If you're looking for somewhere different to go on holidays, you might be interested to learn that Ryanair has announced four Armenian routes for the first time.
There will be two new routes from Yerevan to Milan Bergamo and Rome Ciampino starting in January 2020, and two new routes from Yerevan to Berlin Schönefeld and Gyumri to Memmingen starting in summer 2020. For those who are unfamiliar with Armenia, few nations have histories as ancient, complex and laced with tragedy, and even fewer have a culture that is as rich and resilient.
The extraordinary collection of medieval churches and monasteries scattered across the country is its number-one attraction, closely followed by a dramatically beautiful landscape that is perfectly suited to hiking and other outdoor activities. Check out Geghard Monastery, where you can marvel at the ancient rock-hewn churches at the World Heritage–listed monastery.
You could also head to Noravank to watch the sun slowly setting over the dramatic reddish-gold cliffs that surround picture-perfect church buildings. Or you could float to the fortified monastery in Tatev on the world's longest cable car. If you choose to visit the dramatic Debed Canyon, you can check out the magnificent medieval monasteries and fresco-covered churches. And then there's the unexpected delight of Yerevan, one of the region's most exuberant and endearing cities. You could enjoy lazing away a few days there in its welcoming cafés, wine bars and restaurants.
Outdoor-lovers will enjoy hiking through springtime wildflowers at Dilijan National Park, or head to Goris, where you can explore an abandoned cave city carved out of soft volcanic rock. If you are a wine aficionado, head to Areni, a region that's been producing wine for 6100 years. You should bear in mind Armenia is not always an easy place to explore, as roads are rough, transport can be hard to navigate and those who don't speak Armenian or Russian may find communication difficult.
“These four new routes will further promote Armenian tourism, and will deliver over 130,000 customers annually to/from two European countries to one of Europe’s fastest-growing tourism destinations," says Ryanair’s David O’Brien. "We look forward to developing new Armenian traffic growth, new routes and jobs in the coming years."