Armenia — Overview
Having survived centuries of turmoil and suffering, Armenia is one of Asia’s success stories. Notoriously the political playground of several ancient empires, Armenia has managed to shake off its turbulent history to be able to provide tourists a unique and enriching travel experience. Known as the Caucasian Tiger, Armenia has far more to offer than most people realize.
Home to some of the world’s most interesting and unique structures, heritage sites and natural beauty, Armenia is a veritable feast for the eyes. With ancient cathedrals, intriguing museums and breathtaking canyons there’s plenty to do here. The country’s mountainous terrain lends itself to an abundance of outdoor activities and from skiing and caving to fishing and trekking, Armenia is becoming the go-to destination for adventure travelers.
There are a variety of places to stay for every taste and budget. Whether a luxury hotel or a quaint guesthouse, the major centers like Yerevan will have it. Accommodation in more remote areas is not as varied or upmarket so travelers looking for luxury should probably stick to the urban hubs. The country’s rich culture makes for delicious wining - no Armenian meal is complete without a little vodka on the side – and dining – traditional eats like khorovats (grilled meats) will leave you craving more. The people are like none other and, in spite of the atrocities of the 20th century, display a hospitality and warmth unrivaled in other parts of the neighboring Middle East.
Armenia’s geography is so varied that any direction will lead to interesting sights or, if travelers are lucky, adventure. A drive only a few miles outside of cities like Yerevan will see tourists hitting Lake Sevan, to the northeast, and the quaint town of Dilijan, Armenia’s ‘Little Switzerland’, in the north.
Getting into the country is no problem at all with two major international airports receiving traffic from several regions. Most flights arrive from nearby European countries. Overland trips can be made by bus or car into the country from the borders of Georgia or Iran. There is also a train line connecting Georgia to Armenia which makes for a long, but undoubtedly scenic trip.
Traveling within Armenia is a little more rustic than in most other countries as there are no domestic flights as yet. There are, however, reliable bus and minibus services which reach most areas within the country. The road system is not all that developed so expect a bumpy ride. Using the limited train network is generally not advised as it tends to be overcrowded and unreliable.
- Take a dip in the natural spring waters under Satan’s Bridge
- Climb the steep stone stairway of the Cascade in Yerevan
- Go cross-country skiing in the mountains of Tsaghkunyats
- Sample world-famous local brandy at the Yerevan Brandy Company
- Spend a day fishing and picnicking at the beautiful Lake Sevan
- Devour traditional Armenian barbeque at the aptly-named Barbeque Street