The best time to visit Armenia is the beginning of September. That’s because this is the time that combines a mild but still warm weather, fresh fruit and vegetables and a lot of festivals around the country. But that’s just based on my personal preference for the ways of time-pass. Some people love winter sports, others enjoy time spent on a sandy beach, and some can’t imagine a proper trip without museum hopping.
Since everyone’s preferences differ, the best time to visit Armenia for you depends on what you want to do in our country. So, here I’m going to share some insights on what you can do in Armenia in each season. Also, weather plays a significant role in the results of your planning. So, hopefully my post will help you decide what is the best time to visit Armenia, for you personally. And if it does, let me know on Instagram or Twitter, with #ArmeniaTravelTips.
“Now” is the best time to visit Armenia
First, let’s get one thing straight – the best time to visit Armenia is now! The country has been slowly opening up to visitors from abroad in the recent years. And that is a unique opportunity for many of you to experience Armenia in its authentic ways.
Consider that our tourism infrastructure is not as developed as that of many travel destinations that have been popular for a while. That is why Armenia seen by travelers is still very much the same as the one that locals get to experience. I’m afraid that in 5-10 years there will be much less of its authentic vibe left.
Naturally, as tourism grows, streets fill up with tacky souvenir shops and street-vendors pop-up next to every interesting sight, trying to sell you some plastic rubbish. So, if you can visit Armenia now, do it! Don’t postpone your trip to Armenia too much, because you might not find it as unique and authentic if you come too late.
Factors to consider when choosing the best time to visit Armenia
When planning a trip our country, consider the following two key factors:
- the weather in Armenia
- the purpose of your trip to this country.
The weather in Armenia
First, the weather. Armenia has all 4 seasons of mother nature well-expressed. Our country usually experiences a highland continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. The climate also varies by altitude. For example, southern areas have a more subtropical climate than the northern parts of the country.
And in Yerevan in particular, the temperatures can easily vary by 10 °C (18 °F) in different parts of the city in any given moment, depending on the district’s altitude. It’s crazy! So, all in all, it’s safe to say that visiting Armenia you can experience a proper winter-vacation as well as a fun beach holiday (at lake Sevan), and of course anything in between. So, choose the right season for you.
The purpose of your stay
Now, what do you want to do the most when visiting our country? You can find interesting activities in Armenia all year around. Museum nights with free entry, food, beer and wine festivals, music and dance events and many others – just pick what makes you tick the most. We even have a hot air balloon festival in Yerevan, which is 100% worth attending if you are looking for visually overwhelming experiences. So, check out some activities I pointed out below to decide what’s the best time to visit Armenia for you, personally. Those activities are for your short-term visits, but if you want to experience Armenia by living and working there for some time, you should check out my other blogpost on doing internship programs in Armenia.
Armenia in winter
When: late November – February
|Key cities / towns
|-1 – 2 °C / 32 – 36 °F
|-3 – 0 °C / 27 – 32 °F
|-8 – -4 °C / 18 – 25 °F
Winter in Armenia usually starts sometime between late November and mid-December. January is full of snowfall and marvelous winter views, especially up in more mountainous regions of the country. That’s the North and North-East of Armenia. February still has a very winter-like feel in Armenia, but it’s typically milder.
Visit Dilijan national park
Dilijan is a great place to visit during winter in Armenia. The nature of Dilijan is stunning, and the atmosphere of the national park is very serene and peaceful. Since it’s so far away from the noise of the big city, here you can enjoy nice walks, recharge your batteries, eat great food and do a whole lot more. Check out my post about Dilijan national park to learn more. Spoiler alert – they have hobbit houses there. 🙂
Go skiing in Tsaghkadzor
If you like skiing then winter might be the best time to visit Armenia for you, if you make sure you visit our best ski resort town called Tsaghkadzor. It’s been a popular winter weekend getaway among locals for many years. And now, it seems like it’s increasingly gaining popularity among travelers too.
Compared to other ski resorts around the world, Tsaghkadzor is very affordable, even though it has a decent, modern skiing infrastructure. It is a great option for those who love a good dose on adrenaline. For breathtaking views from the top of the mountain take a ride with a rope-way – you won’t regret it. And those of you who are looking for real extreme experiences – check out the zip-line. To learn more about Tsaghkadzor and other popular winter spots check out my post on the best ski resorts in Armenia.
Enjoy vibrant Yerevan in winter
If you prefer the city environment during winter, you would certainly appreciate the fact that, unlike during summer, Yerevan is a lot more vibrant during the day in winter months. It’s understandable, given that in summer the temperatures during the day are too high for people to hang out on the streets. So, people tend to go out well past the sunset. Though, it’s different in winter – you can see people roaming around and enjoying their daily lives in the streets of Yerevan at any time of the day.
Have fun at different ice rinks in Yerevan
I really recommend you check out our ice rinks while in Yerevan. These are typically the most popular spots among the locals in winter. Especially the Armenian youth loves them. And you’d be surprised to see how skilled some of them are, considering that generally winter sports are not practiced very seriously here. You can find my favorite ice rinks in Yerevan in these three locations:
- Swan-lake right in the city center – very vibrant and packed,
- Winter park – outside of the city center, but big and super popular, offers a ton of other activities as well (including an ice-bar),
- Indoor rink inside the Karen Demirtchian sport and concert complex – the building itself is impressive enough and worth checking out.
They rent out ice skating equipment at all three locations, and you can also enjoy some hot drinks in the area.
Eat khash if you visit Armenia in winter
Armenia is famous for its delicious cuisine. And the winter season creates the exact condition when I think it’s appropriate to eat one of our traditional dishes – Khash. It’s a very thick, heavy but delicious broth. Armenians eat it throughout the year, but you can only truly enjoy it when it’s cold outside.
If you want to learn more about it before giving it a try, check out my post about must-try Armenian food. It might not be the right thing for you, once you learn how it’s made. 🙂 Oh, and if you do decide to try it, don’t forget that it goes well with a ton of garlic, lavash flatbread and, of course, vodka!
Armenia in spring
When: March – April
|Key cities / towns
|5 – 14 °C / 41 – 57 °F
|Dilijan / Yenokavan
|3 – 9 °C / 37 – 48 °F
|3 – 7 °C / 37 – 45 °F
Spring in Armenia starts in March, but it is relatively short, because by mid-May Armenians typically experience a nice summer weather. It can rain a lot, especially in the North of the country, and especially in April. May is also quite rainy but coupled with a warm weather and blooming nature it doesn’t feel overwhelming. So, I consider May a summer month in the climate of Armenia.
Experience romantic moments in spring
Awakening nature and regular rains make this time of the year a perfect fit for a romantic trip to Armenia. Local couples often take short breaks and travel around the country, visiting towns and villages like Dilijan or Yenokavan. It’s very easy to enjoy a romantic atmosphere and connect with nature in these remote and peaceful locations. And, of course, I have a couple of tips on romantic places in Armenia for you. So, check them out for inspiration.
One special note. If you happen to be in Yerevan on April 30th, check out the list of events associated with the International Jazz Day festival. Since Yerevan has a pretty big jazz scene, there are a lot of cool venues that throw special events on this day. I really recommend it!
Enjoy food festivals in Armenia in spring
March kicks off the festival season in Armenia. Byurakan village is a particularly interesting one when it comes to this. Throughout March and April, it joins forces with other nearby villages to organize various food and folk festivals. There is an event happening there pretty much every weekend. And, since these villages are in only a 40-minute car ride from Yerevan, it’s pretty easy to get there. Check out my post on taxi in Yerevan, if you don’t want to drive in Armenia and would prefer an affordable taxi ride instead.
You may also find it interesting, that despite the fact that it’s a village, Byurakan has a fully functioning observatory, and you can visit it for a symbolic price!
Spring is the best time to visit Armenia for women
You’ve probably heard of the International Women’s Day which is celebrated in many countries on the 8th of March. Well, Armenians took this celebration to the next level. We, actually, celebrate a whole month dedicated to women, from the 8th of March to the 7th of April. The latter is the Armenian national holiday dedicated to motherhood and beauty.
So, women in Armenia enjoy a month of concerts, theatre plays, exhibitions and other cultural events celebrating womanhood. Many businesses offer discounts and freebies to female customers. You can also often see police and members of various organizations give out flowers to women on the streets. In general, this is a very cheerful and uplifting time of the year in the Armenian society. So, it can be a good idea to visit Armenia in spring.
Armenia in summer
When: May – September
|Key cities / towns
|20 – 30 °C / 68 – 86 °F
|15 – 22 °C / 59 – 72 °F
|10 – 16 °C / 50 – 61 °F
Most people say that summer is the best time to visit Armenia. And I get that! Who doesn’t love a sunny weather and a ton of activities available throughout the country in the summer season? But! Don’t take the weather lightly here – our summers are hot, like really hot! Moreover, they are quite dry as well, with very little rainfall pretty much everywhere in the country apart from its North-East. I have prepared a list of Armenia’s best places that are perfect for summer visits, so check it out if you plan a summer trip.
Especially if you are planning to spend most of your time exploring urban areas in Armenia, staying away from green nature, be ready to face temperatures up to 40 °C / 104 °F, and even higher sometimes. By the way, if you are an urban explorer like myself, check out my post about top cities to visit in Armenia. You may find some inspiration for your trips there.
Thankfully, Armenia offers an abundance of great summer activities both in cities and outside of those. And even if you end up melting under the summer sun of Yerevan or Gyumri, museum hopping can be a great way to escape from the heat during daytime. Speaking of which, since I’m a firm believer that Armenian summer starts in May, I must mention our Museum Days while talking about summer season.
Summer sun escape – visit Armenian museums
Museums in Armenia typically operate throughout the year, since they’re predominantly targeting locals and schools. So, they are less dependent on seasonality of the travel industry. And since most of them are well equipped with air conditioning, here goes yet another reason for us to visit them in summer.
If you are planning to visit various museums during your stay in my motherland, the best time to visit Armenia for you might be mid-May. This is the time when usually an event called Museum Days takes place.
On this special occasion, most museums tweak their opening hours to accommodate as many visitors as possible. Moreover, people get to enter those museums for free for the whole day. On this day many museums also open some sections or expositions, that are otherwise not accessible for the public. So, it can be a unique opportunity to see something that you won’t be able to experience on any other day.
While in Yerevan, make sure you check out Matenadaran. It’s the largest repository of old Armenian manuscripts. Here you can learn a lot about the Armenian history and language. What I find very curious is that here you can see how our unique alphabet evolved into different type fonts and even gave birth to new forms of art.
Another really interesting option in Yerevan is the Modern Art Museum. It’s a relatively small museum with a symbolic entry fee (around 1 EUR) but it has a very nice exposition of modern Armenian art and frequent temporary showcases of international art.
Sevan lake – what makes summer the best time to visit Armenia for many
Although Armenia is not the typical place for a beach holiday, we do have our own “sea” – Sevan lake. Sevan is the pearl of Armenian nature and a go-to spot for many locals during the summer months. If you decide to visit the lake you can use some of the quick and cheap options to get from Yerevan to Lake Sevan.
Located in a rather mountainous area, Sevan has a relatively short beach season – typically July to mid-August. That’s the time when the water is the warmest, therefore that’s also the time when the lake is the most popular among the locals and visitors. You can choose to spend time on one of the many wild beaches or camp sides. Alternatively, you can pay a bit extra and enjoy your day on a private beach of one of the many hotels and entertainment venues around Sevan.
Speaking of beaches and entertainment areas near the lake, you can check out my blogpost about the beaches of Lake Sevan. I have given detailed reviews on both private and public beaches of the lake.
Don’t forget about the Sevan Music Festival in August
It’s impossible to write about Sevan and forget to mention the Sevan International Music Festival. It is a pretty chill event that takes place at one of the public beaches on lake Sevan, typically in August. There is no entrance fee and the atmosphere here is great. Positive vibes, quality rock music (in a rather wide understanding of the genre), and sometimes contemporary interpretations of Armenian folk music – that’s what you can expect to experience here.
Those who like to be a bit more active would enjoy sports activities organized on-site, arts and crafts workshops and other kinds of entertainment. And, of course, you can swim in the lake, which has a perfect temperature in August. Check out the festival’s instagram page (see below) to learn more.
Hiking and extreme sports are popular in summer in Armenia
As a pretty mountainous country, Armenia is becoming an increasingly popular destination for those who enjoy a good hike. Obviously, summer is the best time for hiking in Armenia. You can run away from the summer heat of the city and find refuge in much cooler mountains. Besides, the countless beautiful views you can enjoy here are another great reason to hike in Armenia.
Apart from rather wild routes, nowadays you can find several pretty decently organized and marked hiking trails around the country. There are several hiking organizations that work in cooperation with the EU to develop hiking infrastructure in Armenia. Check out my post about hiking in Armenia to learn more about some cool hiking trails in the country.
Extreme sports are also gaining popularity in Armeniq, both among the locals and the visitors. Paragliding, hot air ballooning, off-roading, zip-lining, etc. – you can really find a bunch of different activities here. I recommend visiting Apaga resort in Yenokavan and checking out their local Yell extreme park. Here you can have a lot of fun if you’re looking for a boost of adrenaline.
See the video on ‘David’s been here’ channel below. I love his unfiltered joy and fear so perfectly captured in this episode, where he visits this extreme park. Don’t get dizzy! 🙂
Summer is the best time to explore Armenian festivals
There are a lot of different events and festivals happening throughout the country in summer time. You can find the most up to date information about these events by visiting the official website of the Armenian Tourism Committee and typing in the word “festival” in the search bar. Alternatively, check out Tomsarkgh.am app I mentioned in my post about the most useful apps in Armenia. That app always helps you find the most up to date info about events and festivals. Anyway, I’d really like to point out a couple regular events that, I believe, make summer the best time to visit Armenia for many travelers.
Yerevan Wine Days
Yerevan Wine Days festival usually takes place in the beginning of May. It’s an amazing opportunity to try out multiple different wines offered by local producers, to pair it with delicious cheese and to enjoy some music and dancing. Last time it took place in Saryan street, which is known for its abundance of small wine-shops and restaurants. So, wine lovers could have a true blast here!
Dolma festival in Hnaberd village
Still in May, but towards its end, you can attend our Dolma festival in Hnaberd village. It takes about 1,5 hour to get there from Yerevan by car. Dolma (or Tolma) is a traditional Armenian dish – wine or cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and various seasonings. Vegetarian options are also very common.
Since cooks from all over the country come here to participate in a tolma making competition, there are dozens of variations usually available. So, you will surely find your favorite tolma here. Also, consider pairing attending this festival with a visit to Gyumri – the second largest city in Armenia.
Mulberry festival in the Armenian Stonehenge
Mulberry festival that takes place in Karahunj “observatory” north of Sisian town is a must-see event if you happen to be in Armenia in July. It takes a painful 3,5 hours car ride to get there, but what you get to experience there is absolutely worth it!
Karahunj is a Stonehenge-like man-made assembly of rocks with peculiar holes in them. It predates the British Stonehenge by more than 3000 years, and it’s believed to be used as an observatory in the past. But, to me, it seemed to be more like a place where sacrifices would be made. It’s weird, but very-very interesting. And the view of the mountains that opens from there is also beautiful.
The festival brings together people who love mulberry in all it’s different incarnations – including mulberry vodka! 🙂 Since this berry is not as widely known outside of Armenia, we pride ourselves on dishes and beverages we make with mulberry. And it’s a delicious, sweet berry – you are going to love it! Expect cakes, jams, smoothies and other goodies made of mulberry.
They also run a workshop on traditional methods of mulberry vodka production. I’m not 100% sure it’s legal, actually! 🙂 But the festival is widely supported by the local authorities, as well as by the Tourism Committee.
Barbecue festival in Akhtala
If you are traveling in Armenia in August, you absolutely must attend the Barbecue festival in a small town up in the North called Akhtala. The town itself offers visitors stunning surrounding nature, an ancient monastery and a fortress to explore. But this Barbecue (or as we call it “khorovats”) festival is the main reason to visit it for most people. It’s a competition between chefs from all over Armenia. Meat, vegetables, fish and even fruits – everything gets barbecued here, Armenian style. And it is so yummy!
The town is located in a very remote area, almost at the border with Georgia. It will take you around 4 hours to get there from Yerevan. But a good way to organize this trip would be combining it with a visit to Sanahin and Haghpat monasteries, which I mentioned in my post about UNESCO sites in Armenia.
Armenia in autumn
When: October – mid-November
|Key cities / towns
|7 – 15 °C / 45 – 59 °F
|2 – 7 °C / 36 – 45 °F
|5 – 10 °C / 41 – 50 °F
Well, autumn in Armenia is very short, but really nice! The hot summer is typically replaced with a gentle autumn some time at the beginning of October. It also often happens that you get some really hot days here and there, pretty much anytime till the end of October. So, when packing your luggage, make sure you take outfit that’s suitable for various types of weather. That will help to make sure you enjoy your best time visiting Armenia, without melting on the sun or freezing in the mountains.
Autumn is the best time to enjoy fruits in Armenia
This is the proper harvest time for many of our traditional fruits. Especially when it comes to grapes and pomegranates – two very signature fruits of our country. There is no better time than October to enjoy them. This is also the only time of the year when you can find young semi-fermented wine in Armenia. It is called ‘matchar’ in Armenian. I don’t really know why it’s not widely served everywhere. I think it’s delicious – it’s sweat and sour, and it has a pretty decent alcohol content as well. 🙂
Autumn is great for city hopping in Armenia
Since cities in summer time are somewhat too hot, particularly during the daytime, I think Autumn is more suitable for those who want to explore various cities in Armenia. Apart from Yerevan, you may want to visit Gyumri, Jermuk or Vagharshapat or my evergreen – Dilijan.
Honestly, I believe Dilijan is beautiful at any time of the year. But visiting it in Autumn feels somewhat special. It’s generally colder up there in the North-East, but the colours of the surrounding nature are so stunning in Dilijan in Autumn, that the cold doesn’t bother me.
Areni Wine Festival – the best time spent in Armenia in autumn
Areni is a village in the South-West of Armenia. It wasn’t particularly prominent until an international team of archeologists discovered an over 6000 old cave there in 2007. This cave later turned out to be the world’s oldest winery, as they found a wine press, storage jars and other items indicating wine production. Since then Areni wine factory has been opened in the village and since 2009 each year, in October, the Areni Wine Festival is held here.
It’s a major festival of Armenian wine and food from all over the country. Music is everywhere, people are enjoying wine and dancing. Performances, workshops, crafts market, competitions for visitors – this all can be enjoyed for an entry fee of only 2500 dram (less than 5 EUR). Once you pay, you get a special Areni glass, which you then use to taste any wine at the festival (for free).
I strongly recommend visiting it, and staying overnight, because to be properly enjoyed this should be a day-long experience. Luckily there are several hotels in the area, so you can book your stay easily. And take my tip – book your stay beforehand. The festival is very popular among both locals and travelers, so you’re likely to struggle to find accommodation if you decide to do it at the last moment. Get a glimpse of what this festival is like in the video below.
Final thoughts on the best time to visit Armenia
So, this was an overview of all fours seasons in our country, that will hopefully help you choose the best time to visit Armenia, for you personally. As I said at the beginning, my favorite time for traveling here is September. But everyone’s preferences are different. The weather in Armenia and the types of activities available in different seasons play a major role in choosing when you should travel to our country. Let me know which season you prefer – find me on Twitter or Instagram and use #ArmeniaTravelTips. Enjoy your stay!
Featured image credit: Photo by MaeM on Pixabay (CC)