Armenia, a country that will offer you all four seasons, has special magic in winter. With the abundance of festive lighting and decorations in the capital Yerevan, special winter attractions and modern resort towns you can be sure -you will get any degree of adventurousness you are looking for during your vacation in Armenia. Already enticed? Here are top 10 experiences to jump head on into if you happen to find yourself in this ancient country in winter.
Winter in Armenia: Christmas Trees Galore
Decorating a Christmas tree is, like in many countries, a special tradition in Armenia. At home, at work and on every corner in the streets, most diverse and beautiful Christmas trees pop up in Yerevan around the 15-20th of December. The biggest tree can be viewed on the Republic Square, but check out the ones near the Opera House, Yerevan Municipality building, Aznavour Square or in the windows of street shops, like the always standing out “Any Rose”Christmas decorations on Teryan Street. Festive mood is truly everywhere.
Winter in Armenia: New Year Night on Republic Square
From ancient times the New Year Night has been the main celebration night for Armenians, which is followed by Christmas celebrated on January 6th as opposed to many western countries. People used to gather at home with all the members of the extended family, see the clock hit 12 then pay visits to friends and relatives all night long and for the following few days. All this is paired with extensive toasts for good luck and success in the new year and of course unparalleled Armenian festive tables. Over the past decade, it has become more popular among the local youth to hit the streets, clubs and bars after the family dinner. The entire city is buzzing all night long, people are singing, dancing, walking from one club to another. Extra tip – if you want to celebrate the New Year night at a restaurant, make sure to reserve well in advance for the best spots are taken fast.
Winter in Armenia: Warm Your Soul with Armenian Wild Thyme Tea
Nothing can be more heartwarming than a good cup of thyme tea on a cold winter evening accompanied by a group of friends and stories. You can have it at almost any coffeeshop in Armenia, since it is a national tea that widely grows in the wild on the Armenian land and has been used extensively for centuries.
Winter in Armenia: Christmas Market on North Avenue
This colorful exhibition-sale of souvenirs, snacks, arts and crafts and Armenian brand products like wine, brandy and candy lasts for about a month. Every year the pedestrian North Avenue turns into a gala promenade for locals and visitors of Yerevan. With the beautiful decorations and lighting this street turns into a fascinating little town of its own.
Winter in Armenia: Ski Touring in Armenia
This one is for those, who love challenges. If you are ready to take one up, Armenia with its range of altitudes and mountain ranges represents a perfect landscape to get your skis and hit the backcountry. Experienced tour guides, necessary high-quality equipment for rental, as well as the required infrastructure are available and the locations to choose from are vast. You can basically drop a pin anywhere in this mountainous country, but check out our winter tours in Armenia here.
Winter in Armenia: Ice skating on Swan Lake
Every year somewhere around the beginning of December the lovely little artificial Swan Lake near the Opera House turns into an ice-skating rink with a big opening ceremony with local celebrity appearances, concerts and performances. Locals love this spot and it is a nice place to get to share a nice space of having fun and a cultural experience with them. The rink is usually open from morning till late evening and all required safety measures are thoroughly followed, so hit it up without hesitation if you love to swirl.
Winter in Armenia: Jermuk Snowman Festival and Ropeway
This year the festival will be held in the town of Jermuk for already the sixth time. Usually taking place in mid-February, it attracts locals and visitors of the country, where both experiences snow artists and amateurs can co-create and have fun together participating in contests, games and the festivities around town. Here in Jermuk you can also try the ropeway, which takes you 2,480m high to two skiing roads at 1,450m and 1,550m.
Winter in Armenia: Church Viewing Tour in Armenia
It’s unimaginable to be able to see all Armenian churches in one trip, but to see a few, especially in winter, when they are covered in snow against the white landscape spreading to the horizon, fills you up with special charm and calm. When you stand in the endlessness of untouched white snow sparkling under the sun and listen to the church choir or the sermon, you can hear the history of this people. Learn more about our next church viewing tour here.
Winter in Armenia: Join the Snowflake Swirls with a Glass of Armenian Mulled wine
Another way to warm up and up the degree a bit higher is to have a glass of mulled Armenian wine. There are a few specialized wine houses in the capital that offer the widest selection, including mulled, that you can choose from. Arguably best in town is the Wine Republic with great atmosphere, the best crowd and, of course, best local and import wines.
Winter in Armenia: Hit the slopes of Tsaghkadzor
And of course, The first thing that you’ll be advised to do when you get here in winter is get your warm clothes and head to Tsakhkadzor, a winter resort town about 60km from Yerevan. Founded as a small settlement in the 3rd century, Tsakhkadzor quickly became a favorite pastime spot for the Armenian royal family due to its breathtaking nature and further expanded into its current size and functionality. Situated at an altitude of 1,750m above sea level, it features a multi-level skiing ropeway running up to 2,819m above sea level, where you can see the entire Armenian landscape covered in snow. It is truly a magical view. Then relax at one of the modern scale hotels, enjoy a nice meal somewhere in a cozy restaurant or explore other sights in the area like famous 11-13 century Kecharis Church complex.
And if you don’t get to try all of these experiences this winter, we hope the ones you do will call you back to Armenia soon. And if we persuaded you to plan your next trip now, check out our tours here.