Our 4-day Armenia itinerary – the best places to visit on a road trip in summer 

Having just a few free days to travel around Armenia, we decided to embark on a road trip through the country, a journey filled with rich history, stunning landscapes, cultural treasures, and unbearable heat. Our Armenia itinerary took us through many diverse destinations and met us with the most kind-hearted people, and each encounter helped us understand this beautiful country.

Day 1: The heat of Yerevan

Our adventure began in the afternoon, right after we landed at Zvartnots International Airport, with a leisurely walk through the heart of Yerevan. There wasn’t any other way possible to explore because of the extreme summer heat of 40 degrees Celsius (at 7 p.m. and later). However, the bustling streets of the city center seemed to have become used to the weather, and before us, the vibrant energy that defines Armenia’s capital was revealed. 

Our friend Daniel took us to all sorts of wonderful places and eventually, we reached Kaskad. The iconic Kaskad stairs with art exhibitions and wonderful views and the majestic Republic Square showcased a beautiful blend of modernity and tradition, setting the tone for the days ahead. We splurged on tasty Armenian food to mark the beginning of this exciting although short journey.

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Stay in central Yerevan (budget-friendly): Victoria hotel

Kaskad Complex, Yerevan, Armenia

Day 2: Noravank Monastery, Areni, Caucasus Wildlife Refuge

We started the day leaving Yerevan to head southeast, and we were treated to breathtaking views of Mount Ararat, the iconic symbol of Armenia. The silhouette of this majestic mountain against the blue sky left a mark on our minds.

Our journey continued towards Noravank Monastery, a masterpiece nestled amidst stunning red cliffs. The architectural marvels and spiritual aura of Noravank transported us back in time. We roamed around the complex, we even overheard interesting facts from some of the guided tour groups, and we would spend extra time inside each church and shrine to admire the beautiful interiors (and the shade, of course).

View of the Mount Ararat in Armenia

Following this, we headed to the historic Areni Cave and indulged in a taste of Armenia’s ancient winemaking traditions at the Areni Wine Factory. We barely managed to find a restaurant that was open to indulge in Armenian food for lunch. The waiter was so kind to send us off by refilling our bottles with water (the best gift we can get in that weather)!

Making our way crossing mountains and hills, we reached yellow fields that were so picturesque (later we checked the name –  Lusashogh’s) that we had to stop to drone. And this was the beginning of the crazy behavior of our (now ex-) drone. So it went rogue and fell somewhere in the endless dry grass fields which made its rescue operation a lot of “fun”. It survived to fly another day.

After experiencing the rural charm of Armenia, we even took a hitchhiker in between some of the most isolated villages and she thanked us back with fresh sweet apricots! 

Armenia countryside drone shot

We drove to the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge to finish the day. Besides taking care of many wild animals, the refuge also offers a sustainable stay there, where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings, eat fresh locally grown food, and admire the thousands of stars. We had a jeep safari in the nearby area with a park ranger in search of spotting rare birds and other bigger species, and although we didn’t see many of them, we saw some of the most mesmerizing views of Armenia for this itinerary.

Stay in an eco-lodge in Armenia: Caucasus Wildlife Refuge

Day 3: Khor Virap Monastery, Garni, Lake Sevan

The day began with a drive and visit to the iconic Khor Virap Monastery, offering unparalleled views of Mount Ararat. This spiritual place provided a moment of reflection and more connection with Armenia’s profound religious heritage.

Khor Virap Monastery Armenia drone shot

Continuing our journey, we headed to the town of Garni. The first stop was the Garni Gorge, a.k.a. Stone Symphony which revealed itself as an archaeological wonder, resonating with the echoes of ancient civilizations. We were walking along the basalt columns, admiring the cliff walls hanging above us.

Then we threw a quick glimpse over the Geghard Monastery, carved into the cliffs, showing off as an architectural wonder and the spiritual significance of Armenian monastic complexes.

As we approached Lake Sevan, the serene waters and the 25 degrees Celsius temperatures gave us a refreshing perspective. The water of the lake would change its color with the journey of the sun, providing photographic opportunities, as well as bathing ones for those who would dare for a swim. We finished the day relaxing in a restaurant overlooking the lake, staying in lake bungalows and falling asleep without the need of AC for the first time on this trip.

Stay at Lake Sevan: Lavash hotel

Day 4: Sevanavank Monastery, Dilijan, Gyumri

We stopped by the Sevanavank Monastery on the other side of Lake Sevan and it would have been a lovely and peaceful interlude unless the drone hadn’t decided to go rogue again. This time it got us worried as it wanted to land on top of the cliff where people were walking towards the monastery. Eventually, we got it back and started searching for a new drone online.

Sevanavank Monastery and the Sevan Lake in Armenia drone shot

Our day continued in Dilijan, known as Armenia’s “Little Switzerland,” with its lush landscapes and charming architecture. It was really charming and taken out of the picture, which was verified by a group of artists who were capturing the lovely houses of the town on their canvases.

Venturing off the beaten path, we discovered the hidden gem of Fioletovo village, where time seemed to stand still. The landscape of the green mountains and the village was the perfect setup for the drone and we decided to give it one more try. It just landed cutting the grass this time. Definitely getting a new one.

We reached Gyumri, which represents the most authentic city of Armenia as some locals say. With its Black Castle and Iron Fountain, the town welcomed us with open arms, offering a blend of the past and present. What seemed to be the constant everywhere in Armenia was the presence of kind helpful people. In Gyumri, we found people who printed our flight tickets without even allowing us to pay them anything.

After passing more rural landscapes, herds of sheep and a magical sunset, we got back to the airport to conclude our 3-day road trip through Armenia. From the bustling city life of Yerevan to the serene landscapes and ancient monasteries scattered across the country, every stop left us with a deep appreciation for Armenia’s cultural richness and natural beauty. This road trip was not just a journey through geography but a voyage through time, where we could experience Armenia’s past and present as well.

Caucasus Wildlife Refuge Sunset view from the top of the mountain

Practical tips for traveling in Armenia

The currency of Armenia is the Armenian Dram. You can draw money from ATMs or exchange in the exchange offices that every city and bigger town has. Cards are widely accepted but always have some cash with you.

Exploring Armenia can be done with day trips from Yerevan, or if you’re willing to go independent, rent a car (we used rentalcars.com) and explore at your own pace. We believe that was the best way to explore Armenia.

Food in Armenia is tasty and fresh. Especially in summer, you’ll have the option to try all those delicious fresh vegetables. 

Accommodation of all ranges can be found, we recommend some of the small hotels/hostels in Yerevan like Victoria hotel, sustainable stays like the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge, and stays at Lake Sevan like the Lavash hotel.

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