Nestled in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia, Armenia is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by avid travelers. This ancient land boasts a rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and a unique blend of cultures. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie, Armenia has something to offer everyone. In this blog, we’ll explore ten captivating things to do in Armenia.
1. Discover Yerevan’s Historic Charm
Your journey to Armenia is likely to begin in Yerevan, the country’s capital and largest city. Yerevan is a fascinating mix of the old and the new, with historic architecture and vibrant modern culture. Explore Republic Square, visit the iconic Matenadaran Museum of Ancient Manuscripts, and stroll through the bustling Vernissage Market for a taste of Armenia’s artistic heritage.
2. Explore Ancient Monasteries
Armenia is renowned for its historic monasteries, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the most famous is Geghard Monastery, partially carved into the surrounding cliffs. Another must-visit is Tatev Monastery, accessible by the longest reversible aerial tramway in the world, the Wings of Tatev.
3. Hike Amidst Natural Beauty
Armenia is a paradise for nature lovers and hikers. The country boasts diverse landscapes, including lush forests, serene lakes, and dramatic mountain ranges. Dilijan National Park is a haven for hiking and offers numerous trails with stunning vistas. For more adventurous treks, consider exploring the rugged terrain of the Armenian Highlands.
4. Marvel at Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan, often called the “Jewel of Armenia,” is one of the largest freshwater, high-altitude lakes in the world. Its azure waters are surrounded by breathtaking mountain scenery. Visit the Sevanavank Monastery on the lake’s peninsula and savor freshly caught fish from the local restaurants.
5. Experience Armenian Hospitality
Armenians are known for their warm and generous hospitality. Take the opportunity to stay in a traditional guesthouse or bed and breakfast in rural areas. You’ll be treated to homemade Armenian cuisine, like dolma (stuffed grape leaves) and lavash (flatbread), and experience the warmth of Armenian family life.
6. Visit the Khor Virap
The Khor Virap is an ancient Armenian monastery located near the border with Turkey, with Mount Ararat as a stunning backdrop. It’s famous for its deep underground dungeon where Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned. The site offers breathtaking views and a chance to delve into Armenia’s early Christian history.
7. Taste Armenian Cuisine
Armenian cuisine is a delightful blend of flavors and traditions. Savor succulent kebabs, indulge in aromatic pilaf, and try traditional desserts like baklava and gata. Don’t forget to enjoy a glass of Armenian brandy, which is renowned worldwide for its quality.
8. Witness Noravank’s Red Rocks
Noravank, located in the Vayots Dzor Province, is known for its stunning red rock formations. The Noravank Monastery complex is a highlight, surrounded by towering cliffs. It’s a photographer’s paradise, especially during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset.
9. Uncover Ancient Petroglyphs
The Armenian Highlands are home to ancient petroglyphs, some dating back thousands of years. The rock carvings at Ughtasar Petroglyphs are particularly fascinating, depicting scenes from daily life, animals, and rituals. A visit to these sites provides a glimpse into Armenia’s ancient past.
10. Experience Armenian Festivals
Plan your trip to coincide with one of Armenia’s vibrant festivals. The Yerevan Wine Days festival showcases Armenia’s burgeoning wine industry, while the Areni Wine Festival celebrates the country’s winemaking traditions. For a unique experience, attend Vardavar, a water festival where people splash each other with water to cool off during the summer heat.
Armenia is a land of contrasts, where ancient history meets modern vibrancy, and breathtaking landscapes are matched only by the warmth of its people. Whether you’re wandering through Yerevan’s streets or hiking in the highlands, Armenia promises a captivating and unforgettable travel experience. So, pack your bags and set out to explore this hidden gem in the heart of the South Caucasus.