Azerbaijan is an ex-Soviet Muslim country.
Physically, Azerbaijanis are a mixture between Iranians and Turks, but they wear a Russian cap. They speak both Azerbaijani (a Turkish dialect) and Russian. They drink tea in the same way as Iranians, using the same cups, pots and add the same extravagant amount of sugar.
They enjoy drinking it in Arab cafés, but do you know what the difference is?
They drink it alongside vodka! When you enter a café, they greet you with ”Salam”. But when you have a vodka shot with them, they will exclaim ”Nasdrovia!”.
They possess Middle Eastern cordiality but, at first, they may seem to have the seriousness of a Russian. It’s hard to tell where you actually are. Soviet buildings, Arabic food and Russian signs.
For all the practical information, don’t forget to read my tips & tricks to travel to Azerbaijan
Capital – Baku
Population – 9.7 million (89th)
Language – Azerbaijani (a Turkish dialect) and Russian
Visa – You can now apply for en e-visa which is available through this portal. It costs 23USD, takes 3 working days and is valid for 30 days. The urgent visa costs 50USD and this is the list of countries which are eligible for the e-visa.
When to visit – April to October would be the best time to visit, especially in summer if you want to do some trekking. Baku is best to visit during spring and autumn because winter is really cold and summer is utterly hot.
Travel insurance – Azerbaijan is an adventure destination, so traveling with proper travel insurance is a must. I recommend World Nomads for the following reasons:
- It is the only company that covers with an unlimited budget
- It provides coverage for a very big bunch of adventure activities, including trekking in high altitudes
- You can hire it while on the road
5 Top things to do in Azerbaijan – These are just some of my favorites:
- Visit the incredible Baku – A futuristic city with awesome ancient sites. Read my Baku city guide
- Trekking in the Caucasian mountains – Some of the finest mountains in Europe.
- Soviet villages around Ganja – Dashkashan is an old mining Soviet town.
- Visit the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan – A really off the beaten track exclave with a distinct culture. For more information, read the complete guide I wrote for Chasing the Donkey: How to travel to Nakhchivan
- Check out the petroglyphs – In Qobustan, there are some amazing 15,000-year old petroglyphs. For more information, read my guide to visit the petroglyphs in Qobustan.
For more information, don’t forget to read my 3-week itinerary to Azerbaijan
Typical costs – Azerbaijan is cheap, really cheap and I strongly think that backpackers can travel for 20€ a day. For a full cost-breakdown, don’t forget to read my tips for traveling to Azerbaijan.
Accommodation – There is a wide range of accommodation all over the country, from hostels to guest houses, homestays and regular hotels, including plenty of 5-star hotels in Baku.
In my Azerbaijan itinerary, I recommend several hotels in each city.