Contrary to what you might believe, Azerbaijan tourism is not a new phenomenon. It has been around for centuries as people have been fascinated with this gorgeous country that melds the old and the new with such seamless perfection. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the capital city of Baku with the tall stunning Flame Towers reaching for the sky standing in tandem with the Old City.
But Azerbaijan has much more to offer. There are palaces and mud volcanoes (around 3000 of them) and beaches and mountains and pre-historic sites and ancient monuments. This diverse landscape has something for everyone, as tourists have now discovered and are now flocking to the country. The museums here are also an excellent way to learn about the rich culture of Azerbaijan while nature lovers can rejoice in the lush green forests and relax in the national parks here. Azerbaijan tourism encompasses it all.
Azerbaijan is a country located in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. What is striking about the geography of this region is that there are three main physical features here which influence everything – the Caspian Sea, the Greater Caucasus mountain range and flatland in the centre of the country. Much of the country is surrounded by mountains except for the Eastern part with the Caspian shoreline.
The climate in Azerbaijan is varied. In fact, there are as many as 9 different climate patterns here. The central lowland has semi desert climate while the hills in the south face mild, dry winters. The coastal regions are typically warm and the areas near the mountains can get quite cold. The best time to visit Azerbaijan is often between May and September as the weather is pleasant and comfortable.
Azerbaijan has a largely Muslim population, but it is a secular country and the common languages spoken here include Azeri and Russian. The culture is hugely influenced by Iran, Turkey and Russia. From its buildings to its folk dances to the ancient Azerbaijani crafts that have survived the test of time, the culture here is very fascinating. The food here is also a significant part of their culture. Delicious, rich, using fresh produce and often lamb and poultry, this is an entirely delightful aspect to Azerbaijan and gourmands will surely appreciate the variety on offer.
The contrasting geographical features of Azerbaijan are refreshingly different from each other. Azerbaijan tourism is often focused on its beaches where many come for a refreshing summer holiday. But the many cities here offer a number of treasures to explore, sights to see and remember that you will surely want to visit again.
Baku, the capital city is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s modern city centre juxtaposes against the historic old town without any clash. A prime example would be the iconic Flame Towers that light up after dusk residing comfortably with the medieval part of the town called Icheri Seher with its predominantly Islamic style of architecture.
To enjoy more beauty as part of Azerbaijan tourism, do visit Astara with its verdant rainforest and the Hirkan National Park featuring the famed Caucasus leopard or the Shirvan National Park where you can view gazelles and jungle cats. Speaking of national parks, the Agh Gol National Park is an entirely different landscape with Lake Aggol surrounded by trees and mountains in the distance.
The Caspian Sea, actually the world’s largest lake, is delightful despite most of the beaches being crowded with tourists. Meanwhile, the town of Sheki is a great delight for those who love history. One of the oldest Caucasus settlements that has been around for more than two millennia, Sheki is a great town to visit if you want to see ancient castles, mosques and an 18th century palace as well.
Other important places to visit include Gobustan for its mud volcanoes and prehistoric rock drawings, Gabala for its mountain resorts with ski runs and hiking, Quba for its mosques and parks, Ganja for its museums and the bizarre Bottle House to name a few.
Here are some travel tips, do's and don'ts to keep in mind during your Azerbaijan trip.