Getting to Haghpat and Sanahin by public transport

All the information you need to get from Alaverdi to Haghpat and Sanahin by public transport. For more inspiration and information, check out our photo essay on Haghpat and Sanahin.

Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries are among the most famous monasteries in Armenia. Both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and both are located in epic locations. For most tourists, the main approach to Haghpat and Sanahin is the town of Alaverdi. From here you can use public transport to visit both Haghpat and Sanahin.

How to get to Haghpat and Sanahin from Alaverdi

All of your travel for the day begins in Alaverdi’s central “station”… which is mostly just a gathering place for vehicles.

Alaverdi central bus and marshrutka station.

The central “station” in Alaverdi (where the marshrutky are in the background). It’s hard to miss, as there’s only one main highway really, and there are plenty of taxis and marshrutky drivers skulking about.


Arches inside Sanahin monastery, near Alaverdi Armenia

Sanahin monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was constructed in the 10th century.

How to get to Sanahin monastery from Alaverdi

Sanahin monastery sits high up in the mountains overlooking Alaverdi. Those of great leg musculature and endurance could walk up the mountain road, but A) it’s super steep and B) hairpin turns mean you may be hit by a rogue car or marshrutka along the way.

For the mere mortals, you can take bus 3 from Alaverdi station. It’s not a marshrutka, but rather an old (usually yellow) Soviet bus. The bus is 100 AMD for a one-way ride, and the ride is about 10 minutes long. The buses start running at 9:00 and stop running from Alaverdi station at 18:00, so make sure you give yourself enough time if you’re visiting in the afternoon!

Bus to Sanahin monastery from Alaverdi, Armenia

We’re still amazed that this bus (barely) managed to drive up the mountain.

Ride it all the way up the mountain, where it will stop in a central-ish square near a bunch of other buses of the same color. From there, you have to walk to the monastery. It’s a 15-minute walk, without much sign action aside from a sign in the central square. Luckily, the monastery is visible for much of the walk, so just head up the mountain until you see some souvenir shacks.

Walking to Sanahin monastery in Alaverdi, Armenia

Walking in a winter wonderlaaaaand~

 Going to Armenia? Don’t miss our report on how much it costs to go backpacking in Armenia.


Our visit to Haghpat monastery: the view from the outside.

Haghpat monastery is another UNESCO site that’s a wee bit newer than Sanahin, but also founded around the 10th century.

How to get to Haghpat monastery from Alaverdi

Haghpat is a short drive away from Alaverdi. The monastery is situated atop yet another hill. Marshrutky run from Alaverdi station at 8:15, 9:00, 10:30, 11:30, 13:30, 14:30, 16:30, and 17:30. It’s 200 AMD for a one-way trip, and the ride is 20 minutes long.

The marshrutka to look for on your visit to Haghpat monastery in Armenia

Look for the white marshrutka with the Haghpat sign.

Marshrutky back from Haghpat run half an hour later from the aforementioned times (they wait at the monastery for 10 minutes). The last marshrutka from Haghpat runs at 17:00, so don’t miss it!

Where to stay in Alaverdi

If you’re going to visit Haghpat and Sanahin, the most logical place to base yourself is Alaverdi. There are several places to stay in this small town, but by far the best is Iris Guesthouse. This homestay is run by a lovely family with boatloads of knowledge. Iris has become so successful that there are several copycats in the area trying to imitate her. Make sure to check the photos so that you stay at the right place. You can book Iris Guesthouse here


How to visit the UNESCO sites of Haghpat and Sanahin monasteries from Alaverdi, Armenia by public transport.


Have you recently headed to Haghpat and Sanahin by public transport? Let us know how you got there in the comments–it’s good for other travelers to see the most-up-to-date information!

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Alex Reynolds

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

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8 thoughts on “Getting to Haghpat and Sanahin by public transport

    Julie says:

    Great post – thanks very much! Happy to report that all info is still correct one year later :). The only thing that caught us out was you need to catch bus #3 heading towards Vanadzor from the centre. From Haghpat we hitched to Akhtala which has an amazing church full of frescoes. Happy travels!

    Ani says:

    Hi Alex, thank you for this attractive article! Seems like you explored my homeland!
    You can have more info about these monasteries here:

    Alex says:

    Yes, we had a grand time in Armenia, and hope to return one day when the weather is a bit warmer and the landscapes much greener 🙂

    Azucena says:

    Great article, you help us to get brave and go to Alaverdi by marshrutka ☺️

    I just want to say that we was searching for bus N.-3 (Yellow) to go to Sanahin and (I don’t know if was just that day) our transport was white, minibus ???? and without number… just ask to anyone “depi Sanahin” and they will show you where ???? it’s easy, short and adventurous.

    Cannot say if still the same to Haghpat because we take a taxi (for our time) from Sanahin to Haghpat and Odzun Church (by the way, amazing!!!) If you are lucky in that church you will find the priest who will give you a tour in English and show you the church 🙂

    Armenia it’s amazing, and worth it to know it even better by public transport for sure!!!! 🙂

    Julia says:

    I’m afraid my experience there was very different. I was in Armenia in early September, and I stayed in Iris, the guesthouse where you stayed – it was amazingly hospitable and the best food I had in the country, by the way, thank you very much for the recommendation. When I arrived in a Saturday afternoon, they told me that there would be almost no buses. There was only one scheduled for Haghpat at 5 pm, but the last one returning was at 4. And she told me these timings in a weekend were not reliable at all, since the bus was coming from a different city and they couldn’t be sure if it was coming. Sunday would be even worse.
    I thought about hitching, since I had had great experiences in Armenia, but I had problems with a taxi driver, who approached me saying that he would drive me wherever I wanted for free. I thought it was a scam and said I wasn’t going anywhere, that I was just waiting for my friends. He wouldn’t hear no, so I entered the train station until he left and then walked to a different part of the city. Later I walked by his car again, and he was with three friends who told me he had called them and invited them to drive around looking for me because he wanted to take me to the monasteries. Since he had guessed that it was where I was going, I got afraid to find myself in an empty place with these guys, so I went back to Iris and booked a tour.
    Honestly, I had great experiences in Armenia, but I thought it was worthy to write about this nasty one just to show a different side.

    kyh says:

    For the marshrutka to Haghpat, the 2.30 pm slot has been changed to 3.00 pm.

    Thanks for letting me know 🙂

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