Yerevan Travel Tips for First Timers

It’s quite natural to want to make the most of a first visit. So if you are visiting the Pink City for the first time, consider the useful tips below to enjoy a hustle-free and relaxing vacation to remember forever.

Be educational about where you are going

Before visiting a country or a city, it’s highly recommended to do some online research on the destination and find useful articles, which will help you know a little about the basics such as weather, transportation, car-rental, dos & don’ts, plus an orientation of the city. Once you’re in Yerevan, ask your hotel staff to organize guided tours to some of the best tourist attractions in and around the city.

Carry the correct forms of currency

Believe me, there is nothing worse than being stuck in a new country on your first day with no local currency. Yerevan is no exception. Though there are many currency exchange offices scattered throughout the city, you’ll be a bit tired and trying to figure out an unfamiliar currency will be confusing. The Armenian ‘Dram’ is the currency in Armenia (AMD1,000 ≈$2.58), so you’d better have some cash on hand. If you have an ATM card, make sure it is used in Yerevan. However, it is safer to take a mixture of currency with you – a credit card and some cash.

Respect local customs and laws

It’s common knowledge that any country has its own laws and legal systems, so be ready to respect them. Crime against foreigners is relatively rare in Armenia and the incidence of violent crime remains lower than in most US cities and other parts of the world.

Learn a few local words and key phrases

Locals will surely appreciate your willingness to at least try using their language. While in Yerevan, say ‘Barev’ for ‘Hello;’ ‘Hajoghutyun (‘hajox’ colloquial)’ for ‘Goodbye;’ ‘Mersi’ (as in French) or ‘Shnorhakalutyun’ for ‘Thank you;’ ‘Neretseq’ for ‘Excuse me.’ To orient in the city, you can buy a city map, or else ask passers-by to help you (English is widely spoken in Yerevan and you’ll definitely find someone to help you).

Buses/Minibuses/Underground in Yerevan

The set price for all these means of transport is 100 Dram in Yerevan. But what you should know regarding them is that all buses and minibuses are overcrowded during the day, so don’t hope for a free seat. The underground is a better choice in this sense as it is not only quick but is also not that much crowded; even if it is so, then there is at least some free space to stand without causing any inconvenience to yourself.

Taxis in Yerevan

In general, all taxis in Yerevan have a set price of 100-150 Dram per kilometer. You need to be careful because as they learn you are a tourist, especially if they somehow get you are an enthusiastic first time traveler, then they will charge you more. Always pay attention to the taxi fare calculator not to be fooled. Also make sure not to pay in huge amounts, always keep some change with you because a lot of times when you pay the chances are high they won’t return your change or will express their regret not having it.

Traffic Safety/Crossing the Street in Yerevan

Yerevan is a comparatively small city, yet it’s full of cars and buses. But despite that, the city is rather safe for walkers and you will hardly ever feel alarmed at crossing the street. Just don't forget to always watch out and to follow the simplest traffic laws, including crossing the street on green light.

Taxes and tips in Yerevan

When you are given the bill in a café or a restaurant, the prices will include tax and tips, however, it’s widely accepted among Armenians to leave additional tip to the waiters, and on their part the waiters are always waiting for it and based on that even form an overall impression. Leaving an additional tip is never something obligatory, but something that is a matter of preference and even goodwill. If you do wish to leave it, then some 400 or 500 Dram (around $1) will do.

Museums in Yerevan

Museums in Yerevan are generally open from 9/10 am to 5/6 pm. If you happen to visit Yerevan in between May 10-20, then you might be lucky to witness and become part of the Museum Night. Museum Night in Yerevan is a great event for all Yerevanians, Armenians and tourists equally, as on that day almost all Yerevan museums open their doors until late at night. Note that the entrance is free of charge on that day. Just make sure you get there early if it’s possible.

Be polite but firm

While trying to purchase something you will be continuously convinced to buy everything at which you looked or touched. You will even be introduced to the entire making process of that particular thing. This is definitely irritating especially if you have no wish to buy it. But the rules of politeness should not be ignored. Give a kind smile and firmly tell them that you don’t want the offered thing and move on, don’t stay there after that as the convincing process will be resumed in a matter of seconds.

Making payments in Yerevan

Yerevan uses Dram and all payments are made only in dram. There will be very few stores (one or two at most) accepting payments in some other currency. To avoid problems exchange your money beforehand. There are exchange offices in almost all large supermarkets and markets, so you won’t have hard time in finding one. Also make sure you keep some cash, because not all shops and stores will accept credit cards.

Satisfying your shopping itch in Yerevan

For many travelers Yerevan is a shoppers’ paradise, because the city is blessed with a wide range of shops to suit any need and budget. Visitors will find many designer shops and boutiques, where prices are naturally high, as well as many other shops selling tasteful local goods at cheap prices. No visitor leaves Yerevan without visiting Vernissage, an open-air flea market open on weekends, selling everything from traditional Armenian souvenirs and jewelry, to embroidery and food to parts for electronics and even pets.

Dealing with Locals

Yerevanians might not be too friendly towards each other, but they will treat you so. Tourists are always open-heartedly welcomed in Yerevan and they will do everything to help you. Many of them will even offer to act as your guide during your stay. Yerevanians make good friends with tourists especially if they at least a bit speak the language of the country the tourist comes from. It’s a great thing for them.

Happy journey and a safe and pleasant stay in Armenia’s vibrant capital!!!