Best Places to Visit in Armenia
Armenia, a small but lovely country rich in history, is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination. Armenia was the first country to declare Christianity the state religion and boasts some of the most spectacular views in Europe, with the summit of Mount Ararat dominating the country’s skyline.
The mountain is the national symbol of Armenia, and despite its summit on the border with Turkey, the biblical Ararat is considered sacred by the locals – it was where Noah’s Ark landed. Armenia is home to numerous beautiful monasteries that often look truly of extraordinary natural beauty. Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, is one of the fastest growing cities in all of Europe as the country continues to embrace tourism. Let’s see the best sights in Armenia!
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Armenia and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Armenia
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Armenia:
By far the largest city in Armenia, the capital Yerevan is a great starting point for anyone wishing to explore Armenia. The city is home to the magnificent Republic Square and the city’s II. Climbing Cascade Falls is a must to visit the monument to the Soviet victory in World War II. Yerevan is a city rich in history, and a visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial is a must to learn more about the country’s troubled past.
The Vernissage flea market is also worth a visit – it’s open on weekends – and a walk down the Hrazdan Gorge is highly recommended. Most of Armenia can be explored on a day trip from Yerevan, known as the city of cafes. Yerevan also has the only mosque in the country, the Blue Mosque, and the magical underworld of Levin, one of Europe’s most extraordinary attractions.
2. Shikahogh National Reserve
The second largest forest reserve in Armenia, the Shikahogh State Reserve is intact and a large part of it is undeveloped. The forest is thought to be home to animals such as leopards, bears, wild goats, and vipers, and the Shikahogh National Reserve is also thought to be home to around 1,100 plant species, although its fauna has not been fully explored.
The reserve was threatened by a planned highway in 2005, but the environment has successfully lobbied to protect the forest’s future. The reserve also has many beautiful waterfalls to admire.
3. Lake Sevan
Located in the heart of Armenia, Lake Sevan is the country’s largest lake and is a beautiful place to visit when taking a break in the country. The lake is surrounded by some stunning monasteries, the most impressive of which is arguably the Sevanavank Monastery – it provides a stunning scenic backdrop for a relaxing outing.
Windsurfing is one of the leisure activities on the lake, and there are many excellent seafood restaurants to choose from along the shore. Lake Sevan has many popular beaches and is the best place for sunbathing in Armenia as the country has no coastline, and Sevan Bay and the surrounding mountains offer stunning views.
4. Lake Arpi
While Lake Sevan can be very crowded during the tourist season, Lake Alpi feels much more relaxed. Alpi Lake is used for irrigation and hydroelectric power generation and is also the source of the Akhurian River. In 2009, a new park was established around the lake to protect the natural environment and it is known that nearly 100 bird species live in the area. Alpi Lake is also rich in flora and fauna and is a Ramsar Convention Reserve. Alpi Lake has one of the largest Armenian gull colonies, and recreational activities include camping and hiking.
The monastery is one of the iconic features of Armenia and the Noravank example is one of the most beautiful structures in the country. The 13th-century monastery is protected by steep red-brick cliffs. Noravank is famous for its Astvatsatsin (Lady of God) church, and legend has it that the monastery was saved by God during the Mongol conquest of Armenia hundreds of years ago. If you choose to visit only one monastery during your trip to Armenia, Noravank would be a great option – thousands of people visit it every year.
Gyumri is the second largest city in Armenia and a must-see for first-time visitors to the country. Perhaps the best place to see Gyumri’s sights is the Black Castle on the hill overlooking the city. The colossal Armenian Mother Statue can also be found nearby.
Many of Armenia’s most important cultural institutions are located in Gyumri, such as the Dzitoghtsyan Social Life Museum and Gyumri State Building, and the Aslamazyan Sisters House-Museum and the Sergey Merkurov House-Museum. Kumayri Historic District is the oldest district of Kumayri and is home to thousands of old buildings.
The third largest city in Armenia is Vanadzor in the north of the country. Vanadzor is an ideal starting point for exploring the beautiful Lori region, which is undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Armenia. Vanadzor Botanical Gardens is one of the top tourist attractions in the city, and visitors should also consider visiting the Vanadzor Museum of Fine Arts.
The many mineral springs in the Lori region mean that there is a wide variety of wonderful hot springs to enjoy in and around Vanadzor. Although Vanadzor is primarily an industrial city, it also has many theaters, such as Vanadzor’s Bohemian Chamber Theater and Vanadzor Puppet Theatre.
8. Amberd Fortress
Dating back to the seventh century, Amberd Castle is one of Armenia’s most spectacular sights. This fort was formerly one of the main military defense points of the Kingdom of Armenia and can be reached about an hour from the capital Yerevan. However, snow can make the castle inaccessible during the winter months and the weather usually improves in late May. The view from the top of the castle is truly breathtaking and the building itself is stunning. Amberd Castle is just a short distance from Byurakan Village, where the Byurakan Observatory is located.
Armenia’s mountainous landscape makes it ideal for winter sports, and the country’s best ski resorts are in Tsaghkadzor, in the country’s centre. The chairlift is paid by the journey and is one of the most affordable chairlifts in Europe. Tsaghkadzor has some of the best hotels in the country, and the resort is also home to the Senator Royale casino complex, one of the largest entertainment complexes in the country. Tsaghkadzor is also home to the Kecharis Monastery, one of Armenia’s most important religious complexes, dating back to the early 11th century.
10. Upper Azat Valley
The Upper Azat Valley is one of Armenia’s World Heritage Sites, thanks in part to the incredible Gegard Monastery, the region’s most famous. The main church was built 800 years ago, but the history of the monastery dates back to the fourth century AD when it was founded by Gregory of the Enlightenment.
Gelgard Monastery once housed a spear used to crucify Jesus Christ and was brought to Armenia by the apostle Thaddeus, hence it is one of the most important religious sites in Armenia. The Upper Azat Valley is also home to the partially rock-cut church of St. Astvatsatsin.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Armenia. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Armenia, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.