World Borders: How To Get From Georgia to Armenia (Sadakhlo to Bagratashen)

armenia country 80

On the way to Armenia – country 80 on my hit list.

In my latest episode of world borders, I’m covering the border between Georgia and Armenia. I admit I’m well behind in this series (not enough time to update the numerous borders I’ve crossed) but this one will fill in the pieces on my current Caucauses backpacking experiences. Here’s my rundown on how to get from Georgia to Armenia overland between Sadakhlo and Bagratashen.

georgian border sadakhlo

The border point for leaving Georgia at Sadakhlo.

Leaving Tbilisi from Ortachala Bus Station

Most backpackers heading overland to Armenia will be coming from Georgia. The reason for this is that Georgia is visa free for most countries, and the land borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey into Armenia are closed for political reasons. Coming north into Armenia from Iran is also an option, but for the basis of this post I started my journey in Tbilisi, a common stop over city while backpacking in this region. I loved Tbilisi and have used it as a base here. To leave Tbilisi to headto the border, the best option is to get to Ortachala Bus Station.

ortachala bus

Getting a yellow bus from Old Town Tbilisi to Ortachala Bus Station.

To get to Ortachala Bus Station from central Tbilisi get a yellow mini-bus number 71 or 80. They leave from near the Clock Tower in the Old Town. This will cost 50 Tetri and should take less than 20 minutes.

ortachala bus tbilisi

On the bus to Ortachala Bus Station.

On arrival at Ortachala you will have the option of bus or taxi. Now normally I hate taxis and always side with buses. But then ridiculously the price of the bus and the price of the taxi was the same. We were quoted between 30 and 40 Lari for a one way ride to Yerevan, including all the border stuff on route. A direct taxi it was then for 30 Lari. Incidentally the bus also costs 30 Lari. So for once you can bite the bullet and take a taxi without having to worry about paying more. Of course I was sharing the taxi with my girlfriend so that halves the price. Find four people and you can get in a taxi and beat the price of the bus. You don’ have to go directly to Yerevan of course, so could get it for less, just to get you across the border. However the roads are remote so onward transport will be tougher and most people hitch hike. I’d advise getting a bargain with a taxi driver to take you all the way from Tbilisi to Yerevan. If you’re travelling alone though, a bus is the better option. They run from 8am onwards until around 5pm.

georgia armenia taxi

World Borders: Georgia to Armenia a taxi is the best option.

How far is it from Tbilisi to Sadakhlo?

We left Ortachala Bus Station around 8.30 am. The border is only about 50 kilometres south to the exit point at Sadakhlo. It will take you less than an hour.

georgia armenia border

Leaving Georgia behind, again.

Leaving Georgia at Sadakhlo

Your exit from Georgia couldn’t be more smooth. In our taxi share, we get our passports ready. We get to a booth. The guy checks our passports without us having to get out of the car. We stay in the back seat. Our driver, who is Armenian offers the Georgian border guard some bread and cake. He declines and laughs. But stamps our passports without further ado and we’re officially out of Georgia. The entire process happens without us having to get out of the car. Our bags are not even checked.

georgia to armenia

World Borders: the Georgia exit point.

georgia duty free

A duty free shop just before leaving Georgia.

Arriving in Armenia at Bagratashen

After driving across a bridge, which is the border between Georgia and Armenia, we are now in Armenia.

georgia armenia bridge border

World Borders: The actual bridge between Georgia and Armenia.

Again we drive up to a booth and this time approach an Armenian border point, where a smiling guard greets our driver. Our driver, Sako offers the guard some cake or bread. This time, the guard says yes. The reason being, he’s Armenian and the cake/bread is Armenian. We also help ourselves and I sip my coffee which I made for my flask in Tbilisi.

bread armenia border

Our Armenian driver bought us some bread which he shared with us and the border guards.

After taking his mid morning snack, he has a look at our passports. I’m on an Irish passport, my girlfriend is on a British Overseas passport. Both passports have an Azerbaijan Visa in them, from our recent trip there.

armenian border guard in booth

One of the Armenian border guards in the booths.

We get our stamps and are handed back our passports. Again no forms to fill in, no bags are checked and everything runs smoothly. The entire process has taken about 35 minutes, both sides of the border. One of the fastest land borders I’ve ever done.

armenia welcome

The welcome to Armenia sign taken from our car.

Easy to get into Armenia with an Azerbaijan Visa on Your Passport?

Yes – ridiculously easy. In fact, as the Armenian border guard checks our passports, he sniggers to himself on seing the Azerbaijan Visa. So getting into Armenia after being in Azerbaijan is no problem. Going the opposite way is harder. So if you’re in the area, take the hint and either do Azerbaijan first, or use a different passport if you do it second.

armenian flag

Armenian building at the border with the proud flag.

How much does an Armenian Visa Cost?

For Irish and British citizens it’s currently free. That means free from everything. Free from paperwork, no visa is placed inside your passport, free from paying and just FREE. Pretty amazing heh? Yes currently all you get when you arrive in Armenia at the Bagratashen entry point is free.

yerevan taxi armenia

On the way to Yerevan, Armenia.

How long can you stay in Armenia for?

Officially it’s 21 days, which is time enough to see the country, and also veer into Nagorno Karabakh to curb your curiosity. The 21 days can be extended with a small fee, payable in Yerevan.

armenia georgia border

Arrival in Armenia!

armenia border

World Border successfully crossed! This photo was taken just across the border into Armenia.

Once You’re In Armenia Does this mean you can get into Nagorno Karabakh?

In theory yes as you need to be in Armenia to get into Nagorno Karabakh to start with. BUT you’ll need a separate Visa and Visitor Permit for Nagorno Karabakh. I’ve just crossed this border as well and will be covering it in due course.

My passport stamp for leaving Georgia:

sadakhlo exit stamp

Goodbye Georgia: Exit Stamp at Sadakhlo

My passport stamp for arriving in Armenia:

bagratashen armenia entry

Hello Armenia: Entry stamp at Bagratashen.

Once you arrive in Armenia, how far is it to Yerevan?

Depending on traffic and weather it can take between 3 – 4 hours. However we spoke to our driver to get a few stop off points on route to go sightseeing and we arrived in Yerevan around 4pm. The entire journey from Tbilisi to Yerevan took us about 7 and a half hours including stops, so you could easily do the whole thing in 5 hours at a push.

Any other options for this border crossing?

Of course! Lots of backpackers get the night train, which can take up to 15 hours and costs a bit more, though you do get a bed and save a night’s accommodation. There are other land borders too, which can be crossed by bus or car.

What next?

You’re in Armenia and for sure you should go sightseeing all the monasteries! This is one of the oldest Christian countries on the planet and needs to be seen.

armenia monastery

Marvel at Armenia’s immense monasteries.

I’ll add a few videos at some point. Happy border crossing!

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About Jonny Blair

I'm Jonny Blair, a travelling Northern Irishman. Since leaving my hometown a decade ago I have managed to visit over 100 countries and over 600 towns or cities across all 7 continents. Along the way I have worked in countless jobs! Join my journey on Don't Stop Living - a lifestyle of travel as I provide you with tips and inspiration to live your travel dreams! Safe travels! Follow me on Jonny Blair Google Plus
This entry was posted in Armenia, Central Asia/Middle East, Georgia, Tbilisi, World Borders, X tips, Yerevan. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to World Borders: How To Get From Georgia to Armenia (Sadakhlo to Bagratashen)

  1. Pingback: Visiting Haghpat Monastery in Northern Armenia

  2. Im in Tbilisi now and going to Armenia. Thanks for the great tip of the border crossing to Armenia.

  3. Jonny Blair says:

    Thanks for your comment Roger. It was a few years back but should still apply – safe border crossing into Armenia. Jonny

  4. Ratri says:

    I’ve been living in Yerevan for a good 3 months now, and going to move to Tbilisi in 2 weeks. I’m from Indonesia and it’s a little harder for me to go around because I need visa and stuff, but I’m excited! >_<

  5. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Ratri, thanks for your comment. Good luck with the visas. Safe travels. Jonny

  6. Rasha says:

    I’m doing the crossing tomorrow I was feeling a bit worries about the visa and process but after reading your post I’m a little bit relaxed 🙂
    Rasha recently posted…Blessed EidMy Profile

  7. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Rasha, this is a very easy border crossing, just make sure you check if your nationality needs a visa for Armenia or Georgia first. I travelled on an Irish and British passport in 2013 and didn’t need a visa. Safe travels. Jonny

  8. Reggie Santayana says:

    hello Sir,
    I’m Reggie and I am a Filipina. I am currently leaving here in Abu Dhabi and me and my husband will be going to Georgia by sept. We will be staying there for 6 days and we are interested in going to Armenia. Is it possible to tour a part of Armenia for just 1 day then come back to Georgia? or do I have to book a hotel for 1 night there and come back to Georgia. Is it hard going back to Georgia thru the border? Thank you for the information, it was really a great help for first timers like me.

  9. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Reggie,

    You can go for one day if you want, but it’s a bit rushed and your won’t see much. It can be busy at the border and because of the mountains, can take a while to cross so try and spend at least a few days in Armenia and then back to Georgia. Safe travels. Jonny

  10. J says:

    very smooth & reassuring reading… kudos!!

  11. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi J, thanks for your comment. I hope you also have a smooth crossing of this border. Safe travels. Jonny

  12. Cearúil says:

    Hello there Jonny 🙂

    Thanks for putting this together. I have a question about leaving Armenia. I hear that the authorities there fingerprint people on the way out. Some say only if leaving by air, somewhere else it did not specify and simply said they fingerprint when you exit.

    Can you comment on whether any fingerprinting took place when you left?… I’m taking it you left and are not living in a monastry somewhere devoting your day to growing closer to the Holy Spirit 😉



  13. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Cearuil, Thanks for the comment. I left Armenia twice overland in 2013 and there was no fingerprinting. Though things may have changed since then and I have never been to an airport in Armenia so I have no idea if they check it there but it seems odd that they would do that in that part of the world. Safe travels. Jonny

  14. Vishal says:

    Hello jonny I have a query to ask.Can we get armenian visa from georgia on indian passport since indian passport dont have armenia visa on arrival or visa free like other strong countries passports have.Please fill in the information I want .Thanks.

  15. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Vishal, thanks for the comment. Sadly I am just a travel writer, blogger, tourist and backpacker and have no idea about the visa situation. This was in 2013, so 4 years ago I could get a visa on arrival for an Irish passport. You will have to check with the authorities. Safe travels. Jonny

  16. Crazydre says:

    Haven’t been to Armenia, but entering Georgia by land has always been a breeze…except that one time at the Red Bridge when I dealt with an utter noob who (aggressively) insisted I needed a passport (I only presented my ID card, as I don’t wish to waste more passport space than necessary). Had brought a government website printout in Georgian proving otherwise but forgot it in the bus, so the supervisor had to be summoned, although the whole thing went fairly swift even still (about 5 min).

  17. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Andrede, thanks for the comment, I am surprised to hear your story but surely we should always try to carry our passport when touring? Best wishes and safe travels. Jonny

  18. Sunita Varma says:

    Hi I am an Indian with UAE visa want to travel to tiblis and Armenia. Is it better to fly to Tiblis or Armenia first

  19. Sunita Varma says:

    Please advice. Planning the trip with a group of senior citizen. Thanks

  20. Jonny Blair says:

    Hi Sunita, thanks for the comment. Again, this option is entirely up to you. Personally I would pick the cheapest flight option and follow that dream, there isn’t much benefit of one over the other for me except for the price, so get checking and pick the cheapest! Safe travels. Jonny

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