Vacations In Armenia

  • 1983

Set between the Black and Caspian Seas of western Asia, Armenia is well off the beaten travel path. Many travelers visit only briefly while en route to the larger tourist hubs of neighboring Iran or Turkey. However, from its white-capped peaks and gorgeous countryside to its hidden monasteries, ancient ruins and the surprisingly vibrant capital city of Yerevan, Armenia has enough cultural and natural attractions to keep travelers busy for much longer.

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Cultural Attractions

Yerevan, the country's undisputed cultural capital, offers burgeoning nightlife, restaurants, cafes, museums and arts scenes.

With the snow-capped peak of Mt. Ararat in the background, Yerevan's broad, Russian-era boulevards, its grand monuments and its lively population make it a must for visitors to Armenia.

Meanwhile, beyond the capital are the monastery of Khor Virap near the base of Mt. Ararat on the Turkish border, the Roman-era temple of Garni, the ancient churches of Vayots Dzor, the 19th-century architecture of Goris in the mountains of Syunik and the charming mountain town of Dilijan, which has been dubbed by Lonely Planet as the "Switzerland of Armenia" and is a great launching point for hikes to the monasteries of Goshavank and Haghartsin.

Natural Attractions

For nature enthusiasts, Armenia's mountains, forests and lakes are reason enough to spend weeks exploring the country.

Mt. Aragats -- the highest peak in Armenia -- and its perennial snow-filled crater is the best-known hike; a selection of tour companies offer guided two- to seven-day treks to its summit.

Other popular hikes in the Caucasus of Armenia are Ajdahak and Hkustup. During summertime, the beaches of Lake Sevan heat up with sunbathers, watersport enthusiasts and lively bars and restaurants in the town of the same name.

Weather

Most of Armenia features a dry climate with bitterly cold winters and hot summers. Spring and autumn have the most comfortable temperatures, the former also featuring countrysides blossoming with flowers and the latter featuring longer days and the most stable weather.

For climbing Aragats and other peaks, July to September is best; these also are the months when Lake Sevan is at its warmest.