48 Hours in Yerevan, Armenia

Oct 16, 2017 Armenia

Originally published on The Huntr
Photography and Words by Augustine Paredes

The first time Armenia’s beauty strikes you is from the window of the plane. The second time is as soon as you step out of the airport in Yerevan – you are instantly transported inside the pages of the history books you read in school. It has been said that there are no other nations with “histories as ancient, and complex and laced with tragedy as Armenia.”

Traveling to Armenia gives you a unique snapshot of what it was like in the Soviet Era. A fuzzy feeling of nostalgia envelopes you as you drive to the centre of its capital whilst looking out at the architecture of the city — from its houses to its museums, train stations, hotels, and cafés…

There are many, many things to do in Armenia and if history and culture are at the top of your to-do list when travelling, then this is most certainly the country for you. While there is so much to know, do, and see in Armenia and its other cities, for now, let’s focus on Yerevan.

Yerevan is the largest city in the country and it is, to say the least, full of life. From its beautiful parks, cool cafes, and underground pubs – this city is for millennials. Planning to spend the weekend in Yerevan? Here’s a list of things to do The Huntr curated, especially for you.

Note: As a tourist, taxi drivers will most likely charge you higher than usual. Be firm and tell them to turn on the meter, and if they don’t have a meter negotiate the price before getting in.

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Enjoy an Armenian breakfast in your Armenian home

If you’re staying in an Airbnb, take advantage of the free breakfast that your host is serving you. There is no better way to start your day than with a belly full of gorgeous food. Here, we were served Russian pancakes with homemade apricot jam, Armenian cookies from the nearby bakery, fresh fruits and freshly brewed Armenian coffee.

Stroll around the Opera House

While you’re in the city and there is a show in the Opera House, book a ticket and go inside. If not, just stroll around and appreciate the architecture and the things around this famous tourist spot. Take photos of the statues and enjoy seeing its locals spend their day around the area.

Have lunch at Chez Hratch

Live a little, eat more! Enjoy the long walk from the Opera House along the city centre neighbourhood. Many restaurants are open on the sidewalk, but keep your eyes peeled for Chez Hratch. This underground restaurant might be hard to find, but you will enjoy the savoury flavour of Western-Armenian cuisine. Order Ghavurma and Shish Taouk, enjoy it with fresh-from-the-oven bread and pair it with their homemade wine or Kilikia beer.

Chez Hratch, 26, Parpyetsi Street, Yerevan

Visit Republic Square

Your trip to the ‘Pink City’ won’t be complete without visiting the Republic Square. This massive, circular square in the centre of Yerevan will bring you back to the country’s past. If you stay long enough admiring this view, you’ll see the crowd gathered around the Dancing Fountains.

Enjoy a delicious dinner at Mamoor

Just a short walk from the Republic Square, you will find this cosy restaurant called Mamoor. You can choose between dining inside and admire its simple yet beautiful interior or dine outside and watch locals and tourists walk around. With its European cuisine and exquisite list of homegrown wine, you will fall in love.

Mamoor Live Kitchen and Bar, 14/6, Abovyan Street, Yerevan

Party with the locals at Avenue Pub

Armenians can drink and dance until the morning. While there are many pubs along the city centre, Avenue Pub is popular between the hip and cool locals. It’s located near the Freedom Park, but you have to look hard. Bring your dancing shoes, practice your groove, and prepare for a night of dancing to various kinds of music with Armenians. Like many of the underground pubs in Yerevan, this hotspot can get packed and you can’t enter alone – so it’s better to find friends along the way.

Get a tattoo at The Tattoo Art Club

Tattoos are cheap in Yerevan. A small 3×3 inch tattoo costs around 40 USD in Tattoo Art Club. If you’re eager to have a tattoo and you want to have it done really well and safely, you are in capable hands as Tattoo Art Studio is one of the most sought-after tattoo studios in the city.

Tattoo Art Club, Mashotsi Avenue, Yerevan

Take a walk in Tumanyan Park

Living in big cities can be stressful at times, but Yerevan offers you a serene view and some much needed R&R. If, by any chance, you meet a local during your trip, ask them where’s the most beautiful park in the city. They will probably say Tumanyan Park, near Shinararneri Street. When you find it, take a walk along Tumanyan Park and see the city from a different point of view.

Make a pitstop at a local supermarket

If you ever decide to cook Armenian food with your host, you don’t have to go too far to buy the freshest food. In Yerevan, supermarkets are everywhere and they sell fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables, which you can get pretty cheaply. Armenian products like coffee beans, cookies, chocolates are widely available and are sold per kilo.

Ride the underground metro

Yerevan’s underground train is a tourist destination itself. The underground transportation system was launched during the Soviet Era in 1981, but the Yerevan Metro started operating in 1999. It runs 13.4 kilometres and serves 10 stations. However, as their transportation improved with minibuses and taxis, the population of locals who use the metro have dramatically declined over the past few years.

Note: Be careful when taking pictures in the metro as it is not allowed and if you’re caught you might be sent out.

Enjoy coffee in Freedom Park

At the weekend, the parks of Yerevan are packed with both tourists and locals. Students from the local universities take advantage of the number of people who flock to the parks in the city centre and set up small stalls in the middle of the park, selling coffee as part of their school project.

Shop for vintage gems and souvenirs at Vernissage

It is almost impossible for anyone who is visiting Yerevan to not shop in the city’s open market, shopping mall, bazaar, and all-around cultural centre. The Saryan Statue in French Square (near Republic Square) is the landmark to this weekend gathering for art-loving sellers and buyers. Here you can buy vintage goods, carpets, paintings, souvenirs, hand-crafted bags and apparel, old cameras, and even military uniforms! The best part? You can haggle the prices.

Vernissage is open on Saturdays and Sundays, from 10am until 6pm.

Read a book over a cracking cup of coffee at Impresso Cafe

Hidden like a gem in the streets of Vardanants, Impresso is the ultimate café destination for coffee-lovers. It serves real Italian espresso and offers pleasant surprises like discounts and new dishes every day. It’s a coffee shop that’s peaceful enough to read a book and sit outside while observing the quiet neighbourhood it is in.

Impresso, Vardanants Street, Yerevan

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