Travel to Azerbaijan – Episode 859

categories: asia travel

Travel to Azerbaijan: A One-Week Itinerary (Podcast) - mansions, mud volcanoes, petroglyphs, skyscrapers, palaces, tea plantations, and caravanserai.

Hear about an itinerary for travel to Azerbaijan as the Amateur Traveler talks to Australian journalist Emily Lush who is based in nearby Kutaisi, Georgia.

Why should you visit Azerbaijan?

Emily says, “It’s really fascinating from a cultural point of view. Being in the Caucasus, it’s got those great mountain areas for hiking. It’s a misunderstood country in a lot of ways. It’s quite young and it has this really Interesting history with all different influences.”

“And then the oil stuff, so maybe people know it’s a wealthy country with really outlandish modern architecture, but then there are also quite a few UNESCO sites that are really, very old and very interesting. It’s a very complicated country with a little bit of everything, like this region.”

We start in Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, which is situated on the Caspian Sea, below sea level. Explore the Old Town (Esher Esher) with its historic architecture, including the Shivan Shah Palace. Visit the Heydar Aliyev Center, designed by Zaha Hadid, and other interesting landmarks like the Flame Towers.

Take a day trip to Gobustan, south of Baku, to see the fascinating mud volcanoes and ancient rock carvings, a UNESCO site. Visit the Fire Temple of Ateshgah and the burning mountain of Yanadag.

Consider visiting Nakhchivan, an autonomous republic that can only be accessed by flying from Baku. Explore the Machu Picchu of the Caucasus, Alinjagala Fortress, and other attractions.

Head northwest and visit Kynalik, one of the highest continuously inhabited villages in Europe. Experience the traditional way of life, including homestays, and enjoy hiking in the beautiful mountain setting.

As you head northwest, you can stop at Quba, a small village known for its exquisite carpet workshops. Watching skilled artisans create beautiful carpets is a unique experience. Continue to Lahıc, another mountain town with copper workshops and traditional crafts. Don’t miss the opportunity to buy a samovar, a traditional tea-making instrument.

Next, venture deeper into the mountains to Gabala, a popular ski resort with stunning scenery. Even if you visit in spring, you can still enjoy a cable car ride and savor fresh river fish in nearby restaurants.

Shaki is a highlight of the trip, a charming city with a fascinating history and well-preserved monuments from the Silk Road era. Explore caravanserais, the Palace of the Shekhi Khan with its Persian miniature paintings and unique Shaki glass. Visit Kiş to see the oldest Caucasian Albanian temple, with mysterious origins.

For those with more time, Lankaran in the south offers tea plantations and a unique tea house culture. Also, keep an eye out for vintage Lada cars, as they are still popular in Azerbaijan.

Overall, this trip combines history, culture, natural beauty, and warm hospitality, making Azerbaijan a fantastic destination to explore.

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Show Notes

Wander-Lush Travel Blog
Travel to Western Georgia (the country) – Episode 759
Azerbaijan
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Baku
Old City (Baku)
Palace of the Shirvanshahs
Caspian Waterfront, Baku, Azerbaijan: location, design and facilities
Little Venice Baku
Flame Towers
Heydar Aliyev Center
Baku Museum of Miniature Books
Azerbaijan Traveller
Azerbaijani cuisine
Mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan
Gobustan State Historical and Cultural Reserve
Ateshgah of Baku (Fire Temple)
Yanar Dag
THE BEST 10 Baku Walking Tours (w/Prices)
Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic
Alinjagala, the Machu Picchu of Azerbaijan
Khinaliq
Ali and Nino
Quba rugs and carpets
Lahıc, Ismailli
Qafqaz Tufandag Mountain Resort Hotel
Azerbaijan, Gabala. Tufandag Ropeway, cable car station at 1660 meters, Qabala ropeline Stock Photo – Alamy
Shaki, Azerbaijan
Palace of Shaki Khans
Shaki Caravanserai
Ashaghy caravanserai
Kelaghayi (scarves)
Sheki halva
Piti (food)
Kiş, Shaki
Caucasian Albania
Varangian Guard
Transcaucasian Trail
Lankaran
Tea growing in Azerbaijan
Highland Park (Baku)
Azerbaijani tea culture
14 Things to Do in Sheki, Azerbaijan: Sheki Travel Guide

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Hi Chris,

I’ve been listening to your podcasts for nearly two years now and I can’t tell you how much your podcasts have helped us in our trip planning! I feel so much more prepared now when planning our trips and it has even inspired me to check out places I would likely never have before such as Iowa which we are planning a trip to last year (we live near Omaha). We are also planning a trip to Scotland and back to Utah to visit the last three national parks and I’ve listened to your podcasts over and over to help plan the trip.

I am not sure how to leave a review so I wanted to reach out. If you can give instructions on how to leave a review, I’d love to do that!

Thanks again!

Sincerely,
Dana

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

2 Responses to “Travel to Azerbaijan – Episode 859”

Jakob Baumann

Says:

Commenting with some info regarding the briefly mentioned exclave of Nakhchivan since there’s very little online: I spent a few days there last year and absolutely loved it. It actually not only borders Armenia but Turkey and Iran too. A local told me it’s kind of the Las Vegas for Iranians since alcohol is legal there and they can easily cross the border for a weekend of partying. While Nakhchivan is off the beaten path it does have a working tourism infrastructure. The Grand Nakhchivan Hotel (the cheapest among the very few hotels in town) organizes taxi rides to the sites that are all less than an hour away. Their pricing seemed fair and consistent with what visitors before me paid. It cost $94 to see Alinja Castle (Machu Picchu of the Caucasus), Batabat Lake, Qarabaglar Mausoleum & Ashab-i Kehf Cave on two separate day trips.
Regarding safety: while it is always advisable to read up on the current events in this part of the world, I never felt in any kind of danger during my stay in Nakhchivan. On the contrary, since it is so tiny it acts more like a small town with a strong sense of community and order. Everything is super clean, taxi drivers don’t try to scam you etc. (I had a very different experience in Baku haha). Plus, round-trip flights from Baku are only $83 (available at azal.az). Just like the entirety of the Southern Caucasus Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan are fascinating places and deserve a lot more attention from tourists.
Bonus tip: look up Naftalan crude oil spa if you’re really adventurous.

PS: Love the podcast, thank you for giving us such a great resource for our travel planning, Chris!

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