Half the joy of hiking is to be immersed in nature, to be away from the sounds and sights of cities - to be able to hear a gentle breeze in the trees or see the stars at night. With 16 new sustainable hiking routes in Azerbaijan - and growing by the year - tourists are now more easily able to savour more of the pleasures of this varied and beautiful land at minimal cost to the environment and local communities, while maintaining authentic and immersive experiences. Not only does less driving reduce the impact on climate change, but fewer vehicles reduces noise pollution and littering, since hikers are much more likely to keep nature clean. So it is a win-win for both nature and us.
One of the new routes is Khinalig-Galakhudat, a great choice for beginners to see something truly unique in one of the highest villages in Azerbaijan. In Khinalig, the locals speak a language unique to the village and produce a whole range of locally-sourced handmade crafts, including famous hand-knitted socks. These villages can support far more visitors on foot, staying in guest houses or small hotels, than the fleet of tourist buses associated with traditional tourism. There is the nearby Kuzun-Yergi Kek trail, also along paths in the Greater Caucasus Mountains in North Azerbaijan, but travel to the western side of the country to appreciate the Javadkhan Peak-Chiragli hiking trail with views of Mount Murov in the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. And we have not even mentioned the Talish Mountains in the southern part of Azerbaijan with even more trails in a sub-tropical climate.
In all of these places, ATB and its partners are trying to preserve the tourist sites in a sustainable way, so that visitors can visit unspoiled attractions, while allowing them to give back to the area by helping local communities to make a living from the tourism industry. This way, local people can stay in their native lands and the sites that tourists travel so far to see keep their look and character for the next generations. We encourage you all to visit and experience our sustainable evolution as it happens.