Nestled neatly next to the Caspian Sea and the Great Caucasus Mountains with Armenia and Georgia amongst its neighbours, Azerbaijan is a chaotic and rich blend of cultures. The beautifully restored old city of Baku sits in the shadow of futuristic and extravagant buildings built on the back of oil. Take some time to explore this extraordinary city as we take you from the modern to the medieval.
Duration6 Days/ 5 Nights from NZD $2,097*
Type of Journey
• Baku • Baku Fortress • Shirvanshahs’ Palace • Gobustan National Park • Mardakan • Dagustu Park • Azerbaijan Carpet Museum
Departure DatesDeparts daily 1 April - 31 October
- Tailor-made journey
- 5 nights accommodation in the hotel category of your choice with breakfast daily
- Airport transfers
- Sightseeing with an English speaking guide including entrance fees
- All local taxes
- International flights, taxes and fuel surcharges
- Meals other than those indicated
- Personal expenses
6705Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
Day 1: Arrive Baku
On arrival into Baku, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This evening is at leisure.
Day 2: Baku, Old City
Meet your guide after breakfast to visit the Old City. Start at the gates of Baku Fortress before heading to the legendary Zoroastrian Maiden Tower. On to Multani Caravanserai, built in the 14th century to house merchants frequenting the region for trade. Visit the Haji Banu Hamam, a favoured meeting place for tired travellers and merchants since the 15th century. See the Juma Mosque, as well as the Shirvanshahs’ Palace, a striking example of a medieval palace. Your next stop is the Museum of Miniature Books: a small museum displaying a once private collection of tiny books ranging from a 17th-century Koran to the three smallest books in the world, which you need a magnifying glass to see.
After a stop for lunch (own expense), tour the house museum of the Nobel brothers (Villa Petrolia). The brothers made a significant contribution to the development of oil industry in Azerbaijan and thus to its economic, scientific and cultural rise at the end of 19th century. The villa has been restored to its former glory by the Baku Nobel Heritage Fund and serves as a museum that preserves and promotes the Nobel heritage.
End the day by strolling about pedestrian Fountain Square, a place to sit and relax, and a great vantage point from which to people-watch.
Day 3: Baku > Gobustan National Park
Meet your guide after breakfast and drive approx. 60kms to the Gobustan National Park. Start at the museum which has a fascinating collection of bones and work tools from the Mesolithic Period. Head out into the open air museum of the Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape. This plateau of rocky boulders rising out of the semi-desert has a collection of more than 6,000 rock engravings going back 40,000 years. The site also features the remains of inhabited caves, settlements and burials, all reflecting an intensive human use by the inhabitants of the area during the wet period that followed the last Ice Age, from the Upper Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. The site, which covers an area of 537 ha, is part of the larger protected Gobustan Reservation. You will also get a chance to marvel at the mud volcanoes in the Gobustan Reserve, which is home to almost half of the world’s mud volcanoes.
Day 4: Ramana > Mardakan > Absheron
Meet your guide and start at the local bazaar. Like many Middle Eastern cultures, the bazaar is the place where the best seasonal and fresh local produce is offered. Visit the 12th century Ramana Tower, built for defense and used as a castle during the Shirvanshahs’ reign. Take one of two staircases up onto the tower walls to overlook Ramana Village. Continue to the historic Quadrangular castle of Mardakan with its inner courtyard and observation tower before visiting the Gala State Historical Ethnographic Reserve, a complex of museums encompassing the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography (open-air), Castle Museum (partly open-air), and the Museum of Antiques.
Later this afternoon visit the Baku Fire Temple, known locally as the Atashgah. This castle-like Hindu temple and monastery complex in Surakhani is no longer used as a place of worship. Finish the day by visiting Yanardagh, the Burning Mountain on the Absheron Peninsula. YanarDag is a natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside – flames jet out into the air 3 metres from a thin, porous sandstone layer.
Day 5: Modern Baku
Azerbaijan’s capital feels airy with long straight boulevards, low-level buildings and lots of open spaces. Start the day at Dagustu Park, sitting at the top of the Baku Funicular with some of the best views of the city’s skyline. Take the funicular to the Baku Boulevard, a favorite place of rest for Baku residents with its gardens, fountains, Mini-Venice and the Baku Eye.
Tour the Contemporary Art Center – YARAT. YARAT is a not-for-profit organization, showcasing temporary exhibitions by leading international artists, highlighting emerging movements and new commissions.
Carpet weaving in Azerbaijan dates back more than 3,000 years and plays a huge part in the local identity. Each region produces their own patterns and designs in a tradition passed down through generations. The Azerbaijan Carpet Museum along Baku Boulevard has two claims to fame: its architecture and its displays. From the outside, the building looks like a rolled-up carpet, while the exhibits show visitors the importance of carpet weaving, displaying more than 10,000 items including medieval ceramics and jewellery.
Continue to the development of Baku White City and the Museum of Modern Art, displaying more than 800 paintings and sculptures by Azerbaijani artists from the 1960s and 1970s. Other exhibits include pieces from Picasso and Dali donated by private collectors and a section dedicated to local photographers.
This afternoon visit the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, noted for its distinctive architecture and flowing, curved style that eschews sharp angles.
Day 6: Depart Baku
Check out after breakfast and transfer to the airport.