Stretching across the rugged terrains of the Caucasus, Azerbaijan straddles the divide between Europe and Asia. To its east lies the vast Caspian Sea, to the west Armenia, and to the north lies Russia.
The language and culture of Azerbaijan are very similar to that of Turkey. The landscape is spectacular, as the rolling Caucasus Mountains stretch across the northern half, and the people are exceptionally welcoming.
The prevailing culture is Islamic and even Middle Eastern in flavor, rather than Russian. Azerbaijan does not seem to be the typical ex-Soviet nation through the eyes of tourists.
The oilfields of Baku have been well known since the 18th century. The rest of the country is undiscovered and offers several hidden gems to those who prefer offbeat destinations. As you prepare for your trip to Azerbaijan, be sure to buy
travel insurance or
travel medical insurance
as coverage for any unexpected illnesses, accidents, or injuries.
Things to Do for Travelers in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is a land of strange contrasts. It is an Islamic nation that is secular, and the locals would gladly toast you ("Nasdrovia!") when they share a vodka shot.
Plain, boxy-looking, Soviet-era buildings stand alongside fantastic small restaurants selling delicious kebabs.
The men dress like the Turkish but wear a traditional Russian fur shapka. Are you looking for more contrasts? Nine out of eleven recognized climatic zones (all except humid tropical and monsoon) can be found here.
There is a lot that Azerbaijan has to offer to tourists.
Take a dip at the springs of Ganja
The second-largest city of Azerbaijan, after the capital Baku, is quirky to say the least. Placed in the middle of idyllic vineyards and sloping hillsides, the city is well known for hot springs and a medicinal oil called Naftalan. You must take a bath in springs after a rub down with this sweet and heavy oil. Refreshed, visit the glasshouse, a two-storied structure built with 51,000 glass bottles. Nearby is Lake Goygol, with dense oak forests on its banks that make it an ideal spot for a lazy picnic.
A city that is equal parts medieval and contemporary, Baku is well known for its modern architecture. Azerbaijan is an oil-rich nation, and the wealth can be seen in the fashionable downtown district with its swanky offices. However, the principal attractions lie in the Old Town. A walking tour is recommended, and the cobblestoned alleyways lead to delightful places such as the Palace of the Shirvanshahs. The two-story palace complex also houses the Bakuvi Mausoleum, where the remains of Saint Bakuvi, a Sufi mystic, are buried.
Take a trip to Gobustan National Park
About fifty miles from Baku, the Gobustan National Park is of immense interest to archeologists. The area has more than 6,000 rock carvings and petroglyphs, some of which date back 20 centuries. Gobustan National Park is also known for its 300 mud volcanoes. The heat from subterranean regions slowly bubbles through the viscous mud, making a loud plopping sound. If you are not yet satisfied, you could examine the Gaval Dash. The so-called singing stone makes a hollow bell-like sound when struck with a pebble. This unusual phenomenon happens due to microscopic pores in the rock.
Villages of Quba
Located to the north of the country bordering Russia and Georgia, the slopes of Quba are scenic and serene. You are transported far away from civilization to a place where time seems to stand still. The Azeri mountain villages have become quite a popular tourist destination because of their calm beauty. A newly built road allows access to fascinating Xinaliq, located in a deep canyon. The village of Xinaliq has only about a thousand inhabitants and a culture distinct from the rest of Azerbaijan.
Gorge on Plov
Plov, a variation of paella from Spain and pilaf from India, is a rice dish cooked together with tender lamb meat. Served with meatballs known as qufta and a topping of eggplant, it is Azerbaijan's main dish. Besides eating plov, there is plentiful nightlife to indulge in—and though we do not encourage you to drink, it has to be mentioned that Azerbaijan is the only Muslim nation that allows the open sale of alcohol and consumption in public.
Travel Risks for International Travelers in Azerbaijan
A vacation is meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating, but that is not always what fate has in store. A trek through rough terrain could see you hurt badly. Maybe a twisted ankle, a torn ligament, or even something as common as dehydration or insect bites could cause you grief. Away from your home and the arrangements you are used to, the sickness seems worse. Though Azerbaijan is generally a safe place, you should not ignore the problems you could face.
Baku is known for its nightlife, but your drink might get spiked. Be very wary that you do not leave your glass unattended. Otherwise, you could wake up with a throbbing headache, and your new Nikon camera will already have a new owner.
Azerbaijan is scenic, and that has caused homestay scams to grow. Websites with beautiful images show you a perfect homestay near the Caucasus. But actually, you are paying your deposit into a scam artist's account.
The government of Azerbaijan is, for all practical purposes, a dictatorship. There are eyes and ears everywhere. Do not join a heated conversation at a pub about the advantages of western democracy.
Azerbaijan Travel Medical Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Azerbaijan is a well-developed nation, especially the Baku region. If you require basic treatment, the local healthcare system would be helpful, but it is not free for tourists. Complications might require you to be evacuated to Turkey or Germany by air ambulance. Without international health insurance, either one of these options would be terrifyingly expensive.
Do I need travel medical insurance for Azerbaijan?
There is no legal requirement to buy travel insurance before you arrive in Azerbaijan. But a medical emergency can drain your money fast. Hence travel medical insurance is a priority.
Why buy travel medical insurance for Azerbaijan?
A trip through the lush green forests that cover much of Azerbaijan is exciting. Camping and fishing are fun, but even the fittest among us are not free from medical risks. You may develop a deadly allergy that blocks your air passage, or maybe slight chest pains. You can take advantage of excellent medical care in Azerbaijan, but it comes at a cost. Therefore, buy Azerbaijan travel medical insurance to enjoy peace of mind.
Azerbaijan Trip Cancellation Insurance for International Travelers – FAQs
Trip cancellation is unfortunate. But it happens to most of us at some point. If a loved one is ill or the weather is bad, you sometimes have no choice but to cancel your long-awaited vacation. That is why it is best to have trip cancellation insurance.
Why buy trip cancellation insurance for Azerbaijan?
A large part of your vacation has already been paid for, including hotel rooms and flights, which are often paid in advance. When you cancel a trip, you are looking at a considerable financial loss. Trip cancellation insurance can help you to recoup these prepaid, non-refundable expenses if the reason for cancellation is approved under the plan wording.
What all is covered under trip cancellation insurance for Azerbaijan?
Most trip cancellation insurance plans cover the most common reasons for cancellation—your illness, the illness or death of a close family member, and bad weather causing flight cancellations are all usually part of the standard policy template. Be sure to check the fine print yourself before assuming anything. Always buy Azerbaijan travel insurance before you travel.
Before You Travel to Azerbaija...
Enjoy horseback riding across the steppes in Azerbaijan, but heed the advice of a guide at all times.
Keep your travel documents in a separate folder that is always either close to you or in a secure location.
Do not be carried away by the abundant nightlife. Enjoy, but with temperance.
Never forget to purchase Azerbaijan travel insurance for you and your family before you leave. Enter some basic trip information, compare a wide variety of plans side by side, and pick the one that best fits your needs.