Take a Trip to Armenia Through These 30 Road Trip Photos!

I’ve traveled quite a bit and talked to locals of so many nationalities and backgrounds.  Many tell me I’m lucky to have the opportunity to travel (which I am) while others tell me they wished they had grown up in a different place and will flee their homeland for greener pastures as soon as they have the chance to do so.  When I took a trip to Armenia, I started talking to locals that were around my age and I received such a different story from the ones I had heard before.  They loved Armenia.  They wanted to grow with their homeland and couldn’t fathom leaving as they were already sitting on those greener pastures.

Armenia’s history is an ugly one.  Today marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, an event so tragic and unfathomable that resulted in the loss of up to 1.5 million Armenian lives and transformed the countries in ways I just can’t wrap my head around.  This event perpetrated the creation of Armenian diasporas (communities) in various countries globally and gave way for further emigration from Armenia generations later during Soviet occupation.

The genocide is still largely unrecognized by many countries, as there are only twenty-four countries that currently recognize it (the vast majority of US states recognize it).  Russia, France, and Canada also recognize it.  Interestingly, Uruguay was the very first country apart from Armenia to recognize the genocide.

The UK, Australia, Denmark, and many others do not recognize or acknowledge this event as a genocide.  (I won’t go into details about the genocide as there is a plethora of detailed information online for those looking to enlighten themselves).

Given this history and the fact that Armenia is still in development stages after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, it astonishes me to see my generation want to stick around and be part of the change that their country desperately needs.  Their value for education and hard work, mixed with their already ingrained morals and respect for family and others, will make Armenia a great place for the future generations.

While the potholes and infrastructure may say otherwise, I think Armenia is best seen by car.  When I was there, my friend had booked us a car and driver and it allowed us to see the unspeakably breathtaking country known as Armenia.  I still haven’t seen it all.  Not even close.  Sorry, Lake Sevan.  Sorry, Gyumri.  But I’m certain that I’ll end up back in this part of the world soon enough and can explore more of this country that is one of my absolute favorites.

Rather than talk about the history of the country, random facts about Armenia (I’ve already done that), or the unmatched hospitality of the locals (because I know everyone has heard me rave about that one too many times), I want to share some photos of my road trip around the country.  Photos that will hopefully serve as proof of how uncharted and arresting the landscape of this small country really is.

On a very, very important (and irrelevant) note- they have good wine.  And cognac.

These are the reasons, along with some photos, of why I think Armenian road trips rock.

Armenia is one of my favorite countries and Yerevan is one of my favorite cities. This post shows photos that prove that road trips in Armenia are the best!

Just outside of  Yerevan is a place called Khor Virap nestled in the foreground of Mount Ararat.  If you’re into religion, you will recognize that name “Ararat” from the Bible.  If you know anything about anything, you most likely have at least heard of the majestic mountain.  And if you’re like me, you probably recognize the name from a famous bottle of brandy.  Khor Virap is a monastery and my goodness, is it gorgeous.  DO NOT LEAVE ARMENIA WITHOUT SEEING THIS.  Seriously.

Khor Virap in Armenia

Khor Virap in Armenia

Khor Virap in Armenia

Khor Virap in Armenia

Khor Virap in Armenia
Khor Virap in Armenia

Khor Virap in Armenia

Sometimes, you end up on the border of Azerbaijan, a border that is strictly prohibited to cross as there is a rather volatile history between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  You can look, but you can’t touch (it’s somewhere in those foothills).

Armenia Roadtrip

Near the Azerbaijan border but in Armenia

You also can make a stop at Noravank Monastery.  This was my favorite one I visited.  The red mountains and stone were just so vibrant against those intense blue skies.  I also got to test out my fear of heights by climbing a little.  It was scary.  But I’m still alive.

Noravank Monastery in Armenia

Noravank Monastery in Armenia
Noravank Monastery in Armenia

Noravank Monastery in Armenia

<Yea…. I’m afraid of heights…  This was a painstakingly hard shot to get>

Armenian road signs aren’t always in a language you will be able to decipher.  Good luck if you can’t read Russian or Armenian.  But really, I didn’t care if I got lost out there because I would have been living amongst some of the world’s most striking landscape.

Road sign in Armenia

Me in Armenia

When you end up in Areni and the wine region, it is only right to stop and visit a winery.  You can easily pay a visit to Areni Winery and buy a few bottles or enjoy a taste of Armenia on site.

Areni winery in Armenia

Areni winery in Armenia

At some point, you will need to check out the famed Tatev Monastery.  It is located in the south of Armenia and in order to get to it, you must bravely face the world’s longest cable car.  My fear of heights sank in and I rode the never-ending thing with sweaty palms and a heart rate of 195 mph, but again, I survived.  And damn, got to witness some spectacular views along the way.

But no view is as heart-stopping as the view of the Tatev Monastery itself.  It is so remote that you wonder how in the hell someone built the place.  On a side note, Ladas serve well on road trips.  Next time I want to make it a Lada Niva for the ultimate adventure experience (okay, I didn’t really have a choice here, I just want to own a Lada Niva).

Tatev Monastery in Armenia

Tatev Monastery in Armenia
Tatev Monastery in Armenia

Tatev Monastery in Armenia

Tatev Monastery in Armenia

Tatev Monastery in Armenia

Tatev Monastery in Armenia

Tatev Monastery in Armenia

Tatev Monastery in Armenia

When in Armenia in April, you receive a mixture of spring mixed with remnants of the winter.  I had no issue wearing flip-flops and short sleeves and keeping a jacket close by for higher altitudes.

Roadtrip in Armenia

Armenia has kickass food.  Especially served at roadside cafes and such.  These cafes also had an abundance of power outlets so I could charge my phone to take more photos.  If this country wasn’t meant for me, I don’t know where is…  They also had Soviet ice cream.  Icing.on.the.CAKE.

Roadside cafe in Armenia

Roadside cafe in Armenia

When you’re done cruising around the countryside and witnessing bewildering and wondrous landscape and nature, you will probably end up back in Yerevan.  Yerevan is a city with much architecture, millions of people, yet still enough nature that you can find yourself wallowing in the city’s many parks and gardens.  If parks and gardens aren’t your things, check out one of the best cafe cultures in the world.  Yes, I mean it.

Cafe in Yerevan near the Cascades

As Armenians and people around the world commemorate the 100th anniversary of the genocide today, I will not only be honoring that but also the remarkable time (which was years short of being enough) I spent exploring and getting to know this small country in the Caucasus.  And I will always start those memories with visions from this exceptional road trip.  If your trip to the Caucasus only is a trip to Georgia, you are missing out.

Be sure to add Armenia to your Georgia itinerary and you can thank me later.

PIN IT FOR LATER!

Armenia is one of my favorite countries and Yerevan is one of my favorite cities. This post shows photos that prove that road trips in Armenia are the best!
Armenia is one of my favorite countries and Yerevan is one of my favorite cities. This post shows photos that prove that road trips in Armenia are the best!
Armenia is one of my favorite countries and Yerevan is one of my favorite cities. This post shows photos that prove that road trips in Armenia are the best!

If you are interested in Eastern Europe, the former USSR, and the Balkans, please come over and join a group I admin with two other awesome bloggers.  Click the photo below to join!

BE SURE TO FOLLOW ME ELSEWHERE AROUND THE WEB!

Originally published April 2015

Comments (20)

It looks really stunning! I never had Armenia on my radar travel wise, but this looks like it needs to change. Don’t think it is irrelevant that they have good wine though :)

you have to get out that way when you have a chance! it is such a unique place (with amazinggg food and people!) <3

Great photo story Megan and nice to see some positive promotion of Armenia. It doesn’t crop up on many peoples’ radars but it should.

Interesting to read that you as an American refer to it as a “genocide” – I agree with you 100% on that by the way. You also mentioned that some US States do too.

I read earlier today that the US Government does not recognise it as a genocide; as you point out my government doesn’t either. This is all because of pathetic politics getting in the way of true facts.

Turkey are afraid of a blemish in the official history books of their country which will hurt their pride and image. They are also worried about legal repercussions so say these people just happened to “disappear” and it wasn’t a planned or controlled action on the Armenian people.

In the past I’ve come across various spokes people for Turkey who flat out deny negative things (not specific to this Armenia issue either) and seem to not want to be responsible for anything anyone from Turkey has done. Turning a blind eye is barely the start of it.

All our nations have dark pasts, including my own. The sooner politicians take an honest, honourable and mature approach to things the better the world will be. Enough of this diplomatic nonsense of “Oh we don’t want to upset them”, they are an ally.

Pope Francis was right, it was a genocide. My sympathy and heart will lay with the people of Armenia forever more following the slaughter and “disappearance” of so many of their population during some dark days in the last century.

It is such a shame that these things happen and can go so long without the recognition they deserve to ensure that these things don’t happen again (unfortunately, we as a planet allow it to over and over…)

Yea apparently 42 or 43 US states recognize it as a genocide and I know Barack Obama has stated he does as well. Not sure of much beyond that (we never do anything federally so I never really look at things as a whole in the US). I saw a video of where a Congressman in the US read names of lives lost in the Genocide- so I know it doesn’t go unrecognized, I just don’t know what it takes beyond that (if that makes sense). I think we have so many Armenians in the US that it would be remiss to not have some acknowledgement of the day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5p-brMqI7BE

I have never talked about this with any of my Turkish friends and frankly probably never will as this was way before their generations (it’s like someone talking to me about slavery or my German friends about the Holocaust, I suppose)- would be curious of their opinion on the matter, however.

I hope you have the chance to swing by that way one day! It is such a special and humbling place. I have visited many places but there is something about this country that amazes me. The people are so genuine and loyal there! I hope this tragic event gets the recognition it deserves!

Have a great weekend :)

Thank you for this post. I never knew much about Armenia, other than where it’s located. But by your pictures it looks absolutely beautiful and I definitely want to visit one day.

You’re very welcome! Brought back some amazing memories <3 Hope you make it there one day!

Wow, that scenery has me speechless!

It’s wonderful to hear that the young people want to stay and make their country great. If only that were true everywhere! People are leaving Latvia in droves :-(

it was very shocking, but pleasing, to me when they were all wanting to stick around. it really shows how much they value their homeland and family. can’t say the same about most anywhre else ive been!

Wow, these are beautiful pictures. We spent about a month in Georgia, but never made it to Armenia. We will be back for sure. Pinning your post for inspiration :)

i think it is easy to overlook armenia because people are told it is so similar to georgia. i found it to be night and day! hope you have a chance to get back to the region one of these days and check it out!

Leave a comment

shares