Azerbaijan Absolute Musts

Moon-like landscape of the mud volcanoes - Gobustan National Park, Azerbaijan (17)

Azerbaijan Absolute Musts

Most Beautiful Natural Spot

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There are two sites in Azerbaijan that, in our opinion, could compete for the title of the Most Beautiful Natural Spot. The first of them is the Ismailli Rayon whose landscape is dominated by forests, hills and high mountains (their height oscillates between 200 and 3629 m above sea level). There are no proper hiking paths, but you can make do, as it’s quite pretty just to stroll around, even though it would be quite difficult to try and conquer the peaks without local knowledge, a guide or at least clearly marked paths.

Spectacular views along the Lahıc Yolu, Lahıc, Ismailli, Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan Absolute Musts

In this region you can also visit the tiny copper village of Lahic, which is well worth visiting! Before going there we had expected something quite touristy but we were very pleasantly surprised as it wasn’t touristy at all and we were the only Westerners in sight. IncLahis you can observe real old-fashioned copper craftsmen at work, stay with nice Azeri families and drink some wood-tasting samovar tea.

Old carpet seller in doorway with hanging carpets - Lahıc, Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan Absolute Musts

Another natural spot worth mentioning are the mud volcanoes of Gobustan (Qobustan). Everyone knows volcanoes, but have you ever seen a volcano which instead of hot lava spits out cold gooey mud? These can be found only 64 km south west of Baku.

It’s a pleasant day trip from Baku that you can combine with visiting Gobustan National Park which includes some interesting prehistoric rock carvings dating back to 10,000 BC (UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Moon-like landscape of the mud volcanoes - Gobustan National Park, Azerbaijan (17), Azerbaijan Absolute Musts

Click here to see more pictures and videos of the mud volcanoes.

Best City / Town

While in Azerbaijan, you should definitely visit its capital Baku. It’s a strange city that juxtaposes the old and the modern, both in terms of architecture and culture. It’s the largest city on the Caspian Sea and it’s the cultural and industrial centre of Azerbaijan.

There are also plenty of sights to draw your attention to, starting with the Walled City of Baku, the Shirvanshah’s Palace and Maiden Tower which have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you drive away from the city, you can also visit a Caspian beach, although it was a bit oily for our liking.

Baku by night (6), Azerbaijan Absolute Musts

Click here to read and see more pictures of Baku.

Best areas for hitch-hiking

There are no good areas for hitch-hiking in Azerbaijan because the concept of sticking your thumb out is not known in this country. Of course it all depends on who you meet, as our CS host from Baku was well educated and ‘Westernized’ and he surely was familiar with hitch-hiking. However, on the road we weren’t as lucky.

You might try your chances away from the cities for example in the mountainous Ismailli Rayon or in the north after the town Şəki and before the border crossing with Georgia. Beware, however, that during winter months the roads in Ismailli are full of snow and almost out of order.

A solitary truck on the Lahıc Yolu - On the road, Azerbaijan, Azerbaijan Absolute Musts

written by: Ania

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