I visited Baku, Azerbaijan in March 2017 and really enjoyed it.  To be quite honest, I had low expectations going in, but the city caught me by surprise!  In this blog post, I will tell you about my experiences, provide travel tips, and prepare you for what to expect if you are planning a trip to Baku.

But first, watch this short video I made around Baku!

What Can $10 Get You in Azerbaijan?

Azerbaijan probably isn’t on your list to visit, but I hope to change your mind because it’s a really unique and affordable country. A cup of tea, a kebab… and what else did I get? Join me as I discover what $10 Can Get You in my 100th country!

Please share this video if you enjoy, and LIKE Drew Binsky on Facebook for more videos 😀

Posted by Drew Binsky on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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Why did I go to Baku?

The better question is why didn’t I go to Baku? I was already traveling in Moscow, Russia at the time, and it made logical sense to hop on the 3 hour, $175 flight down to Azerbaijan.  It sounded like a fun idea.

Also, as many of you already know, I am planning to visit every country in the world. Azerbaijan was my last country in the Caucasus region, and it happened to be my 100th country overall!

I arrived at Baku International Airport without a clue for what to expect.  I had no friends or connections in Baku, and I hardly met anyone who had been there.  I didn’t do any research (as per usual), because I wanted everything to be a surprise.

I headed to the nearest ATM, took out a bunch of Azerbaijani Manats, jumped in an Uber with my camera in hand, and I was on my way to explore!

First Impressions of Baku

I quickly noticed that Baku is a giant mix of cultures.   The country of Azerbaijan lies at the cross roads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and therefore, it has influences from each region in regards to cuisine, religion, culture, etc.

It’s a really cool feeling to walk around a completely foreign land, with fresh eyes and no plan whatsoever.  I recommend trying it if you haven’t done it before!!

I noticed right off the bat that Baku resembled both the old and the new. The old feeling came from the ancient Old City, which is surrounded by massive brick walls on all sides.  And the new came from the modern skyline (hello Flame Towers!) and various urban attractions around the city.   Lots of oil money has contributed to a fast-developing economy which seems to be growing by the day.

Also, the food was fantastic – lots of kebabs, tea, vegetables, meat and flat bread.   I was loving life!

What to do in Baku?

Some people consider Baku a “mini Dubai” in regards to all of the tourist attractions around town. There are many things to do that will keep you busy and entertained, and the city is rapidly expanding.

Here were some of my favorites things to do in Baku:

Walk Around the Old City – If you only have time to do 1 thing to do in Baku, then spend it by walking around the charming Old City. Inside this area, you’ll find cobblestone streets, narrow winding alleys, boutique houses, and tons of local shops, cafes & restaurants.

Go up the Flame Towers – The flame towers are the most iconic structure of the city, and some of the most modern buildings in the Caucasus region. The three buildings are identical in size and appearance, and worth a visit! You can take the cable car up the mountain to the base of the towers, and then pay a fee to go to the observatory deck. The views are amazing!

Visit the Heydar Aliyev Center Museum – Probably my favorite experience in Baku was chilling in the park outside this funky, modern buildings and enjoying the Azeri atmosphere. The museum was build by the famous Iraqi-British female architect named Zaha Hadid, and it’s very futuristic-looking!

Stroll Along the Caspian Sea Boardwalk – The Caspian Sea is a massive lake, or more like an ocean, that is adjacent to the city of Baku. There is an extra long street that you can walk down, with loads of cafes, bars, restaurants, concert venues, parks and great views of downtown.

Tour the Formula 1 Tracks – if you love NASCAR and/or car racing is your thing, then you must pay a visit to the rack tracks of one of the world’s most prestigious events.

Eat Your Face Off – A visit to Baku isn’t complete until you’ve tried the local cuisine.  It has a lot in common with Iranian and Turkish food — kebabs, salads, flat bread, hummus, fresh fruits & vegetables, etc.  My favorite Azeri treat was drinking tea with strawberry jam (it’s a thing in Azerbaijan and it’s amazing!)

Final Words

I really enjoyed my short visit to Baku and I hope to be back sometime soon!   I can only imagine how much more advanced the country will be the next time I visit with more skyscrapers and futuristic attractions. If you have any questions about traveling to Azerbaijan, don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll do my best to get back to you!

Drew Binsky

A graduate from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Drew Binsky has visited 120+ Countries since 2012.He first caught the travel bug while studying abroad in Prague, then taught English in Korea, and now he's on a mission to visit every country on earth.Follow his journey on Facebook & Instagram @drewbinsky 🙂

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28 thoughts on “Why You Should Visit Baku, Azerbaijan

  1. Check my visit in Azerbaijan: the country of fire , i made a video blog about my Journey

    Youtube channel: Mahadero 86

  2. Hi Drew
    My husband is taking me for my 68th birthday on October 1st to the 5th to Baku and we are staying at the Fairmont Hotel. A few months ago I had knee surgery so walking is somewhat difficult and slow. What can two old folks do in Baku and still have lots of fun? I was thinking we may need to hire someone by the day to take us all around but where to go? I need an agenda for those 4 days. I need a list of things to be able to tell the driver and I need to know what to do first, second, etc. Do you think you could help me out with this? I so enjoyed your video. Also would love ideas on where to eat. Cathy

  3. Hello everyone.My name is Rustam.I work with foreigners as a translator and guide in Azerbaijan.
    Whatsapp +994519964676

    1. Miranda… Good idea… Come to Baku…. Some people thinks that here wery dangerous, but its not as…. Azerbaijanian People wery friendly and funny, we have reach and delicious realy .. ☺️… Our city wery modern and developed all day…. Im from Baku, and i leave here….. If u want come here… Dont worry and dont shy… I may show our city to u… My instagram: mr.gr33 GOODLUCK😉😉😉👍👍👍

  4. Wow,, really amazing.
    I just browsed information from google with keyword “baku” then i found ur blog.
    And u are so lucky, already travel more than 130 countries in this world.
    Good luck, brother.

  5. I’ve read other travel blogs on Azerbaijan, so this country has been on my radar for the past five years. Really awesome that you made this Country #100! It will interesting to see how much tourism may (or may not) take off after Euro Cup 2020 as Baku will be one of the Host Cities! Hopefully, I will get to go to that. If not, then I definitely want to plan a trip here around the Baku Grand Prix.

  6. Hi. Request your help. Am planning to go to Baku for a short trip with my family on last week of May 2018. We are 3 member family – Myself, my wife and 18 months girl baby. My query is am having low expectations on this trip. Please advice whether this trip would be worth spending time & money and can we have fun in this trip.

  7. Hey Drew, I guess us English teachers in Korea have a sixth sense about everything. For some strange reason I expected you to have taught IN Korea and you did. Weird. I was curious as to which city you taught in. Anyways be safe on your travels my friend.

  8. I am a Dutch native and visit 30+ countries. I follow your Snapchat and IG stories all the time. This spring I visit Russia and I believe after that I get inspired to visit the old Russian countries. I visited 2 years ago thr Balkan and I love less developed countries. Each time a country join the EU it is great in one way but my interest is anything less popular and find the unknown.

  9. I adopted my son from Baku in 2001. Loved the city and country and would love to go back one day and take my son to visit. He will be 18 next year. Did you get to the old carpet market and palace in old town?

  10. Excellent tour information, i like to read it. Awesome video, Photos about Baku. It is give more information about Baku. you will add some more information for tourist like Visiting fees of Flame Towers, Museum and What’s opening – closing time for tourist etc.

  11. I follow you since your first visit to Baku.
    I can help you whatever you want
    Accommodation
    Guide
    Warm Family
    My email address
    [email protected]
    Telephone Number +994559797496
    You can write via WhatsApp
    See you soon in Baku.

  12. I also went to the home of the Nobel family, to the theatre to see an Opera (Ali and Nino) and to a wonderful carpet shop.
    Drove to the town of Sheki, took tea in the Caravanserai and to the beautiful castle.

    Drew your biggest mistake was not spending a longer time there.

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