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Dilijan is a resort town with mild climate, fresh air in the northeast of Yerevan. It is famous for its amazing surroundings, called the "Armenian Switzerland" by the locals, due to the densely forested valleys and mountains with alpine meadows around. It is an excellent center for walking. Most visitors to Armenia spend all of their nights in Yerevan. Spending a night or two in Dilijan while exploring Tavush Marz 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. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Dilijan
- Haghartsin Monastery. One of Armenia's most popular monasteries, Haghartsin is nestled in lush forested mountains about a half hour drive from Dilijan. The monastery is in good condition and has a resident priest who sometimes gives tours. There are a few different churches, a large gavit, a huge dining hall, khachkars and a massive hollow tree. A slightly sweet bread is often being baked in an old oven.
- Goshavank Monastery (40 minutes north of Dilijan). Goshavank monastery is surrounded by a traditional village, and has a groundskeeper who opens the main church building up for visitors, and can give a tour. This is the one church in all of Armenia where entrance to one of the chambers is not free. The chamber is nice, but you can certainly enjoy the rest of the complex without it, especially since it may not be offered in English. There are excellent carved details and khachkars here, but the "lacework" khachkar at Goshavank is one of the most impressive in the world.
- Jukhtak Vank Monastery. A nice little monastery just on the edge of Dilijan, a short 10 minute hike from the Dilijan Mineral Water plant. Huge iron bands hold one of the two churches together, preventing its collapse.
- Matosavank Monastery (Follow the marked trail from the water bottlers.). Matosavank is a 25 minute hike from the Dilijan Mineral Water plant. It is easy to miss, and not terribly interesting from the outside, but the inside is a cool, moist, green, mossy world unto itself. The low light illuminating bright green algae covered khachkars is very soothing, and the environment transports you far from your daily life.
- Dilijan Reserve. Dilijan Reserve surrounding town has some marked hiking trails you can try out and discover some lesser known monasteries, a lake, forests, springs and wildlife.
- Molokan Villages - if you take the highway toward Vanadzor, a few of the villages you pass will be those of the Molokans. A Russian old believer sect, much like the Amish in Pennsylvania. The grow beards, shun technology and have their own religion.
Popular events in Dilijan in the near future
- Tufenkian Restaurant, Sharambeyan Street. There is a Tufenkian Restaurant on Sharambeyan Street, with rustic modern Tufenkian furniture, and upscale Armenian menus and prices. $20.
- Haghartsin restaurant-hotel-bar complex (http://www.haghartsin.com), Kamo street, 121 (the first building at the entrance of Dilijan town, to the right on the way from Yerevan, just after the last turn from the tunnel), ☎ +374 268 2 777 0, mobile: +374 77 636565. round-the-clock. It's a pleasant and quiet place near the road from Yerevan to Ijevan, with large guarded car and bus parking. Here You can taste national cuisine in a modern and stylish restaurant hall, banquet room, summer cafe or cozy gazebos among trees. Also there's a bar and a hotel(see Sleep). $10-$20.
- Getap Restaurant. A few minutes north of Dilijan, along the river is the restaurant/hotel complex of Getap (meaning riverside). Great traditional wooden eating booths outdoors, some of them over the river serve as the perfect setting for fresh fish, meat or vegetable barbecues. Prices are pretty reasonable. $10.
- Shawerma (just below the bus station). A modern shawerma fast-food joint, with rotisserie meat served in a pita or lavash sandwich. Cheap and fast food. $3.
- Georgian food (Just above Sharambeyan Street, overlooking the valley). There's a Georgian restaurant in town, with good food and soups. Prices are low, menus are not in English, and the space is a former Soviet cafe. Khingali dumplings are 2 or 3 to the US dollar... and they are not small.
Drinking is done wherever eating is done. It usually entails vodka, though beer and wine are not uncommon.
Crafts on Sharambeyan Street. The old town street has some little shops where artisans are busy hand making their craft. Visit Revik to see his wood working studio, with some great traditional designs for everything from Christmas tree decorations to cribs. The tourist information office has additional information on local crafts purchases and local painters you can visit.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Dilijan on Wikivoyage.