Looking for new and unforgettable experiences?, Consider travelling to Armenia. If you have a small budget and do not want to contact a travel agency and want to organize everything by yourself, then we have a great plan for budget travel. Read on, to learn how to experience 3 days in Armenia and only spend $200 (per person).
Day 1 – City Tour around Yerevan
The organization of your travel to Armenia should, of course, start with booking accommodation, and if you are a budget tourist then the best choice is a hostel. There are number of hostels in Yerevan, especially in the city center, and most importantly, most of them have very high ratings and positive reviews from tourists. We can recommend Grand Hostel Yerevan, where prices start from 3000 AMD ($6.25) for dorm beds from and 13,500 AMD ($28) for private rooms. Kantar Hostel, located in the center of Yerevan and known for its modern, cozy rooms and offers dorm beds for 6900 AMD ($14.40) and private room for 24,000 AMD ($50). So prices in Yerevan hostels range from 3000 to 25000 AMD. You can choose any option you want.
After arrival in Yerevan, we advise to start your trip with a city tour. Yerevan is the ancient capital of Armenia, which is already 2,797 years old! Strolling around its streets, you will see that most of the buildings here are built of pink stuff. That is why capital is sometimes called “the pink city”. Yerevan is a real town-museum. There are lots of important cultural and historical attractions. Begin with a tour to «the heart» of Yerevan – the Republic Square, which was constructed by the chief architect of Armeniab Alexander Tamanyan in 1924. The area has a well-thought-out design and is framed by the most famous buildings of the capital: the State House, the National Museum (entrance fee – 1000 AMD($2)), and the Marriott Hotel. The design of these buildings is a combination of national style and the best of world architecture.
It’d be better to continue the tour along the North Avenue, which is the most modern and luxurious part of Yerevan. It offers fashion boutiques, souvenir shops, cozy cafes and restaurants, prestigious offices and much more. On the avenue, lively atmosphere reigns: you can always see the strolling youth and hear the sounds of live music. The avenue will lead you to one of the most beautiful and famous buildings in Yerevan – the Opera and Ballet Theatre. The building was also designed by the architect Alexander Tamanyan, who used the best traditions of medieval Armenian architecture and stylized the traditional national ornament.
A 15 minute-walk to the Mashtots Avenue, and you will find yourself near one of the most important sights of Yerevan – Matenadaran museum. Matenadaran is an Institute of ancient manuscripts with one of the largest collections in the world. Its funds comprise more than 17 thousand ancient manuscripts and more than 100 thousand old archives. Entrance to the museum costs 1000 AMD ($2), and if you want to take guided tour, then you need to pay 2500 AMD ($5.20).
And, of course, no trip is complete without tasting national dishes. Yerevan offers a huge selection of restaurants and cafes which will suit every taste and pocket. For the budget traveler a good choice would be a restaurant «Karas» – national food chain, which can be found in different parts of the capital. Armenia is famous for its delicious and varied cuisine – one of the oldest in the region. So make sure to taste the most popular dishes during your travel. The first day you can order white fermented soup «spas» (aprox. 500 AMD ($1)), Armenian barbecue (aprox. 2600 ($5.40)), a salad of green wheat «tabule» (500 AMD($1)).
Evening is the best time to stroll around the city center, experience the colorful atmosphere, admire the evening lights, enjoy a cup of coffee in the cozy cafe, and if your visit falls on the period from May to October, you can see a delightful show of singing fountains in the Republic Square.
Day 2 – Drive to Khor Virap
The next day you can go to the Monastery of Khor Virap, which is located 42 km from Yerevan, near the border with Turkey close to Pokr Vedi village. This fortress monastery is a place of pilgrimage, one of Armenia’s most revered places, sacred to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The monastery was built in the period from VI to XVII century over the dungeon, where for 13 years suffered St. Gregory the Illuminator the founder of Christianity. Khor Virap Monastery is a place which offers the most delightful and unforgettable view of Mount Ararat. If the weather is clear, you will get an experiences that is difficult to be conveyed in words. The majestic and beautiful, Mount Ararat has always been and remains a symbol of homeland for all Armenians. You can reach the monastery by bus or a minibus, which departs from the rail way station “Sasuntsi David.” They will take you to Artashat town, where you can take a taxi to get to the monastery. The other option is to take a taxi in Yerevan, but it will cost several times more expensive (about 5000 AMD($10,4)), unless of course, you find traveling companions.
After returning to Yerevan, you can dine in one of the most famous restaurants in the capital – Tavern Yerevan. It offers delicious dishes of the national cuisine. A good choice would be harisa (1400 AMD($3)) – a nutritious dish prepared of wheat and chicken that are boiled together until smooth. And it is impossible to imagine Armenian table without dolma (800 AMD ($1.60)) – minced meat wrapped in grape leaves. As a side dish you can try salad “Armenia” (1600 ($3.30)).
Day 3 – Drive to Echmiadzin
The next day, we recommend going to the town of Echmiadzin, which is located just 20 km from Yerevan. Echmiadzin is the sanctuary of the Armenian Apostolic Church, worshiped by Armenians all over the world, a kind of Armenian Vatican, religious and spiritual center of the whole country. It was here, that after the adoption of Christianity in 301, the first Christian church in the world was built – the Cathedral of St. Echmiadzin. The town also houses the residence of the Patriarch Catholicos of all Armenians, Spiritual Academy, the Synod of the Armenian Church, the library and the monasteries of St. Hripsime, Gayane and Shoghakat. The drive to Echmiadzin by taxi will cost aprox. 2500 AMD ($5.20).
You can arrange your dinner in Echmiadzin in the Unity Cross which is a charitable organization set up to support and give cultural education to children, mostly to children from poor families. Children here are engaged in different creativity and craftsmanship. The tourists, who visit the Unity Cross, will be able to admire their works, visit the museum of relics of Armenian history: paintings, photographs, rugs, next to which children’s works are exposed. There is also a wax museum, which shows the well-known characters of Armenian fairy tales. You can also watch theatrical performances of children and taste delicious local dishes. Most famous is Echmiadzin kyufta (about 1500 AMD ($3.10)) – a meat dish, perhaps one of the most famous in Armenian cuisine. Try also the assortment of Armenian cheese and tasty meat snack – basturma.
After your return to Yerevan, you can walk along the main Abovyan Street and visit the beautiful souvenir shops that sell gorgeous colorful national souvenirs, modern and ancient carpets and many other interesting things. If your visit falls on Saturday or Sunday, it is best to go to Vernissage – the souvenir fair, which is held on weekends. It is located right next to the Republic Square. Artists, craftsmen, jewelers, potters, seamstresses bring here their amazing works, and every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am you can buy any souvenir or works of art you like. Here you will find paintings, jewelry, wood products, magnets, musical instruments, national souvenirs, carpets, costumes, semi-precious stones, rarity, and much, much more.