On this page you can find all the information you need to know about backpacking in Azerbaijan.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find all the articles we've written about this country.
We traveled for 3 weeks in Azerbaijan, a republic in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Azerbaijan used to be part of the former Soviet Union and, historically, the name of the country - which means 'protector of fire' in Persian - refers to a larger region that formed part of Persia (Iran). The country didn't exist until 1918 and it owes it existence to Lenin and Stalin. Azerbaijan is also known as "The Land of Fire", related to the oil-rich resources of the country. There are about 9.8 million people living in the country and the official language is Azerbaijani.
Azerbaijan Visa & Registration Info
All travelers need a visa except for the citizens of Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Since January 10th 2017 the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry opened up the country by introducing the E-visa which is now available for the citizens of these 93 countries. This visa allows you to stay 30 days in the country.
If you're planning to stay for more than 10 days, you'll have to register at the Migration Service of Azerbaijan. Don't forget to do this, otherwise you're facing a $200 - $300 fine and deportation!!
Read our guide about how to apply for an e-visa and how to register in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has borders with Georgia, Armenia, Iran and Russia. There are no open borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
We crossed from Georgia in to Azerbaijan.
For more info & updates concerning the other border crossings, look here.
The currency in Azerbaijan is the Azerbaijani manat (AZN). Traveling in Azerbaijan is very cheap and you can easily live on a daily budget of $10 - $15. The average cost for a good meal is $3 and a bed in a hostel costs $8. Note that a visit to Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, can be expensive. Read our budget guide to Baku to know how to get the most out of your visit on a small budget.
Hitchhiking & Camping in Azerbaijan
Hitchhiking in Azerbaijan is not common but as a foreigner it's very easy. The Azeri's are very curious about foreigners so they will quickly stop for you. Count on an average waiting time of 5 -10 minutes! You can stick out your thumb but it's more common to hitchhike by waving your hand up and down (the gesture you would make to ask someone to slow down). Some people might want you to pay for the ride so make sure you say "Pulsuz" (which means "no money") before you get in the car.
Not many people speak English so we would advice you to learn some basic Russian as Azerbaijan used to be part of the former Soviet Union. Azerbaijani is a Turkic language and resembles Turkish a lot. If you speak Turkish like we do - we spent 9 months in Turkey ) - you will also be able to communicate with the people.
Designated camping areas are almost non-existent in Azerbaijan. Rules regarding (wild) camping probably don't even exist but make sure that you're not camping on someone's field without asking for permission first. The Azerbaijani's are very hospitable so they will definitely allow you on their land and chances are that they will even invite you in their home. There are also a lot of small forests where you can camp in the wild but watch out for animals such as bears and wild boars. Never keep food in your tent!!
Where to go and what to do in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan isn't a big country and you can easily see a big part of the country in less than 3 weeks.
The majority of interesting sites are situated in and around Baku. Have a look at our complete budget guide to Baku with more than 10 places to visit in and around Azerbaijan's capital city.
The Azerbaijani culture is a culture of the Azerbaijan Republic and Iranian Azerbaijan (the locals also refer to it as South Azerbaijan). Iranian Azerbaijan is a region in northwestern Iran that is mainly populated by Azerbaijanis. This region is in fact the land that was called Azerbaijan before the neighboring republic appropriated its name. The culture has Iranian, Turkic, Caucasian and Russian influences.
Azerbaijanis are very warm and friendly people and will also greet you in this way. Men greet each other with a handshake, a kiss on the cheek and say "salaam". Women hug and kiss each other on the left cheek. The men will wait and see if a woman extends her hand and will shake it lightly, although the most religious may not. Muslim is the dominant religion in Azerbaijan but only 50% of the women wear a hijab. Although most people are religious, it is definitely not as strict as in Iran. So don't worry girls, you don't have to cover up but please be aware and respectful. Don't wear short skirts or shorts, unless you are in Baku, the capital city.
The people in Azerbaijan are extremely hospitable. They will invite you over and over again for tea and food. You can expect many invitations, especially in small towns and villages where foreigners are a rarity! Remember to take off your shoes when you're invited in a home (tip: always carry an extra pair of clean and nice smelling socks with you if you're hitchhiking/cycling/hiking a lot).