Discover the “09 Things to Do in Armenia” guide, featuring activities such as exploring ancient monasteries and enjoying Armenian cuisine. Armenia, a landlocked nation between the Black and Caspian Seas, is a hidden gem with a rich history, culture, and natural beauty.
In 2024, its allure will have grown, offering exciting experiences for adventure, history, and cultural exploration. Armenia is a hidden gem with ancient history, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality. With the world slowly reopening, Armenia is poised to become a top travel destination. Make the most of your 2024 journey in Armenia with these must-do activities.
Here are 09 unforgettable things to do in Armenia in 2024, from exploring centuries-old monasteries on mountaintops.
1) Hike to the summit of Mount Ararat
Towering at an impressive height of 5,137 meters (16,854 feet), Mount Ararat stands as a remarkable landmark in Turkey and holds great significance as a symbol of Armenia. With its majestic snow-covered peak adorning the nation’s coat of arms, this colossal mountain has fascinated both daring explorers and devoted pilgrims throughout the ages, enticing them to undertake a demanding yet fulfilling expedition to reach its summit.
Mount Ararat is a challenging and physically demanding adventure, requiring careful planning and preparation. The ideal season is between late June and early September, with stable weather and manageable snow cover. A climbing permit from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism is required, and a licensed mountain guide is essential. Physical fitness is crucial, and proper gear, including hiking boots, warm clothing, waterproof layers, and a first aid kit, is essential.
Trekking Routes to Mount Ararat Summit:
- The South Route, starting at Doğubeyazıt village, ascends through various camps.
- Base Camp 1 (2,200 meters) provides basic amenities and meals.
- Base Camp 2 (3,300 meters) serves as a staging point for acclimatization before the summit push.
- Camp 3 (4,200 meters) offers stunning views and prepares climbers for the final ascent.
2) Delve into history at the Geghard Monastery
Geghard Monastery, located on the stunning cliffs of the Azat River gorge, is a remarkable example of Armenian architecture. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it showcases a harmonious combination of rock-cut churches and traditional masonry structures. This extraordinary place carries a rich history that spans centuries, revealing captivating stories of ancient rulers, unwavering religious faith, and exceptional artistic achievements.
Geghard Monastery: A Historical and Spiritual Site
- In the 4th century, St. Gregory the Illuminator established a hermitage, which was later transformed by Armenian royalty into a grand complex dedicated to the Holy Lance.
- Geghard Monastery is renowned for its rock-cut architecture, including the Katholik, a masterpiece of intricate churches, chapels, and tombs.
- Despite historical upheavals, the monastery has managed to rise from the ashes.
- Today, Geghard Monastery is an active place of worship for the Armenian Apostolic Church.
- Visitors can explore the surrounding cliffs, discover hidden caves and hermitages, and explore a small museum showcasing religious artifacts and treasures.
- Geghard Monastery is a living testament to Armenia’s rich cultural heritage and profound faith.
3) Stroll through the vibrant streets of Yerevan
Yerevan, the “Pink City” of Armenia, is a vibrant city filled with history, warmth, and a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and smells. Its vibrant streets offer a sensory feast, blending ancient history, modern energy, and warm Armenian hospitality. Visitors can explore Yerevan on foot, feeling invigorated and charmed by its vibrant atmosphere.
Yerevan’s Vibrant Streets and Attractions:
- Republic Square: Republic Square is a grand plaza with cascading fountains, opulent buildings, and lively cafes.
- Northern Avenue: Yerevan’s Champs-Élysées, a pedestrian-only boulevard with art galleries, boutique shops, trendy cafes, and street performers.
- Cascade: A monumental stairway with cascading waterfalls, offering panoramic views of the city and Mount Ararat.
- Cafesjian Center for the Arts: A haven for art lovers, housing a collection of modern and contemporary art.
- Yerevan Old Town: Charming labyrinthine streets with traditional Armenian houses, local artisans, and freshly baked lavash bread.
- Vernissage: A weekend flea market with an eclectic mix of souvenirs, including traditional Armenian carpets, handmade jewelry, vintage clothing, and local artwork.
4) Observe the Armenian Genocide Museum with reverence
The Armenian Genocide Museum is a place of reverence and contemplation dedicated to commemorating a dark chapter in human history. It serves as a place to honor the memory of the countless lives lost and the profound impact it had on the Armenian people and history. It is a place of profound respect and contemplation, aiming to prevent such tragedies from recurring.
Observing the Armenian Genocide Museum with Respect:
- Reflect on the historical context and personal stories shared.
- Maintain a quiet and respectful demeanor. Avoid loud conversations or frivolity.
- Pay respects at the Genocide Memorial.
- Reflect on the importance of tolerance, acceptance, and speaking out against injustice.
- Spread awareness about the Armenian Genocide and the importance of understanding history. Share your experience and encourage others to learn more.
5) Relax in the geothermal waters of Jermuk
Jermuk, a spa town in Armenia, is known for its natural, heated mineral waters and picturesque mountains. It offers a serene retreat for stress relief and pure relaxation. The therapeutic properties of geothermal waters have been recognized for centuries, making Jermuk a perfect escape for those seeking to unwind and recharge. As the “Armenian Switzerland,” Jermuk is a must-visit destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Jermuk’s Therapeutic Experience:
- Enjoy the warmth of natural hot springs, heated by volcanic activity, with temperatures ranging from 35°C to 43°C.
- Experience a complete spa experience with indoor and outdoor pools with unique temperatures and mineral compositions.
- Benefit from the therapeutic properties of the minerals in the waters, including easing joint pain, improving skin health, and boosting the immune system.
- Enjoy traditional Armenian massages, mud treatments, saunas, steam rooms, and refreshing dips in nearby Arpi Lake.
- Explore the surrounding landscapes, including lush forests, hidden waterfalls, and Mount Shikeh’s breathtaking views.
- Refuel with delicious Armenian cuisine, including khorovats, dolma, and lavash, and try local honey and cheese.
6) Explore the ancient ruins of Garni Temple
Garni Temple, located in Garni, Armenia, is a Greco-Roman architectural marvel that reveals the soul of Armenia’s pre-Christian past. Nestled amidst dramatic cliffs and the rushing Azat River, it whispers tales of sun gods, forgotten rituals, and enduring resilience. The temple stands as a testament to Armenia’s rich pre-Christian past and its enduring artistic legacy, offering a journey back in time to the picturesque village of Garni.
Exploring Garni Temple: A Historical Journey
- Built in the 1st century AD by Armenian King Tiridates I, dedicated to the sun god Mihr.
- The architectural style blends Greek and Armenian influences, featuring ionic columns, intricate friezes, and Hellenistic motifs.
- Intriguing features include a triangular pediment showcasing Greek gods, intricately carved columns depicting mythical creatures, and a mysterious inscription on the eastern frieze.
- Beyond the temple, visitors can explore the ruins of the royal palace and the Roman bathhouse.
- Located atop a cliff overlooking the Azat River Gorge, it offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
7) Discover the beauty of Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan, located in the majestic Armenian mountains, is a stunning gem with its vast expanse, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking scenery. Its rich cultural heritage and serene atmosphere make it an ideal destination for travelers seeking relaxation, thrilling adventures, or a glimpse into Armenian history. Whether you’re seeking tranquility or a glimpse into Armenian history, Lake Sevan offers something for everyone.
Lake Sevan Overview:
- Largest freshwater lake in the Caucasus region, offering stunning views and scenic trails.
- Offers a playground for adventure enthusiasts, offering activities like swimming, kayaking, windsurfing, jet skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and exploring hidden coves and beaches.
- A spiritual and cultural hub, with the Sevanavank Monastery and Hayravank Monastery offering historical sites and tombstones.
8) Hike through Dilijan National Park
Dilijan National Park, located in Armenia, is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. With its lush forests, soaring mountains, and hidden waterfalls, it offers breathtaking scenery and invigorating trails. The park is known as the “Switzerland of Armenia” due to its crystal-clear rivers and majestic mountains. Hiking through this breathtaking landscape will leave you breathless and invigorate your soul. This Armenian gem is a must-visit for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.
Dilijan National Park: A Variety of Trails and Enclaves
- Offers a variety of trails for all fitness levels, from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes.
- Trails lead to iconic destinations like Lake Parz, Mount Ararat, and medieval monasteries.
- The park is a haven for diverse flora and fauna, offering a serene environment for hikers.
- The park offers a serene setting for picnics, allowing visitors to enjoy local food and share stories.
9) Visit the Tatev Monastery
Tatev Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Armenia’s Syunik province, is a stunning architectural marvel situated on a basalt plateau. Located on a dramatic cliff overlooking the Vorotan Gorge, it is not just a historical landmark but also a spiritual sanctuary and thrilling adventure. The monastery’s blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty makes it a must-visit for any traveler to Armenia, offering a captivating experience that will stay with visitors long after their visit.
Tatev Monastery Overview:
- Founded in the 9th century, Tatev serves as a monastery, university, and fortress.
- Features intricate carvings and frescoes in the main church, St. Peter and Paul, and other buildings.
- The Gavazan, a unique swinging column, is believed to grant wishes.
- Visitors can take the “Wings of Tatev,” the world’s longest aerial tramway, for breathtaking views.
- Beyond the monastery, visitors can explore hiking, ancient cave dwellings, and local Armenian culture.
- Wine tastings at local wineries are also available.
What are the best times to visit Armenia?
Both the autumn (September–October) and spring (April–May) seasons provide beautiful weather and fewer people. But June through August may be a great time of year to attend outdoor events and festivals. Winter (December–February) offers cozy encounters and picturesque scenery.
Is Armenia safe for tourists?
In general, travelers may feel comfortable traveling to Armenia. Common sense measures, such as being alert to your surroundings and staying away from lonely regions at night, are still always a good idea.
In what language is Armenian spoken?
The majority of tourist destinations, particularly Yerevan, speak English, despite Armenian being the national language.
Why should I visit Armenia in 2024?
In 2024, Armenia will present fresh chances to discover its colorful festivals, undiscovered jewels, and always-changing attractions.
Which historical locations in Armenia should you not miss this year?
To fully immerse oneself in Armenia’s rich history, visit well-known locations such as Tatev Monastery, Echmiadzin Cathedral, and the old city of Ani.
Are there going to be any special festivities in 2024?
Indeed, Armenia organizes a number of festivals, such as the Taraz Fest, which features traditional Armenian attire, and Yerevan Wine Days, which honor the nation’s winemaking legacy.
What outdoor activities can I enjoy in Armenia this year?
Adventurers may go skiing in Tsaghkadzor in the winter, hike along the trails in Dilijan National Park, or try paragliding in the stunning scenery.
How can I experience local cuisine in Armenia this year?
Indulge in the delectable cuisine of Armenia by taking cooking courses, seeing busy food markets, and dining on traditional delicacies at neighborhood restaurants.
In 2024, what are some responsible travel tips for Armenia?
To ensure a beneficial influence on the environment and communities, observe local customs, patronize local companies, and take into account eco-friendly transport choices.