We spent just 7 days in Azerbaijan, from the 3rd to the 9th of September, and our journey was structured as following:
- Lagodekhi border—> Zagatala
we took a taxi but we didn’t pay for it because the guy we met at the border gently wanted to pay it for us. We didn’t see any mini bus so share taxies are probably the only options. The journey itself is quite fast, around 40 min, but it was longer for us for a series of unexpected events (see our article about Shäki)
- Zagatala —> Shäki
we took a bus at 3pm and we payed 6 manat each. Apparently there two buses, one “good” and one “bad” and, obviously, we had to take the bad one (it was the only option). The journey took around 2 hours, we don’t know if the “good” bus is actually faster
- Shäki (2 days/ 2 nights)
We spent a couple of nights at Shäki and we stayed at Astrea hostel ( AKA Asteria on booking) paying 30 manat in two for two nights.
Pros: it’s cheap, rooms are clean, the kitchen is available
Cons: it’s a bit far from the Khan palace (you will probably have to take a marshrutka or a taxi unless you want to walk 40 min uphill), there are only two toilets (that wasn’t a real problem for us when we were there though)
In Shäki we mostly walked but, if you want to take a bus (we did that to go to Galarsan-Gorasan), it cost 0,30 manat.
- Shäki—> Baku
We took a minibus from Shäki bus station, we payed 9 manat each and the journey took “just” 4 h. There are also big buses but they take 7h to get to Baku. The timetable is as following (Sakidan is the departure time from Shäki/Bakidan the departure time from Baku):
- Baku (5 days/5 nights)
We booked 5 nights in Baku but we actually stayed there just 4 nights because we had to rush to get the boat on the 9th of September (see our article about Baku for better information). We stayed at Life Time Punjab paying 105 manat for 5 nights in two people.
Pros: good central location, WiFi was working well
Cons: it was dirty, there was just ONE toilet for 25 beds (thanks god there were not so many people when we were there) and it’s literally IN the kitchen, there was no international environment, the private rooms don’t have windows, we wanted to go somewhere else and they refused to refund us….this place is ABSOLUTELY NOT recommended, especially for solo travelers (particularly if female solo travelers)
In Baku we walked a lot but we also took few public transports. For metro and buses in the city there is the Baku metro card that costs 2 manat and can be used for more than one person. The cost of a single ticket in the city was 0,30 manat and there are a several machines both at metro stations or bus stops where you can top up your card. BE CAREFUL though, the system is not as clever as it may seem; if your card has not been activated (as it will probably be if you are a tourist there for just few days) and you try to top up your card at bus stops, you may not get immediately the credit on the card. You then have to go to a metro station to top it up and, AFTER 24 HOURS from the attempted topping up at the bus stop, you can go to any bus stop in the city and get your credit back (follow the instructions on the screen).
Bus tickets out of the city (we went to Qobustan and Absheron peninsula) cost 1 manat each. You can easily plan your journeys using google maps and the timing was quite reliable. For us, It was 2 hours to get to Qobustan, 1 h to get to Atashgah temple and 1h 30 min to come back from Mardakan to Baku.
We took two taxies, one from Alat to mud volcanoes and petroglyphs, the other one from Baku to Alat port and both times we payed 30 manat.
At the time of writing (October 2019)
1$ – 1.7 Azeri manat
1€ – 1.87 Azeri manat