Transport and Driving in Azerbaijan
As with most infrastructure in the country, transport in Azerbaijan has undergone much development in recent years. Azerbaijan’s transport network consists of trains, buses, taxis and a metro system in Baku.
If living in central Baku it is relatively easy to get around without owning a vehicle, by either walking or taking taxis, but it’s worth getting a car if living further out. The metro system also offers a good means of getting around in Baku.
Public transport in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan has an established rail network connecting Baku to other main towns and regional neighbours. The railway system is largely in a state of disrepair and is undergoing major reconstruction. The Central Railway Station in Baku is the focal point of rail transport in Azerbaijan.
Baku Metro connects the city centre to the suburbs and is reasonably well maintained, clean and efficient. It offers the least expensive option for getting around Baku and tickets are managed via a card system. Expats can buy metro cards at counters at metro stations.
Security is usually quite tight in and around railway stations, and it’s not unusual for security guards to check bags. Tokens are required to ride the metro and these can be purchased from ticket windows at metro stations.
Buses and minibuses connect most cities within Azerbaijan as well as with cities in neighbouring Georgia, Turkey, Iran and Russia.
Both public and private buses operate in Baku. Buses to the suburbs are relatively cheap but overcrowded, while private services are more expensive but more comfortable. Tickets can generally be bought directly from the driver.
Taxis are widely available in major urban centres. They are not normally metered, so it’s best to negotiate the fare before embarking on a journey. In Baku, the state-owned Baku Taxi Company has a fleet of taxi cabs that are metered.
Driving in Azerbaijan
New freeways are under construction and the country’s oil wealth has meant many new cars are on the roads. While most roads in Baku are paved and maintained, travel outside the city may require a four-wheel drive vehicle due to the poor quality of the roads.
Traffic accidents are common in Azerbaijan as local drivers have a reputation for disobeying the rules of the road. Expats driving in Azerbaijan should exercise defensive driving techniques; it may be worth attending an advanced driving course before arriving in the country to be better prepared for the poor driving conditions.
It’s possible to drive in Azerbaijan with an International Driving Permit. EU driver’s permits are also accepted.
Air travel in Azerbaijan
Haydar Aliyev International Airport, located just outside Baku, is the main air hub in Azerbaijan. The airport connects Baku to cities throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia via numerous international carriers, including the country’s national airline, Azerbaijan Airlines.