Aquarius - - TRAVEL -

From rugged snow-capped moun­tains to sweep­ing ver­dant val­leys, crum­bling me­dieval monas­ter­ies and tra­di­tional vil­lages, Ar­me­nia’s dra­matic land­scapes, rich cul­ture and quirky cap­i­tal, Yere­van, are just a three­hour flight from Dubai. With its trou­bled Soviet past now more than 20 years be­hind it, Ar­me­nia not only has a trea­sure trove of con­trast­ing his­tor­i­cal gems to visit – span­ning from the pre­his­toric Zo­rats Karer (the ‘Ar­me­nian Stone­henge’) to the 5th-cen­tury St Paul and Peter Church and the im­pos­ing Soviet-style Mother Ar­me­nia mon­u­ment – it also of­fers ex­cel­lent hik­ing op­tions, snow sports, wine tast­ing and a buzzy, off­beat se­lec­tion of restau­rants and nightlife in Yere­van. Based in the cap­i­tal, it is easy to ar­range sight­see­ing tours of the key hotspots via an agency such as En­voy Tours, through which you can book any­thing from one-day trips into the coun­try­side to visit an­cient caves and 10th-cen­tury fortresses, to pack­age tours that whisk you off for five days for ski­ing and sight­see­ing. Most tours in­clude a home­made lunch cooked by a lo­cal fam­ily in their own home, which of­fers an au­then­tic glimpse into the lives and hos­pi­tal­ity of Ar­me­nian vil­lagers. Day tours start from around Dh140 in­clud­ing lunch, see www.en­voy­ Ac­com­mo­da­tion in Yere­van spans from de­cent and clean pri­vate hos­tel rooms with en suites from Dh112 per night (en­voy­hos­ to swanky rooms at the im­pres­sive Multi Grand Ho­tel (multi­grand­ho­ avail­able for around Dh560 per night in­clud­ing break­fast.


Flights to Yere­van take ap­prox­i­mately three hours, 20 min­utes. Di­rect flights start from around Dh1,100.

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