The Republic of Azerbaijan is a landlocked country in Southwestern Asia located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, bound by the Caspian Sea, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran. It is located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, at the eastern side of Transcaucasia. The country is distinguished by its rich flora and fauna and its ancient culture.
Archaeologists have always been interested in Azerbaijan as traces of human civilization 2 million years ago were discovered in the Azigh Cave in Karabakh. Azerbaijan is fast becoming a popular tourist destination.
Reasons to visit all year round
The winter months are the perfect time for a Christmas trip or New Year celebrations. From the beginning of December, festive cheer takes over Baku’s Fountains Square. While snow is a rarity in Baku, big Christmas trees and markets get everyone in the Christmas mood. From December to March the ski resorts of Shahdag and Tufandag await enthusiasts.
Spring in Azerbaijan is a special time Azerbaijani’s celebrate their favourite holiday - Novruz, a festival of spring and the coming of the new year. Enjoy and take part in celebrations of Azerbaijani culture and traditions at their finest. May is an ideal time to get out and explore Azerbaijan’s many historical monuments and natural beauties before summer sets in.
Early June to late August is Azerbaijan’s hottest and sunniest time. Baku’s peninsula is lined with long beaches. Stay at excellent resorts on the long beaches that line the peninsula. Taste Azerbaijani food and wine and shop for cultural and natural treasures. Big events like the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, the Zhara International Music Festival, and the Nomadic Culture Festival in Gadabay are summer time attractions.
With cooler temperatures but still plenty of sunshine, this is a good season for long mountain walks, visiting national parks and enjoying exclusive spa breaks. The annual grape harvest is during this period, and you can visit vineyards in Gabala, Ismayilli, Shamakhi or Goygol to try delicious local wines.
Baku is a city of contrasts which always has something new to discover. It has expanded tremendously with several skyscrapers, shopping malls, restaurants and hotels. Excellent cuisine, beautiful climate, and hospitable people make it very appealing to tourists.
Azerbaijani cuisine utilizes fruits and vegetables such as aubergine, tomato, sweet pepper, spinach, cabbage, onion, sorrel, beet, radish, cucumber, and green beans. Rice and products made from flour are widely used in national cuisine.
Not only tourists but also locals find the diversity of meat dishes, fresh vegetables, and fruits alluring. You can also enjoy Italian, French, American, Mexican, Lebanese, Indian, Russian, Pakistani, and a variety of other cuisines in Azerbaijan.
National cuisine offers a variety of pilafs, juicy shish kebab, yarpag Dolmasi (minced meat wrapped in grape leaves), kutab pies, fish dishes, sweet baklava, shekerbura (sweet pastry filled with nuts and sugar), shor-gogal (round yellow bun, filled with fennel and anise seeds, and seasoned with turmeric, salt, and pepper), and watermelon or olive jams.
Enjoy soups, including kufta bozbash (meatball soup), piti (meat and chestnut soup), sulu khingal (mutton soup), hamrashi (noodle and meatball soup), and toyuk shorbasi (chicken soup), served with sharbat (drink made of fruits, herbs or flower petals) and/or ayran (cold savory yogurt).
Souvenirs from Baku are as bright and colourful as Azerbaijan itself. Buy beautiful jewellery and silk scarves, baklava and rich alpine tea, beautiful carpets, and rugs. Ethnic crafts, souvenir weapons, hammered copper dishes, ceramics, and armudu tea glasses await buyers in shops and antique boutiques on the streets of the Old City.
In Baku, you can dance the night away, enjoy beer or cocktails accompanied by great music and feast on local and international cuisine.
Some of the must visit places are like the Hard Rock Café Baku, ETUD Café and Bar, 360 Bar, Harbour Indian Cuisine & Pub, Hashtag Bar and much more.
Train travel in Azerbaijan is evolving, and new carriages and lines are destined to modernise the railway system soon.
Domestic trains are slow and cheap. For less than $5 you can cross Azerbaijan in reasonable overnight comfort including a reserved sleeping berth and clean sheets. A good deal for those wanting to save on accommodation or in need to make the most of their daylight hours.
Baku’s public transport network offers a convenient, economical, and relatively eco-friendly way to explore Baku. Walking and cycling are also becoming increasingly popular.
The metro is another efficient way to get around, especially if you are travelling out to other parts of the city. Baku’s metro system extends to most of its corners, with stops nearly every 2km (1mi).
Among the most-visited tourist attractions outside the downtown area is the Heydar Aliyev Centre, and the nearest metro station is Nariman Narimanov; a17-minute walk takes you there. The metro also extends to the regional bus station, where you can hop on a bus with a low-cost ticket to visit the Azerbaijani countryside.
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