Embark on an extraordinary adventure to the hidden gem of Armenia, nestled at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. Prepare to be captivated by its mesmerizing landscapes, awe-inspiring mountains, and ancient spiritual customs. Brace yourself for a journey that will leave you breathless!
Get ready to uncover the most remarkable natural wonders and cultural treasures that Armenia has to offer. From dramatic peaks to time-honored traditions, this list of 10 sensational destinations will sweep you off your feet. So, wanderlust seekers buckle up and dive into the enchantment that awaits!
Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, serves as a significant hub for travelers arriving or departing from the country. However, it offers much more than just a gateway to other appealing destinations. At the core of the city lies Republic Square, an essential civic space that captivates visitors. From a simple bench, one can relish the architectural marvels of the early 20th century, constructed with striking orange tuff stone. Among the distinctive structures, there is a building that houses the History Museum and National Gallery of Armenia, providing an immersive introduction to the country’s rich heritage.
Delve deeper into Armenia’s history by exploring the Armenian Genocide Museum, which features compelling exhibitions showcasing the tragic events that unfolded in the early 1900s. For an unparalleled panoramic view of the city and the majestic Mount Ararat, the Yerevan Cascade serves as the perfect vantage point to witness breathtaking sunsets
Among the numerous ancient monasteries scattered across Armenia, Khor Virap stands out with its awe-inspiring landscape. This revered sanctuary is situated in the western region of Armenia and offers unparalleled vistas of Mount Ararat, reaching approximately 5137 meters, and the surrounding valley. The origins of this remarkable complex trace back to 180 BC, but it gained significance as a cloister when Armenia officially embraced Christianity as its state religion in the year 301.
Within the monastery itself, there are various points of interest to explore, including the magnificent main chapel, the chambers occupied by monks, and even a historical dungeon predating Khor Virap’s monastic era. To reach Khor Virap from the central area of Yerevan, you can opt for a taxi or a direct service bus, with the journey typically lasting around one hour.
Mount Aragats, the highest summit in Armenia standing at 4090 meters, is an iconic destination that beckons to hiking enthusiasts. With its four rugged peaks, this majestic mountain offers a thrilling adventure for those with hiking experience and proper footwear. The panoramic views from the summit, encompassing snowfields, and the vast expanse of Armenia’s dry plains, are nothing short of breathtaking.
En route from Yerevan to Mount Aragats, it is highly recommended to make a stop at Amberd Fortress. While the original castle was constructed in the 7th century, the current ruins date back to the 13th century, a testament to the resilience against devastating invasions. The remnants of this ancient stronghold, along with its 11th-century church and the picturesque deep gorge to the west, create a scene of remarkable historical significance.
Dilijan, a town in Armenia, has the power to transport you back to the enchanting era of the Soviet Union. Everywhere you look, you’ll spot charming Lada cars and traditional workshops nestled within wooden houses. The combination of this nostalgic ambiance, along with the breathtaking mountainous landscapes and lush forests, makes Dilijan an irresistible and appealing destination.
For a peaceful and rejuvenating stroll surrounded by vibrant greenery, head to Lake Parz. Particularly during the autumn season, when the leaves paint the scenery in shades of red and orange, this spot is perfect for leisurely stretching your legs. Along Myasnikyan Street, you can observe skilled artisans honing their craft in their studios, where they create intricate jewellery, wooden toys, and captivating paintings.
Just a short 30-minute drive from town, you’ll stumble upon the magnificent Haghartsin Monastery. This medieval complex is nestled amidst abundant pine forests, creating
Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia and the entire Caucasus region, spans an impressive 1242 square kilometers, accounting for approximately 4 percent of the country’s total area. One of the standout attractions of Lake Sevan is the Sevanavank Monastery, situated on the serene northwestern shore of this expansive water body. Dating back to the 800s, this historic complex is nestled in a picturesque location, providing a breathtaking vista of the lake adorned with mighty snow-capped peaks in the backdrop.
During your visit, you have the opportunity to rent a boat and explore the vast expanse of Lake Sevan or unwind on one of its many inviting beaches. For those seeking an adventure, consider embarking on a hike up Mount Artanish. From its summit, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views that showcase the unparalleled beauty of the surroundings.
With a remarkable history spanning over 1600 years and recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural significance, the Geghard Monastery holds a prominent position among the most esteemed landmarks in Armenia. Nestled within a deep gorge, surrounded by towering cliffs, this monastery exhibits a breathtaking fusion of architecture and nature. A notable feature of the Geghard Monastery is its unique construction, with a part of it carved directly into the rocky walls, showcasing tombs, ancient carvings, exquisite artistry, and religious symbols.
As you step inside the main chapel, the air becomes saturated with a sacred aura, and the only sounds that accompany your footsteps are the whispers of the past. Illuminated solely by daylight filtering through the windows and flickering candles lit by visitors, the ambiance evokes a profound sense of tranquility. Throughout the Geghard complex, you will encounter numerous khachkars, intricately carved Armenian cross-stones adorned with Christian crosses and depictions of other religious and culturally significant Armenian symbols.
Another magnificent example of Armenia’s ancient architecture and cultural heritage is the Garni Temple, situated approximately 30 kilometers east of Yerevan. Believed to have been constructed in the 2nd century BC, this former pagan temple stands as a testament to the rich history of the region. What sets the Garni Temple apart is its distinctive Greco-Roman style, making it a unique architectural gem in Armenia and evoking comparisons to the iconic Greek Acropolis.
Beyond its architectural grandeur, Garni is also a destination worth visiting for its natural beauty. The temple is surrounded by rolling hills and gentle streams meandering through the valley, creating a serene and picturesque setting. While the temple itself offers glimpses of the surrounding landscapes, it is truly rewarding to follow the trail leading down and experience the proximity to the magnificent rock walls upon which the Garni Temple is perched.
When it comes to awe-inspiring backdrops, the ancient cave village of Khndzoresk stands out as one of the most remarkable in the country. This captivating settlement, nestled near the border with Azerbaijan, is perched on a mountainside and comprises a combination of natural caves and man-made structures. Despite its seemingly prehistoric appearance, Khndzoresk was inhabited until the 1950s, adding to its historical significance.
Visitors have the opportunity to explore the intriguing caves and, for the adventurous souls, venture across the suspension bridge that spans the Khndzoresk gorge. This impressive bridge stretches over 160 meters and offers daring individuals breathtaking views of the canyon and the cave village, providing an unforgettable experience for those willing to take the plunge.
Etchmiadzin Cathedral is based 20 kilometres from the heart of Yerevan, in the town of Vagharshapat. The cathedral is the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church and is acknowledged to be the oldest cathedral in the world. The construction was finished in 303, only two years after Armenia had accepted Christianity as a state religion.
The interior is spellbinding, with frescos on the walls and domed ceilings, as well as impressive altars. A public bus service connects Yerevan and Vagharshapat, which makes it easy to endeavour a short trip to the church. You can enter Etchmiadzin free of charge.
The Noravank Gorge is a testament to the diverse natural and cultural wonders that Armenia has to offer. The striking orange rock formations, vibrant flora, and the presence of rare animals like the Persian leopard contribute to the unparalleled allure of this canyon. Within the gorge, you’ll discover the enchanting Noravank Monastery. Set against a backdrop of red-yellow cliffs, this 12th-century abbey showcases a picturesque landscape that rivals even the beauty of Khor Virap.