Goris, Armenia

The endlessly winding roads that leap through the gorges over the mountains of Syunik come to a major junction at Goris, making this an inevitable stop between Yerevan and Stepanakert or the Iranian border. The town’s tree-lined avenues and grand 19th-century stone houses are a precious rarity in a country largely swept of its past by mundane Soviet-era structures. The town is rundown in parts, especially at its decrepit central Parc de Vienne, but Goris is an underrated base to spend a couple of days enjoying quality guesthouses and exploring the volcanic pinnacle clusters in the area. Don’t miss the abandoned cave city at Old Khndzoresk 10km east of town.