Armenia, officially known as the Republic of Armenia is a country located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. This landlocked country shares its borders with Turkey to the west, Georgia to the north, Iran to the south, Azerbaijan to the east, and Azerbaijan’s Naxcivan exclave to the southwest. Geographically, an interesting fact about this country is that – as high as 5% of Armenia’s territory consists of Lake Sevan (Sevana Lich), which is the largest lake in the Lesser Caucasus mountain range. Apart from this, Armenia flaunts remarkable natural landscapes: due to its mountains and mountain valleys, Armenia’s climate varies a great deal, and it’s not just climate that varies from region to region: Armenia’s scenery is gorgeous, with dry areas to lush forest at the top of mountain ridges.
As for attractions in this country – you can choose from medieval monasteries all over the country (known as the number-one attraction), gorgeous landscapes perfect for hiking and climbing (if you’re the nature-loving type), and the wonderful experience of visiting Yerevan – which many say is the most endearing landmark to visit while here.
Warnings & Dangers in Armenia
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Armenia is overall safe to travel to, with considerably low crime rates and even pickpockets not being that much of an issue. However, it is advised that you remain vigilant at all times, especially when crossing the streets.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Transport is generally safe in Armenia, but be careful when taking a taxi, especially at Zvartnots International Airport. There might be taxi drivers trying to overcharge you ridiculously for a drive to town.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
Pickpocketing exists in Armenia and you should remain vigilant and make sure not to flash your belongings in crowded places such as bus or train stations, or public transport. Be careful and keep your valuables close by your side.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
Floods are the biggest natural threat in Armenia: there was a flooding in 2010 that caused an estimated US$ 10 million in damage. Armenia also faces droughts, hail storms and landslides.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
It is not likely you will get mugged or kidnapped in Armenia. Crime rates are generally not too high and violent crime against tourists is unlikely. Still, don't let your guard down and stay away from dark and deserted areas of bigger cities.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
Even though there haven't been any terrorist attacks in Armenia's recent history, they shouldn't be ruled out, so be aware of your surroundings at all times.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
There is the issue of scams in Armenia, just like in any other country, and the most common ones are credit card and ATM scams. Be careful when picking up your many from ATMs, especially those that accept VISA credit cards: they might withdraw money from your account but not deliver it to you! Always negotiate everything in advance, double check your change and never pay anything upfront. Never accept drinks from strange people or leave your drink unattended.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Armenia is definitely safe for solitary female. Just use your common sense and have your wits with you. Avoid poorly lit and deserted areas at night and finding yourself in places filled with drunken people.
So... How Safe Is Armenia Really?
Generally, Armenia is safe to travel to and Yerevan is really not a dangerous city to be in. However, even though crime rates in Armenia are not through the roof, it is still recommended that you remain vigilant at all times, especially at night. Use common sense if you’re going out at night, especially if you plan on drinking, because you might encounter people willing to start a fight.
As for scams, there are some well known scams related to ATM machines, particularly ATMs that accept VISA cards, where the machine withdraws cash from your account, but your receive no money! Another known scam happens on Zvartnots International Airport, with people asking tourists if they need a taxi, and when they find people who do, they take them to a taxi that costs two or three times more than a regular taxi. Whatever they say, do not trust those people, even if they’ve already packed up all your luggage in the trunk: taxi rides from the airports usually cost around 2,000-3,000 dram instead of the 10,000 dram they are asking. They can be very convincing saying that the ride really costs that much, and that’s how many tourists have been tricked.
Generally, be careful when using taxis and other means of transport: if you want to check if a car is a real taxi, look at the number plate: if it is yellow or the first are 3 digit numbers (and NOT 2 digit), then it is a taxi you can use and not worry about getting scammed.
- Visas - Many nationals, such as EU and US nationals do not need an entry visa for Armenia and can stay usually a maximum of 90 days per visit. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.
- Currency - Armenia dram is the official currency in Armenia. ATMs are widely used throughout the country, but credit cards aren't accepted as much as in other parts of Europe: you can use them in better hotels, restaurants and some shops in the capitals.
- Weather - Climate in Armenia varies from dry subtropical to the mountain tundra climate. In Yerevan, July is the hottest month with average temperatures reaching as high as 27°C and the coldest month is January with temperatures of -3°C.
- Airports - Zvartnots International Airport is the main international airport in Armenia. It is located near Zvartnots, about 12 km west of Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia.
- Travel Insurance - Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Armenia since it covers not only the costs of medical problems, but also theft and loss of valuables.