Hundreds of kilometres of Caspian Sea coastline stretch from Dagestan in the north to the southern border with Iran in the ‘Land of Fire’. But, oil pollution causes problems and limits the number of picturesque beaches in Azerbaijan. Here are our suggestions on the country’s best spots and beach clubs.
The best beaches in Azerbaijan aren’t in Baku. Oil pollution is the reason. A one-kilometre stretch of sandy beach sits on the Absheron Peninsula’s northeast tip. Bilgah may not meet the tropical paradise of the Maldives or Thailand, but it is a top public spot outside of the beach clubs. Visitors can stroll along the sand and relax without paying admission. But expect to pay a few manats to use the loungers. Because of its location approximately 40 kilometres (25 miles) from Baku, Bilgah is difficult to reach without your own transport.
Not everyone who visits Azerbaijan rents a car or has a driver. Luckily, Shikhov Beach, a fifteen-minute bus ride (number 125) from Baku’s city centre, is relatively clean and accessible. The complex provides guests with a range of facilities including umbrellas, loungers and access to swimming pools and changing areas.
Admission: AZN12 ($7).
Amburan Beach Club
If you’re planning to visit Baku and want to relax on the beach, our best recommendation is to go to Amburan Beach Club near Bilgah. A stretch of orange sand filled with loungers and umbrellas against the Caspian Sea makes a beautiful spot for relaxing. The complex has swimming pools, cafés, bars and restaurants, as well as a Winter Garden. The Beach Club rents water sports equipment including kayaks and jet skis too.
Amburan Beach Club, Zagulba Hwy, Bilgah, Baku, Azerbaijan, +994 55 300 50 00
Opening hours: Daily from 10:00am to Midnight. Admission: Weekdays: AZN20 ($11.70). Weekends: AZN25 ($14.60).
Absheron Peninsula Beaches
The peninsula extends to the north and east of Baku with Pirallahi Island on the eastern tip. Driving along the coastline, you’ll find a few beaches, some better than others, and endless beach clubs, hotels and resorts. Some of the more well-known ones include Mayak, Northern Gress and Buzovna. The region has excellent infrastructure along with several bars and restaurants, and it is worth visiting if you have a week in Azerbaijan.
On the north of Absheron, the ancient city of Pirsagi provides long stretches of golden sand beaches and seaside resorts. Stroll along the public beaches and relax near the clean water while listening to the gentle waves. Or, head to one of the private beach clubs for a more luxurious experience and access to other amenities and facilities. Baku’s wealthy have summer homes along this stretch of coastline.
For a more secluded beach in Azerbaijan, head to Nabran. Nabran sits a few kilometres from the Dagestan border in the north with some of the country’s cleanest waters. The seaside resort attracts local tourists from around the country to enjoy the facilities, relaxation and forested areas behind. Hotels and resorts from luxurious five-star bungalows to budget-friendly spots line the coastline. Most have swimming pools and gardens. The historical Quba is approximately 60 kilometres (37 miles) southeast of Nabran, and combining both destinations on a more extended trip is possible.
The resort town of Lankaran takes approximately four hours to reach from Baku. Tourists have access to hotels and resorts in the town famous for both lemons and tea. If you want to enjoy coastline, head a few kilometres up or down the coast. The water isn’t suitable for swimming. For a more surreal experience, head south to Yanar Bulag Fire Spring, and watch water ignite.