Far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the serene spa town of Jermuk is one of the most beautiful places in Armenia.
Renowned for its natural thermal waters that are thought to have therapeutic properties, this getaway about three hours east of Yerevan in the southern Vayots Dzor region makes a fun day trip or weekend getaway–especially when combined with visits to nearby sites like the red rock canyons of Noravank and the Areni wine region.
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From towering waterfalls to incredible viewpoints, here’s everything you need to know about visiting Jermuk in Armenia.
See the Jermuk Waterfall
Considered the most picturesque waterfall in Armenia, the Jermuk Waterfall is found a few minutes outside town.
A short pathway starts from the parking lot under the shadow of an impressive bridge, then winds along the gorge to the falls. At 70 meters tall it’s one of the largest in Armenia, making a visit here one of the most popular things to do in Jermuk.
Technically more of a water ‘flow’ than a waterfall, it’s named ‘Mermaid’s Hair’ due to its shape and a folklore about a nobleman who built a castle on the rocks above it.
It’s said his daughter was so beautiful that many men wanted to marry her, but her true love was a shepherd’s son who she would throw a rope down to every night and he could call through a window to see her. When the nobleman eventually found out, he put a curse on his daughter that she would become a mermaid if she ever saw her lover again. That night, she threw her long braid out the window instead of a rope and turned into a mermaid, turning her hair into a waterfall.
Relax in one of the Jermuk spas
The famous Jermuk water makes this one of the best places to visit in Armenia for some rest and relaxation. Dozens of hot natural springs flow through town which are chock full of minerals like magnesium, sodium, iron and calcium, which have been used as healing waters to treat ailments for several generations.
Most of the hotels and sanatoriums offer places to bathe in the natural mineral springs, and day passes are also offered for those who aren’t staying overnight. Places like the Grand Resort Jermuk take it up a notch, offering in-house therapeutic programs aimed at detoxification, weight loss and stress relief to make the most of the water’s natural healing properties.
Get a view from the chairlift
For an unforgettable view, head up the Jermuk Ropeway, a 1 kilometer-long chair lift that whisks riders up to an altitude of 2480 meters.
The journey only takes about five minutes each way, and has panoramic views of the surrounding valley and the city before arriving at the top where there’s also a small restaurant. The Jermuk Ropeway costs 1500 drams (about $3) each way, and during winter the hill is used as a ski slope.
Visit the Jermuk Mineral Water Gallery
With its lakes, the Arpa River that meanders through town, the waterfall and many hot springs, there’s no shortage of water around here. In fact, it’s so well known that Jermuk Mineral Water is sold all around the country.
One of the top attractions is the Jermuk Mineral Water Gallery (sometimes called the Gallery of Waters), a beautiful structure of columns which has five stone urns. Each one is naturally fed with mineral water flowing through pipes set into the wall, and you can drink right out of them. But be warned; each one is a different temperature, with one hotter than 50°C!
Walk around the nature trails
Enjoy the fresh air that Jermuk is famous for, by hitting the trail which loops around town. The flat pathway is accessed from numerous points including just past the Mineral Water Gallery, and winds through a serene forest with trickling waterfalls, towering trees and benches where you can relax and enjoy the tranquility of the trail.
There are a few spots to peek out and admire the surrounding spa resorts that cast incredible reflections in Yotnaghbyur Lake and Sarnaghbyur Lake, and one section of the trail with a series of monuments dedicated to Armenian heroes. It takes less than an hour to complete the loop.
Tours to Jermuk
A day trip from Yerevan to Jermuk is well worth including on your Armenia itinerary, and is quite popular since many tour operators combine it with visits to the hilltop monasteries in Noravank and Khor Virap, a ride on the the world-record Wings of Tatev or wine tasting.
A few options for booking are:
- Grand Resort Jermuk: This is one of the top-rated Jermuk resorts, thanks to its convenient location in the town centre, amenities like a pool and jacuzzi, and large, clean rooms. It’s best known for its impressive blush pink facade that can been seen from miles away, and there’s also a medical spa on site offering massage along with services like anti-stress and body care treatment programs. Click here to book
- Olympia Sanatorium: Olympia gets rave reviews for its full range of health and wellness treatments, excellent food and lovely staff. This beautiful property features sweeping views, and is styled with classic touches like marble floors, columns and dazzling crystal chandeliers. Click here to book
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