It always feels a little adventurous to start your journey to a country where you have not been before. Even if everyone who has already been there testifies that:
– It’s the safest country and it is fine to travel alone and
– It’s perfectly fine to walk around in the capital city late in the evening and
– It is a place where you can engage in most exciting activities, and
– It is a place where you can see amazing natural wonders.
And by the way, we are not making all these up: this is the exact truth about Armenia – you will find a lot of testimonials online.
That said, it is in human nature to worry about the unknown. The purpose of these articles is to make the “unknown” a little closer to “better known” by providing tips about traveling to and in Armenia. We will be as comprehensive as possible to cover the most commonly “worried about” aspects of travel while trying to be brief.
Tip #1 – Arriving at International Zvartnots Airport EVN
Good things: Zvartnots is a very modern and comfortable airport with good quality services. You will be amazed at how quickly you can go through passport control and luggage claim. There are plenty of taxis waiting outside. Yerevan City is close to the airport – 30-40 minutes of ride depending on the traffic.
Not so good: Airport taxis are a little more on the expensive side for foreigners (which probably doesn’t come as a surprise for any city in the world, for that matter!). Another thing to be aware of is that there are cheaper, unofficial and unregistered taxis, drivers of which keep trying to get your attention when you arrive. Although the country is perfectly safe, try to avoid using unofficial taxis which can be recognized by the lack of any valid taxi meters and other attributes.
Tip #2 – Traveling around Armenia
Good things: Very good quality vehicles and buses of all sizes are available upon request. You can hire individual transportation with a driver or rent a car and drive yourself. The vehicles have air conditioning, often provide beverages and have very polite and professional drivers. They know Armenia pretty well and will take you everywhere you wish.
Not good at all: In-country trains are not available. In-country regular bus routes are available but the buses are old and uncomfortable. Because of the lack of good quality buses on the regular routes, the prices of individually hired vehicles and buses can be very expensive, often times constituting a major part of your in-country tour price.
Tip #3 – People in Armenia
Good things: Armenia’s most charming trait is its people. Utterly in love with their own country, they want everyone, absolutely every visitor to be aware of how beautiful Armenia is, and why it is the best place on earth to live. They try to show you the very best they own, the very best that can be seen, heard, touched or felt in Armenia. The result? You will be charmed and enchanted with the county, wanting to come back and stay here longer, and spend more time with these amazing people.
No so good things? The language might be an issue: foreign language speakers are rare in Armenia. The exception is the Russian language, which comes from the Soviet time education when it was a mandatory discipline in schools. Nevertheless, by some miracle, everyone will understand and accommodate any requests from travelers. Other than that, everything else is good about these people who, with a child’s naivety, will prove you that you need not go any further, that you have arrived at the place to be in perfect harmony with yourself and the rest of the world. To the extent that you will start believing it.
TO BE CONTINUED…