Top Things to Do in Baku

Charlotte & Tom

4/6/20246 min read

The brilliant city of Baku is a hidden gem, overlooking the Caspian Sea and nestled on the east coast of Azerbaijan, also known as the “land of fire”. This, coupled with Baku's origins dating back to circa 5th Century AD, has resulted in an attractive mix of old and new throughout.

You will therefore not be surprised to hear that there are plenty of things to do in Baku, so keep reading to check out our best recommendations!

1. Highland Park

Take the funicular up to Highland Park for stunning panoramic views of Baku and the Caspian Sea. You won’t find a better viewpoint of the infamous Flame Towers either, which dominate the skyline.

This idyllic park is beautifully designed with elegantly lit stairs and walkways and perfect landscaping and is a great place to sit and enjoy the views. The photo ops are endless too. We recommend you visit at sunset when you can see the city come to life as day turns to night.

2. Icherisheher Fortress Walls

The Fortress Walls of the old town date back to the 12th Century (although some Historians argue it goes back to the 7th Century) and remain wonderfully well preserved to this day. Not surprisingly, the old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The old adage of “getting lost” in the medieval streets has never been more appropriate. The nooks and crannies of the old cobblestone streets provide SO much photo inspo! Once again, the lighting is on point providing a wonderful ambient atmosphere in the evenings.

The old town is also home to some of the city’s best-known sites and We recommend taking a guided walking tour of the area to fully appreciate it all.

3. Maiden Tower

Maiden Tower is Baku’s most famous landmark but despite this notoriety, no one knows for sure when it was built and for what purpose. However, it’s known locally as “Giz Galasi” which translates to “Virgin Tower” in reference to its impenetrability. This striking tower is a national emblem and appears on Azerbaijan currency.

The roof terrace provides spectacular views of the old town but that’s not to say it isn’t worth making time for the exhibitions on each floor detailing the history of Baku.

Not only that, the terrace has superb views of the city and Flame Towers, showing the beautiful mix of old and new.

4. Palace of Shirvanshahs

Located in the heart of Icherisheher, this 15th Century Palace was the royal residence for 200 years. This complex of buildings includes a palace, mosque, burial vaults, bath houses and a mausoleum so there’s plenty to see. Inside there is information and artefacts from the Shirvanshahs as well as a cool scale model of the old town.

5. Fountain Square and Nizami Street

This forms the heart of the new town of Baku. Nizami Street is a long pedestrianised street comprising the prime shopping area for the city. This boulevard is lined with beautiful European-style architecture dating back to the Baroque, Neo-Gothic and Neo-Renaissance eras and comes alive when lit up at night.

Fountain Square adjoins Nizami Street and is filled with cafes, bars and restaurants. It can get very busy in the evenings, nonetheless, is a great place to people-watch and enjoy the fountains.

6. Baku Boulevard

Baku Boulevard is a lovely coastal Boulevard extending to almost 4km overlooking the Caspian Sea. It is a very pleasant stroll, particularly at night when the Flame Towers are lit up in the background.

7. Carpet Museum & Little Venice

The Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum has a striking architectural design, resembling a rolled-up carpet. Inside, the museum contains the largest collection of Azerbaijani carpets in the world. Visitors learn about the techniques of traditional carpet weaving and its place in Azerbaijani culture.

Right outside is Little Venice which, as the name suggests, is a series of canals and islands linked by quaint bridges. It's a very picturesque setting and worth a brief visit for some respite from the city. For those inclined, you can go on a short boat ride around it.

8. Təzə Pir Mosque

If you can spare the time take a short, albeit uphill, 20-minute walk from the old town to this beautiful mosque with adjacent gardens.

On the walk up, you get to see a bit of the old, traditional Baku on the back streets. Entrance to the mosque is free although there are separate male and female entrances. The adjacent gardens are beautifully manicured and include a long reflection pool that provides some great photo ops.

9. Yanar Dag

A 30 minute drive out of Baku takes you to Yanar Dag which translates to mean "Fire Mountain” although really it’s more of a hill. It is 10 metre wall of fire which is one of the best examples of naturally burning fires in Azerbaijan.

Local legend tells the tale of a careless shepherd who started the fire in the 1950s after discarding a smoking matchstick although in reality, the eternal flames are due to the underground natural gas.

Evening is an ideal time to visit as the flames become more prominent in the dark and the silhouettes from the gazing tourists make for beautiful photos.

Venturing Further Afield...

The next few locations will generally be done on an organised day tour with a local guide…

10. Ateshgah Fire Temple

Speaking of eternal flames, not too far from Yanar Dag is the Ateshgah Fire Temple. The Temple dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries and was a place of fire worship practiced by Zoroastrians setting the inextinguishable fire as having mystic properties.

The castle-like structure has an altar with eternal flame in the centre of a large courtyard surrounded by cells. These cells now contain interesting exhibits about the history of the Temple.

11. Gobustan National Park - rock art and museum

Gobustan National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site both for its ancient rock art carvings and the Mud Volcanoes.

At the entrance to the park is the Gobustan National Museum which is a brilliant exhibition all about the history of the petroglyphs. Unbelievably, there are over 6,000 rock art carvings dating as far back as 40,000 years ago!

Afterwards, our tour guide took us on a short walk around the site where we got to see a number of rock art carvings. Truly mind-blowing to think how long ago these were made!

12. Gobustan National Park - Mud Volcanoes

After admiring the rock art, the next stop on your tour will take you to the nearby mud volcanoes.

Did you know? Over 1,000 mud volcanoes are known to exist in the world, one-third of which are in the coastal area of Azerbaijan. They form in places where pockets of underground gas have found a weak spot in the earth where they can force their way to the surface.

To view this phenomenon a local driver will drive you off the beaten track on a very bumpy ride, to say the least. This activity is generally only available in the spring/summer months. Having survived the trip, you’re treated to a very unusual landscape of bubbling lakes and mud piles.

As you approach the bubbling volcanoes, they may seem dangerous but are actually a fairly ambient/cool temperature and safe touch. This means you can get right up close. In fact, the mud is a good exfoliant for the skin and the locals are often seen covered in the stuff!


I hope you enjoyed reading this post all about the top things to do in Baku - it really is an amazing city with so much charm and great sights to see.

Which one are you most looking forward to experiencing? Let me know!

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