If you’re an Arsenal fan like I am, the city Baku is probably still fresh in your memory. It is where we gooners had to be disappointed (again) as we lost the European League title from Chelsea. It is the city that forced Mkhitaryan to stay in London due to some security reason as an Armenian citizen.
From a gooner’s point of view, the city doesn’t really bring good memories to ensure me putting it into my bucket list. But hey, before getting eye-blinded by some not-so-good occasion, it’s always good to have someone else’s perspective about the subject. 🙂
And now, thanks to Ellis from Backpack Adventures who is willing to share her perspective while exploring the capital city of Azerbaijan. This time, she’s gonna share with us how far you could get in Baku for $10!
Baku on the Budget
Baku in Azerbaijan is a cosmopolitan city that can be as expensive as you like it to be. The oil wealth brings in a lot of money paying for the city’s futuristic buildings and fancy hotels. Still, Baku can also be incredibly cheap and $10 USD can still bring you pretty far in this city as well.
Baku uses the Azerbaijani manat (AZN) and 1 dollar equals 1.7 manat. Now let’s see what you can do in Baku with 17 manat in your pocket. You will be surprised how much that will be and there are a lot of things to see in Baku that won’t cost you much.
Reminiscing the History of Baku Old Town
The best place to start your trip in Baku is the old town that will bring you to the most ancient parts of the city. The fortress and walls here, were already built in the 12th century. Walking around in the small streets gives you a sense of Baku’s long history as a Silk road town influenced by the Persians, the Turks and the Russians.
The old town is full of mosques, caravanserais, ancient hammams and other sights. Only the maiden tower and palace of the Shirvanshah require an entrance fee. However, watching the amazing architecture from outside is free. You can also visit the Friday mosque and the museum of miniature books. You can easily spend a whole morning wandering around the old town without spending one penny.
Witnessing Baku’s New Futuristic Architectural Buildings
Exploring Baku’s center means you will walk a lot and therefore you will deserve a good lunch after you visited the old town. If you leave the old city gates towards Nizami street you enter Baku’s modern shopping street with some nice restaurants. A business lunch including a starter, bread, main dish and a drink is available from 7 manat onwards. Café Araz or restaurant Fisincan comes recommended.
With a good lunch you are ready for the second round of sightseeing. The best place to see Modern Baku is along the boulevard where you can walk along the Caspian seacoast and witness some of Baku’s new futuristic architectural buildings on the skyline. Don’t miss the second largest flag pole in the world and the quirky carpet museum.
Walk towards the Neftchilar Avenue square from where you can take the Baku funicular up to the flame towers. This will cost you only 1 Manat to go up and down. The views from here over Baku are well worth the effort and it is also pretty impressive to see the flame towers up close.
Baki Card in Baku
End your day in Baku at the Qutab house where you can try a large variety of the tradition thin breads with fillings. Traditionally they are filled with spinach, but here you have qutabs with cheese, pumpkin and even camel meat. A qutab costs around 1 Manat. If you try a few with some drinks and a salad expect to pay around 6 manat.
If you are staying longer in Baku it is worth it to buy the Baki card. It costs 2 Manat and allows you to use public transport. You can top it up with 1 Manat credit. A single ride on the metro only costs 0.30 Manat.
Budget for a day
- Business lunch = 7 Manat
- Baku funicular = 1 Manat
- Qutab house = 6 manat
- Baki card = 2 Manat
- Baki card credit = 1 Manat
Contributor: Ellis from Backpack Adventures
Ellis is a cultural anthropologist from the Netherlands who has traveled for more than 20 years to over 50 countries along the ancient Silk Road. This geeky and introvert travel blogger is a lover of good food, mountains, nature, wildlife and everything that lightens up the night sky.