This guide will give you all the information you need to cross the border from Iran to Armenia by land. We travelled from Tabriz to Yerevan via Meghri in October 2016 using our Australian passports. Tabriz is the closest major city in Iran to the Armenian border, and is well worth visiting before you depart for Armenia.
Getting to Yerevan
Tabriz to Yerevan (via Meghri)
There is a long overnight bus from Tabriz to Yerevan (more information below), but if you hate overnight buses (like us!) we highly recommend breaking up the journey by spending a night in Meghri. Not only do you get to check out this charming little village, you also avoid a stuffy long haul bus ride.
Firstly, catch a taxi to the Marand Bus Terminal at Azerbaijan Square in Tabriz. From the Marand Terminal, you have three options to get to the Iran/Armenia border:
- Catch a minibus to Jolfa (50,000 rials) and from there catch a taxi to the border (US$10-15).
- Catch a shared taxi to Jolfa (140,000 rials per person) and from there catch a taxi to the border (US$10-15).
- Catch a private taxi directly to the border (850,000 rials or US$24).
We chose Option 3. Our taxi cost 850,000 rials (US$24), although you may be able to get it cheaper if you bargain harder. The journey took around 2.5 hours. We were able to leave immediately and had the car all to ourselves which was fantastic.
From the border to Meghri a taxi should cost 2000 to 3000 dram. There will be taxi drivers waiting for you at the border crossing. Be prepared to bargain hard.
From Meghri to Yerevan, there is one minibus per day which leaves at 7:30am from the Meghri Hotel. The journey takes around 8 hours. Tickets costs 5000 dram per person. The staff at your accommodation in Meghri should be able to call the driver to save you a seat the night before.
For a more info on Meghri, scroll further down the page.
Tabriz to Yerevan (direct)
If long haul buses don’t phase you then there is also a direct option. Didar Seir Gity run an overnight bus from Tehran to Yerevan via Tabriz. From Tabriz, the bus takes 17 to 20 hours to reach Yerevan. You can buy tickets at the Tabriz bus station, over the phone or at Didar Seir Gity offices in Tehran or Tabriz. See the Didar Seir Gity website for contact details. We understand that the bus costs between US$45-50 per person.
Crossing the Iran/Armenia Border
The border crossing is very simple. Firstly, we would recommend getting your Armenian visa before you arrive to save time at the border. You can apply for a 21 day Armenian e-visa online here. The process is super easy, costs $6USD and you will have a response within 3 business days.
Once you arrive at the Iranian border you will need to scan your luggage then pass through passport control. You may receive a question or two about your time in Iran but nothing serious. Once you have been stamped out, you can continue out of the building.
Outside the Iranian passport control building, you will come to a bridge that separates the two countries with a military check point at each end. The soldiers at the checkpoints will simply check your passport and send you on your way. Cross the bridge, follow the road to the right where you will see the Armenian passport control. Here you can apply for a visa on arrival or pass through passport control with your pre-arranged visa. Easy!
We have heard of small electric cars shuttling people between the two borders but they were not operating when we crossed. Of course.
TRAVELATOR TIP: The exchange rates at the border are outrageously bad. Take no more rials than you need to get to Meghri. There are ATMs in Meghri to withdraw cash.
Spending a night in Meghri
We stayed one night in Meghri on our way to Yerevan, which was a fantastic decision as it gave us a chance to experience a day in a small Armenian village and enjoy the hospitality of the hosts at our B&B.
Meghri has a few sights to keep you busy for an afternoon including three beautiful cathedrals – Saint Sargis, Surb Astvatsatsin, and Meghru Vank. There is also a ruined hilltop fortress if you are up for a small hike.
In Meghri we stayed at the amazing Haer B&B, which we highly recommend. Marieta and her family were incredibly welcoming. She is an amazing cook! You also have to try some of their homemade vodka. Rooms are 5,000 dram per person per night. Marieta also offers breakfast for 2,000 dram per person and dinner for 3,000 dram. Marieta can also organise a taxi to the Yerevan minibus pickup point for 500 dram.
Outside of the B&B, Palanga is your best bet for food. There is no English menu, but staff speak enough English for you to order. They cook up a mean BBQ and do a surprisingly good pizza. You can also get your hands on a cold beer!