The city of Baku is located on the hot and dusty Absheron peninsula. The center of Baku is a patch of green in a largely brown area because of the many liters of water that is piped to the city every day. The city has a metro, a well developed bus and mini bus network, and a large area for walking including the Inner Walled City, The Bulvar, and Fountain Square.
To prepare for traveling in Baku City center; Comfortable shoes, shorts, t-shirt and some sun-cream wouldn't go a miss. Read some articles online to get a feel for the city and how to get about, taxis are very easy to find and most drivers even though they don't speak English still have a rough idea, taxis within the City are cheap. Make sure you have your emergency numbers on you also.
Fortress gate in Baku
Heydar Aliyev International Airport (IATA: GYD) is situated 25 km (15 mi) from Baku city center. It is served by major airlines including Aeroflot, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa and Qatar Airways, and a whole host of smaller airlines. The least expensive way to get between Baku and Europe is via Aeroflot, with inexpensive flights to/from Moscow daily. Air Baltic also offers flights with good prices from/via Riga.
Bus N16 runs between the airport and Samed Vurgun Park, in the heart of Baku. The trip costs 1AZN and takes over an hour.
Minibus 135 runs between the airport traffic circle (15-min walk from the airport) and the 28 May Metro Station. The journey takes an hour and costs 0.40AZN.
Getting a smooth ride from the airport to town can be a hassle. The lowest price you can get for a taxi to the center should be around 15 Manat (old Lada, unmarked taxi). Be aware that there is one single taxi company that is allowed to officially do business at the airport. This monopoly drives up the price to nearly 50 Manat and many times it leaves you with no other options, especially when arriving at late hours. Police occasionally force out all cab drivers trying to do business on the fringes of the airport, leaving you stuck with a high fare. Taxis don't have meters so you must negotiate in advance. If you are not finding a reasonable price, go out of the airport, past the taxi stand, and ask the cabbies in the far end of the parking lot. Be cautious since the majority of Baku cabs are unmarked. Don't let the cab driver renegotiate the price with you. It is a common trick to ask for much more on arrival to your destination. You are not obligated to pay what they demand.
For 5 Manat you can take a cab from the airport to Metro Azizbeyov. From there it's four to six stations to the city center - but only from 6AM until midnight.
Unpack your things in your apartment or hotel, have a wonder about your hotel and get to know your surroundings. Ask the Hotel desk for a telephone to phone if you are lost.
Buses run between Baku and Lankaran (departs: 11:50AM, 3PM, 4PM, 5PM), Sheki (hourly, 4AZN, 7-hr trip). International buses also operate from destinations in Iran, Turkey and from Tbilisi. A common rule of thumb for bus rates in Azerbaijan seems to be about 1AZN per hour ride. Example: Agstafa is about 7 or 8 hours away from Baku. About 8AZN.
Minbuses operate between Baku and Sheki (6 hr), Lankaran (5 hr), Xachmaz (3 hr), Saatli (5 hr), and Imishli (4 hr).
The phone number of the sea terminal (Daniz Vagzal) is 994 12 447 7314.
Ferries operate between Baku and Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, (Irregularly, approximately every 7-10 days), and Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan (steerage bed, US$50, 2-day trip, bring food).
Make sure you have appropriate visas before embarking, if necessary.
Check into lodging
Eat lunch at Fountain Square.. Their is a McDonalds, Lebanese food (Doner Kebab etc..) and Sunset Cafe (Great Ice-Cream & Milkshakes) and walk around the square.
Walk towards Boulevard and walk along side the Caspian Sea and take in the wonderful views.
Visit the Park Bulvar shopping center and Crystal Hall (Where they hosted Eurovision 2012) you may need to get a taxi.
Go to the Old City and climb the Maiden's tower, and spend the rest of the afternoon walking through the narrow streets and visiting the Palace and old mosques.
Have dinner in the Old City (Karvan Saray for Azeri food in a unique ambience, Sultan Inn rooftop or Meridien hotel rooftop restaurants for european/fusion with excellent views) or head back to the Fountain Square for greater variety of inexpensive cuisine.
Go to the Jazz Cafe (live jazz at 9pm), a movie at the movie theater in Fountain Square (in Azeri mostly), or club/pub/bar for a drink, or two.
Take metro/cab to 20 Yanvar metro station. At metro exit, turn right and right around the block to get to Chudo Pechka. There's plenty of sweet/savory pastries to choose from (take out only). Walk across the road to the park with the 26 Commissars monument and enjoy the food there.
Alternatively, at Sahil metro exit, turn left and walk one block to Cafe Aroma for coffee/tea.
Go to the Ateshgah Fire Temple via electric train (leaves 28 May station at 10:20) Alternatively, marshrutkas depart from Qara Qarayev or azizbeyov metro stations
Return to 28 May station and eat a lunch of Western food and head to Adams Sports Bar (Indian food)- Amazing food cooked by Indian chefs with very friendly staff. Located: 29 Byul-Byul Ave.
Visit the Carpet Museum beside the Boulevard or Go shopping around Nizami street there is expensive shopping or local shops.
If you want to splash out for dinner visit CHiNAR (1, Shovket Alakbarova str) (Japanese, Western and other International foods)
In the evening, go to the opera at the national opera on Nizami street. Otherwise, go to the bars around Fountain Square. The Garage, Tortuga, Shamrock and Shakespears (Great food).
Check out of the lodging
Buy pastries at Chudo Pechka by for breakfast and eat them in the nearby park
Go to 20 January station and catch a mini-bus to the next destination
Carry your passport with you when out and about, but keep it in a safe place on your person. The reason you'll need it as the Police may stop random westerners for a passport check, nothing bad just keeping themselves busy I think.
Don't walk dwn poorly lit alleys yourself at night.