The former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan is bounded by the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, with Russia to the north, Iran to the south and Armenia and Georgia to the west. A country full of outdoor adventure, stunning mountain ranges form Azerbaijan's beautiful landscape, with an abundance of forested national parks, rivers, lakes and waterfalls to explore.
Baku is the country's capital, built along the shores of the Caspian Sea. The city is famed for its walled Inner City, believed to date back to the 7th century, which houses medieval artifacts, the stone Maiden Tower and Baku's iconic Palace of The Shirvanshahs.
To the south of Baku lies the Gobustan National Park, where hundreds of rare mud volcanoes ooze a thick, freezing cold mud, and Hirkan National Park, comprised of lush forested woods home to an array of wildlife including the jungle cat, brown bear, fox and deer.
In the north lies the historic German town of Goygol, developed as a thriving winemaking community in the early 1800's. Stalin had the German settlers deported in 1941 during the second world war, but their legacy remains an integral part of the town, with distinctly German-styled houses lining the streets.
Northeast of Goygol is the mountain resort of Tufandag, popular for both hiking and skiing. In the summer, visitors can adventure on a jeep safari, jump aboard an off-road quad bike tour or cycle many of the trails that crisscross the region. In the winter, Tufandag transforms into a fantastic ski resort, with more than 12km of slopes catering to both beginners and experts.
Further north lies Shahdag Ski Resort, Azerbaijan's largest winter resort, home to dozens of hotels, bars and restaurants making it one of the country's most popular tourist destinations.
Azerbaijan's temperature can soar during the peak of summer (July-August), often reaching 40°C, whilst dipping well below freezing in winter (December-February). The most pleasant time to visit is between April and June, or September and October, when you can avoid the extreme temperatures and still enjoy the natural outdoor beauty that Azerbaijan has to offer.
If you're looking to hit the slopes, snow falls heaviest from November to February so book your trip to the northern mountain ranges during this time of year.