Weekend in Armenia: where to go by car - Move2Armenia

Weekend in Armenia: where to go by car

Weekend in Armenia: where to go by car

Armenia is a small country, but at the same time dotted with attractions. The most convenient way to explore the local expanses is by car. The road alone will leave an indelible impression: there are mountains and gorges all around, the roads wind and lead past rivers. There are popular destinations, for example, to the second largest city Gyumri, green Dilijan, for a huge Lake Sevan, winter resort Tsaghkadzor, pagan temple Garni. But in this collection we will tell you about places that not all tourists know about, or where simply not everyone gets to.

If you are planning a trip and need a car, it will not be difficult to rent a suitable vehicle from the company Move2Car. It's fast, profitable and, most importantly, safe.

We have identified three destinations for a weekend trip:

  1. Near Yerevan
    1. Aknalich village and surrounding area
    2. Byurakan telescope and the foot of Mount Aragats
  2. North of Armenia
    1. Molokans village Fioletovo
    2. Ijevan city
    3. Lastiver Gorge
  3. South of Armenia
    1. Tatev Monastery
    2. Armenian Stonehenge – Karahunj
    3. "Stone Forest" in the city of Goris
    4. Cave town Khndzoresk

Near Yerevan

It happens that you want to see the country, but going far from the capital is not very good, and the long road is exhausting. In this case, we offer several places within a 45-minute drive from Yerevan.

Aknalich village and surrounding area

We leave Yerevan towards the city Echmiadzin (Vagharshapat). You may have already heard about it: this is the spiritual capital of Armenia, where the throne of the Catholicos of all Armenians is located. On the way we admire the old terminal of Zvartnots airport – a masterpiece of Soviet modernism. We stop by the temple after which the airport is named, look at its columns, and if we’re lucky with the weather, then at Mount Ararat.

But our goal is other places, less popular, but also worth attention. In the village of Aknalich, an hour's drive from Yerevan, is the world's largest Yazidi church, Quba Mere Divan. Yes, in Armenia you can meet not only Armenian Apostolic Church, visit the pagan temple of Garni, but also find out who the Yezidis are. Let's briefly say that this is a Kurdish ethno-confessional people, whose faith was formed at the intersection of Zoroastrianism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The Yazidis believe in One God and the Holy Trinity, but they are very different from those familiar to the Christian world. The church ministers will tell you the details - they are always happy to have guests.

Photo: 1, 2 – Ners Hayk

If you want to relax and reflect on your impressions, take a walk near Lake Metsamor. And when you are ready, drive 10 minutes to the excavations of the city of Metsamor and the museum of the same name. The settlement flourished in this territory as early as the 4th millennium BC. You will be able to touch ancient stonework, see ancient household items, Egyptian seals, and unusually shaped idols. If you still doubt whether to come here, take a look virtual tour.

Photo: bangkokbook.ru

If museums are for you, then we suggest continuing your journey through Armavir to Araks. There is the State Ethnographic Museum of Sardarapat, in which you will learn about the life of the people since ancient times and listen to the story of the Battle of Sardarapat, the victory of which prevented another genocide of the Armenians.

The foot of Mount Aragats and the Byurakan Observatory

Now let's go to the side Ashtarak and head towards the highest mountain in Armenia - Aragats. At its foot is the glacial lake Kari. It is covered with ice almost all year round, so dress warmly even in summer. We went here and shot a video. It's nice to sit by the lake and breathe in the mountain air. You can snack on pies or even hashem in a local cafe, gain strength and begin the climb to Aragats. It is not necessary to go all the way to the top; the climb is gentle for a long time, and the walk is very pleasant. In September 2023, your author completed the ascent to the southern peak and descent in about five hours. Luckily, there was no snow or puddles.

Photo: Yulia Dyagileva

After the ascent, we suggest spending the evening, or rather the night, at the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory named after. V. Ambartsumyan. From Lake Kari to the village of Byurakan it is only 45 minutes. It's not a typical tourist site, but more and more travelers are becoming aware of the observatory. During the day, from 10:00 to 17:00, you can walk around the territory, and from 22:00 to 00:00 for 3,000 drams they give you a tour, tell you about the stars and let you look through a telescope. Before arriving, you must make an appointment by calling the phone number listed on the website. bao.am.

Photo: atlasobscura.com

We listed even more places near the capital in the article “Guide to the suburbs of Yerevan".

North of Armenia

Molokans village Fioletovo

In the Lori region there is a village with a beautiful and unusual name for Armenia, Fioletovo. Molokans, expelled from Russia by Alexander I, have been living in it, as well as in neighboring Lermontov, for 200 years. They were so named for drinking milk during Lent. We talked in detail about the Molokans here. Recently, the Rudometkin family from Fioletovo began inviting people on excursions, talking about their everyday life and treating them to traditional Molokan dishes. You can also stay here overnight. Such a journey will definitely surprise both you and the listeners of your stories.

Photo: Sputnik, Asatur Yesayants

Ijevan city

Through the famous city Dilijan, with its National Park, old town and Haghartsin Monastery, we go to Ijevan. It is less popular among tourists (although it is an administrative center), but is also worthy of attention. We invite you to take a walk through the arboretum, as well as an unusual city park - it contains more than 100 sculptures created here by artists from different countries. Fans of monumental art will be delighted by Mother Armenia in the northern part of the city. You can celebrate your trip at the Ijevan wine and cognac factory. Many people have heard about the Yerevan “Ararat” and “Noah”, but the Ijevan production is not inferior to them. You can book a tour on the website ijevangroup.am. By the way, we dedicated it to cognacs article, and several local drinks immediately made it into our top.

Photo: bangkokbook.ru

Lastiver Gorge

The village of Yenokavan is located 15 minutes from Ijevan. People come here for breathtaking views, stay in hotels and campsites near the cliff. But the main attraction is Lastiver Anapat. This is a cave by the name of which the entire area around it is known. In order not to get there, you need to travel along the river gorge, admiring the waterfalls and trees along the way. And if you have any energy left, stop by Yell Extreme Park and ride a zip line, go through a rope park, or find other extreme entertainment to your liking.

Photo: Sergey Isakhanyan

South of Armenia

By the general name “south” we mean the Syunik region. It borders Iran and Azerbaijan, and its mountains hide many secrets.

Tatev Monastery

When people talk about traveling to the south of Armenia, they usually mean visiting the Tatev Monastery. This is a fairly popular tourist destination, but we still included it in this selection, because not everyone gets here. The fact is that the trip takes at least four hours one way. And we suggest visiting not only the Tatev Monastery, but also on the way to look at the so-called Armenian Stonehenge, and stop by the cities of Goris and Khndzoresk. But more about them below.

The Tatev monastery complex, a white-stone, majestic work of Armenian architecture, contains several churches, an oil press and an unusual swaying pillar warning of an earthquake. The monastery is located above the gorge, and the reversible cable car “Wings of Tatev” leads to it. But there is another way to the miracle of local architecture: on four wheels along a winding road near the Vorotan River. In its gorge there is a cave with mineral springs and the so-called “Devil's Bridge” - a natural arch made of limestone tuff. We talked in detail about Tatev in this article, so let's move on.

Photo: Narek Hakobyan

Armenian Stonehenge – Karahunj

The road from Yerevan to Tatev and the following attractions lies through an unusual building - Karahunj. It consists of several circles of about three hundred upright stones with holes at the top. It is still unknown why this complex was built seven thousand years ago. Some say that they only kept cattle here, others call Karahunj an ancient observatory, a burial place. There are many versions, so come and choose the one you like, or come up with your own.

Photo: Ners Hayk

"Stone Forest" in the city of Goris

The road runs further and leads to the regional center of Syunik region - the city of Goris. We also dedicated it to him whole article. If in Karahunj unusual stones appeared thanks to people (or other creatures - whichever is closer to whom), then in Goris nature created a miracle. In the east of the city rises the “Stone Forest” - pyramidal mountains reminiscent of fir trees, with many caves. Travelers compare the Armenian landscape with Turkish Cappadocia.

Photo: Ners Hayk

Cave town Khndzoresk

We have already listed several attractions associated with stone, but the mountain riches of Syunik do not end there. From Goris we go to the cave city of Khndzoresk. Cave - in the literal sense of the word. Until the middle of the 20th century. The Khndzores lived in houses inside the rocks. They had schools, shops, vegetable gardens, churches - everything they needed for life. A swinging bridge over the gorge leads into the city, but if you are afraid of heights, you can go around it on the road. We recommend visiting the museum in one of the caves. It is run by a former local resident who knows everything about the life of the townspeople. We told you more about Khndzoresk here.

Photo: armivada.blogspot.com

There are many amazing places in Armenia; every weekend you can organize a small road adventure. Explore this hospitable country and get new experiences.

Tell us in the comments, have you been to the cities and villages from our selection? What else did you manage to see in Armenia?

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