Azerbaijan’s capital boasts with a 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.
How to get to Baku
Depending on where in the world you are living, it shouldn’t be a problem getting to Baku. Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport serves dozens of airline companies operating to and from Baku to all over the world.
Many travelers who are traveling to Georgia like to add Baku to their itinerary and vice versa. Tbilisi Baku marshrutka (minibus) runs daily from Ortachala Central Bus Station at 5, 6, 6:30, and 7 p.m. The ticket costs 30₾. The journey is a bit long though, around 7- 8 hours.
There’s also a daily overnight Tbilisi Baku train that leaves from Tbilisi Railway Station at 8:35 p.m, taking around 12 hours. The train ticket costs between 35-84 GEL depending on the class. For more detailed information on this train journey, read Emily’s post – Tbilisi to Baku by overnight train
12 Top Things to Do in Baku, Azerbaijan
Baku is a very, very clean city, with buildings painted or constructed with similar beige colors, which makes it look elegant and straightforward. Even though there is heavy traffic in the city, it still feels quiet during the day. In the evenings it becomes even more peaceful with a few locals walking in the dark.
Azerbaijan’s capital tries to offer as much as possible to its visitors. However, the cultural and architectural sights are limited. The majority of Baku attractions consists of museums, modern architecture, parks, and other landmarks to see.
1. Icheri Sheher or Old Town
One of the first things to do in Baku is to learn about its history. Baku’s Old Town, or Icheri Sheher, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and used to be the medieval capital of the Shirvan Shahs. Start with visiting the 12th century Maiden Tower, then continue your way towards the 15th century Palace of Shivan Shahs through narrow streets full of traditional carpet weavers and souvenir shops.
One of the places to visit in Baku is the Maiden Tower, a museum showcasing 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.
- Opening Hours: Everyday from 9 a.m to 6 p.m
- Entrance Fee: Adults – 10 AZN, Students – 5 AZN, Guided Tour – 20 AZN
The Palace of Shirvan Shahs 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 ancient times.
- Opening Hours: Everyday from 10 a.m to 6 p.m
- Entrance Fee: Adults – 10 AZN, Students – 5 AZN
2. Miniature Literature Museum
Another cool thing to do in Baku is to visit the miniature books museum. It’s one of a kind in the world and represents a private collection of Zaria Salahova. She collected 6,500 books from 65 different countries.
The museum was opened 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 the 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.
- Opening Hours: Closed on Thur and Mon. Rest: from 11 a.m to 5 p.m
- Entrance Fee: FREE
3. Flame Towers
The icon of Baku attractions is its skyscraper trio with a height of 182 meters, making it the tallest building in the country. The towers represent Azerbaijan’s long history of fire worshipers.
Those buildings have around 130 residential apartments on its 33 floors, a hotel with 250 rooms, and 61 serviced apartments. Additionally, it has offices of various organizations.
The facades of the towers are like screens using more than 10,000 LED lights to lit up after the dusk. It shows a small display of fire and the national flag of Azerbaijan.
4. Baku Funicular
Opened in 1960 during the Soviet rule, Baku Funicular is the first and the only one in the country. It takes you from Neftchilar Avenue to Martyr’s Alley. It’s a fantastic spot to have panoramic views of Baku from here and admire the Flame Towers up close.
- Opening Hours: Everyday from 10 a.m to 22 p.m
- Entrance Fee: 1AZN
5. Martyr’s Alley
One of the top things to do in Baku is to visit the Martyrs’ Alley and the Eternal Flame Memorial. Memorial honor more than 100 Azerbaijan demonstrators shot by the Soviet army in the shocking Black January. The area before was a Muslim cemetery from WWI, but in the
6. Bibi Heybat Mosque
Bibi Heybat Mosque, located a bit far from the touristic places to visit in Baku, is an important mosque in the city. What you see today, is a recreation of old mosque of the same name built by Shirvanshah in the 13th century. In 1936, Bolsheviks completely destroyed the mosque.
7. Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum
Azerbaijan culture is known for its gorgeous carpets, therefore visiting the Carpet Museum would be on your list. Opened in 1967, it also is the world’s first of such museums.
The facade is quite unique. It represents a rolled carpet adorned with traditional motifs. When inside, you’ll learn more about the culture of carpet weaving and its different techniques used at different times. The museum has the biggest collection of Azerbaijani carpets.
- Opening Hours: Tue-Fri: 10 a.m to 6 p.m; Weekends: 10 a.m to 8 p.m
- Entrance Fee: Adults – 7AZN, Students – 3 AZN
8. Mini Venice
One of my favorite things to do in Baku was this so-called ‘Little Venice’, 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 warm sunlight.
- Opening Hours: Everyday 10:30 a.m to 11:30 p.m
- Entrance Fee: Adults – 4 AZN
9. Nizami Street
Nizami Street is the most significant pedestrian street featuring different shopping and entertainment venues. Named after a local poet, the street is the main shopping district covering 3.5 km. As you walk along this long street, make sure to look at the architecture. You can find baroque, neo-renaissance, and neo-gothic buildings here.
And once here, don’t forget to check out Fountain Square. The area features several different fountains starting from Nizami Street to the walls of the old city.
10. Baku Boulevard
A 3.5km long Baku Boulevard is one of the most popular places to visit in Baku for both locals and city visitors. Walk along the promenade and enjoy the views of the Caspian Sea and the Flame Towers. The boulevard is also home to an amusement park, various cafes, bars, Baku Eye (the Ferris Wheel), National Flag Square, and many more interesting places.
11. Heydar Aliyev Center
This huge building with the unique architecture of curved-style is home to a conference hall, a gallery, and a museum. Named after the third president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, the museum showcases his work and life, along with the history of Azerbaijan.
- Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11 a.m to 7 p.
EntranceFee: Adults – 15 AZN
12. Eat 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 the 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.
As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments down below, or connect with me on my social media channels. I will be happy to assist you as much as possible.