Eco-friendly travel guide to Armenia advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Armenia, Europe / Asia.
- Air quality: 3 / 5
- Bus connections: 3.5 / 5
- Train connections: 3 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 4 / 5
- National parks: 3.5 / 5
- Outdoor activities: 3.5 / 5
- Locals' English level: 2.5 / 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$10 - $250
- Budget per day: US$5 - $100
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
Traveling is one of the most heart-warming and educational activities that people can take part in. To elaborate, you get to go to another place and learn about their history and culture. And overall, that is such an immersive and soul-soothing experience. Many travelers enjoy going to different kinds of areas rich in culture and nature, and Armenia is one of the best places to visit for this.
The country is part of the Eurasian region, mainly situated in the South Caucasus part. One of the interesting things about this place is the fact that it is locked on all sides by different countries. These include Georgia in the northern direction, Turkey on the western side, Iran to the south, and Azerbaijan and Artsakh to the east. Given its placement amidst so many different cultures, their influence is visible in the overall lifestyle of Armenia. Therefore, when you visit Armenia, that is one of the things you would enjoy experiencing.
Of course, when speaking of traveling to Armenia, it is important to talk about its environment. Full of gorgeous greenery and mountains, this country is one of the ecological sites in the world. So, as a traveler, it is important for you to take care of the quality of the surroundings, and keep it safe. Plus, you need to take some responsible actions too in order to travel properly through the area. Some of the tips that you should focus on doing during your trip are mentioned here.
- You should buy things from flea markets, second-hand stores, and other local vendors. That way, you would get good products at cost-saving prices while also supplementing the local industry.
- You can opt out from living in the big hotels, and choose those which are eco-friendly.
- Electric vehicles are available in this country and they are better for the environment. Thus, choose them instead.
- Most of the cities in Armenia are not too far apart or metropolitan-like. So, you can easily walk to reach them instead of driving to each area. Not only is this healthy for your body but also the environment.
- Try not to use too many plastic products and bottles, and litter them around. Follow the waste management guidelines properly.
- The tap water in Armenia is not harmful to people and is actually therapeutic. So, opt for that instead of the bottled water that can later become a waste.
Air Quality and Pollution
When you go to Armenia, you would notice the natural surroundings a lot throughout the land. However, it is not enough to reduce air pollution in the cities, which is at an all-time high rate. In fact, according to reports, the air pollution in this country is even more than in Istanbul and Moscow. In fact, as per the New York Times 2019 report, the levels in the cities were as follows.
- Vanadzor - 103µg/m3
- Yerevan- 153µg/m3
- Stepanakert - 75µg/m3
- Gyumri- 104µg/m3
These were the worst possible levels in that year, and not a huge change is visible recently either. Currently, the annual rate rises to at least 33µg/m3, which is not a safe level. So, you would need to take the correct precautions if you have any lung diseases or an asthma condition when visiting the area.
Respect the Culture
Armenia is so full of different types of people and lifestyles, and that influences its culture highly. It perfectly merges both traditionalism and modernity, and the people there are very involved in all things artistic.
Given its geographical placement between Asia and Europe, the country incorporates a lot of different influences and honors them well. Full of exciting arts, literature, music, architecture, and more, it is no wonder why so many people travel to this country.
When you visit the place, the mixture of so many colorful and diverse lifestyles in all its cities would surely make you want to stay longer. Not to mention, the people of this country are very welcoming too, and they are truly devoted to their history and culture. It would surely make you want to know more about them, and stay for the diverse arts and tastes.
Top 10 Places to Visit
Every year, a lot of tourists visit Armenia. However, the count of them is not the highest, despite the overall huge number of visitors. averaging at thousands. The region has some wonderful cities, and you would love to have a holiday trip to each. You can discover new areas and old landmarks, learning more and more about the interesting history of this country.
Now, to make your trip more exciting, we will tell you about some lovely places which you must go to.
- Saint Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral (Yerevan) - When you are in Yerevan, you should make visiting this beautiful cathedral a top priority. You would certainly love the spiritual ambiance, and here you can wish anything from your heart. Never miss this opportunity because you may not get it again.
- Black Fortress (Gyumri) - It is the best fort in Gyumri where you can go and get to know about the national heritage of Armenia. This will give you a fair knowledge which you can share later with your beloved relatives and friends.
- Mount Maymekh (Vanadzor) - This mountain is located in the city of Vanadzor, and everyone loves visiting this place, for its look and natural ambiance. From here, the views are fascinating, and you would also adore the calmness you would feel amidst nature. Rather than having any second thoughts, just try it and get a very fair idea about this place.
- Saint Hripsime Church (Vagharshapat) - It is one of the finest churches in Vagharshapat, which was built in the 7th century. After coming here, you will learn a brief history of the city and know some of its significance. Without having any questions, just visit the area and get the best experience of your life.
- Vahanavank Monastery (Kapan) - This is a famous monastery established between the periods of the 10th-11th century. It tells you about the cultural heritage of the country and its importance. While this is not up to every traveler's taste, you have to visit it first and then form your own opinion. And more often than not, you would surely appreciate the peaceful atmosphere of the area.
- Lake Parz (Dilijan) - It is a very small lake based in Dilijan where you can go boating and enjoy the whole city all around. You would enjoy the calmness you feel there, and it will surely add to your overall holiday experience. So, do not miss giving this place a visit.
- Tsaghkadzor Ski Resort (Tsaghkadzor) - If you love skiing and want to experience it to the fullest, then this is the best place. It is famous for skiing and many other sports activities. Everyone loves it because this is an experience hard to find in other places of Armenia.
- Ziarat Yazidi Temple (Armavir) - This temple is situated in a small village of Armavir, and here you can also worship the god. It is said that if you wish for something with all of your heart at this spot, then it will definitely come true. So, give the place a visit, for sure.
- Saint Hovhannes Church (Abovyan) - This church is modern, but here you feel the presence of Jesus Christ. Come here during the daytime, and you will get the peace and relaxation you desire.
- Ijevan Arboretum (Ijevan) - People mostly call it an uninteresting place because it does not have anything exciting. But when you discover some new things in this arboretum, then you will definitely enjoy the experience. Instead of listening to other people, just visit here on your own and fall in love with the Armenian landscape.
Now when it comes to exploring the cities of Armenia, then these 10 places are not enough. You also have to try out places like city parks and museums which are present in different cities.
- Play City (Yerevan) - It is an amusement park in Yerevan where you can take your children. Here, they will enjoy many fun-filled activities and have a lot of fun. So, to make your young ones smile brightly, take them here.
- Lcher (Vanadzor) - If you want to have a family picnic, then this is the most suitable park. Come here with your family and spend a very memorable time with them.
- Dilijan National Park (Dilijan) - This park is the best example of greenery and you would experience lively sights when you visit. Here, you will notice some plants and flowers which will attract you and see animals in their natural habitat, as well.
Unfortunately, in Armenia, you would not get beaches near the cities. After all, it is locked from all sides by land. However, there are some districts where you would find some of the most fascinating water bodies. These are mainly lakes, but you would still have a fun and refreshing time beside them.
- Matenadaran (Yerevan) - It is a landmark where you would get to see some manuscripts of the 17th century. You would surely learn a lot about the past of Armenia and its people when you visit this spot. So, when you reach Yerevan, mark it as a very important spot in your travel diaries.
- Vazgen Sargsyan House-Museum (Ararat) - In this museum, you will notice information like how the prime minister of Armenia was assassinated. If you are in Ararat, then you must definitely visit this place and know some amazing things about it. Whoever visited here has given some of their best ratings and reviews.
- History Museum (Yerevan) - You will notice the popularity of this museum when you check the internet to research the best places to go to in Armenia. The reason behind this is that it has some popular historical artifacts and sculptures. And for history buffs and non-fans too, going to this area is a good plan.
Armenia is not a culture that is entirely one-note; everyone would find something different and fun to appreciate in the entire land. That is no different for their food either, with diverse items that would make your taste buds hum in happiness.
From mouth-watering meats like Lyulya to healthy vegetarian dishes like Zhengyalov, the diversity would satisfy basically everyone. And some dishes like the Dolma come with variant styles too, whether you prefer meat or vegetarian food. So, you would not be disappointed about missing out on any mouthwatering cooking.
- Traditional Local Restaurants
You would find different foods from other countries, too, if that is what you are craving. But, without a doubt, the traditional Armenian food is to die for, prepared with eclectic spices and tasty yet healthy ingredients.
When you are visiting Armenia, you definitely need to try out the traditional dishes. Indeed, they are delectable in look and in taste, and you would find various types of the same dish too. Some of the most popular traditional Armenian foods you should try out are khorovats, sarma, lavash, and the national item, harissa.
Some restaurants that serve these types of dishes are mentioned here.
- Dolmama-Armenia's Restaurant
- Lavash Restaurant
- Our Village
- Vegetarian and Vegan
It is common for many travelers to be craving vegetarian food in Armenia, too. And luckily for them, there is a wide variety of such options in this country that are both healthy and extremely mouthwatering. As for those who want vegan dishes, they would find many such dishes like the pasus tolma, mshosh, and more.
Some of the best places that serve such items that you can visit are:
- Pine House
- Dr. Veggie
- Gwoog Gastrohouse
- Street Food
Moreover, if you visit a new place and do not try their street food, you have not really visited. It is that simple. Certainly, Armenia is full of many exciting dishes to try, and a lot of them are the ones available on the streets. Savory, sweet, and all things delicious, get prepared to feel an explosion of flavor when you try them out.
Some of the street foods you should try out in the different Armenian cities are shaurma, barbecues, and more. Even popular Western fast-food chains are available in this country if you are in the mood for some KFC. So, you would find the flavors of different areas at these places, and experience an overall mind-blowing 'foodgasm'. Seriously, you should definitely take cuisine tourism through this country, and fall for the place furthermore.
After you are done with the food, and even during, the next thing you would want is a glass of drink. It can be either something refreshing after the meal or something to complement the food. Either way, a cool (or hot) beverage completes the tasting plate, and Armenia is full of different types too.
Indeed, whether you prefer alcoholic drinks or something healthy, there are many drinks that are traditional to the land. In fact, the country has its own version of coffee or tea, too, prepared mainly 'a la Turc'. It would taste different than a regular cup you are used to, and the Armenians add other ingredients too. Like, canella, mint, or thyme, to name a few.
There is a traditional drink in Armenia too that is mainly a type of mineral water. It is good for health and gives relief from varying types of health problems. So, if you are feeling unwell, ask for a glass of Jermuk and relish in the calming taste. It comes mainly from the Jermuk province, and the mountainous water is fresh and refreshing.
When you are in Armenia, chances are that you would not find a store full of bottled water at all times. Your saving grace, then, is the tap water; and luckily, that is highly drinkable in Armenia. Coming from the high mountains, the natural water in Armenia is safe and tasty.
Moreover, there is an interesting thing that you should try out when you are in Armenia. And that is the water from the water fountains. Popularly known as the Pulpulak, such fountains are beautifully constructed and found in many areas. And the water in it is fresh and cool too.
- Organic cafes
In case you are more into organic food, luckily you would find some cafes that specialize in such in Armenia. Made of fresh natural ingredients in a healthy space, these spots serve delicious food. So, give them a try if you are in the mood for organic food during your travel plans.
Some of the best organic cafes in Armenia are mentioned below.
- The Green Bean
- Eat & Fit Healthy Food Cafe
- Crumbs Bread Factory/Cafe
If you are in the mood for something alcoholic, you can try out the Armenian alcohols too. Indeed, there are many types of it available in the region, like wine or vodka. And they are made mainly in the region, harvested, brewed, and served for everyone. The two things you should definitely try out here are its Artsakh vodka and the Armenian cognac. So, going to the breweries should be next on your list, for sure. Some of the best ones are named hereafter.
- Alaverdi Draft Beer
- Blonder Beer House and Brewery
- Tovmas Craft Beer
- Dilijan Brewery
- AM Group
Armenia is full of many beautiful locales given its mountainous region and dense forestry. So, travelers looking to enjoy some outdoor-sy fun can enjoy themselves on these rough terrains. You can do things like hiking or eco-tours, and there are possibilities for other exciting activities too. Some of these fun plans include sky-diving, cycling, zip-lining, and more. Not to mention, there are many cultural spots here too that many people would enjoy visiting.
Rest assured, you would find something or the other to do in Armenia that would surely excite you.
- Yoga and Retreats
After a stressful time, you would want to get some time and space to yourself to reflect and heal. Yoga is one of the best ways to do so, and it is good for the body, mind, and soul. And, when you go to Armenia, you would get the chance to take part in such relaxing retreats. You can find some options for yoga or other self-help retreats online, so research well.
When you are going to another country or city, chances are that you would not spend only a few hours there. More often than not, staying overnight for a few days is the main possibility, and you would need good accommodation for that. Indeed, there are many options you can choose from when it comes to the living space, and it is important to choose the right one.
If you want to travel in a safe manner, it is important to consider good and environment-friendly places to stay at. Not only are they enjoyable and good for you, but also they believe in environmental preservation. So, they limit the usage of harmful and polluting things in their building and healthy use products.
You would find many such green hotels having a big green surrounding amidst natural landscapes. Of course, they provide many important and customer-friendly features like free Wi-Fi, food, parking, and more.
There are some really good green hotels you can plan your stay at in Armenia.
- Harsnadzor Eco Resort
- Finca Cafetera El Balso
- Eco Hotel Las Palmas
- Hotel Mocawa Plaza
- Ecokayan Dilijan Resort Hotel
- HyeLandz Eco Village Resort
Hostels and Guest Houses
Traveling in itself is a costly plan as you would have to consider a lot of things like living area, food, travel, etc. So, realistically, it is possible that some of the travelers would not have enough money left to afford green hotels. The costs of the rooms are high. And many of them who want to save money go to the regular hotels instead.
Surely, if this is an issue that you are going through, you can opt for the guesthouses and hostels in Armenia. They are most pocket-friendly, and a lot of the owners personally make sure that all guests are well taken care of. Also, many such places do not use environmentally-harmful materials and follow a simplistic and safe design element. So, you can definitely choose such hostels and guest home areas instead.
The following are some of the best places you should check out in Armenia.
- Armenia Hostel
- JR's House
- Grand Hostel Yerevan
- Sochi Guest House
While hotels and hostels are good choices of accommodation in a new area, they are not great for long-time stay. So, if you are planning on staying in Armenia for a month or more, it is better to rent an apartment. Indeed, it would save you a lot of costs, which would be higher in hotels for sure.
Plus, taking a place near to your reason for the visit would give you a chance to acclimate to the culture. You would get to know the locals better. And you would have your own private space to go to when you are not in the mood to socialize.
There are many rentals available in the Armenian cities, and you can opt for any of the following.
- Golden Rest Sevan Peninsula
- Ararat B&B
- Hillside Apartment Tsaghkadzor
One of the best living plans you can engage in is the crowd surfing option. To elaborate, some locals open their own homes for travelers to stay in. Certainly, it is a very immersive experience, and you would get the chance to connect with the local families in Armenia. While this would give you a cultural experience in a more close-up manner, you need to research your choices well. Most of these ads appear online, and you can reach out to people through websites.
If you want to enjoy a relaxing time out in the open, camping is one of the activities you would surely enjoy doing. Luckily, you would get that chance in the camping grounds around the country. Armenia does have beautiful mountainous areas and there are some campgrounds present for people. Plus, some of them have extra amenities like free WiFi as well.
Some of the popular camping areas you can check out in Armenia are given below.
- Tatev Campgrounds
- Gavarr Campgrounds
- Shahnazar Campsite
|Central Armenia |
|Lake Sevan Region |
|Northern Armenia |
|Southern Armenia |
- Yerevan - The capital, and by far the largest city.
- Gyumri (Shirak Marz) - Second city.
- Vanadzor (Lori Marz) - Third city.
- Dilijan (Tavush Marz) - Popular forest resort known as the "Little Switzerland" of Armenia.
- Jermuk (Vayots Dzor Marz) - famous for its mineral waters, which come out at very high temperature and can be enjoyed at the spas. Ski lifts are under construction.
- Tsaghkadzor (Kotayk Marz) - Armenia's ski destination.
Getting There and Moving Around
In the question of touring in Armenia, you would have to consider the transport-related questions too. Like, which is the best manner of going to the country? What kind of on-site transports are available for travelers to safely use?
Given its landlocked position, the best route of reaching Armenia is using a plane. There are no water bodies nearby so that particular path is out of the question. Overall, though, you would encounter many manners of reaching Armenia. And depending on where you live and what options are available for you, you can make your travel choice.
Without a doubt, the most common way of reaching Armenia is through air travel. In fact, many airlines offer direct one-stop trips to the cities of Armenia, like Yerevan. Some of the common airlines in question are Delta, Red Wings, Qatar Airways, and Georgian Airways.
Of course, it depends on where you are from, and if there are any direct routes from your country. For the best travel experience, you need to book your tickets in advance or fly in connector flights. But mainly, the direct flights are from Europe or you need to take the route through Georgia.
As for the airports that allow international entry, there are two present in the major Armenian cities. These include the Shirak International Airport in Gyumri and the Zvartnots International Airport in Yerevan.
In terms of inter-city travel, buses are definitely one of the best mediums available. You would find bus routes from the Yerevan airport to throughout the city and other areas of Armenia. As for the bus stations, there are mainly three available that people can get buses from. However, if you are wondering if there are any buses from other countries into Armenia, only two countries allow them. They are Iran and Georgia, from where you can board a marshrutka to Armenia.
For travelers who live near Armenia, taking a plane ride is not the most economical choice. Luckily, there are trains available that travel to and from Armenia to the nearby cities. However, recently, the lines to Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed off. But the one with Georgia is still active. And a train runs through there on some unspecified days to Armenia and back. So, you can take that choice of travel.
You would also notice train connections to other outside cities like Budapest, Bratislava, and Prague. The trains themselves are of the old-school Soviet-era variety, so they move at a slow pace. Yet, you would enjoy the old-fashioned feel of such trips. Of course, there are modern trains here too if you desire a more comfortable ride.
One of the most common ways of traveling around Armenia is through hitchhiking. Truly, this is not something most people would generally feel comfortable about. However, doing so in Armenia is quite safe, so you would not have any problems.
In fact, you would also get the chance to grow a connection with the friendly locals. This is one of the best draws of this means of travel, and you can do it without worries. Additionally, you can access some websites that offer this possibility online if you are in a hurry.
In terms of touring the various cities and smaller villages in Armenia, you would get several transport-related choices. However, despite the good level of tourism in this country, the transport system could still use work. Mainly because there is not a huge number of people who visit this region in droves.
However, do not stress as you would find many good vehicular and private modes of travel. In fact, in many of the major cities, the availability of Uber and taxis are present. However, the drivers of the regular taxis may not always disclose the right fare. You need to improve your bargaining skills beforehand, and that would help you save travel money, for sure.
- Walk: To be honest, there is no reason why you cannot walk around the country as your main transporting plan. Truly, the cities in Armenia are generally quite near to each other. So, you can easily walk from one place to another, taking a few rests in each city. It is both money-saving and gives you the opportunity to see the beauty of the country's lands. Not to mention, it is good for your body to roam around the place and even trek up to the nearby hilly areas. Plus, there are some walking tours such as the Yerevan Free Walking Tour, and you can take part in them.
- Bicycle :There are many bicycle routes for travelers and locals to travel on in Armenia. It is one of the best activities to do through picturesque locations, and you would enjoy it well. Some of the best routes you can take when in Armenia are the Shirak–Lori Touring Loop, Sevan National Park Lakeside Loop, and more.
- Electric Vehicles: Armenia is one of the countries that took up the electric vehicle plan, and you can avail of these services. While the vehicles are slower than motor options, they are more environment-friendly. Plus, you can sit comfortably and view the surroundings well in such cars. So, it is definitely something that you would appreciate.
- Public Bus: In terms of traveling through the cities of Armenia, you would get the chance to use public transports like buses. There are two types in general- the bigger ones and the minibus or marshrutka. So, you can board them and move around the land easily. However, if you do not know the native language well enough, that would be problematic for you. You see, a lot of the local transport employees are not fluent in English, so that would cause some difficulties. However, if you are living in a hostel or with someone local, they can suggest the right routes. As for the cost, the bus rides are quite affordable so you would not have much of a problem.
- Tram, Train, and Subway: Indeed, there are many intercity trains available in Armenia, and the costs are quite manageable too. Such trains travel daily and connect the capital city of Yerevan to many Armenian cities. These include Ararat, Araks, Hrazdan, Yeraskh, and Gyumri.
Moreover, the line to Hrazdan stretches up to Lake Sevan during the summer period. So, you can use this transportation method to travel around Armenia quite quickly and at a low rate.
Other similar means of transports include the trams or trolleybuses and subway. In the concern of the former, there are only 5 routes of it present in Yerevan. The metro system is also present in Yerevan, but the other cities in Armenia lack both.
In terms of shopping, you would find many high-end stores in Armenia. But, the ones that you would surely enjoy are the eco-friendly stores that sell recycled or handmade goods. And there are many of these that you would find all over the Armenian markets when you look around. Some of the markets where you would get to experience sustainable shopping are mentioned below.
- Nairian shop
- Food Markets
If you are looking for the best food shops that sell Armenian delicacies, you can stroll down the food markets. Some good ones feature rows and rows of stores that sell natural Armenian ingredients. Plus, you can buy some delicious food items too, like sweets, meat, traditional snacks, and more.
- Flea Markets
To find the traditional and old-world items of Armenia, going to the flea markets will help. You would find many handmade products in these stores, and buy them to take a little part of Armenia for yourself. So, some of the flea markets you should visit on your trip are mentioned hereafter.
- Second-Hand Stores
One of the best ways to do responsible shopping is to invest in second-hand products. Not only will it help reduce waste, but also many of them have a vintage charm. Plus, you will save money too, as most of the second-hand products give perfect functions without the high market price. You would have to ask around to see which stores in Armenia you can go to. One example is given below.
- Second-hand Belgium
Some brands take the environment-friendly concern to heart and produce amazing items made of sustainable materials. This is available in Armenia, too, and you can buy these products for yourself. One of the best eco-fashion brands that you would come across is Z.G.EST. So, give these cloth types a chance and do your part for the environment.
Recycling and waste management are not in the best condition in Armenia, as a whole. However, in the last decade, many activists have created campaigns and groups who focus on this issue. And they are successful in bringing about a change to some degree. Apaga is one of the leading organizations. Indeed, it has done a lot to introduce recycling in Armenia, like Smart Recycling Containers, pickup service, etc.
Waste management, too, is not at its highest point in the country of Armenia, though the government has implemented some changes. It is mostly attempted in Yerevan, and the other cities are comparatively less-developed or hygienic at this point.
Work and Study Abroad
For those looking for study scholarships or job offers, you can find such in regards to Armenia. The foreign policy for this in Armenia is quite good, though it could use some improvements. Regardless, the work and education conditions are favorable in this country, and you can try them out.
A lot of the colleges in the cities have international study programs for interested students. And the degrees in arts and more are quite worthwhile. Plus, there are some job positions available in various of its sectors too. You can apply to these, whether you want to work part-time or full-time.
If you are a student and want to study in Armenia, you can apply for the exchange programs. Indeed, there are many that some of the universities that are engaged in, with countries like the United States. So, you would notice many programs that allow studies-related integration in Armenia, for a few weeks or more.
It is a good manner of improving international relations through education. And you can grow a connection with Armenian locals after you take part in such programs.
There are programs for Au-pairs available in Armenia if that is something you are interested in. There are some particular websites that handle this interest, and you can try contacting them. Certainly, it is a good way to form a bond with a local family and earn some money at the same time.
One of the best ways to connect with Armenia and the people living there is through integrating with them. Many of them form initiatives to help improve the environment and the cities. And you can volunteer for these measures and help improve the conditions in Armenia.