Country style

Armenia – One of the Easy Countries for English Speaker Travelers

How many people speak English: 40%

What it’s like as an English speaker: Although bordered by Turkey and Iran, this cradle of Christianity on the western edge of Asia remains Europe’s final frontier and a blessing to English-only speakers.

Armenians get languages: The country enjoys a 98% literacy rate, and most Armenians under 30 speak English with flair — often with a British accent (many attend schools there and it percolates). Although Americans rarely visit Armenia, Europeans do, so instead of translating a dozen languages for them, road signage, menus, and venues are also in English. Chances are high you’ll meet someone who knows where you’re from (they all have relatives living in the States), and you probably already know someone with Armenian roots.

Eighty percent of Armenian surnames end in either -ian or -yan — think Washingtonian, Smithsonian, or OK, sure, Kardashian.

What Armenia has to offer: Picture ancient Europe but cooler and way cheaper. This Connecticut-sized country has thousands of mind-boggling monasteries and churches, several of which are uncrowded UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

High living is low-cost; you can go to a world-class opera for the price of a movie ticket, while cabs, cafés, wine, beer, and groceries are enjoyed at 1960s US prices. It’s also on the legendary Silk Road, with one still-standing Armenian motel, Orbelian’s Caravanserai, built in 1331, where road-warrior merchants and their caravan-pulling animals rocked medieval happy hours, and so should you. — Bruce Northam, Thrillist contributor | Thrillist.com