As the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku is the main hub for one of the most unique cultures in the world! Drawing influences from its Ottoman and Soviet pasts, Baku is the largest city in the Caucasus region and therefore serves as a gateway to the region. Only a short flight from Europe, this is a popular destination for backpackers looking to get away from the major tourist centres.
Azerbaijan is a large and sprawling city, making it difficult to navigate. Neighborhoods are large and can be quite confusing for outsiders. It is important you have a good idea of the different sections – and which parts are closest to the city centre – before you arrive.
That’s where we come in! We’ve figured out the four best neighborhoods in Azerbaijan and categorised them based on who they are best for. Whether you want bustling nightlife, intriguing cultural highlights or a calm corner of the city we have you covered.
So let’s jump right in!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Baku
- Where to stay in Baku for the first time – Icheri Sheher
- Where to stay in Baku on a budget – White City
- Best neighborhood in Baku for families – Yasamal
- Where to stay in Baku for nightlife – Nasimi
- The famous Flame Towers are only a few minutes walk south of Icheri Sheher
- On the opposite side of the area is Neftchilar Avenue
- The Maiden Tower looms over the region and dates back over 1000 years
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Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Baku.
Best Hostel in Baku: Sahil Hostel & Hotel
Winner of the best hostel in Azerbaijan at the 2019 Hoscars, Sahil Hostel & Hotel is consistently the best-rated backpacker accommodation in the city! Offering both dorms and privates, this hostel truly shines in its communal areas where you can enjoy a variety of activities and mingle with other guests.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in Baku: Nizami Street Apartment
Located right on Nizami Street – the main nightlife strip in the city – this is one for those wanting to spend a night on the town! The interior is modern, whilst the building itself is in a historic part of the city. The host also has superhost status, ensuring you receive only the highest standards of service.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Baku: Home Boutique Hotel
This ultra-modern four-star hotel gives you the best of both worlds when it comes with comfort and cost! Located on the boundary between Yasamal and Nasimi, it is well located for exploring many of the city’s major attractions. It comes with gorgeous interior design and fantastic guest reviews.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Baku
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Baku was a largely unknown city to tourists until fairly recently, but hosting Eurovision in 2012 and the European Games in 2015 put the sprawling metropolis firmly on the radar for travellers from Europe looking for a unique destination! It is now seeing increasing numbers of visitors from across the world, resulting in huge investment in the city’s infrastructure and tourism facilities.
One neighborhood that harks back to the city’s long and tumultuous past is Icheri Sheher! This can be considered the Old Town, and is a great starting point for first time visitors. Icheri Sheher is where you will find the historic attractions, as well as some up and coming cultural highlights and traditional restaurants.
If you are more interested in discovering modern life in Baku, Nasimi is the place to be! This huge neighborhood takes up a lot of area, but the main hub is based along Nizami in the Torgovaya section of the area. This is not only where you will find all the nightlife, but also some fantastic restaurants and contemporary attractions.
Just east of Nasimi is Baku’s White City. This neighborhood is a perfect example of all the development the city is experiencing! Named after the whitewashed buildings, this new neighborhood is still off most tourist radars, making it a great choice for those sticking to a tight budget. There are some great restaurants in the area, as well as a few attractions dating back to the Soviet era.
On the opposite of Nasimi is Yasamal – one of the quietest neighborhoods in the city centre! Despite this, it does have a few attractions and is well connected with all the other neighborhoods mentioned in this guide. It’s southern neighbour, Sabayil, is becoming the more upmarket destination, making Yasamal a cheaper alternative for experiencing the attractions in West Baku.
Still undecided? Check out our extended guides below!
Baku 4 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the four best neighbourhoods in Baku. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
This is Baku’s Old Town and whether you stay in Icheri Sheher or elsewhere in Baku you absolutely need to set some time aside in your itinerary to take a walk around! Some of the buildings in this area are over 1000 years old, and the bazaar is one of the oldest marketplaces in the world.
Icheri Sheher is also well connected to the other regions of Baku, with most others on this list being within walking distance! If you are only staying for a short amount of time, Icheri Sheher is a great option for those wanting a whistle-stop tour of everything the city has to offer.
Things to See and Do in Icheri Sheher
– The famous Flame Towers are only a few minutes walk south of Icheri Sheher – take a ride to the top for the views, and then enjoy the entertainment complex at ground level
– On the opposite side of the area is Neftchilar Avenue – the main shopping street in Baku, it is packed with malls and some great boat tour excursions
– The Maiden Tower looms over the region and dates back over 1000 years – an important attraction for anyone interested in history and architecture
– The largest mosque in the city, Mohammad Mosque, is in the heart of the region and allows visitors outside of prayer times
– Head to the Palace of Shirvanshahs, the main historic museum in the city where you can discover centuries of Baku’s past
– CHINAR is a modern restaurant and nightlife venue with local cuisine throughout the day and great cocktails in the evenings
Best Hostel Icheri Sheher: Sahil Hostel & Hotel
Sahil is not only the largest hostel in Baku, but also the best rated! Its location right next to the old town, and only a stone’s throw away from Nasimi, is unbeatable and perfect for first time visitors that want to take in the many sides of the city. They also have spacious common areas.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in Icheri Sheher: Modern Flat
Despite being right in the middle of the Old Town, the interior of this flat has a very contemporary feel – making it the ideal choice for those wanting to enjoy some of their home comforts! It comes with a king-size bed, and is ideal for both solo travellers and couples visiting Baku.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Icheri Sheher: Deniz Inn Boutique Hotel
Only a short walk from the Maiden Tower, Deniz Inn Boutique is right in the heart of Icheri Sheher – perfect for getting around all the main attractions! Rooms are spacious and come with large wardrobes, and a complimentary breakfast is provided every morning. Free high-speed WiFi is also included.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Baku White City was once an area packed with Soviet-era apartment blocks and not much else. Whilst this can still be seen in the surrounding neighborhoods, White City itself has been subject to a major redevelopment project that is slowly turning it into one of the most up and coming areas of the city!
If you are visiting Baku on a budget, White City is still off the tourist radar – giving you the opportunity to save some cash! Make no mistake, this will soon become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city so we recommend staying there now before prices shoot up.
Things to See and Do in White City
– Luna Park is a large, purpose-built green space that serves the area with interesting sculptures and recreational facilities
– Grab a cup of Azeri style coffee with a modern twist at Café Araz – they also have an excellent brunch menu
– The AMAY Shopping Centre is a brand new complex in the heart of White City offering international brands and local boutiques
– If you want a little taste of what life was like when Azerbaijan was part of the USSR, head to nearby Fidan Market
– Visiting as a family? White City is still a fairly safe neighborhood, and Megafun Entertainment Centre has a variety of great activities for the kids
– Experience a traditional Azeri dinner and atmosphere at Beh Beh Club, only a short walk from Luna Park
Best Hostel White City: Alfa Hotel & Hostel
One of the newest hostels in the city, Alfa is already racking up excellent reviews thanks to their modern facilities and great service! There is a spacious shared kitchen with all the modern conveniences you could possibly need. They also provide a continental breakfast every morning with halal options available.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Best Airbnb in White City: White City Apartments
Right in the heart of one of the most modern districts in the city, this apartment is truly immaculate and has all of the contemporary appliances you need for a short stay in the city! Though quite compact, this apartment is ideal for solo travellers and young couples heading to the Azeri capital.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in White City: Days by Wyndham
Just in the northern boundary of White City, Days by Wyndham was one of the first hotels to open in the area and has an excellent reputation! They offer a complimentary shuttle service from the airport, as well as additional services to the city centre. A Turkish style breakfast buffet is included.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Yasamal is a huge area that stretches from Icheri Sheher in the southeast right into the northwestern suburbs! Despite its size, Yasamal is a relatively peaceful neighborhood thanks to its residential nature. This makes it a great option for families that want to stay close to the city centre without all the hustle and bustle.
Whilst we haven’t included it in this guide, neighboring Sabayil is easily accessed from Yasamal and is great for those looking for a more upmarket experience! Both of these neighborhoods are packed with great retail destinations, as well as some laid-back attractions for all the family to enjoy.
Things to See and Do in Yasamal
– Teze Pir Mosque might not be as well known as the Mohammed Mosque in the old town, but it is just as beautiful and less touristy
– Jafar Jabbarli was an important writer and filmmaker for Azerbaijan, and there is a great museum dedicated to his work in the outskirts of Yasamal
– Head down to Favorit Market 13 – this small market offers local handicrafts, antiques and fresh food as well as some street food options
– Huseyn Cavid Park is a great option for families looking for somewhere to spend a peaceful afternoon soaking up the atmosphere
– Take a short trip to neighboring Sabayil to enjoy the retail facilities, as well as the amazing viewpoints across the city
– Azerbaijan is slowly developing a speciality coffee scene, with ERBI Book Cafe a great option for adults and kids alike
Best Hostel Yasamal: Comfy Hostel
Straddling the boundary between Yasamal and Icheri Sheher, this hostel is a great way to explore both neighborhoods! Rooms are well equipped with modern appliances, and the kitchen has a coffee machine and toaster for use at breakfast time. It is only a two-minute walk from a major metro station.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in Yasamal: Flame Towers View
As the name suggests, one big selling point of this apartment is the gorgeous view towards the Flame Towers! Sleeping up to five guests in two bedrooms (plus a bed in the living room), this is a great option for families that want the added privacy of an apartment.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Yasamal: Home Boutique Hotel
This gorgeous hotel is well placed between Yasamal and Nasimi, and comes with all the modern appliances you need for a trip to Azerbaijan! It comes with excellent reviews thanks to the immaculate rooms, contemporary facilities and high levels of service. A breakfast buffet is included.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Another huge area, Nasimi stretches from the waterfront in the south right up to the outskirts of the central city! For most tourists, the action is focussed around the Torgovaya part of the neighborhood – in particular, Nazimi. This bustling street is home to the city’s nightlife – with modern clubs, varied bars and an innovative culinary scene.
Further north into Nasimi you will find a unique blend of contemporary culture and tradition, showcasing plenty of Azerbaijan’s past as well as where it is going in the future! This is a truly eclectic neighborhood with surprises waiting around every corner. It is also where the main station is located.
Things to See and Do in Nasimi
– Pasifico is easily the most popular nightclub in the city, offering different themed nights every night and multiple floors
– If you want something more laid back, the TIME Sport Lounge has a more casual atmosphere as well as a local food menu
– V? Balet Teatr? is the main theatre in the city where you can catch operas, orchestras and gorgeous dance performances
– Speaking of great cultural experiences, the Baku State Circus are based in the area with regular performances throughout the year
– Right next to the train station is the 28 Mall – not only do they have a good selection of brands, they also have a great food court
– Winter Park is one of the largest green spaces in the city with multiple monuments and quiet zones
Best Hostel Nasimi: Hostel Freedom
Only a short walk from Nizami Street, this is a great hostel for backpackers that want to hit up the local nightlife! There is a communal balcony where you can enjoy views across the surrounding area, as well as mingle with other guests. Rooms are spacious and come with modern facilities.VIEW ON HOSTELWORLD
Best Airbnb in Nasimi: Nizami Street Apartment
You don’t get any more in the heart of the action than this Nizami Street apartment! Only a stone’s throw away from the most popular clubs in the area, this one-bedroom apartment is great for couples and solo travellers wanting to check out Baku’s nightlife.VIEW ON AIRBNB
Best Hotel in Nasimi: Winter Park Hotel
Towering next to Winter Park, this is one of the most central hotels in the city! Rated four stars, and with great guest reviews to boot, it is surprisingly affordable. Rooms are fully air-conditioned and have high-speed WiFi access, and bike hire is also available to guests.VIEW ON BOOKING.COM
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Baku
Baku is a dazzling city on the Caspian Sea with a lot to offer visitors! Whether you want to discover their unique history and culture, indulge in some of their more modern attractions, or check out a surprisingly modern club scene the city well and truly has something for everyone.
In terms of the best area, we are going to go with Nasimi! This neighborhood is well connected to all of the others mentioned in this guide, and is a perfect example of the constant efforts to combine tradition with modern living across the city.
That being said, all of these areas have something to offer, and wherever is best for you depends on what you want to get out of your trip. We hope we’ve helped you to narrow down your options.
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.
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Writer and Editor, Ana Pereira is a California native, inspired by Earth exploration and introspection. Recently, she spent several months exploring Africa and South Asia. She spends most of her “down-time” out in the wilderness, climbing, hiking, and beyond, and is feverishly passionate about travel and health.