Peak season in Yerevan runs from June – August when the weather is hot and sunny. Decent savings can be made by visiting during the shoulder seasons of April – May and September – October. During these times the weather is still warm and sunny with the latter the drier and most preferable of the two. Although large savings can be made by visiting from November – March, the city can reach very low temperatures. On the second Saturday of October Yerevan celebrates its birthday and accommodations can be harder to find and more expensive than usual.
The ancient city of Yerevan is one of the most cosmopolitan and friendliest cities in the whole of the South Caucasus region. As the capital of Armenia it’s also the cultural heartbeat of the nation and a place where residents enjoy a laidback lifestyle most unlike other capital cities in Europe or Asia. The city is one of the best preserved examples of early soviet architecture inspired by the Beaux Arts tradition which exists alongside pre-Soviet era buildings designed in the Belle Époque or Art Nouveaux styles.
The wide tree-lined boulevards of downtown Yerevan are home to numerous cafes, shops and restaurants. The two central landmark areas are Republic Square, arguably one of the Soviet era’s most elegant squares and ‘The Opera’, a softer open air space, home to the Opera House and the beautiful Swan Lake. These two areas are connected by the more modern Northern Avenue, a pedestrianized shopping street. The Monument district includes a cascade of steps which lead to the shrine of Soviet victory in World War II and is also home to the Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art where visitors can see works by Gorky and Warhol. The City Museum of Yerevan is an important place to understand the history of one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities whilst the Genocide Museum provides an important insight into the country’s darkest times in modern history.
No visit to Yerevan is complete without a trip to the Erebuni Fortress which dates from 3000 years ago, in the Urartian Period. Further historical landmarks include Tsiranavor Church which dates from the 6th Century, and the 18/19th century Red Bridge on the Hrazdan River.
Armenia is a fairly small country and from Yerevan it’s possible to enjoy a number of day trips. Highlights include the UNESCO heritage site at the Monastery of Geghard, a complex of medieval buildings and churches cut into the rock.
Whilst much of the old town can be explored on foot, the comfortable and modern metro service is ideal for slightly longer journeys. One of the most popular ways to get around is via marshrutka (minibus), these are cheap and the driver will stop wherever you need to alight. Trolley buses and regular buses are another low cost option and payment should be made at the end of the journey. Taxis are abundant although it’s advisable to opt for metered taxis from reputable firms.
Zvartnots International Airport (EVN) is located 7 miles from downtown Yerevan. A public bus service runs throughout the day from the passenger terminal to the Opera House. Taxis are also available and the best option is to take a metered Aerotaxi. For any unmetered taxi journeys it’s advisable to determine the price first.