YOU ARE READING
The Weekly Getaway: Exploring Baku
SAVE
MENU
Travel Guides

Samala Khan | 22 November 2017
Baku
4.3
See:
Stay:
Do:
Eat/Drink:
Location:
Baku
Best time to go:
Mar-Nov
Ideal trip duration:
4 nights

When I landed on a cloudy, fall day in Azerbaijan’s capital city of Baku, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was described by Lonely Planet as a cross between Paris and Dubai, which is right up my alley. I braced myself though, as a city’s charm can sometimes be different online versus in person.

Baku2CAjerbaijan.jpg

A view of Flame Towers from the Baku Boulevard.

Baku2CAjerbaijan-1.jpg
Baku2CAjerbaijan-2.jpg
Baku2CAjerbaijan-3.jpg

Dusk in the Old City

Baku2CAjerbaijan-4.jpg

Green Gardens along the Baku Boulevard.

My first day in the city did not disappoint. There were gardens mixed with beautiful architecture, rustic city relics, and shiny high rises. A walkable city with a sense of tranquility emanating from the friendly locals. Even the Caspian Sea is a calming force as you walk the city’s waterfront.

FullSizeRender285829.jpg
IMG_0079.jpg
IMG_0153.jpg
FullSizeRender285729.jpg

It didn’t take long for me to see that the cityscape is a mix of modern and classic. There are wide boulevards, well maintained green spaces, and newly tiled promenades. But the history of ancient civilizations whispers through the walled Icheri Sheher, otherwise known as the old city. Vendors and tasty restaurants surviving hearty kebabs are located throughout. Walking through its steep streets and alleyways while going from Shirvanshak’s palace to the Maiden’s Tower let you appreciate Baku’s history. Vendors and tasty restaurants are located throughout. It was a picturesque experience walking through its steep streets and alleyways while going from Shirvanshah’s palace to the Maiden’s Tower.

The Maiden Tower is one of the city’s oldest structures and a symbol of its strength and resilience. Climbing to the top not only gives you a panoramic view of the city and sea, but an interesting multi-media tour of the medieval civilization that once use the tower for protection and safety.

Baku2CAjerbaijan-5.jpg
Baku2CAjerbaijan-6.jpg
Baku2CAjerbaijan-7.jpg

From outside the National Library of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan gained its independence in 1991 after seventy years of Soviet rule. Since then it has made strides in becoming an international city, though there are signs of previous ruling empires especially in the cuisine.

Our best meals were at cozy restaurants serving kebabs and dumplings revealing a mix of the Russian and Persian influences on the city. We frequented the cozy MariVanna where our waiter Nouman highlighted the best of the Russian, Georgian and Azeri cuisine at each visit. Some restaurants like Firuze and Dolma had their own charm as they were underneath the city’s streets and had local offerings.

Though Baku may be described as a mix of Paris and Dubai, it has a sense of charm and character that it can proudly call its own.

Baku2CAjerbaijan-8.jpg

Cosy seating at MariVanna makes you feel like you’re at your Russian grandmother’s dining table.

oldcouple285729.jpg
IMG_0931.jpg
chandelier.jpg
IMG_0941.jpg
IMG_0990.jpg
IMG_0245.jpg
IMG_0667.jpg
IMG_0707-3.jpg
IMG_0720.jpg
Baku2CAjerbaijan-9.jpg

The Maiden’s Tower, view from the Old City, and an alleyway.

IMG_0011.jpg
IMG_0020.jpg
IMG_0063.jpg

See

  • Baku Boulevard – or Milli Park goes along the city’s coast is a wide promenade with locals and tourists alike enjoying the views of the Caspian sea and the skyline.
  • Maiden Tower – also known as Qiz Qalasi, is the symbol of the city. This historic landmark is worth going to see just for the panoramic views. Adjacent to it is an open air museum with archaeological discoveries.
  • Shirvanshah’s Palace – located in the old city, this UNESCO heritage site is home to relics from the city’s past.
  • Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center – a Zaha Hadid designed building, it is a center with many exhibits inside, though the star of the show is the building itself.
  • Fountain Square – also known as Fevvareler Meydani, it’s a pedestrian walking area adjacent to the Old City and leading to the Nizami Street shopping District.
Baku2CAjerbaijan-10.jpg

Inside the Persian Rug museum where hundreds of rugs are on display.

Baku2CAjerbaijan-11.jpg

Stay

  • Four Seasons Baku – centrally located with views of the Caspian sea, it is walking distance to the Old City and Flame towers.
  • Hilton Baku – with some good restaurants on site, and the Baku Boulevard close by, it’s a great hotel for families.
  • JW Marriott Absheron Baku – in the business district and also along the Baku Boulevard, enjoy the tasty breakfast offered at Zest Lifestyle Café.

Eat

  • MariVanna – try the Siberian beef dumplings, cabbage wraps, and don’t forget to finish off with apple pie and Russian tea.
  • Dolma – known for their kebabs, this is the perfect place to stop in the middle of the day for an authentic meal.
  • Firuze – an underground restaurant close to Fountain square with traditional Azeri food. Not a place for fast food, but it’s worth the wait.
  • BURC Qala – located in the old city, you feel like you’re in an Azeri castle. The Saj platter and eggplant and pomegranate seed rolls, a Georgian favorite, are delicious.
Baku2CAjerbaijan-12.jpg

Entrée is one of the best coffee shops and dessert stops in the city

BACK TO TOP
Related Articles for Baku
Singapore: premium cuts and fine dining at Fat Cow
Restaurant Reviews
Singapore: premium cuts and fine dining at Fat Cow
Singapore
3.8
Singapore: bad ass burger at Potato Head
Restaurant Reviews
Singapore: bad ass burger at Potato Head
Singapore
4.4
The Weekly Getaway: wandering around the serene manicured gardens of Kyoto
Travel Guides
The Weekly Getaway: wandering around the serene manicured gardens of Kyoto
Kyoto
4.3
Singapore: coffee and breakfast to go at RONIN
Restaurant Reviews
Singapore: coffee and breakfast to go at RONIN
Singapore
3.9
Singapore: Forty Hands, your local neighborhood coffee joint
Restaurant Reviews
Singapore: Forty Hands, your local neighborhood coffee joint
Singapore
3.6
Singapore: top notch coffee and breakfast at Common Man Coffee Roasters
Restaurant Reviews
Singapore: top notch coffee and breakfast at Common Man Coffee Roasters
Singapore
3.8
The Weekly Getaway: oppressed feelings, minimalism and damn good food in Tokyo
Travel Guides
The Weekly Getaway: oppressed feelings, minimalism and damn good food in Tokyo
Tokyo
4.5
Tokyo: fresh sushi from Toyosu Market at Daiwa Sushi
Restaurant Reviews
Tokyo: fresh sushi from Toyosu Market at Daiwa Sushi
Tokyo
3.9
Tokyo: delicious dumplings and more at Harajuku Gyoza Lou
Restaurant Reviews
Tokyo: delicious dumplings and more at Harajuku Gyoza Lou
Tokyo
4.0
Tokyo: high quality specialty coffee at Glitch
Restaurant Reviews
Tokyo: high quality specialty coffee at Glitch
Tokyo
4.3
Tokyo: shabu shabu rituals with a cinematic twist at Nagatacho Kurosawa
Restaurant Reviews
Tokyo: shabu shabu rituals with a cinematic twist at Nagatacho Kurosawa
Tokyo
4.0
Tokyo: fun yakitori times at Joumon Roppongi
Restaurant Reviews
Tokyo: fun yakitori times at Joumon Roppongi
Tokyo
4.5
Tokyo: private encounters over sushi at Matsue Ebisu
Restaurant Reviews
Tokyo: private encounters over sushi at Matsue Ebisu
Tokyo
3.8
Tokyo: specialty coffee on a Sunday morning at Allpress Espresso Roastery & Cafe
Restaurant Reviews
Tokyo: specialty coffee on a Sunday morning at Allpress Espresso Roastery & Cafe
Tokyo
4.0
Tokyo: fine steaks and the ultimate Wagyu steak sandwich at Shima
Restaurant Reviews
Tokyo: fine steaks and the ultimate Wagyu steak sandwich at Shima
Tokyo
3.8
Tokyo: golden-fried tonkatsu perfection at Ginza Bairin
Restaurant Reviews
Tokyo: golden-fried tonkatsu perfection at Ginza Bairin
Tokyo
4.1
The Weekly Getaway: a Chef's guide to Singapore
Travel Guides
The Weekly Getaway: a Chef's guide to Singapore
Singapore
4.5
The Weekly Getaway: A Guide to Vacationing in the Maldives
Travel Guides
The Weekly Getaway: A Guide to Vacationing in the Maldives
Maldives
4.5
Photojournal: Life in India
Photojournals
Photojournal: Life in India
Jaipur
The Weekly Getaway: Oman, discovering the Pearl of Arabia
Travel Guides
The Weekly Getaway: Oman, discovering the Pearl of Arabia
Oman
4.5
The Weekly Getaway: Savor Vietnam
Travel Guides
The Weekly Getaway: Savor Vietnam
Vietnam
3.9
The Weekly Getaway: windows to the past, doorways to the future in Jaipur
Travel Guides
The Weekly Getaway: windows to the past, doorways to the future in Jaipur
Jaipur
4.3
The Weekly Getaway, Abu Dhabi, the perfect city trip if you're looking to escape winter
Travel Guides
The Weekly Getaway, Abu Dhabi, the perfect city trip if you're looking to escape winter
Abu Dhabi
3.5
The Weekly Getaway: Exploring Baku
1 of 30
2 of 30
3 of 30
4 of 30
5 of 30
6 of 30
7 of 30
8 of 30
9 of 30
10 of 30
11 of 30
12 of 30
13 of 30
14 of 30
15 of 30
16 of 30
17 of 30
18 of 30
19 of 30
20 of 30
21 of 30
22 of 30
23 of 30
24 of 30
25 of 30
26 of 30
27 of 30
28 of 30
29 of 30
30 of 30
PREVIOUS
NEXT
CLOSE