By Vic Gerami
YEREVAN – Armenia is one of the fascinating places in the world. An underrated nation for decades, until recently when European tourists found out about its rich millennia-old history, ancient monuments, majestic countryside, the lush highlands, and much more. I just came back from Armenia. It was my third time there and the most memorable.
One of the oldest nations in the world, Armenia is a destination for all kinds of travelers. The small country in the farthest part of eastern Europe has incredible natural beauty, cultural wealth, and artistic tradition.
Armenia is home to the oldest churches, cathedrals, and monasteries in the world. Most are UNESCO World Heritage sites. Mount Ararat and Ararat Valley, where Noah’s Ark landed, are there; pagan temples such as Garni, first century; the world’s oldest winery, 6,100 years old. Yerevan is 2,802 years old: the capital of Armenia, it is vibrant and full of life. Jermuk: World-renowned natural hot springs. Music: Armenia has a rich music tradition, from symphonies to opera, jazz, to hip hop. Tavush: World’s longest zipline, 2,680 meters. World-class casinos, and ski resorts, wine and cognac: Armenia is known for its wine and cognac on the world stage, ancient astronomical sites, petroglyphs, hiking, caving, paragliding, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, canyoning, rafting. Lake Sevan: High altitude lake and a resort town with beautiful monasteries and nightlife. Annual festivals, museums, galleries, and of course incredible food for foodies with discriminating taste.
The best news? Armenia is very inexpensive for North American and European travelers. I highly recommend staying at the heart of Yerevan near Republic Square, the shopping district, the best restaurants, and nightlife. Armenians are very friendly, hospitable, and love visitors.
Most people in Armenia speak English to various degrees. A lot of ex-pats from the US live there, so language is not an issue. Below are my 15 favorite places to visit in Armenia and hotel recommendation, restaurants, and nightlife.