A relaxed city with big leafy boulevards, pink-tinged early Soviet architecture and a thriving outdoor café scene, it's no wonder Yerevan is a favourite among travellers. This ancient Armenian destination also has plenty of things to see, from the intriguing manuscript museum to the quirky Singing Fountains in its central square. Turn up in July and you'll be in for another surprise: an old pagan water festival is held where residents soak passers by with buckets of water.
Hostels in Yerevan include a bohemian space aimed at artists, spots featuring dorms with curtain-lined pod beds for extra privacy and homely guesthouses with comfy couches and a welcoming ambience. You can also go for a Yerevan hostel with free walking tours or bike hire to help you navigate Armenia's capital city like a local. If you'd rather stay a little out of town in a quieter spot, choose a hostel situated in the middle of a sweet-scented apricot garden.
Republic Square is Yerevan's centre, a large open space with a musical fountain and a grand clock tower. Around here, you'll find the city's top nightclubs and cafés, especially on Abovyan Street running straight from the plaza. For shopping, head to the pedestrianised Northern Avenue or, at the weekend, to the outdoor Vernissage flea market area beside Vardan Mamikonyan station. Kond, Yerevan's oldest section, is a crumbling hillside neighbourhood with labyrinthine alleys dotted with Persian, Muslim and Ottoman-style homes.
The Cascade is a key city landmark and took nine years to build. This enormous set of stairs edged by leafy plants and fountains links downtown Kentron with the Monument area and has views out towards the city centre and Mount Ararat. A fan of creative culture? Cafesjian Center for the Arts museum is nestled inside. Find peace here and then indulge; the Yerevan Noy Wine Brandy Vodka Factory offers regular tours and tastings.
With 10 stations and trains every 5 minutes during the day, Yerevan's subway is the speediest way to get around. But it's also an attraction in its own right, with some stations built from basalt, tuba and marble for a colourful (and architecturally intriguing) effect. If you want to see the city as you travel, you can take the Soviet-style marshrutkas minivans, buses or the trolleybus. From Zvartnots International Airport, 14km away, there are minibuses to the Yeritasardakan metro stop or you can take a taxi.