Azerbaijan’s capital boasts with the mixture of modern and old architecture, making it an exciting city of the region to visit. Baku’s trendy buildings are ideally positioned among its century-old buildings and towers. Dozens of parks scattered across the city offer excellent relaxation time during your walks in the city. For a short weekend trip, the post provides various things to do in Baku.
We started our day with an excellent coffee and some dessert at Gloria Jeans Coffee shop near the city center. The coffee shop offers a wide variety of beverages, a perfect place to unwind and enjoy the exploration of Baku’s everyday life. Afterward, we started wandering around the streets of the city and walked around 20 km during the day. After my trip to Asia, maps.me is my favorite offline map showing everything a person desires to visit.
Baku is very, very clean city, with buildings painted or constructed with similar beige color, which makes it look elegant and straightforward. Even though there is heavy traffic in the city, it still feels quiet during the day, while it becomes even more peaceful in the evenings. Very few locals tend to walk in the dark.
Head to Wander-Lush where Emma discribes how she traveled from Tbilisi to Baku by overnight train
Azerbaijan’s capital tries to offer as much as possible to its visitors. However, the cultural and architectural sights are limited. Thus, there are plenty of museums and other landmarks to check out.
Top 6 Cheap and Free Things to Do in Baku, Azerbijan
1Wander through the history of Baku
One of the first things to do in Baku is to get acquainted with its history. 12th century Maidan Tower and 15th century Palace of Shivanshahs are the main landmarks of Baku’s Old Town. The tower is a museum now and shows the city’s development over the centuries. Each floor represents a milestone in Baku’s history. From the top of the tower, you can enjoy the view over the Caspian Sea, old town, and the Boulevard.
Afterward, follow the cobbled lanes towards the Palace and shop for local souvenirs along the way. The Palace is a complex consisting of the main building, a small stone pavilion – Divanhane, mosque, tombs, remains of the bathhouse and a mausoleum. The two-story main building presents cultural jewels of the country preserved from the ancient times.
2Feel like a Gulliver at a Miniature Literature Museum
Our Baku city tour lead us to one of the interesting finds of all. Azerbaijan’s capital holds one of a kind miniature literature museum in the world. It represents a private collection of Zaria Salahova, who collected 6,500 books in 65 different countries. The museum was open to the public in 2002 and is free to enter. Together with famous literature masterpieces, the museum holds very rare editions as well. Here, you can find 17th century Quran, a book published in the 13th century by a descendant of Johannes Gutenberg and books so tiny that require a magnifying glass.
3Stroll in the world’s most luxurious street
Nazimi Street is the most significant pedestrian street featuring different shopping and entertainment venues. The street is named after the poet. It has fashion shops, banks, outlets, embassies, plenty of dining areas and shopping centers. Due to expensive brands and ministries presented here, the Nizami Street is believed to be one of the costly streets in the world.
4Enjoy a gondola ride like in Venice
The so-called ‘Little Venice’ is an artificial canal connecting several islands with beautiful arches. Gondolas and personal indeed look like the one you see in Venice. A 6-8 minute ride in a gondola is the perfect way to unwind for a bit and enjoy a warm sunlight.
5Stroll down the Boulevard
A 3km long Boulevard is one of the most popular places for both locals and city visitors. You can benefit from the views of the Flame Towers, especially in the evening when it lights up in different colors.
And if you feel tired after a day-long walk, you can have a local tea in one of the cafés in the area. You can also remember a childhood and ride a merry-go-round carousel.
6Eat like a local
Azerbaijani cuisine is very similar to Turkish and Iranian. The vegetables and greens are seasonal, and the cuisine is quite meaty. The most famous meal here is a plov – a rice dish with saffron spice and other greens. Dried fruits and walnuts are most common in Azeri meals. Kebabs, shashlik, and lahmajun are also very common, along with other meals of the neighboring countries.
When looking for a place to eat like a local, search for least attractive and posh-looking venue. Those are the places that offer real authenticity of the city and its cuisine, with a friendly staff to help you out in tasting the essential meals of the country.