Fairytale villages and moonlike landscapes: Azerbaijan is a ought to-see spot for outside enthusiasts

It usually takes only 3 to 5 hours to push throughout Azerbaijan, north to south. But the vacation usually takes you across 11 distinct climate zones and just as a lot of distinct, stunning landscapes.

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Stretching from the border with Armenia in the east to the Caspian Sea in the west, Azerbaijan is a hidden vacation gem continue to uncharted by tourist crowds.

Tens of flights leaving from Europe’s capitals each week have set the futuristic money of Baku on the map. But there is so substantially more to investigate outdoors of the town – especially for experience lovers.

Like other countries in the location, Azerbaijan – also acknowledged as the Land of Fireplace – is surrounded by formidable, snow-capped mountains luring climbers and hikers towards their spectacular heights.

But contrary to some of its landlocked neighbours, Azerbaijan has also been blessed with a heat sea on the east and a diversity of unparalleled landscapes.

“In the south, you have a subtropical weather and these fairytale villages with a long-lasting mist, moss-included stones, waterfalls, small rivers, and heaps of conventional households,” Florian Sengstschmid, CEO of the Azerbaijan Tourism Board (ATB), tells Euronews.

“Then you go via these semi-desert, moon-like landscapes with a great deal of mud volcanoes. Halfway you have Baku and the Caspian Sea and then you go up the mountains, 4,000 ft (1220 metres) and additional.”

Wherever is the most effective for adventure in Azerbaijan??

A single of the best things about Azerbaijan is that browsing feels like a distinctive practical experience.

“Very number of people today have hiked or professional the bigger Caucasus, the Lesser Caucasus, the Talysh mountains,” Sengstschmid suggests, listing the outstanding mountain ranges of Azerbaijan.

You really do not have to be an seasoned climber to deal with these mountains, both. When some routes are only harmless for gurus, other folks are obtainable to any level of working experience and health and fitness.

There are all sorts of other adventurous things to do to do in Azerbaijan way too, from mountaineering to canyoning and even skiing in winter season.

Even though 50 % of the region is occupied by mountains, there is more to Azerbaijan than its peaks. From highlands, plateaus, plains and lowlands to rivers, lakes, waterfalls, beach locations and mud volcanoes scattered throughout the territory, a journey via the place is nature’s rollercoaster.

“Depends on what you really like, there is one thing for every person,” Sengstschmid says.

“There are fantastic places for kitesurfing on the Caspian Sea, and if you’re into climbing I’d suggest you go take a look at some of the mountain villages, in which locals talk a unique language and have some extremely exclusive traditions.”

The place to knowledge Azerbaijan’s cultural background

Visit Gobustan, a UNESCO Environment Heritage website, to admire the 40,000-year-old history carved in the area’s stones, with over 6,000 rock engravings.

Really do not skip a check out to Nakhchivan, an autonomous republic inside Azerbaijan that is residence to a mediaeval mountaintop fortress, Soviet apartment blocks and gold-dome mosques. Nonetheless greatly mysterious to several in the environment, this is just one of the most isolated outposts of the previous Soviet Union and can make for a as soon as-in-a-lifetime expertise.

You can not go away Azerbaijan without having a take a look at to its well known mud volcanoes and fire temples – the only traces of the country’s Zoroastrian history – without end burning on best of all-natural gasoline fields.

The nation is scattered with traces of its assorted historical past.

To the surprise of international readers, Azerbaijan is residence to the “oldest Jewish settlement outdoors of Israel,” Sengstschmid states as perfectly as, “German heritage villages, the Polish architecture in Baku, and the industrial stays of the bridges the Siemens brothers crafted in the state when they had been mining copper there.”

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How easy is it to travel across the region?

In accordance to Sengstschmid, travelling across Azerbaijan is “super easy”.

“Infrastructure is excellent, roadways are wonderful,” he states. When you can rent a vehicle and push on your own around, if you get a neighborhood driver “Google Translate is tremendous beneficial if your driver doesn’t communicate English,” Sengstschmid suggests, including that this is really a typical way of communicating with travellers in Azerbaijan.

Although quite a few prefer independence, finding a driver or a nearby guideline through the country’s mountains will enable you learn hidden gems along the way – “and it’s incredibly affordable,” says Sengstschmid.

What should you try to eat in Azerbaijan?

Azerbaijan’s cultural landscape is as prosperous as its natural a single.

“Food is a next religion,” Sengstschmid says, and the country’s undisputed culinary king is plov , a saffron-infused rice dish which accompanies grilled kebabs, skewered meats and dolma.

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Other dishes to attempt are dushbara – Azerbaijani dumplings comparable to tortellini kuku, an onion omelette served with flatbread and plov piti, the common soup and lavangi, fish or rooster stuffed with walnuts, raisins, onions, sumac and a great deal additional, like pomegranate molasses.

Azerbaijani wine, although not as popular throughout the world as Georgia wine, is just as very good. Despite the actuality that the nation has a Muslim majority, you’re nevertheless ready to invest in a glass of wine in most places as Azerbaijan is “multicultural and secular,” Sengstschmid states.