This post will guide you to the best places to stay in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, a jewel at the coast of the Caspian Sea and its biggest city.
Are you traveling to the Caucasus area? Check our guide on where to stay in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan and the wealthiest city in the region.
Tourism in Baku: Overview
Baku is the lowest lying national Capital in the world with 28 meters below sea level and offers much more than most people would expect at first glance. In the last 20 years the oil-boom has turned the city into a fast growing and modern metropolis, that supplies all the infrastructure a traveler might wish for and is save by any standards.
Baku also held the Eurovision song contest in 2012 and since 2017 it hosts the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Besides its modern appearance it also offers a beautiful and well renovated old town surrounded by a fortress wall and with many old military structures remaining intact. It has been classified as an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Where to Stay in Baku?
Since Baku is a coastal city everything is orientated along the shore line of the Baku Bay. That is also where you will find the best places to put up your home base to explore city life and the historical parts.
Baku Central Railway Station
The Baku Central Railway is a hub for transport in Azerbaijan and also within Baku. There are buses towards many places departing from this area and it is also connected to the small subway system of the city.
The area between the Baku Central Railway Station and the Flame Towers (Alov qüllələri) contains all the major attractions: From the old town, over cultural sites like museums and theaters, to the best shopping opportunities of Baku. The Flame Towers dominate the skyline of the city with their unique architecture. They have an unique LED system and display different mesmerizing lights shows at night.
Old town – Icherisheher
The old town is clearly the heart of the city and offers a variety of accommodations, from cheap hostels to high end hotels. It is also the center of nightlife with a variety of bars, clubs and parks. In summer it is a great place to enjoy the atmosphere of the city; sit in the parks until late night; drink a cold beer and eat local food with live music; or go dance in one of the few clubs.
The area has a good touristic infrastructure and you will have no problem to find English speakers and menus. It is probably the best area to stay in Baku if you are coming for a short visit.
Right outside the old town you will find the promenade park where you can enjoy a walk along the seaside and get a glimpse of the old port. South of the old town there are some bigger parks and more attractive hotels and hostels that still offer a good connection to the city center.
Budget Accommodation in Baku – $
Main Street Hostel – an affordable hotel in one of the most central areas to stay in Baku.
Sahil Hostel & Hotel – an inexpensive option in central Baku, close to the Fountain Square and The Maiden Tower.
Reasonably Priced Accommodation in Baku – $$
Shah Palace Hotel – an excellent choice refined hotel in the old town, one of the best places to stay in Baku.
Icheri Sheher Hotel – a great four star hotel in the heart of Baku’s old town.
Luxurious Hotels in Baku – $$$
Four Seasons Hotel Baku – one of the most luxurious hotels in Azerbaijan, overlooking the Caspian Sea.
Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers – a prestigious hotel in the Flame Towers complex in Baku.
Cost of Travel in Baku
Baku might not seem as cheap as the neighboring capitals of Tblisi or Yerevan but you it will surprise you. While you will find expensive treats and luxury you can also get along with a very small budget. Even in the old town you can find very cheap accommodation (from 5$) and food (from 1$).
The local food is really good and offers some variety thanks to influences from the surrounding countries like Iran or Georgia. Plov(Pilaf) is a dish that is definitely worth a try and that you will find all over the Caucasus region and Central Asia with local variations.
Baku, Azerbaijan – Photo by David DavidsonFor vegetarians it won’t be the easiest time there since meat is basically in all main dishes. But you can stay alive with yummy snacks like fried dough pockets filled with potatoes or cabbage and the traditional pancakes (goyarti gutabi) filled with herbs or pumpkin. Beer is also ridiculously cheap as long as you stick to local bars (from 0.60$).
The public transportation network of the city is very modern and extensive. It is definitely the best way to get around the city and it is also really cheap. A single ticket won’t cost you more than 0.20 AZN (0.12$) no matter if bus or metro.
You should definitely buy the Baku Card (1.20$) which you need for the metro and the more modern busses. In old busses you will still have to pay cash, though. While private taxis are also very affordable inside the city (1.20- 2.40$) they are usually not necessary during the daytime.
Best Months to Visit Azerbaijan
The best time to visit Baku is during the national holiday Nowruz – Farsi for new day. It starts around the 20th of March and lasts for seven days. The origins lies in pre-Islam Iran and it is a celebration of the vernal equinox – the beginning of spring and the New Year. It reaches as far back as 3000 years and is celebrated in many countries in the region.
This is the time of the year when you have the chance to get a glimpse into the traditions of Azerbaijan. You will be able to see folklore dances and music, as well as national sport events.
Besides that spring and autumn are the best times to enjoy the city. During winter and summer time you will suffer from the extreme temperatures that can be reached in both directions.
Other Resources for Traveling in the Caucasus
If you are traveling to the Caucasus you might be interested in the economics of the region. Check the average and minimum salary in Baku here. Check also where to stay in Tbilisi, Georgia and the best places to stay in Yerevan, Armenia.