The Cascade

The Complete List of 24 Things to Do in Yerevan

Armenia

Published on 20 December 2023

Yerevan is Armenia’s capital city. Situated relatively centrally, Yerevan is not only full of fascinating things to do, but is the perfect location to base yourself to explore the rest of the country. You can reach Echmiadzin, Sevan, Dilijan within a couple of hours’ journey!

We spent over two weeks exploring the city and compiling this ultimate list of things to do in Yerevan: Armenia’s vibrant and exciting ‘pink city’.

Climb the Cascade for Outrageous Views of Mount Ararat

You will see this at the top of everyone’s lists for Yerevan; it is THE quintessential thing to do. Even though the mountain is no longer on Armenian territory due to land border changes after the Turkish-Armenian War of 1920, it is still the symbol of Yerevan, and Armenia. It has religious significance as it is believed that Noah’s Ark landed on the top, creating the dip. As well as this, you will see Armenia’s two largest brandy producers are called ‘Ararat’ and ‘Noy’ (Noah).

cascad at night, things to do in yerevan

At the bottom of the Cascade is a garden full of sculptures that can be politely called ‘quirky’. So have a wander through here first and take a look. Then, head up the travertine stairs of the Cascade complex. On the outside, you will see Soviet style sculptures and water fountains as you progress to each new layer of the steps. If the steps are too much, there is an inside escalator that can take you to the top. 

Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with phenomenal views stretching across the city and the peaks of Ararat as the perfect backdrop!

Wander Higher Up to Reach Victory Park and Mother of Armenia

When you get to the top of the Cascade, there is a walkway off to the left. Walk this way, up the road and then up a set of metal stairs that take you to a higher viewing platform. Once here, cross the main road to get to Victory Park.

It is a classic Soviet style fairground with ferris wheels, bumper cars etc. Carry on walking through the park to see the huge Mother of Armenia statue. There is an eternal flame memorial and another great viewpoint over the city.

mother armenia, things to do in yerevan

Learn about the Armenian Genocide

Yerevan’s Armenian Genocide Museum has done an excellent job of explaining the horrific events of 1915. We spent a couple of hours here reading all the information as we had such little knowledge of it previously. The exhibits and stories are raw and real, and even though they may be uncomfortable to read, it is a vitally important topic to understand when visiting the country.

Before you leave the area, make sure you see the memorial complex on top of the museum with its eternal flame.

Entrance to the museum is free.

Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Museum, things to do in yerevan

Shop for Retro Souvenirs at Vernissage

This isn’t just another market, I promise! There are so many interesting stalls here selling everything from padlocks from Soviet times, pomegranate themed souvenirs, to beautifully hand-made jewellery. We spent hours wandering around all the stalls, and I bought a pair of handmade earrings with the Armenian alphabet on; they are my favourite pair of earrings from our travels so far! (I try to buy a pair in each country).

And Then Wander Round the GUM Market Tasting All the Armenian Specialities

We paired our Vernissage visit with a visit to the GUM market, and it ended up lasting the whole afternoon. See rows upon rows of dried fruit, nuts, cheeses, lavash bread, fresh fruit and veg all displayed beautifully. The vendors will inevitably shower you with tasters so that you can try before you buy.

Armenian cheeses are some of the most interesting looking and tasting that we have ever tried (some look hairy and green!). Make sure you head to the cheese counter and give some a go before deciding which one you want.

Armenian cheese, GUM market, things to do in yerevan

Grab a Takeaway Coffee from a Coffee House Stand and Get Them to Write Your Name in Armenian

You know when you go to a fancy coffee shop, and they write your name on the cup? Well, each time we bought a coffee from Coffee House, they would ask us our names and then write it for us in Armenian! It’s only a small thing, but we loved it.

Coffee house, things to do in yerevan

Take a Free Walking Tour to Get to Know Yerevan and Armenia Better

This free walking tour is really informative, and provides you with a better insight into the history of the country as well as the current political situation, recommendations on restaurants, things to do, day trips etc. Top tip that we learnt from this tour – a nightclub, does not mean what a nightclub means back home; it actually means a strip club. That’s not a mistake you want to make!

Wander Kond District and Stop for a Coffee

The one thing missing from Yerevan that I always love exploring in a new city, is an old town. And unfortunately, the old buildings of the central district were removed during the Soviet occupation. This means that Yerevan feels relatively knew despite being one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited places! To get close to an ‘old town’, you need to head to Kond.

Now Kond isn’t you typical old town, but it is full of character with its dilapidated buildings and winding narrow alleys. Kond is built into a hill, so you’ll need to take a set of steep stairs from the main part of town to get there. Take a wander round to see the interesting buildings and the new street art, before stopping here for a proper local cup of coffee with the friendliest host. Even though we did not share a common language, he sat with us while we drank our coffee and ate our gata (more on that later), and we used google translate to communicate.

kond, things to do in yerevan
kond, things to do in yerevan

Witness the Ancient Manuscripts at Matenadaran

As someone who loves a good book, finding a museum full of loads of ancient handwritten books was fascinating! The building in which all these masterpieces are housed is an absolute beauty in itself, but the collection of manuscripts really was mind-blowing. We spent about an hour exploring. Entrance costs 1500 AMD.

matenadaran, armenian scripture museum, things to do in yerevan

Take a Drink from a Pulpulak (or maybe don’t!)

A pulpulak is a distinctive drinking water fountain you will see all around the city. Yerevan, and Armenia for that matter, has no shortage of running water, so these are always free-flowing. And while I love the idea, we did see some stray dogs jumping up on to the water fountains for a drink. Maybe drink from the pulpulaks that look least stray dog accessible!

pulpulak, things to do in yerevan
dog drinking from pulpulak, things to do in yerevan

Eat Everything Apricot

Armenia is the land of apricots. If you are around during apricot season, you have hit the jackpot! Otherwise, you can get your hands on apricot jam, dried apricots, apricot brandy, apricot sweets, apricot wine, apricot beer. The list is endless.

Feast on Falafel Wraps

Yerevan knows how to do falafel, and we took full advantage of this, essentially becoming Yerevan falafel wrap connoisseurs. We ate an obscene number of falafel wraps during our two week stay in the city because they are so tasty, convenient for on-the-go, and fully veggie/vegan. Full Yerevan restaurant guide is on its way!

See the Intricate Tiling of the Blue Mosque

The last functioning mosque in Yerevan is a beautiful one. Tiled domes and archways, a peaceful garden courtyard area. Even though it’s on the main road, it’s tucked away and is actually really quiet.

blue mosque, things to do in yerevan
blue mosque, things to do in yerevan

Find Kond Tunnel

Now, this is a weird one. There is a huge, long pedestrian tunnel that goes from the main centre of Yerevan to the outskirts of town. This makes it on to the Yerevan to-do list because of the photos you can take with the crazy zigzag lighting. The tunnel is long and dark except for this lighting, and isn’t the most pleasant experience, but you’ll get some interesting photos and the tunnel will lead you to the creepy abandoned children’s railway.

kond tunnel, things to do in yerevan

Try Not to Be Creeped Out by the Abandoned Children’s Railway

This feels like something straight out of an apocalyptic horror film. Head down the dramatic staircase to the old station, and you’ll see small Soviet trains waiting on the tracks. You can even head into the train though, I was more than happy just to take photos from the outside!

abandonec childrens railway, things to do in yerevan

Take a Break and Order a Proper Armenian Coffee

Ok, top tip, Armenian coffee is not Turkish coffee. Armenian coffee is Armenian coffee. It’s thick, dark, strong, and aromatic. You can get it for dead cheap at Melody, or more regular pricing at somewhere like Andrew’s.

armenian coffee, things to do in yerevan

Grab a Beer at an Underground Bar

Two places that we really liked (partly because I have scouse blood), are the Beatles Pub, and the Calumet Ethnic Lounge next door. The Beatles Pub has a great atmosphere and can get pretty busy, so you might even want to book a table. Calumet Ethnic Lounge is very much rough and ready in comparison (more of a budget backpacker vibe), and they’re next door to each other, so you can hop from one to the next.

the beatles pub, things to do in yerevan

Photograph the Quirky Soviet Design

Chess House, Opera Theatre, Moscow Theatre, the Central Post Office in Republic Square (and stained glass window inside), the metro stations, Yerevan train station, Kilikia bus station. Yerevan is full of this intriguing style. Hunt down these examples and then keep an eye out for more!

soviet stained glass in yerevan post office
soviet frieze, things to do in yerevan
soviet architecture, things to do in yerevan

Visit the History Museum of Armenia

This is the history museum in Republic Square, not to be confused with Yerevan History Museum (the second one is not worth your time!). Super informative and plenty of exhibits including the world’s oldest leather shoe.

While we were there in March, there was renovation going on, so we’d be interested to know what it is like now. Outside the museum are many plaques talking about the history of Armenia, and how the size of the country has decreased to only 10% of what it was. It also has detailed info on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

the world's oldest leather shoe, things to do in yerevan

Wander the Ruins of Erebuni Castle

Erebuni Castle is very much in ruins, but there are a few spots that have artwork that has been preserved. And the views of the city from here are great too! Underneath the castle is a small museum that is worth exploring too.

erebuni castle, yerevan, armenia
yerevan city views from erebuni castle

Try Armenia’s Famous Gata

This tasty sweet treat is great paired with a coffee, or even served as a dessert. Gata is a cake that has a layer of butter, sugar and vanilla running through it. We have had some really pretty gata that have designs baked onto the top, and others that almost look a little croissant-esque.

menemen and simit, batumi

Drink Armenian Wine and Brandy

Armenian wine can be anything from white to red to pomegranate to apricot! The varieties are endless. Pomegranate is my favourite because of its sour note. But brandy (or cognac as it is referred to by locals) is hugely popular in Armenia too. The two major brandy factories are both in Yerevan – Ararat and Noy – and they offer tastings and tours if that’s your thing.

armenian wine, yerevan
ararat brandy, yerevan

Eat the Armenian Vegetarian Classic Dish – Ghapama

Ghapama is a dish that you need to share between a few people. It is a whole roasted pumpkin filled with rice, dried fruits, and nuts. It’s so decadent! We found this beauty at Lavash Restaurant. But this isn’t the only reason to head to Lavash Restaurant.

ghapama, things to do in yerevan

Watch Lavash Being Cooked in a Traditional Tonir

Lavash Restaurant in Yerevan has a tonir inside the restaurant where bakers use the traditional methods to bake the flat bread. It really is fascinating to watch the lavash that you’ve just ordered being baked in front of you!

Have you been to Yerevan? Is there anything I should add to this list? Or maybe you’ve planning your trip at the moment?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations and questions.

Thanks for reading!

Like it? Save it!

krusevo p

Follow us on Instagram and Pinterest

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.