Instructions for tourist
Advice and recommendations on travelling in Armenia
We offer you the information, which may be useful for trip to Armenia. Armenia is an ancient country in the territory of former USSR. By the number of monuments it is considered to be one of the most interesting countries of the Old World.
There aren’t summer and winter times in Armenia. Local time doesn’t differ from Moscow time.
Armenia is a country with the most pleasant visa system for travellers. However, for traveling with a child you have to show the birth certificate; the child’s or a parent’s passport, if there is note about himher; photographs (for children above 6); notarized consent letter, if the child is traveling with only one of the parents or with a third person. In case of traveling on train from Armenia, you should remember that often Armenian border guards detrain tourist, who don’t have Georgian visa, despite the availability of getting it on entering the country.
Customs and passport control, customs information
Bringing currency in or out of the country is possible without restrictions, though amounts of more than 10 thousand dollars and equivalents in other currency must be necessarily declared. We recommend tourists to declare amounts more than 2000 dollars in order to prevent problems on departure. Bringing in items for personal use for 500 dollars as well as duty-free import of 2 liters of strong alcohol and 50 packs of tobacco products are allowed. If cost for personal items is above 500 dollars, customs duty is paid for the difference. Exporting antiquity, precious stones, coins, manuscripts and works of art without the appropriate permission is not allowed. Permission from MIA RA is required for hunting rifles; import of other weapon or ammunition is prohibited.
Please, strictly comply with the legislation of RF, Armenia and transit countries; all the terms and conditions of personal security, fire safety, hygiene and sanitary-epidemiological rules, such as all terms at the airport, terms for baggage transportation (transit) and allowance, specified in your ticket; all terms for auto-transport, over ground and underground transport, country and international trains and strictly comply with instructions and directions of the staff. In hotels, cafes, clubs, sport centers, pools, museums, theatres, exhibitions, or while visiting cultural and architectural monuments strictly comply with the instructions and directions of the staff. Don’t leave your things and valuables unattended as far as possible. Use safes in rooms, hotels. Don’t take large amounts of money with you; tightly keep photo and video technics in your hands.
How to get to Armenia?
You should remember, that borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan and Armenia and Turkey are closed, so over ground arrival is possible only from Iran side or Georgia. There are international bus routes to Yerevan with transfer in Tbilisi, though tourists need Georgian visa as well. Getting to Armenia on train from Russian takes about 4 days, as trains go to Azerbaijan first, then – to Georgia, and only then arrive in Armenia. The route through Adler and Abkhazia is blocked because of Georgian-Abkhazian conflict.
Currency, money exchange
National currency is dram. In Armenia banknotes and coins are called drams. 10, 20, 50, 200, 500 drams are coins and 1000, 5000, 20 000, 50 000 drams are banknotes. In all the shops and other shopping centers trade is conducted only in national currency: dram. However, if you happen to spend all drams, but need something immediately to buy, you can offer dollars or rubles. There will not be any problem with currency exchange, as currency exchange points are available on every step and most shops. You can exchange any currency without passport. Banks work from 9.00 to 16.00 on working days; several are open on Saturday from 10.00 to 14.00. There are currency exchange points, open from 09.00 to 22.00 or 24.00 on weekends, holidays, and working days. Exchanging currency is possible in banks, major hotels and exchange points. In private shops, markets and hotels payment in dollars and euro is possible; sometimes rubles are accepted in shops. Credit cards and cheques are accepted only in big supermarkets.
Advice about food
Food. Eating is possible everywhere. No matter in which part of the city you are, feel free to guess, that within a radius of 100 meters you will find a bistro, café or a restaurant. But in case you are in the center, the radius narrows to 10 sm. Any cuisine can be found here: Armenian, Arabic, Georgian, European, and Chinese. Prices may significantly differ. But on the whole, dining in Armenia will cost you much less than in Moscow, for example.
Water. You can buy water in any grocery store - all the brands of Armenian production. In fact, you can just open tap, be it in the hotel or visiting someone, and drink the water. It is absolutely safe and even tasty. Moreover, there are kind of water sources in streets of Yerevan, which Armenians call “pulpulak”. It is a unique construction of a meter height, from which pure, clear and tasty stream of water beats. Go ahead and try it. It is absolutely safe and free of charge.
There is no peculiar everyday clothing rule, especially in Yerevan and other big cities, where particularly youth have complete freedom in clothing.
What you had better not do.
You had better not interrupt a speaker, especially during table talks. Photographing bridges, airports, anything that can be a military object is prohibited, especially in Nagorno-Karabakh. It is better not start a conversation about national problems, relationships with Azerbaijan and Turkey, and about Armenian genocide.
Trains in Armenia are slower means than buses. Passenger transfers are provided on routs Yerevan-Echmiatsin-Gyumri-Vanadzor; there are also commuter rails from Yerevan to Sevan and Yeraskh, going only in summer. Many commuter rails are in bad condition, often without window glasses. Route Yerevan-Nakhichevan-Meghri is blocked because of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. There is no internal air communication. Trains go without certain timetable, moving as soon as salon is full. On the other hand, routes link almost all cities and villages of the country. Part of transfers is provided by private companies. There are two bus stations in Yerevan: international and interurban buses move from the one on Admiral Isakov Avenue; from train station Sasuntsi David - on commuter directions.
Drivers and pedestrians rarely comply with traffic law, and most of mountain roads are graveled country roads, which are difficult to pass without local people’s help, so car rent is not worth in Armenia, except renting a JIP with a driver-guide.
Climate is with abrupt difference between day and night temperatures, so you had better have warm cloths even in summer. Tips are usually 5%, but in expensive restaurants, where tips are not included in the bill, it averages up to 10%. It is accepted to bargain in markets, but not in shops. Best time to visit the country is spring period from April to June and autumn months (from September to November).
In Armenia 220 volts 50 Hz is used; there are also three-pin plugs in hotels. It is better to have a suitable adapter.
How to ring to Armenia from other countries:
On landline phone: 374 (Armenian code) + local point code + subscriber number
On mobile phone: 374 (Armenia code) + mobile number prefix + phone number
How to ring in Armenia:
On landline phone: 0 + local point code + subscriber number
On mobile phone: 0 + mobile number prefix + phone number
Important phone numbers
Fire service – 101
Police – 102
Ambulance – 103
Airport – 187
Railway information service – 184
Information Service – 109
Weather – 186