Map from Google - Azerbaijan
In Azerbaijan, the climate is slightly continental
, with relatively cold winters and hot summers; it's also arid in most of the low-lying areas, while it becomes colder and generally rainier in the mountains. The coastline on the Caspian Sea is semi-arid in the northern part, and arid in the center (see Baku), while it becomes rainy in the southernmost stretch, which is therefore an exception to the rule that the plains of Azerbaijan are arid.
in Azerbaijan is cold but not freezing, at least in the plains. The Caucasus Mountain Range partially protects inland areas from the outbreaks of cold air from Russia, so that the north wind descending from the mountains is warm and dry, similar to Foehn or Chinook, while along the coast the cold wind blows intensely but it's tempered by the Caspian Sea. Anyway, in winter there may be some light snow and frost on the coast, but especially in inland areas, where the cold air stagnates with more ease, after the wind has ceased.
in Azerbaijan is hot and sunny, with some afternoon thunderstorms in inland areas.
The mountainous areas
are usually green and full of woods and streams; the highest peak is Bazardüzü, 14,652 feet high, located in the northern Caucasus Range, on the border with the Russian Republic of Dagestan. Some natural parks are also located in the plains and along the coast, to protect the species of birds that come to nest in these area, or marine animals such as seals.
The capital Baku
lies on the coast, 92 feet below sea level (the Caspian Sea is in fact a large lake located in a depression). Here, the average temperature in February is 39.5 °F, while that of July is 79.5 °F. The rains are scarce, at a semi-desert level, amounting to just 8.5 inches per year, with a maximum between autumn and winter, when they are light but relatively frequent, and a minimum in summer.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Baku
Summer is indeed hot and sunny, with highs around 85 °F. In the cold months, polar air masses can bring strong winds; Baku is indeed a windy city
: the Khazri
(cold north wind), alternate with the Gilavar
(warm wind from the south), in addition to the summer breeze. Here are the average temperatures of Baku.
Average temperatures - Baku
For swimming and sunbathing, the sea temperature is warm enough, exceeding 73 °F, from July to September, while it's still cool in June.
Sea temperature - Baku
In the southern part of the coast, Lenkoran
(or Lankaran) has more or less the same temperature as Baku, but is much more rainy, because it's located at the foothills of the Talysh Range, which forces air masses to rise and condense. In fact here 45 inches of rain fall in a year, with a maximum between September and November. The rains are still quite abundant until March, and at times in winter even snowfalls can be heavy. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Lenkoran
In the interior of the country we find Ganja
, which is located at 1,300 feet above sea level, and whose climate is a bit more continental, so that the average temperature goes from 35.5 °F in January, to 78 °F in July. During summer the temperature can reach at times 105 °F, while in winter it can drop to 5 °F.
Average temperatures - Ganja
The rains are not abundant, amounting to 12 inches per year, but they are slightly more abundant than in Baku. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Ganja
Outside the borders of the country, south of Armenia, there is a small exclave of Azerbaijan: the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic
. Here the climate is also dry, but it becomes definitely continental, because it's distant from the sea. Hence, in Nakhchivan, 2,950 feet above sea level, the average temperature goes from 26.5 °F in January to 80.5 °F in July. During winter the temperature drops easily to -4 °F, while in summer it easily reaches 105 °F.
Average temperatures - Nakhchivan
The rainfall amount is low, around 10.5 inches per year, with a maximum in spring and a minimum in summer. In winter, a snow layer, though not thick, often lies on the ground. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Nakhchivan
When to go
The best times to travel to Azerbaijan are spring and autumn
, and in particular the months of May and October, although in October it rains a lot in the southern city of Lenkoran. Except for the exclave of Nakhchivan, which can be hot even in September, usually September is also a good month for Baku and the main territory.
What to pack
In winter: in Baku, the plains and the coast, warm clothes, sweater, jacket, hat, raincoat or umbrella. In high mountains, mountain clothes, hiking shoes. In Nakhchivan, very warm clothes, fleece, down jacket, gloves, hat.
In summer: in Baku, the plains and the coast, light clothes for the day, sun hat, a light sweatshirt for the evening, a scarf for the breeze. In the mountains, spring/autumn clothes, sun hat, sweater and jacket, hiking shoes, possibly a raincoat or umbrella; mountain outfit for the highest peaks.
For the Nakhchivan: in the capital and the valley, lightweight clothes for the day, light sweatshirt for the evening; at higher altitudes, jacket and sweater for the evening.