Azerbaijan

AZERBAIJAN TRAVEL GUIDE

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Step away Turkey! Azerbaijan is the original 'East-meets-West' destination! Placed at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, this former Soviet Republic (barely bigger than Ireland!), boasts an astonishing variety of natural wonders from snow-capped mountains and bubbling mud volcanoes to sandy deserts and subtropical forests. Azerbaijan swings comfortably between modern city-scapes and Arabian night-esque exotica whilst providing some of the most extraordinary landscapes in all of Caucasia.

 

Partly thanks to the imposing Caucasus MOuntains the northern parts are arguably the prettiest part of the country. Around the misty peaks of this 4466 m behemoth bears, wolves and leopards still roam freely and nomadic shepherds to this day move their flocks along the slopes of the mountains in search of fresh pasture - as they have done for thousands of years. Meanwhile, a mere stone throws away, the capital of Baku buzzes in a confusing conflict between its old town heritage and modern architecture. Along the boulevards of downtown Baku, Nouveau riche residents flutter between expensive boutiques, exclusive shops, and luxury hotels. Modern Azerbaijan is a sovereign state and, although Islamic, the mood seems distinctly secular.

 

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Azerbaijan
 

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AZERBAIJAN QUICK FACTS

  • Capital: Baku (Baki)

  • Currency: Azerbaijani manat (AZN)

  • Area: 86,600km²

  • Population: 9,047,000 (Aug 2010)

  • Language: Azerbaijani (Azeri) 93.4% (official), Russian 2.5%, Lezgin 2.2%, other 1.9%

  • Religion: Muslim 95.4%, Russian Orthodox 2.8%, other 1.8%

  • Electricity: 220V/50Hz (European plug)

 

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AZERBAIJAN PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • 20 January, National Day of Mourning

  • 8 March, Women’s Day

  • 20 March, Now Rouz (Persian New Year)

  • 9 May, Victory Day

  • 28 May, Republic Day

  • 15 June, National Day of Salvation

  • 26 June, Armed Forces Day

  • 18 October, Independence Day

  • 9 November, State Flag Day

  • 31 December, Solidarity Day of World Azerbaijanis

Also, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

FESTIVALS IN AZERBAIJAN

Azerbaijan
 

BEST TIME TO VISIT AZERBAIJAN

Azerbaijan’s climate is highly varied, with different areas of the country containing examples of nine of the world’s eleven climate zones. This includes semi-arid, temperate, warm-temperate, cold, and tundra zones, meaning that there are marked variations in average annual temperate and precipitation in different regions. In general, more mountainous parts of Azerbaijan receive higher levels of precipitation and lower average temperatures than the central lowlands and Caspian Sea coast, where the climate is drier and hotter.

 

The best time to visit Azerbaijan is during spring (March-June) when the weather is warm and the foliage is in full bloom. The summer months (July-September) can be depressingly hot and humid, particularly in the capital, Baku, but these are also the best months to go hiking in the mountains.

 

Although temperatures along the Caspian coastline remain mild throughout winter (November-February), the mercury dip well below freezing further inland - as shown in the chart below. The mountains during the winter months are covered in snow and can be very treacherous to traverse. Though downpours do occur throughout the country, most of the rainfall is confined to the western parts.

 

AZERBAIJAN WEATHER SYNOPSIS

Azerbaijan

AZERBAIJAN TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

JANUARY

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COLD

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WET

FEBRUARY

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MARCH

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APRIL

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MAY

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JUNE

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JULY

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AUGUST

HOT

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SEPTEMBER

HOT

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OCTOBER

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NOVEMBER

HOT

COLD

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DECEMBER

HOT

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WET

 

HOT MONTHS:

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MODERATE MONTHS:

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SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW SPORT IN AZERBAIJAN

The snow sports season in Azerbaijan is from mid-December until mid-April.

HIKING & CYCLING IN AZERBAIJAN

The best time for outdoor activities in Azerbaijan is from April to October. July and August can be hot but perfect for hiking the higher altitudes.

BEACH OPTIONS IN AZERBAIJAN

Azerbaijan has a hot summer from June to August. These are just some of the best beaches: Bilgah Beach, Amburan Beach Club, Shikhov Beach, Absheron Peninsula Beaches, Nabran, Pirsagi and Lankaran.

SURFING IN AZERBAIJAN

KITESURF IN AZERBAIJAN

Looking to kitesurf in Azerbaijan? Check out the Blueplanet resort in the Khizi region’s village of Shuraabad, near Baku.

For more details on kite surfing in Azerbaijan expand this section!

 
 

HEALTH RISKS IN AZERBAIJAN

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Azerbaijan

Yellow fever - The yellow fever virus is found in tropical and subtropical areas of Africa and South America. The virus is spread to people by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no medicine to treat or cure an infection. To prevent getting sick from yellow fever, use insect repellent, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and get vaccinated.

Zika Virus - Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika.

Malaria - Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented.

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

AZERBAIJAN TRAVEL COSTS

Although it’s rich in oil money, Azerbaijan is still an affordable destination. Baku can be kind of expensive but, once you leave the capital, prices drop considerably and it’s easy to see a lot and spend a little, especially since so much of the country revolves around hiking and the outdoors.

 

AZERBAIJAN TRAVEL TIPS

 

SIGHTS & HIGHLIGHTS OF AZERBAIJAN

For a small country, Azerbaijan packs a powerful punch. Situated on the Caspian Sea, it offers visitors an enticing mix of seaside fun, stunning cities, unspoiled nature, remarkable historical attractions, and some of the most incredible national parks in the world.

 

CITIES

Baku - capital and largest, most cosmopolitan city of the Caucasus.

  • Visit Maiden Tower in Baku for wonderful views of the city.

  • Take in the breathtaking views of Flag Square, Baku Crystal Hall, and the Caspian Sea from Martyr's Alley.

  • Wander around the Old Town, Baku aimlessly - really try to get lost and soak up the atmosphere in this wonderful old town.

Ganja - Azerbaijan's second-largest city has a long history and some important sites.

Lankaran - a southern city near the Iranian border.

Mingechivir - a mid-sized city on the large Mingechivir Reservoir.

Naftalan - best known for its special petroleum oil baths (spas).

Nakhichevan City - the administrative capital of Azerbaijan's Nakhchivan exclave.

Sheki - a beautiful city in the forested Caucasus Mountains with plenty to see and do.

Sumqayit - Azerbaijan's third-largest city, on the Absheron Peninsula.

Khachmaz - the largest tourist destination in Azerbaijan with great beaches and beautiful forests.

Shusha - one of the most beautiful cities of Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh, which was populated mostly by Azerbaijanians till 1991. However, the city still remains under occupation and lost its beauty after the war.

 

OTHER DESTINATIONS

  • Khinalug - scenic, remote mountain village once a centre of Zoroastrianism; today the few inhabitants are an ethnic isolate believed to be descendants of the Caucasus Albanians (Not to be confused with modern-day Albanians of Albania in south-eastern Europe who are entirely unrelated to them).

  • Mud volcanoes which spout up in over 300 locations nationwide, constitute more than half the total throughout the world, each site with its own character.

  • Caspian Hyrcanian forests found near the Iranian border

  • Tears of Kyapaz a string of seven idyllic mountain lakes near Mount Kyapaz and Nagorno-Karabakh

  • Visit Gobustan open-air rock art preserve and modern museum located in Gobustan National Park.

WHAT TO PACK FOR AZERBAIJAN

 
Azerbaijan

WHAT TO EAT IN AZERBAIJAN

Azerbaijani food combines elements from both Turkish and central Asia. While Baku has an excellent selection of international restaurants, from Japanese fusion to Italian, in most rural restaurants the humble kebab most definitely reigns supreme. A special place in the Azerbaijani cuisine belongs to lamb kebabs, of which you will find many varieties. Vegetarians might end up eating a great deal of salad and lentil soup as most of the local dishes contain meat.

 

LOCAL SPECIALITIES

  • Lule kebab - spiced, minced lamb pressed on to skewers before grilling.

  • Dograma - milky potato, cucumber and onion soup served cold.

  • Piti - mutton and chickpea soup – a real Sheki speciality.

  • Qutab - pancakes stuffed with spinach, herbs or meat.

  • Badimjan dolmasi - lamb and a herb-stuffed trio of aubergine, tomato and green pepper.

  • Dushpara - soup made with mutton stock containing small pieces of pasta.

  • Toyuk levengisi - chicken stuffed with nuts and dried fruits.

  • Shirin plov - meat and rice pilaf with nuts and dried fruit.

  • Monastirski - chicken or lamb topped with melted cheese and pomegranate sauce.

  • Coban salatasi - finely chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumber and herbs.

  • Shabat - a soft iced drink made of sugar, various fruits and herbs.

  • Darchin chai - tea, flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and, occasionally, rosewater.

 

LGBTQ IN AZERBAIJAN

 
Azerbaijan
 

WHERE TO STAY IN AZERBAIJAN

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