Armenia's Workation Paradise: Balancing Work and Travel
In an age where work knows no boundaries and the world is your office, the digital nomad lifestyle has taken flight, redefining the way we view work and leisure. If your laptop is your passport, and Wi-Fi your lifeline, look no further than Armenia as the destination for your next workation. Ready to blend productivity and wanderlust in the shadow of Mt. Ararat? Here’s all you need to know.
Most digital nomads choose to set up shop in Yerevan: Armenia’s capital, economic hub and cultural centre. It’s true, the opportunities are greatest there for networking, nightlife and activities. However, it’s also the most expensive city. Some are opting for charming Gyumri and forested Dilijan for the sake of affordability and a slower pace.
Armenia offers a special residence permit program for remote workers! With this particular visa, you’ll gain residency for up to a year. Many digital nomads choose to register as a sole proprietor and freelance for clients across the world with Armenia as their base. This enables them to more easily open a local bank account and access the education and healthcare systems.
Don’t worry too much about the language barrier. If you know English, that will help you with most social interactions on the street. Alongside Armenian and Russian, most young people in Yerevan speak English. Outside of the capital it can be a bit tricky, but if you can’t find someone who understands your language, you’ll manage to communicate with a smile and your hands!
Where to work
If you choose Yerevan, Gyumri or Dilijan as your home base, you’ll find plenty of inviting cafes from which to work. If you’re looking for locations to set up camp for the whole day, go for a dedicated co-working space like Impact Hub (available in Yerevan, Gyumri and Goris), Loft (available in Yerevan and Gyumri) or Yerevan Co-working. These offer affordable daily rates, fast and reliable WiFi, free coffee/tea, and a community vibe.
Where to make friends
This one is easy in Armenia. Locals are incredibly hospitable. You’ll meet people at bars, restaurants, events, co-working spaces and on the street. Keep an open mind and attitude, and you’re bound to find friends. You’ll probably be invited to locals’ homes. Don’t be shy to say yes. It is an honour for them to host guests and introduce you to homemade dishes, local customs and occasionally, some home-brewed wine or vodka!
Where to stay
Check out List.am for listings on monthly rentals. These are more affordable than options on booking.com and Airbnb. Usually, word of mouth is your best bet for finding a convenient and budget-friendly option.
What to budget
This absolutely depends on your lifestyle (type of accommodation, whether you cook or eat out, how much you are travelling around the country) and which city you choose as your home base. It’s reasonable to budget $1500-2000/month for Yerevan and $750-1000/month for the regions.
What to see
There are dozens of hiking and excursion groups that organise trips out of town on the weekends. Find a trip on Facebook, reserve a place and explore the country in your free time! You can also book a private car or driver if you prefer. While there are many such drivers parked at the main square, try reaching out to a local friend for recommendations on a trusted driver with a fixed price.
Unique festivals such as the annual October hot air balloon festival or Yerevan’s June wine days weekend will introduce you to fascinating angles of Armenia’s landscape and cuisine. You’ll also find that concerts and community gatherings are plentiful and generally cheap by western standards. Peruse the affordable operas, ballets and folk dance performances at the magnificent Yerevan Opera House and concerts at local jazz joints. Learn traditional Armenian dancing for yourself on the last Friday of every month at Yerevan’s Cascade monument. Explore Facebook events or Tomsarkgh.am for a list of upcoming shows and activities in your area.
What to eat
Naturally, eating in is cheapest, but eating out in Yerevan doesn’t have to break the budget. There are hundreds of restaurants in the city, spanning the culinary map and budget spectrum. Enjoy high-end dinners at fancy restaurants or affordable meals at quality fast-food joints. You can also find delicious, budget-friendly buffet chains and food bars at supermarkets. Glovo and Yandex Eats offer delivery services in the bigger cities and towns. Travel to the villages to try delicious locally made regional specials like gata in Gavar, panrkhash in Gyumri, wine in Areni and mulberry vodka in Goris.
You’ll be delighted to notice that delicious drinking water abounds freely in continuously flowing outdoor fountains (called “pulpulak”) throughout the country. These are usually dedicated to a hero or a lost loved one, and are free for community use.
How to get around
If you’re spending most of your time in the city centre of Yerevan or Gyumri, you can get around easily on foot or use the intra-city bus and marshrutka (minibus) system. All routes cost 100 dram (roughly 25 cents). Yerevan’s metro system costs the same. With only one line, it’s very straightforward and can help you save time and money during peak traffic hours. Download a ride-sharing app like gg or Yandex for longer trips or out-of-town excursions with clearly delineated fares. The GG shuttle app allows for reservations of intercity travel routes. Avoid using taxis without an app!
1. Can I find vegetarian or vegan food options in Armenia?
Yes, you can! There are many traditional Armenian vegetarian dishes such as aveluk soup, spas, panrkhash and vana kalagyosh in Armenia. Vegan dishes are harder to find. Plant-based diets are less common in the regions; just be aware that it will be harder to find specifically labelled vegan and vegetarian dishes outside of Yerevan. Check out our guide for vegan fare here [link to article].
2. What is the best time to visit Armenia for a Workation?
There is really no bad time – it just depends on what you’re looking for! High tourist season extends from May to October. Of course, these are the warmest and most beautiful months in Armenia, when there are more outdoor activities, concerts and events. At the same time, housing costs are higher. Winter is cheaper and also beautiful. If you don’t mind the cold, there are many activities to explore [link to winter activities article].
3. Can I bring my pet?
Yes! You will find vets, pet stores, dog parks and lots of fellow pet parents in Yerevan. These are a bit harder to find outside of the capital, but Yerevan is never too far away if you need it.
The beauty of being a digital nomad is – you can move around as much as you want! So give Armenia a try! With its inspiring landscapes, ancient culture, burgeoning tech scene and welcoming community, you’ll be glad you did.