Skyscraper Baku
Ever seen UNESCO-listed old walled city that sits side by side with the audacious modern buildings? VisitBaku – it is the capital of Azerbaijan, a country that has witnessed much higher footfalls in recent years. Keep reading to uncover the insider tips about

what to do in Baku

that will help you make the most of your time here.

About Baku

Maiden-tower-Baku

As per a ballpark figure, over a quarter of residents live in the capital city of Azerbaijan. Baku features a dramatic landscape — an architectural mix that reminds one of the graceful Paris and innovative Dubai. Add to this its unequalled cosmopolitan urban charm with well-cobbled streets, recently built subway and fast Wi-Fi. All of this is nestled up together in a clean, beautifully laid out city.

Embracing both tradition and modernity, it is a beautiful city that fits right in your bill. Thanks to the city’s groundbreaking development which manages to entertain all ages and interests. While couples can meander through the wooden parks holding hands, families can relish mouthwatering food at restaurants overlooking the sea.



Useful Things to Know Before You Visit Baku

Most people are aliens to Baku’s lifestyle. In fact, you may have many questions about this destination, such as: Is Baku cheap to travel to? Is Baku safe for travellers? How do we reach Baku? Do locals speak English? This Baku travel guide will answer all your queries in the simplest terms.

Best Time to Visit

Although the temperature is mild all year round, April-June (spring) and September –October (autumn) are the best times to visit Baku. You can have a whale of a time as the city is in full spring. It is dry and warm — the streets turn into a burst of colours and mountains wrapped in sunshine. The city fires up for celebrations and cultural explorers can sightsee their favourite destinations. Then from September to October, marvel at the sandstone and green landscapes with magical transformations of nature.

Get to Baku

Baku Azerbaijan Coastline Caspian

Now, since your holiday is planned, and things are booked, everything depends on how you reach this undiscovered gem of a city. It depends on several factors like budget, time and preferences.

To reach by plane, book tickets to Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD), which is located 15 miles out of town. There are no direct flights from the US and Asia, but you will have no issue finding a flight via Turkish or Middles Eastern Airlines. There are direct flights to Moscow, Frankfurt, Kiev and Minsk, while flights from other European cities may have one/ more stopovers. From there, you can hop on the express bus to reach Baku or hire a taxi that could be a tad expensive.

The train ride is an experience on its own. It will whiz you past the scenic fields and verdant landscape. There are cars that will offer comfort and privacy at higher budgets. You can pre-book to avoid delays. Alternatively, you can buy tickets for a public bus that connects Baku with the major cities and costs you less. There are international services from Russia and Iran as well.

Get Around Baku

Baku-eye-Ferris-Wheel

One of the useful things to know before travelling to Baku is the mode of transportation that runs within the city. There are buses and subways that work in a widespread network to carry you to your desired places. Taxis are cheap with 1.30 for every mile, while car rentals can unsettle your budget by demanding 35 per day.



Religion and Language

Islam is the predominant religion in the country. There are other residing communities as well, such as minority Jewish and Orthodox Christians. Most people in Azerbaijan can’t speak English, so it comes in handy to know a phrase or two in their native language for easy conversations. The widely spoken languages are Azerbaijani and Russian.

Oil-Rich City

The history of Azerbaijan is revolved around oil and gas reserves. The second oil boom in 2006 brought another revolution that raised some of the exemplary architecture. Due to the cutting edge technology and unique vision, you get the opportunity to marvel at jaw-dropping masterpieces.

Major Tourist Attractions

city-skyline-azerbaijan-baku

The blue-glassed Flame Towers, the residence of the ruling dynasties Palace of the Shirvanshah, MOMA museum with bean-bags, tailor-made Carpet Museum, waterfront promenade Bulvar, the World Heritage Site of İçəri Şəhər, vantage point at Maiden’s Tower and the leafy piazza Fountains Square are must-visit tourist attractions in Baku. Then tick off Heydar Aliyev Centre, explore Yashil Bazar, visit Mud Volcanoes, and pay homage at Bibi-Heybat Mosque.

Currency Exchange

  • Another significant thing that you should know is that the official currency of Azerbaijan is manat (code: AZN; symbol:).
  • Exchange the foreign currency with the national currency for seamless transactions. The restaurants, shops and markets may accept the US Dollars but are hesitant about accepting the old banknotes issued before 1992.
  • It is handy to carry money in small denominations while shopping.
  • Always exchange the currencies in banks, airports or hotels, and do not deal with private individuals to avoid fraud.
  • Discuss the money with taxi drivers in advance, as they request you to pay in national currency.


Law and Order

  • The traffic on the roads is organised and scrutinised by the police all around. They help to maintain peace and order. So, it’s better to carry an identification card in case of any misunderstanding or problem.
  • Wear decent clothes that are not transparent or revealing to stay away from unwanted attention or fine. Wear walking/ hiking shoes for a comfortable excursion. It could get hot outside, so get those breathable shirts and dresses.
  • Being drunk on the streets is highly prohibited and could result in a punishable offence.

Accommodation in Baku

There is no dearth of fancy hotels and low-priced accommodations in Baku. It stands up to the expectations of being the luxurious capital city of Azerbaijan. You can let your hair down when you prefer to stay in the popular neighbourhoods of Baku, such as the UNESCO-recognised İçərişəhər, flower-crammed Khutor, and the buzzing market ofYaşıl Bazar. The best-rated, contemporary hotels are Fairmont Baku offering 5-star services, Flame Towers with its rooftop pool, and the Sheraton Baku located in the vicinity of the airport. You are welcomed with warm hospitality and world-class facilities.

Tipping

It does not harm to tip when eating in any of the restaurants of Baku. A tip of 10% looks friendly. Moreover, in a few restaurants and open-air cafes, if you tip in advance, you can enjoy some real fast services.

Safety

Baku is absolutely safe for tourists. Petty thefts are almost negligible. No brownie points for this — stay vigilant in a new destination and use local apps for navigation, to avoid any scam by taxi drivers.

Bargain

As you browse the local markets and souvenir shops, haggling is encouraged to get the best prices.

FAQs

Q1. What is BAKU?

BAKU is the capital city of Azerbaijan, a country located in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia.

Q2. What is the perfect time to explore BAKU?

The perfect time to explore BAKU is between April to June and September to October.

Q3. Name some key attractions in BAKU.

Some popular tourist attractions in BAKU include the Old City (Icheri Sheher), the Flame Towers, the Maiden Tower, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, and the Heydar Aliyev Center.

Q4. Is BAKU a safe city?

Yes it is generally a safe city.

Q5. What languages are spoken in BAKU?

The official language of Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani, which is the most widely spoken language in BAKU. Russian and English are also widely spoken and understood, especially in tourist areas.

Conclusion

Baku is a city that will leave an incredible impression on your heart. All you got to do is to know a few things and follow these tips for a butter-smooth vacation.



Shaheen Taj is a freelance travel writer by profession. She is particularly fond of traveling and loves to jot down her experiences and cultural diversities of different countries.

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