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Private Baku City Tour

Day trip in baku.

sea cruise baku

Baku Boat Tour

sea cruise baku

It can be carried out on a yacht or pleasure boat, depending on the number of trips. During Baku Boat Tour  experienced guides tell the story of the sea  Caspian , its wealth and existing problems. At the same time – you can admire the unique panorama of Baku, with the opening of the sea.

Two boats alternately depart from Baku Boulevard. Swim to the middle of the Baku bay and – back. This is called the “Sea Walk” attraction. Old Baku entertainment. Only the boats themselves are older than him.

Baku Port offers a short 30-minutes ferry ride to the Caspian Sea. This little ferry is a great way to understand the scale of the harbor. On weekends, boats are filled with local families and young couples, funny forcing the ship to move through the list from one side to another when they are fighting for the best view of the city.

A tour on a Baku boat is a feeling of freedom and wind in your hair. But sea entertainments are also waiting for you: you go fishing, swim with masks, take training in free diving, scuba diving and hunting, and our skipper will tell you about the basics of sailing.

Departure is not scheduled but seems to be sent every 30 or 40 minutes. This one is definening by them for the weather conditions.

So be prepared to wait if you are one of the first to hit the road. It is highly recommended when visiting Baku!

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  • Included Professional Personal English speaking guide (other languages on request) Customizable Entry fees to Boat for the 1st floor
  • Not Included Any Meals Personal Expenses

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Baku is a megalopolis of people, ideas and frenetic energy. The capital and largest city of the Azerbaijan Republic.

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Claire's Footsteps

All Destinations , Asia , Azerbaijan , Bali to London Overland , Boat travel , Kazakhstan , Overland Travel

Taking the caspian sea ferry from aktau to baku: a complete guide.

Girl looking out over Caspian Sea at sunset

Ring ring… Sdravstvuite …. I mumbled sleepily into the telephone.

A rapid monologue in Russian followed, which I deciphered to mean ‘you need to get up’. It was 3 am.

I stumbled out of bed, turned the light on, and packed my last bits of luggage.

My contact for the Caspian Sea Ferry had told me I needed to be at the port at 4 am. So I didn’t have all that much time.

Cut to eight hours later, and I’d made some friends, was three coffees into my day, and there was still no sign of the boat.

This is pretty much what getting the Caspian Sea Ferry entails.

You might be told a time, but it’s unlikely that your boat will leave then. It’s one of the world’s best waiting games.

Taking the Caspian Sea Ferry from Aktau to Baku

looking out over Caspian Sea at Aktau

So basically, I’m overlanding the world. Or at least most of it – I’ve spent the last five months travelling solo from Bali to London.

When working out how to get from Central Asia to the Caucuses, there was only one feasible option. I can’t go to Iran independently , and Dagestan would require a lengthy visa (I’d need to get another Russian transit visa), plus I kind of liked the idea of the Caspian Sea ferry from Aktau to Baku.

It had an air of romance about it, plus I was quite keen to check out a real Soviet ship.

The romance was dead by the time I’d been waiting for 8 hours on very little sleep, but I was still excited to see the Soviet ship. If it ever appeared…

Where to Stay in Aktau

How to get the caspian sea ferry from aktau to baku.

the Caspian Sea, Aktau

First things first, you need to get to Aktau.

Most travellers arrive at this Kazakhstan beach city from Uzbekistan, but you can also head there from the wilds of the Kazakh steppe.

I took a train from Nukus to Mangystau (a hilarious blog post on that to come) and arrived in Aktau bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8 am.

Once you’ve arrived in Aktau, after checking all three sights of the city out, of course, send Ilgar a text message.

He’s the main man with the know-how about when the boat will leave – and he provides information to travellers completely out of the goodness of his own heart.

His number is +77072929955 and he’ll let you know when the next Caspian Sea Ferry is leaving.

Now, as great as Ilgar is, he did send me the wrong location on Whatsapp.

The boat from Aktau to Baku doesn’t actually leave from Aktau, it leaves from 70km south.

Taxi drivers will know where the port is, so don’t question them if they take you to a different location.

If you arrive somewhere that looks like this (below), you’re in the right place.

Kuryk port

Now the next part is going to sound rather vague – the reason being that the entire process is very vague.

Basically, go into the featured building, and wait for someone to arrive.

If there are already people around, give them a big toothy grin and say ‘Baku’? and hopefully they’ll help you out.

Eventually, someone will come and take passport details from you.

And after that, you should be ushered through to the main waiting area, which has high-speed WiFi and a coffee shop.

You can also stay at Kuruyk. A family who was on my Caspian Sea Ferry did and had a good report – and you get the added benefit of being updated by hotel staff when the ferry will leave. Click here for more information.

The endless wait…

check in at the Kuryk port

After we were ushered through to the main waiting area, which is very clean, very modern and has high-speed WiFi, we were told to sit on the chairs and wait.

About 20 minutes later, we (myself and my two French friends) were invited to buy our tickets, which involved giving our passports to a man behind the counter, obtaining a form, taking this to the money exchange office, paying them, then going back to the counter, surrendering our passports, and then going back to sit down.

They had our passports for about an hour or so – I’m not sure what they were doing with them, but they brought them back to us while I was playing how-much-coffee-can-I-physically-handle in the cafe.

Note: the cafe only accepts Kazakh tenge, and doesn’t have the most inspiring food selection, so you may find that you end up drinking about three litres of coffee just to use your remaining Kazakh money. Happens to the best of us.

While I was midway through coffee number I don’t even know, we were told to quickly get our bags and head to the scanner.

Presuming this meant that the boat’s departure was imminent, we pulled our bags on, I transferred my coffee to my reusable mug and we made our way to get the bags scanned.

We were off to Azerbaijan!

Just kidding.

We scanned our bags and then we were directed back to the cold, hard chairs. At least the WiFi was still excellent.

After another couple of hours, travellers who had been on the boat from Baku started to traipse in.

After sharing stories about Azerbaijan/ the ferry and Kazakhstan, it was all go go go – it was time to get on the boat, and it wasn’t a drill.

We three foot passengers were loaded into a van, which hurriedly drove towards the steamboat that had appeared in the dock.

Only when we got to the boat did we realise… we hadn’t been stamped out of Kazakhstan.

Our passports were taken from us again (something that always causes me intense anxiety), and it was once again a waiting game.

Boarding the Boat

In the interim, we were shown onto the boat.

My friends were directed into a cabin, and me into another – I was told I could either choose a cabin with a shower but a very blocked toilet, or a cabin with no bathroom.

Feeling optimistic that the crossing would only take a day and that I wouldn’t need a shower in that time, I opted for no blocked toilet.

We later learned that most of the toilets on the boat were blocked thanks to the last passengers on the boat – who were a crew of truck drivers who drunk a lot of vodka, apparently, and forgot to not flush toilet paper.

This resulted in a reminder that I was not allowed to flush the toilet paper every time I went within 10 metres of the communal loos.

The cabins are 4-berth, with two beds at the bottom and two pull-down beds at the top.

There’s a pull away ladder to get to the top beds.

The cabins with no bathroom do have a sink, and there is a table and lockers for storage. There’s also a window that can be opened – although be wary, as I left mine open and came back to a very wet cabin!

I imagine it would have been a bit of a squeeze with four people in there – I was lucky and got a whole cabin to myself!

So it turned out, everyone had their passports taken from them.

We went through Kazakh customs on the boat – make sure that you keep your immigration slip that you get given when you arrive to the country.

My friends actually lost theirs and were allowed to leave the country, but I don’t think that this necessarily always happens.

Customs were easy enough, and we met our vice-captain, who could speak very good English and liked to practice with tourists.

And we’re off!

me on the deck of the Professor Gull ship on the Caspian Sea

After another indefinite amount of time, the boat set sail.

There’s really no knowing when this will happen, but for us, it was about an hour and a half after boarding.

There were only fourteen passengers on our ferry, so to be honest I was surprised it left when it did (I thought it was a leave when it’s full kind of scenario).

The other passengers were: my new French friends, a Swiss motorcyclist, a Dutch family of seven, a Georgian truck driver, a Turkish truck driver and an Azeri truck driver.

A few of us sat in the common area and chatted for a bit, then I went to lie down, chill out and read… and that was pretty much the routine for the rest of the trip.

Food on the Caspian Sea Ferry

I’d heard that the ferry across the Caspian Sea ain’t exactly a vegetarian’s dream.

This suspicion was confirmed at dinner time when I was offered chicken and potatoes – the vegetarian option being just potatoes.

It wasn’t all bad news though – there was some salad, made primarily out of pickles and tinned carrot, on offer at the table.

We were also all given a bottle of fanta.

I would have had some bread and jam at breakfast (cheese, egg and yogurt were also on offer), but I actually felt so sick (not because of the food) that I passed on it.

Lunch the following day was buckwheat and chicken – for me, just buckwheat.

It actually wasn’t all that bad, and I’d already packed a lot of food.

It’s recommended to take lots of food on the boat in case it is delayed, and I also took 5 litres of water (I drink a lot).

However, there is generally drinking water available, as well as copious amounts of tea.

Sightseeing on the Caspian Sea Ferry

Steam boat on Caspian sea

When you’re in the middle of a huge salty lake, sightseeing opportunities can be a bit slim on the ground – but there are some cool things worth checking out.

  • Definitely head to the deck for sunset – watching the sun dip over the sea’s horizon is an absolute spectacle.
  • I’d also recommend checking out the oil rigs, which appear close to Baku. A community lives there, for the sole purpose of extracting oil for Azerbaijan and its friends to use.
  • Leaving Kazakhstan and arriving in Azerbaijan are, of course, sights you’ll want to see.
  • Touring the ship is quite fun – you might be lucky like we were and get a chilled out captain who lets you see most of the ship. Even if not, walking around is still really interesting – I actually made a boat tour video for YouTube, which I haven’t got round to making/ posting yet but I’ll paste it here when I do!

Caspian Sea at sunset

The Cabins on the Caspian Sea Ferry

I honestly can’t believe how much I lucked out on the Caspian Sea ferry – I got an entire 4 berth cabin to myself, because there were so few people on the ship!

It’s rare to get this lucky, but generally I think they try to put all the non-truck drivers together.

Anyway, for just one person alone, the cabin was basically the ritz.

I had the choice of four bunk beds, an ocean-view window, and four lockers to store my things.

I didn’t have my own toilet or shower – we’d been told that there had been a lot of truck drivers on the last boat with an affinity for vodka, who got too drunk and forgot not to flush toilet roll down the toilet.

Hence most of the toilets were blocked, and I had to use the block of male toilets (about halfway into the boat ride, the food poisoning that I’d had for a few days developed a turn for the worse, so I could have really done with my own bathroom – but I was so grateful for my own room that I didn’t give it too much thought).

I did have my own sink though.

The Caspian Sea Ferry Journey

Girl looking out over Caspian Sea at sunset

The Caspian Sea Ferry journey is slightly notorious, especially because the ships are old Soviet boats that kind of look like they might fall apart mid-sail.

Nonetheless, my boat held strong, I didn’t notice much turbulence apart from right at the start, which I think was just me adjusting to the ship moving.

The boats seem a little unstable, and I was a bit worried before I boarded, but it really wasn’t that bad.

There was one incident a good few years back, but they have better safety procedures now (they don’t let boats leave in storms, and wait out bad weather rather than trying to carry on sailing) and on a clear day, it was really fine.

I spent the time reading, chatting to my new friends, trying to ignore my food poisoning, and heading up to the deck every so often to check out the views.

Despite nausea (which I think was caused by water that wasn’t properly boiled on an Uzbek train), I had a really great time.

Girl walking up ladder on Caspian Sea ferry

Arriving in Azerbaijan

Docking in Azerbaijan took a couple of hours – I was advised it could take a maximum of a few days, so that was fine.

We had to wait around for a while to get our passports back and then we were permitted off the ship.

For us foot passengers, it wasn’t too arduous a process – we got our passports and visas checked, I had to assure the border control that I didn’t have a drone (which was completely true, I invited them to look into my bag but for some reason they just wanted me to swear an oath that I didn’t have one), and then they gave us advice on where to find a taxi.

It took the family with a car quite a lot longer, as everything needed to be checked, and the motorcyclist had to take all of his bags from the bike to be scanned at customs.

We approached the one lonely cafe in Alat, where the port is based, and asked for a taxi. There is a bus that leaves at 8 pm – but as it was 4 pm, we opted to take a taxi for 40 manats.

Enter Baku!

Sunrise in Baku, Azerbaijan

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, is a compelling fusion.

It has streets and an old town that reminded me of Istanbul, but so many futuristic buildings that looked like Dubai.

Azeri is the main language, which is very close to Turkish (if you talk Turkish in Azerbaijan, they’ll have no problem understanding you), but everyone speaks Russian as well.

I spent 2 nights in Baku – but my food poisoning really got me on the first day – however, I’ll write about my one day in Baku, where we did quite a lot, in a future post.

Where to Stay in Baku

Hostel: The most popular hostel in Baku is, by far, Sahil Hostel & Hotel. It’s got more of a backpacker vibe than anywhere in the city, and it’s clean, bright, has modern decor and the dorm rooms are spacious and each bunk has privacy with curtains and individual plugs. Click here for rates and to book your spot.

Budget Hotel: A great budget hotel option is Da Vinci Hotel, which offers rooms with heaps of space for the price. On site is a restaurant and bar and it offers a tasty breakfast, while being located in the city centre. Click here for rates and to book.

Mid-Range Hotel: For something mid-range, check out Baku City Hotel, which has a variety of room types for all budgets. The rooms are lavishly decorated with elegant patterns, and each room rate includes breakfast. It has a restaurant on-site, and enjoys a central location. Click here for prices and to reserve your room.

Luxury Hotel: Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers, is the most famous hotel of Baku and a must-stay for anyone who likes to stay in iconic hotels around the world. The rooms are incredibly luxurious, with floor-to-ceiling windows and roll-top baths, and on site is a swimming pool, spa and bar and restaurant facilities. Click here for rates and to book.

Note: Because you don’t know when you will get into Baku, it’s not wise to book your accommodation until you arrive in Alat port. Of course, if you’re taking the Caspian Sea Ferry from Baku to Aktau, you can book your Baku accommodation in advance!

A Soviet Ship Adventure…

Taking the Caspian Sea Ferry from Kuruyk to Alat isn’t for everyone, but it is hands down one of my most memorable travel experiences.

I’ve got lots of posts about Central Asia to come – you can click here for all my Kazakhstan posts, and here for my Uzbekistan content. Also, check out my YouTube channel which has lots of videos of my overland trip from Bali to London!

If you end up taking the Caspain Sea Ferry, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the journey – you can leave a comment below or contact me on social media. 

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4 thoughts on “ Taking the Caspian Sea Ferry from Aktau to Baku: A Complete Guide ”

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Excellent report Claire! I waited in Aktau 4 days last August and gave up and took a flight in the end. I hope to try again this year. I did the Baku to Turkmenbashi trip in 2017 which is also one of my most memorable journeys. I hope you don’t mind if I link to this post from a couple of my own ones about travelling the Silk Road?! Best wishes, Steve

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Thanks Steve! Yes I really recommend it, it’s so much fun 🙂 And yes please do link from your posts, that would be great!

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Dear Claire. It is great story. Very interesting of your experience! I want to do like it. Soon! I plan. At least next year. I want to go to Europe from Jakarta, Indonesia by overland trip (No flying). Please give me advice! Thank you.

This is what I did! I went from Bali to London without flying. Check out my YouTube channel (Claire’s Footsteps) for all my videos 🙂

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What travelers are saying.



Curious mind, wandering soul.. exploring the world , caspian sea cruise, baku, azerbaijan.

October, 2008

Arrived in August in Baku for a work stint. Work has been hectic. Been exploring the city in bits. It was election day and therefore somewhat relaxed. In the afternoon randomly planned to take a cruise on the Caspian Sea. The trip is for about an hour. It takes you out on the sea and circles back. The cruise is politely describing what is a rocking steamer. However it was a full moon night and while returning the city lights had come on. It was quite magical with the reflections on the water, the wind on my face. The sea is essentially the largest lake in the world but has choppy waters like the sea making the boat rock. At the shore, the boulevard has many food stalls. Fish and chips, tea with chocolates, nuts served with a sweet syrup. Take your pick.

sea cruise baku

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Journal of Nomads

Caspian Sea Ferry: 8 Things you Need to Know about how to cross the Caspian Sea from Baku to Aktau by ferry in 2024 – A Comprehensive Guide

This is a comprehensive guide on how to take the Caspian sea ferry from Baku in Azerbaijan to Aktau in Kazakhstan.

During my overland h i t c h h i k i n g trip from Europe to Asia , I already had some experience with taking a boat to reach my next destination.

I took a ferry from Ireland to France , from Athens in Greece to the isle of Crete, I entered Turkey by crossing the Aegean Sea and I sailed on the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey.

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How to travel overland from Europe to Asia

So far it had been very easy to travel by sea as all these ferries had a fixed schedule and clear information about where to buy the tickets and where to catch the boat. Crossing the Caspian Sea by boat was a different story.

This boat is a cargo ship that nowadays also functions as a ferry. However, the Caspian Sea ferry doesn’t have a fixed schedule and there’s often a lot of confusion about where to get the tickets and where to catch this boat from.

For one week my travel companion and I were a bit left in the dark about where and especially when we could take this boat and buy the tickets.

Despite the nuisance and long waiting times, traveling from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan by sea turned out to be a memorable adventure and totally worth the trouble!

Crossing the Caspian Sea by boat – How to travel by cargo ship from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Aktau (Kazakhstan) - Journal of Nomads

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to take the Caspian Sea Ferry from Baku in Azerbaijan to Aktau in Kazakhstan.

Important update (June 2023): taking the ferry from Baku to Aktau (from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan) is possible but not the other way around (from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan)! The land- and sea borders of Azerbaijan are still closed and one can only enter the country by airplane.

Disclaimer: This posts might contain affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Thank you for helping to support this website!

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1. Where to get tickets and how much does the Caspian Sea Ferry cost

This is where the challenge began. We were told that we could only buy tickets on the day the boat leaves.

But how we do know when exactly to purchase the tickets when there’s no fixed schedule? There was also a lot of contradicting information on where to buy these tickets.

Friends of ours told us we had to get in the ticket office of the old seaport in Baku, while according to some blogs we could only buy them directly in the port of Alat.

This port is about 75km away from Baku and possibly the place where we had to catch the ferry.

After a lot of uncertainty and confusion, we finally were able to figure it all out.

1) Timetable of the Caspian Sea ferry

There’s no precise timetable for the ferry since its departure depends on the weather and on the amount of cargo that is loaded.

The boat leaves when it’s full, which means, in theory, every 3 to 5 days, but in reality, there might be 5 boats going to Kazakhstan within one week or only 1 boat in two weeks.

It’s really hard to tell so make sure that you’re flexible and have enough time left on your visa when you want to take this ferry!

The best way of finding out when the boat is scheduled to leave is by ringing the Baku ticket office once or even twice a day or the call center of ASCO .

You could also go to the ticket office, which is located at the end of Baku’s Sea Front Boulevard, hidden away between container units (see map below ‘Where to buy the tickets”).

We chose the easiest option, which was asking the girls in the reception of our hostel in Baku to call the ticket office for us.

The receptionists helped travelers like us in the past so they knew exactly who to call to get the right information and it saved us from getting lost in translation.

You can also check the website of the Caspian Sea Ferries to find out when the boats are scheduled to arrive in the port.

Still, this doesn’t mean that they will leave that very same day or the day after so keep calling the ticket office!

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2) Where to buy the tickets for the Baku – Aktau ferry and how much does it cost

2023 update: It seems that you can nowadays order your tickets online through the official ASCO website . I haven’t made the ferry crossing this year so I don’t know if this system really works. If you decide to try it, please let me and other travelers know if it worked in the comments below so I can update this guide accordingly!

This is how it used to work before the land borders were closed in 2020:

If you travel by motorbike or by car , you have to buy your ticket in the port of Alat, which is about 75 km from Baku. You can buy your ticket in advance and the price depends on the size of your vehicle.

It’s $100 per meter , so for a motorbike, you’ll pay around $150 and for an average-sized car $400. You also have to pay $70 per passenger .  You can only pay in cash – there’s an ATM near the ticket office.

If you’re a foot passenger or a cyclist , you have to buy your ticket in the ticket office of Baku, which you can find near the Marine Passenger Terminal at the end of Baku’s Sea Front Boulevard (Milli Park).

You can only buy your ticket there on the day the boat leaves! Go early so you still have enough time to get to the port.

The ticket sales usually start around 10 am. A ticket costs $80 and you have to pay $10 extra for a bicycle.

As I mentioned before, you can purchase your tickets on this website but you might still have to go to the ticket office to change the e-ticket for a paper ticket. Any updates are welcome in the comments below!

How to pay and what is included in the price:

You can only pay in US dollars. There’s an ATM in Alat where you can take the money out and there’s also an exchange office. There are plenty of ATMs and exchange offices in Baku.

The cheapest ticket is $70 and it includes all your meals onboard and a bed in a 4 person cabin.

You’ll see that there’s an option to buy a ticket for $80 if you want to have a private 2 person cabin but don’t bother with that. If there are a lot of passengers, you’ll have to share your cabin with 4 people anyway.

→ It’s cheaper for a foot passenger and a cyclist to buy your ticket in the port of Alat ($70). In Baku, you’ll most likely pay $80, even for a 4 person cabin.

Even though we were foot passengers, we didn’t bother going to the ticket office in Baku. We got tired of waiting and calling and as soon as we heard that the boat had arrived, we left Baku and traveled to the port of Alat to buy our tickets there.

When we arrived in Alat, the people at the ticket office told us they couldn’t sell us the tickets and that we had to go back to Baku to buy them there.

Since Alat is 75km from Baku, we really didn’t want to go back and forth. So we stood our ground and told them that the office in Baku had sent us to Alat and that there was no way we could return to Baku since we were on foot.

Eventually, they gave in and sold us the tickets. So you can buy tickets in Alat as a foot passenger and cyclist but you have to be persistent…

2. Where to take the Baku – Aktau ferry

All foot passengers, cyclists, bikers, and cars have to take the ferry in the Baku Sea Port in Alat . This port is about 75km from the city center of Baku.

Note: there is a chance that they might change this (again) and that you have to board the ship in the port of Baku itself. Double-check with the ticket office to be sure!

How to get from Baku to the port in Alat by public transport

The fastest but most expensive option is to take a taxi . This will cost you 50 AZN (about $30) but the driver will drop you off right at the entrance of the port. This is a good solution if you travel on foot or by bicycle and you don’t have much time to get to the port.

If you travel on foot, you can also catch the bus to Alat (bicycles are not allowed on the bus).

Take bus 125 or any other bus that goes from Baku city to the Bina Mall. There you have to take bus 195 towards Qobustan and Alat. This bus ride takes about one hour.

Caspian Sea Ferry: 8 Things you Need to Know about how to cross the Caspian Sea from Baku to Aktau by ferry in 2024 - A Comprehensive Guide

Once you pass Qobustan (you’ll see a big rock with this name), it’s another 10 to 15 minutes until you see a big monument of an Anker with “Baku Sea Port” in the middle of the road. Ask the bus driver to drop you off there.

Crossing the Caspian Sea by boat – How to travel by cargo ship from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Aktau (Kazakhstan) - Journal of Nomads - port of Alat

Cross the highway (be careful!!) and take the first road to the right. From there on it’s another 1.5 km before you arrive at the entrance of the port.

You can always hitchhike.

Hitchhiking in Azerbaijan is fairly easy, just make it clear from the start that you’re doing ‘ avtostop ‘ (the Russian word for hitchhiking) or the driver might charge you money for the gas.

3. Camping at the port of Baku

Even when you get told to hurry to the port because the boat is going to leave in a few hours, it’s still possible that it takes another day (or two) before the actual departure of the boat (a friend of ours had to wait for a week).

This means that you might have to set up camp at the port.

The security guards will show you where to pitch your tent in the parking lot.

There are facilities like showers and toilets (girls can ask for a key to a separate shower in the shop), an exchange office with an ATM, a little shop where you can buy water, soft drinks, fresh fruits, canned food, crackers, etc.

Caspian Sea Ferry: 8 Things you Need to Know about how to cross the Caspian Sea from Baku to Aktau by ferry in 2024 - A Comprehensive Guide

There’s also a small dining area where you can buy a cup of coffee or tea, charge your electronics and buy wi-fi.

It costs 3 AZN per day or 5 AZN for 2 days. The connection isn’t superb but it’s enough to check your social media and tell your mum you’re still alive and waiting for the boat to Kazakhstan.

Crossing the Caspian Sea by boat – How to travel by cargo ship from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Aktau (Kazakhstan) - Journal of Nomads

→ Tip: if you know with certainty that you’ll have to wait for at least another 6 hours, find yourself a travel buddy with a vehicle and visit the mud volcanoes of Qobustan.

They’re about 30 minutes’ driving from the port and definitely worth visiting! You can find more info about the mud volcanoes here .

Caspian Sea Ferry: 8 Things you Need to Know about how to cross the Caspian Sea from Baku to Aktau by ferry in 2024 - A Comprehensive Guide

4. Customs at the port of Baku

The port guards will tell you when it’s time to board the Caspian Sea ferry. Sometimes they’ll let the trucks go first, other times they will give priority to the travelers.

They let us enter first, which was great since it took another 7 hours before all the cargo was loaded and the ship was ready to go.

Before you board, you’ll have to go through customs.

They will check your bags (and car if you’re driving), ask for your registration papers if you stayed longer than 10 days in Azerbaijan, inquire about your visa for Kazakhstan and once you’re stamped out of the country, you can proceed towards the entrance of the boat.

* If you stayed 10 days or more in Azerbaijan, make sure that you got registered. If you didn’t do this, the migration officers might stop you from boarding the boat until you got that sorted, and/or you will have to pay a huge fine (+ $300) and face deportation.

Azerbaijan Travel - Traveling in Azerbaijan - Journal of Nomads

How and where to get registered for Azerbaijan

5. What to expect on the Caspian Sea ferry from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan

The ferries that take passengers are named “Professor Gul”, “Merkuri-1”, “Barda” and “Shahdag”. We traveled to Kazakhstan on the “Professor Gul”.

Once you arrive on the Caspian Sea ferry, a member of the crew will show you where you can park your car/ motorbike/ bicycle at the base of the ship and guide you towards the common room.

Take all your essentials with you since you won’t be allowed to go back to your vehicle once the ship departs.

One of the crew members will also come around to collect your passport. Don’t worry, it’s safe to give it to them and once the boat arrives at the port in Aktau, someone will hand it back to you in the common room.

This ‘common room’ is the unofficial meeting room on the boat.

It’s a big area with seats where most of the passengers (mainly truck drivers) hang out to watch TV, play games like backgammon and drink tea (which is non-stop available).

You’ll have to wait here until the person in charge comes to give you sheets, a pillow and the keys to your cabin.

1) Cabins on the Caspian SEa ferry

If there are a lot of passengers, you’ll have to share a cabin with 3 other people. Try to buddy up with some of the other travelers you met at the port.

The cabins are very small with 2 bunk beds, a small sink and 4 lockers, which is great for safely storing your valuables away while exploring the boat.

Ask for a cabin with a window if possible! If you travel during the summer, it gets stinking hot inside and you’ll have a hard time sleeping (and imagine the lovely smells when you can’t air out the room…).

Some of our fellow travelers couldn’t handle it and went to sleep outside on the deck instead.

Niko and I shared a cabin with another backpacking couple. The girl and I were the only female travelers on board, which turned out to play to our advantage. We first were appointed to a cabin without a window.

Once all the passengers were on the boat and assigned to a cabin, the woman in charge told me there was one cabin left that I could share with my female friend.

We went to check it out and as soon as we saw that this cabin had a window, we moved our stuff (and our men) to this cabin, opened the window and were finally able to breathe again!

2) Toilets & showers

Most of the ferries crossing the Caspian Sea have now proper facilities for the passengers. It’s almost like you’re staying in a big old floating hostel that has a post-Soviet feel to it.

There’s a bathroom area with toilets and warm showers which are relatively clean.

Tip: take a shower at the start of the journey, when everything is still clean. The longer you’re at sea, the more smelly and dirty it becomes… Don’t forget to bring an extra roll of toilet paper with you.

3) Food on the Caspian Sea ferry

There’s a small dining area on the boat where meals are served 3 times per day: at 8 am, at noon and at 7 pm.

Don’t be late as the cooks are very punctual and will close the dining area one hour after the service and you won’t be able to get food until the next meal.

The food is basic but good. It’s mainly going to be boiled eggs with bread for breakfast, pasta with chicken and mashed potatoes with fish for lunch and/or dinner. We also got some soup, and of course, there’s always plenty of tea.

There is no shop on the boat so it’s not a bad idea to stock up on some snacks and bottles of water before the journey. You’re also allowed to bring some beers on board. However, keep in mind that you’re not allowed to drink alcohol in the port.

Crossing the Caspian Sea by boat – How to travel by cargo ship from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Aktau (Kazakhstan) - Journal of Nomads

4) Entertainment on the Baku – AktAU fERRY

There’s no wi-fi on board but you can charge your electronics in the cabin. There’s a big TV in the common area but why would you want to watch TV while you’re sailing across the Caspian Sea?

Watching the sunrise and sunset on the deck is much better entertainment and at night you can do some proper star gazing! You’re allowed to explore the ship and, if you ask nicely, the crew will let you have a peek in the engine room.

Crossing the Caspian Sea by boat – How to travel by cargo ship from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Aktau (Kazakhstan) - Journal of Nomads

It’s very likely you’ll meet other travelers, especially during the summer.

We met a great bunch of (mainly) cyclists, backpackers, bikers, and road trippers with whom we spent a lot of time chatting, singing and playing games.

If you hitchhike, the chances are big that one of your fellow travelers or one of the truck drivers (if you socialize with them) will offer you a ride into Kazakhstan.

Crossing the Caspian Sea by boat – How to travel by cargo ship from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Aktau (Kazakhstan)

6. How long does it take to sail across the Caspian Sea?

We boarded the ship around 11 pm at night but the next morning at 6 am we were still in the port of Alat. The boat eventually left around 6.30 am.

If you’re lucky like us, the ship will dock 27 hours later in the port of Aktau. If you’re unlucky, well, it might take hours to days before the ship is allowed to dock.

It all depends on the weather and the docking space in the port. As long as you’re on board, you will get fed 3 times per day so you won’t starve while you’re waiting. You might just get very bored and impatient.

Crossing the Caspian Sea by boat – How to travel by cargo ship from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Aktau (Kazakhstan) - Journal of Nomads - port in Aktau

Arriving in Aktau

Crossing the Caspian Sea by boat – How to travel by cargo ship from Baku (Azerbaijan) to Aktau (Kazakhstan) - Journal of Nomads - port of Aktau

7. Arriving in Aktau, Kazakhstan

As soon as the ship is about to dock, you’ll hear an announcement that you’ve got to pack your bags and bring them to the common room.

One of the crew members will be there to return your passport and then you’ll have to wait until the Kazakh immigration officers, accompanied by sniffer dogs and intimidating guns, come on board to check your papers and bags.

Once this first control is done, you’re allowed to leave the boat.

A couple of vans will be waiting at the exit of the boat to bring the passengers to the passport control offices. There you’ll have to fill in an immigration card.

The migration officers will check your visa ( check here if you need one), and stamp your passport.

If you need a Letter of Invitation (LOI) to enter Kazakhstan, you’ll have to get registered at the Migration Police in Aktau.

Once you got your passport stamped and you don’t have a vehicle, you’re free to go! Welcome to Kazakhstan!

There’s a small coffee shop near the exit of the port where you can buy something to drink and eat and you’ll also find a small exchange office to buy some Kazakh tenge.

If you travel by bicycle, motorbike or car, you’ll have to go back to the boat to get your vehicle and get customs clearance.

The process is quite fast for cyclists and they’ll be out within two hours but if you came by motorbike or car, get ready for a never-ending cycle of paperwork and stamps!

We arrived at 10 am in the port of Aktau and all of our friends who traveled by motorized vehicles were finally allowed to leave the port at 5 pm!

Traveling in Kyrgyzstan - Journal of Nomads

Kazakhstan Travel Guide: 1 8 things you should know before you go

8. How to get from the port to Aktau and where to stay in Aktau

You can get from the port of Aktau to the city center by hitching a ride or taking a taxi. The taxi shouldn’t cost more than 500 KZT.

In case you’re going to travel by train, you can always head straight towards the train station of Aktau. There is after all not much to see or do in Aktau. It’s a strange city if you ask me!

The 26 most beautiful and remarkable places to visit in Kazakhstan

Some people prefer to spend a day in the city, mostly to recover from the boat journey and to get ready for the upcoming (road)trip.

We stayed a couple of nights at a budget hostel called “Kemerek”, a little bit outside of the city center. We paid 3000 KZT ($10) for a room.

There are a lot of fancy hotels in the city, starting from $25 per person but there aren’t that many budget hostels.

Caspian Sea Ferry: 8 Things you Need to Know about how to cross the Caspian Sea from Baku to Aktau by ferry in 2024 - A Comprehensive Guide

The local kids in Aktau weren’t used to seeing foreigners and absolutely loved the motorbikes of our friends!

Traveling from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan by boat was definitely a memorable adventure! You’ll have to be patient and flexible and enjoy the moment.

Don’t have too many expectations and just see how everything goes. My advice is to sit back, relax, socialize and enjoy the journey since you have no idea when you’ll reach your destination!


  • The Travel Guide to Kazakhstan: 18 things you should know before you go
  • The 26 most beautiful and interesting places to visit in Kazakhstan
  • Is it safe to travel to Kazakhstan: 15 useful safety tips
  • Almaty City Guide: The 19 best things to do in Almaty
  • The 5 best and most beautiful hikes in the mountains near Almaty
  • Charyn Canyon Travel Guide
  • Kolsai Lakes and Lake Kaindy Travel Guide
  • Sayram Ugam National Park Travel Guide
  • Turkestan Travel Guide: discover the spiritual center of Kazakhstan
  • Visiting the ship graveyard of the Aral Sea in Kazakhstan
  • Trekking in Kazakhstan: 5-day hiking itinerary in the Northern Tian Shan Mountains
  • A beginner’s guide to skiing in Shymbulak, Almaty

Caspian Sea Ferry: 8 Things you Need to Know about how to cross the Caspian Sea from Baku to Aktau by ferry in 2024 - A Comprehensive Guide

I hope this guide was helpful to you! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below or send me an email .

Did you recently cross the Caspian Sea? Please share your updates and stories in the comments below as they can be useful to other travelers!

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59 thoughts on “caspian sea ferry: 8 things you need to know about how to cross the caspian sea from baku to aktau by ferry in 2024 – a comprehensive guide”.

Thank you for this blog! Very helpful for us! Here is our journey 🙂

We crossed the Caspian Sea about 2 weeks ago – We went to the ticket office(milli park) which gave us a number which is on the asco website (no tickets given), we called this number everyday in Baku until we emailed the asco ([email protected]) we had an email back to call another number, call it serval times no answer. Our hotel stay was finished so we decided to make our way to Baku port.

We got the bus 125 to Bina Mall filled up with snacks and did a shared taxi with people going the same way. We got to the port and went to buy our tickets when the guy showed us my partners WhatsApp’s picture and said is this you (we were speechless) anyway we brought our tickets in ANZ as they said they didn’t mind. It was €70 each or 119 AZN (I think) There is a cash point there but to be on the safe side take cash with you(that’s what we did) We were then taken through to where security look through your stuff and taken to a porter cabin. There are toilets, seats and sun lounges in there, you can walk around the cabin but it’s gated so you can’t go far. (You can pay for WiFi and the number for the shop and cafe are in the cabin) We waited 26 hours in the cabin. The security guard came in and told us to get our stuff as we are off and a ferry is here. We went through customs and everything (very easy) to which lead us to the ferry. We boarded at 4ish where the captain takes your passport and left at 21:30. You get 3 meals a day. Breakfast- egg,cheese and bread Lunch- pasta and a chicken drumstick and Dinner- lentils with a meat. There is unlimited tea and biscuits as well in the lobby area! Our ferry journey was about 30 hours, you are called into the lobby area to take your bedding and belongings so they can clean the rooms, if your a tourist (like us) we were pushed to the front and got our passports and where told to go to the end of the ferry to wait for a mini bus. Again the wait was about 2/3 hours, got to customs stamped in and sorted, shared a taxi to Aktau and made our way to Uzbekistan through next day via Beyneu on the train.

Thank you so much for this useful report Jennie!

Hi Cynthia Thankyou for this information which is really helpful. I think at the moment that it’s only possible to enter Azerbaijan by flight? I’m trying to get from UK to S Korea early next year overland but this problem, and the issue with getting into Russia seem to be making this impossible! Do you, or does anyone else reading this, (if anyone is reading this) know a route currently to get to S Korea from UK overland? Many thanks and safe travels Pippa

Yes, Azerbaijan still hasn’t opened its land borders but I’ve heard they might in 2024…

Not sure (in the light of completion) that this is such a romantic/sentimental experience. The ticket is indeed easily purchased on-line for US$70. On your arrival at the port, your printed copy is exchanged for a proper receipted ticket. If taking the buses (right numbers) make sure you know where/what is “Bina Mall” to change buses as it is possible to go too far past it. Not sure tents are done anymore. There is a lot of chairs and massage table type “beds” in the waiting hall which is airconned. And it’s here where you can wait up to 4 days for a boat to be ready. If the wind is more than 25 knots in the narrow exit canal, the port authority will close the port to entry/exit ships. We waited 40 hours and after a day it starts to feel like a prison yard. The male toilet is foul and I didn’t ask about the shower location. You can go further into the port on foot to a small shop, bakery, barber & cafe which caters to the drivers. I was put on one of the 2 new ships (2 yo) Azerbijan and Zarifa Aliyeva. 4 berth windowed cabins with ensuite. Fairly modern and (basically) clean. The ensuite doubles as the shower and its floor is heated so there’s no wet floors for long. The bill “common room” is uninviting & has only 12 chairs with none outside. I was with 2 “‘Strayan” Joanna Lumley hopefuls amongst a hundred multinational truck drivers who are a class unto themselves… There were some pseudo fights among a Ukrainian group in the dining room – pushing, shoving, headlocks etc – all no doubt fuelled by Illegal liquor smuggled past the customs guards. All best of friends by the morning. The “dining room” often has hours in advance of those advertised – be alert, though the fare is very basic. Not much to do, no TV, board games, etc though on Zafiya, the crew is quite liberal in allowing bridge visits which were quite interesting for the state of art tech. The new ships are 12.5 knots so the trip time is about 18 hours. It was cloudy so no romantic sunsets … but good views of the oil rig islands in the night. Something different, but if I had the time again I’d look seriously at the direct flight option !

Thank you for sharing your experiences and updates. When I crossed the Caspian Sea, I met several backpackers and we bonded well during the waiting time at the port and on the boat. The weather was great so I was lucky with the sunsets (as you can see on the photos) and we kept ourselves busy with chatting, playing games that some of us brought, etc. We also had some great chats with the truck drivers. I had a great time but these travel experiences are subjective and a lot often depends on the circumstances.

Baku, the vibrant capital of Azerbaijan, has always fascinated me with its blend of modernity and rich history. This article beautifully captures the essence of this captivating city, from its iconic landmarks like the Flame Towers to its charming Old City with its narrow alleys and historic architecture. The detailed descriptions and vivid imagery truly transport the reader to the heart of Baku, making them feel like they are experiencing it firsthand. Reading this article has only intensified my desire to visit Baku and immerse myself in its unique culture and mesmerizing beauty. Kudos to the author for providing such an insightful and inspiring guide to this remarkable destination!

Thank you so much Eric!

Thank you for your elaborate article. I am currently in Aktau and was looking forward to taking the ferry to Baku from here. But, someone in an office in the city told me that the ferry isn’t running. Do you know where I can get more information? It’s hard to accept/believe that there is no possibility to cross the Caspian just yet, my travel route was set on this. The person at the office wasn’t able to provide further information. If someone know how I can reach someone who knows more, perhaps from another ferry company, it would be a great help.

Hi Mees, I received updates that the ferry from Baku to Aktau is running but don’t have any current updates concerning Aktau to Baku. I hope someone will be able to provide some current info to help you! Best wishes, Cynthia

Hi Mees, maybe now you already know, but Azerbaijan is still closed to enter by land or sea, you can only fly into it. That’s why the ferry from Kazakhstan is not running. Hopefully it will change soon 🤞🏻

Hi Cynthia,

thanks for your great job, that you provide all your information with people. You are a big inspiration for our travel planning. Is it possible to get the name of the hostel in Baku?

THX and greetings Sophie

Thanks so much!

The hostel I stayed at is no longer there but there are plenty more good hostels that will offer help.

Have a great trip!

Hi , we can confirm that the ferry is running , we have just arrived at Port of Baku Alat on 12th May 2023 and have bought tickets for the crossing to Kurik , Kazakhstan.

Happy travels Darren and Nicole Sanderson UK

Thank you Darren and Nicole!

So great, thanks for your answer.

Hi Daren, thanks for this amazing new, could you tell me how long you’ve been waiting at the port ? Is there any delay issue related to the current situation ? Thanks !

Hey Cynthia Thanks so much for this super helpful blog providing information that seems to be nowhere available 🙂 Especially interesting because we are planning to do the same crossing in couple of weeks from now. I was only wondering if you also encountered some issues with overland border crossing into Azerbaijan due to Covid regulations. We heard from the Swiss embassy and the German travel advice that currently entering and leaving Azerbaijan is only possible through Baku’s airport and they claimed it’s already a while like that. Is there a way to get around that? Thanks so much for your Help

Hi Severin,

I’m afraid that entering Azerbaijan by land isn’t possible yet. You can fly into Azerbaijan without restrictions and exit via land or sea but not enter via a land or sea border. There are also no updates if this will change anytime soon.

Hey Cynthia Thanks so much for your reply. Very helpful! So you’re saying leaving Azerbaijan through sea boarder is possible? Because the Consul of the Embassy of Azerbaijan in Switzerland wrote me “At the moment travels to and from Azerbaijan is only possible via air.”. Also the German travel advice for Azerbaijan https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/ReiseUndSicherheit/aserbaidschansicherheit/201888 in the chapter Leaving and Transit reads: “The international train, bus and ferry traffic is suspended.” Therefore I assumed also leaving Azerbaijan using the ferry from Baku is not an option.

Hi Severin, leaving Azerbaijan by land – or in this case by sea -shouldn’t be a problem (I’m receiving messages from other travelers doing the same). Let us know about your journey and experiences!

Hi travellers! I am currently in Azerbaijan and plan to arrive in Kazakhstan by sea in a fortnight. I read on my government (France) website that for travellers arriving by land and sea, an Entry Permit is required. Do you know how to get this? I am not sure if it is the Letter of Invitation (LOI), but something else.

Hi Guillaume,

It’s the first time that I hear that an entry permit is required. Normally, you don’t need an LOI and as a French passport holder, you receive a visa on arrival to enter Kazakhstan. Have a good trip!

Hey Guillaume,

We are also planning to go through that route and was just wondering if you entered Azerbaijan by air. According to the information I have from Switzerland and Germany Azerbaijan currently only allows entry and exit through air due to covid. But would be happy if you tell me that’s not true 🙂

Hello Séverin,

I entered Azerbaijan by air and entry to Azerbaijan is only allowed by air (still unfortunately). However, you can leave Azerbaijan by land, sea and air.

If you need more information you can contact me on my Instagram @Ingetrotteur 😊

Thank you Cynthia for your feedback 😊

Hi Cynthia. I’ve found your blog so interesting and inspiring. I’d like to travel through Central Asia myself, avoiding plane travel as much as possible. I would like to cross the Caspian Sea via ferry to cut down on flights, but I wonder whether this would be advisable for someone who would not be travelling with a tent (because of the likely time spent camping at the Port of Baku that you mention). I wonder what your thoughts are on this? Many thanks and happy travels!

Hi Rebecca, thank you for your kind words! As for your question, you could ask your ho(s)tel in Baku to phone daily to the port and ask for updates concerning the ferry. This way you probably won’t have to camp at the port and just travel there on the day of departure. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Cynthia

Hi here! A great guide to taking a ferry to Central Asia on the Kaspan Sea! I also wanna go through this path with my car in December 2022. I have worked and lived in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan for over 20 years. So I need to go back there and bring my personal belongings back to Europe. Update is Kazakhstan has cancelled the entry card!

Hi Tashbek, thank you for the update and please let us know how your journey went! Do you mean by entry card the migration card?

Hi! Cynthia, no cards n forms at all to pass the passport control gate of Kazahstan!

Thanks for the update Tashbek, highly appreciate it! How was the ferry crossing?

Thanks for sharing all your experiences and valuable infromation! I just really want to know this, I want to cross the sea with my full-size overland pickup truck (Ford F-150). Do they allow north Americans with larger cars to cross the border by sea on this ship? How much does it cost?

Hi Sintash, as the ferries are meant for trucks to cross, I think they will allow your pickup truck as well. However, I don’t know how much it would cost. They usually charge by the meter ($100/meter). The prices might have gone up this summer and I haven’t received any updates about it yet. You’re always welcome to let me know once you’ve crossed the Caspian sea 🙂

thank you, Cynthia! very helpful. i’m also planning to travel from Baku to Kazakhstan by ferry this June.

Hi Dion, that’s great news! Let me know how your journey went!

I am planning to cross in June 2022 with a vehicle. please do update here if you get any other information.

hi Dion and Cynthia, i am french and i would like riding with my motobike from Azerbadjan to Kasakstan in februry 2023. Dion, have you performed your trip in June ? The azerbadjan border by road is open ? Thank you very much for your answer, freindly yours. Eric

Thank you for the article Cynthia, it’s so helpful. Me and my boyfriend want to cross with our camper the Caspian Sea with the ferry in May 2022. Does anyone have any updates on the situation? Alo, we are travelling with our dog.:) Do you know if it’s possible to bring your dog on the ferry? We first wanted to go overland, but as Turkmenistan and Iran don’t give out visa at the moment this is not an option.

Kazakhstan is currently still being difficult about foreign travelers entering the country. Taking your dog on the ferry might also be challenging as the ferry takes about 26 hours and the dog can’t really go to the toilet on this boat… I haven’t heard of people bringing their pet on the ferry yet… Best is to contact the ferry companies directly… Wishing you good luck and all the best!!

Hi Cynthia, A friend and I are hoping to do this trip this summer also. Thanks for the great info and I’d love to know more re. any updates you might have etc.. Regards Eoin

I’m not sure if you’ll already be able to enter Kazakhstan by land (or in this case by sea) by the summer. At the moment, you can only enter Kazakhstan by air. I’ll update this post soon!

Hi Petra, Please update once you have taken the ferry across as I am planning to cross in June 2022 with a vehicle

and Cynthia thank you very much for such an informative write up

Worth checking on Turkmenistan – I was told they would start issuing tourist visas again ‘by the summer’. (2023)

Hi Cathy, yes, that’s true but know that you can only travel to Turkmenistan via a guided tour. They won’t let independent travelers in…

Hi Petra, I’m also planning to get from Azarbeidjan to Kazachstan with my camper and my dog. How did it go for you? You managed to take the ferry crossing or went overland somehow? Enjoy all the travels! Regards, Lora

This is more than a year from the last post so I am not expecting much but I want to avoid Iran so the ferry sounds like an adventure(except in a F-9 gale).

The ferry is definitely an adventure! You just need to check the current requirements for Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. I’ll make updates soon!

I meant Caspian not Black Sea, sorry

Hello, Please help me as i am doing this in the next two weeks. I have seen that there is a train available from Baku to kazakstan and I was thinking of applying for a Russian transit visa to take a train from Azerbiajan(baku) at Bilajari station through Russia along the Black sea to Kazakstan and eventually Almaty. I did not see anything written on your site about this option. For me, I would feel better knowing when I am leaving than waiting for the ferry you described that may never come. So what do you think of my idea? I am not 20 or even 30 anymore and I am needing to get to Asia and my bank does not reimburse me for cancelled flights right away so I am going via land becasue my objective is just to get there. IF my bank reimbursed me up front then I could afford to lose every time an airline cancelled . I just cannot afford to do that. My plan is to move to Vietnam to teach English but I do want to see some of the Silk Road countries along the way so I have decided to take on your longest overland route to Asia form Europe. I am currently in Ohrid and will be taking a bus to Istanbul. If you have any cheap providers of buses that the refugees use for transport in the opposite duirection please let me know. I know there are some in Istanbul, I simply do not know their names because i am European. Covid is bugging me so much that I am not letting it get in my way and I am undertaking the journey overland. I have wanted to see Central Asia I oove mountains lakes and bazaars but my goal is to Vietnam. I plan to apply for a transit visa to get to Vietnam from China. Okay Thanks let me know about the train idea from Baku to Kazakstan.

Hi Tatiana,

While your idea to take a train from Baku to Kazakhstan sounds amazing, I’m not sure if you’ll be able to do so. Firstly, going to Baku will be a huge detour. You’re better off taking a train from Eastern Europe into Russia. Secondly, Covid will stand in your way. I don’t think that Russia is currently giving visas (I might be wrong). For Kazakhstan, you’ll need a corona test and a special tourist visa which is very pricey. I’m not someone telling people not to do something, even when the plan sounds difficult. However, you should really look into the countries you want to travel through right now as many still have restrictions in place and aren’t letting foreigners in. Many land borders are still closed. You might end up paying a lot more and getting stuck in a country while traveling overland now then taking an airplane to Vietnam… Wishing you all the best!

Thanks for this blog. Lifesavers.

Great to hear Sarah! When are you going to make this trip?

i love baku.

We loved it as well 🙂

This article was absolutely amazing. I love the way you write, it’s so clear, informative, and catching the whole way through. This was so helpful and very fun to read. Thanks for the amazing literary artwork!

Thank you so much Francis! I’m very happy to hear you enjoyed my guide and writing style! Are you planning on taking this ferry?

Hi, I picked up a link to your blog from “Lost with Purpose”. The Caspian Sea crossing was the first item I read. It reminded me of one of the adventures of Fitzroy Maclean related in his book “Eastern Approaches”. In the late 1930’s, Maclean was a young British diplomat stationed in Moscow. He was determined to explore Central Asia. As the area was closed to foreigners it took some ingenuity. One of his attempts was to cross the Caspian from Baku. He didn’t make but did get to experience ferry travel on the Caspian.

His adventures lured me to Uzbekistan and I’ve been there several times. I thought you might enjoy his experiences from 80 years ago. Regards, Arne

Hi Arne! Thank you for your book suggestion! Wow, now this guy was a real explorer! It was already a hassle to take this ferry, I can’t even imagine how it must have been 80 years ago! Traveling nowadays is definitely very different from how it used to be. I love reading stories like this so thank you, I’ll definitely look up this book! All the best!

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go for a stroll on the Baku Boulevard

To soak up Baku’s relaxed seaside atmosphere, take a stroll along the beloved Boulevard. Founded in 1909, this beautiful promenade and national park offers hours of pleasant strolling along the Caspian waterfront.

stroll along the Baku's boulevard

  • About the Baku Boulevard

For well over a century, the Baku Boulevard has been a beloved recreation area for Baku residents. Over the years it’s gradually been extended and beautified and nowadays, in addition to ever-changing views of the city and Baku Bay, it boasts an abundance of trees and green spaces, making it an ideal escape from the urban hustle and bustle.

What’s more, it’s home to a wealth of attractions: Don’t miss browsing the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, housed in an eye-catching carpet-shaped building and taking you on a memorable journey through Azerbaijan’s UNESCO-listed carpet art. A stone’s throw away is the spectacular Deniz Mall, packed with shops selling the best brands, plus cafes and restaurants galore and three different kids’ entertainment centres. The Bayil end of the Boulevard, beyond Flag Square, hosts the Surakhani Ship Museum – the world’s first oil tanker museum, as well as the Yarat Contemporary Art Centre and the Museum of Azerbaijani Painting of the XX-XXI Centuries.

And that’s not all! You can also: take a ride on the Baku Eye, float along the canals of Little Venice, or take a short romantic cruise across the Baku Bay. There are contemporary restaurants and traditional tea houses to relax and refuel in, and you can also explore the Boulevard by bike or electric scooter, both of which are available for rent.

Take a stroll along the Caspian-side promenade in Baku

sea cruise baku

weather and season

Air temperature, feel temperature.

  • Turning cloudy and very warm
  • speed 14.8 km/h
  • Peak Season:
  • Spring, summer, autumn

Caspian seashore boulevard

  • White City Boulevard
  • Park Bulvar Mall
  • Statue of the captain
  • Clock tower
  • Mirvari cafe
  • Azerbaijan State Puppet Theatre
  • Swans fountain complex
  • Mini Venice
  • International Mugham Center of Azerbaijan
  • Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum
  • Baku Sports Hall
  • Baku Ferris Wheel (Baku eye)
  • National Flag Square
  • Baku Crystal Hall
  • Stone Chronicle Museum
  • Yarat! Contemporary Art Space
  • Aquatic Palace

book an adventure

Choose from a wide range of places to stay and tours to enjoy for the ultimate Azerbaijan travel experience.

other experiences in Baku

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Across Caspian expanses with Premium Yachting Baku

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traditions of the East  with a modern twist

traditions of the East with a modern twist

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a palace to happiness  recounts a history of love

a palace to happiness recounts a history of love

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Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography

Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography

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From oil innovation to artistic creation

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Kamil Aliyev carpets shine with weaving mastery

Kamil Aliyev carpets shine with weaving mastery

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Hit the bull’s eye at Baku Shooting Center

Hit the bull’s eye at Baku Shooting Center

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Relax your body and mind at the Hamambath Wellness & Spa Complex

Relax your body and mind at the Hamambath Wellness & Spa Complex

The hammam is a symbol of cleanliness, purity and wellbeing in Eastern culture. A visit... More

Take a yacht trip on the blue Caspian

Take a yacht trip on the blue Caspian

Go for a sail on the Caspian Sea and have a wonderful time with your... More

In the abode of flames an exciting adventure

In the abode of flames an exciting adventure

Yanardag (the Burning Mountain) is one of Azerbaijan’s most famous sights, home to natural flames... More

Birdwatching in Absheron National Park

Birdwatching in Absheron National Park

Birders who visit this remote part of the Absheron Peninsula will be rewarded with sightings... More

House-museum of Gara Garayev

House-museum of Gara Garayev

A visit to the house-museum of Gara Garayev, one of the most prominent representatives of... More

The jazz world  of Vagif Mustafazade

The jazz world of Vagif Mustafazade

A visit to the house museum of Vagif Mustafazade, whose music and magnificent performances are... More

Discover the literary heritage of Magsud Ibrahimbayov

Discover the literary heritage of Magsud Ibrahimbayov

Magsud Ibrahimbayov (1935-2016) was an honoured Azerbaijani writer and public figure who authored numerous popular... More

Take a journey through Azerbaijan’s literary history

Take a journey through Azerbaijan’s literary history

Azerbaijan has created some of the most beautiful examples of Oriental literature in different periods... More

Immerse yourself in art on the Caspian shoreline

Immerse yourself in art on the Caspian shoreline

Constantly in search of new trends, Azerbaijan’s contemporary artists are increasingly attracting attention for their... More

Ali and Nino - walking tour of Baku

Ali and Nino - walking tour of Baku

This tour will take you to the places where the events in the novel "Ali and... More

Prominent people of Baku

Prominent people of Baku

Take a cultural tour of Baku to learn about prominent artists and musicians who left... More

Tahir Salahov’s  world of colors

Tahir Salahov’s world of colors

As you walk through the narrow streets of the Old City, you can come across... More

House-museum of genius musicians

House-museum of genius musicians

Mstislav Rostropovich, a world-famous musician and genius cellist, holds a special place among the prominent... More

Nobel brothers’ house-museum

Nobel brothers’ house-museum

By visiting the former Baku residence of the Nobel brothers, who made an exceptional contribution... More

Modern art in ancient city

Modern art in ancient city

Azerbaijan’s representatives of fine arts and sculpture, distinguished by their original works, are also well-known... More

The National Museum of History of Azerbaijan

The National Museum of History of Azerbaijan

The National Museum of History of Azerbaijan is incomparably important in terms of protection and... More

Exciting wildlife in the city center

Exciting wildlife in the city center

Without leaving the city center, you can find yourself in the animal world by visiting... More

Take a walking tour  of Soviet films shot in Baku

Take a walking tour of Soviet films shot in Baku

Baku has always stood out for its international character, blending harmoniously elements of East and... More

Visit the world’s first oil tanker museum

Visit the world’s first oil tanker museum

Did you know that the world's first oil tanker was put into operation in Baku... More

Fun for everyone at the Baku circus

Fun for everyone at the Baku circus

Professional circus shows first appeared in Azerbaijan in the late 19th century. Today, at the... More

Baku Olympic Stadium

Baku Olympic Stadium

The architecture of Baku never ceases to amaze. You’ll be convinced of this yourself after... More

Gala State Historical and Ethnographic Reserve

Gala State Historical and Ethnographic Reserve

If you want to see ancient ruins, a medieval town of the Absheron Peninsula and... More

The Museum of Miniature Books

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In Baku there’s an unusual museum whose exhibits fit easily into the palm of your... More

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Discover Gobustan's ancient rock art

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read more about region and route


Discover Baku, a truly contemporary city criss-crossed by history. From the modern elegance of the Flame Towers to the medieval old city full of life. More

Northern route

This route leads from Azerbaijan’s buzzing capital along the Caspian Sea coast and into the heart of the Caucasus Mountains. Expect outdoor adventures such as hiking, kitesurfing and paragliding, culinary surprises and some of the best scenery anywhere in the Caucasus. More

Azerbaijan right now #ExperienceAzerbaijan

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  • How To Spend 48 Hours...

How to Spend 48 Hours in Baku, Azerbaijan

Old City with the modern city of Baku in the background

Ask someone to point out Azerbaijan on a map, and you’ll probably get a blank expression. Most have heard of the country after they won the 2011 Eurovision Song Content but few know much else – making The Land of Fire an alluring destination. Here’s where to go in Baku and how to spend 48 hours in Azerbaijan’s modern capital.

Day one morning: join the free walking tour.

Most of the hotels in Baku tend to be near the Inner City, or Icheri Sheher . Wake up early and explore the historical core on foot before grabbing a coffee or Azerbaijan tea at one of the many cafés. Tea plays an important role in Azerbaijan culture.

At 10 am, join Azerbaijan Traveller for a free walking tour beginning outside Ichari Shahar Metro Station near the western walls of Icheri Sheher. Plan and reserve a place the night before.

The tour, lasting a few hours, takes you to the old town’s main sights, explains how the first oil boom contributed to the European styles of architecture in Baku, and recommends bars, cafés and restaurants. You’ll learn about Baku’s evolution from a small, fortified settlement within Icheri Sheher’s walls to the sprawling modern city it is today.

Day One Afternoon: Enjoy Modern Baku

Knowing where to go in Baku to experience its modernity is easy. The Flame Towers, a trio of skyscrapers designed to resemble flames, dominate the western skyline. Snap a few photographs before jumping on the metro and heading to Nariman Narimanov on either the red or green line.

Walk five minutes to the ultramodern architectural masterpiece Heydar Aliyev Centre. The building has flowing curved shapes without angles. Heyday Aliyev, named after the former president, symbolises Baku’s modernity and prosperous future.

Take either the red or green line to 28 May Station or head west two blocks to the attractive Heydar Aliyev Park and Heydar Aliyev Palace. The second is a Soviet-style concert hall once hosting most of the city’s main events. Continue heading west along the straight Fizuli Park and snap a few photos.

people cheering on a mountain

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The iconic Flame Towers in Baku

Day One Evening: Enjoying Baku’s Beauty

Take a taxi (or walk) to the Baku Funicular near the Flame Towers. The funicular, Azerbaijan’s first and only, costs next to nothing to ride to the top of the hill towards Martyrs Alley and the Eternal Flame. Martyrs Alley commemorates the demonstrators who lost their lives after Soviet troops opened fire in 1990. A sombre experience and a reminder of the horrors that took place just a generation ago.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Ask any local where to go in Baku for the best views, and they’ll tell you to come here. The Caspian Sea expands to the east, and the city evolves from historical to modern as you move your eyes into the distance.

Next stop is Nizami Street, Baku’s shopping district that stretches 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles). Either go down on the funicular and take a taxi or pass through Martyrs Alley and around the Flame Towers on foot. Head through Fountain Square and walk through the pedestrianised street. Keep your eyes open for the changing architectural styles from 20th-century European-style façades to the more mundane Soviet ones. Several stylish cafés and restaurants line the street.

As it starts to get dark, head south to Baku Boulevard, a long promenade alongside the Caspian Sea. Stroll along and go on the Baku Eye or ride the gondolas in Mini-Venice. Relish in the attractiveness and reflect on how fortunate you are to be in such a beautiful environment. And be sure to catch the Flame Towers as they light up after dark.

People walking down Nizami Street

Day Two Morning: Enjoying the Culture

Visiting Baku and missing out on one of its 30 museums is like going to Paris and skipping the Eiffel Tower. Head to Icheri Sheher and first visit the Palace of the Shirvanshahs . The 15th century medieval palace was the seat of former rulers. Today, it’s a UNESCO-listed building with a palace, mausoleum, and a museum. Admission is AZN10 ($5.90). Expect to spend two hours.

Next, head to Maiden Tower, the large cylindrical structure on the opposite side of the old town. Inside, there’s a museum and spiral staircase to the top of the 29.5 metre-building (96.8 feet). Admission is AZN10 ($5.90). Or, check out the Baku Museum of Miniature Books, the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum, or the National Museum of History.

Day Two Afternoon: Visit the Fire Temple

Ateshgah, Baku’s Fire Temple, dates back millennia to early Zoroastrians. The underground natural gas ignited, creating an eternal flame. Fire plays a vital role in Zoroastrianism. The current temple, 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) east of Icheri Sheher, was built between the 16th and 17th centuries. Today, it’s a historical monument of Azerbaijan and a symbol of Baku.

There are three ways to visit the Fire Temple depending on your budget. Either take bus number 184 from Narimanov Metro Station (red or green lines), hire a taxi, or join a tour. Taxis shouldn’t cost more than AZN40 ($23.50). If you take a cab, try to visit both the Fire Temple and Yanar Dag , the burning mountain. Most tours visit both the Fire Temple and the Burning Mountain.

Fire in Ateshgah Temple

Day Two Evening: Caspian Sea Cruise

When you return, before or after dinner, head back to the Boulevard. The Caspian Sea Cruise, a one-hour trip around the bay, is the perfect end to your 48 hours in Baku. Sit back and enjoy the light show on the capital’s modern skyline as you reflect on the city’s beauty.

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips , led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

sea cruise baku

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The 10 best restaurants in ganja, azerbaijan.

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    Two boats alternately depart from Baku Boulevard. Swim to the middle of the Baku bay and - back. This is called the "Sea Walk" attraction. Old Baku entertainment. Only the boats themselves are older than him. Baku Port offers a short 30-minutes ferry ride to the Caspian Sea. This little ferry is a great way to understand the scale of the ...

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    take a yacht trip on the blue Caspian. Immersing yourself in the blue waves of Baku and admiring the beauty of the Caspian Sea is a unique experience. Starting from the Seaside Boulevard, a national park, this yacht trip takes you all the way to the shores of Great Zira island. After anchoring near the island, you can spend some time sunbathing ...

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    His number is +77072929955 and he'll let you know when the next Caspian Sea Ferry is leaving. Now, as great as Ilgar is, he did send me the wrong location on Whatsapp. The boat from Aktau to Baku doesn't actually leave from Aktau, it leaves from 70km south.

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    Contact us: +994 50 235 02 35. +994 55 260 07 58. [email protected]. Azerbaijan, Baku, Central yacht club. Enjoy the Caspian sea.

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    THE 10 BEST Baku Boat Rides & Cruises. 1. "Travelway Azerbaijan". They have all kinds of tour services which i used several os them. 2. Azerbaijan Adventures LLC. Elkhan, our tour guide in Azerbaijan was excellent and went above and beyond the line of duty. 3. CaucAsian Guide.

  16. Baku Seaside Boulevard

    Baku Seaside Park - the famous Boulevard - one of the best sights of the capital of Azerbaijan, a favorite and lovely place for recreation of Baku citizens and guests of the city. In 2009, was the celebrated 100th anniversary of Baki boulevard. The length of the park, which today equals 5 km 600 meters, after the general reconstruction will ...

  17. Caspian Sea cruise, Baku, Azerbaijan

    Caspian Sea cruise, Baku, Azerbaijan. October, 2008. Arrived in August in Baku for a work stint. Work has been hectic. Been exploring the city in bits. It was election day and therefore somewhat relaxed. In the afternoon randomly planned to take a cruise on the Caspian Sea. The trip is for about an hour. It takes you out on the sea and circles ...

  18. Caspian Sea Ferry: 8 Things you Need to Know about how to cross the

    All foot passengers, cyclists, bikers, and cars have to take the ferry in the Baku Sea Port in Alat. This port is about 75km from the city center of Baku. Note: there is a chance that they might change this (again) and that you have to board the ship in the port of Baku itself. Double-check with the ticket office to be sure!

  19. Baku Boulevard … Cruise …

    The park stretches along a south-facing bay on the Caspian Sea. The length is approximately 6 KM. The boulevard has many landmarks like multi-story shopping mall Park Bulvar, Baku Business Centre and 5D. Our main attraction was cruise ride. We started our journey about 6:00 PM and it lasted for about an hour. The cruise had main and upper deck.

  20. Stroll along Caspian seaside boulevard

    go for a stroll. on the Baku Boulevard. To soak up Baku's relaxed seaside atmosphere, take a stroll along the beloved Boulevard. Founded in 1909, this beautiful promenade and national park offers hours of pleasant strolling along the Caspian waterfront.

  21. How To Spend 48 Hours In Baku Azerbaijan

    Day Two Evening: Caspian Sea Cruise. When you return, before or after dinner, head back to the Boulevard. The Caspian Sea Cruise, a one-hour trip around the bay, is the perfect end to your 48 hours in Baku. Sit back and enjoy the light show on the capital's modern skyline as you reflect on the city's beauty.

  22. After decades-long legal battle, Caspian Sea opens to tourism

    A decades-long legal dispute over the status of the Caspian Sea is finally resolved, meaning Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan will soon be open to luxury cruise trips.

  23. I would like to know where we can ride a cruise...

    Baku Boulevard, Baku: "I would like to know where we can ride a cruise..." | Check out 5 answers, plus see 2,211 reviews, articles, and 2,708 photos of Baku Boulevard, ranked No.4 on Tripadvisor among 810 attractions in Baku.