Our colleague Arbel (Koning Aap travel specialist) was travelling in Azerbaijan. Local tour leader Elnur led her journey. He knows everything about this beautiful and varied country and immediately fills you with enthusiasm with his stories and top tips!
As a travel destination, Azerbaijan is completely unknown and that is hard to justify. You will encounter absurd contradictions in one of the world's fastest growing economies. In the cosmopolitan capital Baku, huge buildings rise up outside the authentic, monumental city centre. Time seems to have stood still in the countryside. Our colleague Arbel talked to Elnur and asked what he likes about taking tours in his home country of Azerbaijan.
Who are you?
My name is Elnur Alibayli and I have been taking the Koning Aap groups since this year. I was born in Azerbaijan and live in Rome but both my parents are from Azerbaijan and I have been coming here all my life. I intend to settle down here in the coming years.
When did you first go to Azerbaijan and how did you feel?
I have been coming to Azerbaijan since childhood and am happy to be here (especially for the people and the delicious food).
What experience do you remember most from your years as a tour leader?
I always find it interesting to hear how tourist’s perceptions of Azerbaijan change after they have travelled around for a while. People are often surprised about the versatility of this country
What are the effects of tourism in Azerbaijan?
The great thing about this tour is that you will see another part of Azerbaijan (the small villages in the Caucasus) in addition to Baku, so the small villages and the local population can also benefit from the growing tourism.
Which highlights/excursions do you find most special?
The mud volcanoes of Gobustan! Mud volcanoes are found in other places in the world but more than four hundred are in Azerbaijan. Sometimes you are lucky and you can see an eruption! Other than Gobustan, I also find the eternal fire of Yanar Dag fascinating. This natural blaze is the reason Azerbaijan has the name "land of the eternal flames".
What do you think about the tourists who visit Azerbaijan?
I think they are a happy, positive and polite people. It is very nice to meet and lead them.
What is your ultimate tip for anyone planning to travel to Azerbaijan?
If you are looking for a destination undiscovered by tourism, with great food, rich history, ancient culture and beautiful nature, I would definitely come to Azerbaijan! Xos Gelmisiniz Azerbaijan!
Your local tour leader knows everything about his/her country! Don't be shy to ask them anything. They like to tell you everything they know and can give you the best tips about good local restaurants and shops where you can buy "responsible" souvenirs. By working with local tour leaders & entrepreneurs, the local economy also benefits and as a travel organisation, we want to stimulate this!