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. 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, cheese, honey, sour cream and of course, fresh bread baked in ‘tandir’.
Then you will go to explore Icherisheher (Inner City), known as a “Fortress” or “Old City”, a unique historical and architectural conservation area in the center of Baku. This is one of the most ancient places of the country where 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. Stroll down the paved streets of this ancient city and drop to some of the numerous souvenir shops where you can buy national clothes, kerchiefs, scarves and caps, dishes and handmade carpets.
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).
After Lunch we will move to the modern downtown, straight to the Fountain Square, the most popular public place with many restaurants and shops, main location for public festivals, shows and celebrations and pedestrian Nizami street, old trading zone with lots of shops and boutiques. You can spend some time in 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.
Have you ever seen where civilization has started? Seek no more, because Gobustan Historical-Artistic Preserve is exactly what you need! Included in the UNESCO heritage list, being one of the cradles of human civilization, Gobustan located barely one hour drive from Baku. 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. Main dishes: Before Lunch you will participate in the cooking process of ‘qutab’ making master-class.
‘Qutab’ is a sort of crepe stuffed with different fillings, such as meat, greens, cheese or pumpkin, and cooked on an iron wok-shaped pan 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).
Want to have a close look at the Baku`s most popular landmark? Baku business and hotel complex Flame Towers Baku is composed of 3 buildings. The surface of the Towers is fully covered with LED screens reflecting different visual characters in motion, easily visible from the far corners of the city in the evening. Walk along the Alley of Martyrs which is usually being included in the protocol visits of the foreign officials. Enjoy the panoramic view of the city and its bay from Baku’s Highland Park (also called Upland Park), the highest point in the Azerbaijani capital.
After that we will go down to Baku Boulevard stretched out 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 chunky, aromatic lamb stew. 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.
Our excursion will start with visiting Gala village (40 min drive from Baku), which today is the State Historical Ethnographic Reserve and Open Air Museum offering to see the original lifestyle of Azerbaijani people dated back to 10th-19th centuries. It is a unique place where you can not only make a tour into the past, but also try to bake bread in ancient oven “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 simple broth with chickpeas and potatoes. Usually dried sour plums or cherry plums are being put in the middle of the meatballs. ‘Chykhyrtma’ is a stewed chicken with tomatoes, onions and greens in whipped eggs.
Our next stop is Ateshgah Fire Temple in the village of Surakhani that for centuries 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 then had become an important place of pilgrimage for fire-worshipping Hindus until the 1880s. Today it houses a well-designed open air museum.
Further we will pass through Balakhani village, 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 history of Azerbaijan as an oil country had begun at the moment when the first pipeline Balakhani-Baku was launched. Being an industrial area for more than hundred years has led to a poor environmental situation, but today the village is completely renovated and is ready to tell its story of oil boom in Azerbaijan. The Oil Village has been renewed in the old provincial style with different colorful facades of almost fairytale houses, 3D wall-paintings and fancy floral decorations everywhere along narrow stone-paved streets. A special charm to this place is given by a peculiar souvenir shops and small cafes.
And the final stop of our tour is the State Historical, Cultural and Natural Reserve “Yanardag” (literary “Burning Mountain”), a complex built around the 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 made 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. Gobustan Historical-Artistic Preserve & Museum – 9$ (compulsory), Gala –7$ (compulsory), Ateshgah and Yanardag (combo ticket) – 6,50$ (compulsory)
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).
Comfortable shoes are strongly recommended during excursions.