Ashtarak

Ashtarak is a picturesque town located in the Aragatsotn province of Armenia. It is surrounded by stunning mountains and green landscapes, making it a popular destination for nature lovers. Ashtarak is known for its historic churches and monasteries, including the beautiful Karmravor Church and the fortress of Amberd.

The town also offers traditional Armenian cuisine and hospitality, making it a charming and welcoming place to visit.

Places to visit

Key Phrases

Speak like a local

  • "Barev dzez" - Hello
  • "Shnorhakalutyun" - Thank you
  • "Votchk" - Yes
  • "Che" - No
  • "Hachoghutyun" - Goodbye

Day plans

Spend a day exploring around

day 1

Explore Historic Sites and Enjoy Local Cuisine

morning:Start your day with a visit to the Oshakan Church, one of the oldest churches in Armenia. After that, marvel at the beautiful views from the Ashtarak Bridge.

afternoon:For a delicious lunch, head to Old Ashtarak Restaurant and enjoy traditional Armenian cuisine. After lunch, take a stroll through the Karmravor Church and admire its unique architectural details.

evening:In the evening, experience the vibrant atmosphere of the local market and pick up some fresh produce for a cozy dinner at a local guesthouse.

day 2

Nature Walk and Wine Tasting Adventure

morning:Embark on a scenic nature walk along the Kasagh River and surround yourself with the beauty of the Ashtarak countryside. Don't forget to pack a light snack for the hike!

afternoon:Savor a delightful lunch at Khorovats Restaurant, known for its mouthwatering grilled dishes. Afterward, enjoy a guided wine tasting session at a local winery and discover the flavors of Armenian wine.

evening:For a memorable evening, head to a cozy wine bar and immerse yourself in the local wine culture while enjoying live music and good company.

day 3

Cultural Immersion and Gourmet Delights

morning:Immerse yourself in the rich culture of Ashtarak at the Mikoyan Brothers Museum and gain insights into the local heritage. Then, take a leisurely walk around the beautiful Ashtarak Park.

afternoon:Indulge in a flavorsome lunch at Gntunik Restaurant, renowned for its delectable Armenian dishes. Afterward, visit the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts and delve into the fascinating world of ancient writings.

evening:For an unforgettable night-out, savor a fine dining experience at Tufenkian Kharpert Restaurant, known for its gourmet delicacies and elegant ambiance.

day 4

Historical Treasures and Culinary Gems

morning:Embark on a historical journey at the Mughni Monastery and discover the intricate details of its architecture. Then, take a short drive to explore the exquisite Voskevaz Winery and learn about the art of winemaking.

afternoon:Satiate your appetite with a delightful lunch at Garni Dzor Restaurant, renowned for its traditional Armenian cuisine and picturesque surroundings. After lunch, immerse yourself in the charm of the St. Marine Church.

evening:Cap off your day with a visit to a local brewery for a fun evening of beer tasting and socializing with fellow travelers.

Ashtarak's Famous Food

Delicacies in Ashtarak you must try!

Khorovats

A must-try dish, Khorovats is a traditional Armenian barbecue featuring skewered, marinated meats, often including lamb, pork, or chicken, grilled to perfection. For an authentic taste, visit the local restaurants and cafes or look for street vendors.

Must-Try!

Dolma

Dolma, which consists of grape leaves stuffed with a mix of rice, minced meat, and aromatic herbs, is a popular dish in Ashtarak. It can be found in various local eateries, especially during festive occasions or at family-run restaurants.

Harissa

Harissa, a traditional Armenian dish made from tender, slow-cooked chicken or lamb and cracked wheat, is a comforting and hearty meal that can be enjoyed at traditional restaurants in Ashtarak.

Attractions in Ashtarak

Nice places to capture memories

Karmravor Church

A 7th-century church with stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Ashtarak Bridge

A historic bridge providing a beautiful vantage point for photos of the Kasagh River and the surrounding area.

Byurakan Observatory

A renowned astronomical observatory offering panoramic views of Ashtarak and the Ararat Valley.

Seasonal Advice

Best times to visit and what to expect in different seasons

Spring

Best time to visit for pleasant weather, blooming nature, and colorful landscapes.

Summer

Ideal for outdoor activities, festivals, and enjoying the lush greenery.

Autumn

Great for exploring the vineyards, experiencing harvest festivals, and enjoying cooler temperatures.

Winter

Offers a picturesque snow-covered landscape and opportunities for winter sports.

Outdoor Activities in Ashtarak

Fun outdoor pursuits

Hiking in the Ashtarak Gorge

Explore the beautiful natural scenery and historical landmarks while hiking in the Ashtarak Gorge.

Cycling along the Kasagh River

Enjoy a scenic bike ride along the Kasagh River, taking in the picturesque surroundings.

Visiting the Old Bridges

Discover the historic stone bridges that are characteristic of Ashtarak, offering a glimpse into the region's past.

Tipping & Payment

Ensure a smooth experience

Tipping

Tipping in Ashtarak, Armenia is not a common practice and is not generally expected. However, in tourist areas or at higher-end restaurants, a small tip of around 5-10% may be appreciated.

Payment

In Ashtarak, Armenia, cash is widely used for local transactions. However, credit and debit cards are also accepted at larger establishments and hotels. It's always a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller vendors and local markets.

Local Etiquette

Tips on cultural norms and respectful behavior

Greetings

When meeting someone in Ashtarak, it is customary to greet them with a handshake and maintain eye contact. It is also respectful to address people using their titles and last names, especially when meeting someone for the first time.

Dining Etiquette

When dining in Ashtarak, it is polite to wait for the host to begin the meal and to offer compliments to the host and the cook. Refusing food or drink may be seen as impolite, so it is best to accept what is offered.

Gift Giving

When giving gifts in Ashtarak, it is appreciated to present them with both hands. It is also common to give gifts of good quality, such as alcohol or chocolates, as a token of appreciation.

Food Markets & Street Food

A food market and street food guide

Ashtarak Open-Air Market

The Ashtarak Open-Air Market is a bustling hub of local flavors, offering an array of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, and homemade preserves. Visitors can also savor a variety of street food delicacies such as freshly baked lavash (flatbread), grilled meats, and local sweets.

Nightlife in Ashtarak

As the sun sets, the charming town of Ashtarak offers a laid-back yet inviting nightlife experience, capturing the essence of Armenian culture and tradition. You won't find the bustling party scenes typical of larger cities, but there is a warm and intimate atmosphere that is truly special. Locals and visitors alike often gather in cozy wine bars and restaurants where they can enjoy hearty Armenian cuisine and sample the exquisite local wines. Listening to traditional Armenian music adds to the authentic experience, and it's not uncommon for spontaneous singing and dancing to break out, particularly in these smaller, family-run establishments. The town's central square and main streets become more vibrant in the evening, with people strolling and catching up with friends under the streetlights. Some venues host live music performances, featuring local musicians who play everything from folk to contemporary tunes. Cultural experiences also contribute to Ashtarak's nightlife. Occasionally, you might find small theaters or community centers offering performances, poetry readings, or film screenings, bringing a touch of art and culture to the evening. A star-filled sky often serves as a backdrop for those who prefer a quieter night. Walking along the Kasagh River or exploring the town’s historical sites, such as the old churches and monuments, can provide a peaceful and reflective end to the day. In essence, nightlife in this quaint town is about connecting with people, appreciating local traditions, and soaking in the serene beauty of the Armenian countryside.

Things to do in Ashtarak

Unique local experiences...

Pet sitters in Ashtarak

Relax and unwind while your furry friend enjoys making a new companion!

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