Armenia doesn’t find its way on “top destinations” list and not many people can pinpoint the landlocked country on the map. But despite all this, Armenia is an amazing country to visit and you’ll find out why in this article. You’ll be surprised to see and hear how much a small country like Armenia has to offer and even more how great you can feel in a country where everything seems strange: from the language to the funky looking alphabet.
But it’s all compensated by amazing people, beautiful nature and a feeling of getting back to your roots – no matter where you come from. It’s a feeling that’s difficult to describe, but you’ll know what I mean once you get there. Or just trust me on this.
It’s true, Armenia is more of a rough gem hidden in the dirt and your first impression might not be great. In the end, the country’s roads look old and jarred and the cities themselves still have that post-communist vibe, even though the country reclaimed its independence back in 1991. But despite these minor inconveniences, the country is beautiful and the people there are absolutely amazing.
So if you are willing to take the time and effort to explore Armenia – or at least it’s capital, Yerevan, you will be rewarded greatly.
But the title says “Why Armenia is an amazing place to visit right now,” so you’re expecting some reasons. Let’s check them all out below!
Do you know much about Armenia? Other than a few basics, I didn’t know a lot before I decided to visit. I opted to add it to my summer itinerary because an Armenian friend of mine was going to be there, and I figured it would be a good opportunity to check out a place I might not otherwise get to any time soon. One of the reasons why having friends from all over the world rocks!
So, before I left, I began reading up on Armenian history on Wikipedia. And became fascinated. Armenia’s history dates back millennia, and it was the first nation to adopt Christianity as its religion. Armenia has also had a ton of unfortunate events throughout its life, even in very recent history. 20th century genocide, anyone? I already knew that the Ottoman Empire made a lot of bad moves in their quest to conquer the world (alas, haven’t all empires done the same?), and I knew about the Armenian genocide on a very basic level, but being there made the history feel real, not just something we read about in books.
And it’s always a nice feeling to be in a place that is so full of history, especially when the locals are so friendly and willing to teach you a lot about their country (but more on this later).
Armenia has some staggeringly beautiful mountain landscapes, but the truly impressive things are the monasteries built on top of and into these mountains. The land is rugged, remote and unforgiving. Seeing these massive, super old structures that still stand today is almost impossible to believe and truly impressive.
It’s true that most travelers start to get bored with all the churches and monasteries because all countries have a ton of beautiful ones, but keep an open mind and try to judge them on a one at a time basis.
In this case, checking out the monasteries comes with an added bonus, too. Since most of them are situated away from the major cities and into rural Armenia, you get to experience a bit of that as well. Since I’m born and raised in Romania, I’m not insanely impressed since it is basically the same thing – but for people coming from Western countries, it would be a totally awesome experience for sure.
The low cost of living
Armenia is CHEAP. Drinks are cheap. Food is cheap. Lodging is cheap. Souvenirs are cheap. Transportation is cheap. Everything is cheap if you come with foreign currency and exchange it in the country. You can really afford a lot more than you would in other places, that’s for sure!
The delicious food
I had some amazing meals in Yerevan, from all over the world. You would think that sushi from a landlocked country would suck, but it was extremely good. And, again, everything is unbelievably cheap. You can eat well in Armenia for very good prices, even if you don’t want to stick to traditional food.
But why shouldn’t you? Armenian food itself is delicious and extremely filling. From khorovats (like barbeque) to Shampours and Churchkela and all the way to simple snacks and pastries, it’s all fantastic. Armenian cheese is delicious, and I had the best dried apricots I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.
As a bonus, most of the ingredients are locally-grown, so you’re getting a real Armenian taste and healthier meals in the process.
It’s not a tourist trap
If you’re the type of person that likes “getting off the beaten path” and “discovering new things,” Armenia isthe perfect place for you. I barely ran into any other Western tourists, and most of the people visiting were diaspora Armenians. Or Russians. They would politely ask me if I’m Armenian, and when I responded with the obvious “Nope!” they asked me why the hell I would choose to visit Armenia. They were truly shocked that somebody who had no relatives in the country would visit, but seemed genuinely happy that I did.
Sure, this means that the tourist infrastructure isn’t as great as it is in more touristy places, but that’s what makes it feel like a real place, and not just another stop on the tourist trail. When you need to get a minibus somewhere, you’re doing it with the locals. You’ll probably have a difficult time communicating, but that’s the fun of it, until you get lost, at least!
The people are amazing
The one thing that really makes Armenia wonderful is the people. They’ve had a pretty rough history, but they’re so resilient. Even if they thought I was weird for being there, everyone was so kind to me.
They wanted to share their country and it’s history, and they were so proud of it. I did feel like an outsider sometimes, because it’s such a tight-knit community, but that’s okay. The love that they have for Armenia is so apparent, and it left me wishing that I had a community like that to belong to.
The Armenian people are friendly, welcoming and have a warm heart. You will feel at home there as soon as you get into the country and they will sure do their best to make your stay as pleasant as possible.
In my opinion, all these reasons are more than enough for you to seriously consider visiting Armenia. It’s not easy getting there and it’s definitely not your regular tourist destination, but if you ever feel the need for a brand new adventure, something off the beaten path, Armenia is a hidden gem that few people actually discovered.
What do you think about Armenia? Does it sound like a country you’d like to visit?