Escape from ordinary life to the Land of Fire
What is Azerbaijan Famous for?
Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams or wake up and chase them. Exploring Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire, will set your soul on fire. Incredible discoveries and lifelong memories await you in this country of hypnotic nature, lively culture and unusual natural and manmade attractions.
No matter which way you turn, your urge for adventure can be satiated in this dazzling country. Start your vacation in capital city Baku, the City of Winds guarded by the iconic Flame Towers. Stroll along the Caspian Sea coastline, a meeting point of various cultures and industries, allowing its capricious gusts of wind to carry you to your next experience.
Trace the history of mankind preserved in centuries-old petroglyphs, get dirty at the world-famous mud volcanoes in Gobustan and travel to the age of Zoroastrianism at Ateshgah Fire Temple. Escape the city buzz in the mountainous villages of Lahij and Khinalug, and follow the Silk Road to Sheki, a beautiful city reflecting the true character of local people.
From contemporary art centers to the world's only petroleum spa, with unique traditions of carpet weaving, seasonal dishes, hospitable people and a rich cultural heritage woven into the mix, Azerbaijan tourism has all the ingredients necessary to transform your trip into the vacation of a lifetime.
Is Azerbaijan Safe for Tourists?
Located at the crossroads of southwest Asia and southeastern Europe, Azerbaijan offers not only unique customs and endless attractions, but also safety and warm hospitality. One of the fastest-growing Islamic countries, it was also the first Islamic nation to declare itself a democratic, secular Republic in 1918. Around 95% of the population are Muslim (85% Shia and 15%Sunni), although atheism is quite common among young people. Today, women rarely cover their heads and alcohol is widely available.
Azerbaijan’s crime rate is low, and Baku is as safe as many European cites, with police cars patrolling the streets 24/7. Whether you plan to travel with family, friends or as a solo male or female traveler, the country offers a safe environment for people of many nationalities and confessions, so come prepared to feel welcome throughout your travels.
The government, in conjunction with the Azerbaijan Tourism Board and other agencies, has applied all the safety measures needed to create a comfortable environment for international festivals, cultural activities and sports competitions. Consequently, Azerbaijan has hosted many international and regional events, including the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest, 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, Chess World Cup 2015, the Inaugural European Games and the 2016 F1 European Grand Prix.
When visiting Azerbaijan, simply follow standard safety measures that you would anywhere in the world. Show respect for the local religion, government and traditions by being considerate, refraining from participation in public demonstrations and avoiding discussions regarding the conflict with Armenia. And remember, a timely smile can go a long way in forging friendships across cultures!
Is Azerbaijan Expensive to Travel?
Azerbaijan tourism statistics confirm that the country has attracted greater numbers of tourists over the past 15 years. As the tourism industry has grown, options for budget travellers and backpackers have expanded with it, so rest assured that you can feed your wanderlust without going broke along the way.
In Baku you can easily find accommodation ranging from famous 5-star hotel chains and luxury penthouses to comfortable B&Bs, hostels and guesthouses. Budget travelers can find decent accommodation starting from 8-10 USD in a hostel dormitory near the city center, while boutique hotels, apartments and guesthouses start from 20-30 USD per night. Prices for room and board outside Baku are even more affordable.
Some mosques do not require entrance fees, and most museums offer detailed information in English, saving you from the necessity of hiring a guide. In Baku, most attractions are centrally located, enabling you to easily explore the city on foot. Public transport, however, is affordable, safe and comfortable; Baku has a cheap and well-developed bus and subway system, and even Uber is quite inexpensive. For longer cross-country rides, you can use buses that cost approximately 7-8 USD for a 5-6-hour trip.
One of the greatest aspects of Azerbaijan tourism is sampling the delicious local cuisine. Along with high-end restaurants, the capital is replete with cozy cafes, bakeries and corner markets selling fresh food, enabling you to spend less without missing out on the joys of Azerbaijani food and drink. For approximately 10-15 USD per person per day, you can enjoy a tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
As Azerbaijan continues to make a name for itself among world travelers, its wide selection of budget, mid-range and luxury travel options only continues to grow.
Types of Tourism
Is Azerbaijan worth visiting? Read through this list of amazing adventures in store for you in country, and we’ll let you be the judge!
Located at the junction of Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan is an irresistible blend of East and West, traditions and modernity, urban bustle and unchanged village life. Each region offers its own unique twist on Azeri culture, while the country as a whole, a Muslim island largely surrounded by Christian nations, provides cultural experiences that you won’t find elsewhere in the Caucasus.
Azerbaijan tourism in Baku combines Soviet-era buildings and modern glass constructions, historical UNESCO sites and romantic seaside boulevards, an active night life and culturally significant religious sites. Walk the cobbled streets of Old Baku before stopping to admire the Flame Towers, a contemporary masterpiece unrivaled in the world.
The vicinities surrounding Baku will add another dimension to your vacation. Azerbaijan is home to nearly a third of the world’s mud volcanoes, whose bizarre chortling and splashes will not be soon forgotten. Ancient petroglyphs in Gobustan transport you to primal civilizations, while the Zoroastrian Ateshgah Temple, where the God of Flame was once believed to have resided, brings history to life before your eyes.
Farther beyond the capital lies Red Village (Krasnaya Sloboda), the largest settlement of Mountain Jews in Azerbaijan, and the ancient village of Khinalug, hidden amid the peaks of the Greater Caucasus. Uncover the country’s religious spirit by visiting the 14th-century Jinn Mosque, historical Juma Mosque and Diri Baba Mausoleum in the village of Maraza, along with a 5th-century Albanian church near Kish.
Lose yourself among the handicraft workshops along the cobblestone streets of the 5th-century mountain village Lahij, soak up the authentic energy of medieval Sheki or take a literal soak in a crude oil bath in Naftalan, famous for its medicinal oils. The beaches of Bilgah and Absheron Peninsula combine mainstream Azerbaijani culture with seaside life, while Shahdag and Tufandag Resorts have the power to transform your winter holiday into a snowy white wonderland.
As diverse as it all sounds, each and every experience is authentic Azerbaijan. Read more ...
Adventure and Nature Tourism
If an unconventional adventure is on your bucket list, Azerbaijan is up to the task. The British Backpacker Society agrees, for based on its 2020 rankings, Azerbaijan should be your next adventure tourism destination.
The country’s untouched nature, rich natural resources, fresh air and diverse, magnificent landscapes create an immense feeling of freedom, making it a natural choice for tourists seeking outdoor thrills.
Your journey can begin with a daring 4x4 off-road adventure to the famous mud volcanos at Gobustan State Reserve, followed by discovery of impressive prehistoric cave paintings. Warm up at Yanar Dag, Azerbaijan’s eternally burning mountain, or go for a swim in the Caspian Sea.
Recapture tranquility in the Shahdag Mountains as you hike its trails, visit remote villages and camp under the starry night sky. A trek amongst Guba’s mountain villages, which lie steeped in enchanting views, is equally satisfying. The city of Gabala, located in the heart of the Caucasus, offers stunning green mountains in summer and snow-capped hills for skiing in winter. Along with its rich cultural heritage, Gabala is also well-known as the birthplace of tasty Azerbaijani wine.
Azerbaijan is famous for its abundance of national parks, where nature lovers will find countless trails that relax body and soul. Discover sundry flora and wildlife at Absheron National Park before resting near the water on its pristine beaches, or immerse yourself in the calming stillness and rich blue colors of Lake Goygol.
The list goes on, from noisy waterfalls and remote medieval castles to mountain sports and kayaking in the Caspian Sea. Be it an extreme sport or a calm appreciation of nature, Azerbaijan lets you chase your outdoor dreams.
Sustainable and Ecotourism
Conscientious ecotourism, a vital segment of Azerbaijan tourism, is a blend of authentic experiences, interactions with locals and support of nature preservations and rural development which can transform an ordinary vacation into a valuable journey.
Gobustan, with its ancient petroglyphs and iconic mud volcanoes, is one of the most visited national parks in Azerbaijan. Another popular destination for sustainable tourism is Absheron Peninsula, a protected area near Baku which attract visitors with its gorgeous semi-desert terrain and diverse flora and fauna. If you’re near the coast, unwind for the day at Shirvan National Park, where gorgeous nature blends with the soothing sounds of the Caspian Sea.
Delve into rural life in the remote villages of Laza, Lahij and Kinalug, where the beauty of lofty mountains, the taste of delicious food and the warmth of local hospitality are as authentic as it gets. Weave Azerbaijani carpets in the ancient city of Guba or take a cooking class to learn how to make local dishes from scratch, including the country’s most popular sweets, bukma and pakhlava.
From the beautiful landscapes of Lake Goygyol to the high mountain terrains at Shahdagh National Park, which teem with rare endemic species of animals and birds, sustainable tourism in Azerbaijan supports grassroots efforts while leaving a positive impact on nature. Help preserve the authenticity of the places you visit for the generations to come as you support a brighter future for Azerbaijan and for our planet. Read more...
Medical tourism covers a much broader range of experiences than many people realize, and those who blend a vacation of pleasant leisure with intentional recreation and health care can reap the benefits not only of a healthier body, but also a livelier mind, heart and spirit.
Azerbaijan attracts increasing numbers of tourists each year with its curative resources, and one of the most unusual of all is its mud volcanoes. Around eight hundred mud volcanoes exist in the world, three hundred of which are located in Azerbaijan, and the mud from these volcanoes is used widely in cosmetology and in the treatment of many diseases.
The therapeutic and recreational complex of Galaalti, located 1000 meters above sea level, is another unique destination for health tourism. In 1969, medicinal mineral springs were discovered in the foothills of Galaalti, which quickly became an elite health resort in the USSR. Today, the modern medical-recreational complex provides healing waters in a calm and picturesque setting. Masalli is also famous for its warm healing springs, where in ancient times it was believed that the rejuvenating water was a gift from the gods.
Other popular destinations for medical tourism include salt mines, particularly Duzdagh Cave (Salty Mountain Cave) in Nakhchivan, and Naftalan Resort, where medicinal crude oil is used to treat numerous illnesses. This famous balneotherapeutic health resort, well-known for its oil baths, was established in 1926.
Any holistic approach to health should include the essentials of rejuvenating air and a relaxing environ, both of which Azerbaijan has in abundance. Snow-capped mountains, fun memories and the opportunity to unwind from a hectic schedule have also proven beneficial to many a weary traveler who discovered just what they needed amidst the sights and sounds of the Caucasus. Read more...
Summer and Beach Vacations
Without a doubt, summer is the most anticipated season of the year, and many would agree that summer is the best time to visit Azerbaijan, whose Caspian Sea shores lie ready with endless options for your next summer holiday.
No matter your sphere of interest, Azerbaijan’s coastline will likely exceed your expectations. From day trips to monthlong stays, camping in the mountains amidst the soothing sounds of pristine rivers to luxury 5-star hotels with breathtaking views of the sea, there is something for everyone to enjoy here. Deep dive into the summer spirit on its numerous sandy beaches, which offer several seaside resorts that are perfect for a vacation with friends or family. Solo travelers can likewise feel safe among the crowds and are sure to meet fun fellow travelers.
Mardakan Beach and the beach village of Bilgah are defined by romantic sunsets, calming waves, a well- developed infrastructure and hospitable locals. Located just 40 kilometers from Baku, they are ideal places to get away from the heat and noise of the city. Shikhov is another popular holiday destination near Baku. The village’s hotels and well-equipped beaches, most notably Crescent Beach, attract visitors with their charm and addictive seaside views.
For people seeking tranquility and romance, the lounge chairs and peaceful, gorgeous surroundings on less crowded beaches such as Pirshagi, Nardaran and Zagulba are recommended.
For summer adventures that don’t involve sand and sea, Azerbaijan offers numerus musical festivals and international events. Prominent musicians from all over the world perform at the Zhara and Gabala Musical Festivals, while food carnivals will add tasty memories to your trip.
Be it a seaside vacation at the Absheron Peninsula resorts, water sports at Shuraabad or a summer hike in the majestic Caucasus Mountains, a little bit of summer in Azerbaijan can set the tone for a great year to follow.
As Julia Childs once said, people who love to eat are always the best people. Food tourism in Azerbaijan bridges the gap between culinary masterpieces and the culture in which it is entwined. Discover your new favorite dishes in Azerbaijan, where delicious cuisine is all the more enjoyable when indulged amid beautiful scenery and warm hospitality.
Azerbaijani cuisine was influenced by Iran, Turkey and the Mediterranean, yet managed to preserve its distinctive national flair. The dishes are diverse and healthy, combining a variety of meat, fish, vegetables, delicate herbs and savory spices.
Vegetarians will be pleased to fine a selection of raw fruits and vegetables in Azerbaijan. Baku boasts of several vegetarian restaurants, plus meat-free appetizers and side dishes at most local cafes. Try the delicious pomegranate and manqal salads, both of which offer the rich flavors of fresh local produce.
Meat lovers will enjoy local kebab, prepared with various seasoned meats and vegetables, and plov, a rice dish cooked with aromatic herbs, fried meat and vegetables. If you prefer mutton, try the famous lyulya kebab made of barbequed minced lamb on skewers, and delicious kufta bozbash, the national meat soup of Azerbaijan.
Seafood is an important part of Azerbaijan’s culinary identity. The country’s best-known delicacies include black caviar, white sturgeon, Caspian salmon and sardines.
Azeri dolma has more than twenty-five varieties, depending on the region and season. It’s typically a combination of minced mutton and rice infused with herbs and spices. You’ll find it wrapped in vine leaves in the winter and spring, eggplants and peppers during the summer and cabbage leaves in autumn.
Sheki will amaze you with its local piti dish, a lamb stew cooked with vegetables and served in a traditional clay pot. Southern Azerbaijan is best known for levengi, chicken or fish stuffed with walnuts and herbs. If you travel in winter, dushbara soup is the most delicious way to warm up.
Qutab, referred to as local pizza, is a very thin, folded pancake lightly stuffed with meat or sorrel greens, and an ideal snack during your busy sightseeing tours.
Try various local cheeses, yogurts and, most importantly, famous Azeri sweets. Taste baklava, the multi-layered pastry stuffed with nuts and flooded with syrup, or sherbet, a favorite drink of locals made from boiled water, lemon and sugar. And no matter the season in which you plan to visit Azerbaijan, the rejuvenating taste of local tea, served in pear-shaped glasses accompanied by jams and candies, will end your busy and hectic day with a warm, revitalizing energy.
From tasting delicious local food to culinary masterclasses and food festivals, in Azerbaijan you will find that life is endlessly delicious.
Explore new horizons and step out of your comfort zone with one of our Azerbaijan Tourism Packages today. Read more...