Are you tired of the cold and cloudy skies and need to get some sunlight and hot weather? Or do you want some cool and refreshing weather to escape the heat of long summer days? Fancy a stroll amidst some greenery or looking for exciting desert adventures? No matter what you are looking for, you can find it in Iran, almost any time of the year! This is due to Iran’s diverse geophysical and climatic conditions. Therefore, you might want to tour Iran to get the most of the country’s incredibly diverse landscapes.
Tour Iran for its Forests
Nearly one-tenth of Iran is covered by forests. These forests are located in 5 regions across the country. The southern coast of the Caspian Sea is one of the main regions which is home to dense, temperate Hyrcanian forests.
1. Hyrcanian Forests
The famous Hyrcanian Forests stretch along the northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains. The ancient forests form a green belt covering parts of three provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan in the Caspian Sea region. They are home to a large number of plant species in Iran.
UNESCO added Hyrcanian Forests to its World Heritage List in July 2019. The forests are also home to 180 species of bird and 58 mammal species including the iconic Persian Leopard.
2. Zagros Forests
The Zagros Mountains are one of the main mountain ranges in Iran. They are home to forests constituting 40 percent of Iran’s forested area. Zagros Forests stretch over 12 provinces in western Iran.
Persian oak is the dominant tree species in this region. The forests are also home to many animal species including the Persian squirrel.
3. Iranian-Turanian Forests
The Iranian-Turanian Forests are located in the semi-arid regions of central Iran between the Alborz and Zagros mountain ranges. Trees in this type of forests are scattered and form small patches of forested areas covering the central plateau of Iran. You can find Iranian-Turanian Forests in Razavi, Northern, and Southern Khorasan provinces.
4. Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman Forest Zone
These forests cover parts of the coasts of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman in southern Iran. They form a narrow strip of forested area which runs through Khuzestan, Hormozgan and Sistan and Baluchestan provinces. Mangrove forests are one of the most important forested areas in this region. Qeshm Island is home to a large Mangrove forest.
5. Arasbaran Forests
Arasbaran Forests cover some 70,000 hectares of land in East Azerbaijan Province and the northwestern part of Ardabil Province. This forested area was listed as a wildlife sanctuary by UNESCO in 1976.
Arasbaran Forests are home to varied flora and fauna as well as endemic, priority and rare species.
Tour Iran for its Mountains
About 55 percent of Iran’s surface area is covered by mountains and the rest consists of plains, deserts, lakes, and salt marshes. Therefore, Iran is a mountainous country and you can tour Iran to see mountains. There are two major mountain ranges in Iran: the Alborz and Zagros mountains. Two other mountain ranges include the Central Mountain Range and the Eastern Mountain Range.
1. The Alborz
The Alborz mountain range extends for 950 kilometers all the way from Azerbaijan to Afghanistan passing through Iran and the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea.
The highest peak in this Alborz Mountains is Mount Damavand with a height of 5,671 meters. Mount Damavand is a potentially active volcano with a crater of about 400 meters in diameter. It last erupted Damavand last erupted about 7,300 years ago.
2. The Zagros
The Zagros is the largest and longest mountain range in Iran. It stretches from West Azerbaijan Province and passes through the provinces of Kurdistan, Hamedan, Kermanshah, Ilam, Lorestan, Khuzestan, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, Kohgiluyeh and Boyerahmad, Bushehr, Fars, and Hormozgan to the north of the Strait of Hormuz.
The highest peak in this mountain range is Mount Dena with a height of 4,400 meters. Zard Kuh (4,200m) is another tall peak in the Zagros Mountain Range.
3. The Central Mountain Range
This is an uninterrupted mountain range in central Iran. At some points, the range is connected to the Alborz and the Zagros.
The range stretched from Kashan to Kerman Province. Shir Kuh (4,050m) near the city of Yazd is one of the high peaks in this mountain range.
4. The Eastern Mountain Range
This mountain range extends from Khorasan Province to Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the east of Iran.
Taftan Mountain (3939m) in southeastern Iran is the highest mountain in this range.
Tour Iran for its Deserts
One-fourth of Iran’s surface area consists of deserts which mainly cover central and eastern parts of the country. These deserts, which witness some of the highest temperatures on Earth, are among the top destinations in Iran. Two well-known deserts in Iran are Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut.
1. Dasht-e Kavir
Dasht-e Kavir is a vast desert lying in the middle of the Iranian plateau. Also known as the Great Salt Desert, Dasht-e Kavir is about 800 kilometers long and 320 kilometers wide. It covers parts of Khorasan, Semnan, Tehran, Isfahan and Yazd provinces.
It is recommended to avoid staying in the arid and inhospitable area for a long time in summer as temperatures reach as high as 50°C. However, it is always a magnificent destination for those seeking adventure during the cooler months of the year. It is needless to say that you need to hire an experienced local guide if you wish to explore the desert.
2. Dasht-e Lut
Dasht-e Lut (the Lut Desert) is famous for being home to some of the hottest and driest places on Earth. Visitors will enjoy beautiful and strange scenery including diverse terrain and fantastic views of Kalouts and sand dunes in Dasht-e Lut.
Visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities in Dasht-e Lut including desert hiking, desert camping, sandboarding, sand skiing, 4-wheel driving in the dunes and photography.
Tour Iran for its Islands
If you have picturesque island landscapes on your mind then Iran is the perfect holiday location. Iran is positioned between the Caspian Sea to the north and the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to the south. Iranian islands are mainly located in the Persian Gulf. Out of some thirty Iranian islands in the Persian Gulf more than half of them are not populated. Ashuradeh is Iran’s only island in the Caspian Sea. Following we list some of the beautiful islands you can visit as a tourist.
1. Kish Island
It is a well-known island among tourists partly because you don’t need an Iranian visa to enter the island. The scenic Kish Island is Iran’s most popular island resort.
Kish is known as “the Pearl of the Persian Gulf” hosting numerous attractions which draw a large number of tourists to the island each year.
2. Qeshm Island
A tour of Qeshm Island could be one of the main highlights of your trip to Iran. It is the largest island in the Persian Gulf, located in the Strait of Hormuz. There are numerous attractions on the island including biologically diverse mangrove forests and beautiful beaches.
3. Hormuz Island
Hormuz Island is another destination which you should certainly add to your itinerary if you are looking to get off the beaten path. The island is known as the Rainbow Island due to the ranging colors of its soil.
Here you can find some of the most wonderful landscapes dominated by colorful beaches overlooked by mountains in shades of red, pink, purple and yellow. Locals have fantastic stories about the island to tell you.
4. Ashuradeh Island
Ashuradeh is the only Iranian island in the Caspian Sea. The island is located west of Bandar Torkaman in Golestan Province, in the northeast of Iran.
With pristine nature, Ashuradeh is registered as a natural reserve hosting diverse species of flora and fauna.
Tour Iran for its Beaches
You can find scenic beaches with unique landscapes both in the north and south of Iran. The Caspian Sea coastline has some very attractive beaches with breath-taking scenery. Visitors can also enjoy exploring and relaxing at the picturesque beaches on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman in southern Iran.
1. Caspian Sea Coast
The Caspian Sea coastline is undoubtedly the most popular destination for Iranian tourists. Three Iranian provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan are located along the southern coastline of the Caspian Sea.
Among the most popular beaches of the region are Anzali and Chamkhaleh beaches in Gilan Province, Ramsar and Sisangan beaches in Mazandaran Province and Bandar-e Torkaman beach in Golestan province.
2. Chabahar Beach
It is one of the most beautiful beaches along the coastline of the Sea of Oman in Sistan and Baluchestan Province. Chabahar Beach consists of rocky shores with huge waves crashing onto them and rising up to 5 meters.
Chabahar Beach is a picturesque destination with lots of attractions and wonderful land formations whatever time of the year you visit it.
3. Bandar Abbas Beach
Bandar Abbas is a southern Iranian port city and the capital of Hormozgan Province. The port’s beach is among the top attractions of the city where you can enjoy great views of the Persian Gulf at the sunset.
4. Bushehr Beach
Bushehr is one of the oldest port cities in Iran which attracts both Iranian and foreign tourists. The city’s beautiful beach is among the top destinations in the Persian Gulf region, offering amazing views of the sea.
isitors can also enjoy e boating and other recreational activities at the beach.
Tour Iran for its Lakes
Abundance of beautiful natural lakes in Iran means visitors can always enjoy delightful lakeside scenery. You can plan a trip to one of these stunning destinations and take in the natural beauty of the lake as you walk along its edges or spend some time relaxing at the lakeside. Following you can read more about some of the most popular lakes in Iran.
1. Lake Urmia
Lake Urmia is the biggest lake in Iran with lots of islands. The salt lake has shrunken in size recently but it is still attractive. The lake’s water sometimes grows very salty and its microscopic organisms give it amazing shades of red and orange.
Lake Urmia is located between the West and East Azerbaijan Provinces and is a popular holiday destination among Iranians. During some seasons, the lake hosts different species of migratory birds.
2. Neor Lake
This magnificent lake is located in the northwest of Iran, between Gilan and Ardabil provinces. Neor Lake is one the top destinations for nature lovers and hikers during spring and summer. There is also a popular walking route between the lake and the Soubatan Highlands.
3. Valasht Lake
It is a fascinating natural lake of 24 hectares in the southwest of Chalus. The average depth of Calasht Lake is 20 meters. The peaceful lake is the perfect destination near the capital Tehran for those interested in hiking, fishing and camping.
4. Gahar Lake
Gahar Lake is an amazing highland lake in a protected area in Lorestan Province. The lake is fed by springs from Mount Oshtorankuh. It has a maximum depth of 28 meters. The lake offering unforgettable scenery in the mountains make for the perfect destination for trekking tours.
5. Shur Mast Lake
Shur Mast Lake is located in the Savad Kuh County in Mazandaran Province. The natural lake’s unique landscape with the forest scenery in the background is unforgettable. It is a destination frequented by locals, fishing enthusiasts and eco-tourists.
6. Hoz-e Soltan Salt Lake
Hoz-e Soltan is a large salt lake in the middle of Iran. It is located 85 kilometers away from the capital Tehran. The shallow lake has a changing surface area dependent on the volume of rainfall it gets. At times with little rainfall, the lake’s surface is covered with thick layers of salt. The lake’s water surface works as a huge natural mirror.
Tour Iran for its Wetlands
Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil permanently or seasonally. They are important ecosystems which provide habitat for a great number of water and land species.
There are more than 30 wetlands in Iran, offering a range of recreational activities. Here we list some of Iran’s wetlands which are not only holiday destinations but also tourist attractions in themselves.
1. Anzali Wetland
Anzali Wetland is a splendid natural wonder in Gilan Province. It is also one of the 18 Iranian wetlands of international importance. The wetland is a sanctuary for migratory birds and thus is the perfect location for birdwatching. Almost 200 bird species have been sighted in Anzali Wetland.
You can take a tour of the beautiful wetland on a boat, enjoying wonderful views of the lagoon and the lotus and yellow iris flowers. It is particularly the perfect destination for eco-tourists and photographers.
2. Estil Wetland (Lagoon)
Estil Lagoon is one of Iran’s natural attractions near the city of Astara, Gilan province. The beautiful wetland covers an area of around 140 acres in a rural district. The wetlands and the surrounding mountains, forests and rice-farms create magnificent landscapes.
The eastern side of the lagoon is home to floating alder trees, creating amazing views.
3. Parishan Wetland
Parishan Wetland is located in the heart of the Zagros Mountains in Fars province. The wetland is very rich in biodiversity which also hosts migratory birds during winters. The beautiful wetland is located in a protected area and draws visitors round the year.