Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Baku

Boat Trips
Gobustan
Gobustan is famed for its petroglyphs; seek and ye shall find.
Sheki
While it may be six or so hours from Baku the mountain town of Sheki is well worth the slog.  Just make sure to fill up with petrol before you hit some pretty damn remote roads.
Baku Roasting Company
You wouldn't expect a café run by teachers to be much cop but the Baku Roasting Company exceeds all expectations with bloody brilliant coffee and a bustling atmosphere.
Absheron Peninsula
Scattered across the Absheron Peninsula are dozens of traditional Bakuvian villages worth checking out; rent a car and stop by a couple one lazy afternoon.
Ivanovka
Ever wanted to get up close and personal with a remote religious sect? Then head to Ivanovka home to such a sect.
Green Open Air Theatre
Now open again after 10 years is the Green Theatre the perfect performance space for the balmy summer months.
Lahij
Looking to escape the city limits? Then head to Lahij a traditional coppersmiths' village two-three hours northwest of Baku.
Beaches
Hayat Çay Evi
The al fresco terrace is undoubtedly the biggest draw at Hayat Çay Evi but the beverages and snacks on offer aren't bad either. In fact they're actually very good.
Dalida Café
Shopping mall cafés don't usually make the grade when it comes to Hg2's much-loved guides but Dalida Café is different with one of the best terraces to have a cuppa on in Baku.
Chocolate Café
With five properties in its portfolio The Chocolate Café chain is picking up pace; the Husein Javid Ave branch is our personal favourite with a disco-style downstairs setting.
Café Balizza
Café Ballizza is all about fabulousness and fashion with lashings of style and a crowd of chic dressed-to-kill ladies-who-lunch.
Horizon
As you'd expect of a retaurant called Horizon this rooftop gem has panoramic views of the city. And with stylish décor and sumptuous food it's one of the city's must-eats.
Gunay Riding Club
Mount a towering steed and gallop off into the Bakuvian sunset - or something like that.
Mafia
Despite being an Azeri/Russian-only game it's still fun to watch a game of Mafia; cards never looked so cutthroat.
Fantasia
Be brave and submit to some vigorous scrubbing and rubbing, Azeri-style...
Russian Drama Theatre
Translated plays from many cultures, performed in Russian.
Dondurma
Those with sweet teeth will lap up the goodies on offer at Dondurma Café with ice-cream crepes and coffee galore.
Azerbaijan Rugby Federation
Ball sports aren't necessarily Baku's thing but that doesn't stop the ex-pats from getting together to form a team. Watch and learn.
Young Spectators’ Theatre
More than a cultural must-see the Young Spectator's Theatre is an architectural wonder; a marvel of modern design.
Shirvanshah’s Palace
With awe-inspiring architecture at every turn it can be hard to know where to look inside Shirvanshah's Palace; so take your time and be sure to designate a significant chunk of your schedule to soaking up this colossal cultural must-see.
Puppet Theatre
Puppetry may be a thing of yesteryear in the West but in Baku it's still a much-loved tradition that pulls the crowds; watch the best show in Baku at the Puppet Theatre.
Museum of Miniature Books
Baku wouldn't be Baku without a weird sight or three; the Museum of Miniature Books is exactly that with thousands upon thousands of - you guessed it - miniature books to lay your eyes upon.
Museum of Literature
While its stash of manusripts is undeniably impressive it is the façade of the Museum of Literature that really has our mouths agape in wonder; simply stunning.
International Mugham Centre
Celebrating Azeri Mugham - a traditional style of folk music - the International Mugham Centre isn't just a cultural masterpiece but an architectural one too.
Hajinski Mansion
Having been painstakingly restored to its former glory the Hajinsky Mansion is like looking through the keyhole into Baku's glory days.
Gyz Galasy Gallery
With a focus on 20th-century painting and sculpture The Gyz Galasy Gallery may not warrant a whole day out but is certainly worth an hour or two of your precious time.
Carpet Museum
We all like the feeling of something soft underfoot which is where the Carpet Museum comes in handy; home to thousands of carpet you'll find all kinds of prints and patterns here.
Bibi Heybat Mosque
If you're looking for Facebook photos call off the search; the Bibi Heybat Mosque will have more comments on your profile page than any drunken party snap could ever generate.
Schaorma No. 1
Open-air terraces are hard to find in the centre of town but Schaorma No 1 is such an establishment; enjoy an authentic sundowner in the form of an ayran.
Finnegans
Get a bit of Irish in you at Finnegans Baku's signature Irish bar. What city doesn't have one?
Imereti
Seek and ye shall find - at least that's the case at Imereti a restaurant so hidden you might have lost you appetite by the time you get there. That said once found you're guaranteed gorgeous Georgian food and décor.
Khazar
Seafood lovers can't get enough of Khazar a no-frills eatery facing out towards the Caspian Sea.
Firuza
Authentic Azeri fare can be had at Firuza where a mind-bogglingly confusing menu awaits; that said the staff are more than happy to explain each and every dish on offer.
Caravansera
Step back in time at Caravansera; age-old interiors and an ancient atmosphere make for an authentic Azeri ambeince.
Bah Bah
We're not quite sure how to pronounce upside-down e's but that doesn't stop us from loving the authentic Azeri atmosphere at Bah-Bah; live music nights are particularly boisterous.
Old City Inn
While it may not boast the kind of high-end touches you'd expect of a true boutique beauty The Old City Inn does offer the kind of hands-on service that's long-forgotten in most modern-day stays.
Museum Inn
The Museum Inn proves that more really is more with cluttered interiors and cosy but undeniably comfy rooms.
Anatolia
As one of Baku's newest openings the Anatolia the kind of interiors and amenities to please even the most demanding hedonist.

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