The distance from the Baku international airport (GYD) to the city center is 25 kilometers and takes around 30 minutes to reach there. One of the least expensive ways to get to city center is by bus operating round the clock. Here is the list of options you can use for transferring to city center
The easiest way to get from the airport to the city center and hotels is the taxi which is available in front of the arrival gates at the airport terminal building. The taxis look like traditional London black cabs except the color here is purple. Because of purple color many locals call this taxi “Badimcan” (eggplant). A taxi journey to the city center should cost no more than 25-30 AZN. There are tout taxi driver posing as authorized taxi driver or Uber driver, don’t negotiate or take taxi from them.
App based taxi is also available in the country and offers a cheaper rate than the official taxi. Uber, Yandex and Bolt works fine. You need to connect to the airport WiFi to use this service and have an existing account. If you don’t have existing account you can buy sim card from airport and register your account. These app based taxis are cheaper than the airport pick-up option available through your hotel or hostel. Always verify the vehicle license plate and driver before boarding these taxis.
Airport Express Bus
The cheapest way to get to the Baku city center is by bus. You can use airport express bus H1, which directly goes from Heydar Aliyev International Airport to city center/28 May Metro Station. The Express bus travels non-stop from Baku airport to Koroglu metro station and then non-stop to 28 May station. From Koroglu metro station or 28 May metro station you can go to other parts of the city or your hotel by metro, taxi or by walk. Please note that you need to buy BakiKart for using this bus service. Price of BakiKart card is 2 AZN and top up with the amount required to cover the journey. You can also you this card in most of the buses and metro. The bus stop is in front of the airport. The travel time from the Airport to the last stop is 30 minutes or more depending on the local traffic condition. The airport express bus runs 24 hours a day at half an hour interval. From 6 am to 7 pm it runs every 30 min. between 7 PM to 9 pm every 40 minutes and service is further reduced to every hour from 9 pm to 6 am. These airport buses are 48 seater air-conditioned buses with onboard WiFi. For information and bus schedule on the day of your travel check Airport express bus website.
Aero Express buses accepts payment through BakıKart system only. One way fare is 1.3 AZN. To buy ticket on Aero Express please find BakıKart Kiosk which is located near the exit of terminal 1 building. To purchase the tickets from BakıKart kiosk you will need few Manat as the machine does not accept card payments and help from local (or use mobile translator app) in purchasing the card since the language is not available in English. If you have plan to use Baku card (different from BakıKart) during your stay and purchasing it from airport, transfer from airport to city is free on airport express bus. For more about BakıKart and other public transport options available in Baku, read this;
Moving around in Baku using public transport
Private transfer / Hotel shuttle
Even though taxi services in Baku are regulated the chances of scamming are high. There is communication problem, faulty taxi meters and unauthorized taxis demanding sky-high fares from tourists a common problem. Instead of negotiating with the drivers, the best option is to ask your hotel/guest house to arrange a shuttle for you. Most of the hotels, tour operator and individuals are providing this services and the shuttle service costs between 25 to 30 ANZ approximately. This option is costlier than others but your first experience with Baku will be pleasant