Discover Azerbaijan’s Top 10 Tourist Attractions

Despite the fact that most people never dream of visiting this part of the world, Azerbaijan offers a rewarding adventure to those who do. Thousands of years of history meet deeply ingrained traditions. Azerbaijan’s best places to visit offer a variety of landscapes, culture, wildlife, and experiences.

#1 Baku


Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, is frequently listed as one of the first places to visit in Azerbaijan. Its focal point is the medieval Icheri Sheher, with its mysterious Maiden Tower. Baku’s layered appearance is completed by a late-nineteenth-century Inner City with Russian Empire architectural styles and a modern skyline. Bake Boulevard, which hugs the Caspian Sea, Flame Towers, and the shopping district along Nizami Street are all highlights. Visitors will find not only a variety of hotels to suit any budget, but also a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and cafés.

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#2 Ganja


In comparison to Baku, the second city and birthplace of famous 12th-century poet Nizami Ganjavi attracts fewer tourists. However, make the 370-kilometer (230-mile) journey from the capital, which will take approximately four and a half hours. Ganja, contrary to popular belief, does not refer to marijuana. Instead, a rich history dating back to the sixth century awaits, along with ancient mosques, caravanserai, churches, and a house made of bottles.

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#3 Quba


Anyone looking to experience pristine landscapes, ancient mountain villages, and Caucasus culture should visit Quba. The cultural center, located 170 kilometers (106 miles) northeast of Baku, is frequently listed among the top places to visit in Azerbaijan. The region has crisp and fresh air while oozing with culture and is located 600 metres (1,969 feet) above sea level on the slopes of the Shahdag Mountain. The landscapes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, Tenghi Canyon, and waterfalls are just a few of the highlights.

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#4 The mountain villages

the mountain villages

Stroll through Qirmizi Qesebe on the opposite side of the Qudailchay River as it traverses Quba (Red Town). This 2,500-year-old settlement is home to a community of mountain Jews who live in the largest all-Jewish settlement outside of Israel. Khinalug, Qusar, Lahij, and Saribash are also nearby villages.

#5 Lake Goygol

lake goygol

A short drive from Ganja takes visitors to arguably the best natural beauty spot in Azerbaijan. At 1,500 meters (4,921 feet), Lake Goygol, or ‘Blue Lake,’ features deep blue water against dense forest in the Murovdag foothills. The lake, which was formed by an earthquake in the 12th century, is frequently one of the most popular day trips from Ganja. Driving through the mountains should be savoured too and not just for the landscapes. The area once had a German community before being deported by the Soviets. Some of the villages still bear traces of their legacy and influence.

#6 Shamakhi


Shamakhi is yet another historical hotspot. The small town is worth the two-hour drive from Baku because it has a history dating back two and a half millennia and is home to the former Shirvan Empire’s capital. Interesting sites include medieval archaeological ruins and the crumbling Gulistan Fortress, which dates back almost a thousand years. The region has a long history of carpet weaving and is the birthplace of several Azeri poets.

#7 The Caucasus Mountains

the caucasus mountains

The Greater and Lesser Caucasus Mountains are two mountain ranges that stretch from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, dividing Azerbaijan and Armenia. According to experts, the mountains are among the world’s most culturally and linguistically diverse regions. These isolated communities are home to a variety of ethnic groups and languages other than Azeri, adding to their diversity. Highlights include hiking through uncharted wilderness and following the trails on the ambitious Transcaucasian Trail.

#8 Sheki


Visiting one of the Caucasus’s oldest settlements is one of the top things to do in Azerbaijan. With a population of only 60,000 people at the foot of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, the humble first impression is somewhat deceptive. Sheki’s silk transformed the small town into a major Silk Road stop for millennia. Traders from the east and west congregated here, with many staying in the caravanserai. Forward to the 18th century and you’ll find the Palace of the Sheki Khans, castles, and historical mosques. Away from Sheki, you’ll find rivers, waterfalls, and gorges, as well as numerous hiking opportunities in the mountains.

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#9 Naftalan


Not typically listed among the top places to visit in Azerbaijan in guidebooks, but worthy of special mention. Naftalan, a small town near Ganja, offers an unusual spa treatment. Azerbaijanis today visit the spa to bathe in crude oil, which is thought to date back more than 1,000 years and was popularized by the Soviets. Bathing in this special grade of oil, according to some, has health benefits such as treating skin disorders and neurological problems. Tourists with a sense of adventure can try this out for themselves.

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#10 Lankaran


Traveling south from Baku along the Caspian Sea towards Iran reveals Lankaran, a sleepy resort town. Lankaran, with Neolithic origins and a long stretch of coastline, is one of Azerbaijan’s most popular tourist destinations. Take a walk through town and see the Lighthouse, Lankaran Fortress, Heydar Aliyev Memorial Park, and the Old Prison. Beachgoers should travel a few kilometers south to Kanarmesha, while outdoor enthusiasts should visit the Ghizil-Agaj State Reserve. The second is home to over 200 bird, wolf, and boar species.

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