I recently took a 5 day spur-of-the-moment-trip to Baku with a friend and the minute I stepped off the plane, I was blown away. And not just because it was windy and freezing, mind you.
To say that Baku is beautiful would be a bit of an understatement. The streets, the architecture, the natural beauty and the overall vibe of the place makes you feel like you’re in a painting.
So if you’re planning on flying out to Baku for a visit, here are the 5 places you should definitely check out!
1. Heydar Aliyev Center
If you like museums, architecture and want to see something that will put you in awe, you should not miss out on Heydar Aliyev Center. Designed by Zaha Hadid, this signature landmark of Baku is a perfect representation of fluidity and curves. The exterior and the interior will make you feel like you’re in an episode of Black mirror as every piece is modern yet with a story behind it.
2. Nizami Street
From high-end brands to local trinkets, whatever your shopping heart desires, you’ll find it at Nizami Street. This shopping street is a hip and lively avenue with a variety of shops, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and super markets.
Did I mention how stunning this is at night? It’s the perfect place to chill and grab food after a long day touristing.
3. Maiden Tower
Maiden tower is located in the old city and was built way back in the 12th century. While the tower has many legends and stories associated with it, my favourite is the version where the king falls in love with his daughter and decides to marry her. To delay the wedding, she asks her father to build the biggest most beautiful tower they’ve ever seen. Once it was completed, she climbs up top to admire the view but jumps off the tower into the Caspian Sea to avoid her ill fate.
The entire place is beautiful with medieval vibes as well as a vast surrounding market. Go walk around and you’re bound to find beautiful handcrafted scarfs, carpets and other gifts for home.
4. Fire Mountain
The best way to describe Yanar Dağ is that it’s a mountain on fire. A 10 meter long wall of fire continuously burns on the hill all year round, in spite of rain or snow which is why the locals consider this place holy. This has been burning for over a thousand years and was even mentioned by Alexander Dumas and Marco Polo.
Here’s a video (not mine) to show you why this place is so fascinating!
Okay so technically this is a separate city in Azerbaijan and not a part of Baku, but it was honestly the best part of my trip. We drove up 6 hours to this resort, sat in chair lifts, enjoyed the snow, had ice cream in the freezing cold, did sledding and then almost cried when it was time to go back.
My biggest regret is not having enough time to stay the night there so I could make a fool of myself in the snow first thing in the morning. Sigh.
Other Noteworthy Places to Visit:
While these are just the top 5, there are many many places in Baku you should definitely visit. The city is rich with culture, beauty, and the most welcoming people you’ll ever meet who’ll show you nothing but warmth and respect.
For more pictures/details from the trip, check out my Instagram. If you’d like to know more about the cost of the trip or need recommendations, feel free to leave a comment below.