The Most Beautiful Highlights of Armenia

This post is about the highlights of Armenia. Armenia is a small country in the Caucasus bordering Georgia and Azerbaijan.

In my opinion, Armenia is one of the most underrated countries in Europe and the highlights of Armenia don’t get the attention they deserve. I don’t believe in descriptions like hidden gems and unexplored secrets anymore, but for Armenia it still holds a bit of truth.

Tsaghkadzor in Armenia
The ancient monasteries are one of the highlights of Armenia

The Highlights of Armenia

The highlights of Armenia are plentiful and the country is incredibly beautiful with its green rolling hills and mountains. Armenia has lakes, mineral water springs and spa resorts, but also a rich cultural heritage.

Armenians are some of the friendliest people in the Caucasus and their culture is very old. Armenia boasts a long history that spans thousands of years. They were the first state to adopt Christianity and throughout the years they managed to stick to their unique identity that sets them apart from other ethnic groups in the region.

The Armenian Apostolic church is one of the oldest Christian communities and Armenia is full of ancient monasteries in the most beautiful and remote locations. The Armenian language has its own alphabet with no less than 36 letters. Armenian food is also definetly among the highlights of Armenia. With a lot of influences from its neighbouring countries, Armenian cuisine is varied and rich in flavours.

Despite being a small country, Armenia is blessed with diverse and breathtaking landscapes. From the towering peaks of Mount Ararat to the serene shores of Lake Sevan and the picturesque valleys, the country offers a wealth of natural beauty.

An old monastery in Dilijan National Park

The Best Highlights of Armenia

Yerevan

Yerevan is one of the oldest cities in Europe, with a history dating back to the 8th century BC. As the capital, it is a hub of Armenian history and culture.

The city boasts a unique blend of architectural styles, combining Soviet-era buildings, neoclassical structures, and modern designs. The centerpiece is the Republic Square, with its distinctive pink and yellow buildings.

Yerevan has a welcoming atmosphere. The locals, known as Yerevantsis, are friendly and hospitable. The city’s vibrant street life, bustling markets, and lively cafes create a lively and welcoming ambiance.

Yerevan

Khor Virap Monastery

Khor Virap is one the most important and most beautiful monasteries in Armenia. It is the place where Saint Gregory the Illuminator, the patron saint of Armenia, was imprisoned for 13 years before he converted King Tiridates III to Christianity. This event marked the beginning of Armenia’s conversion to Christianity as the first Christian nation in the world.

One of the unique features of Khor Virap is the deep underground pit or dungeon known as the “pit of snakes.” People believe that Saint Gregory was held captive in this underground chamber. Visitors can descend into the pit and experience the atmosphere that symbolizes the saint’s resilience and triumph over adversity.

Khor Virap is set amidst picturesque landscapes, with sprawling vineyards and the Ararat Valley. It is located near the border of Turkey, with a stunning backdrop of Mount Ararat. The monastery provides one of the most iconic and picturesque views of this majestic mountain.

Khor Virap monastery

Noravank Monastery

Noravank Monastery is a remarkable cultural and architectural gem in Armenia. This monastery too has a stunning location.

Noravank is in a picturesque canyon, surrounded by dramatic red cliffs and rugged natural beauty. The contrasting colors of the monastery against the backdrop of the stunning landscape create a visually captivating scene. The setting provides a serene and awe-inspiring atmosphere, making a visit to Noravank a truly unforgettable experience.

Noravank has a large collection of exquisite khachkars. These unique Armenian cultural artifacts are notable for their detailed carvings and symbolism. The Khachkars at Noravank are among the finest examples of this ancient Armenian tradition.

Noravank is one of Armenia's highlights
Noravank monastery in Armenia

Jermuk

Jermuk is a town that is known for its mineral waters which are believed to have healing properties. The town has a number of spas and wellness centers where you can indulge in rejuvenating treatments, mineral baths, and therapeutic massages.

Jermuk is also the gateway to the beautiful Vayots Dzor region, known for its stunning hiking trails and nature reserves. The town itself is in a picturesque valley with lush green forests, towering mountains, and cascading waterfalls.

statues in a park in Jermuk Armenia
Jermuk

Tatev Monastery

Tatev Monastery is the most beautiful monastery in Armenia. It is located atop a rocky plateau, surrounded by dramatic mountains and picturesque landscapes. The panoramic views of the expansive valleys below adds to the allure of the monastery.

The Wings of Tatev cable car is an exhilarating way to reach the monastery. Holding the Guinness World Record as the longest non-stop double-track cable car, it offers stunning aerial views. The 5.7-kilometer journey takes you across the breathtaking Vorotan Gorge, offering a unique and memorable experience.

Armenia
Tatev monastery

Garni temple

Garni is home to the Garni Temple, a well-preserved Hellenistic-style temple that dates back to the 1st century AD. It is the only surviving pagan temple in Armenia and serves as a testament to the country’s pre-Christian heritage.

The Garni Temple is on a hilltop overlooking the picturesque Azat River Gorge. The setting offers stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, including the lush greenery and cliffs.

Garni is located a short distance from the capital city, Yerevan, making it easily accessible for a day trip. It’s a convenient destination to explore if you have limited time in Armenia or prefer a shorter excursion from the city.

Garni temple

Geghard monastery

Geghard Monastery, also known as Geghardavank, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most distinguishing features of Geghard Monastery is its rock-cut architecture. The monastery complex is partially carved into the adjacent cliffs, blending seamlessly with the natural surroundings. The intricate stone carvings, detailed reliefs, and architectural elements showcase the exceptional craftsmanship of medieval Armenian architects.

The name “Geghard” means “spear” in Armenian, referring to the spear that is said to have wounded Jesus during his crucifixion and that was brought to Armenia. The relic is now in the Echmiadzin Cathedral, but the monastery still holds deep spiritual significance for Armenians.

Geghard Monastery is also famous for its exceptional acoustics, making it a popular venue for musical performances and concerts.

Geghard Monastery

Debed Canyon

The Debed Canyon is an area in the north of Armenia with rolling hills, steep cliffs, forests, lush greenery, and breathtaking landscapes. The canyon stretches for approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles) and offers stunning views along its course.

Within the Debed Canyon, you can find several notable attractions, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat. These medieval monastic complexes are among the oldest monasteries in the country.

In addition to the monasteries, the Debed Canyon region boasts charming villages, such as Odzun, Alaverdi, and Akhtala, each with its own unique character and historical sites. The area is also known for its rich mining history, particularly copper mining, which has left remnants of industrial heritage.

Travelling to the Debed Canyon with Envoy Tours - Backpacking Armenia
The Debed Canyon

Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan is one of the largest fresh water alpine lakes in Eurasia and one of the largest high-altitude lakes in Europe. It is situated amidst picturesque mountains and offers breathtaking views. The azure blue waters, surrounding green landscapes, and the tranquil atmosphere make it a visually stunning destination.

Lake Sevan is of significant ecological importance to Armenia. It serves as a natural reservoir and provides a vital water supply to the surrounding regions. The lake supports diverse flora and fauna, including various species of fish and birds, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers.

There is of course another monastery here with a beautiful view over the lake. Situated on the peninsula, Sevanavank Monastery is a significant historical and cultural site. It dates back to the 9th century and consists of two medieval Armenian churches.

Lake Sevan in Armenia
Sevan lake

Dilijan National Park

Dilijan is also called the Switzerland of Armenia. It is situated in the Tavush Province, surrounded by lush forests, rolling hills, and picturesque landscapes. The town is located near Dilijan National Park, a protected area known for its diverse flora and fauna. I felt I could easily spent a week here doing hikes in the area.

Dilijan has a rich cultural and historical heritage. The town features well-preserved traditional Armenian architecture with narrow cobblestone streets and old houses. It is home to several historic monasteries and churches, such as Haghartsin Monastery, Goshavank Monastery, and Matosavank Monastery. Again the location was as stunning as the monasteries itself.

Dilijan

Byurakan Astronomical Observatory

Not many people know I have a secret childhood passion for astronomy. I used to have my own telescope and always wanted to become an astronomer. Unfortunately I wasn’t very good in mathematics so when the time came to choose a study I followed my other passion to learn more about people and different cultures in the world.

Still, whenever there is an astronomy event somewhere I feel something twinkling in my brain. And so it did when I read One Way Tour was offering a tour to the Byurakan Astronomical Observatory. What else is more exciting than visiting an old Astronomical Observatory in the mountains of Armenia?

We left when it started to get dark and we were lucky, because we had a clear sky. The astronomer in charge showed us the moon, Saturnus and Jupiter. It was a short tour, but I could not have been happier.

Byurakan Astronomical Observatory in Armenia
Byurakan Astronomical Observation tower

Disclaimer: This post with a travel guide about the highlights in Armenia contains affiliate links. If you buy any service through any of my links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. These earnings help me to keep Backpack Adventures alive! Thanks for your support!



10 thoughts on “The Most Beautiful Highlights of Armenia”

  • Armenia is one of those off the beaten track destinations you don’t hear much about. But it really looks like a great place to explore. And good advice to join a tour to get around. It’s also always better to go with some local guides.

  • I’ve never really thought about visiting Armenia but it looks like a wonderful place! I love going on group tours because I really enjoying meeting new people and finding out about the history and culture from knowledgeable guides. Great choice!

  • I really enjoyed reading your story. And loved the first picture with an old woman! One of those pictures you usually remember for a long time.

  • Armenia was never a country I had any ideas about to be honest, but from your experiences, it sounds amazing. The pictures are stunning and I think you made a great choice with the guided tour, although I do understand your initial struggles with that. Missing out isn’t really an option though 🙂 safe travels to you!

  • Armenia is a tiny country, oft-forgotten by travelers ! It’s an ancient and mystical land, and a country still unspoiled by the crowds of mass tourism. It’s a country with a rich history, and a dark past. I think you need to take your time wandering through its monasteries and temples, and enjoy them in their silent splendor. Definitively on my bucket list, 🙂 !

  • Mmmhh… I am very intrigued by Armenia and, definitely, it’s going to be one of my next destinations, as this is only Caucasian country I’ve never been to. What about hitchhiking? I am sure there must be plenty of locals who go to these monasteries on the weekends, so that would be an option if you can’t afford a tour. If you like visiting the monasteries of Armenia, you might want to go to Palestine, as well, as there are plenty of surreal monasteries built and carved on a cliff. Check out Mar Saba for example. Great reading, you made me wanna go there even more. Cheers,

  • Beautiful place for outing. One can plan their tour easily with this beautiful place with their family members. Enjoy this trip to make your weekend more exciting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *