Armenia travel guide – practical tips and information
Armenia was one of those countries that stolen our hearts completely. We were there only one day and we knew, we will have difficulties to say goodbye. Traveling around Armenia with our own 4WD, we did get to know the country well and that is why we have decided to write the Armenia travel guide, which is based on our practical experiences during exploration.
How to reach Armenia?
The easiest way to reach Armenia is by plane. The international airport is based in Yerevan, the capital. There are many airlines flying there.
Traveling around Armenia
We did a roadtrip around Armenia by our own 4WD, but to really enjoy everything the country offers, we would definitely recommend you to have your own car to do so. If you are flying into Armenia, you can rent a car at www.economycarrentals.com. From our own experience, their service is good and prices also very competitive. The prices for renting a car, including all the insurance is around 27 EUR/day, for a week long renting. You can check more offers here.
If you are not keen on doing a self-drive tour around Armenia, you can use local transport. It is slower, but very cheap. Their vans (marshrutkas) will take you to all the cities and town, but if the tourist attraction is outside of it, you will need to take a taxi or attend a guided tour.
Armenia tourist attractions
Armenia is extremely rich in history (it was the first country to adopt Christianity in the early 4th century), but most of its tourist attractions are not even renovated and properly organized for visiting. Because of that many are without paying any entrance fees. Lots of travelers visit Armenia concentrating only on the capital Yerevan and make a day trip to the Sevan Lake, but Armenia is so much more than these – check out the best Armenia tourist attractions here.
Food in Armenia
Food in Armenia is similar to the one in Georgia, so it has lots of Iranian and Turkish influence. They use lots of garlic, cumin and coriander. Their main dishes are rich with walnuts too. When in Armenia, you cannot go pass its apricots – it is said they are the best in the world. You can read more about food in Armenia here.
Accommodations in Armenia
We mostly did wilderness camping in Armenia – we stayed in a hotel only in Yerevan, to be close to the action. Armenia has still been developing as a tourist destination, so there are no official camping grounds. But the wilderness camping is allowed and safe as well.
The best hotel options can be found in Yerevan and most people decide to stay there and do some daily trips around the country. You can get a really nice room with breakfast for a good price.
Our recommendation for Yerevan hotel
Primer Hotel – The hotel is not based in the old city center, but because we were there by car we needed something with a free parking and that is why we ended at Primer Hotel. The Primer Hotel ticked all of our boxes – it has free WI-FI, outdoor pool, delicious self-service breakfast and the rooms were extremely spacious and clean. The staff was very nice and we could pay by credit card. Just across the street stands a well-stocked grocery store and few steps away a restaurant and also a fast-food joint. We actually liked the place so much we extended our stay for one extra night. The location of Primer Hotel is 200 meters away from the bus station, which takes you to the city center. If you’ll be there with your own car, you can park on the main square in the city center free of charge on Saturday and Sunday – just be there early in the morning to find free space.
If you don’t want to be depended from the free WI-FI you can get yourself a local SIM card. We took one at VIVA Cell and for unlimited data, we payed 250 AMD/day (with “our” the exchange rate that was about 0,50 EUR/day). All you have to do is finding the VIVA Cell operator (there are many in each town) and tell them what you need. They will do everything else, including SIM card activation.
Prices in Armenia
If you’ll be combining traveling around Armenia with Georgia, you will find out that Armenia is even cheaper than Georgia.
Bottled water (1,5L): 0,30 EUR
Local bread lavash: 0,16€
Fuel / diesel: 0,60€/l
We recommend you to buy veggies and fruit from the locals, selling it in front of their houses. It is cheap and fresh.
Methods of payments in Armenia
Forget about using credit cards in Armenia. We could use it only once, when paying for the Primer Hotel in Yerevan. We actually had huge problems with gas, as we could not find any gas station, accepting credit cards. We finally found a bank few days later and change some currency. So the best method of payment in Armenia is cash.
Safety in Armenia
We traveled around Armenia from north to south and from east to west – except in Yerevan, we always did wilderness camping. We did not have any problems and each time we met locals, they were always extremely kind.
Communication in Armenia
Forget about English in Armenia. If someone knows English it is either in a hotel or a guide offering guided tours. Your best way to communicate is if knowing few words in Russian or you will have to play »show and tell«.
Armenia with a baby / children
We did not had any health issues with our 10 months old baby in Armenia, but if we would, we would need to go to Yerevan, as the best health care is in the capital.
We did not complicate things because of the baby and we used common sense. We also did not do any extra vaccinations for him.
The only precaution we did was having a good travel health insurance, so make sure not to travel without one.
Best time to travel to Armenia
The best time to travel to Armenia is from spring to autumn, but be aware that the whole country has a high altitude, so you might have snow in the beginning of May or at the end of September.
We traveled around Armenia in the second half of September and had cold mornings (around +3°C) and still extremely hot days (+35-40°C). So pack some clothes for warm and cold weather if you’ll be visiting Armenia in spring or autumn.
Do I need visa for Armenia?
It all depends from your nationality, so check if you need visa before traveling there.
I hope our Armenia travel guide did help you with planning your travel to this amazing and little visited country. We loved it and that is why we recommend you to visit it as soon as possible – before the mass tourism starts rising.