Armenia has a highland continental climate with hot, dry summers (June to September) and cold winters (December, January and February being the coldest months). The temperature in summer fluctuates between 22 and 36 °C. However, the low humidity level mitigates the effect of high temperatures. Evening breezes blowing down the mountains provide a welcome refreshing and cooling effect. Springs are short, while falls are long. Autumns are known for their vibrant and colorful foliage. Winters are quite cold with plenty of snow, with temperatures ranging between -10 and -5 °C. Winter sports enthusiasts enjoy skiing down the hills of Tsakhkadzor, located thirty minutes outside Yerevan. Lake Sevan, nestled up in the Armenian highlands, is the second largest lake in the world relative to its altitude, at 1,900 metres above sea level.
April and May are the wettest months: although this usually means heavy showers the rain can be continuous for long spells. Spring can be very short, the weather changing from wintery to summery in just a few days. Autumn is relatively long and often very pleasant.
The Ararat plain and the Sevan basin have the longest duration of sunshine-about 2,700 hours a year. Alexandria in Egypt does not have many more; the shortest duration of sunshine is in mid-mountain areas of the forest zone (about 2,000 hours). In the foothills there is hardly a sunless day between June and October.
Armenia's different varieties of climates depend on the absolute height of the land. They vary from the dry subtropical to the mountain tundra climate.
According to historical sources, in ancient times the winter was the same as it is today, fairly cold in the Armenian lowlands and high in the mountains. Xenophon, in his Anabasis (The Retreat of the 10,000), which describes the retreat of 10,000 Greek mercenaries through the Armenian mountains into the autumn, relates that at night, when the soldiers were asleep, snow fell in the mountains and covered the men and their weapons. He writes that the snow that fell in one night was about one meter deep. In the same work he notes that the Armenians protected themselves against the freezing frost by rubbing fat or almond oil into their bodies. Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi (5th century A. D.) described the climate of the Ararat plain as hot and dry in the summer.
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