There are plenty of day trips from Yerevan that you can take to explore more of Armenia and get out of the city. In fact, many of the country’s tourist attractions can be reached on a day trip from Yerevan, meaning you can use the city as a base for your entire Armenia trip.
If you’re wondering where to head from Yerevan within easy reach, this guide to the best day trips from Yerevan will help you plan your trip in the Caucasus. Whether you’re opting for a tour or wanting to travel independently by marshrutka, you’ll be able to see some of the best sights in the country on a day trip from the city.
How to organise a day trip from Yerevan
Almost all Yerevan accommodation will organise day trips but it won’t take you long while you walk the streets for you to see cars and vans parked with day trip posters draped over them. There are basically endless tour operators and many of them congregate around Republic Square. In high season, they are generally more in demand and busy, but when I was there (in November) very few trips were being done at all because there were just too few people to fill a car.
Your other option is to rely on using local marshrutkas or shared transport to get you to places on your own independent day trips. However, I have to warn you that this is difficult in Armenia (compared to Georgia) because the network of marshrutkas is very informal and adhoc so you can never quite guarantee your day will go to plan. But, if you’re flexible and travelling on a budget it is your best option and I’ve detailed below how you can do these trips with public transport.
Many of these day trips from Yerevan can also be turned into overnight trips. Some of the towns have guesthouses available if you want to extend your stay and take your time exploring Armenia. I’ll give more details for each place below.
Want to know more about Yerevan? The Ultimate Travel Guide to Yerevan
Best day trips from Yerevan
Here are some of the best places to head on a day trip from the city in Armenia.
Gegherd Monastery and Garni Temple
The most popular day trip from Yerevan is to these two impressive historical sights. Garni Temple dates back to the 1st century and the medieval Gegherd Monastery, are just a 15-minute drive from each other. Both are just a short distance from the city and can be done on a half-day taxi trip or full-day organised tour.
It’s also possible to visit these places using marshrutkas but it’s not easy. There are daily departures when full to the towns of Garni and Goght. From there you could hitchhike or walk to the monastery and temple, although it would be difficult to do both in the same day.
Marshrutkas leave from the Mercedes Benz outlet in the north of Yerevan or often referred to as Gai Bus Station, but you’d have to confirm this with a local.
Khor Virap and Noravank Monastery
Another popular day trip from Yerevan is to visit Khor Virap monastery and Noravank, both south of the city, not far off the main highway. As an organised day trip it’s very easy and you could arrange it even with a local taxi driver, as they’re just an hour away.
It’s not possible to directly reach these two monasteries by public transport but you can get close enough. For Khor Virap you can head to Sasuntsi Davit station where there will be small buses and vans congregated. There’s usually a couple of departures around 9am and 11am and you’ll need to ask to be dropped in Pokr Vedi on the highway, from which the monastery is another 4km away. The trip should cost you around 500 AMD (AU$2) to Pokr Vedi.
For Noravank, you can take a marshrutka from Yerevan heading for Yeghegnadzor and, either go all the way there and then get a local taxi to drive you to Noravank. Or, you can ask the marshrutka driver to drop you along the highway at the Noravank turn off, just after Areni, from where it’s another 8km to Noravank Monastery. The trip from Yerevan to Yeghegnadzor should cost around 1500 AMD (AU$5), although they often charge for the full trip no matter where you get on and off.
Of course, getting back is a whole other story and you may not be able to guarantee marshrutkas coming back to Yerevan. However, likely from Yeghegnadzor there will be afternoon trips back to Yerevan, which you could flag down if there’s a seat. Otherwise, hitchhiking may be an option.
Lake Sevan is an incredibly picturesque blue lake north east of Yerevan and the biggest body of water in the Caucasus region. It’s an extremely popular summer getaway with beaches, resorts and the Sevanavank Monastery and is one of the best things to do in Armenia. There are day trips from Yerevan or you can organise your own private taxi that can take you to the town of Sevan and back, or even including a quick trip into nearby Dilijan National Park as well.
For independent and budget travellers, it’s possible to reach Sevan on a day trip using marshrutka. They leave from Yerevan’s Northern Bus Station which is 10km out from the city, but it’s marked on Maps.Me if you need. From there, there are marshrutkas going to Sevan, Dilijan and Vanadzor leaving whenever they are full. It takes around an hour from Yerevan to reach Sevan and costs 1000 AMD (AU$3.50).
To get to the Northern Bus Station from Yerevan city centre you can take bus 259 from the bus stop on Mesrop Mashtots Ave, outside OST Fast Food and Karas Restaurant. The trip will cost around 200 AMD (AU$0.70) and you should allow 45 minutes.
Dilijan National Park
The town of Dilijan in Armenia’s north is the gateway and main hub of the Dilijan National Park. The sprawled town is situated on the Aghstev River surrounded by beautiful alpine mountains.
It was once a retreat for Armenia’s artists and creatives during the Soviet era and is now a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The forested hills and snow-capped peaks of the national park is home to trails that can be tackled on foot or by bicycle. There are also a number of medieval churches in the area, including Haghartsin and Goshavank.
Getting from Yerevan to Dilijan is not too difficult and there are frequent marshrutkas or minivans plying the main road between the two places. It’s the same as though you’re heading to Sevan. You’ll have to head out to the Northern Bus Station first.
To get to the station, you can take bus 259 from the bus stop on Mesrop Mashtotas Ave, outside OST Fast Food and Karas Restaurant in Yerevan’s city centre. A ticket on the local bus is around 200 AMD (AU$0.70) but it takes up to 45 minutes depending on traffic. A taxi can charge up to 1000 AMD (AU$3.50) and it’s only around a 15-minute drive.
From the Northern Bus Station, you can find marshrutkas leaving when full to Sevan and on to Dilijan. It costs 1000 AMD (AU$3.50) for a seat and the journey is an hour and a half on relatively good roads for Armenian standards.
Returning from Dilijan to Yerevan, marshrutkas congregate in the centre of Dilijan town near the roundabout. It’s relatively organised with driver’s taking turns so you can just head there and grab a seat without a reservation, with frequent departures.
However, Dilijan National Park is worth exploring for more than a day. There are over 100 hotels and guesthouses in Dilijan now, so there’s plenty of options for a nice overnight trip from the city.
Read next: The Ultimate Travel Guide to Dilijan National Park
It’s also possible to take a day trip to Gyumri, the second biggest city in Armenia. Although there’s not a whole lot to see there, the old town and churches are actually quite beautiful and I easily spent a day wandering the streets and market. It’s completely different to Yerevan though, and has more of a small town feel, but if you have time it’s a nice day option.
From Yerevan, there are train services to Gyumri, although the marshrutkas are more flexible and leave every hour or so in the morning. I took a marshrutka from Yerevan to Gyumri at 10am and it took two hours and cost 1500 AMD (AU$5). I was told that you could get a marshrutka for Gyumri from either Sasuntsi Davit Station or the Central Bus Station in Yerevan, but I went to Sasuntsi Davit Station because it’s easy to reach by metro.
From Gyumri, it’s possible to head over to Georgia without going back to Yerevan, if that is your plan. There is a daily direct marshrutka from Gyumri to Akhaltsikhe in Georgia. Otherwise, there are frequent marshrutkas heading back to Yerevan all day.
The incredible Tatev Monastery in the far south eastern part of Armenia is a spectacular sight. It’s also famous for having the world’s longest, non-stop ropeway that reaches the church in a short amount of time with beautiful views.
The remote location of this monastery means that it’s not possible to do independently in one day from Yerevan, but there are organised day trips from Yerevan that take around 12 hours to get you there and back in a day.
Otherwise, for independent or budget travellers, the best bet is to take a marshrutka to Goris, which is a nice town to stay for a night or two. From there, it’s 35km to Tatev which you can do by taxi. Goris is around five hours from Yerevan. The marshrutka costs 2500 AMD (AU$9) and they leave from Sasuntsi Davit Station in Yerevan at 9am and 3pm.
Exploring more of Armenia and the Caucasus
There’s plenty of other places to explore around the Caucasus, check out some of my other posts for inspiration:
- The Ultimate Travel Guide to Yerevan
- The Ultimate Guide to Dilijan National Park
- The Ultimate Travel Itinerary for the Caucasus Region