Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
KHINALUG

Azerbaijan an exotic travel destination is located in Caucasus region and is popularly known as “Land of Fire”.  It is located in Eastern Europe and western Asia and therefore you will find a cultural amalgamation of Asian and European cultures.  Located on the Caspian Sea, you will find subtropical sea resorts too, with many varieties of hillside towns in Caucasus mountains, ancient mosques and minarets, impressive modern architectures, flaming mountain, mud volcano and much more wonderful and interesting places. I have compiled a list of Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan for planning your trip with many tips, suggestions, hotel stays recommendations, itineraries from my fellow travel bloggers who have traveled all around the world. 

Recommendations for Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan by Experienced Travel Bloggers.

BAKU by Megan Starr | Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan is the capital city of the country in the Caucasus and its most economically important city.  Located right on the Caspian Sea, Baku is a mixture of Soviet modernism combined with a new flair.  It truly is one of the most unique cities in its region and more and more people are beginning to discover all it has to offer now that the Azerbaijan visa regime has simplified for several countries.  

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
BAKU

There are a plethora of things to do in Baku, including visiting the Old Town, hanging out around Fountain Square, walking the Caspian Sea promenade, or checking out the marvelous, modern buildings that dot the city’s skyline.  The city is relatively clean in the city center and delicious smells fill the air, satiating all senses.  There are several restaurants where you can find hearty Azerbaijani fare, including a couple of my favorites- Nargiz, Muzey Shirvanshah, and Nakhchivan.  The menus are extensive and offer an array of food that showcases Azerbaijan’s rich culinary scene.  Produce is also exceptional in Azerbaijan and you will have a chance to see this front and center in Baku.  Read more about the visit to Baku. 

GOBUSTAN NATIONAL PARK by Vanessa Ball | Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan

Baku, Azerbaijan’s largest city, has a unique and varied ambiance and style. Many travelers will visit here on a trip to the country to experience the vibrant and beautiful architecture. However, 65km away, a mere hour’s drive along the Caspian coast, lies Gobustan National Park with rock art and mud volcanoes, a day trip that just can’t be missed.

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan

Gobustan is astonishing. You will find there a vista of craters, slowly oozing mud, miniature volcanoes, and arid black earth which cracks before your eyes. Alighting from the bus is like stepping off a space-craft onto another planet.

The Petroglyphs found at Gobustan and the brilliant museum which explain them are the main reason that travelers visit the site. These pictures and symbols carved into the rock with crude tools depict life as it was when they were created and show the development of human thinking over many thousands of years. Some petroglyphs are 40,000 years old and are arguably the most comprehensive examples of early human history in the world.

How to get to Gobustan – Gobustan is an hour’s drive along the coast from Baku and has good transport links due to the local town. A taxi from Baku is an option but is expensive and organizing a return journey is difficult. Bus travel is probably the most cost-effective way of getting to Gobustan. There are many options available out of Baku and it’s a good idea to do a bit of research to make sure the guide is knowledgeable as this will make your day so much more enjoyable.

MARDAKAN  by Ellis Veen | Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
MARDAKAN FORTRESS

Azerbaijan was one of my favorite countries I visited last year. Even though Azerbaijan itself is an off the beaten path destination it is full of secret gems that very few people know about. One of them is the little city of Mardakan. It is one of the oldest villages in the Absheron peninsula with an old castle from the 13th century. The castle is a bit hard to find, but locals are glad to tell you where it is. They see few tourists coming their way, so people are extremely friendly and curious.

Another reason to visit Mardakan is to visit the Mir Movsun Agha shrine and the Hassan pir shrine. At the Hassan pir shrine people come to have bottles smashed above their head to cure anxiety and the Mir Movsun Agha shrine is believed to cure any disease for those who are sincere in their wishes. Both are active places of worship that give an interesting look into Azerbaijani culture.

Mardakan is easy to visit and makes a perfect half-day trip from Baku. There are frequent public buses to Mardakan taking 45 minutes. It is a nice place to wander a bit around for an hour or two. There are not many restaurants so it is best to bring some snacks with you. You can also combine this trip easily with a visit to the fire temple in Suratxani.   Read more about Mardakan and nearby areas

KHINALUG by Kamila | Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
KHINALUG

Khinalug, the ancient village located up in the Caucasus mountains, is the must when visiting Azerbaijan. With the elevation of 2350 meters above sea level, it is often considered the highest located village in Europe. Due to the altitude, the place is rather isolated and the local community of around 2 thousand people speaks their own language – Khinalug, they are also known for their unique customs and traditional way of living. The architecture of the village is rather distinctive too – the cobblestone houses are glued to the hills, looking like they are built one on top of another. But the main reason to visit Khinalug is the breathtaking scenery around. The journey to the village is already the adventure itself as the road is in a terrible condition (you can expect to remove big rocks from in front of the car), twisting and turning, going up and down but with amazing scenery all over the way. Unfortunately getting to Khinalug isn’t so easy. If you’re limited in time you can go for the organized tour from Baku – they take around 12 hours as it’s a long way to the mountains. The other option is to go to Quba first (a city located north from Baku, easily reachable by public transport) and there you shouldn’t have problems with finding 4WD that would take you to Khinalug. You can stay overnight in the village too and go for numerous hikes around in the Caucasus. 

SHEKI by Emily Lush | Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan

Located in the country’s northwest, around 300 km from Baku towards the border with Georgia, Sheki (Şəki) is my favorite place in Azerbaijan. Once a stop on the famous Silk Road trading route that connected east and west, Sheki is a town of caravanserais, silk factories, ornate palaces, and pretty cobbled streets.

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
SHEKI

Of all the things to do in Sheki, the Palace of the Sheki Khans tops the list. Built-in 1797 as a summer residence for the Caucasian khanate, it’s an incredible example of craftsmanship. Wall-to-ceiling miniatures, mirrored roofs, and shebeki—a special kind of stained glass found only in Sheki—have all been meticulously restored, earning the complex a coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination. Another must-do is the equally impressive but lesser-known Sheki Khans Winter Palace. Tucked away in a residential area, it was only recently re-discovered after years of abandonment.

Sheki’s Silk Road legacy is a big part of the town’s charm. A few stone caravanserais (trader’s inns) remain. The Sheki Karvansaray Hotel is housed in a converted caravanserai, complete with original stone arches, cozy sleeping chambers, and a gorgeous internal courtyard. The Sheki Silk Factory still uses its original Soviet-era machinery and has a small gift boutique attached.

Another highlight of Sheki is the cuisine. Piti, an aromatic meat stew eaten with bread, is a traditional Azeri dish that’s served at most restaurants in town. Piti House and Restaurant Gargarin both do an excellent rendition. Depending on your preference, cap off a meal with a cocktail at Buta Bar—an uber-trendy lounge located in the lobby of the Sheki Saray Hotel—or head to the local market to purchase a slab of Sheki halva (halvasi), a syrup-drenched sweet treat.

To get to Sheki from Baku, take a marshrutka from the main bus station (4-5 hours’ travel time; approximately 7 AZN per person).

GANJA by Stephanie Craig | Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
GANJA

Ganja is Azerbaijan’s second largest city, but it often gets skipped by people traveling Azerbaijan in favor of more touristy locations. However, this is a shame since it’s an awesome city with some of the country’s most important historic sites nearby. Just a four-hour bus ride from Baku, Ganja is a very different city from the capital. 

Highlights in the city include visits to Heydar Aliev Square, the Juma Mosque, and the folk art Bottle House. Great day trips include the Imamzadeh pilgrimage site and the mountainside Lake Goygol. One of my favorite hidden gems in Ganja is the Armenian Orthodox Church of Alexander Nevsky. Just make sure to bring a headscarf, ladies, if you want to go inside. I didn’t realize I needed one, and I got kicked out after a few minutes. 

For a real bit of Soviet nostalgia, book a stay at the Ganja Hotel. This was the old Soviet hotel in Ganja when Azerbaijan was part of the USSR. Between the building’s Soviet classical architecture and the look of the lobby, it’s easy to tell the place is connected to the Soviet Union.

You can easily get to and from Ganja from either Baku or Sheki, making this a great stop on any Azerbaijan itinerary.

Baku has many worthy places to stay, but if you’re on a budget, don’t look past Sahil Hostel near the promenade and city center.  It is an exceptionally clean place to crash for the night and the staff and owners are lovely.   

NAKHCHIVAN by Allison Green | Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
NAKHCHIVAN

If you’re looking for an interesting and off the beaten path destination in Azerbaijan you should consider visiting the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan. This part of Azerbaijan is geographically distinct from the rest of the country as it is an exclave that doesn’t share any land borders with the rest of Azerbaijan. The only way to get there without leaving Azerbaijan is to fly from Baku, which is considered a domestic flight. Nakhchivan is separated from Azerbaijan by Armenia, with whom the border is closed, which is why you can only fly. That said, traveling Nakhchivan is definitely worth the effort

The main sights in Nakhchivan are the Islamic funerary mausoleums in the country. Momina Khan is the most known but in my opinion, the Qarabaglar mausoleum is the most beautiful. It is also a burgeoning wellness destination. Mount Duzdag is made of salt and the salt sanatorium there is excellent for healing chronic respiratory problems. There is also the beautiful Lake Batabat located near the Armenian border. You can stay at the 4* hotel in town, Hotel Tebriz, or you can look for a budget homestay. 

To get around Nakhchivan, it is best to hire a driver for the day. Gas prices are low, and as a result, you can hire a taxi for the day for around for about $80-90 USD. I recommend trying the local soups like dushbara and dovgha which are delicious and full of flavor. The best meal I had in Nakhchivan was at Batabat Restaurant near Lake Batabat but the food at Hotel Tabriz is also quite nice. 

RECOMMENDED ITINERARY FOR INTERESTING PLACES TO VISIT IN AZERBAIJAN | AZERBAIJAN ITINERARY

DAY 1 – After landing at Baku’s International Airport – Heydar Aliyev International Airport, go for a Baku city tour.

DAY 2 – BAKU OLD CITY TOUR AND MANY MORE ATTRACTIONS

DAY 3 – Nearby attractions / Day trips from Baku to MUD VOLCANOES and MARDAKAN. Click here to book your trip to Mud Volcanoes.

DAY 4 – LAHIJ ( 3 hours bus trip to this place from Baku). It is a very scenic road – route. OVERNIGHT STAY IN LAHIJ

DAY 5 – SMALL CITY TOUR IN LAHIJ AND THEN PROCEED to KHINALUG OR QABALA (GABALA) –  beautiful small hillside town. All the attractions are very close so you can see all in one day.

DAY 6 – PROCEED TO TO SHEKI through scenic Silk Road.  OVERNIGHT STAY IN SHEKI

DAY 7 – VISIT TO GANJA – Azerbaijan’s second biggest city has a history dating back to 6th century.  OVERNIGHT STAY AT GANJA.

DAY 8 – RETURN BACK TO BAKU. Check this official website of Azerbaijan – applying for an online visa as this country offers an online visa to many countries by clicking here. 

Interesting Places to Visit In Azerbaijan
A snippet of the whole tour on Google Map

DAY 8 ( FOR EXTENDED ITINERARY) – Take a flight to NAKHCHIVAN FROM BAKU and book Overnight stay there.

DAY 9 – NAKHCHIVAN CITY TOUR AND RETURN BACK TO BAKU. 

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
SHEKI

HOTEL STAY RECOMMENDATIONS IN BAKU

Apartments near Old Town in Baku. Click here to book them.

Click here to book for JW Marriott Absheron Baku Hotel.

Book for Hyatt Regency in Baku by clicking here. 

Book for apartments near the Caspian Sea by clicking here.

Click to book for Holiday Inn Baku

Book for Sapphire Hotel in Baku. 

And check this Boutique Hotel in Baku

SOME USEFUL TIPS FOR BAKU – AZERBAIJAN | INTERESTING PLACES TO VISIT IN AZERBAIJAN 

HOW TO GET AROUND IN BAKUTAXIS – Local Taxis start from minimum AZN 3-5 or 2-4 USD for a ride.

BUSES – Buses is also an effective method for local commuting in the city.  Your hotel staff will help you with planning on bus routes.

METRO – Baku also has a Metro station and it links to old city and can take you to suburbans. 

WHAT TO EAT IN BAKU –  Food is an important part of Azerbaijan lifestyle and it is greatly influenced by Central Asia, Georgia, Iran, and Turkey. Main dishes are Govurma, Lyula Kebab, Plov (an Azeri styled rice Plov(dish), Saj Ichi, Levenghi and many more. After meals enjoy special Azeri Black Tea laced with cinnamon & cardamom with a small serving of Baklava or Halva.

SHOPPING IN BAKU – Wander around Taza Bazaar and you can smell the fresh farm produce of fruits, vegetables, nuts & spices. Also, check for delicious pomegranates which are famous for Azerbaijan.  Shop for authentic tea and in the old city, go along the narrow streets for many local craft items. 

Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
BAKU

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING AZERBAIJAN –

  • Best time to travel in April to June with clear blue skies and lush green meadows. Hottest months are July & August with an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius. October is the most beautiful month to see Baku. Ski season is from January to February.
  • Currency is Azerbaijani Manat
  • Azerbaijan is safe and with low crime rate with normal precautions to be taken while traveling.
  • Buses and minibusses (Marshrutkas) run between Baku at reasonable pricing.
  • This country is inexpensive and budget travelers or backpackers can do this trip for about 70USD per day approximately.
  • Local SIM cards providers are Azercell and Bakcell.
  • Check Visa formalities on their online Visa portal.
  • Many people club Azerbaijan and Georgia tours together and there are overnight trains connecting both the countries.
Interesting Places to Visit in Azerbaijan 
NAKHCHIVAN

So, until then KEEP TRAVELING……………… KEEP EXPLORING……………………………………………………

DISCLAIMER – The content of the blog is solely my views of a place or a thing. This is not to offend any class, religion, ethnicity or nation. This blog may contain some advertisements or links to commercial products and for that, this site is not responsible after you click those advertisements.  We are the independent owner of this site and views expressed in this are our own. There can be slight differences in distances, locations or some details for which I (owner) am not responsible.  This post may contain some affiliate links, means at no additional cost to you.  I will earn if you will click through affiliates and make a purchase.

 

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84 Comments

  1. Azerbaijan is a completely new destination for me. I have never heard of it. Nakchivan blew my mind. I am totally intrigued by the pictures. Thanks for sharing such a detailed itinerary. This goes to my list, for sure.

  2. Very insightful post. Everything covered in detail. It seems Azerbaijan has a lot to offer. Pictures looks amazing. I was planning a long backpacking trip exploring Iran, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Hopefully, one day!

    1. Yes, you can plan it but just take care about visiting to Azerbaijan from Armenia as it is not possible, after Armenia visit to some other country and then Azerbaijan.

  3. I love to discover new places and certainly Azerbaijan is one of them. I never heard of it so I had to google it. Gosh we should start to plan to visit the more unknown destinations. But it is true we do not really consider the east as a travel destination, because we just do not know it. Thanks for opening my eyes on a wider travel destination horizon.

  4. It was interesting to read this blog post and learn about this country, I have to admit, I don’t know very much about Azerbaijan. NAKHCHIVAN In particular looks like an interesting place to visit. I was surprised about the opportunity to ski as I never knew it was possible in Azerbaijan. Your information at the end of the post is very helpful for people planning their trip.

  5. I have always wanted to visit Baku, Azerbaijan as I want to watch Baku Cup (tennis). There’s so much to see in “The Land of Fire” and your itinerary seems a good one to follow. I’ll take note of it when I visit soon. I really want to try their food scene. Any recommendations?

  6. Azerbaijan?? Honestly I have never heard about this country before so I was very interested when reading about this new country to add on my bucket list! Khinalug is beautiful and I am very intrigued by Nakhchivan although it does sound a bit complicated to get there. What a discovery and a hidden gem as a country and I really hope to get to Azerbaijan one day!

  7. YES!! Thanks for this collab post – it will save me so much time researching and I will be visiting Azerbeidjan this summer (can’t wait!!). Especially Nakchivan looks surreal. Kind of reminds me of Macchu Picchu in Peru – but then more modern! (And I’m guessing without the hordes of tourists…)

  8. We keep hearing more about Azerbaijan. Some of our friends went to Baku a few years ago to attend the Eurovision song contest! We would love to go ourselves, and this will be such an informative resource when we do. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. Azerbaijan is in my list for years now. I don’t know if the place will be economical for a solo budget traveler but I am sure that this blog will help me plan my trip and understand the best places to photograph and write about

  10. This was an incredibly interesting read. I do not know anything about Azerbaijan but the name has popped up a few times recently. After seeing how many interesting places there are to visit there, I may need to look into it a bit more!

  11. Azerbaijan has always been on my bucket list. I’ve been to Georgia and Armenia but not Azerbaijan. I was planning to visit in 2019 and this article comes at a right time. Khinalug looks so good- I absolutely have to get there!

  12. What a beautiful region and fascinating blend of cultures! I love exploring destinations off the beaten path and it looks like Baku has great food and plenty of hidden treasures. Khinalug also seems fascinating though I’d never heard of it before – it seems like its own universe since it’s so remote from anything else.

  13. Although Baku might be the ideal place to begin the trip, considering that most flights land there, to me, Khinalug sounds like the most attractive place to visit. I love the mountains and mountain villages are pretty awesome too. And I love the sound of ‘unique culture and traditions’ because I’d love to experience that. It’s a pity that the journey isn’t that great because of bad roads and 12 hours trip from Baku sounds quite long but I’d still want to get there if I go to Azerbaijan!

  14. Mardagan sounds really interesting, and it’s good to know it’s accessible from Baku. Azerbaijan is one of those countries that’s creeping up my bucket list. Seeing photos of places like Khinalug makes me want to visit sooner rather than later. I enjoyed reading about its Silk Road past too!

  15. I’ve always been interested in the Silk Road and following the route. I think that would be a great historic tour and to see how the Silk Road influenced different regions. I didn’t know that Azerbaijan could help me live out that dream! I love that you included architecture, historic sites and great viewpoints to visit during your stay. This was a really well researched and thought out article.

  16. Azerbaijan looks very interesting and off the beaten path. The castle in Mardakan looks in good condition for a 13 century fortress. The Palace of the Sheki Khans is also quite impressive.

  17. I love the detail that you have put into preparing this great guide for a place that is so unique and unknown to many. Nakhchivan looks especially intriguing with its geometric aesthetic. I am also always drawn to the countryside so would love to see Khinalug in person. It looks like it is out of the pages of a storybook.

  18. I heard about Azerbaijan a few months back and really wanted to read about it. This post is really insightful. Baku seems to be an incredible place to visit with so many things to do and see.I would also explore the amazing culinary options there on my visit. Khinalug and Nakhchivan has very stunning surroundings. Thanks for the very useful itinerary and information on transport convenience.

  19. I have been inspired by blogs and some documentaries and want to visit Azerbaijan soon. This post and it’s contributors have only helped me more to make up my mind to visit soon. Baku the capital is lively and well organised I am told by a friend who lives there. But the main things to see are away as stated in this post. The palace of Mardakan a clear winner for me. The architecture is so amazing in most of these places. Thanks for sharing

  20. Azerbaijan looks absolutely stunning in your pics. This is a very interesting writeup at it brings together the best of what the place has to offer shared by experienced travel bloggers from across the globe. Hence a lot of different perspectives to explore. Thanks for sharing this!

  21. Very interesting destination. It was never on my radar before. There is so much to discover there. Thanks for all the info! Do you have any idea how safe it is to travel there? greets!

  22. Fantastic guide here and have bookmarked this page as I am planning a trip to Azerbaijan with Baku being the focus but hopefully will get out of the city to explore the landscape. Looks like there is more to discover than I thought.

  23. This is such a detailed post on things to do in Azerbaijan. It’s always a pleasure to read about places you have been planning to visit for long. Looks more interesting than I ever thought. Specially liked how you collaborated with other bloggers to give us the best f the best.

  24. I’ve not really thought much about visiting Azerbaijan, but need to reassess! What a wonderful picture you paint of this place that is both Asian and European in aspects. I’m most drawn to the Gobustan National Park, and Khinulag and Sheki to visit. And I could not miss Nakhchivan!

  25. I have always wanted to go to Azerbaijan, for the Baku formula one race. It has been on my dream list for years. However I had no idea of what else I could see when I go. My favourite has to be Gobustan – I would love to see this place for myself!

  26. Azerbaijan is very high on my bucket list and I’m waiting for my daughter to grow up a little more before we go and explore this region. Great itinerary and its good you had a good amount of time to explore the region. Gobustan looks like something out of this world! I love experiencing nature at its best. I’m sure I would love it!

  27. The first time I heard about Azerbaijan is when I met a national from this country while attending a training in Europe. The landscapes and its off the beaten appeal inspires me to discover the place myself. Nakhchivan almost looks and sounds like a secret hideout for me. 🙂

  28. Thank you for this wonderful intorduction to this country I know very little about! The mud volcanos at Gobustan Nationa Park sound incredible and a force of nature I haven’t seen in that way before. The history and culture of the Silk Road in fascinating and would make Sheki a city I’d be interested in seeing as well.

  29. Wow! Azerbaijan looks incredible! I’ve never looked into visiting the country and now I’m smitten!
    Khinalug looks the most interesting, even if not for their location, but for their unique language and culture.
    Sheki sounds awesome. That would probably top my list of where to go.

  30. I visited most countries surrounding Azerbaijan but not Azerbaijan yet and this article provided me with so many great information about it. I hope I can make it there in 2019 or 2020. I’m so glad I came across this article, I’m definitely bookmarking it for future reference.

  31. I’ve always been intrigued by Azerbaijan. There are so many different cultural influences, and I’m sure it helps to make that country so unique. Sheki looks like an interesting place to visit as well as Ganja.

  32. Azerbaijan looks and sounds like such an interesting and beautiful country. It’s definitely a country on my list and l really like all your additional tips. Khingalung sounds so very interesting especially because of the culture. Volcanoes yes please too

  33. We’ve been doing research for our next trip which will be along the Ancient Silk Road. But we’ll start in China then head to Uzbekistan. However, Azerbaijan is also on our bucket list! The architecture in Sheki looks so stunning, and the landscapes are really breathtaking! It’s good to know that most people visit Georgia and Azebaijan together. So we’ll probably do that to after seeing the eastern part of the silk road. Thanks for this great post and all the useful tips! I’m saving it for later.

  34. Oh nice! I am from Russia, and we kinda tend to underestimate the countries, that are to the south of us. Azerbaijan looks fantastic, with many historical sites and beautiful landscapes. I really wanna go, just looking for a good company, since don’t like traveling solo.

  35. Wow, all the places are enticing me to plan a trip Azerbaijan soon. Gobustan is truely spectacular, This will be a destination worth visiting. Lovely compilation on places to visit in Azerbaijan. The history and culture of the country is a selling point for me. Thanks for the share.

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