Dilijan

Sharambeyan Street, Old Town Dilijan

Dilijan is a town with mild climate and fresh air to the northeast of Yerevan. It is famous for its lovely surroundings, called the "Armenian Switzerland" by the locals, due to the densely forested valleys and mountains with alpine meadows surrounding them. It is an excellent base for hiking.

Most visitors to Armenia spend all of their nights in Yerevan. Spending a night or two in Dilijan while exploring Tavush Marz region is well worth it. There are plentiful accommodations in Dilijan, from the luxury of the Tufenkian Hotel to much more basic hotels or homes. From Dilijan you can explore up to the Georgian border and the remote Shamshadin region much more easily than from Yerevan, and then continue on to Lori Marz.

Understand

The first settlements in this area were established around the end of the second millennium and beginning of first millennium BC. Some excavated collections of artifacts from that period are exhibited in the museums of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Tbilisi, Baku and Yerevan, with the reminder kept in the Dilijan Geological Museum.

During the Medieval period this territory belonged to the Arsacid kings and was one of their favourite forest and a summer resorts used for hunting. A bit later, in the 13th century, Bujur Dili settlement was founded here. The monasteries of Haghartsin and Goshavank were built between the 10th and 13th centuries, quickly developed and have served as cultural and educational centers in the intervening centuries. Some other important religious and educational centers have also survived in Dilijan, such as the Jukhtak Vank Monastery and Matosavank Monastery.

Since the town came under Russian rule in 1801, the population has gradually grown. A school, library and several theaters were opened. In the second half of the 19th century Dilijan’s fame as of a resort center started to grow.

During Soviet years it was already widely known as a mountain climatic and balneological resort; there used to be 35 major sanatoriums hosting tens of thousands people yearly. It was popular among creative people, musicians and painters. However, all its fame faded away quite quickly after the collapse of Soviet Union, the number of tourists fell dramatically, and sanatoriums and all other tourist-oriented infrastructure went into a serious decline. Only during the last few years has the situation started to improve. Tourists (mainly wealthy Armenians and some foreigners as well) have started coming back, giving a fresh breath to the town. New hotels and restaurants have started to appear again. There are still many signs of a recent decline nowadays; there is a feel of abandonment and some provincial neglect (which is somehow inherent to the majority of Armenian towns). Nonetheless, pristine nature, calm and relaxed atmosphere and ancient monasteries are still the main points of interest and the main reasons to visit the town.

  Tourist Information Office. Except for giving some valuable advice, it has maps and souvenirs. They can also find guides who can accompany visitors on their trips to Dilijan National Park. There is Wi-Fi in the office and a small adjacent bistro serving coffee, snacks and beer.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 3 3 8 14 19 23 26 26 22 17 10 4
Nightly lows (°C) -6 -6 -2 2 7 10 12 12 8 4 0 -4
Precipitation (mm) 17 24 37 61 92 85 53 42 37 40 31 20

Dilijan has a moderately cold temperate climate, with moderate precipitation.

The best months to visit Dilijan are May-October, the months with the most pleasant temperatures. July and August, the hottest months, have average daily highs of around 26 C. and average lows around 12 C. The coldest months are January and February, with average low temperatures around -6 C. and average high temperatures around 3 C. Precipitation is moderate to moderately low: May is the wettest month, averaging 92 mm, and June averages 85 mm, but other months get quite a lot less precipitation.

Get in

By minibus/van

Take a van (marshrutni) from the Medical University (Pjhishkakan Hamalsaran) on the corner of Abovyan and Koriun to the upper Avtokayaran. From there you can take a marshrutni headed to Ijevan that will stop in Dilijan on the way (a taxi from the centre to here is ~ 1,200 AMD). There are also direct marshrutnis, 09:00-18:00, roughly hourly (AMD 1,000,--).

More bus schedules: Dilijan - Yerevan: 08:00, 09:00, 10:00, 11:00, 13:00, 16:00; Dilijan - Iljevan 09:15, 10:15; Iljevan - Dilijan 13:00, 14:00; Dilijan-Vanadzor 09:30, 11:30; Vanadzor - Dilijan 08:30, 10:30, 13:00, 14:30;

  Bus station and taxi stand.

By taxi

A taxi from Yerevan will cost approximately 10,000 AMD one way with a standard meter price. You can probably negotiate a better rate, especially for round trip. A taxi from Vanadzor is roughly 4,000 AMD.

As a day tour

Many companies offer day tours from Yerevan, which include Dilijan, Haghartsin and Goshavank. They can be cheaper than taking a taxi, and depart in the morning on fixed days of the week.

Get around

Within town, for the most part, walking is quite easy.

There are 2 bus routes starting at the Mineral water plant factory (which is a starting point for hikes to Jukhtak Vank Monastery) and then crossing entire town and ending at another end of it. Operation time: Mo-Fr 7:30-18:30, Sa-Su 9:30-17:30, approximately every half an hour.

A taxi within the town should cost no more than 600 AMD.

If you need to get to some of the regional monasteries, your best bet is negotiating a package deal with the taxis. You can ask someone from the tourist information office help you translate and negotiate, as most of the drivers will not speak English. If a driver tries to change the price on you, absolutely refuse, and take the matter to the police if necessary.

Bikes can be rented either at the Dilijan National Park's information center (at park's HQ 500 m past Dilijan roundabout, AMD 1000/hr or 5000/day) or at the "Old Dilijan" historic center.

See

Haghartsin Monastery
Goshavank Monastery
Interior of Matosavank Monastery's Church
The Geological Museum and Art Gallery of Dilijan
Dilijan museum of Folk Art
  • Historic museum, Sharambeyan str. (part of "Old Dilijan" historic center, entrance is next door to Tufenkian restaurant). Located in a 19th century house decorated with furniture, carpets and crockery of that time. AMD 3000.

Nearby

Do

Dilijan National Park
Armenian stamp depicting Dilijan National Park
Hachkar at Haghartsin
Khachaghbyur River

Hiking and biking are the most popular physical activities in the area because the town itself is compact and the surrounding countryside is beautiful and best experienced at low speeds.

  • Dilijan - Matosavank and Jukhtak Monasteries - 30-60 min hike. From tourist information center take the road to Vanadzor, after 3 km turn right (there will be brown road signs for Matosavank and Jukhtak Monasteries). Travel down the dirt road for 3 km, after that Matosavank will be on the left and Jukhtak on the right.
  • Haghartsin Monastery - Shamakhyan Village. From tourist information center take the road north to Ijevan, after 8 km turn left ( there will be a sign for Haghartsin Monastery). Follow it for another 6 km. The beginning of the trail is 100 meters before the road ends (near the chapel with khatchkars).
  • Parz lake - Goshavank monastery - 3 hrs hike. There is a signs near a lake marking beginning of the trail.
  • Dilijan - natural mineral spring Ttu Jur - Parz Lich lake. Take the right fork 200 m after the town square - this is the beginning of the trail.
  • Aghavnavank Village - Redwood Grove - easy hike suitable for a family. From tourist information center take the road north to Ijevan, after 16 km turn right (there will be a sign for Gosh & Chambarak). Drive another 11 km. Then after a bridge there will be green sign marking the trail beginning.
  • Haghartsin Village - Abeghakar Peak. From tourist information center drive 10 km along the road north to Ijevan. Once passing Haghartsin village there is a small picnic area and ascending dirt road with a green sign marking the beginning of the trail.
  • Dilijan- Ayridash area/Astkhakar peak. From tourist information center drive 2.5 km along the road towards Vanadzor. Turn left to Shamakhyan village. At the highest point in the village there will see a green sign indicating the beginning of the trail.
  • Goshavank - Gosh lake. A short walk down from Goshavank Monastery there is a small Gosh Lich (Lake). It has a nice picnic area there.
  • Dilijan National Park Office - Waterfall . National park office is located 500 m away from tourist information center following the road north to Ijevan.
  • Dilijan - Dilijan Mountains - Dilijan - circuitous trail bringing visitors to the one of the highest peaks in the area.

Buy

Eat and drink

Traditional bakery beneath Tufenkian restaurant

In Dilijan, drinking is done wherever people eat, not at dedicated bars. It usually entails vodka, though beer and wine are not uncommon.

Along Yerevan-Ijevan highway

To get into any of the following restaurants you'll need a car or a taxi. Although they seem to be worth it.

Sleep

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, February 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.