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.

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 widespread through the route, especially grain growing, viticulture and livestock farming. Shamakhi, Sheki, Lahij and Basgal were historic centres of weaving and craftsmanship. The north-west grows tobacco and tea is a centre of hazelnut production. 

where to goin the north-western route

Baku
Baku

Baku

Walk around this UNESCO-protected site surrounded by 12th-century walls and discover the many cool things this marvellous old town has to offer. 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 is a region with lush mountains, forests, temples and villages where you can admire age-old crafts and enjoy 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
Arts, culture and 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
Outdoor Activities

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
Arts, culture and heritage

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
Arts, culture and 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
Shopping

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
Outdoor Activities

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
Arts, culture and heritage

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
Food, drinks and nightlife

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
Arts, culture and heritage

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

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
Family holidays

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
Outdoor Activities

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
Food, drinks and nightlife

Go off the beaten track to Saribash

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

Hike to the gorgeous Ilisu waterfall
Hike to the gorgeous Ilisu waterfall
Family holidays

Hike to the gorgeous Ilisu waterfall

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

Hiking in Zagatala's mountains
Hiking in Zagatala's mountains
Family holidays

Hiking in Zagatala's mountains

Jar is a wonderful countryside village in Zagatala from which you can take beautiful hikes... 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
Arts, culture and heritage

Uncover Jewish traces in Baku

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

Enjoy a day trip to Jewish sites in Oguz
Enjoy a day trip to Jewish sites in Oguz
Arts, culture and 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
Health & 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
Family holidays

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

From Village to City market
From Village to City market
Shopping

From Village to City market

Baku's Kendden Shehere (From Village to City) market is a great place to visit to sample the best... More

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

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
Food, drinks and nightlife

Take a wine bar crawl

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

Tours of the Marandi winery
Tours of the Marandi winery
Food, drinks and nightlife

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

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 Chabiant
Tours of Chabiant
Food, drinks and nightlife

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
Food, drinks and nightlife

Tours of Savalan Wines

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

Browse the home of Azerbaijani fine arts
Browse the home of Azerbaijani fine arts
Arts, culture and heritage

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
Arts, culture and heritage

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

North-western route

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North-western route

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see other routesin Azerbaijan

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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

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