If you’re looking for Baku travel information, then you’ve come to the right place. The capital of Azerbaijan is a hidden gem. People who visit here note the amazing architecture that seems reminiscent of both Paris and Dubai. Few cities have experienced the same rich history of Baku. This Unesco-listed old city lies within a fortress wall surrounded by stone mansions and tree-lined streets.
It was in 2006, that the city experienced its second oil boom which turned it into a place of newer development as well. Architectural experimentation taking place here has led to the development of amazing new buildings. If you’re planning a trip to Baku, then you won’t want to miss a thing. This guide provides valuable tips on how to best experience what the area has to offer.
Best Things to Do
These are some of the top attractions in the area that you won’t want to miss:
- Seafront Walkway- this is a hot spot that stretches along the coast of the Caspian Sea. Popular with tourists and locals alike, this is a pleasant place to enjoy strolling. Enjoy this in the cooler early evening.
- Wander through the streets in Old Town- This is the stone-walled core of Baku. You’ll find cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, and attractions you won’t want to miss. The top places to see here are the Maiden Tower and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs. As you go throughout the city, enjoy stopping for a meal or snack at a local cafe and spend some time in the shops.
- Palace of the Shirvanshahs- this is a medieval palace from the 15th century. It was badly damaged in the 18th century but has been restored recently so you won’t want to miss it.
- Maiden Tower- this tower was built in the 12th century but could have been even early. The purpose of the building is not know but it’s the subject of legends and mysteries. You can climb to the top of the tower for great views of the entire city.
- Heydar Aliyev Center- named after the former president of Azerbaijan, this center is the cultural hotspot of Baku. It features concerns, exhibits, cultural events, and other programs. It is a modern building and designed by architect Zaha Hadid. Take time to enjoy the building and review the schedule to pop in for a concert or exhibit.
- Martyrs Lane- this memorial and cemetery is a good way to experience the area’s rich history through the memorials for citizens and soldiers. You’ll see many stories about citizens who put their lives on the line for Azerbaijani independence during the Soviet invasion as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh War. If you’re not familiar with the history of the country, this is a great way to learn more.
- Mosques- there are many mosques in the country as 97% of its citizens are Muslim. Some of the best ones to visit include Cuma Mosque or Teze Pir Mosque. Make sure that you visit between prayers when they’re open for the public.
- Nizami Museum of Literature- named after the greates poet in Persian history, there are statues of Nizami around the city. Take a guided tour to learn more about his work. You’ll find a great deal of information about the literary tradition of the area.
Planning Your Trip
Baku is a sprawling city which can seem overwhelming when planning to visit here. The city is open to travelers although you will need to arrange for a visa before going. It’s fairly easy to fill out an application and pay a small fee but make sure that you do this in advance.
There are any number of places to stay. You can find chain hotels which offer consistent service although there are options for any budget. Accommodations here are relatively inexpensive so you may be able to find a hotel for much less than other locations.
The best time of year to visit is between June and September. These are when the days are both dry and warm. The winter brings more rain which may put a damper on your trip. The weather never gets very cold though so you can travel as desired.
One important area to consider is what you pack on your trip. You’ll spend a great deal of time walking so comfortable clothing and shoes are a must. It’s often windy and the overall atmosphere is very conservative so you’ll want to wear clothes that are more covering. Make sure to bring a sarong that can be used to cover head and shoulders if planning to visit any mosques. Also, a comfortable daypack and fleece jacket will come in handy.
Enjoying the Trip
Baku is known as a safe place to travel and there’s no shortage of things to do. Use these tips to find great places to visit and get the most out of your journey.