Explore the best of Armenia's ancient Christian landmarks and mountainous landscapes with short hikes and comfortable overnight accommodations. Start your trip with a visit to Yerevan's Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Park and Cascade Monument. Visit the 4th-century Khor Virap Monastery, see snow-capped Mt. Ararat, and ride the world's longest cable car in Tatev. End the trip with a visit to the Noratus Cemetery and a 2000-year old Hellenistic pagan temple.
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Armenia's story is an ancient one. By the 4th century, an Armenian kingdom had already risen, adopting Christianity as a major part of its cultural identity. Known as the “Land of Churches,” the highlands of this country still abound with around 4,000 millennia-old monasteries and places of worship. Meanwhile, in the south, you have the modern yet historic capital of Yerevan, which is heavy on culture, food (khoravats is to-die-for), and the brutalist Soviet architecture that defined 20th-century Armenia until its independence in 1991.
When is the best time to visit?
Visiting from April-May or September-October are the sweet spots. Armenia is still relatively undiscovered as far as tourism is concerned, so you don’t have to worry about contending with crowds in summer—but temperatures can reach as high as 104°F/40°C. Conversely, temps in the dead of winter (January) can dip to around 36°F/2°C, although there are good skiing conditions at the resort town of Tsaghkadzor.
Where should you go?
To experience the Armenia of today while also glimpsing its history, visit the capital of Yerevan. Chic cafes, teahouses, and European wine bars exist near rustic taverns and the ancient National Library of Armenia, which is home to thousands of scrolls and historic texts. You also shouldn’t miss the dancing fountains light show in Republic Square.
If you only have time to visit one of Armenia’s historic monasteries, make sure it’s Khor Virap. Located about 40 minutes south of Yerevan and dating back to the 7th century, it sits in the shadow of the ancient biblical site of Mt. Ararat. This is the region where Armenia was first founded in 860 BCE. Needless to say, the views of the monastery and its backdrop are the stuff of postcards.
How many days do you need?
You can explore Yerevan and visit one or two of Armenia’s famous monasteries in four or five days. If you’d like to dive deeper, plan on a week. With 10-14 days, you could plan a comprehensive trip through Armenia and even tack on a visit to neighboring Georgia.
Spend eight days exploring the medieval history of Armenia with this itinerary. You'll go from the streets of the capital city to the mountain and valley scenery, seeking out the historic churches, monasteries, and temples hidden among the hills.
This 9-day itinerary hits Georgia and Armenia's cultural and historic highlights. Visit the multi-ethnic crossroads of Europe and Asia in Tbilisi, explore small-towns in Kakheti, and discover 6th-century Jvari Monastery. Cross the border into Armenia to see 10th-century Haghpat monastery, Sevan Lake, and a 2000-year old Mithran sun temple. End your trip with a visit to Yerevan's Republic Square and nearby Saint Hripsime Church—one of the country's oldest.
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