Baku Boulevard

There’s no better way to get a feel for Baku’s relaxed, Mediterranean atmosphere than by strolling along the sweep of promenade that follows Baku’s Caspian waterfront on a gentle arc past the whole length of the central city area. Towards the eastern end, between the glistening towers of the Marriott and Hilton hotels. Dom Soviet is one of the most impressiveBaku_Boulevard_AzerbaijanAdventures Stalin-era buildings you’re likely to see – a veritable wedding cake of stone arches that looks especially intriguing at dusk (no public entry). Amid the trees are the modernist pods of Baku Business Centre and Park Mall shopping centre then a series of cafes and fairground rides scattered through the parkland and along the wide, open walkway. Beyond the old city, Venesiya is a small boating area where mini gondolas float on a small turquoise blue network of artificial canals beneath with a couple of swooping bridges that link to snazzy island restaurants. If you prefer heading out to sea there are half-hour pleasure cruises in summer from beside the Yacht Club. And beside the Mugham Centre there’s a brand new Carpet Museum. The promenade’s newest section curves around past a gigantic ferris wheel and on towards National Flag Square – named for the utterly huge flagmast that was the world’s tallest until 2011. Drive along the coastal road to get a quick glimpse of the grand buildings that line it. Or nip across that busy road via the underpass from beside the Four Seasons Hotel and admire the sweep of bay from behind. Walk the section of promenade between Dom Soviet and the Carpet Museum. As above but with a café stop, visits to Park Mall and the carpet museum plus a pleasure cruise on the Caspian.