First-Timer’s Travel Guide to Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is situated in the middle of three countries, namely Russia, Turkey, and Iran. It is popularly known as the “Land of Fire” as the place homes the Zoroastrian fire temples since the Persian Empire. Accordingly, the rich and exotic history, as well as the most beautiful places in Azerbaijan, is what draws tourists to visit. [Featured Photo: Lake Goygol | Photo by Investigation11111 under creative commons]

First time in Azerbaijan? This Azerbaijan travel guide with our list of Top Tourist Attractions in Azerbaijan is for you! We’ll make sure that your visit to Azerbaijan is worthwhile and memorable.

City of Ganja, Azerbaijan
City of Ganja, Azerbaijan | Photo by Ilkin M-zade under creative commons

Visa Requirements to Azerbaijan

Most nationalities require vis to enter Azerbaijan except Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. A majority can apply an eVisa and a number of nationalities can get a visa on arrival at the airport.

Citizens of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Indonesia, Iran, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, and Turkey can get their visa on arrival. American citizens can also get a visa on arrival if they fly direct from New York to Baku on Azerbaijan Airlines.

The following countries below are eligible to apply for an eVisa:

  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas
  • Bahrain
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Djibouti
  • Ecuador
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guatemala
  • Holy See (Vatican)
  • Honduras
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran (Islamic Republic of)
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia

  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Mexico
  • Monaco
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Nepal
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Republic of Korea
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turkey
  • Turkmenistan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • United States of America
  • Vietnam

Nationalities of countries not listed above need to apply for a visa prior to their travel from the nearest embassy to their country.

How to get to Azerbaijan?

There are a lot of ways to get into Azerbaijan. You can take a flight, catch a train to Baku or bus from different cities from neighboring countries.

By Air: The capital city of Baku is the main gateway to Azerbaijan. A lot of airlines have direct flights to Baku. The country’s national airline is Azerbaijan Airlines which has direct flights from many cities across Europe, Russia, Turkey, Middle East, India, and China. You can check and book flights to Baku now.

By Land: Azerbaijan has railway connections to nearby cities in the region such as Tbilisi, Moscow, Tyumen, Rostov, and many more. Buses from the Russian Federation, Georgia, Turkey, and Iran also have routes to Baku.

How to get to the city center from Baku Airport

The most convenient way to get to the city from Baku Airport is by taking prepaid taxi or use an Uber if you have an internet. The fare should just be around AZN20-25 or rought around USD12-15.

The cheapest way on the other hand is to take an airport bus to the city center. The fare is less than 1 USD and the buses run 24 hours. It departs every 30 minutes during the day and every hour during the night. travel time from Baku Airport to the city is onloy around 30 minutes depending on the traffic situation.

When is the best time to visit Azerbaijan?

The best time to visit Azerbaijan is between April to June and September to October. The temperature during these months is perfect for hiking and sightseeing. Expect to see flowers in full bloom in the mountains from April to June and lovely temperature and humidity in the capital city of Baku from September to October.

Baku City, Azerbaijan
Baku City | Photo by David Davidson under creative commons

Where to exchange local currency in Azerbaijan?

The local currency in Azerbaijan is Azerbaijan Manat (AZN). One US Dollar is around AZN1.70. There are available currency exchange centers in the airport so you may exchange your USD or Euro to AZN. There are also ATMs you can use if you prefer to withdraw cash from the bank.

How to get around Azerbaijan

The popular modes of public transportation in Azerbaijan are trains and buses. Taxi and Uber are also available in case you want more convenience. You can also rent a car in Baku so you can move freely within the city and in the countryside.

A train in Baku, Azerbaijan
A train in Baku, Azerbaijan | Photo by shankar s. under creative commons

Where to stay in Baku, Azerbaijan?

Here are our suggestions for the best places to stay in Baku near the city center that will suit your budget and preference.

If the price isn’t an issue then we highly suggest you stay at Four Seasons Hotel Baku. Room rates start at around USD450. You can book now online via

For a regular hotel, we recommend Viva Boutique Hotel or Baku City Hotel. Both are within the city center so it’s easy to move around.

Budget travelers and backpackers can stay at Khamsa Hostel or at Hostel Inn. You can get a shared accommodation from one of these two hostels for as little as USD5. Book now to reserve a bed in a dormitory room.

Must-Try Food in Azerbaijan

There are a lot of interesting local dishes and cuisines in Azerbaijan. Some of the food that you should try are:

  • Dushbara, a traditional dumpling soup.
  • Dolma, a minced lamb mixed with rice and seasoned with mint, fennel, and cinnamon, stuffed in grape leaves.
  • Plov, a rice dish mixed with chicken or lamb. Also known as pilaf in other countries.
  • Kebab, grilled lamb, beef or chicken served with vegetable on the side.
Azerbaijani Dolma
Azerbaijani Dolma | Photo by MrArifnajafov under creative commons

Where to eat in Baku, Azerbaijan?

With its unique blend of Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and Persian flavors, Azeri cuisine has a variety of traditional dishes such as pilafs or rice mixed with chicken or lamb and grilled kebobs.

One of the best places to try Azeri cuisine is at Sumakh Restaurant. It’s a popular restaurant for locals and tourists that specializes in local cuisines. It is located at Khojali Avenue, Baku, Azerbaijan.

7 Top Tourist Attractions in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has a perfect mix of East and West culture where you can experience both worlds in one place! Excited on your trip? Here are the 7 Top Tourist Attractions in Azerbaijan that you shouldn’t forget adding on your list:

Caspian Sea

If you are up for a long stroll, visiting the walkway along the Caspian Sea is the best place to be! It is perfect for contemplation and breathing out your stress.

Baku, also known as the “Paris of Caucasus”, is the most recommended location to access the Caspian Sea for its luxurious seaside boulevards and buildings. You should also consider visiting it in the golden hour for the most incredible view.

Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea | Photo by Raymond Zoller under creative commons

Gobustan National Park

The Gobustan National Park is noted as a historical landmark of Azerbaijan. It is because the park has a lot of relics, carvings, and various gas-stones that the government preserves in the park. In 2007, Gobustan was also declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site for the outstanding quality of its prehistoric rock art carvings.  

These serve as proof that the top tourist attractions in Azerbaijan aren’t just worth looking at, but also worth treasuring.

Gobustan National Park
Gobustan National Park | Photo by Sefer azeri under creative commons

Absheron National Park

The Absheron State Nature Preserve was created way back in 1969 for the Absheron National Park. This code primarily aims to protect Caspian seals, gazelles, jackal, water birds, and other species that live in the territory. Expect a healthy ecosystem as you visit the place!

Although photos are allowed to be taken, you should also be precautious of getting close to the animals.

Black-winged stilt from Absheron National Park in Azerbaijan
Black-winged stilt from Absheron National Park in Azerbaijan | Photo by Mistelblume under creative commons

Lake Goygol

As one of the top tourist attractions in Azerbaijan, Lake Goygol is undoubtedly an astounding place to visit. It has vast waters with striking color and clarity. The surrounding banks of the site are also covered in rich flora and fauna.

Fortunately, tourists are allowed to swim, walk around, and even have a picnic at the site, but strict implementation on disposing of garbage is still observed.  

Top Tourist Attractions in Azerbaijan
Lake Goygol | Photo by Kamil Namazov under creative commons

Bibi-Heybat Mosque

This mosque is also known as “the mosque of Fatima”, a coined term by Alexandre Dumas in 1840s when he wrote the book, “The World”. Apart from housing the tomb of Ukeyma Kuanum, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, the mosque also serves as one of the significant spiritual centers for the Muslims.

It will put you in awe seeing the three big domes decorated with turquoise and green mirrors, and borders carved with Qur’an inscriptions.

Bibi Heybat Mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan
Bibi Heybat Mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan | Photo by Emin Bashirov under creative commons

Icheri Sheher

The Icheri Sheher is an old city at the heart of Baku. It has significant sandstone buildings and shopping malls that would give you a peek of the country’s bustle. They also have unique and fancy restaurants that offer Russian and European cuisine. For souvenirs, you can take home some of their carpets and unique merchants that vendors sell in the streets.  

Icheri Sheher
Icheri Sheher | Photo by Interfase under creative commons

The Palace of the Shirvanshahs

The palace was a former house of the rulers of Shirvanshahs. It is considered as the pearl among the top tourist attractions in Azerbaijan. Some remains of the King’s room, such as the carpets, thrones, and tiles, are still present, which shows how elegant the palace was.

They also have a special place to buy souvenirs like magnets, spear-shaped glasses called armudu, and other European games.

The Palace of the Shirvanshahs
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs | Photo by Urek Meniashvili under creative commons

Top Tours and Activities to Do in Azerbaijan

There are a lot of activities you can do and places you can explore when you visit Azerbaijan. Below are our top picks for the best tours and activities to do In Azerbaijan.

Gobustan National Park Day Tour from Baku

In this day tour, you can visit the open-air museum of Gobustan, the site of thousands of ancient rock paintings and petroglyphs dating back to the Mesolithic period. You can learn about the culture and traditions of the ancient people who lived there and visit the nearby mud volcanoes. You may book your tour here.

Gobustan | Photo by duncan c under creative commons

Baku Old City Walking Tour

Explore the Baku Old City by foot with a professional guide. You will start your walking tour around Fountain Square and move around the city afterward. This tour lasts around 6 hours. Book a tour now.

Fountain Square, Baku
Fountain Square, Baku | Photo by Francisco Anzola under creative commons

Basic and Useful Phrases in Azeri

YesHe (Ha)
NoYox (Yok))
Thank youSag ol (Sa-ol) 
You’re welcomeBuyur (Bu-yur) 
HelloSalam (Sah-lahm) 
GoodbyeHelekik (He-le-lich) 
What is your name?Senin adin nedir? (Se-nin a-dun ne-dir) 
My name is BlissMenin adim Blissdur (Me-nim A-dim Bliss dur) 
Nice to meet youCox Sadam
Do you speak English?Ingilisce danisa bilirsiniz? (In-gil-lis-ca dan-sha bil-ish-in-iz)
 I don’t understandBuna basa dusmurem (Buna basha dush-mu-ram) 
Bu neceyedir? (Bu Neh-Cha-Ya-Dir) How much is this?
OneBir (Bi-er)
TwoIki (i-chi) 
ThreeUc (U-ch)
FourDord (Dir-d)
FiveBes (Besh)
SixAlti (Al-t)
SevenYeddi (Yeh-de)
EightSekkiz (Sah-kiz) 
NineDoqquz (Doh-Kuz)
TenOn (on)
Turn leftSola don (so-la don)
Turn rightSaga don (Sa-ha don) 
Go StraightDuz gedin (duz ge-din)

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