north-western route

ancient traces epic landscapes

You’ll be following in the footsteps of ancient travellers and merchants on this scenic route along the southern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains.

north-western routespirit of the Silk Road

Between Baku and Balaken

Whether it be visiting wineries, hunting out historical relics, sampling local dishes or hiking into the Caucasus Mountains, there’s something for everyone between Baku and Balaken. Highlights include feeling the Silk Road vibe in charming Sheki, discovering ancient crafts in remote mountain villages, hiking to hidden lakes and waterfalls and throwing yourself into outdoor adventures in the countryside resort hub of Gabala.

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at north-western route

Climate

Climate

The relief of this region is a mix of mountains and plains. The highlands are cool and humid while the plains are warm and dry. This corridor receives the second most rainfall after the southern route. 

Natural resources

Natural resources

27% of the territory of the Sheki-Zagatala region is covered by forest areas, most of which are in the Balaken and Zagatala regions. The mountainous areas are rich in mineral waters, which are used for treatment at resorts. 

Accessibility

Accessibility

There are international airports in Zagatala and Gabala and trains go to and from Tbilisi every day. There is a highway from Baku to Georgia. Daily buses go from Baku's International Bus Station to each town and city. Taxis and shared cars are available.

Economy

Economy

Agriculture is widely practised throughout the region, especially grain growing, viticulture and livestock farming. Tobacco and tea are also grown here, and the region is a major producer of high-quality hazelnuts. Sheki was historically a centre of silk production and craftsmanship. 

where to goin the north-western route

Baku
Baku

Baku

Discover Baku, a truly contemporary city criss-crossed by history. From the modern elegance of the Flame Towers to the medieval old city full of life. More

Shamakhi
Shamakhi

Shamakhi

Visit Shamakhi. One of the most historic cities and Azerbaijan’s former capital surrounded by fine countryside and packed with cultural heritage. More

Ismayilli
Ismayilli

Ismayilli

Ismayilli, a region with lush mountains,forests and temples and villages, where you can admire the age-old crafts and enjoy the culture and cuisine. More

Gabala
Gabala

Gabala

If you’re fed up of the concrete jungle, Gabala is the perfect getaway. Welcome to Azerbaijan’s outdoor resort hub, full of rustic hotels and great spas. More

Sheki
Sheki

Sheki

Visit Sheki, a small city off the forested slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains rich in Silk Road history and renowned for its fascinating architecture. More

Gakh
Gakh

Gakh

Discover Gakh and have some of the best views you’ll find of the Caucasus Mountains. Yoy may also enjoy wandering around the lovely city centre. More

Zagatala
Zagatala

Zagatala

Enjoy one of Azerbaijan’s most multicultural corners. Zapatala possesses historical relics, galore and some interesting culinary secrets. More

what to doin the north-western route

Stroll along Caspian seaside boulevard
Stroll along Caspian seaside boulevard
Family holidays

Stroll along Caspian seaside boulevard

There is no better way to feel freedom and wellness than by strolling along the... More

Take a day trip to Lahij
Take a day trip to Lahij
Intangible Cultural Heritage

Take a day trip to Lahij

A little village called Lahij can take your breath away with its antique cobbled streets... More

Adventures in the great outdoors in Gabala
Adventures in the great outdoors in Gabala
Family holidays

Adventures in the great outdoors in Gabala

Located at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains, Gabala is Azerbaijan's prime outdoors sports hub.... More

Experience the Silk Road in Sheki
Experience the Silk Road in Sheki
Arts, culture and heritage

Experience the Silk Road in Sheki

Take a break from regular life and travel back to the atmosphere of the Silk... More

Explore Baku's Old City
Explore Baku's Old City
Carpet

Explore Baku's Old City

Walk around this UNESCO-protected site surrounded by 12th-century walls and discover all the amazing things... More

Stroll through Baku’s oil-boom architecture
Stroll through Baku’s oil-boom architecture
German heritage

Stroll through Baku’s oil-boom architecture

Discover old Baku’s oil industry architecture, its details, buildings and the secrets behind them. Does... More

Shopping: boutiques & bazaars in Baku
Shopping: boutiques & bazaars in Baku
Bazaar experience

Shopping: boutiques & bazaars in Baku

Baku has the perfect combination of international shops, fashion boutiques and traditional stores and bazaars.... More

Play golf in Baku
Play golf in Baku
Golf

Play golf in Baku

What more can a golf lover ask for than a challenging course and stunning scenery?... More

Visit Baku's Carpet Museum
Visit Baku's Carpet Museum
Fun and learn

Visit Baku's Carpet Museum

Situated on Baku's Seaside Boulevard, the Carpet Museum is home to the largest collection of... More

Dining in Baku
Dining in Baku
Traditional Food

Dining in Baku

Baku offers a wide variety of restaurants and bars, from the traditional options to the... More

Learn the legacy of ancient fire worshippers
Learn the legacy of ancient fire worshippers
Cultural activities

Learn the legacy of ancient fire worshippers

Discover the incredible story of Azerbaijan’s ancient fire worshippers. Visit the Ateshgah Fire Temple and... More

Enjoy the Caspian sea & beaches
Enjoy the Caspian sea & beaches
Beach activities

Enjoy the Caspian sea & beaches

From water sports to romantic afternoons and lively evening parties, the sandy Caspian beaches around... More

Discover Gobustan's ancient rock art
Discover Gobustan's ancient rock art
Arts, culture and heritage

Discover Gobustan's ancient rock art

Uncover an astonishing collection of over 6,000 ancient petroglyphs charting ways of life dating back... More

Explore Baku's mud volcanoes
Explore Baku's mud volcanoes
National parks

Explore Baku's mud volcanoes

Discover why the landscape around Baku is fulfilled by mud volcanoes, how are they formed... More

Stargazing at Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory
Stargazing at Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory
Arts, culture and heritage

Stargazing at Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory

Visit the largest astrophysical observatory in Azerbaijan. Established in the Soviet era and used to... More

Visit Juma Mosque, the First Mosque in Azerbaijan
Visit Juma Mosque, the First Mosque in Azerbaijan
Arts, culture and heritage

Visit Juma Mosque, the First Mosque in Azerbaijan

Located in Shamakhi, Juma is Azerbaijan's first mosque. It was started back in 743 AD,... More

In the footsteps of the Shirvanshahs
In the footsteps of the Shirvanshahs
Arts, culture and heritage

In the footsteps of the Shirvanshahs

Smahakhi is full of history and heritage. It's the perfect place for history hunters to... More

Learn the secrets to kelaghayi making in Basgal
Learn the secrets to kelaghayi making in Basgal
Arts, culture and heritage

Learn the secrets to kelaghayi making in Basgal

Kelaghayis are exquisite silk headscarves traditionally worn by Azerbaijani women. Come see how they’re made... More

Skiing at Tufandag Mountain Resort
Skiing at Tufandag Mountain Resort
Adventure & sports

Skiing at Tufandag Mountain Resort

Tufandag Mountain Resort in Gabala is perfect for skiing enthusiasts. Adventure through its unusual slopes... More

Explore the history and culture of Nij village near Gabala
Explore the history and culture of Nij village near Gabala
Arts, culture and heritage

Explore the history and culture of Nij village near Gabala

The village of Nij is home to the largest population of Udi people. Explore their... More

Hit the target at Gabala Shooting Club
Hit the target at Gabala Shooting Club
Shooting

Hit the target at Gabala Shooting Club

Gabala has many shooting experiences set for you to enjoy. Visit the Gabala Shooting Club... More

Soak up the history of old Gabala
Soak up the history of old Gabala
Arts, culture and heritage

Soak up the history of old Gabala

If you love history, you shouldn't miss visiting the village of Chukur Gabala. Discover its... More

Go off the beaten track to Saribash
Go off the beaten track to Saribash
Off-road tours

Go off the beaten track to Saribash

Saribash is a historic village and one of the most remote in Azerbaijan. You’ll need... More

Day trip to the gorgeous Ilisu waterfall
Day trip to the gorgeous Ilisu waterfall
Off-road tours

Day trip to the gorgeous Ilisu waterfall

The Ilisu Waterfall is a stunnig landscape worth visiting. You can get to this 25... More

Go history hunting in Zagatala
Go history hunting in Zagatala
Family holidays

Go history hunting in Zagatala

Zagatala contains many historical attractions to visit; old fortress and church ruins make part of... More

Experience the taste of north-west Azerbaijan
Experience the taste of north-west Azerbaijan
Food, drinks and nightlife

Experience the taste of north-west Azerbaijan

Gakh, Zagatala and Balaken are known for serving up some of Azerbaijan’s best dishes. Look... More

Uncover Jewish traces in Baku
Uncover Jewish traces in Baku
Heritage sites

Uncover Jewish traces in Baku

Since the early 1800s, Baku has been home to a vibrant community of Jews. Explore... More

Enjoy a day trip to Jewish sites in Oguz
Enjoy a day trip to Jewish sites in Oguz
Jewish heritage

Enjoy a day trip to Jewish sites in Oguz

Oguz in north-west Azerbaijan was once one of the main Jewish settlements in Azerbaijan. Visit... More

Explore Gabala's thermal springs
Explore Gabala's thermal springs
Health & wellness

Explore Gabala's thermal springs

Gabala is surrounded by some of the most beautiful thermal springs and resorts in the... More

Relax at Baku’s traditional hammams
Relax at Baku’s traditional hammams
Wellness

Relax at Baku’s traditional hammams

Discover centuries-old hammams like Agha Mikayil, Akhund and Tezebay to rejunevate in the traditional way:... More

Horse riding in Baku
Horse riding in Baku
Adventure & sports

Horse riding in Baku

Horse riding and polo are truly royal experiences Baku can offer. Spend an active and... More

Gutab-making masterclasses
Gutab-making masterclasses
Food, drinks and nightlife

Gutab-making masterclasses

If you're in Baku and keen to uncover local culinary secrets then don't miss the... More

Visit Yashil Bazaar for a world of aromas
Visit Yashil Bazaar for a world of aromas
Bazaar experience

Visit Yashil Bazaar for a world of aromas

Baku's Yashil Bazaar is one of the largest food bazaars in the Caucasus. Enter it... More

Take a wine bar crawl
Take a wine bar crawl
Wine Degustation

Take a wine bar crawl

Baku's growing number of wine bars are a great place to soak up the local... More

Tours of Chabiant
Tours of Chabiant
Wineries

Tours of Chabiant

If you want to enjoy the wine at the hilltop vineyards, Chabiant's is the place... More

Tours of Savalan Wines
Tours of Savalan Wines
Wineries

Tours of Savalan Wines

Savalan Winery has a beautiful setting surrounded by the Caucasus Mountains and is a great... More

Tours of the Az-Granata winery
Tours of the Az-Granata winery
Food, drinks and nightlife

Tours of the Az-Granata winery

Azerbaijan's Wine Tourism Jewelry - Az-Granata Winery uses the latest technology to produce a wide... More

Tours of the Marandi winery
Tours of the Marandi winery
Wineries

Tours of the Marandi winery

Visiting the Marandi Winery is a great half-day adventure from Baku and a unique opportunity... More

Tours of Shirvan Wines
Tours of Shirvan Wines
Food, drinks and nightlife

Tours of Shirvan Wines

Shirvan Wines is one of Azerbaijan's new wave of local wineries. Here you can enjoy... More

Browse the home of Azerbaijani fine arts
Browse the home of Azerbaijani fine arts
Art and Culture Museums

Browse the home of Azerbaijani fine arts

Discover an oil-boom mansion packed with a wealth of art spanning multiple centuries and geographic... More

Admire the curves and collections of the Heydar Aliyev Centre
Admire the curves and collections of the Heydar Aliyev Centre
Art and Culture Museums

Admire the curves and collections of the Heydar Aliyev Centre

Explore the wide range of art collections and exhibitions of the Heydar Aliyev Centre, then... More

Snap a photo of the Flame Towers
Snap a photo of the Flame Towers
Arts, culture and heritage

Snap a photo of the Flame Towers

The trio of skyscrapers named the Flame Towers are one of the top architectural wonders... More

Shop and socialise in the Port Baku area
Shop and socialise in the Port Baku area
Arts, culture and heritage

Shop and socialise in the Port Baku area

If you love going out to eat or shop and are looking for an upmarket... More

Relax and have fun at Zire Ecopark
Relax and have fun at Zire Ecopark
Culture with Kids

Relax and have fun at Zire Ecopark

The modern cultural centre and ecopark in the Baku village of Zire offers dozens of... More

Polish heritage in Baku
Polish heritage in Baku
Arts, culture and heritage

Polish heritage in Baku

In the central streets of Baku are dozens of stunning buildings in European styles built... More

The Museum of Miniature Books
The Museum of Miniature Books
Art and Culture Museums

The Museum of Miniature Books

In Baku there’s an unusual museum whose exhibits fit easily into the palm of your... More

Gala State Historical and Ethnographic Reserve
Gala State Historical and Ethnographic Reserve
Ethnography Museums

Gala State Historical and Ethnographic Reserve

If you want to see ancient ruins, a medieval town of the Absheron Peninsula and... More

Baku Olympic Stadium
Baku Olympic Stadium
Adventure & sports

Baku Olympic Stadium

The architecture of Baku never ceases to amaze. You’ll be convinced of this yourself after... More

Hiking along the Jar – Honzogor – Gabizdere trail
Hiking along the Jar – Honzogor – Gabizdere trail
Marked trails

Hiking along the Jar – Honzogor – Gabizdere trail

The trail starts in Jar village, surrounded by mountains from three sides. It passes through... More

Hiking along the Gabizdere – Honzogor – Jar trail
Hiking along the Gabizdere – Honzogor – Jar trail
Marked trails

Hiking along the Gabizdere – Honzogor – Jar trail

The route starts from Gabizdere village, passes through shepherd shelters on the Honzogor pasture and... More

Hiking along the Ilisu - Gashgachay trail
Hiking along the Ilisu - Gashgachay trail
Marked trails

Hiking along the Ilisu - Gashgachay trail

The route passes through forests, pastures and ends at the bank of the Gashgachay river. More

Hiking along the Gashgachay - Ilisu trail
Hiking along the Gashgachay - Ilisu trail
Marked trails

Hiking along the Gashgachay - Ilisu trail

The route starts from Gashgachay village, passes through forests and pastures and ends in Ilisu... More

Hiking along the Gashgachay - Gumukh trail
Hiking along the Gashgachay - Gumukh trail
Marked trails

Hiking along the Gashgachay - Gumukh trail

This route from Gashgachay to Gumukh passes mainly through the forest and is a good... More

Zagatala land of roses
Zagatala land of roses
Exploring outdoors

Zagatala land of roses

The most beautiful plantations of roses and lavender extending as far as the eye can... More

Safari tours  in the mountains of Shamakhi
Safari tours in the mountains of Shamakhi
Family holidays

Safari tours in the mountains of Shamakhi

While exploring the enchanting mountain landscapes of Shamakhi, don’t miss the Shamakhi Safari Park, which... More

Children's entertainment on the seashore
Children's entertainment on the seashore
Family holidays

Children's entertainment on the seashore

Located on the seafront boulevard, Deniz Mall is not just a great destination for shopping... More

Find peace of mind at the Shamakhi alpaca farm
Find peace of mind at the Shamakhi alpaca farm
Nature with Kids

Find peace of mind at the Shamakhi alpaca farm

You may be surprised to come across alpacas, whose homeland is the Andes Mountains of... More

Fun for everyone at the Baku circus
Fun for everyone at the Baku circus
Family holidays

Fun for everyone at the Baku circus

Professional circus shows first appeared in Azerbaijan in the late 19th century. Today, at the... More

Unique Museums

More

Visit the world’s first oil tanker museum
Visit the world’s first oil tanker museum
Unique Museums

Visit the world’s first oil tanker museum

Did you know that the world's first oil tanker was put into operation in Baku... More

Peace of mind in the silence of nature
Peace of mind in the silence of nature
Adventure & sports

Peace of mind in the silence of nature

Nowadays, it’s everyone's dream to run away from the daily hustle and bustle and be... More

Take a walking tour  of Soviet films shot in Baku
Take a walking tour of Soviet films shot in Baku
Arts, culture and heritage

Take a walking tour of Soviet films shot in Baku

Baku has always stood out for its international character, blending harmoniously elements of East and... More

Don’t Be Afraid, I’m with You! a film shot in Gakh
Don’t Be Afraid, I’m with You! a film shot in Gakh
Arts, culture and heritage

Don’t Be Afraid, I’m with You! a film shot in Gakh

‘Don’t Be Afraid, I’m with You!’ was one of the most popular Soviet films shot... More

Let your adrenaline flow on Tufandag’s mountain swing
Let your adrenaline flow on Tufandag’s mountain swing
Adventure & sports

Let your adrenaline flow on Tufandag’s mountain swing

The swing was one of our favourite pastimes in childhood and wherever we see one... More

Exciting wildlife in the city center
Exciting wildlife in the city center
Family holidays

Exciting wildlife in the city center

Without leaving the city center, you can find yourself in the animal world by visiting... More

The National Museum of History of Azerbaijan
The National Museum of History of Azerbaijan
Museums & galleries

The National Museum of History of Azerbaijan

The National Museum of History of Azerbaijan is incomparably important in terms of protection and... More

Modern art in ancient city
Modern art in ancient city
Art and Culture Museums

Modern art in ancient city

Azerbaijan’s representatives of fine arts and sculpture, distinguished by their original works, are also well-known... More

Nobel brothers’ house-museum
Nobel brothers’ house-museum
Unique Museums

Nobel brothers’ house-museum

By visiting the house of the Nobel brothers in Baku, who have made an exceptional... More

House-museum of genius musicians
House-museum of genius musicians
Art and Culture Museums

House-museum of genius musicians

Mstislav Rostropovich, a world-famous musician and genius cellist, holds a special place among the prominent... More

Tahir Salahov’s  world of colors
Tahir Salahov’s world of colors
Art and Culture Museums

Tahir Salahov’s world of colors

As you walk through the narrow streets of the Old City, you can come across... More

Prominent people of Baku
Prominent people of Baku
Arts, culture and heritage

Prominent people of Baku

Take a cultural tour of Baku to learn about prominent artists and musicians who left... More

Ali and Nino - walking tour of Baku
Ali and Nino - walking tour of Baku
Arts, culture and heritage

Ali and Nino - walking tour of Baku

This tour will take you to the places where the events in the novel "Ali and... More

Immerse yourself in art on the Caspian shoreline
Immerse yourself in art on the Caspian shoreline
Arts, culture and heritage

Immerse yourself in art on the Caspian shoreline

Constantly in search of new trends, Azerbaijan’s contemporary artists are increasingly attracting attention for their... More

Take a journey through Azerbaijan’s literary history
Take a journey through Azerbaijan’s literary history
Arts, culture and heritage

Take a journey through Azerbaijan’s literary history

Azerbaijan has created some of the most beautiful examples of Oriental literature in different periods... More

Discover the literary heritage of Magsud Ibrahimbayov
Discover the literary heritage of Magsud Ibrahimbayov
Arts, culture and heritage

Discover the literary heritage of Magsud Ibrahimbayov

Magsud Ibrahimbayov (1935-2016) was an honoured Azerbaijani writer and public figure who authored numerous popular... More

A journey to Vagif’s jazz world
A journey to Vagif’s jazz world
Arts, culture and heritage

A journey to Vagif’s jazz world

A visit to the house-museum of Vagif Mustafazadeh whose music and magnificent performances are well-known... More

House-museum of Gara Garayev
House-museum of Gara Garayev
Arts, culture and heritage

House-museum of Gara Garayev

A visit to the house-museum of Gara Garayev, one of the most prominent representatives of... More

Tour a trout farm in Zagatala
Tour a trout farm in Zagatala
Culinary master classes

Tour a trout farm in Zagatala

The Zagatala Trout Fish Farm is a unique agritourism site in Azerbaijan’s nature-rich north-west corner.... More

Birdwatching in Absheron National Park
Birdwatching in Absheron National Park
National parks (birdwatching)

Birdwatching in Absheron National Park

Birders who visit this remote part of the Absheron Peninsula will be rewarded with sightings... More

In the abode of flames an exciting adventure
In the abode of flames an exciting adventure
Adventure & sports

In the abode of flames an exciting adventure

Yanardag (the Burning Mountain) is one of Azerbaijan’s most famous sights, home to natural flames... More

Take a yacht trip on the blue Caspian
Take a yacht trip on the blue Caspian
Exploring outdoors

Take a yacht trip on the blue Caspian

Go for a sail on the Caspian Sea and have a wonderful time with your... More

Visit the lavender fields  of Gabala
Visit the lavender fields of Gabala

Visit the lavender fields of Gabala

Discover the beauty and wonders of lavender in north-west Azerbaijan, where the fragrant purple fields... More

North-western route

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North-western route

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see other routesin Azerbaijan

Northern route
Northern route
between | mountains & sea

Northern route

This route leads from Azerbaijan’s buzzing capital along the Caspian Sea coast and into the heart of the Caucasus Mountains. Expect outdoor adventures such as hiking, kitesurfing and paragliding, culinary surprises and some of the best scenery anywhere in the Caucasus. More

Western route
Western route
western route | history & heritage

Western route

Naftalan’s healing oil is one of Azerbaijan’s great natural wonders but the western region is also packed with heart-stopping history and breathtaking landscapes. More

Southern route
Southern route
southern route | gateway to the subtropics

Southern route

To truly experience Azerbaijan’s natural diversity, head south to Lankaran, Lerik and Astara to a land of hot springs, nature reserves and the majestic Talysh Mountains. The local cuisine is pretty great too – don't leave without trying dishes like fish lavangi or parcha-dosheme plov and enjoy endless cups of freshly grown Azerbaijani tea. More

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