Bordered by Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, the small country of Armenia may not be one that you usually consider for the kids but this is a great destination for families looking for somewhere a little different. Here, Arpi Kazaryan, shares five great destinations and experiences in Armenia for the family.
When visiting Armenia with kids you can be sure that the journey will give you vivid emotions, long-lasting impressions and memorable encounters. A holiday in Armenia is the ideal choice for those who want to show the kids mountains and introduce them to the amazing ancient history. Moreover Armenia is an excellent place for active and even extreme holidays. Here we share our top 5 things to do in Armenia with kids.
1. Take a Family-Friendly City Tour
After your arrival in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, start your family adventure with a tour around this ancient city. In Yerevan there are lots attractions, however here we share places that are interesting for both parents and kids.
To start with go to the Cascade, a huge staircase connecting the city centre with the residential area. This is one of the most famous sights in the city. Along the Cascade you will see unique sculptures of contemporary art, including the Roman soldier and a huge cat by Colombian sculptor Fernado Botero, bronze hares by Briton Barry Flanagan, and many other valuable works by foreign artists.
Next, go to the upper part of the Cascade, either by stairs or by the escalator. Upstairs, on the observation deck, you will be able to enjoy the breathtaking view to Ararat and Mount Ararat. An excellent place for memorable family photos!
Next, cross the road to Victory Park. It is a quiet, green park dedicated to the victory in the World War II. Relax in the cafe and explore the war museum. Children can enjoy the fairground rides. There is a small, picturesque lake in the park where you can ride on the boats and the catamarans. Or, take a rest on one of the many benches surrounding the lake.
If your children are over 12 years old, then we recommend visiting the Matenadaran, one of the world’s largest repositories of ancient manuscripts. Here, you can see the unique ancient Armenian and world manuscripts and books. The smallest and the largest book in the world are also housed here! If you have children aged 5-12 years you can visit a wonderful puppet theatre, O. Tumanyan. Children will be delighted!
If your visit falls during May to October, be sure to go in the evening to the Republic Square, the heart of Yerevan, and enjoy the colourful show of singing fountains. The show starts at 9pm.
2. Unravel Ancient History at Echmiadzin
A visit to the Armenian town Echmiadzin allows you to introduce your children to the country’s ancient history. As it is known, Armenia was the first country in the world that adopted Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. This small town is home to the first Christian church, Echmiadzin Cathedral.
After the excursion be sure to go to the Unity Cross, a charitable organisation established to support cultural education of children, mostly from poor families. The organisation is open to tourists. Children here are taught different creative activities and craftsmanship and visitors can admire their works. There is also a museum of wax figures representing characters from the well-known Armenian fairy tales. Unity Cross also has an excellent open-air restaurant where you can taste delicious national dishes. Sometimes children hold interesting theatrical performances in the Unity Cross.
3. Take a Dip in Lake Sevan
If you are in Armenia between June and August take the family to Lake Sevan and enjoy a lakeside holiday. This is one of the most beautiful high mountain freshwater lakes in the world; swim in the lake, play games or ride on a yacht. Just do not forget your warm clothes and sunscreen. In the morning and afternoon the sun is very strong and in the evening it gets cool and windy. There are cottages and hotels near the lake. Be sure to try the local trout, or ishkhan, as the locals say.
4. Go Horse Riding
All lovers of horse riding are welcome to the town of Ashtarak where you’ll find the riding club Ayrudzi. The club offers horse riding, horse feeding and participation in saddling horses. You will also have the opportunity to learn many new and interesting things about horses, horse riding, and the positive impact of communication with these helpful, intelligent and powerful animals. Qualified personnel can teach basic riding skills. A large gazebo is on the grounds for dinner as well as a barbecue area. In addition to horse riding there are lots of educational programs on offer including clay crafting and even English lessons.
5. Be Extreme!
Are you bold enough to try extreme activities? If yes, then Armenia is an excellent destination. Mountainous landscapes and a favourable climate make the country suitable for a number of extreme sports and activities.
First of all, there are unforgettable hot air balloon activities. Packages include the transfer to the flight place, training, the service of an instructor and refreshments. You will fly over the amazing beautiful landscapes of Armenia! The whole experience lasts between 4-5 hours; flights take place 1-2 hours after sunrise or 2-3 hours before sunset. The flight itself last approximately one hour and the balloon reaches up to 1,000m in height. Ballooning takes place in both summer and winter. The permissible temperature is from -20 to +40.
You can also enjoy paragliding as well as cycling in Armenia. Those who wish, can contact travel agencies and book jeep tours.
In winter the best choice for extreme family activities will be the town of Tsaghkadzor, which is the famous ski resort of Armenia. Here you will be able to stay in high-quality hotels and cottages, rent ski and snowboard equipment and have fun. Recently, the town has become popular not only among locals but among foreigners from around the world.
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Disclosure: This is a collaborative post