Azerbaijan
Baku Market

Azerbaijan being an easy gate to Central Asia we decided on two things. First to travel the country by road from West (Singnaghi – Georgia) to East (Baku – Azerbaijan). Second to cross the border to Aktau – Kazakhstan by ferry. This might not be the shortest route but definitely the one for experiencing new adventures. We had only few days to spare in Azerbaijan before embarking. Here is the best of what we have seen and what was recommended to us to visit.

Sheki Town

If at first you think there is nothing to Sheki wait to see the old town and taste its homestyle food and local meat. Wonder around the streets and visit Caravanserai, the Winter palace and the Summer palace in the old town. In the evening try out an ancient style Sheki meal (“Pity”) made of mutton and potatoes at a local restaurant. Two nights are sufficient to discover the town on your way to or from Baku. People travelling on a budget should stay at the very friendly and amazing Zengereb Hostel, the ones looking for a different experience (although expensive) should stay at the Marxal Hotel complex. There are many other affordable B&B for you to choose.

Sheki Old Town
Caravanserai
Winter Palace
Summer Palace

From Sheki to Baku by car

There are 2 ways to head to Baku by car. The Northern Route is a four hours pleasant  and picturesque drive. The Southern Highway is shorter but you will cross the desert. If you decide on the northern route, make sure to stop at the Lake near Gebele and have a tea (try the Wild Thyme Chai) one of the tea place by the side of the road.

Lake near Gebele
Tea House

The Capital of Baku

There are interestingly different sides to Baku. The old town has paved road, fortresses to visit, carpet merchants, local cafés and restaurants. It contrasts with the modern town all around with its impressive buildings like the Hilton Hotel, the Telequlle Restaurant Tower and the iconic Three Flame Towers.

Baku from the Observation deck

There are interestingly different sides to Baku. The old town has paved road, fortresses to visit, carpet merchants, local cafés and restaurants. It contrasts with the modern town all around with its impressive buildings like the Hilton Hotel, the Telequlle Restaurant Tower and the iconic Three Flame Towers.

To best visit the city, walk up from the Fountains Square to the Promenade stretching along the Caspian sea, cross the Milli park up to Baku Eye and then cross the main road E119 to reach the Funicular. Go up (you can also take the stairs) to the Upland Park at the Observation deck where you can get an impressive view back down to the city. Once up there, visit the Martyrs’ Lane, Eternal Flame Memorial and the Şəhidlər Xiyabanı Məscidi. Make a stop at the Flame Towers Hotel and get to the 28th floor (for free) to enjoy another view of Baku. If you don’t stay there for the night, why not booking a day at the SPA and the swimming pool for 20Euros.

Fountains Square
Milli Park
Baku Eye
Baku Funicular and Flame Towers

Walk back through Baku’s walled inner city visiting Icheri Sheher, the Maiden Tower. Plenty of restaurants, hotels and hostels are available in the  town for you to stay. Best places are near the city boulevard, the old city (Iceri Sheher) or the main city street called Torgoviy. We stayed in the very friendly hostel at Baku Hostel, right in the city centre.

Baku's walled inner city
Carpet Merchant

What else ?

There are few other sites to visit near Baku and on the peninsula : Gobustan (national park) and the mud volcanoes, Ateshgah (Fire Temple ), Yanar Dag (the burning mountain) Mardakan township and its castle. There are local buses (get a Baku Bus card) but some of these sites are remote. Best to organised a day. For most of these sites it will cost approximately 50Eur per person including entrance fees and lunch. Tours start at 9-10am and finish at 6pm. This could be ideal if you fly out on the same evening from Baku. Check out the LonelyPlanet post for more info.

Although locals like you to stay around Baku, we were recommended others places like Shamakhi (Medieval archaeological ruins), Quba an ancient mountains village, Gandja and Lake Göygöl Lake. Check out TheCutlureTrip post for more info. We had a ferry to Kazakhstan to take so we did not have much time. But it is worth for you to include them in your places to visit in Azerbaijan. 

Make the most of it.

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