Summer has officially arrived and that means travel season. In recent months you may have been feeling weary to start exploring the world again, but you can begin with the right destination in mind.
We have found the perfect summer vacation for those looking to venture outside of Turkey in the coming months and it's Azerbaijan. Home to rich cultural sites, vibrant landscapes, and more, this hidden gem is the perfect trip. There is something for everyone to enjoy in Azerbaijan starting from the nation's capital of Baku.
Here are 5 reasons why we're recommending Azerbaijan for your summer travels:
1. Quick flight
Traveling can be a lot to handle from tickets to accommodations, so choosing a convenient location is guaranteed to ease some of that stress. When you travel from Turkey to Azerbaijan your flight can be as short as a couple of hours.
Azerbaijan takes you just far enough away to feel like you're on vacation while still being close to home. Pack for a long weekend or stay for a couple of weeks - your travel time won't take away from the fun.
2. Perfect mix of beach, city, & mountains
When you visit Azerbaijan you get all of the views from the sandy beaches along the Caspian Sea to the city skylines of Baku, and all the way to the mountain ranges of the Great Caucasus. There's no place quite like Azerbaijan with its various and beautiful terrains.
3. Cultural activities
You will never run out of things to do on this trip. Azerbaijan has a rich culture to explore from music to food. Head to the International Mugham Centre and immerse yourself in national folk music, a fusion of instruments and poetry. Next, walk through Baku's Old City to see the Maiden Tower, Shirvanshahs' Palace, and other 'Inner City' gems. Azerbaijan still holds its medieval core while providing all the comforts and luxuries of a modern city.
As you try Baku's incredible restaurants and cafes, make sure to order plov and dolma. Plov is rice mixed with herbs, dried fruits, meat or fish, and other local ingredients which comes in all sorts of varieties - definitely a filling dish. Dolma is made of grape leaves stuffed with meat, rice, herbs, and nuts. In the summer you can find dolma filled with aubergines or tomatoes - a real treat!
4. Sporting events
Baku's Olympic Stadium near Lake Boyukshor is state-of-the-art and has hosted major events like the European Games, Islamic Solidarity Games, and UEFA Europa League Final.
Azerbaijan is also known for Chovgan, similar to polo with 10 players on Karabakh horses. This intense sport has been played for a thousand years and is an intense 30-minute match. Those looking for another adrenaline rush can also look forward to the Grand Prix of Azerbaijan. It's the fastest Formula 1 street circuit, running right through Baku's city center.
5. History and heritage
Learn about the history and heritage of Azerbaijan by visiting their world-class museums. Our favorites include the iconic Heydar Aliyev Center designed by Zaha Hadid and home to cultural exhibitions, a unique vintage car collection, and Miniatures of Azerbaijan.
Their National Museum of Art should also be on your list. You'll get to see Azerbaijani masterpieces as well as extraordinary works from Turkey, Iran, Japan, China, Russia, and Western Europe. Plus, if you want to dive deeper into the nation's music, theatre, religion, and independence then the Museum Center is perfect with four museums all in one building.
There is so much to discover when you visit Azerbaijan! It's a great trip for anyone whether you're a couple looking for a getaway or a family needing a long overdue adventure, Baku is definitely the place to start.
The world is opening up and you don't want to miss what Baku has to offer so close to home. Check out Azerbaijan and uncover the must-see sites of this hidden gem.