While a thorough knowledge of Armenia is essential for planning any holiday, its relatively small size lends itself to being combined with its immediate neighbours. As such, expertise needs to include the intricacies of the various border crossings that are available and knowledge of the surrounding countries. Both Paul and Belinda have made those journeys on a number of occasions.
Why we like Armenia
There is an old world charm to Armenia that is immediately inviting. Simple restaurants serve delicious food washed down by the surprisingly good local wine. The landscape is fresh and green, local produce such as honey, figs, apricots and nuts are always available to buy in the small villages and there are easy walks through sun dappled wooded valleys. Even Mount Ararat makes you wonder if the Ark might really be up there.
What to expect on your Armenia holiday
Although Armenia once extended from the Black Sea to the Caspian, today it finds itself confined to an area smaller than Belgium lying sandwiched between Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey. Consequently many of its historical monuments now lie outside its borders. However, as the first country in the world to formally adopt Christianity in 301AD, it is hardly surprising to find the landscape dotted with beautiful old churches and monasteries, many which pre date the 10th century. Despite a glorious past and the renowned business acumen of its people, Armenia has struggled to find its economic feet in more recent times and although there are a few good hotels, it remains relatively basic. That said, it can be very beautiful and the natural hospitality of the people make it a pleasure to visit.
Some ideas for an Armenia holiday
- All holidays start in Yerevan where there is much to see and do. Don’t miss the choreographed singing fountains at night in the main square.
- Take a walk through Debed Canyon and visit the UNESCO-protected monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin.
- The Geghard Monastery has occupied its site since the fourth century, and the existing churches, all magnificently carved, date from the 13th century.
- Journey to Goris, a town that has changed little since it was first planned by a 19th century German architect. There are cave dwellings nearby.
- The largest lake in the Caucasus, Lake Sevan is 43 miles long and much admired for its beautiful setting, pure waters and delicious fish.
- Explore millennia-old monasteries in densely wooded mountain valleys
- Experience the dark, golden taste and aroma of ‘Ararat’, Armenia’s national brandy
Beyond the ordinary
- A private guided tour of Matenadaren, the world’s largest library of Armenian texts and ancient manuscripts, founded in 405 AD