Armenia vacations overview

Situated on the continental confluence of the Silk Road, Armenia is often overshadowed by its larger Eurasian neighbours. This is good news for cultural travelers, as it has remained largely untouched by tourism, especially the rural towns and mountain villages. You’ll find monuments to the country’s strong Christian faith scattered everywhere, including the world’s oldest cathedral, Etchmiadzin. The landscapes – Lake Sevan and the Lesser Caucasus mountains – also capture attention, and many vacations cross over the border to explore the shared heritage of neighbouring Georgia and Azerbaijan. Find out more in our Armenia travel guide.

Our top Armenia vacations

Armenia small group vacation

From £1485 to £1559
8 days ex flights
Group tour to Armenia's culture, nature, cuisine & history
Small group2021: 25 Sep, 2022: 25 Jun, 3 Sep

Armenia vacation, private departure

From £671
8 days ex flights
Independent tailor made vacations to Armenia

Georgia & Armenia cultural vacation

From £2450
16 days ex flights
Journey to the furthest reaches of Europe
Small group2021: 26 Aug, 10 Sep, 30 Sep, 2022: 16 Apr, 19 May, 9 Jun, 25 Aug, 9 Sep, 7 Oct

Best time to go to Armenia

Armenia’s mountains, valleys, canyons and forests result in a range of microclimates, with weather conditions varying significantly by altitude. The south broadly has a subtropical climate, whereas the north tends to be more continental. Spring can be a case of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, with the heavy snow of January-February quickly turning to rain in March, before ramping up the heat from June onwards. Autumn takes longer to change, so drier September-October is usually a good time to vacation in Armenia, especially in Dilijan National Park where the foliage takes on rich shades of orange and yellow. Read more about when to visit Armenia.
Armenia temperature and rainfall chart

Map & highlights

Etchmiadzin Cathedral is the ‘if you only see one thing’ highlight; it’s said to be the world’s oldest cathedral. It’s hard to choose the must-see monasteries, but a couple of the finest are medieval Geghard, balanced on the Azat Gorge, and Khor Virap, where pilgrims gather in the shadow of Turkey’s Mount Ararat. Sister mountain Mount Aragats is also worth a peek (or four – there’s a quartet of peaks, technically), especially if you like hiking. You can vacation like an Armenian among the beaches and monasteries of Lake Sevan – and don’t forget the capital Yerevan, one of the oldest cities in the world.
Etchmiadzin Cathedral

1. Etchmiadzin Cathedral

Church and religion are integral to Armenian culture, and the UNESCO site of Etchmiadzin Cathedral, not far from Yerevan, holds regular Orthodox services that can get pretty full on. Even though the exterior isn’t overly extravagant, Etchmiadzin is nonetheless impressive and as the world’s oldest cathedral it fully deserves a visit alongside several other medieval churches that you’ll find nearby.
Geghard Monastery

2. Geghard Monastery

This UNESCO site was built amongst the towering cliffs of the Azat River gorge on top of a sacred freshwater spring within a cave, and features several notable khachkars (carved stone towers) as well as churches carved from the surrounding rock face. Combine this with a visit to the nearby colonnaded Temple of Garni.
Khor Virap Monastery

3. Khor Virap Monastery

On the fenced border with Turkey, Khor Virap was where Armenia’s patron saint, Gregory, was imprisoned for trying to preach Christianity, and has become one of the country’s more sought after pilgrimage sites, with regular church services still held to this day. Views over the green fields and vineyards of the Ararat plain ascending the snow capped Mount Ararat are some of the country’s most endearing.
Lake Sevan

4. Lake Sevan

Lake Sevan has Armenia’s only beaches, and consequently is one of the most desirable vacation locations in the country. Residents traditionally hold summer picnics or take a boat ride on the lake. Sevanavank and Hayravank monasteries, located on the lake’s western shore, make great alternatives to sunbathing, with the country’s largest collection of khachkars to be found nearby in the medieval cemetery of Noratus.
Mount Aragats

5. Mount Aragats

‘Sister mountain’ to Mt. Ararat over the border in Turkey, volcanic Mt. Aragats also holds an important role in Armenian heritage. Hiking is popular on the mountain in summer, the route to the northern peak more arduous than that to the southern. On the way up you can visit the ruins of 7th century Amberd Fortress, and Alphabet Park, an artistic monument to the man who 16 centuries ago created the Armenian alphabet.
Yerevan

6. Yerevan

Despite being one of the oldest inhabited cities on the planet, Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, is pretty darn cosmopolitan with a charming blend of historic memorials, flower filled parks and aesthetically beautiful buildings, especially those surrounding the Republic Square. Monuments and statues are everywhere, a fine example being a 22m-high Mother Armenia who gazes down from a position once occupied by Stalin.

Monasteries & churches

Armenia is one of the oldest seats of Christianity – and it’s got over 4,000 monasteries and churches to prove it. Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Vagharshapat is the most ancient, with foundations dating to the 4th century. Monasteries take to the Caucasus Mountains and the peace they provide. Haghpat and Sanahin overlook villages that continue rural life as they have done for centuries; Geghard Monastery is carved directly out of the cliffs; Tatev Monastery can be reached by a 5.7km-long cable car ride. Read more about churches and monasteries in Armenia.

Yerevan

Capital city Yerevan is the start and finish of most vacations to Armenia. Religious monuments stand out: Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral is dedicated to the country’s patron saint and a bright turquoise dome adorns the Blue Mosque. But you’ll also find blunt Soviet buildings that take on a rosy hue at sunset, plus museums that range from ornate (the Cascade Complex) to vital (the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex). Mostly, Yerevan is a city that’s lived in; visiting the cool boulevard cafés and open-air Vernissage Market are equally rewarding.

Armenia & Georgia

Georgia is irresistibly close to Armenia – just a hop over the northern border. Many tours make that leap, offering you a circuit that lays out the cultural subtleties of two countries that might seem similar to an outsider. Armenia and Georgia are both keen on their churches and monasteries, yes – but Georgian capital Tbilisi favours thermal baths and river bars, the Kakheti harbours age-old vineyards, and the Black Sea has party-and-prom resorts as well as secretive shingle beaches. Find out more about Armenia and Georgia vacations.

More vacation ideas

Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan highlights tour

From £1627
13 days ex flights
Three stunning countries in one unforgettable tour
Small group2021: 29 Aug, 6 Sep, 19 Sep, 24 Oct, 2022: 1 May, 29 May, 14 Aug, 4 Sep

Caucasus vacation, Armenia, Azerbaijan & Georgia

From £2990
14 days ex flights
Journey through three Caucasus states

Georgia and Armenia vacation

From US $3549 to US $3599
14 days ex flights
Churches, monasteries, snow capped mountains, lakes and waterfalls
Small group2022: 7 May, 21 May, 4 Jun, 18 Jun, 2 Jul, 16 Jul, 23 Jul, 27 Aug, 3 Sep, 10 Sep, 17 Sep, 24 Sep

Armenia vacation, Ancient Armenia

From £1075
7 days ex flights
The best of Armenia from stunning churches to local culture
Small group2021: 18 Sep, 2022: 14 May, 17 Sep

Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan small group tour

From £2699 to £2749
20 days ex flights
A comprehensive tour through Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia
Small group2021: 5 Sep, 2022: 1 May, 4 Sep

Armenia bird watching tour

From £1496
10 days ex flights
Observe rare birds on this Armenia small-group vacation
Small group
Quote. The secret to a great holiday is that it's great for everyone - you, local communities and nature.
Tourist and Masai

More about Armenia

Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan

Visiting the terrific trio of Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan gives you a deeper insight the nations of the Southern Caucasus. Religion comes in a vision of churches, monasteries and mosques and there’s a Soviet stamp on all three countries, but each of their relationships with Russia is very different. Organised tours are a great way of unpicking the thousands of years’ worth of history; the best vacations will use a local guide from each country so that you see all three sides of the story, as well as smoothing border crossings and melting language barriers.

Families

Traveling with kids in Armenia means starting in Yerevan. The Cascade and Victory Park woo children with waterfall-like staircases and a Ferris wheel. Armenian families vacation on Lake Sevan, so there’s plenty to keep the kids busy here, including boat trips, cycling paths and watersports. Come sunset, barbecues fire up along the beaches. There’s lots of easy hiking in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains too – plus more challenging paths for sturdier teenagers.

Walking vacations

Walking vacations in Armenia are usually two-week explorations of the mountains, valleys and villages that play out beyond the city limits of Yerevan. An experienced guide will lead the way, helping you pick your way through the Caucasus Mountains via cliffside monasteries and cosy guest houses. Even the easier routes are poorly waymarked, so small group walking vacations are by far your best bet; you can leave the map-reading to the guide and concentrate on admiring the green-gold wildflower valleys and cave-like churches. If you’d like to hike in Georgia and Azerbaijan too, just add another week onto your vacation.
[Monasteries & churches: Rita Willaert] [Yerevan: Serouj Ourishian] [Armenia & Georgia: Michael Bourgault] [Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan: Ivars Utinans] [Families: Oleg SidorenkoFollow] [Walking vacations: Diego Delso]
Photo credits: [Page banner: ReflectedSerendipity] [Monasteries & churches: Rita Willaert] [Yerevan: Serouj Ourishian] [Armenia & Georgia: Michael Bourgault] [Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan: Ivars Utinans] [Families: Oleg SidorenkoFollow] [Walking vacations: Diego Delso]