Things To Do in Baku

Azerbaijan may not be a country that you’ve ever heard of, let alone considered travelling to. But this country on the Caspian Sea is definitely a surprising one. Located in the southern Caucasus Mountains in Asia, this country, rich in natural gas, feels more Middle Eastern than Asian.

Bordering Russia, Georgia, Iran, and Armenia, the country was once part of the Soviet republic. Its capital is Baku City, which is located below sea level, making it the lowest-lying national capital in the world.

There are many places to visit Baku Azerbaijan, and something that Baku definitely knows how to do is architecture. This cool city is a unique blend of old and new modern designs, many of which are futuristic with their own unique design.

Although the first Azerbaijan Grand Prix took place in 2017, the race is now held on the Baku City Circuit, a street circuit in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has quickly become a staple of the Formula One calendar and is scheduled to continue taking place at the Baku City Circuit until at least 2026.

Whether you decide to take a city tour or explore Baku on your own, here are my recommended things to do in Baku for your solo Baku itinerary.

Things to do in Baku

Flame Towers

You simply can’t go to Baku and not see the Flame Towers. These three skyscrapers are uniquely designed as giant flames, as a symbol of the country’s nickname, the “land of fire.” Inside are offices, apartments, and a hotel. You don’t need to go inside to admire these towers, which are among the country's tallest buildings at 182 metres high.

Covered in LED screens, they provide a mesmerising display of sports figures, the Azerbaijan flag, and of course, flames. If you do go inside, you’ll find a hotel, apartments, offices, and a shopping mall. It’s easy to move in between them from tower to tower. Just follow the landscaped podium.

Things to do in Baku

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center

A former winner of the Design of the Year award (and the Pritzker Architecture Prize), this cultural centre is simply stunning and will give the Sydney Opera House a run for its money. Described as a symbol of modern Azerbaijan, the fluid white design of the Heydar Aliyev Center has gained international recognition, and the inside is just as impressive as the curvy walls of the outside.

Learn more about the history and cultural heritage of Azerbaijan, from costumes and weaving processes to the country’s musical instruments. Exhibitions can change, such as the artist's room.

Allow a few hours to explore the whole museum, as there is so much to see. From miniature replicas of the city’s buildings, including the futuristic airport, to a huge doll collection. You have to pay to enter the museum.

Things to do in Baku

Things to do in Baku

Fountains Square

Fountains Square is my favourite square in the capital. Named after the number of fountains that sit in this beautifully designed public square, it’s one of the perfect tourist places for people watching or just sitting on a bench and reflecting. Amongst the fountains are cool statues, such as a girl on her phone holding an umbrella and the Moai heads of Easter Island.

It is one of the most lively places in the city and is an ideal place to have lunch or dinner in the many restaurants and cafes around the square. Some of the best restaurants in the area are Latitude & Longitude Bar Lounge, Pendir & Chorek, Metropol 145, and Araz Terrace.

It’s not just one square either, as it begins from Istiglaliyyat Street and runs through Nizami Street. Visit Fountains Square at night to see the fountains lit up with gorgeous lighting along the streets. Not to mention live music.

Things to do in Baku

Things to do in Baku

Old City

The oldest part of the capital, Baku’s Old City, is full of ancient wonders. The walled city is a UNESCO Heritage Site, along with Shirvanshah’s Palace and the Maiden Tower.

The defensive walls date back to the 12th century, the same century as the stone Maiden Tower which was built on the grounds of even earlier structures. Climb up the steps to get a great view of the city. Inside is a history museum that depicts the evolution of Baku.

Places to visit in Baku for an example of Azerbaijan’s architecture include Shirvanshahs' Palace, a 15th-century masterpiece. The former residence of the rulers of Shirvan, the country’s dynasty during the Middle Ages. Inside the grounds are a bathhouse and a mosque with a minaret.

Within the old city walls are a blend of different influences from Arabic and Persian to Ottoman. If you wander down the right street, you can capture the perfect shot of the Flame Towers and the Old City together.

baku-highland-park

Highland Park

Baku Highland Park, also known as Daghüstü Park, is a scenic park located in Baku, Azerbaijan. Situated on a hill, it offers panoramic views of the city and the Caspian Sea, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The park is known for its lush greenery, walking paths, and monuments, including one dedicated to Richard Sorge, a famous Soviet intelligence officer, and another commemorating the Turkish poet Huseyin Javid.

Highland Park is ideal for leisurely walks, relaxation, and enjoying the sunset over the city's skyline. It also provides a vantage point for viewing some of Baku's architectural highlights, such as the Flame Towers, a trio of skyscrapers that have become an iconic symbol of modern Baku. The park's elevated position and serene environment make it a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the beauty and tranquility of Baku.

Baku-street

Baku's “Little Venice”

Baku's “Little Venice” is a charming and picturesque water park located in the heart of the city, on the Baku Boulevard along the Caspian Sea. This unique attraction, inspired by the famed Italian city of Venice, which was built in 1960 and later expanded. It features a series of waterways and canals over which small bridges are thrown, allowing visitors to navigate the area on beautifully designed gondolas.

The idea behind Little Venice was to bring a slice of Venetian charm to Baku, offering residents and tourists alike a place for relaxation and leisure amidst the urban landscape. The waterways wind through a small but beautifully landscaped area, complete with restaurants and cafes on the water's edge, where visitors can dine al fresco while enjoying the serene water views.

This miniature Venetian lagoon serves as a peaceful oasis within the bustling city, providing a romantic setting for strolls and boat rides. The attention to detail in the replication of Venetian aesthetics, from the bridges' architecture to the gondolas' design, makes Little Venice a unique and enchanting destination in Baku, perfect for experiencing a touch of Italy in Azerbaijan.

Things to do in Baku

Photo @ Francisco Anzola

Carpet Museum

A carpet museum may not sound like the most exciting museum in the world, but this unique building is worth seeing even if you don’t go inside. Designed like a rolled-up carpet, this educational museum houses the largest collection of Azerbaijani carpets. Inside you’ll discover traditional weaving techniques from as far back as Medieval times and plenty of traditional carpets.

Things to do in Baku

More Museums

The Carpet Museum isn’t the only museum here; there are many things to do in Baku. Learn more about the history at the National History Museum, or admire artwork at the National Art Museum of Azerbaijan or the Modern Art Museum. If you are a bookworm, you may like the Baku Museum of Miniature Books, which holds tiny books from all over the world.

Things to do in Baku

And More…

Then there are the shopping malls to window shop in (of which Baku has several). The top mall is 28 Mall near the train station, which has about 70 brands to shop for, or you can shop for spices in the outdoor street market nearby.

If you like chess, watch the local men exercising their game strategy on a giant board near the promenade or just stroll along the Caspian Sea admiring the city’s skyline. Baku will definitely make you want to return.

* If you are travelling to Azerbaijan and looking for what to visit in Azerbaijan and what to do in Azerbaijan, our Solo Travel in Azerbaijan guide includes the must-see places in Azerbaijan, including the best time to visit Baku and where to stay in Baku.

Things to do in Baku

My Verdict

Is Baku safe for solos? In my experience, yes. I had no attention from men and felt completely safe, even at night wandering around. I loved Baku and would definitely go back.

 

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