Armenia zz

Why Yerevan is my new favourite city

(Last Updated On: 26/02/2019)
Yerevan is not a beautiful city. It is called “a Pink City” but don’t expect it to take your breath away or fall in love with it from the very first sight.

But if you decide to give Yerevan a chance and spend there more than only few hours there’s a big possibility you’ll discover a true face of the Armenian capital and will want to return there as often as possible. That was the story with me.

When I visited Yerevan for the first time in summer 2012 I liked it but didn’t go crazy for it. Ever since leaving it I felt that I should go back there as soon as possible to dig in deeper and see how it really is (similar story happened to me with Sarajevo, Belgrade and Amman). When I finally saw some very cheap tickets to Armenia I didn’t think twice.

This time I spent almost two weeks in Yerevan and every day I was falling more and more for it, making it so hard to eventually leave. So what makes Yerevan so special and why you should consider it as one of your next destinations?


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yerevan-republic-square

The cafe culture in Yerevan

First and most important is the amazing cafe culture! It was one of the first things I’ve noticed in Yerevan during my first visit and now it struck me even more.

The city is literally full of cafes! Every park, every square, most of the streets have them and no matter what time of the day they were always packed with people.

Since Armenians like their coffee to be good (and everywhere you can buy fresh coffee grains that are milled right at the spot) you can be sure that the quality of the drinks you order will be exceptional yet it won’t ruin you budget.

yerevan-cafe

IS_12

Another big advantage of most of the cafes in Yerevan was an excellent free wifi (it is also available in some shops and in every metro station). I spent two full days sitting in the cafe (Achajour – highly recommended!) and did so much work it would normally take me weeks to finish.

If someone is looking for a base for freelance writing jobs then Yerevan is a top destination for this! I could already picture myself living there and spending my days writing in the cafes!

cafe-yerevan

Interesting urban planning

Yerevan is also a great example of the Soviet city, with the center planned as circular to resemble the sun. It was designed by Alexander Tamanyan whose monument is standing proudly in the center of the city, next to the famous Cascade.

The main avenues and streets are wide, there are lots of green spaces with numerous benches to sit and relax, the pedestrian avenue – home to fancy shops and expensive apartments – connects two main squares (it was planned by Tamanyan already in 1924 but was built only in 2007).

When the center of Yerevan was planed the city was just a provincial town yet aimed to be a perfect Soviet metropolis with at least 200.000 inhabitants (these days it’s 5 times more). To achieve the greatness a lot of old, historical buildings were sadly destroyed.

Only one district of the old Yerevan – Kond – can be found almost in the center. Narrow streets, laundry hanging between old houses, public wells, everything kind of rusty – that’s how Kond is!

yerevan-street

yerevan-park

kond-yerevan

Yerevan is alive!

I could spent hours just randomly walking around in Yerevan or sitting on the bench and looking at the world around me going by. The city is very lively and seems to be always full with people of all ages (well, ok, not at 9 in the morning).

I had a feeling that the main activity for most of the residents is to hang out in the center. Seeing all these people spending time outside brought back nice memories of the childhood and reminded me of the good old times without shopping centers dominating our life. Actually that’s how I found Yerevan, a lovely city that could be as well based in the 1990s.

Sadly things are slowly changing, two shopping centers were opened, but still parks are full of old merry-go-rounds (that are always full of kids) or the smell of freshly made popcorn, there’s a lights and sound show in the Republic Square (with music from the 1990s!;)) people simply enjoy spending time together, outside in the cafe, park or on a walk.

park-yerevan

fountains-yerevan

Visit Yerevan to enjoy delicious Armenian food!

And the food in Armenia? So delicious!

As a vegetarian I could pick up from many options and each of them was better than the previous! I mostly dined in either a restaurant serving food from Caucasus (named – surprise, surprise – “Caucasus”) or the Syrian falafel place (Oolig on Tumanyan Street, close to the Opera).

In the first one the service was terrible but the food was amazing and fairly cheap! I always went just for the mix of starters (vegetarian dolma must have been one of them each time, it was love at first bite!) and after 2-3 hours in the restaurant (speaking of bad service…) I was so full I hardly could walk. And the bill never was bigger than 5.500AMD (13,50$ / 10€ / 40zł) for two people, lots of food and some drink included!

And for Oolig – I always had falafel and tan (a local drink similar to ayran in Turkey) and such meal costed me around 1.000 AMD (2,50$ / less than 2€ / 7,50zł). It literally was a food paradise for me!

armenian-food

yerevan-bakery

Visit Yerevan to enjoy some art!

Yerevan is also a city of art.

Not only the main attrcation is a Cascade complex that serves as the Cafesjian Museum of Art – a place full of really interesting contemporary art from the collection of the founder. But there’s no need to visit the Museum itself as lots of the pieces of exhibition are located either in the park leading to the Cascade, in the stairs of the complex or inside, where the escalator is (entrance on the left side).

The city is also full of various monuments of famous Armenians or other random art installations. But my favourite thing was how neatly painted most of the gates in the city are. It was a project made by the student of Yerevan State Academy of Fine Arts (or at least that’s what I heard) and it really added up to the city’s look and charm! All the paintings were so good I literally couldn’t decide which was my favourite one!

yerevan-art

yerevan-gate

yerevan-monument

Day trips from Yerevan

Due to its central location Yerevan also makes a perfect base for numerous daytrips in Armenia. There’re so many incredible places to see in the country and the most faraway one – Tatev Monastery – is located 4 hours from the capital.

I’ve seen most of the important sights in the country yet I never stayed overnight outside of Yerevan. You can use public transport to the main cities (like Gyumri) or go for organized tours (which are really cheap and just your best option in Armenia) – either way you’ll love what you will see outside of the capital too!

While visiting the capital of Armenia I did the following day trips:

gyumri

tatev

The location and Mount Ararat

With all the greatness that Yerevan has the main reason why it stole my heart is Mount Ararat and the spectacular views of it. On some days you can see it very clearly, on others you just feel it’s there.

I could spend hours siting on the stairs of Cascade and just staring at it, thinking about the tragic history of Armenia and the importance of this very place. Oh wait, I actually did that, many times…

ararat-from-yerevan


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Where to stay in Yerevan

If you’re still wondering if it’s worth visiting Armenia don’t hesitate too long and just go! It’s one of the most fascinating countries you’ll ever visit and the memories from it will stay with you forever!

If you give Yerevan a chance and spend there more time, taking things easy and just trying to live the local life I guarantee you – it will become one of your favourite cities too!

And if you’re looking for a place to stay in Yerevan – I’ve picked the best hotels in Yerevan for you, from budget to luxury! Click here to see them all!


Are you planning a trip to Caucasus? Do you like that region as much as I do? I’ve created a Facebook group where you can look for advise or inspiration and share your travel stories and pictures from Caucasus and beyond. Join now!


If you think of visiting Armenia or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it:

If you’re looking for articles about any place in particular this map with posts might be useful for you. Or just take a look at the “destinations” page.


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36 Comments

  • Reply
    Ibazela
    22/04/2015 at 09:20

    “If someone is looking for a base for freelance writing jobs then Yerevan is a top destination for this!”
    Ach. Perfect news :D

    • Reply
      kami
      29/04/2015 at 11:54

      are you planning to move to Yerevan :D ? you know I’d visit frequently then :D ?

  • Reply
    Lee Hamilton
    21/06/2015 at 15:20

    Wow amazing pictures of Yerevan.Yet another place I have not thought about. i need to think about Armenia and Mount Ararat is truly an awesome sight.

    • Reply
      kami
      14/09/2015 at 15:36

      Armenia is really amazing and Yerevan might be not beautiful in the classical way but it surely has a soul! And Mount Ararat is just epic!

  • Reply
    Natalia | nataliawatras.com
    07/09/2015 at 20:03

    Kami, I’ve already told you before that Yerevan is not my city at all BUT I have to admit, the view on Mount Ararat is even more than spectacular. First (and only) time in Armenia I felt my heart is beating faster :)

    • Reply
      kami
      14/09/2015 at 15:40

      you just need to give Yerevan a chance, I think it’s totally your kind of the city ;) After my first visit there I didn’t like it at all, and then I fell in love so much with it! Next time you just need to go with me ;)
      And I can look for hours at Ararat and it never gets boring!

  • Reply
    The Picktures
    07/09/2015 at 19:43

    Come back;))

  • Reply
    Monika Kaliszewska
    08/09/2015 at 08:25

    Na mnie zrobila dobre wrazenie energia Erywania, ale mnie nie porwal. Niektore miejsca bardzo mi sie w nim podobaly, inne wcale. Musze tam dotrzec jeszcze do matenadaran muzeum. Miasto pelne kontrastow, troche surreal… Do Kondu dotarlismy wieczorem i powiem szczerze, w ciemnosciach troche byl dla mnie przerazajacy :)
    Generalnie pokochalam Gruzje bardziej niz Armenie rowniez, z wylaczeniem moze Nagorno-Karabakh. Do Armenii musze wrocic do Aragats bo nie dotarlismy tam. A Batumi jak unikalam tak bede unikac :D

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      08/09/2015 at 21:29

      no własnie, miasto nie musi być piękne, żebym je uwielbiała, i tak tez jest z Erywaniem. ba, to chyba jedna z brzydszych stolic w jakich byłam, ale dla mnie i tak najwspanialsza, własnie przez ta energie i atmosferę. Gruzja dla mnie zbyt turystyczna się zrobiła, tym bardziej jak mam porównanie do 2011r, a Armenia dalej daje radę! Do Karabachu jeszcze nie dotarłam, chociaz plany za każdym razem były, ale Erywań mnie zbytnio wciągał

    • Reply
      Monika Kaliszewska
      08/09/2015 at 21:36

      Nie omijaj Karabachu, jedz, dam ci namiary na Saro, jest absolutnie wspanialym hostem w Shushi! Ja do Karabachu musze wrocic obejrzec wiecej regionu :) Ludzie na miejscu wspominali, ze od kilku lat na granicy bardziej niespokojnie sie zrobilo, wiec moze byc warto pojechac tam wczesniej niz pozniej..
      A Georgia- Zugdidi/Samegrelo – zero turystow, jeden z najpiekniejszych rejonow :)

  • Reply
    Bohemian Traveler
    09/09/2015 at 04:23

    Armenia has been one of my favorite countries, but I don’t remember Yerevan standing out when I visited 8 yrs ago.

    • Reply
      Kami and the rest of the world
      15/09/2015 at 21:13

      the first time I went there was in 2012 and didn’t like it all that much but I just needed to give it time, now I’m kind of crazy about it ;) you should go back to see how it’s now!

  • Reply
    Rowell
    10/09/2015 at 15:17

    I will be visiting Armenia on the 3rd week of September! Excited to experience what you’ve experienced!

    • Reply
      kami
      14/09/2015 at 15:41

      Ah, lucky you!! I hope you will like it half as much as I did! :)

  • Reply
    Anna
    23/10/2015 at 11:31

    My favorite place in Yerevan is the staircase in Cascade. I can sit there for hours and watch people and the city. The view is so perfect from above. You can read a book or just paint what you imagine.

    • Reply
      kami
      15/11/2015 at 18:30

      I totally agree! It’s my fave place in Yerevan too and I can easily spend hours there, just looking at the view!!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
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    01/04/2016 at 16:16

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  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Lauren
    01/08/2016 at 08:39

    The whole warm of Yerevan is in Cascade. Here is the youth of the city.

    • Reply
      kami
      04/08/2016 at 14:58

      Agree! It’s probably my favorite place in the whole city!

  • Reply
    Magda
    20/08/2016 at 21:38

    I was in Yerevan last weekend and I fell in love with this city. When I went to the dancing fountain show, and saw the Republic Square, and heard monumental classical music there – I was thrilled! And how alive the city was! I hope I will come back there.

    • Reply
      kami
      31/08/2016 at 12:33

      I also hope you will come back there! Yerevan is amazing, too bad not many people can see that!

  • Reply
    Magdalena Broda
    06/09/2016 at 18:10

    Ja bym wróciła właśnie też do Erywania ;)

    • Reply
      kami
      05/10/2017 at 12:40

      najlepiej!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Lili Drmeyan
    25/08/2017 at 20:10

    Thank you so much Kami for your kind words and opinion! You’re always welcome here :)

    • Reply
      kami
      05/10/2017 at 12:47

      Thank you! I can’t wait to be back next year! :)

  • Reply
    MC
    25/11/2017 at 01:50

    Just saw a fare from $388 on Emirates today and stumbled into your blog, looks like a great gateway to Baku as well which I have also heard great things about!

    • Reply
      kami
      22/12/2017 at 22:11

      Baku might be more tricky to get as Armenia and Azerbaijan aren’t in very friendly relations but the whole Caucasus region is really interesting and I can definitely recommend visiting it!

  • Reply
    Emily L
    30/01/2018 at 19:30

    Thank you for this article! I am hoping to visit in the fall.

    • Reply
      kami
      29/03/2018 at 20:18

      I hope you will! Yerevan is really amazing and so beautiful in the fall!

  • Reply
    Marina
    05/05/2018 at 18:24

    Hi Kami,
    Nice to hear good things about Yerevan. It is very interesting place to be. I used to live there for about 10 years during very bad time for my people from 1989.Armenia is beautiful everywhere and people are very friendly and hospitable. I love Armenia! I see you are from Poland. My husband will work in Bydgoszcz for few years. What would you suggest to visit first in your country? I’ve traveled a lot in my life- Morocco, Tunis, Caribbean, of course Caucasus, Russia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia and etc. Thanks

    • Reply
      kami
      12/05/2018 at 11:31

      Thank you for your comment Marina! Armenia is one of my favorite countries to visit as even if people went through a lot, especially recently, they are still among the friendliest and most hospitable I’ve ever met! As for Poland from Bydgoszcz the easiest trips would be Toruń and Poznań, then you can explore the rest of the country and as there are so many places to visit here! The good thing about Poland is how diverse the country is, it will keep you occupied for a while :)

  • Reply
    Heide Kazandjian
    11/06/2018 at 15:58

    My husband is of Armenian decent, and we visited Armenia for the first time in his life (He is now 62 years old). As a family we went there with our own ideas of how we THOUGHT it might be…..and then we arrived in Yerevan and within an hour …we were totally in love with this city…the people, the buildings, the food, the history…EVERYTHING. We spent 5 days in this stunningly beautiful country, and the day we left I cried. I left my heart in ARMENIA….and we will be back!

    • Reply
      kami
      11/06/2018 at 22:13

      I so can understand you! Even if I don’t have any Armenian origins (although there’s some suspicion in my family) I adore this place, it’s such an incredible country! I really hope you will make it there soon and enjoy it even more!

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