In the year 2016, the Azerbaijan tourism ministry announced easy E-visa for most of the nationalities. Soon after the decision, it turns into an attraction among the tourists. The country lies in the Caspian Sea and shares areas of Asia and Europe. Tourists mostly visit Baku the capital of Azerbaijan, Gabala Hill station, and Shahdag Mountain Resort. It is a wonderful hill station and turns snowy in winter with a wonderful ski resort in the great Caucasus mountain range. I visited Shahdag Mountain Resort in February 2019. It made me astonished and surprised. The place is not less than any mountain resort in Europe.
What is Shahdag Mountain Resort
Shahdag is enriched with ancient glaciers, deep ravine, exciting mountain lakes, and canyons. The area has an ecological treasure of flora and fauna. Shahdag has the glory and glam of nature. This Mountain Resort came into existence in the year 2012. Shahdag is 4243 m above sea level in the Great Caucasus mountain ranges, located 29 km from the city of Gusar, Azerbaijan. The Shahdag Mountain Resort is located near the National Park of Shahdag. The Mountain Resort becomes famous for skiing and other winter sports.
How to go to Shahdag Mountain Resort
We arrived at Hyder Alvie International Airport Baku. In the capital city of Azerbaijan where most of the international flights land. We were on an excursion of Baku Old City when we saw a local tour operator’s office they offered us to Take Shahdag, Quba, and Jewish Village Also known as the Red Village with lunch and Cable car in 70AZN. The amount for a day tour it was quite reasonable. Me and my friend book that tour for the other day they ask us to be ready at 7.00 am. The next day we got up early and had our breakfast and got ready. The total distance from Baku to Shahdag Mountain is around 210 KM. In around 3 hours you can reach Shahdag Mountain Resort. However, the ride is beautiful with small towns and other historical places that would be discussed further in our blog.
Left for Shahdag Mountain Resort from Baku
So, we left for Shahdag early morning and head to the destination without a stopover. It was a scenic and beautiful journey. Well, it was the month of February, winters in Caucus Mountains are all snowy however it’s all green in summers. When we were about to reach Shahdag we saw snow in on the way. The roads and infrastructure are exceptional and we didn’t face any problem reaching our destination.
Activities Shahdag Mountain Resort
When we reached this place all the cars were covered with snow. People coming from countries where there is no or little snow could have a snowy treat in Shahdag Mountain Resort. Our tour guide already had tickets. However, the complete day tour ticket with all the activity is around $25. It’s quite reasonable as compare to other countries. When we entered the complex it has a ticket counter and soon there was a place to play for kids. In front of the play area, there was a big cafe that was serving coffee and snacks. On the other side, there was a shop to buy a ski pack and its equipment.
Top elevation of Shahdag Mountain Resort
The top elevation of Shahdag Mountain is 4243m. This resort is the biggest ski resort in the country. We had to take a cable car to reach on top. The open cable car is an exceptional experience in snow and everything is just like a dream winter wonderland. After reaching upon height there were tourists doing ski and enjoying. There was a small cafe which was offering hot chocolate and coffee. The place was magical and it was full of fun.
Hotels at Shahdag Mountain Resort
There are three five star hotels that are nearest to the resort and also provide the facility of the ski from the doorstep. However, there are some people who only intend to have a day tour like us. Staying in the hotel is experiencing the snowing evening and mesmerizing night. Although, after sunset, there are only restaurants that serve other activities on the resorts that are closed. People we met at Shahdag Mountain Resort who stayed at night in hotels told us that they are did not enjoy the night because of limited activity.
On the way back
As we reached at 11.00 am, we completed our day tour in around 3 hours and after that, we were tired and was hungry for lunch. We were told by our tour operator that this is Quba District and Quba itself is a beautiful city. There are around three classy and beautiful hotels where they had doorstep ski. Shahdag Hotel and Spa, Pik Palace Shahdag, and Park Chalet. We would recommend these hotels for a night stay at this beautiful hill station Shahdag Mountain Resort.
On the way back from Shahdag Mountain Resort, our tour operator took us to Quba which is the developed city for lunch. We had a great meal at a local restaurant. Quba is pronounced Guba as a city of the old architecture of soviet styles. It has some old landmarks that make this city special. The city is just 45 mins drive away from Shahdag. This city is located in the foot of the Caucasus region. This region is historically famous. According to Bible Prophet Noah’s arc stationed at the Caucasus after the storm. We recommend to visit this city for an hour or two but not more than that because it does not have much to do.
Red Town/ Jewish Village
In Quba there is a town of ancient Jews settlement. Azerbaijan is a religious friendly country and because of that reason, these settlements were never disturbed in any era. We visit this town and saw many children wearing traditional religious Jews caps. We also visit a Synagogue. These Jews are living in the country for over 2000 years. This is also the most biggest Jews community living outside Israel. We enjoyed sightseeing and historical settlements. We also saw the star of David outside homes and it feels very special to us.