Is Armenia Safe? 8 Essential Travel Tips for Visitors

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How bad is crime in Armenia, and is it a safe place to travel? Find out about petty crime, no-go zones, political dangers and photography laws.


Yerevan skyline with Mount Ararat in the backdrop Photo © Getty Images/Maria Swärd

Armenia is not a country many people visit, but this makes it an exciting place for travelers seeking off the beaten path destinations. It's located in a beautiful part of the Caucasus region of Eurasia, however, like all good adventures there are a few things you should keep in mind to stay safe while traveling.

How bad is crime in Armenia?

Petty crime is common in Armenia, but rarely targets travelers. Visitors should be aware of pickpockets in crowded plages, and if you are driving around the country, know that theft from vehicles is an issue, so keep your belongings hidden in the boot of your car, and windows shut and doors locked at all times. Robberies have been reported on train services from Armenia to Georgia.

Local laws in Armenia

Never accept illegal drugs in Armenia. Penalties for the use of, smuggling or possession of drugs include fines and long prison terms.

Do your best to avoid overt public displays of affection. Unfortunately, this is especially the case for same-sex couples. While homosexuality was decriminalized in 2003, it is still not widely socially acceptable in Armenia.

Never photograph military sites, bases, equipment and installations or sensitive areas – when in doubt, ask before taking photos in public. You risk detention and questioning if you are caught taking photos of these things.

The exportation of antiquities and other items that could have historical value, such as paintings, carpets, old books or other artisan goods, requires special authorization in advance from the Armenian Ministry of Culture. Keep this in mind if you were planning to bring any items of cultural significance home with you.

Dual Armenian citizens

If you are male, over eighteen and hold dual Armenian citizenship and you don't want your adventure to include Military Service, consult with Armenian officials or a consulate before traveling to the country.

You need to check your status regarding military service obligations. Draft evasion in Armenia is a serious offence and you can be detained, jailed or fined either upon entry or while trying to exit the country.

No-go zones in Armenia

Due to ongoing military action in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Armenian authorities have introduced martial law. Stay clear of the Nagorno-Karabakh area. While a cease-fire has been in effect since 1994, violations of the cease-fire have been reported, and this self-proclaimed Republic is an unrecognized ethnic Armenian enclave within Azerbaijan.

The territory is under dispute and the border areas are not safe: there are landmines, border patrols, border conflicts and occasional shootings. Just avoid the whole area if you can.

Political demonstrations and protests

Protests do happen in major cities, including Yerevan and Gyumri. While traveling in Armenia it's best to avoid participating in or watching nearby while demonstrations take place.

Political rallies after the 2008 presidential elections turned violent, and government security forces clashed with demonstrators leaving ten people dead and dozens injured. If there is political tension during your visit, try to avoid overly-crowded places which may turn violent unexpectedly, and never join a protest.

Earthquakes in Armenia

Armenia is located in an active seismic zone, but the most recent serious earthquake occurred in 1988, near Spitak in the Lori region. The earthquake killed between 25,000 and 50,000 people, injuring thousands and leaving several cities in ruins.

When earthquakes do occur here, they can cause major landslides and disruption to services.

There's not much you can do to avoid one, but if you are unlucky enough to experience an Armenian earthquake on your travels, listen to local authorities and media.

Safe transport in Armenia

Traveling around Armenia can be an adventure in itself. The driving standards are pretty poor, and road rage and drink driving is common among local people. The roads are not in a great condition, and public transport is overcrowded, poorly maintained and mostly unreliable.

Do not hail taxis from the street, and only use registered taxis.

Avoid the old highway between the towns of Ijevan and Noyemberyan in the Tavush region, as well as the main highway between the towns of Kirants and Baghanis/Voskevan. These roads are in close proximity to the cease-fire line between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces. Internal travel in Armenia requires meticulous planning and a great deal of attention. Also, be aware that the land borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed, there are flights between Yerevan and Istanbul.

Old fashioned yellow bus in Gegharkunik province, Armenia
A bus in Gegharkunik province, Armenia. Photo credit: Getty Images/Jean-Philippe Tournut

Health and safety in Armenia

If you find yourself sick or injured outside of the capital Yerevan the standard of medical facilities and care is pretty limited. In the event of a serious illness or accident, medical evacuation to a destination with the appropriate medical facilities would be necessary. Fortunately, the risks to your health in Armenia are fairly limited.

Malaria is a risk in western border areas of Armenia, so you should consider taking Malaria medication if you plan to travel to this area, otherwise the standard travel vaccinations are recommended:

  • Tetanus-Diphtheria
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Typhoid
  • Polio
  • Ensure your Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccinations are up to date.

Before you buy a travel insurance policy, check your government travel warnings and health advice – there may be no travel insurance cover for locations with a government travel ban or health advice against travel.

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  • Angelica said

    Actually Armenia is safest country, everybody is welcomed. War is ended and we enjoy peace again.


  • Art said

    Please remove inaccurate information as there is no disputed territory in Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh is a sovereign territory which has an active conflict with azerbaijan.
    Everything else was mid accurate as safety and echo tourism, lodging and cost has improved a lot in Armenia since 2017. Updated Information would attract more people to the site and create more traffic perhaps it would be useful . This information comes from a person living in US who visits Armenia quite frequently


  • AN said

    Wrong info. , whoever wrote this must know that Armenia is more safe than his country , you can walk after midnight alone and nobody would come or approach or bother you at all


  • Hani said

    Hello To everyone. I want to study in Armenia. But I don't know it is good Country or no?? If anyone knows about current situation in Armenia Please tell me🙏🙏

    Uf anyone knows please tell me about this subject this is so important for me🙏🙏


  • Aryana said

    This article was actually really far off. Don’t speak on something your not educated about. I travel to Armenia on a yearly basis. Everyone is always very welcoming especially foreigners and tourists are very warmly welcomed. Shooting are very rare in Armenia. Places that are considered dangerous would be borders zones which are blocked off by military and officials like every other country. Crime is really low. Children in Armenia were found to be the happiest children in the world and in 2015 Armenia was found to be one of the safest countries. Protest are also uncommon and pretty much everything else’s in this article is very inaccurate. Like seriously every other sentence was just wrong.


  • Annie said

    To the person who wrote this worthless article, I have to say POUND SAND. Pickpocketing? Really? Political demonstrations? Armenia was rated 7th safest country in the world right before Japan. Honestly, get another hobby, but don't speak of a nation you have zero clue about.


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