Example Itinerary

Classic Azerbaijan

Duration
8 days / 7 nights
Price Per Person
Interests
Heritage
Destinations
Azerbaijan

Experience the highlights of this southern Caucasus nation on a luxury eight-day Classic Azerbaijan journey. Begin in the capital of Baku along the Caspian Sea, where modern architecture and vibrant international scene clashes with a historically-rich Inner City. Explore surrounding areas such as the gas-rich peninsula where flames burn eternally, and a natural reserve that is home to prehistoric cave drawings and mud volcanoes. Then, embark west along an ancient route that leads to old cities and villages tucked into the foothills of the Caucasus mountains. Here, time-honored ways live on amongst crooked cobblestone alleyways dotted with medieval mosques, bazaars, hamams, handicraft shops, and tea cafes. Take to the central plains to Ganja to see its wealth of historical monuments before circling back to Baku. Soak up the culture, history, and landscape of this amazing country on a trip that is nothing less than quintessential Azerbaijan.  

This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.

Highlights

  • Diverse Landscapes: A capital by the Caspian Sea, ancient cities and villages in the foothills of the Caucasus, a desert-scape full of prehistoric rock carvings and musical rocks - Azerbaijan has it all, and you’ll see it all on this journey. 
  • Natural Wonders: Azerbaijan’s famous gas reserves contributes to unique natural phenomenons including ‘eternal flames’ and mud volcanoes, the former of which were historically worshipped and were cause for pilgrimages from far away lands. 
  • Capital of New and Old: Baku is a city of contrasts, most evident in its walled Inner City which preserves much of the buildings from the days of the great Silk Road, juxtaposed against its super modern architecture that surrounds it, such as the Flame Towers, Zaha Hadid-designed cultural center, and luxury hotels.  
  • Master Crafts: Handicrafts are a cornerstone of Azerbaijani cultural heritage, often passed down through the family from mother to daughter, father to son. Today such skilled craftwork is still very much alive and thriving, from carpet weaving to leathermaking, ceramics, stained glass work, and copper ware. Meet some master craftsmen, observe their work first hand, and even try your hand at these arts. 

Day-by-Day

Day 1

Map

Baku »

Arrive in Baku, the capital and commercial hub of Azerbaijan which sits in the east with a coastline built along the Caspian Sea. You will be met off the aerobridge and escorted to a VIP terminal where you may relax in the lounge while your documents are checked by immigration and customs officials. Once cleared, your guide and driver will meet you right outside of the terminal for your transfer to your hotel by private luxury car. Check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the evening at leisure, resting up for your journey ahead.

Hotel Options

Day 2

Map

Baku »

Your exploration of Azerbaijan begins with a walking tour through Baku’s medieval walled Inner City, Icheri Cheher. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this well-preserved old city is still a vibrant, living city that tells the history of Baku’s development over the past nine centuries within its narrow cobblestoned alleyways, historic caravanserais, hammams, mosques and hidden courtyards. The most ancient monument is the Maiden Tower, the symbol of the city which dates back as early as the 7th-6th centuries BC.  Another must-see is Shirvanshah’s Palace, located at the highest point in the city, and  described by UNESCO as “one of the pearls of Azerbaijan’s architecture.”  Round out the day with a visit the Azerbaijani Carpet Museum, a research-training and cultural educational center dedicated to the important traditional art which has been registered as an UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. The museum has the largest collection of Azerbaijani carpets in the world; each of Azerbaijan’s ten regions has its indigenous weaving techniques and designs which is passed down within the family through practice. 

Baku

Day 3

Map

Baku »

This morning, head out to the Absheron Peninsula to visit the Ateshgah Fire Temple, a pilgrimage site dedicated to its ‘eternal flame’. This area is known for its burning natural gas outlets which has long attracted Zoroastrian fire worshippers since its construction in the 17-18th centuries. The natural gas yield ceased in the mid 19th-century, ending worship, and the temple is today open for visitors to see the flame which is artificially supplied by gas pipes. Back in Baku, visit Villa Petrolea, the former residence of the Nobel brothers which is now a museum. The Nobel brothers, Swedish businessmen, established the first foreign business in Baku and transformed the country into one of the world’s oldest oil producers, tapping into its rich reserves. Also stop by the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, an iconic Baku landmark designed by star-chitect Zaha Hadid. The complex encompasses an auditorium, museum, exhibition halls, and offices. 

Day 4

Map

Sheki »

Leave Baku behind as you travel to the west through Azerbaijan’s midlands. The first stop is at Shamakhi, one of the country’s most historic cities. Though invaders and earthquakes have left little history intact, the Juma Mosque still stands in its current iteration. It was one of the first to be founded in the Caucasus as Islam began spreading around Azerbaijan. Next, make a detour up to the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus to the small village of Lahij, one of the oldest settlements in Azerbaijan. Lahij is known as a center of craftsmanship, a living open-air museum, where visitors can stroll along the cobblestone streets and observe craftsman at work in various studios, workshops, and shops. Unique quality souvenirs such as carpets, plates, cups, glasses, swords, knives and more are on offer. The most famous craft from Lahij is copper work, some of which have made their way into museums across the Caucasus, Russia, and Europe. Under the guidance of a master craftsman, try your hand at engraving designs on copper craft. Arrive in Sheki in the late afternoon and relax for the rest of the day.

Hotel Options
Sheki

Day 5

Map

Ganja »

Sheki is one of the oldest cities in the country and once a vital hub for silk trade along the Silk Route. Today this bucolic city in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountain remains one of Azerbaijan’s picturesque towns, with its traditional architectural ensemble of houses with high gabled roofs, notably influenced by foreign powers throughout the centuries. Begin at the Sheki Bazaar, located within the historic center along the main shopping street with its public buildings, shops, bathhouses, and residential houses. Then, visit the Palace of Sheki Khans, the former summer residence of the royals who were once the most powerful of a series of Khanates in the Caucasus. The building itself is notable for its intricate decorations and design, particularly its stained-glass work and cooling elements. Also visit Sheki’s historic caravanserai, a roadside inn where merchants and travelers sought shelter as they journeyed along the trade routes. Today part of the caravanserai has been refitted to house a working contemporary hotel, while the rest remains open as a museum. Then, travel a few miles north to the town of Kish to visit the Caucasian Albanian church, one of the oldest churches in the Caucasus, founded in the 1st century. While in Kish, visit a workshop to learn how to make a kelagayi, the beautiful silk shawls that Azerbaijani women traditionally wear. Finally, drive to Ganja where you will spend the night.

Hotel Options

Day 6

Map

Baku »

Ganja is one of the largest cities in Azerbaijan with a population of over a million people. It has been a historic and cultural center throughout most of its existence, and was part of several different empires before it finally became a part of Azerbaijan after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Culturally notable, Ganja is the birthplace of the famous Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi. Explore the city today, including the 17th-century Shah Abbas Mosque, Javadkhan Mausoleum, the Orthodox church, Nizami’s Mausoleum, and the unique ‘Bottle House’ which is decorated with over 50,000 glass bottles. Return to Baku for the evening.

Hotel Options
Baku

Day 7

Map

Baku »

Take a day-trip to Gobustan Historical Reserve, approximately a 1-hour drive southwest of Baku. The expansive archaeological park is an alien desert-scape pock-marked with boulders, man-made caves, and mud volcanoes. The collection of rock carvings at Gobustan is the largest of its kind in the world and date back over 40,000 years to the ice age. As you explore the rocks and caves, you can observe the petroglyphs which depict scenes of prehistoric life such as tribal dances and hunting. There is also a small museum at the entrance which exhibits a collection of weapons, carving tools, and artifacts recovered from the area. Also within the area is another sight to behold - the mud volcano, a natural phenomenon where gases below the surface expel mud to the surface. There are only about 850 mud volcanoes in the world, with 300 of them found in Azerbaijan alone. You may notice locals collecting the mud in jars to take home or slathering it on their skin; it is believed the mud has healing properties. Also of interest is the Gaval Dash, a naturally-formed musical stone that makes a sound comparable with a tambourine when stricken. Return to Baku and spend the remaining late afternoon exploring the city as you wish, whether enjoying the modern shops and restaurants, or another look around the ancient inner city. 

Day 8

Map

Departure

On your last day, spend your morning at leisure, whether having a stroll along Baku Boulevard or enjoying a cup of tea at a local cafe. When ready, a private car will take you to the airport, to the entrance of the VIP terminal. Relax with complimentary drinks and snacks in the VIP lounge while departure formalities are handled for you by a representative. Then, you will be led through security and immigration, then finally to an air-side VIP departure lounge to relax until your flight onward. 

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With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

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