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Travellers rarely dream of visiting Azerbaijan, yet those who do are always rewarded with an experience that exceeds all expectations. This beautiful country is home to an array of unusual outdoor activities that may be just the right thing for your next adventure!
Let a new adventure begin in Gabala
Azerbaijan’s premier outdoor activities hub, Gabala, is located at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains, just 216 kilometres from Baku.
While winters in the city bring great skiing at Tufandag Mountain Resort, spring and summer offer adrenaline-filled adventures like paragliding, rafting, and jeep safaris with pit stops in welcoming villages.
Go off the beaten track to Saribash
Saribash is a remote historic village in the Caucasus mountains located 1,602 metres high. There are times throughout the year when a fast-flowing river cuts it off completely from the rest of the world.
In winter, the village has only about 30 residents, with many having left in the past decades because of its challenging location. Even still, the locals will be glad to show you around and serve you tea with delicious jams.
Tip. A must-try in Sarabash is the dried-meat dish surhullu, which is unique to the region of Gakh.
Hit the target at the Gabala Shooting Club
The shooting hub in the village of Bum is part of the Gabala Sport Club, where Azerbaijan’s national boxing, karate, taekwondo, soccer, and judo teams train.
The Caucasus Mountains serve as a dramatic backdrop to this shooting centre that hosted the Shooting World Cup in 2014-2016.
The Gabala Shooting Club, with its cosy cottages, on-site restaurant, and fantastic natural surroundings, is also perfect for travellers longing for a relaxing break.
Discover a new world-class golf destination
It may surprise you to learn that Azerbaijan is home to two golf clubs of international calibre.
As a premium tournament golf venue designed by the famous American architect Cynthia Dye, Dreamland Golf Club boasts refreshing Mediterranean vibes from the nearby Caspian Sea. There are well-bunkered greens and tapered fairways for advanced golfers, while level landscaping with long-range views, olive trees and man-made lakes is available for beginners.
Aside from being approved by the European Golf Association (EGA), Dreamland Golf Club also features a golf academy affiliated with IMG Golf School, as well as a state-of-the-art clubhouse.
Golfers keen to swing and putt can also head to Guba’s National Golf Club which commands breathtaking views of the Caucasus Mountains. Located within the grounds of a 5-star hotel, this golf club has hosted several international tournaments since its opening in 2013.
Apart from the world-class golf facilities, Guba Palace Hotel also offers luxurious fine dining, a wide range of spa treatments, and a fully-equipped business centre, appealing to both business and leisure travellers.
Get your pulse racing at Shahdag
You’ve probably heard that Shahdag is one of the best ski resorts in Azerbaijan. However, this stunning place offers much more than winter sports.
Surrounded by spectacular mountain vistas, Shahdag is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a lovely family time. It also boasts exciting opportunities for fellow sports enthusiasts of all ages.
While kids take a dip in the pool, their parents can get the adrenaline pumping by horse riding, quad biking, and ziplining. Alternatively, why not try segwaying, hiking in Shahdag National Park, or having some fun by playing paintball?
Hike to the gorgeous Ilisu Waterfall
The Ilisu (also known as Ram-rama), which gushes over a dramatic cliff face in the Caucasus Mountains, is Azerbaijan’s highest waterfall. Locals consider this spot a hidden gem because of its non-obvious location and spectacular views.
It takes about an hour to hike up a steep incline to reach the Ilisu Waterfall. If you don’t fancy walking, the villagers in Ilisu will be glad to take you up the rocky road in a 4×4.
Tip. Winter visitors have a chance to see the Ilisu Waterfall dramatically covered in frost. Looks magnificent!
Discover the pearl of Astara
Sim village is tucked away in the mysterious Talish Mountains. From here, you are transported to an ancient realm that feels like a place from a fairy tale. Wandering around its enchanted mighty trees, mossy rocks, and charming historic houses, you will regain this long-lost sense of wonder.
To get a sneak peek of yet another wonderful surprise, head to the very end of the village. It is home to the hidden Sim Waterfall, which are perfect for picnics with Astara Samovar tea. Villagers are always happy to arrange everything for you. They can even take you closer to the falls by driving down the breathtakingly narrow paths in their UAZs or Nivas. An adventure to remember!