[First published May 2017.] A complete guide to travelling by train from Tbilisi to Yerevan — including route info, tickets, and first-hand traveller’s tips.
Travelling from Tbilisi to Yerevan or vice versa? The sleeper train that runs every other night during the winter months (October to May) and daily during summer (June to September) is a safe, convenient and best of all, atmospheric way to travel between Georgia and Armenia. Tickets are cheap, the ride is comfortable, and waking up to early morning views of Mount Ararat as your roll into Yerevan is something you won’t soon forget. If you’re at all nervous about road safety, the train is a more reliable choice than marshrutka minivans, which are notorious for driving at high speeds and with little regard for the rules.
If you’ve been to Azerbaijan, the Armenian immigration experience is also memorable—but for different reasons.
Read on for my tips for buying tickets, negotiating immigration, and making the most of the journey from Tbilisi to Yerevan.
Looking for things to do in Yerevan or Tbilisi? Here are a few free and awesome Yerevan activities and some unique Tbilisi sights to get you started!
Table of Contents
- Tbilisi to Yerevan train schedule
- Train stations
- Buying tickets for the train from Tbilisi to Yerevan
- Arriving at the station and boarding the train
- Georgian immigration
- Do you need a visa for Armenia?
- Do you need a visa for Georgia?
- Arrival in Yerevan
Tbilisi to Yerevan train schedule
The Tbilisi to Yerevan train has two schedules depending on the time of year. I highly recommend confirming the train schedule locally before you travel, either by asking your accommodation or visiting the railway station a few days in advance.
Winter schedule (low season)
During low season (approximately late September to late May), overnight sleeper train number 371 runs from Tbilisi to Yerevan every second night on odd days of the month (i.e. the 3rd, the 5th, the 7th, etc.). The train departs at 8.20pm and arrives in Yerevan at 7am the next morning. Including immigration proceedings, the journey takes a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes.
Travelling from Yerevan to Tbilisi in winter, train 372 leaves from Yerevan’s main railway station every second night on even days of the month (i.e. the 20th, 22nd, 24th, etc.). This train departs at 9.30pm and arrives in Tbilisi at 7.50am the next morning.
Summer schedule (high season)
Extra trains run during the ‘peak’ summer months (approximately June to early September). Train 202 takes over this service, making a nightly trip from Batumi to Yerevan via Tbilisi. This train departs Batumi at 3.30pm, departs Tbilisi at 10.15pm, and arrives in Yerevan at 7.30am the following morning.
Travelling from Yerevan to Tbilisi in summer, train 201 takes over this service, leaving Yerevan at 3.30pm in the afternoon and arriving in Tbilisi just after midnight. It then continues on to Batumi, where it arrives at 7am the next morning.
In Tbilisi, trains arrive and depart from Tbilisi Central Station, which is nested inside Station Square—the city’s main railway station and transport hub.
In Yerevan, trains arrive and depart from Yerevan Railway Station, located off Tigran Mets Avenue.
Getting to Station Square in Tbilisi
Station Square is located in the northeast of Tbilisi, approximately 5km from Liberty Square. To get there from Liberty Square, take the red line to Station Square metro station.
From the metro station, follow the signs towards the Tbilisi Central shopping centre exit. The railway ticket desks and terminals are located on level 3 of the shopping centre complex.
The exact location of Station Square is marked here on Google Maps.
Getting to Yerevan Railway Station
Yerevan Railway Station is located in the south of the city, approximately 3km from Republic Square. To get there from downtown, ride the subway to the adjacent Sasunti David metro station. The metro station is connected to the Railway Station by an underground pedestrian tunnel.
The exact location of the Yerevan Railway Station is marked here on Google Maps.
Buying tickets for the train from Tbilisi to Yerevan
Ticket types & fares
There are three types of berth on this train: First class spalny vagon, which sleeps two people; second class kupé, which sleeps four people; and third class platskartny, which are open-plan sleepers (no doors). As mentioned, we chose the second-class option and found it to be comfortable enough. The table below outlines the different train classes, the sleeping arrangements and ticket costs. (Please note that fares in USD are approximate and subject to exchange rates.)
Train from Tbilisi to Yerevan classes & fares table
Class: First (Spalny vagon)
Occupancy: 2 people
Layout: Private berth (with door)
Ticket price (Tbilisi to Yerevan): 75 GEL (28 USD)
Ticket price (Yerevan to Tbilisi): 16,880 AMD (34 USD)
Class: Second (Kupé)
Occupancy: 4 people
Layout: Private berth (with door)
Ticket price (Tbilisi to Yerevan): 56 GEL (21 USD)
Ticket price (Yerevan to Tbilisi): 12,250 AMD (25 USD)
Class: Third (Platskartny)
Layout: Open berth (no doors)
Ticket price (Tbilisi to Yerevan): 35 GEL (13 USD)
Ticket price (Yerevan to Tbilisi): 8,060 AMD (16 USD)
Buying train tickets at the station
Tickets are available to purchase at the railway station on either end. To be safe, I recommend buying your tickets at least a few days in advance.
In Tbilisi, the ticket counter is located on level 3 of the shopping centre complex. Counters are open from approximately 7am until 11pm daily. We bought our second-class train tickets a day in advance from the desk at the station using the same process described here. Staff spoke excellent English, and we had no trouble making our purchase. We needed to present our passports and had to pay for our tickets in cash. There are ATMs inside the complex if you need to withdraw money.
Yerevan Railway Station is a more conventional layout and easier to negotiate. There is a large board inside the station which shows times, prices and ticket availability for the trains up to one month in advance. Ticket windows are located on the left of the building, and there is an ATM directly outside the front door. We purchased our Yerevan to Tbilisi train tickets a few days in advance of our journey.
Pre-purchasing train tickets online
As of March 2018, it’s now possible to purchase train tickets for the Tbilisi to Yerevan/Yerevan to Tbilisi sleeper train online via the Armenian South Caucasus Railway website.
From the homepage, navigate to the ‘Ticket Online’ window (right sidebar) and set up an account. You’ll need to enter the passenger details (names and passport info) and you can only pay by MasterCard or debit card (no Visa). You can buy up to 4 tickets at a time. The page is available in English and Russian.
Ticket sales open 40 days prior to departure and you can buy online right up until 2 hours before the train leaves.
Arriving at the station and boarding the train
If your journey starts in Yerevan or you’re travelling on the winter train, it will arrive at the station up to an hour before the set departure time (remember the summer train starts in Batumi and only makes a stop in Tbilisi on the way to Yerevan). I recommend arriving early to claim your bed and settle in.
Departing from Tbilisi
At Tbilisi Central Station, there is a large-ish waiting area with seats adjacent to the ticket desks on level 3 of the complex building. You’ll see an electronic timetable board hanging above the escalators, where you can track the progress of your train. There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants and convenience stores—plus ATMs and currency exchange desks—located inside the same building. Note that the main food court closes before the night train departs.
The train platforms are located a few levels down and accessed via special outdoor staircases next to the ticket windows. Someone will collect and stamp your train tickets on the platform before you board the train.
Departing from Yerevan
Yerevan Railway Station has a more conventional set up. The station building itself is huge, with ample seating and different waiting rooms. There isn’t much inside the station, but there is a diner-style cafes and a few little shops directly outside. Frustratingly, I wasn’t able to find a public toilet inside the station and had to use the guards’ private bathroom.
What to pack for the train from Tbilisi to Yerevan
There is no food cart on the train from Tbilisi to Yerevan, so it’s advisable to bring enough snacks and bottled water to last the night.
You should also bring along any important travel documentation—including details of your accommodation and travel dates if you’ve previously been in Azerbaijan (see the immigration section below for more details).
Staying safe on the train from Tbilisi to Yerevan
I personally felt very safe on the train from Tbilisi to Yerevan (and Yerevan to Tbilisi), and I’d have no problem recommending it to travellers—including solo females. Just how much security and privacy you have depends on what kind of berth you choose. The door to our four-person berth was lockable from the inside and fitted out with good lighting. The hallways were also well-lit throughout the night.
In summary: Exercise common sense, and lock the door to your berth.
After leaving Tbilisi, you will first pass through Georgian immigration. We reached the border zone at around 10pm (about 1.5 hours into the journey). Georgian immigration takes place on the train, meaning no one needs to leave their berth. Guards board the train and collect everyone’s passports. After about an hour, the passports are redistributed with exit stamps inside. The train arrives at Armenian immigration at around 11pm.
Travelling the opposite way (Yerevan to Tbilisi) in winter, be warned that immigration takes place in the (very) early hours of the morning (around 3am). Mercifully, all the immigration proceedings when travelling this way take place inside your berth using a portable computer, so you don’t have to leave the train.
Do you need a visa for Armenia?
As of April 2018, people of 45 nationalities—including Australian, US and British passport holders—no longer require a visa to enter Armenia as a tourist for up to 180 days. If you hold one of the lucky passports on the list, that means no more visa fees, and no more disembarking the train for immigration procedures at the Armenian border.
Please visit the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for a full list of visa-exempt countries.
Applying for an Armenian visa at the border
For travellers who do require a visa (Canadian, Chinese, Israeli passport holders and others), you can either organise an e-visa online in advance, or purchase an Armenian tourist visa at the border. To do this, you’ll need to fill out a standard visa application form, which asks for your intended length of stay, the address of your first hotel, etc. There is a space at the top of the form to attach a passport photo, but when we travelled, no one had one. Neither were we ever asked to show proof of onward travel.
A 120-day tourist visa costs 15,000 AMD (30 USD). There is a staunch anti-bribery policy at the border, so agents may be reluctant to except foreign currency (GEL or USD) lest there be any confusion over exchange rates and change. On the night we travelled, one woman who presented a 10 USD note was turned away and we had to lend her GEL. The agents told us to bring AMD next time so we could pay the correct amount. I advise you bring the correct amount of AMD to avoid confusion.
The Armenian visa is a full-page visa, so make sure you have enough room in your passport.
The unofficial policy on travellers who have previously visited Azerbaijan still seems to stand. If that’s you, please do take note of the section below so you can be well prepared.
Have you been to Azerbaijan?
There is no law or rule against visiting Armenia after you’ve been to Azerbaijan—as long as you meet the visa requirements. However, it’s no secret that the two neighbouring countries don’t exactly get along. In our experience, Armenian immigration agents seem to be mandated to discern your prior movements in Azerbaijan. Having just come from Azerbaijan (via Tbilisi), we were singled out and questioned far more intensely than the other train passengers who had not been to Azerbaijan.
After we were granted our tourist visas, an agent asked a series of questions about our visit to Armenia (where we were going, for how long, etc.) as well as the nature of our trip to Azerbaijan. He soon pulled out a piece of scrap A4 paper and started taking freehand notes. He wanted us to confirm our travel dates, give him a list of all the places we went to in Azerbaijan, plus the name and address of our hotel in Baku (which I thankfully had on me). After a few more tense minutes, he handed the passports back and we were free to board the train.
Our bunk mate—an elderly Japanese man who was travelling solo and like us, had just come from Azerbaijan via Tbilisi—didn’t fare so well. His limited English (paired with the fact that he didn’t have his hotel information with him and kept having to return to the train to rummage through his papers) meant that he was kept in the immigration office for over an hour. He seemed to take it in his stride, but it couldn’t have been a pleasant experience.
Love trains as much as I do? Here’s how to travel between Tbilisi and Baku, Azerbaijan by sleeper train.
By the time the three of us got back on the train, it was well past 1am. The steward must have forgotten about us because he neglected to make our beds before he turned in for the night. Luckily we had our silk sleeping bag liners with us and we were able to use those for sheets.
While everyone’s border experience seems to be slightly different, I don’t think our encounter with Armenian immigration was unusual. Other travellers have reported a similar situation of having to turn hotel details over to border agents – one traveller’s report on Seat 61 tells of how immigration went one step further and actually telephoned the hotels in Azerbaijan she had stayed at to verify her information. Be prepared to answer the border agents’ questions, and make sure you have your hotel information written down and on your person.
Do you need a visa for Georgia?
Georgia offers visa-free travel for passport holders from more than 90 countries. Citizens of China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and a handful of other Asian and African countries are, however, required to obtain a 90 or 30-day tourist visa prior to arrival.
If you are travelling from Yerevan to Tbilisi by train and you do require a visa for Georgia, you’ll need to obtain an e-visa in advance. You can do so via the Georgia E-visa Portal.
Note that if you’re travelling from Tbilisi to Yerevan and later returning from Yerevan to Tbilisi and you require a visa to visit Georgia, you will need to obtain two separate visas. I recommend you contact the relevant consulate for more information.
Arrival in Yerevan
As the train pulls into Yerevan, passengers are treated to stunning views of Mount Ararat in the distance. Stewards give ample warning that it’s time to disembark, at which point you should gather up your bed sheets (if you were lucky enough to get any) and drop them on the side of the couch.
Getting from Yerevan train station to your accommodation
When you arrive at Yerevan Railway Station, you can connect directly to the metro via underground walkway. Tickets in the form of plastic tokens can be bought from the window as you enter the metro station.
Alternatively, if you want to take a taxi to your accommodation, their is a cab rank out the front of the station. This post outlines everything you need to know about travelling by taxi in Yerevan.
Read next: Awesome things to do in Yerevan.
• During the low season winter months (late September to May), the overnight train between Tbilisi and Yerevan runs every second night (even days for Yerevan to Tbilisi, odd days for Tbilisi to Yerevan).
• From June to September (high season), a daily train takes over the route, also continuing on to Batumi.
• If you need a visa for Armenia, a 120-day tourist visa costs 15,000 AMD (30 USD). Drams is the preferred currency, so try to change some in Tbilisi before you board the train.
• If you’ve previously travelled to Azerbaijan, you should have your travel details and hotel addresses handy (i.e. written out on paper and kept on you during the border crossing).
• There is no dining cart on the train and no stopping for food, so bring your own snacks.
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