What's On travels to Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world and one that is filled with hidden wonders and treasures just waiting for you to explore.
There’s something truly special about Armenia. Whether you travel for the rich history and culture, or green scenery and landscapes – you’re sure to find it here. Here’s a travel guide…
Things to see and do
Go on a tour of the city
A few hours in Yerevan’s city centre is all you need to fall in love with it. There’s a lot that can be done in a day, so be sure to wake up early, grab breakfast and go discover the city.
Start out at the world-class sculpture garden in front of Cafesjian Center for the Arts. Spot a huge sculpture of Trdat – the chief architect of the Bagratid kings of Armenia, as well as the iconic pop art ‘LOVE’ by American artist Robert Indiana. Art lovers need to allot time to spend inside the art centre but one masterpiece you don’t want to miss lies outdoors on what is most commonly known as The Cascade – the beating heart of the city with sweeping views of the Armenia cityscape.
If you’re lucky, you may also be able to spot Mount Ararat on a clear day.
Visit one of the many cafés here before you set off on a tour. Be sure to pay a visit to atoghike Holy Mother of God Church, one of the oldest churches in the city, and the Blue Mosque, the largest of eight mosques in Yerevan.
This city truly comes to life at night. This is the time to visit the dancing fountain in front of the History Museum of Yerevan, complete with lights and music. Then, soak in the sights of Republic Square from the impressive stone buildings and enjoy the musicians roaming the streets.
From here, Yerevan offers plenty of places to stop and pick up some souvenirs, try traditional Armenian cuisine and its wonderful local wine.
Lake Sevan and Sevan National Park
Soak up nature and the panoramic views from up-high at Sevan National Park – one of the four protected national parks of Armenia that surrounds and protects Lake Sevan. Known as the ‘blue pearl’ or ‘blue eye of Armenia’ – Lake Sevan is the country’s national treasure. It is home to fresh water, providing fish to the region, and is vital to tourism and agriculture. Lake Sevan is also dotted with a number of impressive churches and monasteries, including the must-see Sevanavank, known as ‘the Black Monastery’. Though simple in design, the monastery is one of the most-visited sites in Armenia.
A two-hour drive away from Yerevan’s city centre is Haghartsin Monastery (meaning soaring eagle) located near the town of Dilijan in the Tavush Province of Armenia. It was built around the 10th century and comprises three different churches, a sepulchre, and a refectory. Due to storms, raids and decades of neglect, the complex was near ruins. However, when His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, visited Armenia in 2005, he generously offered to renovate the complex. After repairs, the monastery reopened to the public in 2013. Visit the monastery and see the exquisite stone carvings, the refectory hall showcasing medieval Armenian architecture, and the centuries-old khachkars (carved stone crosses).
Van Ardi Estate
Oenophiles will love Van Ardi – an award-winning boutique winery in the Aragatsotn region of Armenia. The charming family-run boutique winery offers a unique experience with tours of the estate’s vineyards, the history of Armenian wine and of course, wine tasting. Spend two to three hours (or more) sampling wine with food pairing as you sit enjoying the views of the gorgeous vineyard and Mount Ararat with a specially built bell tower just metres away. The bell tower, which stands right in front of the vineyard is important as the family believes that the vibration and sound add positive energy to the ingredients that make up their fine wine. You will be able to ring the bell, too.
Yell Extreme Park
Located in the ever-green Yenoqavan mountains, Yell Extreme Park is for the thrill seekers and nature lovers. A must-try activity here is the zip-line where you’ll soar through the air. Other heart-pumping activities include a rope park, horseback riding, off-roading and via ferrata. Visit early to check off all the activities on the list.
Where to stay
Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham Yerevan
Situated 150 metres from Republic Square, this hotel is a great budget-friendly option. It offers a continental or buffet breakfast, a rooftop terrace and spacious rooms for you to unwind after a long day. Prices start from Dhs267 per night.
Best Western Plus Congress Hotel
Located next to the Children’s Park in Yerevan city centre, this modern and elegant chain hotel is a great hotel to stay in to experience the rhythm and the soul of the capital. Prices start from Dhs280 per night.
Heralded as the first luxury international hotel in the historic centre of Yerevan, the hotel features a minimalist design, grand gold accents and hints of decorative Armenian motifs. It’s pet-friendly, has an Alexander Spa by Anne Semonin and an Italian restaurant on the top floor. Prices start from Dhs1,400 per night.
Four dishes to try
Armenian food is not only delicious, but also healthy. Here are some must-try dishes to look out for.
Cheese and greens brduch
Brduch, which translates to ‘wrap’ in Armenia, is an essential all-purpose food, which you can treat yourself to for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It includes green vegetables, and cheese wrapped in lavash (unleavened bread).
This Armenian-style pizza is a flatbread topped with minced meat.
A common Middle Eastern dish, this is a cabbage or grape leaf stuffed with minced meat and rice, which can be eaten either hot or cold.
For a sweet treat, skip the cakes in Armenia and indulge in Gata – a traditional bread stuffed with sugar and butter.