As the first Christian nation in the world, it's no surprise that so much of Armenia's tourism is located around its incredible monasteries and churches. This 5 day itinerary takes you to some of the most beautiful corners of the country, giving you the chance to visit some of Armenia's most famous monasteries, mountains and more.
How to get around Armenia?
This itinerary is suited to travellers that are able to rent a car (this post tells you everything you need to know about what it's like to hire a rental car in Armenia).
Public transport is a viable way to get around Armenia, but you will probably need a few more days of travel, and be prepared for a bit of walking if you want to follow this itinerary.
For more insight into the ways of getting around Armenia, check out this great post.
Day 1: Discover Yerevan
There is no better place to be introduced to Armenia than Yerevan - the country's capital and one of the oldest cities on our planet.
If you want to discover Yerevan, walk its streets, visit its museums, seek out spectacular viewpoints and people watch in Republic Square.
Start your day by checking out the city's museums. The History Museum of Armenia and Yerevan History Museum are two great places to do this. And a trip to the Armenian Genocide Museum is a must. If you prefer to spend time outdoors, you can join a free 3 hour walking tour led by a local who will tell you more about Armenia's tragic and triumphant past.
You've probably seen images of this city framed by the majestic Mount Ararat - an eternally snow-capped peak that dominates the skyline. To witness this city-meets-mountain-vista for yourself, we recommend climbing to the top of the Cascade stairs for sunset.
And what better way to round-off your day than by soaking in more of the city views from a beautiful rooftop, like the one at Cascade Royal.
Top tip: If you are a museum person, we recommend you get your hands on a Yerevan Pass. Unlike some city passes, the benefits of this one are great. A €27 card includes access to 20 + museums and (get ready) free car transfer service from “Zvartnots” International Airport to any point in Yerevan.
Day 2: Visit Khor Virap Monastery and Noravank Monastery
It's time to head south, away from the city and into the gorgeous Armenian countryside for some monastery magic.
Just 45 minutes drive from Yerevan and close to the Turkish border is Khor Virap - a lonely monastery that sits beneath the ever watchful gaze of Mount Ararat. (Keep your fingers crossed for cloudless skies as seeing the monastery and mountain under a pale blue sky is a pretty spectacular vision of Armenia in all its glory).
From being a snake infested dungeon in 180 BC. to a medieval learning centre, Khor Virap is steeped in legends and history, so make sure you read-up about this site before visiting.
After admiring the monastery and getting your winning snap, it is time to head to monastery number two - Noravank Monastery - but not before a quick stop enroute to Areni-1 Cave, which is the oldest winery in the world.
Around 1 hour 30 minutes south from Khor Virap, Noravank Monastery will win you over with the combination of stunning landscapes and ancient architecture.
Spend the night in the nearby village Areni in a local guesthouse.
Top Tips: Visit Khor Virap early. Set off from Yerevan at around 8am or even earlier to avoid busloads of jostling tourists. Also remember to dress appropriately.
Day 3: Take the longest cable car in the world up to Tatev Monastery
Yes, it's time for more views. Because when you are in a country as beautiful as Armenia, you need to cram in as much viewpoint hunting as possible.
Travelling a distance of 5.7 km (3.5 miles), as you make your way up the mountain, this 10 minute ride will give you sweeping views of the surrounding countryside.
After exploring the monastery in the mountains, it’s time to head to nearby Goris in the Syunik Province, where you’ll find plenty of option for accommodation (we recommend taking a walk around downtown Goris).
Day 4: Explore and Swim in Lake Sevan
It's time to hit the road again and head to Lake Sevan - a famous Armenian lake that covers 5% of the country.
It's known for being home to the picturesque Sevanavank - a 9th century monastic complex on the northwest shores of the lake. Sevanavank is well-worth visiting. It's probably one of the more touristy areas of Armenia - but for good reason. When you climb the small hill to get to the top, you'll have expansive views of the blue lake and surrounding shores.
If you want a quieter, more off-the-beaten-track spot - we'd recommend you stop 30km south of Hayravank Monastery, a less visited but very beautiful medieval monastery that also sits on the lakes shores.
If you're visiting Armenia in the summer, take your swimming stuff. Lake Sevan is a popular spot with locals for taking a refreshing dip, and you can't leave without trying some traditional Lake Sevan trout while you are there (90% of the fish in Armenia are caught in this lake).
Head to Dilijan, a spa town just north of the lake and spend the night there.
Day 5: Discover Dilijan and back to Yerevan
Nicknamed “the little Switzerland of Armenia”, enjoy a restorative last morning in this gorgeous spa town before heading back to Yerevan.
Dilijan is charming - an idyllic place that many locals name as their favourite place in Armenia. Walk and wonder about its old streets and grab lunch in a courtyard before driving 1 hour 30mins back to Yerevan.
End your trip with an Armenian feast. This is a great website for scouting out some great Armenian eateries in Yerevan.