The bustling little town of Sevan is 6km from Sevan Monastery, a short way inland from the lake’s western shores. It was founded in 1842 as the Russian village of Elenovka; there are few signs of the past besides some Russian provincial houses at the western end of town. Sevan’s main street, Nairyan Poghots, has a Haypost office, cafes, a shuka, moneychangers, and taxis to Sevan Monastery and lakeshore hotels.
The main beach strip is along the sandy south side of the Sevanavank peninsula, crowned by the much-photographed churches on the hill at the end. This beach is suddenly transformed into the Armenian Riviera in the brief hot summers, with bars, beach volleyball, waterskiing and paddleboats. There are other, quieter beaches closer to Sevan town. There are fees in summer to use the beaches near Sevan, from AMD2000 to AMD3000 per person depending on the beach.