Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, has several fascinating destinations that make for great day trips. One of the most popular day trips from Baku includes a visit to Gobustan National Park, Gobustan Mud Volcanoes and fields, the Fire Temple, and Burning Mountain.
Along the way, you can also drive along the promenade and see Baku’s famous buildings such as the Flame Towers and the Carpet Museum. Lastly, you can also visit the Heydar Aliyev Centre, arguably the most beautiful building in the region.
On my short visit to Baku, I took a tour that covered all of the above and highly recommend it. Here are the highlights from one of the best day trips from Baku.Search for the lowest prices on flights to Baku with Skyscanner
Gobustan National Park
This tour kicks off early with pickup from your Baku hotel. After all guests are collected, our guide introduced himself and described all the stops and activities the day had in store.
The first stop on this day trip from Baku is Gobustan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located about an hour’s drive from Baku. This vast archaeological site and outdoor museum are famous for their ancient rock art and stone carvings. You can explore the area on foot and see the fascinating petroglyphs, which date back to the Neolithic period.
The Gobustan National Park has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years, and the area’s rock art is estimated to date back as far as 40,000 years. The art consists of over 6,000 petroglyphs (rock carvings), which depict hunting scenes, animals, and ancient rituals.
Today, the Gobustan National Park is a popular tourist destination. Visitors can explore the rock art and mud volcanoes, as well as the Gobustan Museum, which provides information on the history and culture of the region. The site is also a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts, who can enjoy the unique landscapes of the area.
After visiting Gobustan National Park, this day trip from Baku heads to the nearby Gobustan Mud Volcanos.
Interestingly, Azerbaijan is home to one of the world’s largest mud volcano fields, with over 400 mud volcanoes located throughout the country. Mud volcanoes are unique geological formations that spew out a mixture of mud, water, and gas, instead of molten lava. These geological wonders are formed by the eruption of gases and fluids, such as methane, that rise from deep beneath the earth’s surface, and mix with clay and water to form a mud-like substance.
The mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan are typically located in areas with high seismic activity and are concentrated in the coastal lowlands of the Caspian Sea. The largest mud volcano in Azerbaijan, and one of the largest in the world, is the Gobustan mud volcano, which reaches a height of 700 meters and has been active for over 100 years.
The eruptions of mud volcanoes can vary in intensity and duration, and can occur sporadically or at regular intervals. The mud that is ejected from the volcanoes is typically rich in minerals and is used in a variety of ways, including for medicinal purposes, as a natural building material, and as a decorative element in traditional Azerbaijani architecture.
The mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan are also home to unique ecosystems that support a variety of plant and animal life. The surrounding landscapes are often characterized by barren and desolate terrain, and the appearance of the mud volcanoes can be otherworldly, with cones of mud rising out of the earth and surrounded by pools of bubbling mud.
The Gobustan Mud Volcano and fields were an odd stop on this day trip from Baku, to say the least. At first glance it wasn’t much to look at however I found it fascinating to watch them bubble and erupt. A word of caution though, don’t get too close as you will get splattered. Ask me how I know. 🤦
Ateshgah Fire Temple
After an included lunch stop this day trip from Baku tour stops at the famous Ateshgah Fire Temple.
This ancient temple is located in the suburb of Surakhani and is believed to have been built by Zoroastrian worshippers in the 17th century. The Ateshgah Fire Temple is a unique blend of Indian and Azerbaijani architectural styles, and you can see a central altar, courtyard, and several smaller rooms that were once used for meditation and worship.
The temple’s most distinctive feature is the central eternal flame, which is fueled by natural gas that seeps through the ground.
According to legend, the Indian traders who built the temple were attracted to the area because of the natural gas that was escaping from the ground. They believed that the fire was a manifestation of the Zoroastrian god, Ahura Mazda, and constructed the temple as a place of worship.
Over time, the Ateshgah of Baku became a significant pilgrimage site for Zoroastrians and Hindus from India, who would travel long distances to offer their prayers and make offerings to the fire. The Ateshgah Fire Temple was also visited by European travellers in the 18th and 19th centuries, who were fascinated by the unique architecture and the concept of the eternal flame.
In the 19th century, the discovery of oil in Azerbaijan led to a decline in the use of natural gas, and the Ateshgah of Baku fell into disuse. The temple was later converted into a museum in the 20th century, and today, it is a popular tourist attraction and part of any great day trip from Baku.
Yanar Dag Buringin Mountain
Another fascinating destination on this day trip from Baku is Yanar Dag or Burning Mountain, which is a natural gas fire that has been burning continuously for hundreds of years. Located on the Absheron Peninsula, this unique phenomenon has been attracting visitors for centuries.
The history of Yanar Dag goes back centuries, and the fire was mentioned in the works of famous travellers such as Marco Polo and Alexandre Dumas. According to local legend, a shepherd accidentally lit the fire while trying to light a cigarette, and the flames have been burning ever since.
The flames at Yanar Dag can reach up to three meters in height and are visible from far away. The area around the fire is often covered with soot, and the air is filled with the scent of burning gas. Despite the intense heat of the flames, the surrounding rocks and sand do not catch fire due to the low temperature of the burning gas.
In the past, Yanar Dag was used as a source of light by the local population, and it was considered a sacred site by Zoroastrians, who believed that the flames were a symbol of the eternal power of their god, Ahura Mazda.
Today, Yanar Dag is a popular tourist attraction in Azerbaijan, and visitors can witness the flames up close and learn about the history and culture of the area. The site is also a significant source of natural gas for the country and is used to provide energy to nearby settlements.Book this Baku Day Tour with Viator
Back to Baku
After visiting Yanar Dag, this tour heads back to Baku for a scenic drive along the promenade. There you can see the city’s iconic Flame Towers and the stunning Carpet Museum. The museum houses an impressive collection of Azerbaijani carpets, where you can learn about the history and techniques used to make these beautiful works of art.
This day trip from Baku, however, does not stop at any of these sites so have your camera ready as you pass by.
Heydar Aliyev Centre
The last stop on this day trip from Baku is one of the coolest buildings I have ever seen, the Heydar Aliyev Centre.
The center was designed by the renowned architect, Zaha Hadid, and was named after the former president of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev.
The building itself is a stunning example of modern architecture, with flowing curves and an undulating roof that seems to float above the ground. The building’s exterior is clad in white limestone, and the interior features a series of interconnected spaces that are designed to flow seamlessly into one another.
Inside the center, visitors can explore a range of exhibits and cultural offerings, including galleries, performance spaces, and a library. The center is home to the Azerbaijan National Museum of Art, which features a collection of over 15,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.
The center also hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year, including concerts, dance performances, and theatrical productions. In addition, the center offers a range of educational programs, workshops, and lectures, providing opportunities for visitors to engage with Azerbaijani culture and history.
This Baku day trip tour only stops for enough time to quickly walk around the exterior. I highly recommend returning as the Heydar Aliyev Centre is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Azerbaijani culture and history.
Wrapping Up The Best Day Trip From Baku
A day trip from Baku to Gobustan National Park and the Gobustan Mud Volcanoes as well as a stop at the Fire Temple and Burning Mountain is a must-do activity for any traveller interested in experiencing the history, culture, and natural wonders of Azerbaijan. Since all these sights are near the capital, covering them on a day trip from Baku is an easy and efficient way to get the highlights of Azerbaijan.
I highly recommend taking this tour to easily cover these highlights, especially if you are only in town for a couple of days like I was.
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