Armenia hitch-hiker essentials

City skyline with surrounding hills - Vanadzor, Armenia (9)

Armenia hitch-hiker essentials

Types of roads

With the exception of a few major links, major roads are frequently in poor repair with sporadic stretches of missing pavement and large potholes. Some roads shown as primary roads on maps are unpaved and can narrow to one lane in width, while some newer road connections have not yet been marked on recently produced maps. Secondary roads are normally in poor condition and are often unpaved and washed out in certain areas. Signposts are a luxury in the majority of the country. Truck traffic is at its heaviest on the main roads linking Yerevan to Iran and Georgia.

Road Map

Armenia road map, Armenia hitch-hiker essentials

Speed limit on Armenian roads

Armenia speed limits, Armenia hitch-hiker essentials

Absolutely essential hitch-hikers phrasebook

Armenian

hello – Բարև ձեզ (bah-REV dzes) (people love it when you address them in their mother tongue, even if you don’t speak the language)
thank you – merci (like in French)
goodbye – Ցտեսություն (tse-teh-soo-tyoon)

Russian

hello – Здравствуйте (ZDRAHST-vooy-tyeh)
thank you – Спасибо. (spuh-SEE-bah)
yes – Да. (dah)
no – Нет. (nyeht)
please/here you are – Пожалуйста. (pah-ZHAH-luh-stuh)
you’re welcome – Не за что. (NYEH-zuh-shtoh)
excuse me – Извините. (eez-vee-NEET-yeh)
what’s your name? – Как Вас зовут? (kahk vahs zah-VOOT?)
→ always good to know the name of your driver
my name is … – Меня зовут … (mee-NYAH zah-VOOT…)
I don’t understand – Я не понимаю (ya nee puh-nee-MIGH-yoo)
I don’t know – Я не знаю. (ya nee ZNAH-yoo)
where is…? – Где …? (gdyeh …?)
train station – вокзал (vah-GZAHL)
→ You should know this word and listen out for it to avoid situations when your driver, in their best intentions, takes you off the road and drives you to a station
bus station – автовокзала (ahf-tuh-vah-GZAHL)
I don’t have money – У меня нет денег (oo-mee-NYAH nyet DYEH-neg)
→ useful in any language
we don’t have money – У нас нет денег (oo nah-s nyet DYEH-neg)
money – деньги (dyehn-gee)
now – сейчас (see-CHAHS)
today – сегодня (see-VOHD-nyuh)
yesterday – вчера (fcheeh-RAH)
tomorrow – завтра (ZAHF-truh)
friend –  друг (droogh)
Very useful when they ask you where you’re staying. The concept of Couchsurfing is often too difficult to explain, so just say you’re staying with a friend. You can also use this word to express the relationship between you and your fellow travelers.

Main Border Crossings

City skyline with surrounding hills - Vanadzor, Armenia (9), Armenia hitch-hiker essentials

Armenia – Georgia

→ Sadakhlo / Bagratashen – it’s a pretty pleasant and hitchhiker-friendly border crossing where we obtained our Armenian visas. Crossing on foot is problem-free and the border is located on the European route E001 (which in fact is a one lane road in the middle of the stunning Debed Canyon), so you’re bound to get a quick lift.

→ Bavra – It’s the second border crossing with Georgia we used on our way back and it was also hassle-free. It’s located on the European route E691.

Armenia – Iran

 Agarat / Norduz – personally we’ve never used this border crossing, but we met truck drivers who were heading that way, so it’s definitely open. According to Lonely Planet Thorntree forum posts you can also cross it on foot.

Armenia – Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

→ Lachin (Laçın) / Berddzor (Բերդձոր) – you can cross it but only if you are travelling from Armenia directly to Stepanakert (the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh) in a pretty pricey marshrutka, so forget about hitch-hiking to Nagorno-Karabakh!

We never went to Nagorno-Karabakh, firstly because it was expensive and not hitchhiking-friendly and secondly because we got contradictory information about obtaining visas. If you really want to go, plan your trip well and be prepared to spend quite a reasonable amount of money for transport, visas and accommodation,  due to the fact that it’s such an isolated place, everything would be more expensive and less available.

Caution! If you have a Karabakh visa in your passport, you won’t be let into Azerbaijan!

But what actually is Nagorno-Karabakh?

Nagorno-Karabakh is a de facto independent republic located in the South Caucasus with a predominantly Armenian population and culture but entirely embedded within Azeri territory. In 1923 Stalin detached Karabakh from Armenia and made it an autonomous region within Azerbaijan. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the region became the source of dispute again, which culminated in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, 1991-1994.

All the others border crossings with Azerbaijan and Turkey are closed.

written by: Ania

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