My 28th country to visit was the Land of Fire – Azerbaijan and specifically the Land of Wind – Baku. It was a prestigious collaboration with www.AFCHolidays.com who arranged a tour of 3 nights and 4 days. AFC Holiday also provides some amazing deals at www.bestholiday.deals
AFC Holidays has 5 branches across UAE, and continue to take their clients to a wide array of destinations and allow them to benefit from a ‘No Hassle Just Travel” concept. AFC Holidays has seen tremendous growth since; having operated over 500 Escorted Group Tours with clients from more than 45 different nationalities across the world.
AFC Holidays is a one-in-all travel stop providing a galore of quality services at competitive rates with expertise in every component of travel. Services include: Air Tickets, Hotel Reservations, Travel Insurance, Swiss Rail Tickets, Worldwide Visa Services, Escorted Group Travel (All-inclusive Holidays), Short Getaway Deals
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Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, with a population of 2,262,600. It is located 28 meters below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level. Azerbaijan has a 90% Muslim majority but is a secular state and ensures religious freedom.
Baku has visa on arrival for a lot of nationalities including Indian and Pakistani. The cost is $26 and the process is easy and takes a few minutes. Just make sure you have US dollars or a credit card to pay with.
Flight time is about 3 hours from Dubai to Baku. Our flight was Fly Dubai. One nap and we woke up in Baku.
We checked in our hotel at 3 PM. Took a little rest and went to tour the city by foot around the Baku Boulevard. It was a great first impression with beautiful clean infrastructure and green parks everywhere. The people are dressed smartly and very stylish.
AFC Holidays also provides optional tours and we got the City Tour which came with a car, driver and an expert guide. We started at 10 AM and lasted till 5 AM. Below are the sites which we covered:
Old City and Nizami Street
The Old City is the most ancient part of Baku which is surrounded by walls. It’s a beautiful walk around the city. There is Palace of the Shirvanshahs, Maiden Tower and the commercial Nizami Street nearby.
Azerbaijan Carpet Museum displays Azerbaijani carpets and rug items of various weaving techniques and materials from various periods. It has the largest collection of Azerbaijani carpets in the world.
Eternal Flame and Martyr’s Lane
We walked down the Martyr’s Lane to the Eternal Flame memorial with our guide who briefed us about the wars and heroes. The eternal flame overlooks the entire city and you can walk down further for good view.
Heydar Aliyev Museum
The museum is designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid and noted for its distinctive architecture and flowing, a curved style that eschews sharp angles. The entrance is AZ 15 (AED 35) and has 7 floors inside.
Baku has a lot of regions to be explored. We chose Qabala for its natural beauty which is around 3-4 hours drive from Baku. We arranged a tour with a local company and it cost AZN 70 (AED 150) per person or AZN 240 for a private car. Some crazy tour companies ask for up to $100. Email or DM me on Instagram if you need the contact.
Qabala also known as Gabala is a city in northern Azerbaijan. There were 4 stops on the tour.
On the way to Qabala is the first quick stop at Juma Mosque of Shamakhi. It is considered the oldest and the first mosque in Azerbaijan.
Our second stop was the Lake Nohur. A wonderful sight with boat rides and fresh fruit sellers. We spent 40 minutes around the lake for photography and some refreshing air. The quiet atmosphere and bird sounds create an ideal relaxation environment to escape from the noise of the city. Next, we stopped for lunch at an Indian restaurant called Rajah.
Tufandag Cable Car
The final stop was the top spot and the highlight of the tour was the cable car ride. It had the perfect picturesque scenery. The clouds were low and we ride through it.
The access was from the outstanding Qafqaz Tufandag Mountain Resort Hotel. The ride was 10 Manat (AED 22) per person and you have 2 pitstops to explore.
Yeddi Gozel Waterfall
The name means ‘seven beauties’ due to the seven stages of the falls. It’s a bit off road drive through a village and a hike up very steep stairs. It had rained and was a little slippery and muddy while climbing. If you haven’t been around waterfall before, it might amaze you. Wear shoes with grip here!
We left Gabala by 6:00 PM and reached Baku at 9 PM. I would recommend an overnight stay in Gabala for a more detailed exploration since it’s a beautiful place.
Wish the Day 4 was longer but we had breakfast and head straight to the airport. We arrived in Dubai at 3:00 PM.
Tips for Travel
Baku is a great destination for UAE residents, especially for a weekend getaway. It’s a drastic change in climate and has some good food. There’s a lot of Turkish and Iranian influence in terms of language and food. You will not have any problem finding halal food. We did not find many people speaking English so have a guide when you travel around.
Don’t miss – Old City, Heydar Aliyev Museum, Walk to Eternal flame and a Trip to Qabala. Don’t waste time on shopping as everything was more expensive compared to Dubai. We did miss some spots like the Fire Temple, Fire Mountain, and the Mud Volcanoes at Gobustan.
Overall, my trip was fantastic and we had a great time. I believe AFC Holidays has the best price and value for Baku package. Our hotel was decent and right in the center of the city. I would recommend a travel AFC Holidays!
Also read: My Travel Guide to Ningxia – China