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Opinions on Driving Route

Vilnius, Lithuania
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37 posts
54 reviews
49 helpful votes
Opinions on Driving Route
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Hi there,

We are planning on driving the following route by car in the end of May. This would be over the period of a week:

https://goo.gl/maps/Z9kYTrGMBiKsysR79

A few questions for which I'd appreciate your input:

1. Are these border points fairly efficient to pass through?

2. Are we doing ourselves a disservice by not taking any slightly longer but more scenic routes along the way? Or missing some amazing destinations in Armenia?

3. The UK Government travel advice for Armenia mentions the following:

"The main alternative route to the M16/H26 between Armenia and Georgia (Yerevan-Vanadzor-Alaverdi-Bagratashen) is closed for maintenance work until further notice."

^is this still correct? As such, do we need to adjust our route?

Thank you.

Yerevan, Armenia
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967 posts
41. Re: Opinions on Driving Route
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Armenia is not Iran, neither by culture, nor by religion, tradituons, language, alphabet.

Dirty car is ok, dirty number plates are not. If you have a dirty number plates you have a high chance to get fined.

Indeed, staying in Sevan town is not recommended. Try something on the shore, like Tsovatsoc.

Vilnius, Lithuania
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37 posts
54 reviews
49 helpful votes
42. Re: Opinions on Driving Route
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Hi Gira,

Not suggesting there are any similarities at all - but with the people we stayed in Iran who were easy-going, and who displayed empty liquor bottles on the top of their kitchen cabinets as a sense of pride, I can understand why they'd love to spend time somewhere fun and free outside of Iran, and Armenia is pretty close by.

I chose Sevan town because it suited our needs for a decent price and is a short taxi ride away from Sevan, surely this is OK?

Brno, Czech Republic
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43. Re: Opinions on Driving Route
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There are also plenty of Armenians in Iran, many of whom like to pop over to places such as Sevan to visit the 'motherland' and let their hair down.

As mentioned, Sevan town is a bit dusty and unprepossessing. It would be a pity not to explore the options in more picturesque settings nearby.

Vilnius, Lithuania
Level Contributor
37 posts
54 reviews
49 helpful votes
44. Re: Opinions on Driving Route
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Hi all,

Thought I would update this for the benefit of others who may read, since there's a lot of useful stuff here.

- Visiting Armenia was an absolute delight and I really, REALLY recommend it.

- The M16 road connecting Dilijan/Yerevan with Tbilisi was perfectly fine and trouble free to drive through. There were a lot of military personnel but based on vehicle license plates this is clearly a popular route between the two countries. The only trouble is using directions on Google maps since it won't direct you through roads that traverse de jure Azerbaijani territory, so just follow the main road. The route is scenic and the roads are in a satisfactory condition.

- The road on the Georgian side of the border at Bavra is absolutely abysmal, as noted earlier in this thread. Probably 15km of the worst road I have encountered in my life. It took us ages to traverse, going no more than 30km/hr at any point and occupying both sides of the road whenever it suited (other vehicles just taking to the grass verge completely). The excessive potholes turned the rear wiper on permanently till I turned the engine off, gave numerous light failure warnings and, ultimately, probably resulted in the puncture of the offside front tyre. The road leading to Parz Lich was also just as bad and, to be honest, I did not find Parz Lich to be as impressive as other parts of Armenia. The roads we used elsewhere in Armenia weren't so bad.

- I thought Lake Sevan was absolutely incredible, I thoroughly enjoyed this part of the trip. My only advice is not to stay in Sevan itself (which is a bit dusty and remote). It's better to stay somewhere by the lake.

- The border crossings were ultimately fine but just an annoying and unpleasant experience. I mean they were almost comically surly, lazy and obstructive, particularly the Georgian ones on exit from Georgia. They kept repeating to us that "this vehicle is not allowed outside of Georgia". Remaining patient and only speaking English somehow managed to dodge this obstacle.

- Re the aforementioned punctured tyre - in Dilijan we got a taxi driver to lead us to a mechanic operating out of a small workshop, and through a mix of hand signals and terribly poor Russian we managed to clarify the issue, isolate the puncture and have this repaired. The taxi driver accepted no payment for helping us and the mechanic, despite our insistence, would accept no more than the 1,000 Armenian drams he charged to have the puncture repaired. Armenians are very hospitable and averse to talking about money to a fault.

- Generally speaking, the customer service in Yerevan is great. The customer service in Tbilisi was shockingly bad, I mean really, REALLY bad. I found this juxtaposition amusing.

Yerevan, Armenia
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95 posts
32 reviews
36 helpful votes
45. Re: Opinions on Driving Route
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Hi Siiroc, and thanks for thorough report on your experience in Armenia and Georgia. Especially thanks for validaing my comments and finding Parz Lake and Bavra roads terrible, and Sevan town not impressive :)

I am glad you had a great time in Armenia and enjoyed Armenian hospitality.

Brno, Czech Republic
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for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Train Travel
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46. Re: Opinions on Driving Route
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Good report, these are exactly my experiences as well, and is one of the main reasons why I try to escape Georgia as soon as possible after arrival (we visit family every year). Also Armenian food is many times better :)

47. Re: Opinions on Driving Route

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