Armenia has had a rough time of it over the past few decades. With the collapse of the Soviet Union giving the keystone of Armenia's economy the proverbial yank, the standard of living fell and the country endured mini-poverty for a while. Now that a new century is upon us, Armenia is slowly coming back from the edge of collapse.

Armenia and most of its neighbors regained independence when the Soviet Union broke apart in 1991, but conflicts in the region still continued. In 1994 the violence finally ended. Travelers should still be aware of the conflict and avoid any zones where soldiers are present.

What to do

Armenia's tourism infrastructure has returned with the upswing in their economy and now Armenia is a prime destination for anyone interested in post-Soviet cultures. Tours of the country by bike are popular but impeded by the many mountains. The mountains, however, drastically improve Armenia's skiing. Which is a highlight.

Getting there

Finding cheap air tickets is getting more challenging in general, and for less-popular destinations like Armenia it can often be worse. British Airways flys to Armenia, as do Air France and Lufthansa. There are no direct flights from North America, but the connections are easy to make in Dubai, Austria, Germany or even Syria.

Where to stay

Budget accommodations, such as hostels or cheap hotels, are far more common in Armenia than expensive resorts or luxury hotels.There is a big selection of hostels and you'll find places in both the cities and the rural countryside and most are privately owned local businesses.