“This Caucasian nation shares European, Asian and Soviet traits – while still boasting its own unique identity. Get to know it – from ancient villages to very modern cities – on this 8-day tour.”

Highlights

Baku | Absheron Peninsula | ‘flaming mountain’ of Yanardag | ‘fire-worshippers’ temple of Ateshgah | Lahic village | trading town of Sheki | Kish | Ganja | Naftalan | Gobustan rock engravings | mud volcanoes

Description of Azerbaijan vacation

Neither fully Asian nor European, Azerbaijan is an enigmatic country of medieval architecture, Soviet planning, mud-bubbling volcanoes and “flaming mountains”. This Azerbaijan takes you from the mishmash capital of Baku, with its ancient and very, very modern buildings, to the nearby Absheron Peninsula, with its Temple of the Fire Worshippers and mud volcanoes. Baku sits on the shores of the Caspian Sea, and there will be time to take a boat ride here – across the largest body of inland water in the world.

Explore more ancient terrain in Sheki, sitting squarely on Trans-Caucasian trade routes, where caravanserais still stand, and mosques and churches dot the countryside. And in the fascinating Lahic village, an ethnographic reserve, you can meet local artisans who continue to create carpets, metalwork and other handcrafts, in much the same way as they have for centuries. This Azerbaijan vacation can also be extended with a stay in the Azeri enclave of Nakhchivan, cut off from the rest of the country and sandwiched between Armenia and Iran.
Neither fully Asian nor European, Azerbaijan is an enigmatic country of medieval architecture, Soviet planning, mud-bubbling volcanoes and “flaming mountains”. This Azerbaijan takes you from the mishmash capital of Baku, with its ancient and very, very modern buildings, to the nearby Absheron Peninsula, with its Temple of the Fire Worshippers and mud volcanoes. Baku sits on the shores of the Caspian Sea, and there will be time to take a boat ride here – across the largest body of inland water in the world.

Explore more ancient terrain in Sheki, sitting squarely on Trans-Caucasian trade routes, where caravanserais still stand, and mosques and churches dot the countryside. And in the fascinating Lahic village, an ethnographic reserve, you can meet local artisans who continue to create carpets, metalwork and other handcrafts, in much the same way as they have for centuries. This Azerbaijan vacation can also be extended with a stay in the Azeri enclave of Nakhchivan, cut off from the rest of the country and sandwiched between Armenia and Iran.

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Date
Price
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30 May 2020
£1695
excluding flights
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Click here to enquire about or book the 30 May 2020 departure
12 Sep 2020
£1695
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
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Responsible tourism

Azerbaijan vacation

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

Our guides will brief travelers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and we make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us. We work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues, and introduce them to ‘green thinking’, which often does not feature as an issue in the nascent tourism industry in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan does not see the same numbers of visitors that many other countries experience and as such some practices which we take for granted in other parts of the world may not be found here. We work closely with our suppliers to introduce concepts of environmental responsibility to the communities that we travel through. This can include asking hotels to implement practices such as asking guests if they need fresh cleaned towels each day, and reminding guests to turn off lights when they leave the room – small things that are standard practice in many places in the western world but not necessarily elsewhere. Most of the places that we stay in on this tour will take advantage of the excellent local produce, not only sustaining traditional communities but ensuring that unnecessary food miles are not made.

Gobustan, with its mud volcanoes, is a unique environment and is susceptible to human pressures, Our groups are carefully briefed on appropriate behaviour here in order to minimise human impact.

Community

Our philosophy is to only use small and locally owned suppliers, meaning that the income remains within the country and creates a real economic contribution. We also feel that the passion inherent within such suppliers means that your experience will be enhanced. We also try to engage with our suppliers on an equal basis – getting the lowest possible price usually isn’t the best outcome for local communities and is ultimately unsustainable. We aim to always treat our suppliers fairly and with respect; they are after all part of the key to our success and to us working together is much more than just a business arrangement, but an ongoing relationship that we aim to ensure truly benefits everyone involved.

We believe that tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited amount of departures – usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.

We only employ local staff and unlike many operators we believe that to send a foreign Tour Leader along to accompany your trip is an unnecessary burden on your wallet and our carbon footprint. We believe that locals know best. Our local operators only use locally owned accommodation. This means your money stays in the area to benefit the local community. When possible we use local transport, (i.e. rail or bus) and we always use local restaurants, markets and shops and encourage our clients to interact both financially and socially with the communities that they are passing through. In doing this your travels are supporting and encouraging the development of local services.

We only work with operators who are as committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects. Furthermore, in order to allow our clients to make an informed decision on where a greater proportion of their money should be spent, we avoid including pre-paid full board meals where possible. Local restaurants and cafes then benefit.

Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travelers. This has much less impact when traveling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasis our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive a copy of our Travelers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.

4 Reviews of Azerbaijan vacation

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 25 Jun 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Baku at night with the flaming towers and other lighting effects. Also the mud volcanoes

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Going at the time of year which we did was a mistake as the heat was rather overpowering.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I am sure that the local people involved did benefit from our visit as it obviously made work for them. Conservation particularly of their historical monuments
was very noticeable ie. Mosques and Churches.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


The vacation itself was well planned and our tour guide was excellent. Unfortunately as far as I was concerned I was ill for the first three days from a tummy bug, so did not get the same satisfaction as my partner did. However I cannot fault the planning of the itinerary and the reception we had from the local
people.

Reviewed on 13 Oct 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Baku,the capital city with modern architecture

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


History of Azerbaijan go back to the ancient time and people life today after becoming independent from Soviet Union.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not a lot.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


7/10

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for the feedback.

With regards to the benefits to the local people, we must emphasise our commitment to using only local guides and drivers on this tour. Our intention is to make sure that your tourist spend is kept local.

Reviewed on 27 Sep 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The interior of Sheki Palace is both stunning and surprising.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Go with an open mind and you will not be disappointed.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Hopefully it benefited local people, the guide and driver especially, and the hotels were Azeri and NOT American chains.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Interesting and enjoyable.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your feedback. We are delighted that you enjoyed Azerbaijan.

Reviewed on 04 Jun 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Naftalan oil bath was the most exciting

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Good shoes for cobbled streets

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Spend helped local business

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your feedback and we are delighted that you enjoyed Azerbaijan.

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