the Caucasus region and one of the biggest in all of Eurasia. Situated in the Gegharkunik province, or ‘marz’ in Armenian, Lake Sevan is home to sanatoriums, resorts, and public beaches. Many people from Yerevan flock there in the summer to cool off from the extreme city temperatures and to have a traditional Armenian BBQ. Some of the most popular places to visit along Lake Sevan are the Sevanavank Monastery and Noratus Cemetary, which holds over 900 khachkars, or Armenian headstones, of varying styles. Over 200,000 people vacationed at Lake Sevan the previous year and it is expected to grow as people take advantage of this picturesque lake in Armenia having the landlocked country’s only beaches.”
Recommended by Megan Starr
”Gyumri, the second biggest city in Armenia, might not seem like the most obvious day trip destination but it is actually a really interesting place to visit and a good alternative to all the monasteries you can find around Armenia. The whole world learned about Gyumri (then Leninakan) in 1988 after the tragic earthquake that changed the city forever. Now Gyumri is still recovering from the disaster but, despite the ongoing reconstructions, it is a really nice place to spend a day at. You can wander around the old town, admire the old architecture and find yet another Mother Armenia statue. Be sure not to miss the local bazaar too! You can easily get from Yerevan to Gyumri by marshrutka (around 2 hours), the new fast train connection makes it very convenient to travel between the cities too. ”
Recommended by My Wanderlust
”Armenia is a country full of hidden gems and breathtaking sites and Khor Virap is one of those places. Khor Virap monastery is also one of Armenia’s most relevant landmarks. The monastery is only 30 km from Yerevan and easily accessible by a highway… Although the monastery is interesting and historically very relevant, the main attraction is the view of Mount Ararat. From the monastery, you can appreciate Mount Ararat, and it is breathtaking, especially if get lucky and the visibility is good. Mount Ararat is the national symbol and a central figure in Armenian history. Armenian’s believe that this is the place where Noa’s Ark came to rest, according to the Bible. Despite its importance to Armenia Mount Ararat is in Turkey. Khor Virap has to be on your list when visiting Armenia.”
Recommended by Travel Drafts
Yerevan Travel Tips
The official currency of Armenia is the Armenian dram (AMD). One dram is divided into 100 luma.
1 EUR = 556 AMD
Armenia is a very budget-friendly destination. Here are some basic prices in Yerevan:
- Accommodation – starting from 4 EUR
- Tours – starting from 15 EUR
- Food – you can easily get a decent meal for 5 EUR
Getting around Yerevan
Yerevan can easily be explored on foot, or at least the center and the most popular spots of it. Anyway, if you don’t feel like walking, you can get a taxi or use the metro. Both are very cheap.
A single metro ride cost only 100 AMD or less than 0.20 EUR.
Depending on the distance, a taxi ride can range between 700 AMD to 1 500 AMD or 1.30 EUR to 3 EUR.
A bus between the cities can costs from 1 000 AMD to 5 000 AMD, depending on the distance, but I also found it fairly easy and safe to hitchhike.
Many nationalities, including all EU citizens, and citizens from Australia, USA, NZ, UAE, Singapore, and more, are not required to obtain a visa for entry to Armenia for 180 days.
For more information and to check out the visa policy for your country, go to this page.
The official language in Armenia is Armenian. Russian is widely spoken and most of the younger generation has at least basic knowledge of English.
Drinkable water everywhere
The tap water in Armenia is drinkable and there are fountains all over the city. You can get a reusable water bottle and just refill it.
Traveling between Yerevan and Tbilisi:
Flights to Armenia can be very expensive, unlike flights to its neighbor country, Georgia. If you can plan a trip that covers both countries that’d be wonderful. Otherwise, you can just flight to Georgia and then head straight to Yerevan, Armenia.
To get from Tbilisi to Yerevan and vice versa, you have two options – marshrutka and train. Actually, you can also try BlaBlaCar. I know that some people travel between the two cities with that app.
I haven’t tried the train, so I’ll be telling you how to travel between Tbilisi and Yerevan with the marshrutka. Marshrutka for those of you who don’t know is a minibus.
You can take a marshrutka from Tbilisi to Yerevan from Station Square, Ortachala bus station or Avlabari. Personally, I took the marshrutka from Avlabari, and then on my way back from Yerevan to Tbilisi, I got dropped off there. The marshrutka ride from Tbilisi to Yerevan costs 35 GEL (~12 EUR).
When you arrive in Yerevan, you’ll be dropped off at Yerevan’s Central bus station, Kilikia. When you want to go back to Tbilisi, you can again take the marshrutka from there. The marshrutka ride from Yerevan to Tbilisi costs around 8 000 AMD (~15 EUR).
The marshrutka journey between Yerevan and Tbilisi takes around 5 hours. Although some people say that it had taken them around 8 hours. I also can’t confirm if that’s usual or not, but I even had Wi-Fi abroad, both times.
The border crossing process is very fast and stress-free.
Thanks for reading,
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