28 Sep Our Ultimate 3-Day Baku Travel Guide
Welcome to Baku
Azerbaijan, the nation and former Soviet republic, straddles the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, spanning Asia and Europe. Its capital is Baku, famed for its medieval walled Inner City. It is also known as the oldest oil-producing region in the world with a profound history, being part of the USSR and culture blended between East and West with influences from Millde East, Russia and Turkey. But thanks to exponential development, Baku today is an almost futuristic city that combines both tradition and modernity, which makes this destination a very intriguing place to explore.
Baku welcomes visitors with a fascinating history, delicious cuisine and a wealth of attractions. The contrast between the city’s modern skyscrapers, its medieval mosques, and other local landmarks creates a beautiful fusion of the past and present.
The best times to visit Azerbaijan are April to June and September to October, with an average daily high temperature below 53°F. The hottest month is July, with an average high of 88°F, which you might want to avoid.
How To Get There
Anyone visiting Azerbaijan must apply for an e-visa to visit the country. The visa costs USD 25, takes three working days and is valid for 30 days. Urgent visas are obtainable for an extra fee. Check the country list here for your eligibility, depending on your nationality.
Tip: When we travelled, we decided to buy the visa on arrival, that was a big mistake as the queues were so long! On disembarkation, you make your way to join a long queue at a counter to ensure your passport is valid. Once approved, join another long line to purchase the visa through an automated machine, eventually making your way to another queue for immigration! This whole process took over an hour and a half, so make sure to buy your visa online!
Getting Around Baku
Baku offers multiple options for getting to the city centre from the airport.
Taxi – A taxi is readily available at the airport and provides a convenient and affordable method of transport. You can pay cash or card, which costs approximately 20-25 AZN.
Bus/Metro – The cheapest way to get to the city centre is by bus or metro. Baku airport express bus operates 24 hours a day every 30 minutes and goes between the airport and the 28th May metro stop with a stop in between at Koroglu Metro Station.
To purchase a ticket, you need to get a BakuCard/BakiKart (unfortunately, you cannot buy tickets on the bus). Go to the BakuCard/BakiKart Kiosk, select the card, and add some credit to the card.
A single trip from the airport will cost 1,30AZN (around $0.75) plus 2 AZN for the non-refundable card.
Private Car – We chose this option for the ease and comfort of having a driver and guide for our entire trip. We highly recommend Guided Azerbaijan for all your travel needs in this beautiful country. Ask for Fuad.
We visited Baku in the last week of August, an excellent time with warm and dry temperatures from May-August with an average temperature between 22- 31 degrees Celcius.
After landing at Heykar airport and going through all the visa and immigration formalities, we were surprised to see a very clean, modern airport with friendly and courteous people. We had arranged a private car with a driver and tour guide. As we ventured out of the airport, our tour guide, Kamal, greeted us with a welcome sign and showed us the car we would use for the next three days.
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Where To Stay
The number of hotels and hostels has been steadily increasing in Baku, catering for all budgets. Here are some recommendations:
Backpackers Hostel | Sahil Hostel – Set in the heart of Baku, you will find the busiest hostel in town because of its affordability. Sahil Hostel offers beautifully decorated shared rooms, but there are options for private rooms as well. A great place to meet other travellers.
Budget Guest House | Khazar Old City Guest House – Looking for something more traditional and affordable? This guest house is highly recommended and conveniently located in the old city and a few minutes walks from the Palace of The Shirvanshahs and Maiden Tower.
Mid-range Hotel | Shah Palace Hotel – Centrally located in the heart of Baku Old City, within easy reach of the top sights of Baku, this hotel offers elegant classic-style rooms and Azerbaijani, European and Asian dishes in their restaurants.
Top-end Hotel | Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers
Located in one of the Flame Towers Complex, in the heart of Baku, is the magnificent 5-star Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers boasting picturesque views of Baku City and the Caspian Sea.
We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard a stylish hotel in Baku’s vibrant city.
Where To Eat
We ate at a fantastic restaurant called Shirvanshah Museum Restaurant.
This is one of Baku’s most elegant and authentic restaurants, located in the more than 200-year-old palace of the Shirvanshahs. Dine in style in a glorious historical setting and roam around the museum’s three floors holding traditional artefacts oozing with atmosphere and famous for their traditional Dolma, Qutab, Shekerbura and Shah pilaf.
Sultan’s, Sehrli Tandir and Xezer Restaurant provide some of Baku’s best kebabs and Azerbaijani food at reasonable prices. Alternatively, many Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and French eateries are around.
Shirvanshah Museum Restaurant
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