Is Armenia really that safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travel in Armenia

If you are a solo female traveler, the safety of the destination is obviously a factor for you. You will probably consider it before booking your trip. And whether you’re looking for an adventurous destination to explore, or you just want to get away from everything for a bit, come to Armenia. Armenia is a safe choice for solo female travelers. 

So, let’s cut to the chase, is Armenia safe for solo female travel? 

Yes, it is safe to solo travel in Armenia as a woman. Crime rates are very low, and foreigners are treated as guests in Armenia. The language barrier may be an issue, though. And be ready that men may approach you on the streets as an act of interest, although in a very non-aggressive manner. Catcalling is not common in Armenia.

But, we all know that a little precaution doesn’t hurt. So, I put together some tips for girls who decide to travel solo in Armenia. So if you are a solo traveler, I hope this will help you feel even safer here. If you have already visited Armenia and you have some ideas for my other female readers – awesome! Please share them with me on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips.

Why is Armenia safe for women who travel alone?

Armenia is a very safe country. But let me be more specific and bring more facts to help you understand how safe Armenia is when it comes to solo travel. And since I believe that numbers are better understood when compared, I thought I’d draw parallels between Armenia and another popular destination for solo female travelers.

So, I asked myself: Where would I want to travel alone if I was a woman? Forgive me for operating with cliches here, but I chose Rome, Italy. Why? Well, the architecture is stunning and the food is delicious! Also, since their food is not very spicy, and I like to spice things up in my life from time to time, I also factored in romance. We know that Italian men are gorgeous and they dress well. So, the choice for comparison is obvious. 🙂

According to the UN reporting on violence against women, 4% of women in Armenia experienced physical and/or sexual violence from their intimate partner in the last 12 months. That’s not a number to be happy about. However, it’s 2% less than what the UN reports in Italy.

You may argue that such incidents often go unreported, and you’d be right. But I’m looking for a reasonable context here. So, let’s compare general safety in the two capitals – Yerevan and Rome. We want to understand if Yerevan tends to score lower on crime and violence rate compared to Rome — a popular destination among solo female travelers.

I like to turn to Numbeo for this kind of comparison. The reason is simple – their stats are generated by real people who visit different cities. So, for me that info is first-hand, and I trust it. As you can see from the table below, the capital of Armenia scores lower than Rome across all metrics of violence and crime.

Perceived crime rate in Yerevan vs Rome
The crime rate in Yerevan vs Rome, Source: Numbeo

In Armenia, you’re less likely to be robbed, attacked, or insulted than in Rome. Also, you’re less likely to be a subject of violence based on your gender. So, ladies, if you think Rome is a good destination for a solo female traveler, that’s great. But you should put Yerevan next to it, or above it to be fair. 

What do Armenians think about safety in Armenia?

Armenia is on par with Switzerland or Denmark when it comes to perceived criminality within the society, according to the Vision of Humanity report. The crime rate is lower in Armenia than for instance in the UK, Spain or Italy. 

When it comes to violent crime, in particular, the rates are the same as in neighboring Georgia, or even lower than Turkey, both of which are very popular travel destinations. Coming across any terrorist activity in Armenia is extremely unlikely. In that regard Armenia is similar to the majority of Eastern European countries, such as Slovakia or Hungary, for example. And when it comes to the overall feeling of safety in the country, Armenia still scores very well. In fact, it’s very similar to popular Mediterranean travel destinations like Greece or Italy.

Perceived criminality in Armenia vs Europe
Perceived Criminality, 2021, Source: Vision of Humanity

Safe accommodation for a solo female traveler in Armenia

Yes, there are plenty of safe accommodation options (hotels, hostels, apartment rentals) in Armenia. However, there is one major factor you need to be alert of in order to feel safe throughout the day. And that’s the location! Make sure you stay in an area with a well-lit neighborhood and crowded streets. For instance, I would not recommend you rent any accommodations in the Nork Marash district in Yerevan. It has very deserted streets and it will take you forever to find a taxi, not even get me started on buses.

Checking reviews and focusing on what people say about the location of any given hotel or hostel is yet another good way to avoid such neighborhoods. I also recommend you check out Google Street View if it’s available. All the main streets of Yerevan are mapped on that platform. But even beyond the capital, the main streets are often available on the Street View for Armenia.

Hotel safety tips for women traveling alone

While researching this topic I came across this long list of tips for the safety of women in accommodation. Honestly, I think it’s a little over-the-board for Armenia. However, here are a couple of tips that I found quite reasonable:

  • Avoid staying on the ground floor
  • Have the front desk employee write down your room number rather than say it out loud
  • Investigate your room
  • Create an illusion of presence when you leave you room

Apartments and hotel rooms on the ground floor are easy to break in. Thus, they’re more likely to be targeted by intruders. Such cases are almost unheard of in Armenia, of course. But, just for the sake of feeling 100% safe, you may want to avoid staying on the ground floor. And, if you happen to stay on the ground floor, make sure your curtains aren’t see-through.

To avoid stalkers knowing where you are staying and/or following you to your room, try to keep your room number a secret. So, when checking in, have the front desk employees write it down for you instead of announcing it out loud.

Before unpacking, I’d recommend that you check to make sure all the windows and doors have locks.

Lastly, when you leave your room, keep the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door. It will create an illusion that someone is in the room and will scare away potential thieves.

Outdoor safety

So, once your safety indoors is sorted, i.e. you have a safe accommodation in a location where you feel safe, let’s talk about staying safe outside of your room.

All the general rules you know from other destinations are still applicable – beware of pickpockets, cross the street carefully, don’t leave your drink unattended at a nightclub. Besides the obvious, here are some more tips that you as a solo female traveler in Armenia might find useful.

Safety of women in public transport in Armenia

Buses are available in all major cities in Armenia and they’re generally safe for women at any time of the day. The only thing I’d warn you about is keeping a close eye on your backpack while in a crowded bus or in the metro during the rush hour.

If you’re planning to use buses to travel between cities, make sure you are not late to claim your seat. 

Also, don’t be surprised if old grannies offer you an apple or apricot as a sign of hospitality once they realize you are a foreigner. You can return the favor by offering them candy. 

Taxi apps — the safest choice for women

If you prefer traveling by taxi, Armenia is going to be your favorite destination. Taxis are very cheap here and pretty safe. But make sure you use an app to order a taxi so that you have the personal information of your driver beforehand, and can share your route with a friend or relative. It will certainly make you feel safer.

Another reason why I recommend using apps and not picking a taxi on the street is the price difference. Check out my post about taxi apps that work in Armenia and their prices to learn more about how they work and what they charge.

Are stray dogs a problem in Armenia?

Walking in the streets of major cities in Armenia you may come across a lot of stray dogs. Understandably, it might make you feel unsafe. The good thing is they won’t cause any harm to you unless you provoke them first. I recommend ignoring them, even if you see them running towards you.

Over the past several years the Armenian government has put a considerable amount of effort into dealing with the problem of aggressive stray dogs. As a result, almost all stray dogs that you can see on our streets now are vaccinated and chipped, and only those that are not aggressive to people we left to roam around the streets.

Nevertheless, they are still animals, and you gotta keep in mind they’re guided by their instincts. So, they might find you particularly interesting if you have some food with you, or if they can smell it on you. So, better stay away from them by simply ignoring them, or carry a whistle with you to scare them off if you are afraid of stray dogs and won’t be able to keep your cool if they approach you.

Dealing with Armenian men safely

When it comes to dealing with attention from men, as a woman traveling in Armenia alone, you are very safe here. Cases of open harassment or attacks on women in Armenia are very rare — typically limited to incidents of domestic violence that always spark the interest of media.

The most common issue that solo female travelers may face is simply the interest from the local men on the streets of major cities. Usually, if somebody has romantic interest in you, they’ll approach you and try to have a conversation, or they may ask you for your phone number. The shy ones may follow you for a bit, before approaching you. The fact that you’re a foreigner adds to their curiosity, of course.

It’s worth noting though, that there is a strong culture of respect towards women in Armenian society. Therefore, it would be extremely unlikely that an Armenian man would catcall that he, no matter how interested he is in you, would try to touch you on the street. Any unwanted physical contact, violent or not, from a man who is a stranger to you, would be considered unacceptable by the local standards.

So, if you’re not comfortable with being followed or approached by men, feel free to openly reject them and ask to be left alone.

Helpful Armenian phrases for women

If a man who’s pursuing your interest makes you feel uncomfortable, here are some useful phrases you can use to reject them or to ask for help from others. After all, the language barrier is for sure going to be the main concern of yours while in Armenia.

Leave me alone, pleaseԽնդրում եմ ինձ մենակ թողեքKhndroom em indz menak togheq
Sorry, I don’t have timeԿներեք, ես ժամանակ չունեմKnereq, yes jhamanak chounem
My husband is going to meet me nowԻմ ամուսինը ինձ դիմավորելու է հիմաEem amousine indz deemavorelou e heema
I need your helpԵս օգնության կարիք ունեմYes ognutyan kariq ounem
I think I am being followedԿարծում եմ ինձ հետապնդում ենKartsoom em indz hetapndoom en
Can you take me to…?Կարո՞ղ եք ինձ տանել… Karogh eq indz tanel …?
Helpful Armenian phrases for women

Use a safety app for women while in Armenia

There is this really cool safety app developed by women for women, which can instantly send signals to key contacts when you are at risk. SafeYou is the name of that app, and you can use it not only in Armenia but in Georgia and Iraq as well.

The SafeYou app allows you to automatically report abuse, harassment or assault, or any issues you may face as a woman. You set it up once, and it sends the report directly to three main family contacts, friends, service contacts, and police, with one click of a button. You can attach maps, photos, and/or recordings to your report, which can later be used as evidence. The app also includes contact information of NGOs and human rights defenders in Armenia. 

Useful contacts for female travelers in Armenia

Last but not least, here are just a few helpful contacts for when you end up in trouble while traveling solo:

Emergency phone numbers

Final thought on Armenia’s safety for solo female travelers

I hope I managed to lay out all the facts proving that Armenia is safe for solo female travelers. And while I can claim it’s safe all I want, the feeling of safety is very subjective. Especially, for people of colour and other groups, there might be additional concerns. So, here are a couple of of other posts about safety in Armenia that I wrote: safety of US citizens in Armenia, as well as detailed look at safety of Muslims (hello, hijabi girl!), and of Indian travelers in Armenia.

If you are a woman and you are planning your solo trip to Armenia, feel free to tweet me or share your journey on Instagram using #ArmeniaTravelTips. If you have any questions or concerns about traveling to Armenia, I’ll be happy to share my advice.

Featured image credits: Photo by IsaaK Alexandre KaRslian on Unsplash

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