We decided to choose Armenia for New Year holidays – 2017. Why Armenia?  Why not? – we thought and decided to check what winter Armenia is and whether it is worth going to Armenia in winter or not. 

The articles contents:

Winter Armenia : how is it 
What to see and what to visit in Armenia in winter
Lake Sevan in winter
Yerevan in winter time
Holidays in Armenia in winter
Excursions in Armenia in winter
Weather and temperature in Armenia in winter
Roads in Armenia in winter

Armenia in winter: my reviews and photos

Of course, visiting Armenia in winter has its own nuances, differences from a summer trip. Firstly, the weather. It is always more comfortable to travel when it is warm outside. In fine weather, you can simply walk around the city and get to the sights by public transport, if necessary, walk somewhere. In winter everything is more difficult. Secondly, the New Year holidays. If you are planning your visit for the New Year holidays, be prepared that on January 1, as well as part of the day on January 2, it will be difficult for you to find an open restaurant. Also, the schedule of some attractions. In the early days of the new year, many museums do not work. Some (for example, Noah Cognac Factory) were on vacation until January 8th. Thirdly, roads. If you plan to make a great trip to Armenia, whose route passes through mountain roads, or the pass, most likely you will not succeed, because in winter the weather is unpredictable and due to snowfall the roads can simply be impassable. Getting to many of the sights “in the depths” of the country will also be difficult. Nevertheless, the roads within a radius of 100-200 km from Yerevan are quite normal. And fourthly, a short daylight hours. It gets dark in Armenia in the winter at about 5.30 pm, so we tried to return to Yerevan before that time. 

What to see and what to visit in Armenia in winter

So, what can a tourist see in Armenia in winter, what sights to visit. We were in Yerevan for 4 days, and for 3 days of our trip we rented a car (i often use rentalcars.com service for car rental) to see the most popular sights of Armenia. Here is a review about our rental experience in Armenia. There are excellent roads to  Zvarnotts Temple and Holy Etchmiadzin Monastery (it’s the road to the airport really, so I think that it will always be clear). You can take a taxi or taxi-transfer, since the distance to the latter is only about 20 km.

 

winter in Armenia
In the Armenian Vatican – Echmiadzin Monastery

In the opposite direction, there are 2 more popular sights of Armenia that can be visited in winter: the Garni Pagan Temple 30 km from Yerevan (the road is not bad, but thick fog is possible when climbing uphill) and the Geghard Monastery is 40 km away. (unfortunately, we did not reach him, because an accident occurred on the road that blocked the road, and time was already approaching in the evening).

 

armenia winter garni
Here is such a winter Garni

Khor Virap is perhaps the most popular attraction, a symbol of Armenia. This is a monastery-fortress, located almost on the border with Turkey. In good weather (read: in summer) this is a popular observation deck on Mount Ararat, from where gorgeous views open up.

Ararat Armenia
Here is a panorama of Ararat opens from the monastery of Khor Virap (photo from the Internet)
virap choir in winter
And we saw only a white veil from the walls of the fortress 🙁

If you are by car, I recommend that after visiting Khor Virap, go to the mountains to the Noravank Monastery. Another 80 km. The road is quite decent, and even if the sky is overcast and foggy, and you did not manage to see Ararat, after climbing up the mountains, you will have gorgeous views and there will also be the opportunity to see the top of Ararat (see on the left side). On the way to Noravank Monastery in the village of Areni there are wineries, you can visit one of them, but honestly, I did not see anything remarkable there.

 

noravank in winter
Noravank hidden among the rocks

 

More about Khor Virap and Noravank here .

 

Tatev Monastery and the Wings of Tatev Cable Car. This is what many people go to Armenia for. We did not plan to visit this attraction, because we did not know what the weather was and what roads in Armenia. But I think, in principle, you can go there in the winter (by yourself or with a guided tour, or by taxi). The main thing is to find out what day the cable car works and plan a visit.

Lake Sevan in winter

Of course, I highly recommend visiting Lake Sevan! What time of year you would come to Armenia! Incredible color of water in the lake, mountains, ancient monasteries – believe me, it is very beautiful! We visited two monasteries on Lake Sevan – the popular tourist Sevanavank and Ayravank.

 

More about Lake Sevan read here .

Yerevan in winter

Winter Yerevan causes mixed emotions for me. The first is frustration. We so waited for sunny weather to visit all the viewing platforms, see the city, look at Ararat. I even monitored the weather forecast, starting a month before our trip, and was glad that the weather was cloudless for almost all days. BUT! All the days in Yerevan were like this:

Yerevan in winter
That’s how winter Yerevan met us like that, and in good weather even Ararat is visible from here!

Apparently, these are not even clouds, but fog, which was formed due to cold weather. And with the weather, I must say, we were also unlucky. This winter was unusually cold, which is rare for Yerevan and the Armenians. You can also understand this by their clothes. It was cool at home, it’s good that the gas heater worked well in our apartment !

I will return to positive emotions – Yerevan pleasantly surprised in terms of New Year’s decoration, especially in the evening. If you don’t know that you are in the capital of Armenia, you might think that you are in the capital of France. See for yourself:

Armenia in winter winter yerevan armenia for new yearYerevan Opera House in winterAnd what to visit in Yerevan in winter is up to you. Obligatory to visit are Republic Square, Cascade, Northern Avenue (pedestrian street), St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral. If you are lucky with the weather, then the views of Ararat will open to you from the Armenian Genocide Memorial (Tsitsernakaberd) – you can visit it if you are interested in the history of Armenia, as well as from the site of the statue of Mother Armenia.

 

Read more about Yerevan in this article .

 

Rest in Armenia in the winter

If you want to come to Armenia in the winter for the purpose of relaxation, then choose either Yerevan, from where you can go on excursions (on your own or with a guide), or the Tsakhkadzor ski resort. In Tsaghkadzor, we stopped just half an hour after visiting Lake Sevan. What I managed to understand was that this is a standard ski resort with hotels, with mass snowmobiling, where there are a lot of people, especially on New Year’s holidays (maybe only tourists stay there after the holidays and everything becomes calmer). Unfortunately, I won’t show you the ski slope, because we didn’t get to it, it was just the wildest traffic, and we really don’t like it.

Here are a couple of photos of Tsaghkadzor:

ski resort of Armenia

to Armenia in winter
We leave Tsaghkadzor

If you decide to spend your vacation here, here is a small selection of hotels:



Booking.com

Excursions in Armenia in winter

Tours in Armenia are held every day. At those attractions where we came, excursions or groups with a guide were everywhere. You can buy excursions on the Republic Square, in a travel agency in Yerevan, or order online

Weather in Armenia in winter time

So, how are things with the weather in Armenia in winter. Watching the weather forecast before our trip, I realized that the winter is usually mild in Armenia (I don’t mean in the mountains), about 0-5 degrees, in some years all January kept the temperature at + 10 degrees. In fact, this year the weather was awful. On average, -7c daily, wet, sometimes snow (for us it was cold, because we have -15 easier to carry). In the mountains, where the sun was shining, the weather was even better, more comfortable. On the Sevan Peninsula, where the Sevanavank Monastery is located, the wind was so strong and cold that I wanted to quickly escape to a warm place.

Sevan in winter
Sevanavank is a very beautiful, but windy place!

Roads in Armenia in winter

As I already said, the roads within a radius of 120-150 km from Yerevan are quite normal, cleaned, repairs were going on in some places, but there were detours everywhere. Slightly slippery roads in the mountain villages (for example, the road to the Geghard Monastery), as well as the road in the rocks to the Noravank Monastery (about 8 km). But in general they are not extreme, if you be careful, you can drive without problems even on a rented car (we had winter tires, but without spikes, in principle, we drove quietly everywhere).

Travel to Armenia in winter: which route to choose

If you are going on a trip to Armenia in winter, I recommend that you work out the route based on reviews from my and other travelers. If you travel to Armenia, stopping at different places every day, find out in advance the weather forecast for this area, as well as the opening hours of the attractions you want to visit. Evaluate the road and your strength. If you plan to base in Yerevan, then you can repeat our route .

If you have any questions about traveling to Armenia in winter, ask in the comments! Bookmark this page and share it with your friends on social networks. 

Great weather in Armenia and have a nice trip!

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