Awash with optimism, oil dollars and ostentation, yet with a respectful nod to the past.Set amidst the magical Caucasus mountains, with the Caspian sea on one side and semi-desert on the other, Azerbaijan is everything its landscape suggests - a country of fascinating contrasts. From its flashy capital, Baku (otherwise known as “City of the Winds”) to timeworn forests and beautiful beaches, Azerbaijan has plenty to offer the curious traveller. Don’t limit yourself to the bright lights of the capital - if you go to the trouble of travelling this far off the beaten track, make the extra effort to venture into the rural splendour of the foothills of the Caucasus, or to the coastal fishing villages. Typically left off the usual tourist routes, there’s a special kind of unspoilt magic about Azerbaijan.
3 Things You Shouldn’t Miss In AzerbaijanIndulge your senses
Bordering two continents, Azerbaijan enjoys the best of both worlds when it comes to cuisine. The food here is a delicious blend of Turkish, Persian and Central Asian. Make sure you try the typical Azerbaijani dish Plov, a mix of rice, greens, herbs and chicken, lamb or fish.
Old vs new
Awash with optimism, oil dollars and ostentation, yet with a respectful nod to the past, Baku is bounding into the future with glee. Make sure you take a wander to Maiden's Tower in the Old City, an impressive UNESCO World Heritage site. Towering over eight floors, it’s well worth the climb for views of Baku Bay and the Old Town, plus the shiny new skyscrapers bristling all around.
Rock of ages
Head 40 miles southwest of Baku and you’ll find yourself in the barren, semi-desert landscape of Gobustan. This UNESCO site contains around 60,000 petroglyphs (rock carvings) dating back to the 12th Century BC.
Main international airports: xx
Cost of a restaurant meal: About xx USD
Cost of a beer: About x USD
Visas: Needed by almost everyone. Available online if you’re flying in.
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National parks of the Caucasus
Glittering lakes, imposing peaks and peaceful alpine meadows - the Caucasus region shelters numerous national parks, all of which are strikingly beautiful and relatively undiscovered. We've rounded up our favourite ones to let you in on the secret.
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