The Most Beautiful Places in Azerbaijan

The remote village of Khinalug is one of the highest settlements in Europe
The remote village of Khinalug is one of the highest settlements in Europe | © Juan Alberto Casado / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Sam Bedford
26 May 2021

Combine mountains and semi-arid plains stretching endlessly towards the horizon with historic towns. Now add in wildlife, fire and hundreds of kilometres of coastline to get an idea of the real beauty of Azerbaijan. Here’s our roundup of the most beautiful spots in the Land of Fire.

Baku

Architectural Landmark
Map View
The cityscape of Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan.
© Zimu Liu / Alamy Stock Photo

Baku is one of the most beautiful places in Azerbaijan on account of its modern city centre and historical old town. The Flame Towers form the focal point of the capital and light up after sundown. Icheri Sheher, the medieval core, exhibits Islamic styles of architecture, while lavish European facades line the Old City. The most beautiful attractions are along Baku Boulevard, a long promenade near the Caspian Sea, and there are superb views from the hill near Martyrs’ Lane.

Absheron National Park

Park
Map View
Wild swans on the lake
© Vastram / Alamy Stock Photo
Just over 60km (37mi) east of Baku sits Absheron National Park, whose arid plains caused by the semi-desert climate cover almost 2,000 acres (809ha). Stand inside and marvel at the rolling dunes against the clear, unpolluted waters of the Caspian. However, the mesmerising landscapes aren’t the main attraction. More than 50 species of animals call the steppes home, including the endangered Caspian seal and comb jellyfish, as well as gazelles, badgers and jackals.

Astara

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Rice paddies, Lisar at Astara, Gilan Province, Iran
© Stefan Auth / Alamy Stock Photo

According to locals, historical Astara tops the list of beautiful places in Azerbaijan. Mountains surround the town, which sits on the border with Iran, while lush green virgin rainforest and a variety of plant and animal life – including the Caucasus leopard – live in the nearby Hirkan National Park.

The Caspian Sea

Natural Feature
Map View
Sunrise on the coast of the Caspian Sea
© Alexander Melnikov / Alamy Stock Photo

The Caspian Sea, the largest lake in the world, makes for one of the best places to visit in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani coastline stretches for more than 500km (310mi) from the southern border with Iran to Dagestan in the north. Despite some of the coast and beaches near Baku suffering from pollution, you can find beautiful resorts in Sumgait in the northern part of the Absheron Peninsula. Lankaran, four hours south of Baku, near the Iranian border, has some nice resorts too.

Shirvan National Park

Natural Feature
Map View
Azerbaijan, Shirvan National Park, mud volcano
© Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo

This semi-desert national park, just over 100km (62mi) southwest of Baku, combines wildlife, dunes and a short stretch of coastline. Visitors can enjoy landscapes and a diversity of fauna with large populations of gazelles, jungle cats and turtles. More than 200 species of birds also live inside Shirvan National Park, including flamingos and 32 rare species. Bungalows and camping sites are available for overnight stays.

Agh Gol National Park

Natural Feature
Map View
purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio), starting on a calm water surface
© Blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo

Lake Aggol, the second-largest lake in Azerbaijan, sits inside the Agh Gol National Park in the Kur-Araz lowlands. The arid landscape creates a nesting spot for migratory birds, while the lake is full of fish. And the views are spectacular. Imagine a blue-green lake surrounded by a band of trees with mountains in the distance. Despite the beauty, travelling can be challenging because of language barriers. Learn a few phrases of Azerbaijani first.

Sheki

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Interior, UNESCO Royal Summer Palace of Sheki (Shaki, Seki) Khan aka Palace of Shaki Khans, Azerbaijan
© Martin Lindsay / Alamy Stock Photo

Nestled at the foot of the southern Greater Caucasus Mountains is a place called Sheki. The town of 60,000 people dates back 2,500 years, making it one of the oldest Caucasus settlements. Sheki’s claim to fame for millennia was silk, textiles and embroidery, which made it a significant point on the Silk Road. Today, the historical region with ancient mosques, castles and the 18th-century Palace of Sheki Khans forms the foreground against the majestic green mountains.

Qabala

Natural Feature
Map View
The Mucuq waterfall is located 15 km to the North from Gabala. Its height is 54 meters and it is the highest waterfall in Azerbaijan.
© Nizi Nuri / Alamy Stock Photo

The former capital of the Caucasus Albanians in northern Azerbaijan blends historical and natural beauty. Nearby archaeological sites dating back almost 2,500 years sit near the craggy Caucasus Mountains to the north. Valleys, canyons and waterfalls, as well as ski resorts, make Qabala one of the top places in Azerbaijan.

Quba

Architectural Landmark
Map View
Azerbaijan landscape of nature, Beautiful mountains and hills in the north of Azerbaijan near Quba in the village Khinaluq
© Maurice Brand / Alamy Stock Photo
Quba, in the northeast of the country, is an important destination for Azerbaijani culture. The ancient mountain town along the Qudailchay River is a stone’s throw from remote villages full of history. A small all-Jewish settlement sits on the opposite side of the river traversing the town. Craggy mountains and valleys surround the cultural communities. The nearby village of Khinalug at 2,350m (7,710ft) offers stunning mountain landscapes and plenty of hiking opportunities.

Goyazan Mountain

Natural Feature
Map View

A short distance to the northwest of Qazakh District in northern Azerbaijan stands the 857m (2,812ft) Goyazan Mountain. Goyazan stands alone against a flat background of rolling fields and plains, giving it a prominent appearance in the landscape. The strange beauty of the mountain ensures its inclusion on the list of places to visit in Azerbaijan. Check out the nearby reservoir for views of the villages and border with Armenia too.

Lake Goygol

Natural Feature
Map View
Highland lake Goygol  in Azerbaijan Republic
© Vastram / Alamy Stock Photo

Lake Goygol is one of the most beautiful places in Azerbaijan. The name means the Blue Lake, and it sits in the Murovdag foothills. Formed after an earthquake almost 1,000 years ago, Goygol has become a favourite tourist destination near Ganja. A total of 19 lakes lie in the Greater Goygol region, with eight at an altitude of more than 1,500m (4,921ft). The hour-long journey from Ganja passes through the mountains, providing plenty of spots for photographs.

These recommendations were updated on May 26, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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