Home to an abundance of traditional craft workshops and art studios, there is something to see at almost every turn in Armenia. Walk along Sharambeyan street in Dilijan, marvel at some of the oldest Greek, Persian and Arabic manuscripts in the capital of Yerevan, and witness the spectacular views over the Avan Canyon.
Small Group Tours
Give your adventurous spirit free reign in some of Europe’s best kept secrets, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan
Give your adventurous spirit free reign in some of Europe’s best kept secrets, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan
Armenia Facts & Tips
Did you know?
- Armenia is thought to be the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion, back in 301 AD, and Holy Echmiadzin Cathedral, the first official church, was built here two years later
- Lake Sevan is the largest lake in the Caucasus Region, filled by 28 rivers, and one of the largest freshwater alpine lakes in Eurasia
- The Armenian alphabet has 38 characters and is believed to be modeled on the Greek alphabet
- Apricots come from Armenia and are the national fruit of the country, and the pomegranate is the symbol of life and feature heavily in artwork and design patterns
- The oldest shoes in the world have been found in Armenia, dating back 5,500 years
- Yerevan is known as ‘the Pink City’ thanks to the colour of the most common building material called ‘tuff’
- The Wings of Tatev cableway is a Guinness World Record holder for the longest non-stop reverse aerial tramway between Halidzor and Tatev Monastery
- Chess is a compulsory subject in school
Visas & Passports
Australian passport holders travelling to Armenia do not need a visa at this time.
We require that your passport is valid for travel for at least six months from the date you are planning to return to Australia. Your passport must be valid to travel internationally and must be machine-readable. You also need to carry a valid return ticket on you.
Whether travelling on an Australian passport or the passport of another country, all travellers require visas for a number of countries, and it is your responsibility to secure what may be required before departing Australia. You can consult with your travel agent, but it is also recommended that you check the foreign embassy website for your respective destination as it can also provide you with useful information.
The Australian Embassy in Russia is responsible for Armenia:
10A/ 2 Podkolokolny Pereulok
Ph. +7 495 956 6070
Fax. +7 495 956 6170
The official currency of Armenia is the Armenian Dram. Notes are in denominations of ֏100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,00, 5,000 and 1,000.
The recommended currency to take to Armenia is the US Dollar or Euro, as their local currencies are not available outside of the region. Ensure you request smaller clean notes as many places will not exchange large denominations or notes that are torn and dirty. Once there, you can exchange your US Dollar or Euro for the Armenian Dram. Ensure you change a small amount into small denominations.
Advise your bank of your travel plans so that they can make a note of it, otherwise they may cancel your credit card as a safety measure due to the overseas transactions. Also make a note of the 24-hour emergency contact number of the bank or building society which issued your credit card in the unlikely event that your card is lost or stolen.
Whenever possible use ATMs when the banks are open (Mon – Fri) so that if a machine ‘eats’ your card you can then deal with it straight away. It is always advisable to carry a supply of cash in addition to your credit card.
If you don’t have US Dollars or Euros with you on arrival, we advise you to exchange some money into the local currency at the airport even if the exchange rate is not the best, this way you’ll have money to get a drink, snack or give a tip during those first few hours of arrival. Your guide will be able to advise you on the best places to exchange money.
Small change is also useful for paying for toilets while on tour which is customary in many places outside of Australia.
- The price of a cappuccino in Yerevan is approximately €2.
- The price of an inexpensive lunch is approximately €5.
- The price of dinner in a moderate restaurant is approximately €12
- The price of a beer in a local pub is approximately €1.50.
Traditional dishes in Armenia include: pilaf, or yeghents, often found through the entire region, the Armenian version is essentially rice or wheat cooked in butter and chicken broth, and served with meat; Lahmajoun, a type of Armenian pizza using a thin base and covered in a blend of meat, cumin, parsley and salt; khash soup, typically made by boiling cow’s feet, this dish used to be just for the rural folk, but is now considered a delicacy and often enjoyed as a festive winter meal; Khorovats, essentially Armenian kebabs on charcoal manghals (grills), usually pork, lamb or beef with little to no marinade or seasoning, often served with a salad of fried tomatoes, eggplant, capsicum, onion and greens all wrapped up in a traditional lavash flat bread. Similarly, lula kebab is lamb kebabs marinated in a mix of paprika, tomato paste, mint, black pepper and onions, and served on rice; Kyufta, or kofta, is minced meat that has been lightly spiced and mixed with crushed wheat and onions, that is then cooked in a simple chicken broth and served sliced with a squeeze of lemon and Sini kofta is baked in the oven and served with yoghurt and fresh salad; Mante/Manti, grilled open dumplings stuffed with either minced lamb or beef, served with tomato broth, yoghurt and garlic sprinkles; harissa (not the North African chili paste), or keshkeg, is a porridge of wheat and meat slow cooked together, that is similar in texture to a risotto; and basturma, a dry-cured beef rubbed with a blend of spices and served in thin slices.
Vegetarian dishes include Dolma or Tolma, similar to dolmades, these grape or cabbage leaves are stuffed with lentils, tomato, zucchini, eggplant, garlic, capsicum, onions and rice (the meat version is called udoli dolma using lamb); tabbouleh, a salad made of bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, mint, onion, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper; eetch, similar to tabbouleh with pureed tomatoes and capsicum instead; ghapama, a pumpkin stuffed with rice, nuts, spices and dried fruit; torshi, pickled vegetables including cucumbers, capsicum, cabbage and cauliflower; byorek, filo pastry pies stuffed with cheese or spinach, there are also meat versions available.
Deserts and sweets include Gata, or kata/katah, is a sweet eggy bread-like cake made with flour, nuts and baking soda which is often served with surj, the strong local coffee; baklava; alani, pitted and dried peaches stuffed with ground walnuts and sugar; kadaif or ghataif, shredded dough with cream, cheese or chopped walnut filling and soaked in sugar syrup; and anoushabour, dried fruits stewed with barley and garnished with chopped nuts.
Lavash is the traditional bread, somewhere between a naan and a tortilla, it is baked on the wall of a tonir (the typical Armenian tandoor-like oven).
Traditional dairy products include matzoun, a yoghurt that can also be found in a liquid form for drinking called tahn.
Important: When dining at buffets (i.e. breakfast) please refrain from taking food away with you to ‘save’ for later! If you feel that you’ll need snacks between meals, pack some dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars etc.
If you have specific food allergies and/or preferences, we highly recommend you take every precaution before your tour, including carrying a small card with your food allergy listed in each language of every country you are travelling to show to table staff when ordering. Whilst we take all dietary requirements seriously, due to the serious nature of potential allergic reactions, it is your responsibility to be as prepared as possible.
Armenia has a continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. The capital, Yerevan, is at the lowest altitude (about 800 metres above sea level) of the country and has quite a dry climate even though it averages about 100 days below freezing each winter. Summer temperatures average above 30°C from June to September, so April-May and September-October are usually the most popular times to visit. Because most of the country is at moderate to high altitudes (Moderate Altitude is considered as 5,000-8,000 ft or 1,524-2,438m above sea level, these areas are generally going to be colder than the low-lying Yerevan.
Want to get out and explore on your own?
Public transport is good and fairly cheap in Armenia, however getting to the more remote sites outside of populated areas can be difficult. Inter-city buses are available from Yerevan, known as marshrutka, they also offer services that cover the city and suburbs.
Taxis can be used to get to most places within the country, however it is essential to negotiate the price beforehand. Most taxis within Yerevan do have meters, just make sure they turn it on, and do always carry some small change in case the driver tries to tell you he has no change.
Trolleys are also an option within Yerevan, there are a few lines operated by ‘Yergotrans’, and they are a cheap option to get around.
There is also a single metro (subway) line in Yerevan that covers 12 kilometres and has 10 stops.
When catching taxis, have small change on you and choose one with a meter, if it doesn’t have one then negotiate the price before getting in. Also, ask your guide or hotel staff the names of reputable taxi companies, or download official taxi apps such as GG Taxi or Yandex Taxi.
So, you’d love to bring home a special souvenir from Armenia…
Carpets have been part of Armenia’s culture since pre-Christian times, and were used to decorate the house – and not just the floor, they were used on walls, sofas, beds, and tables! Originating in the 3rd-4th centuries BC, rug-making is a symbol of Armenian culture.
Armenian cognac, also called Ararat, is made from white grapes and spring water. The most famous brand is Ararat, which has been produced since 1887. Fruit wines are famous here too, and come in many flavours, of which Pomegranate is the most popular, however they also produce raspberry, blackberry and cherry wines.
Jewellery featuring Armenian symbols are a popular gift, and easy to pack.
A Kachkar, or Armenian cross-stone, is a carved stele (stone or wooden slab) featuring a cross and other motifs. They were added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage and make a great gift!
Lacemaking in Armenia dates back to pre-Christian times, and unlike European lace that was reserved for nobility, Armenian lace decorated everything from headscarves to lingerie.
A great way to support the local community is to try to buy your souvenirs in smaller shops rather than larger ones.
- It is not considered proper for adults to openly mention going to the bathroom or asking
- Smoking is illegal in many public places, but Armenia has one of the highest rates of cigarette smoking in Asia
- If invited to dinner at a local’s home, go hungry, as it is a sign of respect to the host to try a bit of every dish!
- Do not mention the Azerbaijan/Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as it is still an ongoing battle
- Be careful when discussing the Armenian Genocide, as it is an incredibly sensitive subject
- Always travel with others, especially after dark. Travelling in groups of three of four is strongly advised. Keep to well-lit, public places such as shopping malls and restaurants. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Keep identification on you at all times – a photocopy of your passport page is sufficient.
- Don't take photos indiscriminately. Many people object to having their pictures taken, so ask permission first. Military installations, airports and bridges should never be photographed.
- Don’t carry around non essentials and valuables. Use your hotel safe and don't flash expensive jewellery, watches and cameras.
Celebrations & Public Holidays
International Jazz Day is celebrated throughout the world, and Armenia is no exception, with April 30 bringing local and international artists together each year. Also celebrated in Yerevan, is the Taraz Festival held on August 4 whereby their traditional dresses, or taraz, are donned by the locals representing Western and Eastern Armenian. Armenia is also home to the Golden Apricot Yerevan International Film Festival, designed to encourage creativity and includes films specifically about human experience, people’s daily lives and the struggles and triumphs of the nation.
Other national public holidays to be aware of include:
- New Year's Day
- New Year's Day (January 2nd)
- New Year's Day (January 3rd)
- New Year's Day (January 4th)
- Christmas Eve (January 5th)
- Christmas Day (January 6th)
- Christmas Remembrance Day (January 7th)
- Army Day (January 28th)
- International Women's Day (March 8th)
- Genocide Remembrance Day (April 24th)
- Citizens' Day (last Saturday in April)
- Labour Day/May Day (May 1st)
- Victory and Peace Day (May 9th)
- Republic Day (May 28th)
- Constitution Day (July 5th)
- Independence Day (September 21st)
- New Year's Eve
The capital of Armenia, Yerevan is a charming city that is easily traversed on foot, along café-lined boulevards, through pretty parks and elegant squares, and along the river valley that surrounds the city. Founded in 782 BC, Yerevan is 29 years older than Rome, and has been at the crossroads of caravan trading routes ever since, and as a result, has also been conquered 16 times – by the Arabs, the Ottomans, the Persians, and the Russians, among others. Republic Square is the centre of Yerevan, where locals gather to watch the famous Dancing & Singing Fountains with jets of illuminated water dance in time to music every evening once the sun has set. Every evening, local Armenians will come out and take a walk to share news and catch up with friends and family. Many cafés have open terraces, so much so that they have nicknamed it East Paris!
From the spectacular snow-covered Alps and picture-perfect panoramas, to the quintessential elegance of its larger cities, Austria is a fascinating country to explore
A relatively untouched country, there is so much to see in Azerbaijan including the Baku Fire Temple, Burning Mountain and the Palace of Shirvanshahs.
Discover intriguing history at the old city centre of Sarajevo, Baščaršija and the Museum of Sarajevo and experience the world-famous Stari Most bridge.
With its magnificent coastline, 1,185 islands, islets and reefs, Roman ruins and picturesque medieval villages, Croatia is alluring for lovers of fun, sun and fascinating history.
From its picturesque capital, Copenhagen, to its windswept coastline and everything in between, Denmark will lure you in with its warmth and welcoming hospitality.
Watch the northern lights dance across the sky, relax and unwind in a Finnish sauna, cruise Lake Inari and visit Suomenlinna, an 18th-century sea fortress steeped in history.
A popular destination with all travellers, you can soak up the glamour of the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles or sip on a coffee and watch the world go by.
Positioned between Europe and Asia, the country of Georgia has one of the most unique cultures in the world.
Infused with a rich history, Germany offers a fascinating mix of picture-perfect towns, lively festivals, modern, urban cities and beautiful rolling countryside.
Discover ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Agora in Athens, Delphi on the Greek mainland and delicious Greek cuisine in the glamorous Greek islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Crete.
Hungary’s location in the centre of Europe, along with its hospitable attitude, makes it an inviting destination, proudly upholding its Magyar traditions, culture and arts whilst incorporating a fascinating mix of history and the present-day.
Land of la dolce vita, it is little wonder that Italy is one of the world’s most-loved destinations with two-thirds of the world’s historical, artistic heritage coming from Italy.
Otherwise known as the jewel of the Mediterranean, Malta is an island located off the Italian coast packed with stunning scenery and a rich culture.
Experience jaw-dropping coastal views of the Mediterranean Sea, try your luck at the Casino Monte-Carlo or explore the botanical world of Jardin Exotique.
Discover surreal views and charming villages across the Bay of Kotor, explore the old town of Kotor surrounded with ancient medieval architecture and enjoy some local Montenegrin cuisine.
Morocco’s dazzling mosaic of Arab and Berber cultures, with a dash of African and European influence, is at once strange and romantic, alluring and surprising.
From fields of colourful tulips and beautiful canal-lined cities to historic architecture and iconic windmills, the Netherlands is a wonderland for any kind of traveller.
Known as ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’ Norway is ideal for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy stunning scenery, while history buffs can immerse themselves in Norway's rich cultural heritage.
Portugal has it all; the sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve, exclusive golf resorts, medieval hilltop towns, colourful fishing villages, a cosmopolitan capital, the vine-filled valley of the Douro and wild remote mountains.
Slovenia is packed with unusual and often unique experiences, from primeval forests, Karst limestone caves and thermal springs to the lively and architecturally beautiful city of Ljubljana.
Fall in love with Spain’s intriguing history, marvel at the architectural wonders of Barcelona, enjoy a traditional Spanish tapas dinner and people-watch at a terrace café in Madrid.
Snowbound winters, meatballs, herring, Vikings and Volvos, IKEA, ABBA and the Hives - whatever your pre-existing notions about Sweden, a visit to this multifaceted country is bound to both confirm and confound them.
With its snow-capped Alps, emerald green forests, fairy-tale castles and shimmering lakes, it’s easy to see why Switzerland has been one of the world’s top tourist destinations for the past two centuries.
With its covered bazaars, whirling dervishes, sultans’ treasures and Byzantine mosaics, Turkey is both a cosmopolitan and exotic destination.