The country of Armenia is so underrated when it comes to tourism. Perhaps, it won’t even qualify in your shortlisted vacation spots for the next holiday.
If you are trying to find a country that offers all that a tourist (or a backpacker) wants, and still spend very less for the overall trip, look no further and include Armenia in your list of top countries to visit.
I spent around 1000 SAR (270 USD) only for 6 days and 5 nights inclusive of everything. You can check my other blog posts for a breakdown of costs and places visited below:
Check whether you’d need a visa to enter Armenia. Around 56 countries, most of which belong to the European Union, can enter Armenia visa free.
If you require a visa to enter but qualify for an E-Visa, then obtaining one is super easy. Log in to their official website ( https://evisa.mfa.am ) and follow the procedures. You will be asked to upload a copy of your passport and photo and pay the visa application fee of USD 6 (It’s thaaat cheap!) through a credit card. Wait for a day or two to receive the visa in your inbox. Make sure you enter the correct email address or you will have to re-apply. Print the visa and take it with you to show at immigration.
Some countries qualify for a visa on arrival. However, I would recommend against it as the time spent at the immigration and visa issuance is so not worth it.
I am glad that I didn’t go for the visa on arrival option because despite producing a copy of my approved online visa, they still needed to type down information such as place of residence, number of days of stay, hotel booking page etc. Do note that they do NOT verify any of this. It is purely for their records. If you have visited Azerbaijan prior to coming to Armenia, expect to be asked why. They won’t reject your entrance into the country but will ask you a few questions before stamping the passport.
If your country neither qualifies for an online visa nor a visa on arrival (such as those who are nationals of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal) you’d have to apply in person at the nearest Embassy in the country that you reside in.
The currency used in Armenia is called Armenian Drams (AMD). At the time of writing, 1USD= 485 AMD and 1SAR= 129 AMD.
Best time to visit
This depends on what you’re looking for while visiting Armenia. If snow and harsh sun is NOT what you want, the best time to be there is between May-June and September-October. Avoid late July and August if you don’t want to get fried in the hot sun.
Top 10 Reasons to Visit Armenia
I was just like you. The only reason I thought of giving it a chance was that it was close to the country that I was visiting, Georgia. I had absolutely no expectations or research done. But, guess what? I was pleasantly surprised.
Here’s why you should visit it:
1. Their currency is so devalued which is a good news for tourists and travelers like us.
2. Because of this, you can eat like a king (or a queen) 🍽️🍽️🍽️ No kidding!
We went to dine at one of the top 5 star restaurant of the capital city, named Sherep. Compare it to the Globe in Faisalya Towers, Riyadh, if you want to get an idea.
The ambiance, service, staff, food- you name it- was superb! We ordered 2-3 appetizers, mainly kebabs and wings, 2 main course meals, drinks, and an over the top dessert.
When the bill was brought, it costed us around 14000 AMD and we, being budget travelers, thought that we’d go bankrupt for paying so much if this continued. But, when I converted the Armenian drams to Saudi Riyals, it only equaled to 100 SAR!!!
That dessert alone would cost more than 60% of the bill if ordered anywhere in Saudi Arabia 😂😂😂.
3. Try their unique cuisine especially the grilled items (juicy kebabs, yum yum yum 😋)
If you’re in Yerevan, go to Karas for juicy and really cheap, filling kebabs! Best part is that they are open 24/7. Yahooo!
4. Transportation within the city and elsewhere is so convenient
Buses and marshrutkas are found in abundance and hardly cost 100-200 AMD ~ 1-2 SAR (0.5 USD) within the city and 1000-2000 AMD ~ 10-30 SAR (2-3 USD) for destinations outside the main city.
If you want to opt out and take taxis, it costs anywhere between 400-1000 AMD ~ 4-10 SAR for a good distance between 10-30 minutes. That’s really cheap! GG taxi works just fine there and it helps you get rid of the problem of communicating with the taxi drivers as they don’t speak English.
5. It is completely safe to walk around
Armenian shops and malls close down by maximum 12am but a lot of food joints and sim shops are open till late in the night. The streets are mostly well light around the Republic Square area and you can enjoy taking leisure walks exploring the capital, Yerevan on foot.
6. If you’re in Yerevan, climb up the Cascade to enjoy spectacular views of the city
It is heavily guarded with security and policemen making it completely safe to sit there for hours relishing the amazing view. Do grab a jacket with you as it can get quite windy up there. There are no closing hours. It’s open 24/7. Think about watching the sun rise ⛅ here! 😍😍😍✋
7. The landscapes are beautiful and natural
The fact that tourists are not flooding to this country and as a result, polluting it, is exactly why you should visit it before it too falls prey to irresponsible tourism. Mighty mountains, lakes ( Lake Sevan being the largest lake in the Caucasus region, check my post about it here ) , green fields and beautiful valleys- what more can we ask for?
8. Historical structures are calling
Armenia is home to a lot of Monasteries, churches and cathedrals. Most of the famous destinations feature either an ancient Monastery or a Cathedral/Church. Khor Virap is the most sought after monastery that lies near the border of Turkey. Sevanavank Monastery is another one that is worth visiting since it is situated at Lake Sevan.
9. Enjoy Spring water for free!
Yes, you heard that right! Free water fountain outlets are easily available everywhere you go and it is cold, sweet and very refreshing!
10. Go a little extreme and try adventure sports
The scenery is so perfect lined with rich, fluffy clouds at the top and lush, green mountains hosting flocks of sheep and horses and little houses and it all looks bliss. Now, imagine if you can get a 🐦 bird’s view of all this? Paragliding is easily available and the great news is that you do NOT have to learn to fly. Tandem paragliding can easily be done with the help of an instructor.
If that’s not enough, how about Ziplining from one end of the mountain to another while looking far beneath at the depths of the forests and valleys? To know more about Ziplining at the Yell Extreme Park, check out my post here.
Been to Armenia? What did you like the most there? 😎