Azerbaijan is a country whose vibrant culinary scene has something to tickle everyone’s taste buds: from fruity sauces to succulent mutton-based meals and countless types of aromatic pilaf. Each region has its versions of most popular dishes as well as their own specialties. If you don’t have enough time to visit the whole Azerbaijan, you can take this tour for must-try meals available throughout the country as well as take an active part at cooking master classes. Azerbaijan’s rich cuisine and timeless traditions of warm hospitality are bound to leave a lasting impression.
1st Day: Arrival to Baku, meeting at the airport. Transfer to the hotel, check in (14:00). Free time.
2nd Day: Pick-up at 09:00. Instead of the usual breakfast in the hotel you will have Traditional Azerbaijani breakfast in the restaurant: fried eggs with tomatoes, home-made butter and selection of local cheeses, honey, sour cream and, of course, fresh bread baked in ‘tandir’.
Then you will go to explore Icheri Sheher (Old City), known as a “fortress”, a unique historical and architectural conservation area in the center of Baku. This is one of the ancient and densely populated places of the country. Archaeological excavations revealed burial vaults of the Bronze Age. Maiden Tower (12th century) and The Palace of Shirvanshahs (13th-16th centuries) are the best known historical monuments located in the Old City. Besides them there are a lot of other unique monuments such as mosques, minarets, the remnants of caravanserais “Multani” and “Bukhara”, ancient baths, etc. You can purchase national clothes, kerchiefs, scarves and caps, dishes and handmade carpets in the numerous souvenir shops.
Lunch time. Main dishes: Dushbara is a traditional dumpling soup. It consists of tiny meat dumplings, boiled in a broth with a touch of vinegar and garlic sauce. According to tradition, dushbara dumplings should be small enough to fit ten of them in one tablespoon! Preparing dushbara may be time-consuming, but it’s a great winter warmer! Lulya-kebab is made from minced mutton or lamb strung on skewers and then fried on a barbecue using the smoke from burning coal. Usually being served with onions and sumakh (dried flavouring).
Drop to the Fountain Square, the most popular public place with many restaurants and shops, main location for public festivals, shows and celebrations and have a walk along pedestrian Nizami street, the old trading zone with lots of shops and boutiques. Spend time in the Park Boulevard, first shopping mall in Baku.
Dinner time. Main dish: Plov (pilaf) with meat and chestnuts is the signature of Azerbaijani cuisine which will make any table special. The difference from Central Asian pilaf is that meat with dried fruits, chestnuts and aromatic spices is cooked as addition, which is piled on top of the saffron rice on individual serving plates.
3rd Day: Breakfast at the hotel. Pick-up at 10:00. Just one hour drive will bring you to Gobustan National Historical-Artistic Preserve, national museum in the open air, the rarest monument of the world culture included in UNESCO heritage list, one of the first centers of human civilization. It has an astonishing collection of over 6,000 ancient petroglyphs depicting the ways of life dating back as far as 40,000 years. Innovative technology will help you to get closer to the prehistoric times in Gobustan State Historical-Artistic Museum using its touch screens provided with special multimedia programs, educational and entertaining games, interactive displays, 3D video, etc.
Lunch time. Before Lunch you will participate in the cooking process at ‘qutab’ making master-class.
Main dishes: Qutab is a sort of crepe stuffed with different fillings, such as meat, greens, cheese or pumpkin, and cooked on an iron disk called saj. Then it is drizzled with melted butter and served with yogurt and pomegranate or sprinkled with sumakh. Dolma is the pearl of Azerbaijani cuisine traditionally made of grape leaves stuffed with minced meat and rice, enriched with herbs and onions. Its name comes from the verb ‘dolmaq’, meaning ‘to stuff’ in Azerbaijani. Traditionally served with ‘qatiq’ (sour yoghurt).
Baku business and hotel complex Flame Towers Baku is the new landmark of the city. The surface of 3 towers is fully covered with LED screens reflecting different visual characters in motion, easily visible from the far corners of the city. The Alley of Martyrs is usually being included in the protocol visits of the foreign officials. Baku’s Highland Park (also called Upland Park) is the highest point in the Azerbaijani capital, opening a panoramic view of the city and its bay.
Baku Boulevard lies along the Caspian Sea. Being one of the major recreation places of Baku it has dozens of different attractions: music fountains, cafes, carousels, open-air cinema, Baku Eye Ferris Wheel and so-called Little Venice consisting of several islands connected by bridges with gondolas travelling in the channels full of still and clean water.
Dinner time. Main dish: Piti is a traditional lamb stew from Sheki region. Chickpeas, chestnuts, saffron, local spices and sheep tail fat pack the dish with flavour, but the key element lies in the clay pots in which piti is cooked and served. The traditional way of eating piti is divided into two courses: first, the broth from the pot is poured over small pieces of bread with onions and sumakh. The rest of the piti is then mashed in individual pots and served as a main course.
4th Day: Breakfast at the hotel. Pick-up at 10:00. Gala State Historical Ethnographic Reserve and Open Air Museum offers the opportunity to see the original lifestyle of Azerbaijani people dated back to 10th-19th centuries. Today it is a unique place where you can not only make a tour into the past, but also try to bake bread in tandir, weave a carpet, smear with clay in a pottery workshop or feed camels and horses.
Lunch time. Main dishes: Kufta Bozbash is a soup made with jumbo apple-size meatballs cooked in a meat broth with chickpeas, potatoes and herbs. Chykhyrtma is a stewed chicken with tomatoes, onions and greens in whipped eggs.
For centuries Ateshgah Fire Temple in the village of Surakhani has been attracting crowds of thrill seekers. Built in the 17th–18th centuries around naturally burning flames which were previously worshipped by Zoroastrians, the site was then an important place of pilgrimage for fire-worshipping Hindus until the 1880s. Today it houses a well-designed museum.
Balakhani village was one of the first places where hundreds of oil wells had been discovered and led to arise of the oil barons in Azerbaijan in 19th century. Virtually, the first oil boom started at the moment when the first pipeline Balakhani-Baku was launched. Today the village is completely renovated and is ready to tell its story of oil boom in Azerbaijan.
Yanardag (literary “Burning Mountain”) is a hill located on the top of the natural gas pocket causing continuous flame eruption. Most probably the fire has been burning in Yanardag for over 20,000 years. These natural flames were described by Marco Polo in the 13th century and continue to mesmerise those who visit the site.
Dinner time. Main dish: Fish (or chicken) lavangi is very popular in the south region of Azerbaijan, Lankaran. Lavangi is cooked from the whole fish stuffed with a scrumptious walnut paste along with raisins, onions, and herbs.
5th Day: Breakfast at the hotel. Check out, transfer to the airport.
Hotel accommodation in Baku at 3* hotel on BB basis
All transportation according to the program, including airport-hotel-airport transfers
Excursions according to the program
1 Traditional Azerbaijani breakfast, 3 lunches and 3 dinners on excursion days
Professional guide (English, Russian, Arabic)
1 bottle of water per person per excursion day
Flight tickets & visa (if required)
Extras at the hotel, tips at the sites and restaurants
Tickets to museums
Lunches and dinners, except the ones included in the program
The organizer reserves the right to change the hotel to the different one of the same category.
The organizer reserves the right to change the order of excursions in case of necessity.
It`s possible to organize Traditional Azerbaijani breakfast on other days of the tour as well for additional price.
Check-in to the hotels: 14:00 (can be 15:00 in some cases).
Early check-in before 06:00 in the morning is subject to 100% of the room rate, early check-in between 06:00 and 14:00 is subject to 50% of the room rate (please confirm with our reservation managers before booking).
You can extend your stay, add more excursions and/or change the hotel category for additional payment (please confirm with our reservation managers before booking).