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We're Andre & Lisa, adventurers and experienced budget travelers.

We have over two decades of travel experience and since 2018 have led a full-time nomadic lifestyle.

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AZERBAIJAN TRAVEL GUIDE

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.

COUNTRY PAGE
  • 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)

  • Fun Facts: Azerbaijan, is home to Yanar Dagh, a natural fire that has been burning for thousands of years due to gas seeping through the soil. The country's flag symbolizes its Turkic heritage, Islamic faith, and European influences.

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SEASONS AT A GLANCE

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Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

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Climate Chart with avergae monthly temperatues and rainfall

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.

BEST TIME FOR:

Azerbaijan offers a variety of beautiful beaches along the Caspian Sea, with some of the most popular being Bilgah Beach, Crescent Beach, and Nabran. These beaches are known for their golden sands and family-friendly environments. 


The best time to visit these beaches is during the spring, from March to May, or in the autumn months, particularly in September and October, when the weather is mild and pleasant.

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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.

 

The cost of traveling to Azerbaijan will depend on various factors such as the time of year, mode of transportation, and type of accommodation. However, on average, a budget-friendly trip to Azerbaijan can cost around $50-70 USD per day for accommodations, food, and transportation. This can vary depending on the level of luxury desired and the specific activities and sights you plan to visit. It would be best to research and compare prices for flights, accommodation, and transportation to get a more accurate estimate of the cost of your trip.

 

Here are some sample costs you might expect when visiting Azerbaijan:

  • Accommodation: A budget hotel room can cost around $20-30 USD per night, while a mid-range hotel room can cost around $50-70 USD per night. A luxury hotel room can cost $100 USD or more per night.
  • Food: A meal at a local restaurant can cost around $5-10 USD per person. Street food and snacks can be found for as little as $1-2 USD.
  • Transportation: A one-way ticket on public transportation can cost around $0.50 USD, while a taxi ride within the city can cost around $5-10 USD. A domestic flight within Azerbaijan can cost around $30-50 USD.
  • Activities: Entrance fees to museums and historical sites can range from $1-5 USD. A guided tour of the city can cost around $20-30 USD per person.

Please note that these are just estimates and prices may vary depending on the location, time of year, and other factors. It's always best to research and compare prices for specific dates and locations to get a more accurate estimate of the cost of your trip.

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR AZERBAIJAN

Before You Go:

Visa Requirements:

  • Many nationalities can apply for an e-visa through the ASAN Visa system. Ensure you check the specific requirements for your country.

  • The visa process is relatively straightforward but apply at least a few weeks in advance.

Health Precautions:

  • No special vaccinations are required, but it’s always good to check with your healthcare provider.

  • Carry any prescription medications you need along with a copy of your prescription.

Currency:

  • The local currency is the Azerbaijani Manat (AZN).

  • ATMs are widely available in cities, and credit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants. However, carry some cash for smaller shops or rural areas.




While You're There:

Transportation:

  • Baku Metro: Efficient and inexpensive way to get around the city.

  • Taxis: Use official taxis or ride-hailing apps like Bolt or Uber. Always agree on a fare before starting the ride if the taxi doesn’t have a meter.

  • Public Transport: Buses and minibusses (marshrutkas) are common but can be crowded.

Cultural Sensitivity:

  • Azerbaijan is a Muslim-majority country, so dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.

  • Learn a few phrases in Azerbaijani or Russian; locals appreciate the effort even if they speak some English.

Safety:

  • Azerbaijan is generally safe for tourists, but always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings.

  • Avoid the Nagorno-Karabakh region due to ongoing conflicts.

Food and Drink:

  • Try local dishes like plov (pilaf), dolma (stuffed grape leaves), and kebabs.

  • Tap water is generally safe in major cities, but bottled water is recommended for tourists.


Communication:

  • SIM cards are cheap and can be purchased at the airport or local shops. Azercell, Bakcell, and Nar are the main providers.

  • Wi-Fi is widely available in hotels, cafes, and restaurants.

Tipping:

  • Tipping is not mandatory but appreciated. In restaurants, a 10% tip is customary if service is good.


Local Etiquette:

  • Be respectful of local customs and traditions.

  • When invited to someone's home, it’s polite to bring a small gift, such as sweets or flower.

Here are some travel tips for Azerbaijan:

  • Visa: Visitors from most countries will need a visa to enter Azerbaijan. It's best to check the visa requirements and apply for one in advance.

  • Currency: The official currency of Azerbaijan is the Azerbaijani Manat (AZN). It's best to have some cash on hand as not all places accept credit cards.

  • Language: Azerbaijani is the official language, but many people in the tourism industry speak English.

  • Dress Code: Azerbaijan is a Muslim-majority country, and it's considered respectful to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.

  • Transportation: Taxis are widely available and relatively inexpensive. They can be flagged down on the street or ordered by phone. Public transportation is also an option, but it may be less convenient for travelers.

  • Safety: Azerbaijan is generally considered a safe country for tourists. However, it's always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings and take standard safety precautions.

  • Food: Azerbaijani cuisine is a mix of Mediterranean, Central Asian, and Caucasus flavors. Some traditional dishes include dolma (stuffed grape leaves), plov (pilaf rice), and kebab.

  • Respect: Azerbaijan is a relatively conservative country, so it's important to respect local customs and traditions.

  • Weather: Azerbaijan has a dry and sunny climate, but the weather can be quite hot in the summer. So, it is best to bring sunscreen, a hat, and lightweight clothing.

  • Information: It's a good idea to have a guidebook or map with you when traveling in Azerbaijan. It will help you to find your way around and make your trip more comfortable.



REGIONS & 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.

 

Azerbaijan is divided into several regions, each with its own unique culture and attractions. Here are some of the main regions of Azerbaijan and the highlights of each region:

  • Baku: This is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan. The highlights of Baku include the Old City, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the Maiden Tower and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs. The city also boasts several museums, parks, and modern architectural landmarks such as the Flame Towers and the Heydar Aliyev Center.
  • Absheron Peninsula: This region is located east of Baku and is known for its beautiful beaches, mud volcanoes, and the Ateshgah Fire Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Guba: This region is located in the northeastern part of Azerbaijan and is known for its beautiful landscapes, including the Gudial Chay Nature Reserve, which is home to a variety of plant and animal species.
  • Gabala: This region is located in the northwest of Azerbaijan and is known for its stunning landscapes, including the Caucasus Mountains, and its traditional culture. The highlights of this region include the Nij settlement, the ancient city of Gabala and the Tufandag Winter-Summer Tourism Complex
  • Lankaran: This region is located in the south of Azerbaijan and is known for its hot springs, beautiful landscapes, and the Hirkan National Park, which is home to a variety of plant and animal species.
  • Sheki: This region is located in the northwest of Azerbaijan and is known for its traditional architecture, including the Sheki Khan's Palace, and its beautiful landscapes, such as the Sheki Zagatala Reserve.
  • Nakhchivan: This is an autonomous republic located in the southwest of Azerbaijan, it is known for its rich history, including the Juma Mosque and the Nakhchivan Museum of Local Lore.

These are just a few examples of the many regions of Azerbaijan, each with its own unique culture and attractions. It's best to research and plan your trip to make the most of your visit.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN AZERBAIJAN

Azerbaijan offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors, here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Azerbaijan:

  • Visit the Old City of Baku: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the Maiden Tower, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, and many other historical and cultural landmarks.

  • See the Flame Towers: These three skyscrapers are the tallest buildings in Baku, and offer an amazing view of the city from the observation deck.

  • Visit the Heydar Aliyev Center: This modern architectural masterpiece is a cultural center designed by the world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid.

  • Relax on the beaches of the Absheron Peninsula: This region is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Azerbaijan, such as the beaches of Novkhani and Bilgah.

  • Explore the Gudial Chay Nature Reserve: This reserve is located in Guba and is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including endangered Caucasian leopards.

  • Visit the Ateshgah Fire Temple: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of fire, which is located in the Absheron Peninsula.

  • Visit the Gabala and Nij: This region offers a variety of activities such as visiting the ancient city of Gabala, home to many historical and cultural landmarks, and the Tufandag Winter-Summer Tourism Complex, which offers ski slopes and cable cars.

  • Explore the Hirkan National Park: This park is located in Lankaran and is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including the endangered Caucasian leopard and the Caucasian deer.

  • Visit Sheki: This region offers a variety of activities such as visiting the Sheki Khan's Palace, and the Sheki Zagatala Reserve, which is home to a variety of plant and animal species.

  • Visit Nakhchivan: This autonomous republic offers a variety of activities such as visiting the Juma Mosque, the Nakhchivan Museum of Local Lore and the Khan's Palace.

These are just a few examples of the many things to see and do in Azerbaijan. It's best to research and plan your trip in advance to make the most of your visit.

Azerbaijan offers a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors, here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Azerbaijan:

  • Visit the Old City of Baku: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the Maiden Tower, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, and many other historical and cultural landmarks.

  • See the Flame Towers: These three skyscrapers are the tallest buildings in Baku and offer an amazing view of the city from the observation deck.

  • Visit the Heydar Aliyev Center: This modern architectural masterpiece is a cultural center designed by the world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid.

  • Relax on the beaches of the Absheron Peninsula: This region is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Azerbaijan, such as the beaches of Novkhani and Bilgah.

  • Explore the Gudial Chay Nature Reserve: This reserve is located in Guba and is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including endangered Caucasian leopards.


  • Visit the Ateshgah Fire Temple: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of fire, which is located in the Absheron Peninsula.

  • Visit the Gabala and Nij: This region offers a variety of activities such as visiting the ancient city of Gabala, home to many historical and cultural landmarks, and the Tufandag Winter-Summer Tourism Complex, which offers ski slopes and cable cars.

  • Explore the Hirkan National Park: This park is located in Lankaran and is home to a variety of plant and animal species, including the endangered Caucasian leopard and the Caucasian deer.

  • Visit Sheki: This region offers a variety of activities such as visiting the Sheki Khan's Palace, and the Sheki Zagatala Reserve, which is home to a variety of plant and animal species.

  • Visit Nakhchivan: This autonomous republic offers a variety of activities such as visiting the Juma Mosque, the Nakhchivan Museum of Local Lore and the Khan's Palace.


These are just a few examples of the many things to see and do in Azerbaijan. It's best to research and plan your trip in advance to make the most of your visit.

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.

  • Dolma: This dish is made of grape leaves stuffed with meat, rice and herbs. It's a popular dish in Azerbaijan and can be served as a main course or as an appetizer.
  • Plov: This is a traditional dish made of rice, meat, and vegetables. It's a staple of Azerbaijani cuisine and can be found in most restaurants.
  • Kebab: Azerbaijan is known for its delicious kebabs, which are made of meat grilled on a skewer. Some popular varieties include lyula kebab (made of ground meat), and shashlik (made of large chunks of meat).
  • Dovga: This is a traditional Azerbaijani soup made of yogurt, vegetables, and herbs. It's considered a healthy and light dish and is perfect for hot summer days
  • Piti: A traditional Azerbaijani stew made of meat and vegetables that are cooked in a clay pot and served with yogurt and herbs.
  • Qutab: A traditional Azerbaijani dish made of thinly rolled dough filled with meat, greens or cheese.
  • Gogal: A traditional Azerbaijani sweet made from flour, eggs, sugar, and butter.
  • Pomegranate Juice: Azerbaijan is known for its delicious pomegranate juice, which is made of fresh pomegranates and is available in most restaurants and cafes.

These are just a few examples of the many delicious dishes you can try when visiting Azerbaijan. Be sure to try as many as you can while you're there and ask locals for recommendations as well.

LGBTQ IN AZERBAIJAN

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WHERE TO STAY IN AZERBAIJAN

When visiting Azerbaijan for the first time, choosing the right area or region to stay in can significantly shape your experience of the country's rich culture, history, and landscapes. Here are some recommendations along with accommodation suggestions for each category: budget, mid-range, and luxury.


Where to stay in Baku:

Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, offers a captivating mix of ancient heritage and modern cosmopolitan vibes, boasting UNESCO-listed Old City, futuristic architecture, and vibrant nightlife, making it an ideal base for exploring the country.

  • Budget: Sahil Hostel & Hotel Baku - Affordable dormitory and private rooms with a central location, providing easy access to major attractions.

  • Mid-range: Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers - Stylish accommodations with stunning views of the city and Caspian Sea, coupled with excellent amenities and service.

  • Luxury: Four Seasons Hotel Baku - Luxurious rooms, impeccable service, and a prime location in the heart of Baku, offering unparalleled comfort and indulgence.


Where to stay in Gabala:

Gabala, nestled amidst the picturesque Greater Caucasus Mountains, is a serene retreat known for its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions, providing a peaceful escape from the city.

  • Budget: Qafqaz Riverside Resort Hotel - Affordable accommodations surrounded by lush greenery, featuring basic yet comfortable rooms and convenient access to outdoor adventures.

  • Mid-range: Riverside Hotel Gabala - A cozy hotel offering well-appointed rooms, a tranquil setting by the river, and amenities like a spa and indoor pool.

  • Luxury: Qafqaz Tufandag Resort Hotel - A luxurious resort boasting elegant rooms, upscale dining options, and a range of recreational facilities including a golf course and spa.


Where to stay in Sheki:

Sheki, a historic city nestled in the foothills of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, is renowned for its ancient Silk Road heritage, architectural marvels like the Sheki Khan's Palace, and scenic surroundings, offering a glimpse into Azerbaijan's rich cultural tapestry.

  • Budget: Sheki Palace Hotel - Comfortable rooms at reasonable prices, conveniently located near the city center and major attractions.

  • Mid-range: FGarden Hotel Sheki - A charming hotel featuring traditional Azerbaijani decor, spacious rooms, and a tranquil garden setting.


For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like Booking.com for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.


It's important to note that prices can vary depending on the season and events happening in the city, so it's best to research and compare prices in advance. Make sure to read reviews and check the location of the accommodation before making a booking.

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Booking.com is our number one resource for researching and booking accommodation. In addition to Booking.com, we have found Agoda.com to consistently returns the cheapest rates in Southeast Asia. For longer stays, find unique homes worldwide on Holiday Swap, the most affordable travel platform that allows you to book homes anytime, anywhere in only a few clicks.

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DiscoverCars.com is a leader in online car rental bookings; we compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip. 12Go connects the world door-to-door, from transfers to flights, under the same user-friendly ticket.

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