Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is one of my all-time favorite cities, the one I keep returning to as often as I find cheap flights to.
I’ve just come back from yet another trip to Yerevan (was it the 10th time I went to visit Yerevan?) and I have a bunch of Yerevan travel tips for you so you can plan your own trip there too.
Read on and if you have any questions about visiting Yerevan head to my Facebook group to ask there!
Table of contents
- 1 Where is Yerevan
- 2 Visa to Armenia
- 3 Entering Armenia after visiting Azerbaijan
- 4 How to get to Yerevan
- 5 How to get from Yerevan airport to the center
- 6 How to get from the train station to the center
- 7 How to get from the bus station to the center
- 8 How to get around Yerevan
- 9 Language in Yerevan
- 10 Money in Yerevan
- 11 How to get a SIM card in Yerevan
- 12 Is Yerevan safe
- 13 Solo female travel in Yerevan
- 14 Best time to visit Yerevan
- 15 Where to stay in Yerevan
- 16 What to see and do in Yerevan
- 17 Where to eat in Yerevan
- 18 Where to shop in Yerevan
- 19 Get Yerevan Card
- 20 Further reading
- 21 Travel resources
Where is Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and the biggest city of Armenia, the landlocked country in the Caucasus region that used to be part of the Soviet Union and has regained independence in 1991. It borders with Georgia, Iran, Turkey, and Azerbaijan, however, the two last borders are closed.
Visa to Armenia
Nationalities of numerous countries (including European Union, Australia, and the US) can visit Armenia visa-free for the 180-day period within any year period. Click here to learn more about the Armenian visa policy.
Entering Armenia after visiting Azerbaijan
There are many rumors about entering Armenia after visiting Azerbaijan. These two countries are not in the friendly terms, to put it nicely, and you might be questioned at the border about your trip to Azerbaijan but as always, everything depends on the border officer.
I’ve been to Armenia twice after visiting Azerbaijan and didn’t get any questions. But if you do just tell the truth, that you are a tourist only and that’s why you went to Azerbaijan.
How to get to Yerevan
Getting to Yerevan isn’t super easy but it is definitely improving, especially now, that low-cost airlines Ryanair and Wizzair started flying there from a few European airports.
I usually fly with LOT Polish Airlines on their direct Warsaw-Yerevan route. The tickets aren’t the cheapest but when there is a good deal I can score them for around €140/return.
If you wish to travel to Yerevan overland keep in mind that you can only cross the Armenian border from Georgia or Iran.
From Tehran, you have the direct bus to Yerevan but it takes around 24 hours and I can imagine it is a bit of a rough journey as the roads in Southern Armenia can be in a rather poor condition. Besides, 24 hours by bus sounds like an exhausting journey.
It is much easier to travel from Tbilisi to Yerevan.
There are numerous minibusses on this route, however, I would recommend minivans from Avlabari metro station in Tbilisi. They are much more comfortable and faster than the regular marshrutka (that leaves from Ortachala bus station in Tbilisi). They run on schedule and it’s better to book a seat in advance.
The price for this transfer is 35 Georgian lari ($12,20 / €11) and the journey takes around 5 hours, depending on the time at the border.
There is also a night train from Tbilisi and Yerevan, running in the odd days in Georgia-Armenian direction and every day in the summertime (though then it goes from Batumi via Tbilisi).
It’s actually not that bad, the border is around midnight and the whole paperwork is done on the train. After the border, you still can get a few hours of sleep before arriving in Yerevan.
How to get from Yerevan airport to the center
Getting from Yerevan airport to the city center isn’t very difficult, no matter what time of the day or night you arrive.
There is a bus connecting the airport with the center (Republic Square) that runs 24/7, from 8 or so in the morning you can also use marshrutka – a local minibus that will take you to Yeritasardakan metro station near the Opera.
You can also use Yandex Taxi – a popular application that works like Uber in many former Soviet countries. I recommend downloading it to your phone before the trip so you wouldn’t have to worry about it when you land at Yerevan Zvartnots airport. You will need it later on when getting around Yerevan anyway.
The good thing about Yandex Taxi is that you don’t need to put your credit card details in the app, you can just pay by cash directly to the driver.
There is free wifi at Yerevan airport so you can easily get a car through Yandex Taxi after arriving, going through the customs and collecting your luggage.
The price is also very affordable, you should pay around 2.000 AMD ($4,20 / €3,75) for the ride.
There are of course taxi drivers hanging around the airport but they will try to charge you more than Yandex Taxi and you would have to bargain with them.
How to get from the train station to the center
The train station in Yerevan is located a bit outside the center but it’s easy to get from there anyway.
There are of course taxi drivers who might want to overcharge you but may also drive you for a reasonable price, it all depends on your bargaining skills. But there is also a metro connecting the train station with the city center.
Most likely you will come to Yerevan by the night train from Tbilisi, it arrives in the capital of Armenia around 7 in the morning so the metro is already running at that time.
The metro platforms are next to the train ones but to get there you need to take the underground passage. The entrance to the passage is either in the station building or outside it. Once downstairs turn left and you will find the entrance to the metro there.
To get to the platform you need to get a token for 100 AMD ($0,21/€0,19), put it in the (kołowrotek) and you are in at the platform. You need to take the metro in the direction of Barekamutyun. Republic Square will be the second stop, Yeritasardakan third and Marshal Baghramyan fourth.
How to get from the bus station to the center
When taking the bus, marshrutka or the transfer from Tbilisi or Tehran you will most likely arrive to Kilikia bus station, some 2,5 km away from the Republic Square. You can, of course, walk there, you can take the taxi or you can take the bus.
There is bus no 5 going from Kilikia via Mashtots Avenue to Opera and further. To get to the stop you need to cross the street to the other side than the bus station. The bus ride costs 100 AMD, you pay directly to the driver.
How to get around Yerevan
Yerevan is very walkable city and you will most likely walk to most of the places. But if you need to go somewhere further like Tsitsernakaberd (Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex) or Erebuni fortress Yandex Taxi will be your best friend.
You can, of course, try to use public transport but it is confusing as everything is written in the Armenian language (that is very beautiful but you have no idea what’s written there).
Yandex Taxi is very affordable, I usually paid more than the app told me because I just felt bad how cheap it is. I took it from near the metro station Republic Square to the Institute of Communication (some 4kms away) and was supposed to pay 700 AMD, or from the same location to Kilikia bus station (some 3kms away) for 300 AMD.
Language in Yerevan
The official language of the country is Armenian. What makes it special is their own alphabet that was created by Mesrop Mashtots in the year 401. It consists of 39 letters and it’s really beautiful.
But, it doesn’t look like anything you might have seen before, therefore figuring it out is almost impossible. After so many trips to Armenia, I still have no idea about it.
The good news is, most people in touristy places, and especially young people can speak very good English so you will have no problems with communications. Street names are also written in both, Armenian and English.
If you know some Russian it might help, especially at the GUM market or when dealing with taxi drivers, but it’s not necessary. I’ve never had any language issues in Yerevan and I’m sure you won’t have either.
Money in Yerevan
The official currency is Armenian dram – AMD. 1000 AMD is currently (January 2019) worth $2,10 or €1,87.
In the center, you can easily exchange money in a few points, like at the corner of Northern Avenue and Teryan street or inside the shop at the corner of Tumanyan and Abovyan streets. You can also take money from ATM or pay by card in most of the places.
During my recent trip, I used the Revolut card and had no issues at all. I paid by it everywhere, I also took money from Ameria Bank ATM with no fee.
I definitely recommend getting the Revolut card to all the travelers. It has the best exchange rates so actually helps you save a lot of money when traveling, and it’s very useful. I’ve been using mine for a year now and can say nothing but good things about it.
How to get a SIM card in Yerevan
While all the cafes, restaurants and metro stations have free wifi, I think it is good to get a local SIM card with internet data. Not only you will be able to send your Yerevan pictures to friends and family right away, but you will also need it for ordering Yandex Taxi.
Every time I’m in Yerevan I get my SIM card from MTS/VivaCell. During my recent trip to Yerevan I paid 2800 AMD ($5,85/€5,23) for 2GB of data, there were some domestic calls and texts included in this package too but I didn’t use them.
There are two MTS/VivaCell shops in the center: at 3 Amiryan St (just off the Republic Square, this one is open 24/7) and at 6/14 Northern Ave (close to the Opera, open every day from 8 am to 2 am).
In both places, the staff speaks English and you shouldn’t have problems with getting a SIM card. All you need is a passport.
The whole paperwork takes 5 or so minutes, the staff will put the SIM card to your phone and will activate it, however, the internet will start working only after 20 or so minutes, after restarting the phone. Getting the Armenian SIM card in Yerevan is very easy!
Is Yerevan safe
I personally think Yerevan is one of the safest capital I’ve been to.
I’ve been going around on my own, late in the evening, in the center and beyond (when I was staying with friends in residential areas) and never had a single issue. I even visited Yerevan during the revolution in Armenia in April 2018 and everything was very good.
Of course, things happen, like everywhere else, and you need to be careful, without doing stupid things, just like at home. But there are no special precautions to take when visiting Yerevan.
My only issue with safety in Yerevan was with some streets and sidewalks in the center not being lit properly. Again, nothing happened to me, I just didn’t feel very comfortable when walking.
Still, I never travel without travel insurance and I recommend you get one too. After all you never know what might happen. Click here to check the policy for Armenia.
Solo female travel in Yerevan
The majority of my trips to Yerevan were solo and everything was just fine.
But this is the Caucasus, this region is very much male-oriented, with a strong macho culture so you might get some unwanted attention as a solo female traveler. At the same time, Yerevan is a big, modern and cosmopolitan city and things are definitely improving there over the years.
In general, I would avoid hailing the taxi from the street when you are traveling solo and just use Yandex Taxi instead, in a rare possibility that something happens there is always a trace in the app. But again, I wouldn’t worry all that much really.
Best time to visit Yerevan
First of all, I know what is the best time to avoid Yerevan and that’s summertime and New Year’s period.
In summer the temperatures can be extreme, even over 40C, and that makes sightseeing a bit of challenge when all you want to do is just hide in the shadow, or better in the air-conditioned room.
My recent trip to Yerevan was over the New Year’s period and I didn’t think it through. Almost everything was closed, all the museums, many restaurants, shops, etc. Everything. The city was deserted until mid-afternoon, even at Northern Avenue that is always full of people, there were only a few random tourists looking lost.
Most of my favorite cafes didn’t work in that period and eventually, I had to settle for OK-ish places that I’m not a big fan of. New Year’s period is not a good time to visit Yerevan!
On the contrary, I really like Yerevan in spring and autumn, when days are warm and sunny, but not too hot, and long enough to enjoy Yerevan to the fullest. That’s also when you have better chances to see the iconic Mount Ararat from Yerevan.
You can get the best view of the mountain from the Cascades or Victory Park.
Where to stay in Yerevan
I would recommend staying within the central circuit – you will clearly see it when looking on the map, that’s the famous Yerevan urban planning from the beginning of the 20th century. You will be within walking distance to most of Yerevan attractions, cafes and restaurants and you won’t need to figure out the transport from and to your accommodation.
My favorite area to stay in Yerevan is between Pushkin street, Tumanyan street, Mesrop Mashtots Avenue and Nalbandyan street.
Here are some of the recommended places to stay in Yerevan:
- R&R Hotel (9.2/10 on Booking) – I stayed there the last time I was in Yerevan and really enjoyed it. The price was very affordable for the standard, the location and the delicious breakfast.
- Moscow Boutique Hotel (9.0/10 on Booking) – located in the famous Moscow Cinema building.
- Teryan Pushkin Apart Hotel (9.4/10 on Booking)
- and many more!
What to see and do in Yerevan
At first, it might seem that there are not so many things to do in Yerevan but that’s so not true! I think you need at least two days in Yerevan to see the city, feel its vibrant atmosphere, enjoy numerous cafes and parks and just fall for it as much as I did.
When visiting Yerevan you can’t miss Republic Square with the kitschy but fun singing fountains show, the Cascades with all they have to offer, Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral or Tsitsernakaberd – the Armenian Genocide Memorial.
Be sure to put in your Yerevan itinerary enough time to enjoy the cafe scene as it is so good there! All in all, you might be surprised how busy you will be when sightseeing in Yerevan!
Where to eat in Yerevan
Yerevan offers some very good restaurants, both with local and international cuisine. And the best thing about eating out in Yerevan is that it’s very affordable in comparison to other capitals.
My personal favorites include Anteb, Zataar Pizza, Tun Lahmajo, and recently dors craft beer & kitchen (the best grilled vegetables in my life!). I somehow always end up in Caucasus Tavern – the service there is pretty terrible but you can be sure there will be a free table, they are open 24/7 and the food is good anyway.
You can also check my friend Megan’s recommendations for the best restaurants in Yerevan too!
Where to shop in Yerevan
If you would like to do some souvenir shopping your best bet is at Vernissage Market, close to Republic Square.
For Armenian food head to GUM market, not far from the center, within a walking distance from the cathedral and Zoravar Andranik metro station.
Click here to read the guide to Yerevan shopping, written by my friend Emily.
Get Yerevan Card
The official city pass – Yerevan Card – gives you free admission to most of the museums, free metro ride and the taxi from the airport, free tour outside of Yerevan and numerous discounts all over the city! This is the best way to save some money when visiting Yerevan!
After all my visits to Yerevan and Armenia, I wrote quite a bit of content about the country. You might be interested in these articles too:
- Why Yerevan is my new favourite city
- 18 Amazing Places to Visit in Armenia
- Guide to Yerevan Soviet architecture
- The best hotels in Yerevan – luxury, mid-range and budget accommodation
- Armenia facts: What you should know about Armenia
- and more!
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