By using our website you accept our Cookies Policy. Click here, to know more. I agree

Azerbaijan Country Guide

azerbaijan-travel-tips

Known as 'the country of fire', Azerbaijan is both a country of ancient empires and a country of the present as it is enjoying the riches of its oil reserves. Tourism is fairly new but the government has big plans to boost tourism, so now is the best time to visit Azerbaijan!

The ultimate east-meets-west destination, Azerbaijan is blessed with an astonishing variety of natural landscapes which includes snowcapped mountains, gorges, deserts, subtropical forests, waterfalls and mud volcanoes. Where is Azerbaijan? Situated in the Caucasus, it lies over both Europe and Asia and borders Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran.

The population is 9.7 million and the capital city of Azerbaijan is Baku, which homes around a quarter of the national population. With its UNESCO core and dazzling 21st-century architecture, it is a city of contrasts. It intends to become the Dubai of the Caspian Sea and with its growing number of skyscrapers, it is on its way!

Situated on the Silk Road, and lying between the borders of great empires, Azerbaijan history has come under the influence Perian, Russian, Turkish and Arab rule and has a rich, diverse culture as a result. The majority of the population are Shia Muslim, though many are secular. It is a tolerant, liberal country where Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians live together. In 1918 it became both the first Islamic democracy in the world, and the first to give women the vote.

Things to do in Azerbaijan

There are many things to see in Azerbaijan. Baku is home to many world heritage sites, mosques, museums, art galleries, and theatres. There are also a growing number of popular tourist attractions in Azerbaijan aimed at children including playgrounds and parks which makes it a family holiday in Azerbaijan fun, comfortable and accommodating.

Hiking in Azerbaijan is very popular due to its varying terrain which homes a vast range of wildlife including bears, wolves, leopards and countless species of birds (especially in the mountains in the Caucasus which reach 4,466m. Uncharted territory for most tourists, Azerbaijan offers a sense of real adventure. Beaches in Azerbaijan are beautiful, sandy and peaceful. Beach season kicks off in June and carries through to September.

Food in Azerbaijan is characterized by fresh ingredients and large portions. Due to its unique history, it is an interesting mix between Turkish, Iranian, Caucasian and Mongolian cuisine. Kutabi (stuffed pancakes) are very popular with tourists and locals, they are typically stuffed with pumpkin, vegetables, and meat. Grapes have been growing for thousands of years in Azerbaijan and some excellent wines are produced in the country's vineyards.

Azerbaijan Basic Information

  • Country: Azerbaijan
  • Capital: Baku
  • Population: 10
  • Currency: Manat
  • Language: Azeri, Russian
  • Time Zone: GMT+4

When to Go

Azerbaijan temperatures go as high as 40°C and as low as -20°C, so it’s best to avoid both extremes.

The best months to visit Azerbaijan are April to June and September and October. However, due to the range of activities and attitudes, there are different things to do at different times of the year.

  • April – June: A beautiful time to see Azerbaijan’s stunning landscapes. Although there are showers, they are interspersed with sunny periods and the flowers are in bloom. A great time to go hiking in the mountains.
  • July – August: The Summer gets very hot and can be unbearable. However, July is the best time to go trekking in Azerbaijan higher up in the Caucasus where the temperature is lower.
  • September – October: A great time to visit. Baku and the lowlands, in particular, are very pleasant. In October, the countryside begins to turn brown as the fall sets in.
  • January – February: These are the best months to go skiing in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is a good destination for:

Azerbaijan Entry Requirements

Although some nationalities are exempt from getting a visa, most tourists need to apply for an electronic visa, some can get them on arrival (these are issued at an Azerbaijani embassy or consulate).

You need a have a valid passport with six months validity after the expiry date of the visa applied for.

Citizens of Belarus,  Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan can visit Azerbaijan for up to 30 days without a visa.

Citizens of Bahrain, China, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates, can obtain a visa on arrival for up to 30 days.

Nationalities not included in these lists need to apply for an electronic visa. To apply for an Azerbaijan visa click here.

 

Azerbaijan Country Atractions

Azerbaijan’s rich history, UNESCO heritage sites and natural landscapes mean that there are plenty of sights to see.

Things to see and do in Azerbaijan

  1. Palace of Shaki Khans. This unique UNESCO site is one of Azerbaijan’s most popular tourist attractions. The iconic building features stunning stained-glass windows, rose gardens, decorative tiles and ornate murals.
  2. Maiden’s Tower. This 12th-century world heritage site is clouded in mystery and legend. The museum tells the story of the evolution of the capital city, Baku. You can also climb to the top of the tower for spectacular views of the old city.
  3. Mud volcanoes. There are around 1,000 mud volcanoes in the world and approximately 40% of them are in Azerbaijan. See a landscape which you have never witnessed before and you don’t worry about getting burnt, as the bubbling mud is normally just above freezing.
  4. Palace of the Shirvanshahs. The Azerbaijan dynasty ruled from this sandstone palace during the middle ages. Essentially 15th century, it was restored in 2003 and now includes some entertaining audio-visual elements.
  5. Yanar Dag. The flames from this continuous, natural gas fire reach, blaze three meters into the air. Situated near Baku, the flames never go out. There is natural gas source under the Absheron Peninsula and it seeps through the sandstone to create the phenomenon. It is said the at a shepherd accidentally lit the fire in the 1950s.
  6. Hiking in the Caucasus. Probably the prettiest part of the country, the mountains contain myriad species. Its selection of birdlife is particularly impressive. Its blue skies, spectacular scenery and the sense of adventure is enough to bring the explorer out of anyone.

Travel Tips

  • Learn a little Russian or Azeri. At the moment, most people don’t speak English and Russian is the most important foreign language, though this is likely to change as the tourist industry grows. A few basic phrases can go a long way, so make sure you brush up before you go!
  • Respect local traditions, customs, laws, and religions. Women should dress modestly, especially in rural areas and both men and women should avoid wearing shorts. Public displays of affection are frowned upon.
  • Are there ATMs in Azerbaijan? They are easy to find in the bigger cities though do not expect to find them in the rural areas, it is best to carry cash and cards just in case.
  • Is Azerbaijan safe? People are friendly and tolerant in Azerbaijan and Crime levels are low. However muggings do happen, take the kind of sensible precautions you would take anywhere.
  • If you travel in the winter take precautions. As the temperatures are sub-zero, make sure you take a blanket, shovel, warm clothes, a torch and some snacks, in case you get stuck in the snow.
  • Be careful on the roads. You can drive in Azerbaijan with an international driving license but some of the drivers are careless and there are frequent accidents so take care. There are also strict rules on speed limits and a zero tolerance drink driving policy.