Travel Alone in Armenia
Recently, Armenia is getting more tourism attention, even though it’s still an unknown and unexplored destination to most.
Solo traveling is also gradually being seen in Yerevan and throughout the country in all the must see attractions.
But how safe is it currently?
by Anahit SargsyanCaucasus Region Local Guide
Honored to show all the secret places and cultures in the Caucasus
Is It Safe to Travel Alone in Armenia?
Yes, traveling alone in Armenia is very safe. Traveling in the country is not as dangerous as many people make it out to be. The crime rate is one of the lowest in Europe. And it is surprisingly the safest country for travelers in the Caucasus region.
This is true whether you are traveling alone, as a couple, or in groups.
But like everywhere in the world, there are still some things to consider for staying safe at all times while visiting Armenia.
Why Is Armenia Safe to Visit?
Armenians are very friendly and proud of their country, which reflects how helpful and protective they are to tourists. If someone is taking their time to visit their country, they will be proud of that and be very helpful and kind.
There are lots of things about traveling alone that can make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe when you’re alone visiting another country.
You may feel unsafe walking down the street at night or need to avoid going to specific city neighbors. If you are a woman, men may try to flirt with you. And you might need to be aware of pickpockets, robbery, kidnappings, and all sorts of crimes.
But in Armenia, if you are a tourist you will almost always feel safe. Why is that feeling?
Their Welcoming People
Armenia is a country of beautiful landscapes and friendly people. Pride in your country makes you friendly toward other nations.
This is why Armenians are very hospitable and welcoming to tourists.
And that passes a sense of security like you can’t find in many other regions in the world.
A little story to prove this: during a recent visit tour, I held to a group of American tourists, when we were on Haghpats, the groundskeeper was so excited to show us around, that he took us up to the bell tower, an off-limit area normally reserved for visitors. He even allowed us to climb the stairs to the top!
Their Recent History
Armenians have suffered greatly in recent times. Similar experiences elsewhere lead to anger and bitterness, too.
But not in Armenia. It was all the way around.
Such tough times have led its people to always choose to support one another, and show kindness to their guests, so others will do the same for us.
Respectful to Visitors
Armenians are extremely polite and respectful.
When traveling to Armenia, you won’t see any pickpockets or thieves walking around. You’ll also never have someone try to steal your purse or wallet.
Women need only to say “no” when men make passes at them, and you might get just a handshake back, instead.
How Safe is Armenia for Women Traveling Alone?
If you are a woman and you are solo traveling in Armenia, you will most certainly not have any problem. However, like other less touristic countries around the globe, you should be cautious because you will attract attention in remote areas, so my advice is to try to join a group or excursion.
The Armenian Church is quite conservative, so certain rules must be respected in sacred places. You don’t necessarily have to cover your head when entering churches.
In any case, it is a good idea not to wear a skirt shorter than the knee.
Is Yerevan Safe for Solo Travelers?
Overall, the capital Yerevan is safe to travel alone.
It’s magical nights invite you to stroll around, which you can do so alone, but always with some common sense and precaution.
Yerevan residents, like most Armenians, are very hospitable people who love to share their culture and traditions with visitors. If you’re visiting the capital, they’ll be more than happy to show you around. They may even invite you over for dinner!
However, there are some known thefts and pickpockets targeting foreigners, although rare.
Some Tips When Traveling Alone in Yerevan
- Be careful when walking around at night, especially in the suburbs.
- Avoid using ATMs after drinking.
- Unaccompanied women are rare sights in the evening, especially outside of the city center
- Make sure you are taking a normal taxi in the Zvartnots International Airport and not an illegal one (those will overcharge more than the double). Look at the license plate: if the first digits are 3 (not 2), or it is yellow, then it’s a genuine taxi.
Additional Safety Tips While Visiting Armenia
- If you are going to drive your own vehicle be alert and drive very cautiously.
- If you plan to climb any mountain be aware that altitude sickness can also be a problem and be careful if you hire a horseback excursion.
- Sanitary conditions outside the capital are not entirely satisfactory.
- Follow basic rules of hygiene, especially in summer.
- If you need to take any medication regularly, it is advisable to travel with the amount you will need while you are in Armenia.
- Even though you might not need it, good travel insurance that specifically covers you in Armenia and that acts fast is really important. Especially if you are going to do trekking or any other adventure sport.
Where Should I Not Go in Armenia?
There are some regions of the country that you should avoid completely. That is mostly to due some unpredictable political situations and the risk of armed conflict.
- The regions of Tavush and Gegharkunik should be avoided.
- On the other hand, the border area of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan is the only area of the country at risk of armed conflict. Pay special attention, there are still some mines in this area.
- Border areas are of limited access or highly discouraged for foreigners.
Do’s and Don’ts in Armenia
What You Should Do:
- When entering a church be sure to wear long pants, have your arms covered, and if you are a woman, cover your head with a shawl or headscarf.
- Learn several basic Armenian expressions and always greet people with “Barev Dzes”.
- Show respect for elders by giving up your seat on a bus or allowing them to pass in front of you in a line.
- If you are invited to someone’s home, bring a small gift such as flowers or chocolates.
- Do not hesitate to ask for help or interact with Armenians, most are very friendly and will be happy to talk to you.
- Bargaining at the local market.
- Even though not mandatory, you can leave a tip when eating in a restaurant. Some Armenian employees are compensated only on their own.
What You Shouldn’t Do:
- Do not talk loudly or joke around a church or enter a religious institution wearing revealing clothing.
- Do not discuss politics, especially issues related to Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, or Turkey.
- Do not smoke until you are sure that smoking is allowed in the place where you are.
- Don’t forget to carry some cash in local currency. It may not be easy to find an ATM outside Yerevan.