Is Armenia Safe To Travel In 2020?
Armenia is a beautiful country and a tourist attraction that is growing in popularity. However, naturally, many people wonder about the safety of the country they intend on traveling to before booking their trip. There are lots of misconceptions about Armenia, which we fully intend to address in this article. Read on to find out more about how safe Armenia is and everything you need to know to stay safe when you travel to Armenia.
How Safe is Armenia?
Aside from being very inexpensive, there’s something else that you need to know about Armenia: it’s very safe. In fact, Armenia has been named one of the top ten safest countries in the world according to Gallup International’s 2019 Law and Order Report. According to this report, 89 percent of the respondents said that they felt completely safe in Armenia. The crime rate in Armenia is ranked at 18.78, which is considered to be very low. There is generally little risk for crime and, in fact, it has been said that the crime rate in Armenia is lower than in the US and Western Europe. A vast majority of people, including tourists, said that they feel safe in Armenia, even when they need to travel alone.
The US Department of State has rated Armenia as being a Level 1 country, which means that you should simply exercise normal precautions. There is no country that is completely safe, but you can be assured that Armenia is one of the safest places to be in the world.
Armenia Travel Insurance
Before traveling anywhere, it’s a wise decision to consider getting travel insurance. However, it is not mandatory to have travel insurance before traveling to Armenia. You never know what may happen on a trip and you do not want to get into a nasty financial situation. You will want to make sure that the travel insurance you choose will cover medication and hospitalization, assistance with medical repatriation (if you need to travel back to your home country for treatment, the insurance company will cover the cost of travel), an urgency hotline, and civil liability coverage, which will protect you if you accidentally damage private property or hurt someone. While the cost of medical treatment in Armenia is fairly inexpensive and affordable, you may still want to consider getting international travel insurance.
Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Armenia
1. Download the 911 SOS Armenia App – This app can be downloaded on Androids and iOS devices. It is meant for people with special needs to be able to call 911, but anyone will be able to use it. The app is perfect for those with mobility problems or problems speaking, seeing, or hearing. Simply press the “SOS” button in the app and you will be redirected to the proper agency. You can also check some of the other top apps for traveling in Armenia.
2. Make sure you book accommodations ahead of time – You will want to make sure that you’ve booked your accommodations prior to arriving in Armenia. This is for your safety and to ensure that you will have somewhere to stay when you arrive. If you need some help with hotels or other accommodations, check out our list of the best hotels in Yerevan.
3. Choose trails that suit your ability – No matter where you go hiking, mountain biking, etc., you will want to make sure that you only choose trails that suit your abilities. Check out some of the best hiking trails in Armenia to see which ones would suit you. Never go on trails that are meant for more advanced professionals if you are a beginner. And always try to go with a group or a tour guide- never go alone- in case you need assistance.
4. Dress appropriately in the wintertime – Armenia is a country that has harsh winters. This is especially true if you want to travel to the mountains. You want to make sure that you have the right clothes with you so that you can avoid catching a cold.
5. Don’t do drugs of any kind – Drugs of any kind, including marijuana, are illegal in Armenia. There are also tough laws in Armenia for anyone who gets caught with drugs. You will not only want to avoid them to avoid prosecution, however. It is generally not a good idea to do drugs no matter where you go due to safety issues (you do not know the dose they are giving you, you do not know what kind of people they are, etc.).
Drug Use in Armenia: For the purpose of this article, it is also important to mention that drug use in Armenia is very low, especially in comparison with most other European countries. Many Armenians smoke cigarettes, but illegal drug use is not widespread whatsoever.
Keeping Your Money Safe in Armenia
As we mentioned, Armenia is a very safe country whether you’re a tourist or a local. However, just like everywhere else, pickpocketing does happen sometimes. Here is our advice for keeping your money safe in Armenia.
Don’t carry all your cash with you. You will want to have cash with you in Armenia because most of the country operates with cash. However, just as with anywhere else, you do not want to have all your cash with you in the event that you do get pickpocketed. Try to see how much cash you will need for that particular day and only take that much with you. Here is some more information on Armenian currency to give you an idea of how much you’ll need.
Keep your credit card in a separate place. There will generally be no need to use your credit or debit card in Armenia unless you want to withdraw money from the ATM. Most supermarkets, restaurants, and other entertainment sites in Yerevan also have started to offer the option of paying with your credit or debit card. However, you may run into issues if you decide to travel to the regions. So, we recommend not taking your card with you when you go out. That way, you will always have money in case of an emergency.
Purchase a crossbody bag. Get a wallet or other bag that will go in front of you. That way, you will be able to notice if someone is trying to get into your bag. Some people also like to hide their cash on their person, such as in hidden pockets or a leg money belt.
Let your bank know about your trip beforehand. If you ever use your card in Armenia, your bank may see the foreign address and freeze your account. This is not a situation that you want to find yourself in. Let your bank know that you plan to travel so that you can prevent this from happening.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Armenia safe to travel alone?
Yes! Armenia is completely safe for traveling alone. The only difficulty you may face as a sole traveler is the language barrier if you do not speak Armenian, but most people know Russian and more and more people are becoming fluent in English. You may want to have someone who speaks Armenian or a tour guide to help you when it comes to bus schedules and the like.
Is Armenia safe for solo female travelers?
Many women who have traveled to Armenia have felt completely safe there. In fact, some female travel bloggers have ranked Armenia as being one of the safest countries they’ve ever visited solo. Around 82 percent of people said that they feel comfortable walking alone at night in Armenia, for example. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t exercise normal precautions, but there is no need to stay away from Armenia if you are a solo female traveler.
Is Armenia safe to travel for families?
Yes! Armenia is one of the most family-friendly countries in the world. There will be plenty for your kids to do no matter where you go that will also be interesting for you.
Is it safe to drive in Armenia?
Generally, yes. Most of the roads in the city are paved, but you will want to watch out for potholes. If you plan on driving in rural areas, there is a high chance that you will come across unpaved roads. Be aware that there are many traffic cameras all throughout the country (there will be signs indicating that one is coming up) and the police will not hesitate to pull you over if you’ve committed a traffic violation. However, police are nice to foreigners. Also, you may notice that there are people who are not driving safely as they should, and people often speed, but this is the case everywhere. It’s wise to drive defensively. One of the safest ways to drive in Armenia is with a rented car. Here is what you need to know in order to rent a car in Yerevan.
Are taxis safe in Armenia?
Yes, it is very safe to travel throughout Armenia in a taxi. Armenian taxis are reliable ways to travel throughout the country. If you’re familiar with Uber, Armenia has many similar services, such as GG, Utaxi, and Yandex. Make sure to download the app before you arrive.
Is public transportation in Armenia safe?
The Yerevan metro in particular is considered to be safe, clean, and uncrowded. The microbuses, trolley buses, and other forms of public transportation are also considered safe, but they can be very crowded, especially in the mornings and evenings as people are trying to get to and from work or class.
Is the food in Armenia safe?
You generally won’t have much to worry about when it comes to food in Armenia, even fast food or roadside barbecue stands. However, keep in mind that most Armenian food contains gluten, meat, or dairy. If you’re someone who often gets traveler’s sickness when you go to other countries, make sure to only eat fully cooked meals and pasteurized dairy, and maintain proper hygiene.
Can you drink the water in Armenia?
Yes, in fact, it is completely safe to drink tap water in both cities and villages. You don’t have to worry about spending money on water that way. However, if you don’t like the taste of the water, water is easily accessible in any supermarket or grocery store.
How is healthcare in Armenia?
Armenia has public and private health sectors and you will find that many medical facilities in Yerevan meet international standards. However, hospitals and facilities in the regions tend to be poorly equipped and in desperate need of renovation, so this is something to keep in mind. Economic turmoil has caused issues for the healthcare industry. You will want to contact your travel insurance company if you need medical treatment. Armenia typically has Russian medication and you may need to take medicine with you if you need it.
With that being said, many people travel to Armenia for medical tourism, such as cosmetic surgeries, and especially for dental care.
The emergency number is 103.
How safe is it to visit the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh)?
One of the most common fears about traveling to Armenia is traveling to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, also known as Artsakh. Indeed, there are travel warnings regarding this region because it is the subject of a territorial conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Although a ceasefire was signed between the two countries, it is not unusual for gunshots to be fired towards each other’s trenches every so often. However, this only takes place in the border villages (i.e., the villages in Artsakh bordering Azerbaijan). Also, these places can only be visited with official permission and are not open for tourists. Otherwise, Artsakh is very safe to visit and the capital, Stepanakert, is a must-see if you decide to travel to Armenia. The people of Artsakh are very hospitable and kind.
Helpful Armenia Travel Phrases
Even though you won’t encounter too many problems if you don’t know Armenian, it’s still a good idea to have a few essential Armenian phrases under your belt when you travel to Armenia.
- Hello (formal): Բարև Ձեզ (barev dzez)
- Excuse me/Sorry: Ներողություն (neroghutyun)
- Thank you (Armenians also say “merci” as the French!): Շնորհակալություն (shnorhakalutyun)
- I do not speak Armenian: Ես հայերեն չեմ խոսում (es hayeren chem khosum)
- Do you speak English?: Անգլերեն խոսո՞ւմ եք (angleren khosum eq)
- I need…: Ինձ պետք է… (indz petq e…)
- I don’t understand: Չեմ հասկանում (chem haskanum)
- Where is the restroom?: Որտե՞ղ է զուգարանը (vortegh e zugarane)
- Can you give me dram? (At the currency exchange): Ինձ դրամ կտա՞ք (indz dram ktaq)
- Can I pay with a credit card?: Կարո՞ղ եմ քարտով վճարել (karogh em qartov vcharel)
- Can you help me?: Կօգնե՞ք ինձ (kogneq indz)
- Can I have the bill?: Հաշիվը կբերե՞ք (hashive kbereq)
- Where is the bus stop?: Որտե՞ղ է կանգառը (vortegh e kangare)
- Where is the bank?: Որտե՞ղ է բանկը (vortegh e banke)
- Where is the grocery store?: Որտե՞ղ է խանութը (vortegh e khanute)
- Where is the pharmacy?: Որտե՞ղ է դեղատունը (vortegh e deghatune)
- Right (direction): Աջ (aj)
- Left: Ձախ (dzakh)
- Straight: Ուղիղ (ughigh)
- Can you take me to…?: Կարո՞ղ եք ինձ տանել… (karogh eq indz tanel…)
- Please: Խնդրում եմ ( khndrum em)
- Where is…?: Որտե՞ղ է… (vortegh e…)
Final Thoughts on Armenia’s Safety
Overall, Armenia is a very safe country and most people have had a wonderful experience when traveling to Armenia. You will be shocked by how safe Armenia feels and how you can easily do many things that you might not have felt comfortable doing in other countries, such as walking alone at night.
Here are just a few more things to know before you travel to Armenia.
- Emergency phone numbers
- Fire: 101
- Police: 102
- Ambulance: 103
- Gas: 104
- 911 is used for all emergency situations and the operators do speak English.
- Use this link to find out where your country’s embassy is located in Armenia.
- There are lots of stray dogs in Armenia, but they will leave you alone if you don’t bother them.
- Be sure to look both ways before crossing the street. Armenians like to speed and will often try to pass right before the light turns red.
- Know whether or not you need a visa to travel to Armenia and how long you will be able to stay. This will prevent you from running into problems if you overstay the visa.