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Yerevan, the insider guide

Yerevan, Armenia's capital city.
Yerevan, Armenia's capital city. / Armenia.Travel
  • Where to stay and what to eat, see and do in the Armenian capital

Home to the National Opera & Ballet Theatre and world-class museums, the Armenian capital is rich in culture. Yet this, the largest city in the country also has a small town, laid-back ambiance of casual street café restaurants making it a relaxed city break destination.

STAY:

Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan

If you want to keep up with the Kardashians, then stay at the coral-coloured Marriott Hotel. Built from local tufa volcanic stone that has made Yerevan famous as a Pink City, this grand hotel overlooks the dancing fountains of Republic Square.

Silk Road Hotel

This simple, 13-room property is about 5-10 minutes' taxi ride from the city centre. The rooms feature local handicrafts including Armenian carpets. The hotel funds projects in rural areas of Armenia, enabling a new generation to master traditional crafts. The products are sold in the hotel's lobby, so it's also a good place to pick up an authentic Armenian souvenir. Breakfast includes traditional Armenian espresso coffee, local chesses and lavash bread. There is a charming terrace and garden. There is also free Wi-Fi.

Hotel Grig

Very friendly family-run hotel in the diplomatic quarter, close to the American University of Armenia. Rooms are modern and clean with flat-screen TVs, a small fridge and en-suite bathroom. The family prepares a generous homemade breakfast each morning which can be enjoyed on the terrace overlooking Mount Ararat. Free Wi-Fi.

EAT:

Jazzve Coffee

Yerevan has a thriving coffee culture and there are several independent coffee and tea houses where you can take a break from exploring the city. Jazzve Coffee may be one of the more commercial coffee shops, with 11 branches, but you can be assured of good coffee prepared in a traditional copper jazzve pot on hot sand. Try to the sweet and nutty Artsakh baklava.

Wine Republic

The city centre restaurants adjacent to the giant Cascades sculpture park of the Cafesjian Museum of Art are undeniably touristy. Yet that doesn't mean you won't eat well. Wine Republic has a contemporary, well-priced Mediterranean style menu and a varied selection of delicious Armenian and Artsakh wines.

Yerevan cascades.

Yerevan cascades.

In Vino - Sarayan 'Wine' Street

Marianna established the 'In Vino' wine bar & club some five years ago in Sarayan Street. Enjoy an on-trend, casual dining experience with sharing boards of local produce to accompany the selection of hundreds of wines. The success of In Vino has transformed the street into 'Wine Street' with a number of other eateries and wine bars - the place for relaxed evening out in Yerevan.

Dolmama

This relatively new restaurant is dedicated to traditional Armenian cuisine - hence the play on the word dolma. Experience a typical Armenian spread of sharing first plates, and main dishes of khorovats (grilled meats), ishkhan (trout) or chicken. There is a formal dining room as well as a charming vine-covered open-air patio.

Mer Taghe

Simple eatery on Tumanyan street, famous for its lahmajoon - freshly made, thin dough covered in minced meat with herbs, tomatoes and onions, then fried. Locals describe them as little Armenian thin crust pizzas - tradition suggests you enjoy them with Tan, the ubiquitous yoghurt drink one finds across the city.

Zeituna

A family run Middle Eastern restaurant founded by Aleppo refugees, escaping the Syrian civil war. Try a Middle Eastern mezze of small plates including Aleppian dishes such as Toshka (flat bread stuffed with minced meat and cheese, then grilled), as well as Middle Eastern favourites such as borak; tabbouleh & fattoush salads; baba ganoush; sarma (dolma); and plenty of skewered grilled meats.

SEE & DO:

Vernissage Market

Large open-air flea market, especially popular at weekends for handicrafts, authentic jazzves, carved wood and other traditional items.

The Armenian Genocide Museum

This Soviet era war memorial has been adopted as the national monument to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The museum offers an in-depth insight into the genocide from 1915 to 1923 and its historical context.

Genocide museum.

Genocide museum.

Ararat Brandy Tour

Factory tour including tastings of Yerevan's famous brandy - made on the banks of the city's Hradzan river.

The Matenadaran

Imposing national repository of extraordinary medieval Armenia manuscripts. Make sure you get a guide. Outside is a statue of Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the Armenian alphabet.

Northern Avenue

The city's newest avenue is half a kilometre of upscale stores, restaurants and hotels. It's also where much of the mainstream nightlife of the city can be enjoyed.