That’s why I also often happen to travel from Tbilisi to Yerevan or from Yerevan to Tbilisi (last time I took this route was a week ago).
If you are wondering how to get from Tbilisi to Yerevan or from Yerevan to Tbilisi I’ve prepared this guide for you. I personally used all three methods described below and I can 100% vouch which one is the best in which direction (since not everything works in both ways).
Read on and if you have any questions feel free to join my Facebook group about traveling in the Caucasus and ask there!
Table of contents
- 1 Tbilisi to Yerevan or Yerevan to Tbilisi by minivan
- 2 Marshrutka from Tbilisi to Yerevan
- 3 Tbilisi to Yerevan or Yerevan to Tbilisi by train
- 4 Travel resources
Tbilisi to Yerevan or Yerevan to Tbilisi by minivan
Minivan is the best option to travel from Tbilisi to Yerevan or Yerevan to Tbilisi. I took it most often (like 5 times by now) and never had a single issue, maybe except too fast driving but that’s a standard in the Caucasus and I got used to it after all the frequent visits in the region.
This way of transportation from Tbilisi to Yerevan or Yerevan to Tbilisi is affordable, fast and rather comfortable (you will be sharing the ride with six more people and the driver and there will be enough space for your legs and handbag). The journey should take around 5 hours, including the border crossing.
Tbilisi to Yerevan
In Tbilisi, minivans depart from next to Avlabari metro station.
You can easily reach the place by metro, the departure point is directly on your right side when you leave the station, on the parking in front of the church. You only need to cross the street to get there.
Minivans departing from here run on schedule. Currently they depart at 09:00, 11:00, 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00. The price is 35 Georgian Lari (around $12 / €11).
It’s good to book the seat in advance – you can call this number (+995)5 93 22 95 54 or make your accommodation in Tbilisi do it for you if you don’t feel confident enough with the language skills.
But even without the reserved seat, you should be fine, it might just take some time and effort to find the seat for you.
Try to be at the departure point some 30 minutes before, to avoid any problems. You might also depart earlier if the car is already full (that always happens to me in Yerevan).
In Yerevan, you will arrive at Kilikia bus station.
Yerevan to Tbilisi
Minivans depart from the Kilikia bus station (central bus station in Yerevan), directly on the left side of the station when you look at it.
The best way to get here is by Yandex Taxi, the last time it charged me 300 AMD ($0,65 / €0,57) from near the Republic Square. From Mashtots Avenue you can catch bus number 5 for 100 AMD.
The departure times from Kilikia are at 7:30, 8:30, 10:30,13:00, 15:00 and 17:00, the ticket costs 7000 AMD ($14,70 / €13,20).
Again, it’s better to call in advance and book the seat, you can do it under this number +37494929281 or ask your Yerevan accommodation to do it (that’s what I usually do).
At Kilikia bus station head to the office (the company is called “Comfort Tours” and is located right in front of the cars heading to Yerevan, in the station building) and pay for the ride there. You will get the ticket and will be directed to the car.
Last time I took the minivan I was lucky as I was the last one for the car and left from Yerevan at 09:55, 35 minutes ahead of schedule.
What to expect from the minivan ride?
The minivan ride in either direction, Tbilisi to Yerevan or Yerevan to Tbilisi, might be a bit nerve-wracking as drivers in the Caucasus are crazy. If you are not used to fast and a bit reckless driving you might feel a bit uncomfortable but everything is under control.
The minivans go via Lake Sevan, Dilijan and Noyemberyan, you can expect some beautiful views along the way.
The usual time of the journey is around 5 hours, including border crossing but since the border can be unpredictable you never know how long it will take. If you have something planned in either of the capitals better take the earlier car.
Along the way you can expect one or two stops in Armenia for a toilet and some small shopping so if you are going from Tbilisi to Yerevan better exchange some money for Armenian drams still in Georgia.
Minivans used for this journey, usually Mercedes Vito or Viano, are comfortable and offer enough space for your legs. 5 hours journey really isn’t that bad in such a car.
A border crossing between Georgia and Armenia
You will cross the border at Bagratashen – Sadakhlo Border Crossing, around an hour north of Tbilisi.
It’s a rather smooth and calm border and you shouldn’t spend too much time there but again, everything depends on your luck (once I had three Asian girls in the marshrutka with me and we had to wait for some 30 minutes for them to deal with the whole visa on arrival procedure in Armenia).
In general, when you depart one country you just take your passport with you and proceed to the building to get the exit stamp from either Georgia or Armenia. In the second part of the border crossing, when you approach the country you are about to enter, you have to take your luggage with you and proceed to the border building to have it x-rayed and to have your passport checked.
I always find entering Georgia easier than entering Armenia. In the second one you might be asked some questions, about your reason to visit, plans or the accommodation in Yerevan. If you have visited Azerbaijan before you might be also asked about it so just tell the truth (they will see your Azeri stamps anyway).
You shouldn’t have any problems because of your trip to Azerbaijan, you only might be asked extra questions, that’s it. Right now, after five visits in Armenia documented in my current passport and one trip to Azerbaijan I get more questions about my previous stays in Armenia and I’m not really asked anymore about Azerbaijan. But everything depends on the person who is checking your documents.
In general, this is a regular border crossing, nothing extraordinary so there is no reason to be nervous about it.
Do you need a visa to Armenia / Georgia?
Most of the countries don’t need a visa to either Georgia or Armenia. But just to be sure check it before your trip from Tbilisi to Yerevan or from Yerevan to Tbilisi. You can see the visa policy of Georgia here and Armenia here and here.
If you need a Georgian visa you can most likely get it online before or obtain it in the embassy.
Travelers who need a visa to Armenia can most likely get in online or at the border crossing. The visa on arrival costs 15.000 AMD and is available at Bagratashen – Sadakhlo Border Crossing.
How to get to Avlabari in Tbilisi?
In Tbilisi, minivans arrive to and depart from Avlabari, the Armenian quarter.
The minivan stop is located across the street from the Avlabari metro station, in front of the Armenian church. You only need to cross the street on your right when exiting the metro station and you are there.
You can also get here by bus, Avlabari is reachable by buses no 25, 37, 137, 2, 46, 43 and 39.
How to get to Kilikia bus station in Yerevan?
In Yerevan, minibusses arrive and depart from Kilikia bus station, at Admiral Isakov Avenue. It is located some 2,5 kilometers from the center so you can walk there.
You can take the bus no 5 from/to Mashtots Avenue, it costs 100 AMD, paid to the driver.
Another option is to take Yandex Taxi, the last time I was charged 300 AMD from near Republic Square. A regular taxi shouldn’t cost more than 1000 AMD, depending on your bargain skills.
Marshrutka from Tbilisi to Yerevan
You can also travel from Tbilisi to Yerevan by bus (marshrutka) but to be honest I would not recommend it.
If you are familiar with travels in the former Soviet Union you probably know this mode of transportation very well – an uncomfortable and cramped minibus that you dream of getting out from 5 minutes after getting in.
I usually use them in most of the post-Soviet countries I visit: Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan or Kyrgyzstan, simply because there is no other choice. For Tbilisi to Yerevan or Yerevan to Tbilisi route you do have a choice hence I would consider marshrutka only if two other options, minivan, and train, fail.
In Tbilisi, marshrutkas depart from the Station Square (I didn’t take that one) or Ortachala bus station.
They depart when they are full so you never know how long you would have to wait. When I took the marshrutka from Ortachala I arrived at the bus station before 10 am and departed only around 11 am as I was the first one for it (at least I could choose the best seat).
The price is also 35 lari one way for Tbilisi to Yerevan route but the journey is a bit longer than with minivan, you can expect around 6 hours as marshrutka takes a different route in Armenia, via Alaverdi.
The border crossing and all the procedures are the same as written above in the minivan section, marshrutkas use the same Bagratashen – Sadakhlo Border Crossing.
At Ortachala you will find marshrutkas for Yerevan at the lower platform of the station. There are also buses and marshrutkas for Russia, Turkey or Azerbaijan so ask around for Yerevan one and you will be pointed in the right direction.
You will also need a ticket that you can buy in the ticket desk, you can do it yourself or the driver will do it for you. You will have to present your passport when buying the ticket.
Ortachala bus station is located a bit away from the center. You can reach it by bus no 44, 55 or 71 from the bus stop “Baratashvili street” near Old Tbilisi. Yandex Taxi from Liberty Square should cost around 5 Lari.
In Yerevan, the marshrutkas arrive at Kilikia bus station, just like minivans.
Tbilisi to Yerevan or Yerevan to Tbilisi by train
You can also travel from Tbilisi to Yerevan or from Yerevan to Tbilisi by train.
I’ve done it three times and I can definitely recommend it but only in Tbilisi to Yerevan direction, when the border crossing isn’t in the middle of the night and you will actually get some decent sleep. That’s also when you can wake up to the stunning views of Mount Ararat before arriving to Yerevan.
In the offseason, the train between Georgia and Armenia runs every second day, from Tbilisi to Yerevan on the odd days of the month and from Yerevan to Tbilisi on the even days.
It departs from Tbilisi at 20:20 and arrives in Yerevan at 06:55 the next morning, with the border stop between 22:02 and 00:40.
In the opposite direction, it departs from Yerevan at 21:30 and arrives in Tbilisi at 07:50, with the border stop between 03:45 and 06:05. And this is why I can recommend the train only when going from Georgia to Armenia. At the border you most likely won’t get any sleep, even when your passport is already checked, since there are people walking around and talking for all the time and it’s pretty loud.
In the high season (June 15th to September 30th) the train runs every day between Yerevan and Batumi on the Georgian Black Sea coast, with the stop in Tbilisi.
It then departs from Tbilisi at 22:15 and arrived in Yerevan at 07:30 the next morning. From Yerevan it departs at 15:30 and arrived to Tbilisi shortly after midnight.
If you traveled by train in any former Soviet Union countries you know what to expect from this train journey too. The trains might be a bit old and rusty but they are comfortable and clean. Before the journey, you will receive your own bedsheets in a sealed plastic bag so you can make your own bed.
The train is more expensive than minivan and marshrutka but then you save one night of accommodation in either Yerevan or Tbilisi. You can choose between platskartny (third class) with no compartments and beds in the open space, kupe (second class) with compartments for 4 people and spalny vagon (first-class) with 2 beds compartments.
As of January 2020, the ticket for Tbilisi-Yerevan train cost 70 lari in the third class, 106.20 lari in the second class and 128,30 lari in the first class. In the other direction, Yerevan to Tbilisi it’s 12 425 drams for the third class, 18 405 drams for the second class and 22 075 for the first class.
You can purchase the tickets at the train stations, you should be able to do it in English. Remember to have the passport with you, it will be needed! You can also buy the tickets online at the website of Armenian South Caucasus Railways.
In Tbilisi, the best way to reach the train station is by metro (Station Square stop) by both lines. The train station building will be on your left when you leave the metro station.
In Yerevan, you can also get to the train station by metro. The metro stop is called Sasuntsi Davit, it’s two metro stops away from the Republic Square.
No matter which way of transportation between Tbilisi and Yerevan you choose, you are in for a treat. Both capitals are amazing yet so different. Below you can find more articles I wrote about Armenia and Georgia that you might find useful when planning your trip!
- 18 Amazing Places to Visit in Armenia
- Reasons to visit Yerevan, Armenia – one of my favorite cities
- The best hotels in Yerevan – luxury, mid-range and budget accommodation
- Guide to Yerevan Soviet architecture
- Armenia facts: What you should know about Armenia
- and more!
- 15 reasons to visit Georgia – the amazing emerging destination
- Tbilisi guide – 21 Tbilisi travel tips to make your trip easier
- Buying a SIM card in Georgia – all you need to know
- How not to visit the Chronicle of Georgia in Tbilisi
- Day trip to David Gareja monastery from Tbilisi
- and more!
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