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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!

the Intourist Hotel Baku
The golden welcome @ Intourist

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.

the Intourist Hotel Baku
Enjoying the view…
The cozy lounge - the Intourist Hotel Baku
The cozy lounge

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.

On my way up to the viewpoint Baku
On my way up to the viewpoint, to see the best places in Baku from above

Would you like to stay at Intourist Hotel. THEN BOOK IT HERE!

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!

How pretty isn’t this one? The Nizami Museum
How pretty isn’t this one? The Nizami Museum

The Old…

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!

Picturesque & Colorful Old City
Picturesque & Colorful Old City
Amazing spots in every corner baku
Amazing spots in every corner
Enjoying the vibe & the magic light baku
Enjoying the vibe & the magic light…

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!

This light…

The New…

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.

The famous Flame Towers Baku
The famous Flame Towers
Baku by night
Baku by night
The spectacle during night In baku
The spectacle during the night

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!

Enjoying the Sea Breeze, the Parks & the Baku Vibe
Some fresh air at the Pier
Little Venice…
My favorite oasis – The Philharmonic Fountain Park

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.

Hey Baku, I like your style…

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.

Into the future… Heydar Aliyev Center

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 photogenic spot…

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.

Shirvanshah – A travel back in time

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.

Yummy local food… and soooo much!

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.

Dinner time

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.

Our spot for the evening

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!

Hello Prive…

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.

Baku from above
Shine bright like a diamond

We had a fantastic weekend and I would highly recommend doing some Baku sightseeing at this unique city by the Caspian Sea!

If you’re planning a trip to the Azerbaijan capital, make sure you read my Baku Travel Guide, Baku Hotel Review, Baku Restaurant Review, and Baku Travel Story!

Did you like this Baku sightseeing post and want to save it or share it with others? Then see some pins on what to see in Baku, below!

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14 Comments

  1. WOW… just WOW! This is the perfect weekend escape and boy do I need a weekend escape NOW and it’s only Monday! Your photos are fascinating. looks like an amazing weekend filled with beautiful memories!

    • TWSL Reply

      Thank you for reading dear! And yes we are all in the need of a break 🙂

  2. Everything is beautiful!! I love the flame towers the best! I have not gone outside of the US, but hope to soon!

    • TWSL Reply

      Thanks Christina! Well now that you’ve heard of it, you should really think of making a trip 🙂

  3. Baku is amazing! Love how the modern buildings and the beautiful culture blend. Some of the architecture is so creative and arty – it’s inspiring! The view is also magnificent! <3

    • Linda Reply

      thank you, i hope you get the chance to experience it 🙂

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