Azerbaijan Caucasus Walking holiday
Description of Azerbaijan Caucasus Walking holiday
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As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
PlanetAs a company we advise our customers to travel to Azerbaijan with reusable water bottles, preferably one with an inbuilt filter that purifies the local water, and lunch boxes (for picnics). Both items help minimise the purchase of single-use plastics throughout the trip.
On this walking trip, we spend as much of our time as possible exploring Azerbaijan's Caucasus mountain landscapes on foot, minimising our carbon footprint and impact on the environment. In the cities of Baku and Sheki, we discover the main sights on walking tours helping to minimise unnecessary traffic congestion.
On our walking tours and hikes we take in sites such as the Maidens Tower in Baku's UNESCO-listed walled old quarter, the Khan's Palace in Sheki and the ruins of Gelersen-Goresen fortress near Kish. The entry fees from these culturally important landmarks goes directly back into their conservation and maintenance.
As a travel company we are continually looking for ways to improve and are proud to be ‘Responsible in everything we do’. Education is key, and so all staff, Tour Leaders and partnering suppliers are trained in responsible and sustainable tourism. At our Head Office, we continually strive towards a sustainable and planet-friendly working environment, including having solar panels installed and a company commitment to reducing our plastic usage.
PeopleEnjoying typical Azerbaijani cuisine at small family-run cafes and restaurants is both an opportunity to try something different and helps to support the local economy. Our local Azeri tour leaders make recommendations of dishes to try in the different places we say. An example of this is in Sheki where you can try Piti, a type of a sort of a mutton soup with chickpeas and chestnuts that is cooked in a closed clay pot. Driving around Azerbaijan, we will stop at one of the many roadside tea-gardens where travellers stop to drink samovar-brewed sweet tea and eat snacks such as Qutab, a sort of pancake stuffed with either spicy lamb or cheese and spinach.
Another way our visit directly benefits the communities we visit financially is through the purchase of local handicrafts and produce. The ancient mountain village of Lahic is famous for its coppersmiths and you can buy a traditional engraved pot or plate directly from its maker in one of the many workshops that line its main street. Local honeys and brightly-coloured circular fruit 'leathers' are sold at roadside stalls throughout Azerbaijan. The village houses in Xinaliq sell home-knitted woollen socks and hats. We'll also visit a workshop where the colourful geometrically-patterned glass work as seen in Sheki Khan's Palace, is crafted, totally without the use of any nails or glue.
We have worked with our in-country partners in Azerbaijan for many years, a partnership that has seen tourism in both countries grow and mature along with our own businesses. During this time we have helped to recruit and train local Azeri tour leaders.
One of the reasons we prefer to use local tour leaders is that they can give a real insight into the culture and history of their home country by sharing their own stories and experiences and helping us to communicate with local people. A good example of this is when in Xinaliq, Azerbaijan's highest inhabited village, we are hosted for lunch by a local family. The inhabitants of this area are a distinct ethnic group with their own language. Our leader is able to share their stories with us and help both guests and hosts ask any questions they might have for each other.
As a company we have valuable and longstanding partnerships with UK charities Toilet Twinning and Send a Cow, plus many smaller initiatives and projects around the world. We’re members of the UK travel industry body AITO because we believe it’s important to share our knowledge and experience, as well as learn from other operators.
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