Female Solo Travelers in Azerbaijan: Your Guide for 2022 (2023)

Traveling alone in Azerbaijan as a woman is far from the most common travel option. However, that doesn't mean it isn't rewarding and challenging.

A country and former republic of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan in the North Caucasus is one of the least visited countries in Central Asia. And let's be honest, Central Asia isn't the most explored part of the world anyway.

Abgesehen von gelegentlichen unerschrockenen Reisenden, die sich gerne abseits der ausgetretenen Pfade an Orte wie Usbekistan und Kirgisistan wagen, reisen nicht viele Menschen hierher. Aserbaidschan ist in den letzten Jahren immer mehr in den Fokus der Menschen gerückt.

That was after the country won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2011 and started hosting the Grand Prix in 2017. Before that there were many people who had never heard of the nation, let alone classified it. on a map.

Still, Azerbaijan feels like new territory outside of the glittering capital of Baku. And that's what makes the travel experience here so wonderful, especially if you like to get off the beaten track.

Woman traveling alone in Azerbaijan

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You can have a safe, unforgettable and pleasant experience traveling alone in Azerbaijan. You just have to use the same common sense and precautions as you would in any other part of the world.

The tourist infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired.

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Since Azerbaijan is far from a popular tourist destination, the infrastructure here leaves much to be desired. Traveling the country is very different from saying:traveling alone as a woman in vietnamor Southeast Asia, where there is an established backpacking trail.

Local public transport in the country is extremely restricted. Trains connect Azerbaijan to neighboring Georgia and Iran, but service within the country is extremely slow, only running between Baku and Ganja.

Bus services are also extremely limited and mostly operate around Baku. Otherwise, it is best to move around on marshrutkas.

Marshrutkas are one of the best ways to get around

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Marshrutkas are shared minivans that serve various routes within and between cities. They run when full and can seat 8-10 people.

You may be familiar with this type of minivan if you have traveled to other places in Central Asia and the countries of the former Soviet Union. In some areas there is only one marshrutka per day going to a specific destination.

If you are planning to venture outside of Baku and explore the more rural areas of Azerbaijan, the information available online may be very limited. To get to some places, e.g. To get to Lahic, you may have to take a marshrutka part of the way and then hitchhike or taxi the rest of the way.

Since online information about transportation is limited, you may need to use travel groups and forums to find the details you need. Your hotel reception can usually also tell you when and where to catch specific buses and marshrutkas.

Traveling alone in Azerbaijan as a woman

Women traveling alone are not common in Azerbaijan. In many parts of the country, people have never seen tourists before, period.

Still, most people are friendly and curious even if they can't communicate with you. Hissing and teasing are not uncommon, especially in less traveled regions.

It is better to ignore such attention and not let it affect your day. Of course, as women, we should be able to wear what we want and travel where we want without being bothered.

Unfortunately, however, you cannot control the actions of others, and there will always be the odd disrespectful person. Don't confront bullies as you never really know what their state of mind is or if they will get angry or violent. Download it like someone who is an idiot, cheer up and don't let it ruin your day.

Conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia

You may be familiar with the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The two countries have been at odds over ownership of the Nagorno-Karabakh region for years.

In 2020, the two countries signed a ceasefire agreement, although there have been a number of violations since then. In 2022, tensions between the two countries have increased, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on the news and latest developments.

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As a tourist, you should avoid traveling to areas near the Azerbaijani-Armenian border and the Nagorno-Karabakh region. If you are planning to tour the two countries as part of a larger Causcuses route, it is best to travel to Azerbaijan first and then to Armenia.

You may be refused entry to Azerbaijan if you have previously traveled to Armenia. It's a good idea to check your local government's travel advice before traveling to a new country, and the same goes whenEmbark on an itinerary through Azerbaijan.

You couldFind UK Government travel advice for Azerbaijan here. The US Government Council for Azerbaijan ishere.

Entry requirements to Azerbaijan

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To travel to Azerbaijan, you must apply for a visa in advance. This has been notoriously difficult in recent years, but as the country opens up to tourism, it's getting easier.

Citizens of most countries can apply for an Azerbaijan e-Visa in advance, but check with your specific Azerbaijani government/consulate for travel advice. You can find themElectronic visa application portal here.You should also be very careful as scams are rampant in Azerbaijan and start before you even set foot in the country! There are several websites that have been set up to look like the government visa portal, but they are third-party providers.

They charge you a lot more for a visa and you don't really need their help. Getting Azerbaijan visa is a very simple thing that you can do yourself.

You may be denied a visa if you have previously traveled to Armenia. Be ready to answer questions and provide information about previous trips to Armenia.

Security in Azerbaijan

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Azerbaijan is a safe travel country. As in most major cities around the world, Baku has some petty crime, but it's mostly opportunistic and easily avoidable.

Keep an eye on your personal belongings and don't show designer labels, cameras or expensive electronics. When walking through crowded markets, consider going with your bag in front.

You can also wantConsider investing in an anti-theft backpacklike the ones you offerPacsafe. Anti-theft bags are cut-resistant, waterproof, have a multi-year long-term guarantee and a TSA-approved lock.

Don't do anything in Azerbaijan that you wouldn't do in your own country. Don't walk alone at night and beware of overly friendly strangers.

When attending social events and gatherings for travelers and expats in Baku, watch how much you drink and never leave your drink unattended. Uber works in Baku and can be a safe and cheap way to get back to your hotel, especially at night.

Uber is arguably safer than taking a cab on the street as there are more responsibilities. You can view driver details, license plate and previous reviews through the app. Plus, you get a price before you even get on the vehicle, and you're much less likely to be overcharged than if you had to hop on any street cab.

very few people speak english

In Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, you can find locals who speak English for work. Digital nomad events and social mixers are a great way to meet Azerbaijanis eager to practice their English.

Likewise, many international expats live in Baku and work here in various oil companies. The capital has seen a steady increase in tourists over the past decade and as a result some staff working in hotels, local tour operators and tourist-friendly restaurants can speak some English.

As some tourists also like to visit Sheki in North Azerbaijan for the old caravanserais and Silk Road architecture, you might find some English speakers as well. Apart from that, English is not widely spoken at all.

Few people in the country speak it or have even heard of it! The national language of Azerbaijan is Azeri, a Turkish dialect.

If you can speak Turkish, even a few words, this may be helpful. The two languages ​​are certainly not the same, but Azerbaijanis will tell you that people from the two countries can understand each other.

To help you communicate, download the Google Translate app to your phone. People here are friendly enough and if you can't express something verbally, you can write it down as a message.

Interestingly, in some parts of Azerbaijan, people don't even speak Azerbaijani! for example inthe hilly town of Lahic, people speak indeed.

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This is closer to Iranian Farsi than Azeri. fascinating, right?

Traveling alone as a woman in Azerbaijan can be isolating at times

Traveling alone can be a wonderful and hugely rewarding experience. Most of the time, when you travel alone, it's very easy to meet people and you're only really alone when you really want to be.

The same is true in Baku, where it's easy to meet people in hostels or through social travel apps like Couchsurfing and Meetup. Outside of the capital, however, you're likely to encounter very few (if any) travelers.

This can be isolating as you are unlikely to find anyone to converse with in English. It is important that you feel comfortable with your own company when traveling alone in rural Azerbaijan. But even if you're not, you can plan your trip so that you're only in remote areas for a few days.

Culture and religion in Azerbaijan

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Beautiful and ornate mosques are scattered throughout Baku and the rest of Azerbaijan. However, their calls to prayer are rarely heard as the country is largely secular.

Approximately 99% of Azerbaijanis identify as Muslim, with the majority of people identifying as Shia Muslim. Less than 15% of the country's Muslim population identify themselves as Sunni Muslims.

However, many Azerbaijanis do not actually practice the religion. Alcohol is widespread here and many people love vodka as much as Russians do! You will not see Azerbaijani women wearing headscarves, nor are you expected to dress in a specific way.

Some appealing aspects of Azerbaijani culture are reminiscent of travel to nearby Iran or the Middle East. For example, people love to hang out in shisha bars after a long day of work or on weekends.

Likewise, there are many quaint traditional tea houses throughout the country. Azerbaijanis drink their tea just like their Iranian neighbors. They enjoy it hot, black and strong, sweetened with one or two tablespoons of sugar and served in small crystal glasses on colorful plates.

Fraud in Azerbaijan

Scams abound in Azerbaijan. Unfortunately, after a while, this can really affect your experience and opinion about the country.

As a tourist, you're likely to be constantly being charged exorbitant fees for things (especially taxis) by opportunists who assume you don't know the right price. If you eat at restaurants, triple check the price on the menu.

It is not uncommon for the bill to run out and the prices shown to be completely different from those on the menu. At times, salespeople became argumentative and intimidating.

Be careful when paying larger bills, especially if the person has to leave and come back with change. They may scam you or never pay you back the amount owed.

Likewise, people can make up almost ridiculous premiums for extras at the table. Here for example an extra dollar for using ketchup, another dollar for the mustard etc.

Outside of Baku Airport, don't get into any taxi and try to use Uber wherever you can. It's a good idea to arrange your transfer from the airport to your hotel in advance to avoid having to interact with scammers.

When you get overloaded, it's usually not a minor increase either. As a tourist you can be quoted up to 10 times to correct the price.

It's unfortunate that many of these people become aggressive when you call them. It doesn't paint a good picture of these people's attitudes towards women.

Register with the Azerbaijani police

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If you are planning to stay in Azerbaijan for more than 15 days, you must register your presence in the country with the Azerbaijani police. If you stay in a hotel they will do it for you.

However, if you live in a rented apartment (ex.an airbnb) or stay with a local, you have to do it yourself. You can go to the local state migration office or do itonline hbefore.

In general, if you can, it's best to stay in a hotel and have them do it for you. It takes a lot of stress and hassle out of your trip.

Hotels are used to it and they don't mind. They're used to doing this dozens of times a week.

Where to go in Azerbaijan

A long weekend in Baku with the occasional day trip outside of the city center can be a good first introduction to solo girl travel in Azerbaijan. Alternatively, if you want to explore the country further, you can start in Baku and travel from north to south.

End your itinerary in the city of Sheki and cross the border from thereAzerbaijan to Georgia.andItinerary UzbekistanIt is also a good addition to a trip to Azerbaijan.

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The glittering capital of Azerbaijan, Baku offers a fabulous juxtaposition of tradition and modern city life, East and West. Here, you'll see centuries-old historic mosques alongside soaring glass skyscrapers and contemporary buildings.

Spend a morning getting lost in the narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways of Icherisheher. This is Baku's Old Town from the 12th century and many of its historic defensive walls are still in excellent condition after all these centuries.

Be sure to stop by the Maiden's Tower while you're here. This is the oldest structure in the city and no one knows exactly why it was built.

Many stories and legends are entwined around the tower. One of the most famous is the story of a king's daughter who takes her own life after jumping from the top floor. This legend (and the name of the tower) is the same as that of the Maiden Tower inIstanbul, Turkey.While in Baku, you can also learn why Azerbaijan is nicknamed "The Land of Fire". Take a day trip to the Atesgah Temple of Eternal Fire.

This unique temple has been used by Zoroastrian, Sikh and Hindu fire worshipers over the years. The torches here constantly burn with fire.

Why? By natural gases escaping from beneath the earth's surface and reacting with the atmosphere.

Fire rituals have been taking place here since the 10th century, the current temple probably dates from the 17th or 18th century and was built in a caravan-like structure.


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The small town of Sheki in northwestern Azerbaijan is charming and steeped in history. It's one of the best places in the country if you want to learn more about the Silk Road days.

Optionally you can stay at the Sheki Caravanserai Hotel. This is a royal caravanserai where merchants and their camels would spend the night when traveling from East to West with goods consisting of perfumes, clothing, pottery etc.

The property and its gardens are impressive. Despite the initial glamorous appearance, you'll be pleased to know that a stay here only costs about $25 a night.

The rooms are rustic and simple but comfortable. They are decorated in a cave style with exposed stone walls, lanterns and original fireplaces. It gives a great idea of ​​what it might have been like to travel here around 300 years ago.

Even if you're not staying here, it's usually okay to stop by, visit and snap some photos. Be sure to visit the colorful palace of Shaki Khans nearby.

It was built by Muhammed Hasan Khan in 1797. It was a summer home for the Shaki Khans who came from Afsharid Iran.

You can take a tour of the interior and tours are available in English. The glittering chandeliers, intricate tile work, and ornate furnishings are reminiscent of a palatial Iranian home.


The Mud Volcanoes and Petroglyphs of Gobustan(pronounced Go-bustan) make a popular day trip from Baku. Even if you are only visiting the capital for a few days, it is worth a visit here.

You can choose to take the bus, hire a private driver or join an organized tour. The latter is a great way to meet other travelers and save on costs.

The petroglyphs are caveman paintings and the collection here is the largest of its kind in the world. There are more than 6,000 images depicting scenes from prehistoric life!

They go back more than 40,000 years to the time of the Ice Age. The paintings are located in Gobustan National Park.

As part of your admission, enjoy free entry to the Gobustan Museum. This is very useful for getting more information and context about what you're looking at.

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Don't miss the nearby mud volcanoes either. You are in desert landscapes essentially in the middle of nowhere.

So unless you are visiting the area on a tour you will need to find a local driver to take you there. (There are many, but be prepared to haggle over the price).

Mud volcanoes are a rare natural phenomenon that occurs when gases beneath the earth's surface find a weak spot in the ground. Instead of spewing hot lava, as the name suggests, mud volcanoes spew cold, sticky mud.

This is said to have healing properties and you will find people sitting around volcanoes slapping their arms and faces. You can even put some in a bottle to treat yourself to a facial later!


Lahic is a small mountainous village in Ismailli region of Central Azerbaijan. It has a culture different from any other place in Azerbaijan or the world.

The city dates back to the 5th century, making it one of the oldest in the country. It is on the foothills of the Niyal chain.

Until a bridge and a mountain road were recently built, Lahic was cut off from the rest of the country for centuries. This is perhaps one of the factors that contributed to the residents developing their own language, Tat.

Since the remote location and mountainous landscape made farming work impractical, locals turned to crafts to earn a living. Lahic residents specialized in carpet weaving and copper crafts.

Its goods fetched high prices in Baghdad's bazaars, making the small settlement an extremely important stopover on the ancient Silk Road. Today there are still many traditional workshops and the craftsmen will be happy to show you how they make their various crafts.

Lahic can seem a bit touristy with so many vendors lining the main streets trying to sell you handicrafts. However, this does not detract from its beauty and charm.

Here you will find many rustic and traditional inns. Few things are better than waking up and looking out the window at the mountainous landscape and wild horses running through the hills.

What to wear in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan is still a rather conservative country and men and women still dress modestly in most of the country. Baku is a bit more liberal, and you'll see a lot of Western-style clothing here.

Of course, as a solo female traveler, you should be able to wear what you want and what you feel most comfortable in. However, it is also important to be attentive and respectful to the locals and not draw attention to yourself.

Outside of Baku, it is best to avoid tight dresses, low-cut tops that show cleavage, short skirts, tank tops, etc. Skirts and dresses are fine, but should ideally be below the knee.

The weather also plays a role in choosing the specific clothing to wear and pack for your trip. The country has mostly hot summers and mild but cool winters.

It is cooler all year round in certain mountainous regions and at higher elevations. Before your trip, check the specific weather conditions for the areas you intend to visit.

In summer, choose light, airy cotton clothing: long skirts, flowing trousers and airy blouses. Opt for layers in winter.

A recommended packing list for Azerbaijan

Below is a recommended packing list for solo travelers traveling in Azerbaijan. This is based on wearing clothes for about 7-10 days.

final thoughts

Female Solo Travelers in Azerbaijan: Your Guide for 2022 (9)

Have you ever tried or are considering traveling alone in Azerbaijan as a woman? Any ideas or concerns?

If you are planning a trip to the country for the first time, you can also read this Azerbaijan travel guide. Have a wonderful time! melissa xo

Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British travel writer and blogger based in Athens, Greece. He writes for numerous top-notch travel publications around the world, including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.


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