From watching eternal fire to relaxation – here are 10 things to do on your honeymoon to Azerbaijan.
A blend of modern-day marvels, strange natural phenomenon and mysterious historical sites, Azerbaijan is a hidden honeymoon gem. Though the country had been largely unknown to travelers, it is quickly finding its spot on the radars of couples who love to explore off-beat and undiscovered locations.
Azerbaijan is a country that is rich in one-of-a-kind experiences, and we recommend checking some of these out before you zero in on your honeymoon destination. Direct flights from Delhi to the capital of Azerbaijan – the city of Baku make honeymoon dreams even more accessible.
Caught somewhere in the middle of the spiritual and political past of the land is the Ateshgah fire temple near Baku that was built between the 17th and 18th centuries. Once home to an eternal flame that was fed by a vent from a natural gas field located directly beneath the complex, the holy place held significance to people of different faiths such as Zoroastrians, Sikhs, and Hindus. Since the flow of underground gases stopped due to the exploitation of surrounding oil fields it has been fuelled by a gas pipeline that comes from the capital. However, its history and architecture make it worth a visit. Continue your tour of Azerbaijan’s fire legacy with a trip to Yanardag. A 10-meter wall of fire that burns along the edge of the hill and never extinguishes, it looks most captivating at night and watching it with your partner while sipping tea at a nearby café makes the experience unforgettable.
Built more than a hundred years ago, the Baku Seaside Boulevard is one of the longest promenades in Europe. Here you can enjoy the fresh Caspian breeze, while on a gondola ride in the “Little Venice” of Baku. Culture geeks can visit the Carpet Museum, which is the first such collection in the world. It will be easy to find the museum due to its unique shape that looks like a rolled-up rug. If you are tired of walking, hop on one of the yellow trains to the Baku Ferris Wheel – or how local people love to call it, the Baku Eye. It is even more romantic during dusk when seen from the ships doing small cruises in the Baku bay from where the city view will amaze you.
Here you can observe the city and its modern iconic landmark – the Flame Towers. It is best to visit this park twice – during the day and once again at night – to compare which view is more attractive. Use the funicular to climb there from the Boulevard and after 8:30pm you can catch the Flame Tower’s lights displaying flames and flags. Photos taken here will definitely boost your Instagram likes.
Old City of Baku
You can also wander through Icherisheher (Old City), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don’t be afraid to get lost in the labyrinth of cobbled streets which may seem jumbled to unfamiliar eyes, but they serve historically strategic purposes: these alleyways will take you to the main landmarks of the city – the Maiden Tower, old mosques and hammams, and the Shirvanshahs’ Palace. A climb to the roof rewards couples with panoramic views of the city, the Baku Bay and some of the most spellbinding sunsets. Treat yourself to some traditional Azerbaijani cuisine in the restaurants nestled within the Old City before meandering down Nizami street to Fountains Square, where you can chill out until the sun goes down.
Whether you’re looking for spa days, spa breaks, spa hotels, or beauty treatments – Baku is ready to pamper you from head to toe. Visit the luxuriously tranquil Absheron Spa to enjoy a broad range of services, from body treatments, to fitness counselling, to taking a dip in the pool – all with a stunning view across the Caspian Sea. For those who want to enjoy a more metropolitan view from their window, experience the ultimate escape from reality in the Hilton Baku’s VIP Suite and indulge in the most rejuvenating beauty treatments before heading to the steam room and sauna. Take a breath of fresh air from the heated outdoor swimming pool at the Ovdan spa in Shahdag Resort – a place that is sure to not only keep your mind at ease, but is proven to help relieve muscle pain and reduce stress levels.
Active holidays in Tufandag and Shahdag
The Rapidly developing Tufandag and Shahdag mountain resorts are the main ski hubs in Azerbaijan with the ultimate ski slopes for both beginners and professionals. The skiing and snowboarding will appeal to adrenaline junkies and its sheer beauty to visitors seeking relaxation and tranquillity. Piste quality is ensured by state-of-the-art snow guns and the slopes are accessed by a brand new network of world-class cable cars and ski lifts. The ski season runs from December 15 until March 31 but the resorts are open all year round and offer paragliding, rafting and hiking opportunities in summer. The many hotels and restaurants here offer ultimate relaxation in the Caucasus Mountains.
The shores of the Caspian Sea have plenty of excellent beach clubs to enjoy at, from the Absheron Peninsula resorts to the water sports centre at Shuraabad, where you’ll find the perfect conditions to learn kite-surfing at the scenic lagoon. Once you’ve mastered the basics here, you can take your board out into the open Caspian sea. However, if you’re more in search of tranquillity and romance, make your way to less crowded sandy Caspian beaches, such as those at Bilgah, Pirshagi and Zagulba.
Traditional shopping in Lahij
Less than a two-hour drive from Gabala, via a geologically spectacular canyon, the pretty little village of Lahij woos visitors with its antique copperware workshops, white cobbled streets, stone houses and craft shops. It’s a great place to unwind in the relatively cool summer air and to hike across a series of accessible mountain trails to the crumbling remnants of half-forgotten fortresses. Here you can buy unique and traditional handmade souvenirs for yourself, family and friends.
Outdoor activities and relaxation in Gabala
Gabala is one of Azerbaijan’s foremost resort towns, where you can enjoy a huge variety of outdoor activities, including quad biking, skiing, hiking, rafting, horse riding and shooting. Visitors can also choose from several fabulous swimming pools while mountain waterfalls, large forests and the magnificent Caucasian Mountains make Gabala an ideal place for relaxation. Located in the mesmerizing Nohur Lake, Chenot Palace offers a number of bespoke detox, weight-loss and stress relief programmes.
Sheki – medieval Eastern city
The city of Sheki is home to one of the most valuable monuments of Azerbaijan. Built in the 18th century, the Palace of Sheki Khans is a gorgeous chalet whose interior walls are covered with frescoes. The feature that stands out here are the Shebeke windows which are intricate wooden lattices fitted with stained glass and pieced together without glue or nails. Here, couples with a penchant for art and architecture will find themselves surrounded by awe-inspiring beauty and heritage. A short tour to the walled fortress of Sheki and other historical places should be followed by tasting local cuisine such as piti which is cooked in clay pots, and tea served in the traditional pear-shaped glass called ‘armudu’ with local Sheki pakhlava.
Click here to learn more about Azerbaijan and to plan an unforgettable honeymoon to ‘The Land of Fire’.