Join our 8 day escorted tour through Azerbaijan, a country bound by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains and belonging to neither Europe or Asia, taking elements from both but in a class of its own.
Our short tour to Azerbaijan starts in the capital, a mish mash of Soviet planning, medieval architecture and modern buildings, distinctly unique and rather alluring. We explore the surrounding Absheron Peninsula with Yanardag, the fire mountain and the Temple of the Fire Worshippers, and then gaze in amazement at the bizarre mud volcanoes of Gobustan, yet another quirky side of Azerbaijan. After exploring the historic centre of Baku we head away from the big city to Sheki with its centuries old caravanserais, old Khan’s Palace and a distinct flavour of yesteryear, as well as visiting nearby monasteries and churches. Returning back to the capital, we have a little more time to soak up its ambience and also take a boat trip on the Caspian Sea, the world’s largest body of inland water.
Tour Pace - Busy
Day 1 – Baku
Arrive in Baku and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or explore. Overnight Boutique 4* Hotel or similar.
Day 2 – Baku - Absheron Peninsula
Explore Azerbaijan’s capital, including the medieval fortress of Icheri Sheher, the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and the 15th century caravanserai among other sites. From Baku we head to the Absheron Peninsula to visit the ‘flaming mountain’ of Yanardag, continuously alight with burning underground gases that seep through holes in the earth’s surface. We then visit the Gala Museum, the ‘fire-worshippers’ temple of Ateshgah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and continue to the medieval fortress at Amirjan before returning to Baku for the night. Overnight Boutique 4* Hotel or similar. (BLD)
Day 3 – Baku – Lahij – Gabala
Today we will travel west to Gabala city. En route we visit the Diri Baba Mausoleum in Maraza and the Yeddi Gumbaz Mausoleum at Shamakha. We continue across the Muganly Pass, with great views of the mountains along the way. We have a stop at Lahic village, a historical ethnographic reserve with local people producing handcrafts and carpets. There are also metal engravers, ancient mosques, baths and beautiful cobbled streets with original apartment houses in this ancient mountain settlement. From here continue to Gabala city. Overnight Qafqaz Caravanserai (BLD)
Day 4 – Gabala-Sheki-Kish
This morning we set off from Gabala to Sheki. The delightful town of Sheki is one of Azerbaijan’s highlights. An important centre on the Trans-Caucasian trade routes, it was an independent khanate up until the 1820s and evidence of its former grandeur is not hard to spot. The splendid Khan’s Palace was built in 1762 without the use of any nails and is elaborately decorated with ornate patterns on its exterior. There are also a number of old caravanserais and mosques to explore. Sheki is a delight to wander around, with winding streets and traditional houses giving the feeling of yesteryear. From Sheki we take a trip to the nearby village of Kish with its interesting Albanian church. Overnight Sheki Palace or similar (BLD)
Day 5 – Ganja – Naftalan
We head to Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second city. Upon arrival visit the local bazaar, the 17th century mosque of Shah Abbas and the unique ‘bottle house’ a local building decorated with nearly 50,000 bottles. Our final destination for the evening is Naftalan. Overnight Garabag Resort or similar. (BLD)
Day 6 – Naftalan-Gobustan-Baku
This morning we discover more about Naftalan and the oil for which it is famous. There is the option to have a 15 minute oil bath before we then depart for Gobustan. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, Gobustan is rich in archaeological monuments with over 6000 rock engravings dating back as far as 40,000 years. The petroglyphs depict ceremonial dances, battles, warriors, boats and many other scenes, as well as more recent Roman ‘graffiti’ from the 1st century. But Gobustan is equally well known for its natural phenomena – mud volcanoes that simmer and belch muddy bubbles from their cones, an incredibly atmospheric place and probably unlike anything you will have seen before. Azerbaijan is home to more than half of the mud volcanoes in the world with nearly 400 of them within its borders. Roughly every twenty years one of them explodes with great gusto, showering tons of mud over the surrounding area. Overnight Boutique 4* Hotel or similar.(BLD)
Day 7 – Baku
Our last day in Azerbaijan. We visit the History Museum for an insight into the various cultures and civilisations that have held sway here. We also visit the Heydar Aliyev Center, designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and noted for its distinctive architecture and flowing, curved style that eschews sharp angles The rest of the day is free for you to explore. Overnight Boutique 4* Hotel or similar.(BLD)
Day 8 – Baku
Transfer to the airport for departure. (B)
Arrival and departure transfers
Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary
E-Visa for Azerbaijan
Any airport taxes
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
Undiscovered Destinations are an award-winning groundbreaking adventure travel company, offering truly authentic experiences in some of the world’s most exciting regions. They offer a unique range of travel destinations, travelling in small groups with a maximum of 12 people on each tour.
Their focus is on in-depth cultural travel experiences, getting you off the beaten track to discover more, where only local drivers and guides are used. Undiscovered Destinations is dedicated to providing unique tours which explore countries and areas not on the map of mass tourism.
What’s more, there are no local payments to consider, airport transfers are always included on arrival and departure days, and they have highly experienced UK based sales advisors with firsthand knowledge of all of their tours.
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