If you’re thinking about going to Armenia, don’t hesitate! It’s a fantastic place with great people and what’s the most important – it’s full of unforgettable attractions. We spent only 2 days in this country and really managed to make the most of it. That’s why we wrote this note especially for you – we want to show that there are many wonderful things to do in Armenia and it’s impossible not to fall in love with it!
Things To Do In Armenia – Day 1
As we wrote in our previous note Thinking About Going To Georgia? Don’t Hesitate, we got to Yerevan from Tbilisi by train. Already in the train we knew our next destination is going to be amazing – we loved the views from the window (saw Mount Ararat in the early morning and it was just impressive!) and we’ve met fantastic locals, we immediately got along with. Everything promised our next days will be amazing and we couldn’t wait to finally get to the capital city of Armenia.
FIRST STEPS IN YEREVAN
We arrived in the morning and headed straight to our hostel, which we booked near the city center. When we got there, we realized that it’s more of a private apartment and the owners (a young couple) rent three big rooms for tourists. Two other rooms were taken by people from Philippines – they were very charming, were cooking all the time and always treated us with their food :) So the atmosphere was very friendly and the place was cozy and cheap – in a word (or four) perfect option for us :)
Although we spent the whole night in the train, we didn’t want to have a long rest and waste time, so we quickly set off to sightsee the city.
Our first attraction was Republic Square. We got there on foot as our hostel was very close to this place. We immediately fell in love with it – it’s just exceptional. All buildings around the square have consistent architecture and color – we later found out that the buildings are made of volcanic rock known also as “tuff”, which gives them a unique look. There is also a fountain in the middle of the square and in summer tourists can enjoy fountain water shows in the evenings.
We haven’t heard much about Armenia before our trip and maybe that’s why this country was a surprise to us (a very pleasant one).
Near the Republic Square there is the Northern Avenue – a representative street of the city. Also this place has plenty of beautiful buildings but they look more modern than those in the Republic Square. We spent a wonderful time in this place, we had a long walk and enjoyed the uniqueness of architecture. We think that everyone can find something for themselves there as this place is full of shops and restaurants.
Later our long walk took us to the Yerevan Cascade. What a place! The first thing that comes to our minds about it is: funny, unusual and incredible at the same time :) This is a massive structure that made a big impression on us. First we spent some time in the little park with well-kept grass and extraordinary sculptors. It’s not possible to be bored there.
We also saw some newly married couples during their wedding photo session and it was a very pleasant picture. They made us feel the romantic atmosphere.
High time to go up the stairs! We climbed up to the top and only later discovered there are escalators :) Maybe you will learn from our mistakes and take them but after all moving is healthy! ;)
There is a kind of museum inside the stairs (as well as the escalators :)) but we’d say the biggest surprise was the view from the top – we could see the city and …. the Mount Ararat! Now you know why this place is a must-see.
On our way back through the Northern Avenue we stepped by the place called Tumanyan Shaurma to try local specialty at a good price. If you are planning your holidays in Yerevan and would like to eat something tasty, check how to get there in our previous note Armenia Travel Itinerary – Step By Step.
Things To Do In Armenia – Day 2
Previous day we went to our hostel earlier because we needed to get fully rested for our next big day. We had a huge trip planned for that day and needed to set off very early in the morning (about 7 am).
In the city center the bus with other tourists waited for us – our trip was planned and we got a guide. We booked a whole-day trip to see other parts of the country and paid about $23 per person. We had the following attractions included:
TATEV ROPEWAY AND MONASTERY
After about 250 km ride with one of the best views we’ve ever seen, we finally reached Halidzor village to see Tatev Monastery (9th-century Armenian Apostolic church). But how to get there? It’s definitely not a perfect place for people that have a huge fear of high (like Agata :)) because the best way to get there is to take cableway – Wings of Tatev. It is 2.7 km long and 320 m high and the view from it is just as breathtaking as scary.
Wings of Tatev brought us to Tatev Monastery. We spent there about half an hour and our tour guide showed us around this place. It was interesting to hear about this place and go inside. In Armenia there are also other worth-visiting Monasteries but this one is exceptional because of the way of getting to it – firstly the wonderful views from the bus windows (and believe us, we aren’t exaggerating – one of the most beautiful mountains we’ve ever seen) and then a ride with cable car. If you also plan to visit Armenia, we highly encourage you to take such trip as well, especially that it takes only one day and you can make it on a budget. We are sure you won’t regret it!
Ok, this is the next place that can be a nightmare for people afraid of high :) Khndzoresk is a cave village that people used to live before 1950s. To get there we needed to go along the swinging bridge and this time Agata didn’t make it :) she was waiting in front of it for the rest of the tour to come back from the cages that were on the other side of the bridge. But the good news: if such bridges also frighten you so much, there is one cage on the first side so you can at least see this one :)
After sightseeing the cages our tour guides had a little surprise for the whole group as they brought delicious watermelons with them to have a little break and sit for a while. Ohh… they were so delicious! The best watermelons we’ve ever eaten were in Armenia and Iran.
Our next stop was a place with massive rocks that are believed to had been an observatory about 7000 years ago. This place is also called Armenian Stonehenge. It’s impressive that people drilled small holes in such big stones so precisely. We enjoyed this place because of the whole mystery connected with it – scientists haven’t discovered yet how this holes were done and still speculate about the reason of it. Karahunj was on the way back so we were very glad to see also this attraction.
Our trip took longer than was planned and we had a choice to go on a dinner or to Areni Winery. Of course, we chose Areni Winery. We eat dinner every day but we don’t go to Winery every day and that was the reason :) Originally, the plan was to go to both places but it turned out there won’t be enough time as it was already very late (so if you are going to book such trip take some more food with you just in case, watermelons are delicious but it’s not a perfect dinner especially if you are going to drink a lot of wine later :))
We had a great selection of wines to try – different flavors for everyone and also one wine was even 30 years old. Next came something special for more experienced – Armenian Vodka Oghi (containing 60% of alcohol). It tastes like any other vodka, but has one significant difference – it’s way stronger than regular one. After a couple of tiny glasses of Oghi your humor will become ever better than it was! Perfect end of the perfect trip :)
We forgot earlier to write a very important thing – locals are fantastic, they’re very friendly and helpful (but they speak rather Russian than English). We’ve met many great people in Armenia, we’ll never forget. That’s a very important thing in travelling so it’s another reason for you to visit this country.
And that’s our whole experience from Armenia. Hope you enjoyed it and felt encourage to visit this beautiful country.
Oh, and don’t forget to write us if you would be brave enough to try Oghi ;)