Let Iran take your breath away with its most beautiful nature for travel and tourism.
If you ask anyone what they know about Iran, you might get responses that are on the negative side. What most people don’t know about Iran is the richness of the country’s soil in terms of natural landscapes that will surely take your breath away.
In order for us to understand why Iran has beautiful landscapes and natural sceneries, we can take a look at its geography and of course, a brief history.
Iran is strategically located in West Asia and is surrounded by bodies of water namely, the Caspian Sea in the North and the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman in the Southern parts of the region. This access to water made it possible for the country to have luscious landscapes of greeneries.
Aside from the terrific landscapes that these natural forms have to offer, the political and economic aspects of Iran was based mostly on its geography.
If one takes a closer look, one can say that Iran is who it is today because of its water forms and landforms.
Iran has a total landscape of about 636,000 square miles. This total land area makes the country seventeenth among the biggest in the world. Because of this big land area, the country is surrounded by Eurasian countries in the North, which are Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan. In the west, one can find borders that are shared with Turkey and Iraq, while in the east, Iran shares its borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Since Iran is a massive country and is surrounded by different countries with different climates, there are areas in Iran with an abundance of rain, colder winters, and very dry and very hot weather. That said, I will also discuss when is the best time to see Iran’s beautiful nature as I go along this post.
A Brief History of Iran
After getting to know the geography and climate of Iran, let us have a little review of the history of Iran. Iran’s history is very interesting to look into because just like its arts and pieces of jewelry, the history of Iran has been nothing but colorful.
Iran is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Before it became known as Iran, it was called Persia. Tracing back the origins, the first people discovered in Persia (now Iran) were known as the Elamites who started their civilization in Iran around 2700 BCE.
The most notable and perhaps the greatest civilization ever founded in Iran was the one that was started by Cyrus The Great in 550 BC to 330 BC. This paved way to so many innovations for the people at the time. As time went on, the said dynasty was challenged and had been finally overthrown by Alexander the Great from Greece.
Fast forward to thousands of years, Persia was eventually conquered by the Arabs in the 7th Century. They were the ones who established the Muslim government that is now currently ruling in the country. Even though many other nations and groups of people tried to conquer the country, the Arabs prevailed and have long established the Islamic ruling in the country.
Today, Iran is a peaceful country with scenic geography ready to be seen by the world.
Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Iran
I cannot stress it enough how beautiful this country is and how Iran has a lot of beautiful places to visit. Here are the top natural places to explore in Iran; all nature, all beautiful!
The Dasht-e Kavir of The Great Salt Plains of Iran
People most often think of Bolivia when you mention salt plains simply because it’s the biggest salt plain in the world, but did you know that Iran is also home to one of the world’s salt plains. If you live in the Middle East traveling far to Bolivia is no longer necessary if you want to see a salt plain for yourself.
The Dasht-e Kavir also known as Kavir-e Namak will astound anyone who sees it. It is beautifully located in the middle of the Iranian plateau; it is just at the northwest of Isfahan (which we’ll know later on as a home to another beautiful desert in Iran) and Yazd.
How to get to Dasht-e Kavir (Salt Plain in Iran)
If you’re traveling to the Dasht-e Kavir and if you’re a first-timer, it is highly advisable to travel to this Iranian Salt Lake desert with an expert of this desert because the temperature of the area is unimaginable. That said, be sure to bring enough water and snacks.
If you’re coming from central Iran, just after Isfahan, you should take the road to Yazd which will then take you to Naien, which is the city closest to the salt desert. Once here in Naien, you should travel along the road of Khor and Biabanak. These two roads will take you to Mesr and a quaint village called Farahzad. There are some hotels in this village you can spend the night in, Barandaz Lodge and Teeda Hotel are some of the places worth staying in.
I repeat, it is highly advisable to have a local guide to get to this place. You will need someone who has enough experience traveling the roads to the Salt Plain and, of course, have the appropriate vehicle. An SUV is very recommendable.
Iran is massive, you turn to one area and it’s all about mountains, you turn to another and it’s all great, plain deserts, and now another one of Iran’s blessings is the Qeshm Island. While it’s still part of Iran, traveling alone to Qeshm Island will make you feel like you’ve been transported to another part of the world.
Take a look at, for example, the Valley of the Stars located in Qeshm. It’s a gorgeous gorge or canyon that is just magnificent and breath-taking. The canyons got their name from folklore that says that it had been made from stars. Locals do not encourage staying in overnight because they believe that the place is filled with supernatural creatures that take people.
Another natural geological feature that you have to see while in Qeshm Island is the Salt Cave in the Hormozgan Province. The road to the Salt Cave might be long and tedious but the view will make it worth it. The experience of seeing the beautiful combination of the red stone and the white color of the salt will instantly make you think of a red velvet cake, but hold back from tasting it, because it won’t be as sweet as it looks! Another marvelous thing about the Qeshm Salt Cave is how it is one of the world’s longest caves to explore. You must be considered a professional at cave explorations with the right gear in order to delve deep into it. But if not, it’s also just an astounding geological wonder from the outside.
If you’re a huge fan of Star Wars, you’re definitely going to get a very Star Wars fantasy world vibes when you go to the whole island. Didn’t I say you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to another country when you go to Qeshm Island?
How to get to Qeshm Island?
If you’re flying to Iran from Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport, you’ll be traveling to Qeshm Island for fourteen hours if traveling by road. However, if you’re looking for the easiest and fastest way to travel to the island, you can do so by flying. From the Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport, you’ll reach Qeshm Island after traveling by air for 5 hours.
It will take you more than 14 hours to reach Qeshm Island by land. But I assure you that this will all be worth it once you see just how magnificently breath-taking the sites will be.
If you’re an avid mountain hiker, Iran has one of the world’s most accessible 5,000-meter ascent and it is known as Mount Damavand which is part of the Alborz Mountain Range that stretches across the northern part of Iran. On a clear day, one can see the snowy caps of this geological titan from the city.
Fun fact, Mount Damavand is Asia’s second most prominent peaks, the first, of course, is the world’s highest point, Mount Everest. According to the geological timeline of the mountain, Mount Damavand came to its existence during the Pleistocene age which is more than 1.78 million years ago. Another geological fun fact, Mount Damavand is actually considered to be a potentially active volcano. However, if you plan to ascend the mountain, there is probably no need to worry since the mountain last erupted in the Holocene era, which was around 5300 BC. The operative word is “potentially”, as there were pieces of evidence that the mountain was emitting sulfur, but that was in 2007.
As of this writing, there are about 16 recorded routes to trek the summit. If trekking is really your passion, you’ll find more than enough ways to climb Mount Damavand whether you’re a newbie in mountain climbing or a seasoned professional.
How to get to Mount Damavand
One of the major areas where Mount Damavand climbers stay in is the Iranian Mountain Federation Camp in Polour which can be found at the south of the mountain. Polour is about 2 hours from Tehran when driven by a private car.
If you’re a frugal traveler and would like to travel to Polour via public transport, you can take a shuttle bus from Tehran or go on an adventure by scheduling a train ride from the capital to Polour. If you’re going by train, make sure that you’re booking ahead of time, tickets for train travel run out. Get in touch with an agency as soon as you can so you can get the best tickets.
The Badab-e Surt or The Limestone Terraced Hot Spring of Iran
If you’ve seen the third installment of Avengers, Thanos settled in a place where there were luscious green terraces, but that’s not what they have in Iran. The country offers limestone terraces which is equally majestic and it is called the Badab-e Surt.
The best way to describe the Badab-e Surt is how comparable it is to a block of cheese cut in such a way that it will have different levels. Unlike the Yellowstone which is mainly composed of silica, the Limestone Terrace of Iran is composed of iron oxide which gives it its characteristic yellow color.
The best time to go to Badab-e Surt is when it’s almost sunset because the sunset’s colors is mirrored from the shiny limestone terrace steps and compliment the steps of the terrace perfectly. It looks like as if a giant had spilled a bucket of colors on it! Instagram that!
How to get to Badab-E Surt
Unlike all the other natural sceneries I shared with you earlier in the post, the town where Badab-e Surt is located is only about five hours from Tehran. This means that it can be travelled by car or even by public transport.
By public transport, you can book a train from Tehran to Sari. Badab-e Surt is not directly accessible by public transport. So, after booking that train, you’ll still have to get to the location by car and then do a little hiking as the terrace is just up the mountain.
On days when there’s not much tourist groups, you’ll find that the place is pretty quiet and very serene, which can be considered a lucky day for people who do not like mixing in with the crowds too much. This way, you’ll be able to revel and take in the beauty of the place even more.
Let’s talk more about the water forms that you can find in Iran. For most people, the first thing that they only think of when they think of Iran is most probably deserts. Sure, there are more deserts, but we cannot discredit the beautiful forms of water available, just like Lake Urmia.
Lake Urmia is home to Artemia or a brine shrimp which survives in the high salinity of the lake. Artemia are considered food by migratory birds, pelicans and egrets. Artemia has quite a famous relative which you can buy from toy stores many Iranian local souvenirs. If you’re familiar with Sea Monkeys or Aqua Dragons, know that you’ve encountered a family member of the Iranian brine shrimp.
Aside from the brine shrimp, you will be able to see what locals call the “fist of Osman”, it is the smallest island in the lake and is a complete stand-out.
Sadly, Lake Urmia is drying up. According to scientists, the lake has since shrunk from 90% of its original size since the 1990s. That means, what you will see now is the remaining 10%. It used to be the largest saltwater lake in the Middle East, until its shrinkage. This, according to the scientists, can be attributed to the rapid rate of global warming.
How to Get to Lake Urmia
Before it becomes a large salt plain, you should pay the lake a visit. Lake Urmia is accessible by car and public transport. From the airport, you can take a bus or a train to Urmia. This can take a total of about 18 hours. You can lessen the time of travel by getting a private car and driving straight to the location for about seven hours.
If budget is no concern, you can take a flight from the airport to Tabriz airport and fly for an hour. Once you’re out of the Tabriz airport, you can again take a private car and travel to the lake for about two hours. Otherwise, you can take a train from Tabriz that comes once a day to Ajab Shir. From Ajab Shir, the lake is 40 kilometers from the train stop of Ajab Shir.
A waterfall in the desert? Now, that is something quite unheard of! But, not in Iran. Having mountains as borders, Iran is also home to a couple of waterfalls both big and small. Among the most famous is the Margoon Waterfall located in the province of Fars.
Margoon, in local language, translates to serpentine-like or snake-like, which is how to best describe this grandiose waterfall. From the top to the drop, the waterfall has a total height of about 70 meters and a width of about 100 meters. The whole area where you can find Margoon Waterfalls is elevated and sits in a mountainous place. It is home to wild animals such as hyenas, boars, bears, and eagles. Environmentalists and scientists are continuously pushing for the conservation of area because this natural scenery is experiencing the effects of overtourism.
How to Get to Margoon Waterfall
To reach Margoon falls, you must first reach the province of Fars. From Tehran, you can take a train going to Ardakan. Again, you should approach a travel agency to book you a ticket in advance if you want to see Margoon falls. However, you can also take a private car. By road, you can reach Ardakan within 6 hours from leaving Tehran. From the main city of Ardakan, you’ll still need to travel more than 60 Kilometers to reach the mountain site where you will need to walk on concrete steps up to where the falls will be.
If you love travelling, Iran is definitely a stop you shouldn’t miss. Besides the great ancient architecture, the rich culture and history, and the delicious Iranian food, let Iran take your breath away with its natural landscapes that you really shouldn’t miss.
Surely, traveling to Iran will be an unforgettable trip worth taking. So, what are you waiting for? Book that flight and we’ll see you in our next article featuring the ever so lovely country of Iran. Until next time!