Almost everyone takes an organised tour of Armenia so planning an Armenia itinerary using public transport is a little bit of a challenge. Even the tourist information centre couldn’t tell us times and prices for mini buses and it took a lot or asking around to find all the best places to visit in Armenia and how to get there.
So here is our Armenia itinerary for 10 days including some extra options and information about getting around and places to stay. We travelled to Armenia in June and it was very hot already. Make sure you take this into consideration if you’re planning in hiking or spending lots of time outdoors.
How to get to Armenia
We travelled from Tbilisi to Yerevan by minibus. This trip takes around six hours and costs 7000 AMD. There is also an overnight train running between the cities.
There is a border crossing with Iran at the Norduz crossing point but the borders to both Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed.
Several major airlines fly from Europe to Yerevan including Air France, Air Italia and Austrian Airlines. For budget travellers it is probably cheaper to take a flight to Georgia and travel overland to Armenia.
Public Transport in Armenia
The main way to get around in Armenia is by mini-van. These run on a series of different routes between the main destinations in Armenia and are a very affordable way to get around. The schedules are difficult to come by though so it takes a bit of research in each new place to plan your way to the next place. For each place below we will include information about the transport options.
Hitchhiking in Armenia is incredibly safe and easy. You don’t even need to stick your thumb out, simply stand or walk along the side of the road and someone will no doubt stop and offer you a ride. We hitchhiked several times and got a mixture of friendly locals and other tourists who had hired a car or had a driver.
For more information about budget, accommodation and planning tips read our full Backpacking Armenia Guide .
Best Place to Visit in Armenia
Recommended time: 3 nights
The quirky capital of Armenia is an intriguing mix of Paris and Moscow. Full of huge Soviet buildings and wide boulevards scattered with street-side cafes. The city centre is very clean, well laid out and functional. Many of the facades are new and the parks and pedestrianised streets make it feel like any European capital but with a very Russian vibe. There are some good museums, a weekend flea market and some viewpoints giving spectacular vistas of the city with Mount Ararat in the background.
How to get to Yerevan
There are daily mini buses and trains coming from Tbilisi, Georgia. There are also regular minibuses from almost every town in Armenia back to the capital.
Where to stay in Yerevan
We had a very comfortable stay at Mini Hostel Tigranyan 5, which was great value for money but a little out of the city centre. Check prices here.
If you prefer something closer to the centre try these excellent options:
Budget – MGA Hostel & Tours
Mid-range – My Hotel Yerevan
Recommended time: 1 night
This town is famed as the ‘Switzerland of Armenia’ but honestly, it was a little underwhelming. There is one overly made-up street in the town and a few beautiful old houses. The area around is great for hiking so if you plan to hike this can be a good base. It also makes the trip to Tbilisi a little bit shorter if you’re heading towards Georgia.
Make sure you have a coffee break at Café Number 2. A social enterprise to train youth from Dilijan, it serves amazing food and coffee in a comfortable café with funky furniture and design.
How to get to Dilijan
From the North bus station in Yerevan, there are mini vans leaving when full (every 30 minutes or so). It costs 1000 AMD and takes roughly 1.5 hours. You will be dropped by the roundabout in the middle of Dilijan.
On the way between Tbilisi and Yerevan you can be dropped or picked up here. It will cost the same as the full journey, however. If you want to be picked up it is best to call a mini van company in advance and book a place.
Where to stay in Dilijan
We had a really comfortable stay at the Art Guest House. Clean and comfortable rooms and a great restaurant with beautiful views.
Garni, Geghard and the Symphony of the Stones
Recommended time: 1-2 nights
This is a truly special area of the country with a monasteries, a temple, rock formations and plenty of hiking opportunities. Most people do a quick day trip from Yerevan and miss enjoying the area to its full potential. You can read our detailed post about the area but for now, trust us and book into Camping 3Gs Bed and Breakfast and relax! They have camping spots, rent-a-tent and gorgeous private rooms. All centred around an idyllic pool, fruit trees and sweeping valley views.
If you're visiting Garni make sure you take the 20 minute walk down from the town to visit the incredible Symphony of Stones in the gorge below. Naturally formed hexagonal rocks fit together along the sides of the gorge making a really impressive spectacle.
How to get to Garni and Geghard
Mini buses and buses leave from the ‘Mercedes’ bus stand around every 30 minutes. It costs 250 AMD to reach Garni. Shared taxis also often leave from this stand when full for 750 AMD per person.
Recommended time: 2 nights
Goris is not a popular tourist destination but it’s a lovely little town and makes a good base for visiting Tatev. It’s also worth having a day in the town to hike to the awesome cave dwellings that are dotted around the hills surrounding Goris. There are some hiking trails and view points with beautiful views over the town.
How to get to Goris
From Yerevan there are minivans leaving from the David of Sasun Train Station at 7am, 9am and 4pm. It costs 2500 AMD per person and it is necessary to book in advance (the day before) as they get filled up.
It is also possible to take a minivan going to Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh and get dropped in Goris. These leave from the Kilikia Bus Station every 30 minutes or so in the mornings from 7am. It costs 5000 AMD and you need to pay for the full journey even if you get dropped early.
A private transfer costs around 27,000 AMD and can be arranged with stops along the way. This can be worthwhile if you’re in a group or short on time to see lots of places along the way.
Where to stay in Goris
We found a great, affordable hotel called Zanger Hotel. The owners spoke really good English and were able to help us with booking a minivan back to Yerevan and options for getting to Tatev. The rooms were clean and comfortable and it came with coffee and breakfast included. Check prices here.
Recommended time: day trip
Tatev Monastery is one of the most famous attractions in Armenia. The tourism board and a local foundation have spent a lot of money constructing the world’s longest non-stop double track cable car, ‘The Wings of Tatev’ which takes tourists (and locals) on a stunning 12 minute journey across gorges and valleys to the Tatev Monastery. It’s a bit pricey but well worth the trip. A popular option is to take a one way ticket and then hike back to Halidzor via the Devil’s Bridge. Details of this hike can be found on the HIKEArmenia app.
How to get to Tatev
From Yerevan the only option is by private tour or public transport to Goris and then taking a taxi.
We hitchhiked from Goris which was very easy but you can also take a taxi which should cost 3000 AMD. You can also ask it to wait for 1000 AMD per hour and the return for another 1000 AMD.
The ropeway costs 3000 AMD one way and 5000 AMD return trip and takes 12 minutes one way. They go every 15 minutes but if you go on a weekend be prepared to wait. Friends of ours waited 2 hours for the next available space but when we went on a Thursday afternoon there were only 3 other people in our cabin.
Where to stay in Tatev
It’s possible to stay in Tatev village but there are better options available in Goris. Have a look for Tatev guesthouses here.
Recommended time: 3-4 nights
Heading to the unrecognised republic of Nagorno-Karabakh isn’t high on everyone’s Armenia itinerary but the area is incredibly beautiful and has some interesting history. You will need to get a visa when you arrive and it’s not a good idea to go if you plan to travel to Azerbaijan after but we’ve read that it is possible.
You can read more detailed information about visas, transport, accommodation and things to do in our full Artsakh Guide.
Stepanakert is the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh or Artsakh as it also known. The city is very clean and surprisingly fancy with a large main street with plenty of clothing shops. There are some upmarket hotels and cafes in the centre and you could be mistaken for thinking you’re in a European town. But get a little out of the centre and the evidence of this areas turbulent past becomes a little more obvious. Pay a visit to the ‘We Are Our Mountains’ monument and wander the town before heading off to explore some other areas of Artsakh.
We also recommend visiting Shushi for at least a day trip where there is an excellent history museum about the area, a stunningly restored cathedral, a great local restaurant (Old Shushi) and a lovely hotel with cathedral views (Hotel Shushi).
How to get to Stepanakert
Minivans leave from the Central Bus Station (also called Kilikia Station, along the highway M5) in Yerevan once full from 7 am. We were told they left every hour but one left when we arrived and our one left 15 minutes later and we could see the next one already filling up. It costs 5000 AMD per person and takes around 6 hours.
Where to stay in Stepanakert
We asked around at places when we arrived but besides some large hotels, there are not many places to stay. We ended up at the place recommended to us at the border and paid 7000 AMD for 2 people in a large, basic room with bathroom. This is about the cheapest for this area, it was very clean and had lovely owners. Contact: (+374)097790199 or find them here Mamikonjan Street 60.
Other Place to Visit in Armenia
We didn’t visit these areas but they are on our list for next time!
Telling people we went to Armenia but didn’t visit Lake Sevan is a bit embarrassing but in the end it just didn’t fit in and all we would have managed was a quick day trip to take some photos. We heard it was very busy as we were there in the middle of summer so we plan to return sometime and relax here when there are less people about. The lake takes up 5% of Armenia and looks really beautiful although be aware that it is quite high and so the temperatures are usually not ideal for swimming.
How to get to Lake Sevan
There are minivans leaving from Yerevan's North bus station. The journey takes about an hour and costs 600 AMD.
This picture-perfect monastery is on every postcard of Armenia. If you go on a clear day the views of the monastery with the snow-capped mountains in the background is breath-taking. This makes a good stop-off on the way to Goris or as part of a day tour from Yerevan if you have a driver. But the effort of getting there by public transport didn’t seem worth it for us as we have seen so many beautiful monasteries in both Armenia and Georgia.
How to get to Khor Virap
Minivans leave from behind David of Sasun train station and take about an hour. It costs 400 AMD per person. Make sure you check about return times before you leave as they are not always regular!
Noravank is another beautiful monastery which can be included as a stop on the way to Tatev or as a day trip from Yerevan. It’s set in a really impressive gorge and is actually three churches which are beautifully decorated. If you haven’t already seen your fill of monasteries consider factoring it in to your Armenia travel plans!
How to get to Noravank
There is no public transport to Noravank so your best bet is to include it in a day trip from Yerevan or hitchhike.