If you are going to start (or maybe continue) your trip from Tbilisi to Yerevan and beyond, congratulations – you made a great choice! Armenia is an absolute must-see destination for anyone who is exploring the Caucasus region. Yes, we might not have such advanced infrastructure for travelers as in Western Europe, but there is a lot to see, eat, drink and enjoy in Armenia. In this post I’m going to lay out the possible options for traveling from Tbilisi to Yerevan to help you plan your transportation with ease. I’ve also got some useful tips for you at the end, so stick around!
Take a plane from Tbilisi to Yerevan
Even though the distance is not long, there are direct flights from Tbilisi to Yerevan. Traveling by plane is the fastest way in this case. This option combines time-saving and a comfortable trip. The flight takes about 30 minutes. You can easily book tickets online. The price of the tickets varies from 130 EUR to 270 EUR, depending on how far in advance you book it.
The direct flights are operated by Georgian Airways, six days a week from Tbilisi to Yerevan, and only three days a week in the opposite direction. Sometimes there are also seasonal flights from Tbilisi to Gyumri. You can read more about this airport in the northern Armenia in a separate post I wrote.
I must say that despite it being a relatively expensive option, I absolutely love it! The flight is so short, that you barely notice it happened. In fact, they don’t even announce on-flight safety instructions, because there is no time for that. 🙂 I’m not sure it’s a good thing! But that’s just how it is, and somehow I love it. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see the structure of Yerevan from a bird eye perspective?! And if you decide to travel to the city center on Yerevan airport bus, that’s absolutely possible! The bus works every half hour during the day and costs less than a dollar.
A train from Tbilisi to Yerevan
The distance between Tbilisi and Yerevan is only 290 km (180 miles) but the train trip takes about 12 hours. For those of you who are used to taking trains in Europe this may sound ridiculously long, and I get that! But you need to keep in mind that these are old soviet-era trains (which, by the way, provides an unmatched atmosphere) and they cannot go much faster than 30 km/hours. And, to be honest, I’m happy that they don’t, because I’m not sure it would be very safe given the age of these trains. In any case, taking a train from Tbilisi to Yerevan can certainly be a unique experience.
You can book the overnight train that runs on every odd date of the month (3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.), from the end of September to June. It leaves Tbilisi at 8:20 PM and arrives to Yerevan the next morning at 07:50 AM. If you take this train, you’d be crossing the border at around 11:00 PM. So, keeping in mind, there is a border control, you need to make sure you are awake and can show your documents to the border agent.
Already from mid-June, the train runs every day, leaving Batumi at 03:35 PM, and Tbilisi at 10:16 PM, arriving at 07:25 AM to Yerevan.
The Tbilisi-Yerevan train tickets can be bought in the following three categories, which directly influences the level of comfort and privacy you get during your journey:
|Carriage class||Sleeping arrangement||Price|
|1st class||2-berth sleeper||35 EUR|
|2nd class||4-berth sleeper||25 EUR|
|3rd class||open-plan sleeper||20 EUR|
The tickets can be acquired at the Tbilisi Railway Station. Do not forget to take your passport with you, because you need it to purchase the ticket.
All trains arrive to Yerevan’s main train station, which is conveniently connected with the Yerevan metro system though Sasuntsi David metro station. Check out my post about Yerevan metro to learn how to use it in order to avoid congested roads in the city and escape the summer heat.
Take a bus to Yerevan
In case you want almost the same level of comfort, but more flexible hours, as well as a more affordable ride price and a faster trip then choose a bus. But for that, you need to book your ride in a travel agency. Many offer tours, accommodation, meals, and transportation, but you can find some agencies that sell the transportation service separately and you will not have to buy the full tour package. So, while you are in Tbilisi, look for any travel agency that offers bus tours. Luckily, there are dozens of them. And then, simply ask for this option.
The ride takes 6 hours, the ticket price (one-way) is about 15 EUR. The round-trip ticket is usually a bit cheaper than a “double one-way”. Make sure to clarify the luggage weight and pieces that are allowed to take with you.
Marshrutka – a minivan from Tbilisi to Yerevan
Travelers say it’s a big experience if you succeed to travel by a minivan, or as locals say, by marshrutka. Marshrutkas to Yerevan usually gather in three places in Tbilisi:
- Tbilisi – Station Square (Sadguris Moedani)
- Ortachala Bus Station
- Avlabari, which is an Armenian neighborhood in Tbilisi
Station Square buses usually fill more quickly and effectively and leave Tbilisi on time. The Avlabari and Ortachala buses are sort of aiming to run according to a schedule, but you still have to wait to have the bus filled up before it leaves.
I recommend Avlabari, because it is by the metro station, so it’s very convenient to get there when you’re leaving Tbilisi.
Tbilisi – Yerevan minivans depart from all three stations roughly once in 2 hours, between 9 AM and 5 PM. The average price is 10 EUR, and these marshrutkas have the destination written on the front glass of the van. This is what it looks like in Georgian, Russian and Armenian. I hope it will help you identify the right marshrutka. 🙂
The road takes 5-6 hours. You will have to come out from the van at the Armenian border to have your documents checked. Have your passport prepared, as well as have some information about where you are going to stay in Armenia (a booking confirmation would suffice, even if it’s a reservation you can cancel later if your plans change). If you want to see what the journey by a minivan looks like, I recommend you check out this video on Loz’s Leasure channel, where they share their experience of the whole trip with marshrutka.
Tbilisi to Yerevan by taxi
Intercity taxis are of two types – private and shared. Private taxis agree to take only you or your group, meanwhile shared taxis would only leave when all the seats in the car are filled up. The prices usually need to be negotiated with the driver. You can pay anywhere between 50 EUR and 200 EUR for a one-way ride from Tbilisi to Yerevan. The final price depends on how many people are in the car and on your negotiation skills.
By the way, if you want to know more about negotiating with taxi drivers, I wrote about it in my post covering taxi apps in Armenia. Check it out to see my step by step recommendations for price bargaining with taxi drivers. 🙂
You can find shared taxis to Yerevan in Ortachala Bus Station. There are also online options to find shared rides, try blablacar.com for example. You just enter the city names and travel dates and it will show you the drivers that are ready to carpool you to Yerevan.
My tips for your journey
- Try to exchange some money to have Armenian drams in cash while you’re still in Tbilisi. Anywhere between 10 and 20 EUR should be quite enough. There are many money exchange points in Tbilisi city center, while there are none on the way to Yerevan if you’re traveling by land. So, it’s worth being equipped with currency beforehand.
- You will have multiple stops on the way to Yerevan if you’re traveling by a bus, a marshrutka or a taxi, and you might want to buy something to eat or drink. This is safe, but I’d recommend avoiding products that contain meat or dairy in summer months, because those go bad quickly on the hot summer weather in Armenia. Also, keep in mind you’ll need small denomination banknotes with you – those under 5000 AMD would be very useful.
- Also, if you do not travel by plane, consider taking some food and (especially) water with you for the road. As I said, there will be stops on the way, but you never know how they will be planned by the driver.
- Once you arrive to Yerevan, get connected! If you do not have an international SIM card or a roaming service, get an Armenian SIM card. They are very cheap and easy to find. The operators are Ucom, Beeline, VivaCell. They all have quite acceptable services and rates and I wrote a whole post about the best mobile sim card in Armenia, which should help you make the right choice.
- When you arrive to Yerevan, you will need to get to your hotel or apartment. Therefore, make sure you have your address written down (preferably in Armenian or Russian) or take a screenshot of it to show it to a local taxi driver. Also consider installing one of taxi apps that are popular in Yerevan, e.g. GG taxi. The minimum fare for taxis in the city is 600 AMD (4 km) and you will typically pay 100 AMD for each additional km. A ride within the city center would normally not cost you more than 600-800 AMD.
That’s it! These was my list of best ways to get from Tbilisi to Yerevan and my tips for your journey. I wish you a pleasant and safe travel and to enjoy the Armenian capital. If you found this post useful, please let me know! When you cross our border, smile and take a picture of your first steps in Armenia. Then tweet or instagram your pictures to me with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I’ll be looking forward! Cheers!
Featured image credit: Photo by Joxovurd: armlur.am on Wikimedia (CC)