If you love a good bargain, then I have a couple of tips for some extremely cheap shopping in Yerevan for you. Armenia is a country of extremes, and the socio-economic situation here is not different. You can find luxurious shopping malls as well as very modest and cheap shops and markets in Yerevan. As we have a huge demographic of economically disadvantaged people in Armenia, being savvy in matters of cheap shopping is an essential skill for many here.
While it’s relatively easy to find a bargain spot outside of the capital, Yerevan itself may seem expensive if you don’t know where to look for a good deal. Luckily several markets sprinkled around the city offer a great opportunity to enjoy some dirt-cheap shopping in Yerevan. In this post, let’s have a look at some of those spots. And, if you like my tips and decide to check out these cheap shopping spots, share your pictures with me on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips. Let’s dive into this!
Cheap shopping in Yerevan – start with street markets!
If the first thing you think of when I say “cheap shopping” is Primark or TK Maxx, Armenia will disappoint your shopping ambitions. There is no Primark in Armenia, let alone TK Maxx. 🙂 But, we do have a great alternative (that often offers fake brand imitations) – our traditional markets.
So, first things first, check out the main local markets if you are looking to do some cheap shopping in Yerevan! It doesn’t get any cheaper than what you can find in Yerevan’s Malatia Trade Market and in GUM.
Malatia / Bangladesh market – the cheapest shopping is here
Malatia market, also commonly called Bangladesh Market, is considered to be one of the oldest markets in Yerevan. And it’s absolutely gigantic! I remember that, as a child, whenever I went there for cheap shopping, it was a whole-day event and we would come home completely exhausted after all the walking in the intricate streets of this market.
It has a massive clothing section, but also a lot more – from food to furniture. It’s definitely worth visiting, not only for cheap shopping, but also just to experience an authentic atmosphere of an Armenian street market. In my opinion, this is the best market in Yerevan. So, I always recommend visitors to spend at least hald a day there – roaming, shopping, snacking etc.
GUM – don’t miss it!
The other cheap shopping spot you shouldn’t miss is the GUM market in Yerevan. This market, as popular as it is among locals, it is also quite frequently attended by foreigners. It’s conveniently located close to the city center and is often recommended for visitors to check out.
All sorts of cheap clothing can be found here, along with souvenirs and snacks like dried fruit and nuts. Depending on which side you enter it from, at first glance it may seem like a food market. But just keep roaming around and eventually you’ll be surprised by a large clothing section.
Keep in mind that the vendors do not really speak English. But they are very friendly regardless, and always trying to demonstrate their knowledge of 3-5 words in any language you approach them in. 🙂
Learn more about shopping in GUM and Malatia
You can read more about these venues for cheap shopping in Yerevan, as well as other markets in my separate post about street shopping in Yerevan. There you can learn more about both Malatia Trade Market and GUM, watch a video and see the exact location. I also wrote about other popular markets in that post, so check it out.
Hrazdan market – cheap shopping at the footsteps of a rundown stadium
Hrazdan market is located in Athens street, between the Hrazdan stadium and the Dalma mall (Yerevan’s first modern shopping mall). This shopping spot I recommend for cheap buys is a traditional bazaar-style clothes market. To be honest, I’m not quite sure if this is a legit, legal market or vendors simply occupied this place one day in the past and never left since then. But the fact is, many Yerevan residents come here for cheap shopping, and the city authorities don’t seem to bother closing it down.
The atmosphere here is very chaotic. Vendors shout their pitches at passing by potential customers, trying to get their attention. The layout of the area is also something! It’s really disorganized, and everything feels kind of improvised. So, all in all, it has a pretty authentic vibe to it. And, when you consider super cheap prices for everything they sell here – it’s a no-brainer that this is a great spot for somebody who is looking for a good bargain.
To get there, take one of the microbuses from the city center – numbers 4 and 26 will take you right in front of the Hrazdan stadium. And from there, it’s just a short walk to the market.
Average prices for comparison
|Shirt / Top
One more reason to come for cheap shopping to Hrazdan market?
Taking pictures around the stadium may be another good reason why you may want to come here. Since it’s been built it the soviet era, the stadium has never been properly renovated. That creates a perfect opportunity to get some cool shots of industrial, and somewhat rundown, architecture. It’s not pretty, but it makes it more unique.
Yerevan Tonavachar – the cheapest shopping mall in Yerevan
Yerevan Tonavachar, located in 33, 3rd Sevan street, is a great spot if you’re looking to do some cheap shopping in the Armenian capital. ‘Tonavachar’ means fair in Armenian. For decades this place represented a great venue for vendors to present their goods across different categories in a bit more comfortable and tidy space than a typical Armenian street market. Recently they renovated the indoor area and sort of re-marketed it as a shopping mall. But, to be honest, it’s nothing like any proper shopping mall you will find in Yerevan.
The main building has AC, but that’s pretty much where similarities with a real shopping mall end. They don’t have wi-fi, nobody speaks English and bargaining over the price is not going to be frowned upon. If you are worried about the language barrier, check out the tips at the end of this post. But, trust me, you’ll find a way to communicate with these vendors with a smile and simple gestures. In Armenia, we view bargaining as a part of the shopping experience. In a way, it’s a way of communication. 🙂
What to shop for at Tonavachar?
This cheap indoor shopping mall offers an eclectic selection of anything that can come to your mind. Literally, anything from clothing to electronics and home appliances can be found here for prices on par with those you see at street markets.
You can also buy some traditional Armenian souvenirs here for much cheaper than at any souvenir shop in the Yerevan city center. You won’t find many foreigners shopping here, because this place is far from the popular touristic areas in the capital. But, on the other hand, that’s one of the main reasons why shopping here is so cheap – it’s meant for locals!
Average prices for comparison
|Shirt / Top
How to get to this cheap shopping mall?
It’s outside of the city center, but don’t you worry about getting here. Yerevan Tonavachar is located a couple of steps away from the entrance to the Sasunci David metro station. I wrote a detailed post about Yerevan metro and how to use it, so check it out if you like traveling by metro.
You can also take microbuses number 9 or 10 and buses 53 or 42 to get here. Ultimately, you can always opt for a taxi, which is also usually super-cheap in this country. That’s especially true when you call one of the local Armenian Uber alternatives. Check out the link to read more on our taxi apps.
Cheap shopping in Yerevan, as seen by the Armenian middle-class
The socio-economic middle-class in Armenia is less sizable than the poor, but still very significant. Many of these people prefer shopping at various little shops around the city rather than at markets. First, because you often get clothes of much higher quality in those shops. Second, because these spots are simply tidier and better organized than the traditional street markets.
A great spot to explore for cheap shopping in little stores is the area around Garegin Nzhdeh square and nearby streets. These shops sell very cheap stuff, similar to what you can find in markets mentioned above, but slightly better quality.
I recommend you follow this optimal route when visiting cheap shops in these area:
- first explore the shops on the square itself,
- then take the stairs down into the area in front of the metro entrance,
- once done there, take a stroll through the section of Bagratunyats street that’s the closest to the square,
- at the end, get back to the square and take a long walk up Garegin Nzhdeh street all the way to Kino Hayreniq. This street is full of such tiny shops with cheap fashion.
Armenian working class loves these shops for their accessibility and affordability, and I do too! 🙂
What to keep in mind when shopping in Yerevan?
When you are shopping at markets and shops where individual items don’t have a price tag on them, be ready that you will get a higher price than a local would. First, don’t feel bad about it – it’s a part of the bargaining game! And then, of course, immediately start bargaining!
Bargaining in Armenian
To overcome the language barrier, at least to some extent, use the translation app I mentioned in my post about useful apps in Armenia. Also, here are a couple of phrases you may need for bargaining and respective transcription of those phrases in Latin letters:
|How much does this cost?
|It’s too expensive!
|The other shop sells it for cheaper!
|Urish khanutum aveli ejana!
|I’ll take two (three) if you reduce the price.
|Kvertsnem erku (yereq) hat yete ejanatsneq.
In general, buying more items (when you actually need them) for a reduced price is a great bargaining strategy in Armenia. Also, don’t hesitate to claim a neighboring shop offers a similar item for a lower price. Even if it’s not true (the vendor doesn’t really expect it to be true), it shows your genuine willingness to buy the product and therefore motivates the vendor too.
Evil tip for buying clothes for cheaper
My last tip is specifically about buying fashion items – try them out! Try as many items as you can, because the more time you spend in the shop, the more you exhaust the vendor and therefore the more likely they are to give you a discount. Just for the sake of finally getting rid of you. 🙂 It’s funny, but it works! Thank me later.
Final thoughts on cheap shopping in Yerevan
As you can see, if you know where to buy stuff and how to bargain, you can do really cheap shopping in Yerevan. With street markets being traditionally the cheapest option, there are several indoor mall-like venues with very affordable prices, as well as hundreds of small shops around the city. I hope you will find these tips for cheap shopping useful and share your bargaining experiences with me on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips. Enjoy your trip, and I wish you a great buy!
Featured image credit: Photo by Keegan Everitt on Pexels (CC)