Visiting Armenia in winter

04/07/2016 16:55

Written by Jehu Molina

Vayots Dzor Armenia by Jehu Molina Vayots Dzor is one of the most remote of Armenia's regions © Jehu Molina 

Most tourists will wish to avoid visiting Armenia in winter but for a few the adventure of travelling at this time of year appeals. Winter is bitterly cold but many places remain accessible despite the snow and ice. Apart from during snowstorms the major routes are largely kept open. Thermal clothing and an off-road vehicle (SUV or 4x4) with tyres in perfect condition are essential. The driver must know how to drive in snow and when to stop and turn back. Drive only during daylight and go well equipped for the conditions.

Tatev Monastery Armenia by Jehu MolinaTatev is even more beautiful in the snow © Jehu Molina 

The advantages of Armenia in winter include:
• Lower air fares and hotel prices
• You are alone (no crowds, no tourist buses) and have the monasteries, churches and museums to yourself
• Excellent light for photography; superb sunrises and sunsets
• The breathtaking beauty and silence of frozen trees, rivers and lakes

Jehu drove up to Selim caravanserai, down to Marmashen, over mountain passes to Goris and into Nagorno Karabagh. However, many places may not be accessible and minor routes are not cleared. The author has failed to reach the popular site of Amberd, because of snow, as late as May.

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