Azerbaijan: Where to go & What to do?
Azerbaijan's Top Cities?
Baku has been listed as one of the top places to visit in Azerbaijan. Dubbed by Lonely Planet as “the architectural love child of Paris and Dubai”, Baku is one of the fastest changing cities in the world. Most things to do in Azerbaijan can be found in Baku or can be done on daytrips from Baku.
At the centre of Baku lies the Old City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Inside this time capsule visit the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, climb up the Maidens towers and wander the streets of old city.
Surrounding the Old city are stone mansions and luxury boutiques along with hipster cafes and restaurants. The blend of the old and new world works effortlessly in Baku. Millennials wander the streets dressed in the latest high street fashion and the nightlife is buzzing with tourists and locals.
One of the top things to do in Baku are modern attractions like the Flame towers which can be seen from almost everywhere in the city. They look especially beautiful at night with the led screens making them look like real flames, a tribute to the ancient fire worshipers of the region. Another modern building to visit is the Haider Alivey Center which makes for amazing pictures. Another new attraction is the Baku F1 street circuit very popular with lovers of the sport. Then there are old attractions like The Bibiheybat mosque touched up with newer innovations like special lights that make the mosque look beautiful at night and by day the interiors are truly gorgeous. A walk on Baku Boulevard is nice and many attractions like Carpet Museum and Mini Venice are located there.
Baku also offers some attractions which can be visited as daytrip like the Atasgash Zorastrian Temple and Yanar Dag fire mountain where a unique natural fire burns non-stop. The Gobustan National Park is another great daytip from Baku, here you will enjoy off-roading Jeep drive through thousands of rocks and discover pre-historic drawings as old as 12th century BC and mud volcanoes you can actually stick your hand in!
With so many things to see and do 2 nights in Baku is a must and you can always choose to spend more.
Ganja is the second largest city in Azerbaijan and one of the top places to visit in Azerbaijan. Besides city sightseeing its inland location makes it a great base from which to explore lakes and treks. Lake Göygöl and Lake Maralgol or Maral-gol are the most visited attractions from Ganja. Another popular place to visit is Naftalan where you can experience a crude oil bath said to treat one of many ailments. This spa facility is not fancy but more utilitarian with maximum focus on health.
We recommend spending 2 to 3 nights in Ganja depending how slow your fast faced you want the itinerary to be.
Azerbaijan's Top Villages
If you look beyond Baku you will find that Azerbaijanis full of beautiful mountains, lakes and scenic beauty and nestled amongst these scenic vistas are tiny villages, some older than 100 years and still living the same way amidst nature
The most visited village in Azerbaijan is Sheki,. The Summer Palace of Sheki Khan with its beautiful interiors is the most popular attraction here but we recommend a visit to the winter palace where taking pictures is allowed as compared to the summer palace where it is prohibited. Also do try the local dish called ‘Pitti’ but always with a local who can show you exactly how to eat it. Being on the ancient silk route the people of Sheki have been exposed to silks, spices, handicrafts etc for years and it’s a nice place to but some handmade souvenirs.
Then there is the village of Quba which is the gateway to smaller mountain villages the most popular being Khinaliq and many beautiful hikes and waterfalls. It is also en-route to Shahdag ski resort. The villages here feel like remote villages of Leh -Ladakh in India and if you are really keen to explore the tiny little settlements we even arrange overnight treks with local guides to explore the entire region.