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Is Armenia Safe to Travel in 2023?

As travelers seek to conquer new horizons, safety precautions become more and more vital to follow. To understand the safety of traveling to Armenia, it’s crucial to delve into its geopolitical landscape, local customs, and the overall experience for tourists. Located in the South Caucasus region, Armenia boasts a unique blend of historical heritage, from majestic monuments nestled in the picturesque hillsides to modern tourist destinations. Although Armenia has made significant strides in overcoming challenges, it’s crucial to conduct in-depth research for the most current information on regional stability. By examining the historical facts and present realities, this article can serve as a complete guide with good insights to understand how safe Armenia is to visit.

Key Takeaways

From personal security and border regions to political stability, natural disasters, road safety, local laws, and health precautions, a comprehensive understanding of these facets is essential for a secure and enjoyable visit.

  • Crime and Personal Safety: Overall, Armenia is safe to travel, with considerably low levels of crime and terrorism. However, it’s still advisable to be vigilant while strolling alone the deserted areas of the streets, especially the dimly lit ones after midnight. 
  • Border Regions: Avoid traveling within a distance of fewer than 5 kilometers along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border due to the ongoing territorial conflict and potential military activities. Stay updated on the latest developments by consistently monitoring media news.
  • Political Stability: Armenia puts a lot of effort into becoming a politically stable country, but following the ongoing developments and local protests before making a travel decision is preferred.
  • Natural Disasters: Armenia experiences occasional earthquakes and landslides. So, familiarize yourself with safety rules and procedures in case of such situations.
  • Road Safety: Some roads are not equipped according to international standards. Follow the traffic rules and opt for reliable transportation options. Yerevan now offers updated and improved public transportation options for your use. If you prefer using taxi services, it’s recommended to install the “GG” app.
  • Local laws: Familiarize yourself with Armenian laws to avoid severe penalties.
  • Health precautions: Stay updated on health advisories, and vaccinations, and carry necessary medication with you. The healthcare system is improving, but you can still have medical insurance for emergencies.

Travel Insurance: A Must or a Maybe?

While Armenia is generally safe, unforeseen circumstances can disrupt your trip. Travel insurance offers vital financial protection and peace of mind, ensuring you are prepared for any unexpected events that may arise during your journey. Many insurance companies offer travel insurance policies. You can contact well-known insurance providers in your home country, either online or through a local agent, to purchase a policy tailored to your needs. Alternatively, many travel agencies offer travel insurance as part of your tour package. Also, some credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance if you use the card while purchasing the tour package or paying for certain expenses.

Emergency Contacts and Resources

 In Armenia, you can reach out to the following emergency contacts:

  1. For emergency medical, police, fire and rescue, or anti-terror assistance, dial 108 or 911
  2. Police 102
  3. Ambulance 103
  4. Gas Emergency 104

In tourist areas, you can often find tourist police who can provide assistance and information specific to tourists.
The numbers are accessible both from landlines and mobile phones.
For non-emergency medical issues, you can visit local hospitals and clinics, or health care centers. In Yerevan, some prominent hospitals include Astghik, Erebouni, and Shengavit Medical Centers. 

Armenia as a travel destination

Armenia is rapidly becoming a top travel destination, making its way onto many tourists’ bucket lists. For some people, this ancient land is associated with majestic monasteries and historical places, while others visit Armenia to explore its undiscovered yet captivating natural marvels. Not only have tourists been captivated by it, but popular media outlets have been engaged in the discussion about Armenia as the top touristic destination. A recent feature by Forbes highlighted the 10 best countries to visit in 2023 positioning Armenia in the first place. 

“So why is Armenia so famous?” you might ask. Well, it is renowned for its UNESCO-listed places, breathtakingly beautiful mountain ranges ideal for year-round hiking, pure natural springs, delicious food, and the welcoming embrace of warm-hearted locals. 

With the growing flow of tourists from all points of the globe, Armenia pays a lot of attention to making it safe to travel to. The safety index according to “Travel safe – Abroad” is 60 the biggest concern being its unstable political relations with Azerbaijan.

Statistics

In order to get more insights into tourists’ overall perception of Armenia and their experience we conducted thorough research on the net and found out that the majority of tourists are satisfied with their visit, highlighting the exceptional hospitality, delicious cuisine, and inviting atmosphere.

Crime in Armenia. Is it a real thing?

Based on the data sourced from the World Population Review Independent International Organization Armenia is among the top 10 countries boasting the lowest crime rate. While instances of violent crimes remain rare within the nation, there are occasional reports of more minor incidents, including pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft from vehicles. Although there have been no events of tourists being specifically targeted, it remains of utmost importance to be vigilant not to be caught up in such events.

Is Amenia safe for solo female travelers?

Armenia stands out as a widely acknowledged generally and safe destination for solo female travelers. The country has relatively low criminal accidents, people are warm and nice, and there is a hospitable culture. However, like traveling to any destination, it is advised to adhere to common-sense precautions to avoid unpleasant situations and smooth and enjoyable exploration of this remarkable destination.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

One of the biggest concerns that tourists might have regarding the safety of the country is the ethnic and territorial conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. But let us give you a brief historical overview to better understand the situation.

Back in 1923, the Soviet Union established the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region with an ethnically Armenian population of over 95%, under the control of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1988, Nagorno-Karabakh declared its intention to join The Republic of Armenia, despite being officially controlled by Azerbaijan. A war erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan and after years of military activities, a ceasefire was reached by the intervention of Russia. Karabakh became a de-facto-independent region with its self-declared government. 

However, the tensions escalated further, which eventually led to another war in September 2020. The ceasefire was reached on November 9, and Azerbaijan reclaimed its control over the majority of Nagorno-Karabakh leaving only a small portion. The agreement also established the Lachin corridor, monitored by Russian peacekeepers, a transit route connecting Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. In December 2022, Azerbaijan occupied the corridor leaving Karabakh under full blockade till now. International organizations are trying to achieve an agreement with Azerbaijan to take food, medication, and other necessities to the population, but positive outcomes have not been achieved in this process.

So, once a tourist destination, Nagorno-Karabakh is currently unsafe due to the ongoing tension and the possibility of another war.

International embassies in Yerevan consistently issue announcements advising their citizens not to visit the region and to follow these instructions:

  • Stay at least 5 kilometers away from the Armenia-Azerbaijan border because of ongoing territorial disputes and possible military actions.
  • Avoid visiting Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.
  • The U.S. Embassy suggests enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive emergency alerts and assistance. 
  • We recommend regularly checking your embassy’s website for the latest updates.
Nature of Armenia

7 Tips for a Safe Trip to Armenia

Here are our comprehensive editorial recommendations aimed at guaranteeing you a safe and sound visit to Armenia.

  1. Prior to your trip to Armenia, craft your routes in advance or opt for a prearranged tour package to ensure a secure journey. In case you intend to go hiking or camping, check if the chosen location is near the border with Azerbaijan or Turkey. Additionally, considering guide services might also be an option. 
  2. Use your common sense and take precautions to avoid petty crimes like pickpocketing. 
  3. Be careful before taking a taxi, especially at Zvartonts International Airport. Some taxi drivers might attempt to overcharge threefold or more. Always inquire about the cost beforehand.
  4. As previously mentioned, avoid visiting conflict zones and borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey.
  5. Avoid carrying or using illegal drugs as Armenia enforces severe penalties for such actions.
  6. Verify the legality of medications in Armenia. For instance, certain sleeping tablets are considered prohibited.
  7. Exercise caution while taking photos; capturing images of government or military sites, monuments, or uniformed officers is prohibited.

What to Pack for Safety

When packing for safety during travel, prioritize essentials like travel insurance, identification copies, a mix of cash and cards, essential medications and a basic first-aid kit, emergency contact information, appropriate clothing, safety gear, maps, and navigation tools, a travel-sized flashlight, reusable water bottle, language guides, and local emergency numbers. Consider personal alarms or self-defense items if necessary and tailor your packing list to your destination’s specific safety concerns. Ensure you stay vigilant, use common sense, and stay informed about local conditions to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Conclusion

So, is Armenia safe to travel? In essence, grasping Armenia’s safety to travel is understanding its geopolitics, customs, and experiences. With the increasing number of tourists, Armenia pays a lot of attention to making it a safe country to visit. People are very hospitable and warm-hearted ready to help.
It boasts a commendable record of low crime rates and enforces strong laws against the import and export of illegal drugs and medication, which of course, are top priorities for tourists seeking a safe travel experience. 
Despite the existing geopolitical challenges, Armenia is committed to travel safety. Therefore, you are wholeheartedly welcomed to captivating Armenia, where you can gaze at enchanting landscapes, savor delectable cuisine, explore UNESCO-listed sites, and enjoy the best and safest experience.
As you are already well-versed in all the ins and outs of the safety precautions in Armenia, it’s high time to go ahead and book one of our enticing Armenia tours. 

FAQs

  1. Is Armenia safe for LGBTQ+ travelers?
    Armenia is a conservative country, and attitudes towards LGBTQ+ individuals can be less accepting than in some Western countries.  It’s advisable to exercise discretion, choose LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations, and be cautious about discussing your sexual orientation or gender identity with strangers. Traveling with a supportive group of friends can also enhance safety and comfort, especially in more rural areas of the country.
  2. What is the local currency, and how safe is it to use credit cards?
    The local currency in Armenia is Armenia Dram, abbreviated as AMD. Regarding the use of credit cards in Armenia, it is generally safe to use in larger cities and tourist areas, as many businesses, hotels, and restaurants accept credit and debit cards, including VISA and MasterCard. Note that many places in Armenia use chip and PIN technology for cards, so make sure your card has a chip and you know your PIN.
  3. Are there any regions other than border areas that should be avoided?
    Some remote and mountainous areas may have limited infrastructure and services. Before visiting these areas, ensure you are prepared with the necessary supplies and have taken all the precautions.
  4. How safe is it for children and elderly travelers?
    Armenia is generally safe for both children and elderly travelers, but careful planning is essential. Ensure access to healthcare and medications, be cautious about food and water quality, and educate children about local customs. For elderly travelers, consider mobility challenges, weather conditions, and language barriers. With the right preparations, Armenia can be a rewarding destination for travelers of all ages.
  5. What are the common scams that tourists should be aware of ?
    Tourists in Armenia should stay vigilant against common scams like currency exchange fraud, overcharging, taxi scams, pickpocketing, encounters with overly friendly strangers, and unofficial tour guides. To avoid falling victim to these scams, travelers should research their destination, confirm prices before purchases, use reputable taxi services, secure their belongings, be cautious of unsolicited offers, and seek assistance from trustworthy sources like hotels or local authorities when uncertain. By staying informed and alert, tourists can have a safe and enjoyable experience in Armenia.

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About the author

Rima’s background is in intercultural communications and she was very quickly integrated into the tourism industry. She loves communication with travelers, and cultural interaction, where she learns much and shares a lot of knowledge about Armenia. She discovered her true passion in the world of tourism. She loves exploring new hidden corners of Armenia and Georgia and sharing those experiences with others. The best knowledge comes with experience and she is happy to continue her journey of exploration, learning, and sharing. During the quick times in the office when she doesn’t have groups, she writes articles that she believes help many travelers who are planning their trip to Armenia and Georgia.