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Azerbaijan and Georgia: 9 Days of Culture, Snow, and Natural Wonders!

Exploring the vibrant cultures, rich histories, and breathtaking landscapes of Azerbaijan and Georgia in February 2024 was an extraordinary journey. Over 9 days, from February 16th to February 24th, I ventured through these remarkable landscapes, immersed in a world where ancient traditions meet modern progress.

Guided by Silk Road Adventures, this adventure unfolded across the Caucasus, from the ancient alleyways of Baku to the charming streets of Tbilisi, showcasing a region steeped in history, culture, snowy landscapes, natural wonders and scenic beauty. 🙂

Useful Travel Trivia

Azerbaijan

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  • Population: Approximately 10.1 million people.
  • Borders: Shares boundaries with Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, and the Caspian Sea.
  • Seasons: April to June and September to October are ideal times to visit.
  • Visa: E-visa or Visa on Arrival is available for many nationalities.
  • Telephone Country Code: +994
  • Language: Azerbaijani is the official language, but English is commonly spoken in tourist areas.
  • Currency: Azerbaijani Manat (1 AZN = 0.59 USD).
  • Time Difference: India is 1 hour and 30 minutes ahead of Azerbaijan.
  • Community and Religion: The majority of the population practices Islam, predominantly Shia Muslims.
  • Favorite Foods: Plov: A rice dish with lamb, dried fruit, and saffron; Dolma: Stuffed grape leaves or vegetables with a mixture of rice, meat, and spices; Kebab: Grilled meat skewers, often served with flatbread and vegetables; Lavash: A type of flatbread that is a staple in Azerbaijani cuisine.

Georgia

  • Population: Approximately 3.7 million people.
  • Borders: Shares boundaries with Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey, and the Black Sea.
  • Seasons: Best time to visit is from May to October.
  • Visa: E-visa or Visa on Arrival is available for many nationalities.
  • Telephone Country Code: +995
  • Language: Georgian is the official language, but English is widely spoken in cities and tourist areas.
  • Currency: Georgian Lari (1 GEL = 0.38 USD).
  • Time Difference: India is 1 hour and 30 minutes ahead of Georgia.
  • Community and Religion: The dominant religion in Georgia is Christianity, with the Georgian Orthodox Church being the largest Christian denomination.
  • Favorite Foods: Khachapuri: A cheese-filled bread often topped with an egg and butter; Khinkali: Large dumplings filled with meat, spices, and broth; Satsivi: A walnut sauce traditionally served with chicken or turkey; Pkhali: A dish made from vegetables, herbs, and spices.

Flights:

I flew from Mumbai to Baku via Sharjah on February 16th with Air Arabia and from Baku to Tbilisi on February 20th with Azerbaijan Airlines. The return leg saw me flying from Tbilisi to Mumbai via Delhi on the 25th afternoon, with Indigo Airlines.

Stay:

Baku – Baku Palace Hotel, Tbilisi – Hotel Marioni

Day Wise Itinerary:

16th Feb – Arrival in Baku, Azerbaijan

  • Upon our arrival at the Mumbai airport, I indulged in a flavorful Avocado milkshake and a Paneer Burrito bowl at New York Burrito.
  • After our arrival in Baku, we were immediately struck by the contrast between its ancient roots and modern developments.
  • We acquired an Azercell sim card for our communication needs.
  • To get to the Baku Palace Hotel from the airport, we opted for a taxi via Bolt.
  • We checked into our hotel, our cozy abode for the coming days, offering both comfort and a perfect base to explore.
  • We converted USD to AZN at Baku city centre.
  • We booked 2 day trips via Smile Azerbaijan Tour.
  • Exploring the Old City (Icherisheher), we visited the historic Maiden Tower and wandered through narrow alleys.
  • We were fascinated by the Shirvanshah’s Palace and its rich history.
  • A delightful Azerbaijani meal at Qaynana introduced us to the country’s vibrant cuisine.
  • We had hot chocolate at Ferma Art with live music.

17th Feb – Day Trip to Sheki from Baku

  • Embarking on a day trip to Sheki, a city known for its rich history and stunning architecture. We covered Sheki Khan Palace, Carvanserai, Hanging bridge, Juma Mosque, Nohur lake, and indulged in some Honey tasting, and Baklava tasting.
  • We had our lunch at Nohur Gol.
  • Our first stop was the Sheki Fortress, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
  • The Sheki Khans’ Palace showcased intricate designs and craftsmanship.
  • Crossing the Hanging Bridge over the Gudjalchay River, we were treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Next, we explored the Caravanserai, a historic inn that offered a glimpse into the region’s rich past.
  • We concluded our day by going to the ETUD club opposite our hotel with live jazz music.

18th Feb – Day Trip to Absheron Peninsula from Baku

  • Exploring Gobustan National Park and its ancient rock carvings, we marveled at the ancient petroglyphs that tell the story of early human civilization..
  • We were amazed by the natural phenomenon of the Yanar Dag (Burning Mountain). The Yanar Dag has been burning for centuries, with no indication of stopping.
  • The Mud Volcanoes provided a unique natural experience, and left us in awe of mother nature. Azerbaijan is famous for its mud volcanoes, with more than half of the world’s known mud volcanoes located in this country. There are over 400 mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan, making it the country with the highest number of mud volcanoes in the world. These volcanoes vary in size and activity, with some reaching heights of up to 1,000 meters (3,280 feet).
  • We had our lunch at Bibi restaurant.
  • The Ateshgah Fire Temple, with its perpetual flames, was a spiritual highlight. The Baku Ateshgah was a pilgrimage and philosophical centre of Zoroastrians from Northwestern Indian subcontinent, who were involved in trade with the Caspian area via the famous “Grand Trunk Road“. The four holy elements of their belief were: ateshi (fire), badi (air), abi (water), and heki (earth). 
  • At the Gobustan Interactive Museum, we delved into the region’s prehistoric heritage.
  • A visit to the Bibi Heybat Mosque offered a glimpse into the country’s religious traditions and Islamic architecture.
  • We concluded the day with a visit to Ramana Castle, steeped in history.

19th Feb – Explore Baku

  • We indulged in some retail therapy at Deniz Mall, picking up a few souvenirs to remember our time in Azerbaijan. Also, tried the slide which took me down 5 floors in 1 second!
  • We indulged ourselves to some Dark Chocolate and Lemon Gelato at the Deniz Mall.
  • We had fresh Pomegranate juice in the Old Town of Baku.
  • We admired the contemporary architecture of the Heydar Aliyev Center.
  • The Flame Towers added to the modern cityscape.
  • Visiting the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum exposed us to the country’s cultural heritage. It is recognized as the world’s largest museum dedicated to carpets and carpet weaving.
  • Fountains Square served as the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll.
  • We visited the famous Friends Cafe in Old Town of Baku and had the most delicious Almond Croissant ever!
  • The complimentary night tour of Baku by Smile Azerbaijan Tour added a magical touch to the city’s vibrant nightlife.
  • The day ended on a delicious note with dinner at a popular Indian restaurant, Curry Corner.

20th Feb – Flight to Tbilisi, Georgia

  • We had some hot capaccino at Aroma Cafe near the Carpet Museum.
  • Indulged in some pakhlava, orange juice and cheese vegetables sandwich at Cafe City Bistro at Baku airport. 
  • We bid farewell to Azerbaijan and flew to the charming city of Tbilisi, Georgia in the afternoon.
  • We converted USD to GEL at the Tbilisi airport and took a taxi to Hotel Marioni.
  • We checked into our hotel, which was a delightful accommodation nestled in the heart of the city. Pro tip: Book your hotel near the Meidan Square.
  • We wanted to just chill, and concluded our day with a delicious Indian dinner at the Maharajah restaurant.

21st Feb – Explore Tbilisi

  • We acquired a Geocell SIM card for our communication needs.
  • We shopped for souvenir magnets, postcards, wine bottles, dates etc. from Tbilisi.
  • Our day began with a stroll through the Old Town, a maze of narrow alleys and historic buildings.
  • We had a mouth watering lunch at the Maharajah restaurant.
  • We took a cable car to see Mother of Georgia. The panoramic views from the top were breathtaking.
  • The Rike Park and the Bridge of Peace provided stunning views of the city, perfect for capturing memorable moments.
  • The State Opera and Ballet Theatre showcased the country’s artistic heritage.
  • Exploring the Metekhi Church, we were captivated by its historical significance.
  • We had a leisurely dinner at BCN Hispania and explored the Meidan Bazar.
  • We had fresh orange juice at Friend’s House with live music.

22nd Feb – Day Trip to Kakheti and Sighnaghi from Tbilisi

  • Our day was dedicated to exploring the Kakheti region, known as the birthplace of Georgian wine.
  • Exploring David Gareja Monastery Complex, we were transported to ancient times.
  • The Alaverdi Monastery showcased stunning architecture.
  • The picturesque Sighnaghi, the “City of Love” provided an ideal backdrop.
  • A museum and wine cellar visit offered insights into Georgia’s winemaking traditions.
  • We learned the art of creating traditional Georgian sweets at a candy making workshop, and wine tasting added to the day’s experiences.
  • The Monastery of St. Nino provided a spiritual retreat, a historic site that played a significant role in Georgia’s conversion to Christianity.
  • We ended our day with a relaxing Hamam sulphur bath in Tbilisi.
  • We had an aloo paratha dinner at Khushi restaurant.

23rd Feb – Day Trip to Ananuri and Gudauri from Tbilisi

  • We had hot chocolate and chips at Ananuri.
  • Visiting the Ananuri Fortress, perched on the Aragvi river, we were immersed in its historical significance.
  • The Jvari Pass provided breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, making it a perfect spot for photography.
  • The Gudauri Ski Resort provided breathtaking mountain views. We got fresh snowfall as well and played like kids in the snow.
  • We went to the Gudauri view point for a breathtaking view, and had croissant while on our way back.
  • Returning to Tbilisi, we reflected on the day’s memorable experiences while having dinner at Bollywood Masala.

24th Feb – Half-Day Trip to Mtskheta and Half-Day Tour of Tbilisi


As our incredible journey through Azerbaijan and Georgia comes to a close, we find ourselves filled with a myriad of emotions. These nine days have been nothing short of magical, filled with unforgettable experiences, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality.

We’ve explored ancient cities, sampled local cuisines, and immersed ourselves in the rich cultures of these beautiful countries. From the bustling streets of Baku to the charming towns of Sheki and Sighnaghi, we’ve witnessed the diverse tapestry of life in the Caucasus region.

As we bid farewell to these lands of legend and beauty, we carry with us memories that will last a lifetime. Our hearts are full, and our spirits are lifted by the warmth and kindness of the people we’ve met along the way. Though our journey may be ending, the stories we’ve collected will continue to inspire us for years to come. Until we meet again, Azerbaijan and Georgia, thank you for the adventure of a lifetime! 🙂

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