Why you should plan to go to Armenia this spring

The country’s mountains, plummeting valleys and enticing cities come alive in the springtime. Choose from these five options reaching across diverse regions of the South Caucasus nation.

The Armenian grasslands come alive with widlflowers in the spring.

Photograph by Tourism Committee of Armenia
By SJ Armstrong
Published 21 Mar 2023, 10:00 GMT

A country in the South Caucasus, Armenia is a land of natural drama, characterised by mountains interspersed with ancient, solitary churches. Come from March to explore the depths of the Caucasus Mountains on hiking trails, swim in thermal pools overhanging verdant gorges or roam around city parks turned technicolour in the springtime bloom.

The Transcaucasian Trail

Best for: hiking
Since the end of 2021, Armenia can be thru-hiked in its entirety thanks to the Transcaucasian Trail, the first itinerary aiming to link up the South Caucasus in one mammoth path. The 500-mile Armenian leg is the country’s only long-distance route, weaving together natural diversity and cultural heritage — desert canyons, forested hills, ancient monasteries and Silk Road caravan sites — with top-notch hospitality. Highlights include Dilijan National Park, which stretches over several mountain ranges in the northern Tavush Province, and the hard-to-reach Vorotan Canyon in southerly Syunik province. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Apostolic Tatev Monastery; one of the world’s longest cable-cars crosses two mountain peaks and the Vorotan Gorge on its way to this ninth-century complex, perched above a gorge through which the Vorotan River flows. 


Best for: spa breaks
The quiet mountain town of Jermuk is cleanly cleaved in two, divided by a plunging gorge and the rippling Arpa River. The dramatic landscape of steely cliffs and forests offers a scenic backdrop for visitors seeking sanctuary in the town’s spa resorts, which have been attracting travellers from the surrounding regions for decades. A number of hotels offer treatments including hydrotherapy; alternatively, bathe in streams of mineral water at the Gallery of Waters or imbibe the healing aura of salt caves, a treatment known as halotherapy. For a fuller immersion in nature, take an off-road drive to the nearby slopes, where mineral hot springs offer an open-air sauna experience.

Left: Top:

The medieval monastic complex of Haghpat is located in northern Armenia's Debed Canyon.

Photograph by Tourism Committee of Armenia
Right: Bottom:

Jermuk is surrounded by mountains, forests, rivers and gorges, which offer a dramatic backdrop to travellers visiting the resort. 

Photograph by Getty Images

Debed Canyon

Best for: nature lovers
Winding its way through a forested ravine, the Debed River cleaves a path through the Caucasus Mountains in northern Armenia. Come early April, wildflowers begin to blanket the meadow edges of the namesake canyon, speckling the tall grasses red, yellow and white. Tracing its twists and turns, travellers can hike or horse ride from the village of Odzun — located on a plateau above the banks and home to one of Armenia’s finest basilicas — to millennia-old monasteries, including the UNESCO World Heritage-accredited sites of Sanahin and Haghpat, their ochre roofs stark against the green of the forested hill. There’s also an opportunity to forage for your trail snacks, scouting for wild berries and fragrant herbs. And after exerting yourself on the trails, recover with a meal at a restaurant set in one of the gorge’s cliffside caves. 


Best for: cultural explorers 
The country’s second-biggest city, Gyumri is central to Armenia’s cultural offering, having long been a magnet for artists and craftspeople. Visit one of several creative centres in the historic city, including the house-museum of poet Avetik Isahakyan and the Dzitoghtsyan Museum of National Architecture. Alternatively, join in the fun by signing up for a workshop, trying your hand at crafts like pottery, jewellery making and metal working. It's easy to reach Gyumri by train from Yerevan, the 2.5-hour route lined by apricot trees, which bear their golden fruit in the spring. Nature lovers should also take a peaceful detour from the city to paddle along the Akhuryan River and embrace the solitude of the gaping gorge.  

 The country’s second-biggest city, Gyumri is the creative and artistic capital of the Armenia.

 The country’s second-biggest city, Gyumri is the creative and artistic capital of Armenia.

Photograph by Tourism Committee of Armenia


Best for: urban living
The wide avenues of the rose-washed capital sit beneath a leafy canopy, which blooms bright fuchsia in the spring. Taking a break from outdoor escapades, travellers can stroll between coffee stalls for intense brews, admire the Cascade, a giant limestone stairwell in the city centre, and end the day on Saryan Street, home to numerous wine cafes. Spring is an ideal time to discover the city’s green areas, too: explore the carefully curated English Park, one of Yerevan’s oldest and largest, or head out to the city outskirts for views of Mount Ararat. Sprawling beds of wildflowers come alive this time of year, intensifying the beauty of this mountain scenery. Still feeling adventurous? Helicopter tours are available for a unique perspective on the city and its surroundings.

Plan your trip

It’s possible to fly from the UK to Armenia via regular flights from a number of European airports, including Frankfurt and Vienna. Flights land in Yerevan and, from there, it’s easy to navigate the country by renting a car. 

For more information, head to armenia.travel

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