Top 10 Things To Do in Winter
Planning a trip to Armenia this winter? With so much to do and to see in Armenia during the winter months, it’s a great time to visit.
The lovers of active winter holidays will be pleasantly surprised with how much Armenia has to offer in the realm of winter sports. The affordable prices, beautiful ski trails and the welcoming environment of the winter resorts makes for unforgettable experiences and memories. The ski resort of Tsakhkadzor offer both challenges for advanced skiers and suitable slopes for beginners. All resorts have instructors who speak English and Russian.
For lovers of extreme sports and the most courageous thrill seekers in Armenia there is also appropriate entertainment. In the three cities of Armenia you can ride a zip-line: Yenokavan, Tsaghkadzor and Dilijan. Yell Extreme Park is functioning in Yenokavan, which will offer you other extreme sports. Zip-line is the most visited attraction. It currently has 5 different lines, which vary according to length: the shortest line is 135 meters long and the longest is 750 meters. Zip-line passes over canyons and gorges, which are located at an altitude of 200-300 meters. The park is located next to the beautiful place named Lastiver, which is memorable by its small waterfall, wooden huts, hiking trails and pure green nature. Two other zip-lines are also located near the famous tourist places of Armenia. Zip-line in Tsaghkadzor is located near the monastery of Kecharis. Dilijan zip-line is located at Lake Parz - ropes are held over the lake itself.
3. Try the cuisine
With New Year's celebration right around the corner, Armenian cuisine takes on completely different colors and flavors. The holiday season fills the tables with great winter comfort food, which is all about providing warmth and coziness. Be it the pastries filled with honey and nuts or the dolma (meat and rice wrapped in cabbage leaves), there’s something about the Armenian cuisine that makes it ideal for the cold months of winter. Most of the dishes are better consumed when still hot, which makes it perfect for warming up during the cool seasons of the year. The great thing about the winter is that as the Great Lent takes place during this time, a big selection of vegan options are offered all throughout cafes and restaurants.
4. Charming Christmas market
With the opening of the first Christmas market in 2012, Yerevan has completely immersed itself in the festive spirit. The scent of cloves, wine and pastries fill the air in Yerevan from December to January. Consisting of numerous wooden huts, the market offers all kinds of things, starting with food and ending with handmade Christmas gifts. The visitors can grab crepes or sausages and wash it down with authentic Armenian wine while taking a walk down the festive street and being enchanted by the Christmas spirit. Who said present buying must consist of battling your way through department store crowds and endless bargains? Why not combine Christmas shopping with some cheer and fun?
Whether you’re a pro or you’re stepping on the ice for the first time, ice-skating is one of the best experiences you can take away from this cold season. The Winter Park (Yeraz district) and Swan Lake in Yerevan are making spaces for temporary outdoor ice rinks for the winter season. The outdoor ice rinks offer an opportunity to sightsee and simultaneously have fun skating. All the ice rinks are child-friendly and offer instructors equipped to help kids as well as adults.
6. Healing waters of Jermuk
The healing mineral waters, hot springs and high quality hotels make Jermuk an essential place to visit during winter. Since ancient times, the waters of Jermuk have been used to treat a number of diseases. While Jermuk is a popular resort throughout all seasons, visiting in winter makes for a completely different experience. What better time to take care of your health while enjoying the breathtaking nature and taking hot baths in the natural waters?
7. Yerevan decorations
Yerevan enters a different dimension during winter. Taking a walk throughout the city during the winter season feels magical and completely out of this world. The numerous installed Christmas trees, sculptures and lights transform the city into a magical winter paradise. The main Christmas tree is located in the heart of the city in the Republic Square, and each year a ceremony of lighting all decorations in the city takes place there. Each part of the city has its own set of decorations and its personal Christmas tree. Grab a cup of hot coffee and take a walk in the crisp air throughout the center of the city or just sit down in one of the cafes and enjoy the view while having a nice meal.
All throughout the Christmas season and January is the best time to shop in Armenia. Winter in Armenia is all about sales and discounts. The stores are filled with all kinds of different products and the prices are lower than ever. Starting with winter clothing all the way to furniture, the winter season offers the best possible deals. There’s no particular set guideline of the sales, as each store operates its sales on its own time frame, yet most of the sales occur post Christmas season.
9. Visit the Winter Park
Get ready to experience your childhood dream of visiting the North Pole and meeting Santa along with his elves as you walk into the Winter Park. The park is located in the Kanaker-Zeytun district of Yerevan and is a beautiful entertainment center to visit during winter. The visitors have a chance to see Mr. Clause as well as Mrs. Clause, meet elves and reindeer or simply enjoy the beautiful installations and sculptures scattered throughout the park. The park contains cafes, an open air ice rink and slides for the entertainment of adults and children alike.
10. Pomegranate blessing ceremony
On the New Year’s night, Armenian Churches hold a beautiful pomegranate blessing ceremony and it’s something worth witnessing in person. The pomegranate represents unity and diversity as it encompasses many different pomegranate grains under the same peel. As the pomegranate contains 365 seeds, it’s a very symbolic ceremony to hold on New Years as a blessing for the whole upcoming year. At the end of the blessing ceremony each family receives their own blessed pomegranate and has the opportunity to take it home with them.