Passport and Visa
Since January 10, 2013, citizens of the European Union and the member countries of the Schengen zone, no longer need an entry visa in Armenia. They are allowed to stay in Armenia without a visa for a duration of 180 days with a passport valid for at least 6 months.
It is prohibited to export from Armenia valuable items that have historical importance, such as manuscripts, archaeological objects, paintings, carpets and gold.
Armenian currency is called Dram (AMD). Value of 1 CHF is approximately 445 AMD and value of 1 EUO is around 550 AMD. The Swiss Francs, Euros and Dollars are accepted in all exchange offices, hotels and banks. It is also possible to get money from ATM machines in Yerevan, in Etchmiadzin, in Gumri and Vanadzor. Credit cards are accepted in many hotels, restaurants and supermarkets.
In Armenia, roaming works for all three Swiss mobile phone companies and you will not have big problems with accessing the Internet. It is easier to use the service providers that offer 3G Internet in almost all regions. But in remote areas, the connection is not always guaranteed. Tourists who have a laptop can enjoy the benefits of high speed Wi-Fi access in most hotels, some cafes and restaurants. In the capital and in regions there also exist many cafés internet.
The best seasons to visit Armenia are autumn and spring. Precipitations arrive especially in spring between April and May, and November. In summer it is very hot almost everywhere in the country, but especially in plain of Ararat. In autumn, the weather is pleasant, cold arrives in December and lasts till March. The height difference greatly influences the temperature variation in the country. For this reason, it is recommended to take along a sweater even during warm weather. The continental climate is marked by cold winters as well as by hot summers. The most favorable season to discover the country is golden autumn.
Traditions & Customes
Armenians like all peoples of the world have their own customs and traditions. One of the festivals that is preferred the Armenian youth is the feast of St. Sarkis, the saint patron of lovers, the equivalent of St. Valentine. On this day, all girls eat a sort of extremely small salty pancakes before sleeping. It is said that the one offering them water in their dreams will be their future husband.
Some festivals also come from pagan times such as Trendez (candles celebration or Chandleur). This is linked to worship of the sun and fire. It announces the coming of spring and fertility. On this occasionnally-married couples and lovers jump over a bonfire to get rid of evil and attract happiness to their home. Participants then light candles from the holy fire and take them home untill the next feast. Another pagan festival, known as Vardavar, is celebrated by throwing water to passersby to purify them. It is dedicated to Astghik, the goddess of love and beauty, water and fertility.
In the capital and, in general in the country, it is easy to find food-shops. You can also buy fresh fruits and vegetables in markets and on roadsides. Armenian cuisine has many national and regional tasty dishes that will delight your palette.
December 31 - January 2: New Year
January 6: Christmas
January 28: Army Day
March 8: International Women's Day
April 7: Mother's Day and Day of Beauty
April 24: Commemoration of the victims of Genocide
May 1: Labor Day
May 9: Day of victory and peace
May 28: Independence Day of the First Republic in 1918
July 5: Constitution Day
September 1: Day of knowledge
September 21: National Day
1st Saturday of October: Teachers Day
December 7: Commemoration of the victims of the 1988 earthquake
The minibus system (marchroutka) has been well maintained in recent years in Yerevan and regional destinations. The advantage: small groups, fast-paced and experienced drivers. This is certainly the best way to get around the country. That is why they are often very overcrowded!
There are no required vaccinations. It is advisable to take out additional insurance in case of changes regarding return trip home. There are no agreements with Europe, medical bills have to be paid locally.
Armenia is generally a safe country. Anyway, it is recommended to pay attention to pickpockets whenever you go.
Armenia has a rich culture that offers travelers a great choice for shopping. Tourists love to stroll along Vernissage, an open air art and crafts market enjoying the artistic and historical values of the Armenian people, such as handicrafts, contemporary paintings, works of ceramics and metalwork, jewelery, musical instruments and many more. To learn about the mystery of creation of handmade Armenian rugs, do not miss the opportunity to visit the factory "Carpet Megeryan" where you can also buy beautiful carpets in memory of your stay. In various souvenir shops located on the periphery of the capital that offer a wide selection of wooden handcrafts, fabrics and other materials inspired by Armenian folk traditions, you wil always find something to take with you home.
Useful Phone Numbers
Medical Emergency: 103
Number of the telephone operator: 107
Information Service: 51 99 99
Airport Information: 187