How many days to spend in Armenia? That’s the question! We all want to get the most out of every trip. Always. Unfortunately it’s not always possible because of time constraints. Just like every other trip, a trip to Armenia too needs to be carefully planned to give you the best possible experience.
A visit to Armenia can take you anywhere between 3 and 12 days, depending on what you enjoy exploring and how much time and money you’re ready to put into your trip. I’ve prepared a short guide for you to estimate how many days to spend in Armenia. If you find this helpful please let me know on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips.
How many days is enough for Yerevan, the capital?
Let’s start with Yerevan. Most of the time visitors land at the airport of the capital, and even though there are still many people crossing the land borders to Armenia, everyone wants to see the capital anyway.
Geographically Yerevan is small and has a rounded shape. Yerevan is great to walk around. It’s a compact city where most interesting things and sites are very close to each other. So to be very generic, you can walk around most places within a day during a long walking tour. However, if you want to spend time shopping, visiting museums, watch the fountains and get the feel of the cultural side, you should probably dedicate 3 days to Yerevan. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself exhausted and won’t see all you would like to. Btw, here are some great examples of unique Soviet architecture that is typical to Armenia and most post-Soviet states that you can find in Yerevan.
How many days to spend in Gyumri – the cultural gem of Armenia?
Just two hours on the train and you’ll find yourself in a totally different world – Gyumri. You may ask why take the train if the distance is not much? Well, I’ve written a whole article on why you’d better take the train when going to Gyumri instead of driving.
You’ll subconsciously compare Yerevan and Gyumri and you’ll be shocked. Gyumri is a whole new experience. The look and feel of this small town is exceptionally good if you like walking around.
Once one of the largest cities in the whole region, Gyumri has always been a manufacturing giant. Up to now it’s the arts and crafts capital of Armenia. Gyumri has an old city center with real old buildings, doors, facades and gates. The exterior of buildings and the overall urban architecture is stunning.
In contrast to Yerevan there are no high buildings here. Though there used to be. This town experienced a very strong earthquake back in 1988. Up to now, hundreds of families still live in makeshift shelters in different districts. And that’s why Gyumri may seem a town of contrasts: modern buildings next to makeshift shelters, well preserved old architecture and high-end exterior design solutions in one.
Although significantly smaller than Yerevan, home to only 150 000 people, Gyumri and surroundings still require not less than 2 days. That’s mostly because the historical and cultural heritage is pretty impressive here.
What else is worth spending your time on in Armenia?
So what we covered so far is just two main urban communities of Armenia. And for sure, this is not all to see and experience here. But whatever comes next, greatly depends on your time-spending preferences and budget. So you can just add up days and calculate how much time you need to spend in Armenia. If some of you are interested in working in Armenia and staying here longer, go check out another blogpost I wrote about internship programs in Armenia.
Go to see Garni temple, Geghard and Ejmiadzin
Taking just one day altogether, this small tour will give you a huge insight to what Armenia is and what it used to be. Garni is the oldest and very well preserved ancient pagan temple. Geghard is a Christian church complex, a real architectural gem. And Ejmiadzin is the Sacred Center of Armenia – listed among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Armenia. It’s sort of the Armenian Vatican, so you cannot miss it!
Go to the South
The Southern part of Armenia is very addictive. Even those who live in Armenia try to grab any opportunity of a couple days off to go to the Syunik Province. This region feels like an upgraded version of Armenia: more intense in the density of nature and mountains. For those who are up for outdoor recreation activities, this is paradise. I invite you to check out a special post on Why you should take a hike in Tatev and what’s so special about it. So, if you can dedicate at least extra 3 days within your trip to Armenia, go to the South. Especially…
- If you want to see exceptional landscapes and vast forests, to hike or camp, engage in birdwatching and take the world’s longest aerial cableway (visit Tatev and surroundings)
- If you want to see extensive historical-cultural heritage and several other amazingly beautiful urban communities (Zorats Karer, Sisian, Goris and Meghri)
Go to Sevan
Sevan is a go to place in Armenia, especially in summer. I recommend reserving at least 1 full day to a visit to the Sevan lake. If it’s midsummer, you’ll really enjoy the swim and the weather. If you want water-activities like kitesurfing, you can’t miss it! And, during other seasons Sevan is great too, but more as a national park, I’d say. It’s mostly windy and not abundant with activities outside of the summer season.
Sevan is very close to Yerevan so it’s possible to have a trip to and back within one day. If you want to learn more about the lake, check out my article on the private and public Lake Sevan beaches.
Go to Tavush
Tavush is a very large region, but most short-term activities are connected to Dilijan and surroundings. Dilijan is a small community in a forest and has become a very nice tourist-friendly town. The town is located just next to the Dilijan National Park. Earlier I posted about Things to do in Dilijan National Park. I recommend visiting this region…
- If you have 1 extra day for urban walks and entertainment
- If you want to visit Sevan on the way
- If you want to hike in Dilijan National Park (1+ days depending on the trail distance and the level of difficulty)
- If you want to engage in extreme experiences in Yell Extreme Park
In conclusion on duration of your trip to Armenia
It’s unarguable that there is so much that won’t fit this list anyway. So, thinking about how many days one should spend in Armenia, I struggle to say anything else than “As many as possible!”. But obviously, holidays are not forever – I get that. Hopefully these tips on the trip duration will help you make your priorities. Armenia has so much and is so abundant in everything! And don’t forget to learn some weird Armenian phrases before you travel to Armenia! Anyways, if you are in Armenia for the first time, try to dedicate a decent amount of time to be able to greatly experience and see its whole beauty. And don’t forget to share your trip reflections with me on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips
Featured image credit: Karine Avetisyan on Unsplash
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