Travel, Currency and Money saving tips for Armenia
Few nations have histories as ancient, complex and laced with tragedy as Armenia. And even fewer have a culture that is as rich and resilient. This is a destination where you will be intrigued by history, awed by monuments, amazed by the landscape and charmed by down-to-earth locals.
The simply extraordinary collection of medieval monasteries scattered across the country is the number-one attraction, closely followed by a dramatically beautiful landscape that is perfectly suited to hiking and other outdoor activities. And then there's the unexpected delight of Yerevan – one of Europe's most exuberant and endearing cities. Put together, they offer an enticing and hugely enjoyable travel experience. It's not an easy place to explore – roads are rough, transport is often hard to navigate and those who don't speak Armenian or Russian may find communication difficult – but travelling here is as rewarding as it is revelatory.
What currency to use in Armenia?
Armenia's currency is the Armenian Dram (AMD). US Dollars, Euro and Russian Roubles are widely used and often prices for goods and services are quoted in these currencies but by law, payment must be made in Armenian Dram.
There are many ATMs in Yerevan which accept major credit cards and debit cards with the Maestro/Cirrus or Visa sign displayed on the card. Outside the capital however you will need to carry sufficient local currency. Take note Western Union does not operate in Armenia, however, MoneyGram currently does.
How to get around in Armania?
Yerevan has cheap, easy-to-use metro systems. Other urban transport comprises a mixture of marshrutky and buses. Marshrutky will stop to pick up or drop off passengers anywhere along their routes, but they can get very crowded. Route boards are often in local script. Taxis are plentiful. Most in Yerevan are metered. For others, agree on the fare before you get in. A ride of 3km or so normally costs around US$2 in Tbilisi or Yerevan, US$3.50 in Baku if metered, much more unmetered.
Almost every town and village has some sort of bus or (more commonly) minibus service, the latter being known widely as a marshrutka (plural marshrutky). Services can run hourly between larger towns but rural villages often have just one single minibus that leaves for the regional centre in the morning then returns from the bazaar after lunch.
There are a number of rental car companies available in Yerevan, with many models to choose from at varying costs. This will allow you to be more free while getting around the country as you’ll have to rely only on yourself. You must present your passport and driver's license in order to rent a car.
There are several daily trains toward Gyumri and one to Yerakhs, at the closed border with Nakhichevan. On summer weekends, one daily train operates from the northern Almast station to Lake Sevan, all the way to Shorzha on the far side.
Travel tips for Armenia.
Yerevan, the capital, is a great place to start you trip and spend a day or 2. Yerevan is incredibly old, 2800 years to be exact, which is 28 years older than Rome. Thus, it is drenched in interesting history. Contradictory to what you might expect from a Soviet era city, it is quite metropolitan. It has a lively nightlife scene with clubs, hip restaurants and European style bars. Mixed with the many remains of older days, like the typical pink colored soviet buildings and monuments or the 17th century neighborhood Kond, Yerevan has its very own appearance. You won’t find any grand landmarks here, rather it is just a nice place to absorb the atmosphere and familiarize yourself a bit with the country you are in.
summer in Armenia, especially in the capital, is hot and rather dry with average temperature – 28-35 °C and few rainy days. Thus, it is better to take comfortable clothing suitable for hot Armenian days. However, if you decide to visit the countryside of Armenia in summer, consider that the temperature there is lower than in the capital and in the evening you may need some warm clothes. The most pleasant season in Armenia is the beginning of autumn, as the weather is so mild, pleasant and warm with few rainy days.
The most popular ski resort of Armenia is Tsakhkadzor which offers great eqipment and well-developed ski trails. The rope-way built on the slopes of Mount Teghenis ensures maximum safety for the visitors.