During the last year, I have been exploring countries part of the former Soviet Union. Still pending on the list was doing some Baku sightseeing, seeing the capital of Azerbaijan. All my colleagues told me this is one worth visiting and a city very different from others. The best places in Baku were calling to me, and I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s my take on what to see in Baku!
The Friendly Hello to the Best Places in Baku!
Full of expectation when we left a cold and snowy Moscow behind for a long weekend by the Caspian Sea! Arriving late Friday night, we got a friendly greeting at the hotel for this weekend – the Intourist Hotel Baku. The perfect start to our Baku sightseeing!
Once an iconic hotel, nowadays it’s almost a landmark of Baku sightseeing. Intourist is not a boutique hotel, but all my fears disappeared once the friendly doorman opened the doors.
Even though a big hotel, the common areas had a unique, contemporary and a bit artsy design, perfectly in tune with Baku sightseeing. The vibe was a great intro to what we’d soon find about the best places in Baku. Loved the library, the lounge in living room style and in the summer, I could easily see myself hanging out on the terrace letting my dreams travel all the way over the Caspian Sea. Chilling by the water and eyeing what to see in Baku!
From here, it was time for some Baku sightseeing around the best places in Baku.
Day 1 – Unique Culture on the Best Places in Baku
Saturday morning, and time to explore “little Dubai ,” easily one of the best places in Baku. Luckily, we woke up to a blue sky and Baku turned out to be a perfect weekend escape, yet very different from its neighbors Armenia and Georgia. One thing we loved about what to see in Baku was the city’s eclectic nature. Baku sightseeing has a little bit of everything!
Baku sightseeing is a fusion of influences. Asia meets Europe, not only through its location but also in terms of languages (Azeri Turkish and Russian are the most common ones), architecture, history. Well, almost in everything – but certainly in many of the best places in Baku!
Quite quickly you realize that it’s a city built to impress, and what to see in Baku is marked by money. The oil and gas money is reflected in the many impressive ultra-modern buildings. The shimmer of the old houses and the cleanliness of the streets of the best places in Baku are details many neighboring countries lack.
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Our two days of Baku sightseeing were filled with experiences, contrasts and a glimpse of a culture very different from any we had ever experienced before. We were ready to see the best places in Baku!
Baku Sightseeing – Architectural Wonders Where Old meets new
I had seen photos of Baku’s skyscrapers before but still, I got a bit spellbound by the contrasts of Baku sightseeing. The best places in Baku are such a unique mix of old and new, architectural styles from all over the world. Majestic buildings and wide avenues from its Soviet heritage, Dubai-like skyscrapers, medieval streets mixed with mosques and palaces with the most amazing mosaic decorations.
Exploring the best places in Baku is a history lesson where the streets take you through one era after another!
Behind the city wall, hides the oldest part of Baku and an essential bit of Baku sightseeing. It’s a labyrinth of picturesque streets with medieval buildings and mosques, baths and palaces for the Muslim community.
In every corner, locals are selling handicrafts and souvenirs, and you know you’ve come to one of the best places in Baku. The colorful carpets give this part of the city the color touch needed to make it an Instagram paradise.
We ticked off all key buildings like Shirvanshahs Palace and Maiden tower but, as always, it was getting lost in the streets that I enjoyed the most. For me, that’s the coolest way to find the best places in Baku!
We stayed until late afternoons and it turned out to be a good choice, seeing the best places in Baku in a brand new light. The light was magic and the Flame Towers in the background was a truly unique sight. Old meets new in real-life Baku sightseeing!
The flame towers are a symbol of the modern wealth based on the oil and gas findings in the Caspian Sea. Built on a hill, these three skyscrapers have become an iconic landmark of Baku sightseeing as you can see them from most places in town. The magic happens during the night when they get dressed in colors of the Azerbaijan flag and flames. Surely among the best places in Baku – and certainly the most iconic in the city’s modern era.
Best Places to Visit in Baku – The Sea Breeze, the Parks & the Vibe
Cities by the sea always offer something extra and the best places in Baku prove this is no exception.
Even though a bit windy, we loved to stroll down the wide and long boardwalk for some Baku sightseeing. The Caspian Sea by our side passing by one modern building and creation after another from the Baku Eye, the carpet museum to little Venice , and all the way down to the Baku Pier!
The Beautiful Nature of the Azeri Capital
The best places in Baku go beyond the boardwalk, as the city can also brag about its parks, squares, and oases. We enjoyed every bit of these perfect spots! They’re all ideal for a break while enjoying the beautiful settings and beautiful fountains. I found my favorite spot in the pretty Philharmonic Fountain Park. There’s just so much in terms of Baku sightseeing!
The Baku vibe, another thing we liked with this city. The city is built for people to meet in the parks, on the boardwalk, in restaurants to socialize, play chess or just discuss life. Families, friends, a mix of generations. I always get a bit jealous when I visit cities like this where the climate and culture are a bit warmer than the Nordics.
One Ultra-modern & One Traditional Visit
We realized that Baku sightseeing is full of museums and it was hard choosing which ones to visit. Our choices of the best places in Baku took us from an ultra-modern experience to a truly traditional one. First out was the Heydar Aliyev Center, a futuristic creation that cannot be missed even if you just want to see it from the outside.
Located on a hill and designed all in white with luminous shapes it almost looks like it is more part of heaven than the earth. Inside offer an overdose of lights and modernity but also a journey in the history of Azerbaijan. If you will not be able to see all the best places in Baku, you can see them all in miniatures on the third floor!
The Shirvanshah restaurant and museum was a totally different experience of what to see in Baku. Located in one of the oldest streets of Baku, outside the modern city center, we got welcomed by a friendly doorman opening the door to another world, another time. A unique experience of Baku sightseeing, consisting of food and exploring Azerbaijan life 100 years ago.
Here, we got a full tour of one of the best places in Baku, exploring different handcrafts and eras of the Azerbaijan history. We were lucky to visit a local dinner party and did some try in dancing with the locals. A bit touristic but the genuine feeling was the winning one in the end, a perfect addition to our Baku sightseeing.
On our way back, we got a glimpse of the tough life outside the beautiful city core for some extra tips on what to see in Baku. A different world in our Baku sightseeing. An area to which the money for cleaning the streets and making the houses shine do not reach. Unfortunately, the sad truth in many countries and especially in this part of the world.
The Delicious Food
A Man without a Big Belly is like an Apartment without a Balcony
At least so I was told…. Azerbaijan is a country full of delicious food and Baku is not the place for diets. Our food experiences were also filled with as many contrasts as Baku sightseeing.
We took a break from out Baku sightseeing to meet local gastronomy and started at the hip and contemporary Chinar restaurant. With an interesting story, starting as a tea house under the chinar trees this place has now transformed into a cool lounge inspired restaurant and meeting place with strong Asian vibes from design to food. After what to see in Baku, eating here was one of my favorite things to do in the city. The modern, yet cozy design, the open kitchen, the tea display, and the pink wine cellar. We loved the sushi, spring rolls, and Asian beef. The perfect weekend place with a very vibrant party vibe.
For a more local experience, we went to the Shirvanshah restaurant. A truly local experience with a menu you will not be able to read during an evening. Luckily, our nice waiter helped us with the choices and this was a culinary experience beyond Baku sightseeing. The interior and entertainment of this place made our evening an unforgettable one showcasing what to see in Baku.
After our Baku sightseeing, we ended our culinary journey with some delicious meat. Baku is a city where you should eat meat and so we did at one of the premium Turkish steakhouses, Prive Baku. A trendy place atop what to see in Baku, it’s a restaurant and a food market in one and with a design taking you to a steakhouse in Istanbul . The owners and waiters were amazing and so was the food. It is hard to beat a glass of good red wine and delicious meat!
The Magic End – The Incredible View
When possible, cities should be seen from above and luckily, Baku sightseeing is prepared for this. We took the funicular up the hill and after some searching, we found the secret road to the platform next to the Baku Flames. A truly magnificent view showing what to see in Baku.
We had a fantastic weekend and I would highly recommend doing some Baku sightseeing at this unique city by the Caspian Sea!
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