The Slow Cyclist in Armenia

Here at The Slow Cyclist we like to uncover places you may never have thought of exploring, far away from the tourist sites with authentic experiences along the way. Finding those places is a challenge we all love but Emily, our Chief Trip Designer, is the one who gets to do most of the exploring. 

Here, Emily tells us what drew her to Armenia and why she thinks Slow Cyclists will fall in love with the country. 

I became curious about Armenia after spending several months in Turkey in 2022 when I was designing our journey through the Taurus Mountains. I knew very little about the tiny landlocked country to the east – Turkey and Armenia share a border, where Mount Ararat towers over the Turkish plains and the Armenian capital, Yerevan – and I wondered how that could be, so I began investigating. 

A Lada parked in rural Armenia, seen on a Slow Cyclist journey

I was enchanted by Armenia from the moment I landed, on a cold January day. In Yerevan – an unexpected gem of a city – I encountered ancient song and dance traditions and a vibrant restaurant culture that, in the warmer months, pours out into the streets. Travelling into the mountains I found snow, snow and more snow; impossible to cycle, but I found such friendly people that I knew I had to return. 

I returned in spring and was able to fully appreciate the epic landscapes, peaceful forests and rushing rivers. And the wildflowers were spectacular, with poppies, orchids, gladioli and irises blanketing the meadows. I thought I’d seen enough wildflowers for a lifetime in Transylvania, but Armenia seems just as rich in fauna.

But as ever, what I really loved was jumping on my bike and taking in my epic surroundings which, happily, I had all to myself apart from the odd shepherd and kindly local. 

I left Armenia in spring with an appreciation for the deep-rooted traditions that cloak the land, including a unique alphabet and an appreciation of chess that is omnipresent. Its people too, are among the most open and friendly I’ve come across on my travels, always keen to help and to guide, to offer a cup of mountain tea or a (very strong) Armenian coffee; and they’re resilient too – Armenia has suffered a torrid time for much of the 20th century. 

And then there’s the food….

Mountains, valleys and villages in the Armenian Highlands, as seen by Slow Cyclists

One of the oldest cuisines in Asia, Armenian food is hearty, delicious and made with fresh, local produce. A particular favourite of mine is khorovats (an Armenian barbecue) and I keep dreaming about lavash, the ubiquitous flatbread that accompanies nearly every meal. 

I urge you to experience this magical country for yourself. You won’t regret it. 

If you’d like to discover Armenia with us, on foot and by e-bike, find out more about our journeys or enquire now.

A monastery in Armenia, as visited by Slow Cyclists

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