So, how does the idea of visiting two countries in one holiday sound? Interesting? We bet it is!
Especially when the two countries we speak about are Armenia and Georgia.
We are sure you heard great things about the two countries – incidentally, these are our top favourite countries to visit, considering the cost, distance and value for money.
So we will tell you why you must do this interesting and different experience.
Let’s start with Yerevan, Armenia’s beautiful capital city, which has managed, in strange ways, to capture the attention of the world thanks to its rich culture and tradition – not to mention the spectacular beauty.
Top reason: Armenia is considered to have the best and the purest natural drinking water – just saying!
But, that is not all. Yerevan is surrounded by Mt Ararat, you can easily imagine what that does to the beauty of the city – it is like the crown indeed. Well, given that Mt Ararat is right there, it means if you are an outdoor person, your chances of adventure are endless. Be it in summer or winter, there is so much to do – hiking to skiing and so much more.
So, what are your options if you aren’t inclined to hit the trails right away? Explore the city, but naturally. What can you hope to find? Armenia is the perfect combination of history, tradition and great food, which means everything you see will be centred around the three!
Here are the top sights in Yerevan that you will absolutely love –
1. Republic Square: Located bang in the centre of the city – this is easily the most visited site. You are going to love the Singing Fountains – yes! Literally the fountains sing (and dance a little too) to the visitors sending them into ecstasy! The Republic Square took nearly three decades to build and represents a combination of Armenian and world architecture.
2. Opera House: Built in 1933, Opera House is another landmark that is an absolute must visit. As the name says, t the home of music – and if you are lucky you might even get to watch a performance. And why not! You are in Yerevan, a city known for its history and art.
3. Cascade Complex: This is definitely a quirk, but a delightful one, and something that must be seen (and walked on too). Dot go by the name – Cascade Complex, although it sounds like a series of buildings is actually a giant stairway made of limestone, linking downtown Ketron area of Yerevan with the Monument neighbourhood.
Reason No 2: Carpets! You didn’t think that could be a reason? We are sure you will change your mind when you visit a carpet shop! The amazing designs and colours will make you scramble to the nearest shipping agency to send them back home!
How about getting outside the city? Once you leave the city there are numerous things to see and do. Did we forget to mention monasteries that sit on the cliff side, the gorgeous mountain lakes…
Here are our top favourites –
1. Garni Monastery: Yes, this first century Greek Temple, (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) sits in the middle of a stunningly beautiful mountainous countryside and you could be forgiven for thinking that you have stepped back in time. It feels so untouched and fragile. The temple dedicated to Mitra (Sun God) was once an important religious and historical site with many towers and bathhouses.
2. Geghard Monastery: Now, Geghard Monastery is something else! Unmatched in beauty and history, this monastery overlooks the Azat Valley. There are so many intricately carved cathedrals decorated with frescoes and caves to explore. Fancy a bit of outdoor exploration? why not head up to the cathedral which is decorated with intricate carvings on the outside and blue frescoes on the inside. If you want to explore further, go climbing around the outside and inspect the interesting caves roughly cut into the stones!
Country No 2: Georgia
Georgia, as we all know, has lately been steading heading upward in the list of countries to visit – in any season. It is small, yes, but that that hasn’t stopped tourists from flocking to it. Small in size, but big in what it has to offer. It has quite a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites too – and given its location in the Caucasus, it easily combines history and beauty!
Let’s give you a quick list of places to see in Georgia.
Mtshekta, Georgia: The country’s most historic and oldest cities, is definitely worth exploring. This is where the famous Jvari Monastery is located – on a hilltop (quite literally on the edge). Not only are the views spectacular from up here (you can see the river and the entire city too) but this monastery is of great historic importance. The Jvari church influenced Georgian architecture to a great extent.
Ananuri Fortress, Georgia: A bit like a fairytale, this castle structure is located on the headland of River Argavi. (By the way, there is a white and black Argavi and you can see where both meet). This castle structure consists of many churches and a defensive tower and has an important place in Georgian history.
Gudauri, Georgia: The country’s adventure hub, this little town sits alongside the Military Highway and feels like it springs out of the mountains! You will begin to understand why Gudauri is always the first choice for visitors! The Friendship Wall is right there, overlooking the valley – a semi-circular wall full of beautiful murals – makes a great backdrop for your Instagram too. In winter, of course, it is all about skiing here. Give paragliding a shot too. You’ll love it.
Kazbegi, Georgia: A small town (actually the last town before the road continues to Russia) now renamed Stepantsminda (although Kazbegi is the popular name) Kazbegi is a town that makes you want to live there forever. Nestled on the top of a mountain is a church that is unbelievably existent. You can hike or simply ride a jeep to the top. Once here, of course, you are never going to want to leave! The small, old church, Gergeti Trinity Church is one of the most sacred churches in the country.
Tbilisi, Georgia: In a nutshell, Tbilisi alone can be your reason to visit Georgia! It’s Sulphur baths, monasteries, cruises, hilltop fortresses, shopping, food, the new gen bridge, wineries just outside the city… everything adds up to the experience of being here.
Have we mentioned the food? Well, how about we just give you the Three K’s? Khachapuri, khinkali and kharcho. There is Lobio, churchkhela…