Alaverdi is an industrial and mining town at the bottom of the Debed gorge in the northern part of the northern province of Lori, quite close to the border with Georgia. At the site of the present day Alaverdi a bridge was built in the 12th century and the settlement only arose in 18th century when copper ore was found.
The town with its typical Soviet style appearance is not very interesting to visitors but it’s a convenient place to visit nearby monuments, e.g. Haghpat, Sanahin, Odzun etc. If you enjoy hiking, take some time explore the area. Any road heading up a hill will offer you spectacular views and a different perspective of the area.
There are a few marshutni connections with Yerevan each day, a ride costs approx. $3 per person. The three and a half hour journey may start in a variety of locations in the center of Yerevan but goes via Ashtarak, Yezidi populated Aparan, breathtaking Spitak Pass, Vanadzor where it enters the Debed gorge and about an hour later arrives in Alaverdi. There are some additional connections to Vanadzor and if you take an overnight Yerevan – Tbilisi train it’ll stop in Alaverdi as well, though this isn’t recommended.
The only hotel in the area is the rundown (no maintance for decades) Debed in Sarahart. To get there take a cable car (50AMD per ride, irregular schedule), go by taxi, or the marshutni driver might take you up the hill (there specific marshutni’s from Yerevan, Vanadzor to Sarahart, but only once or twice/day). The Tufenkian Hotel is located about 30 minutes away in Dzoraget (direction Vanadzor) and rooms begin at $60/night. For a true cultural experience, stay with a host family. You can find one by visiting the Business and Tourist Center located on the 3rd floor in the Alaverdi Government Offices building.
Apart from some street stands the only restaurant seems to be Flora with huge 3$ meals. From the downtown cross the river at a pedestrian hanging bridge, pass a small swimming pool (locals might invite you to drink a beer with them) turn left and enter the first house on your right. The staff seems to speak Armenian only (with very limited Russian or other languages) and according to my guidebook it could also arrange homestays. You can also ask the Debed hotel manager (actually she will offer it to you and she speaks English) to prepare some dinner at the similar cost and quality as at Flora.