With no doubt, Iran is one of the richest countries in the world. Not only its nature but also its culture and history will offer you the best scenes one can see. From the very northern part, the Caspian Sea, to the southern part, in the islands of Persian Gulf, you get to experience one single thing: authentic beauty. Iran’s geography and climate have made it a four-season country. The only thing you have to do is to schedule your trip to visit the right region, at the right time. So pack your bags to escape to the adventurous land of Iran.
You might think that Iran has an ancient civilization, so the adventurous activities are senseless and the only thing that can be done is visiting cultural and historical attractions. If this is your idea, I should ask you to get rid of it and open your eyes to the truth. With a vast diversity of the highest mountains, deserts, and forests, Iran is the right destination for trekking. All you need is a pair of hiking shoes and the needed equipment for adventuring Iran and experiencing the most astonishing trekking trails. The high mountains of Alborz and Zagros are the major attractions for trekkers. Trekking in Iran gives you the chance to walk amongst these giants where you will truly stand in awe. Iran is a great destination for hiking; no matter in sloppy mountains of Alborz or the sand dunes of Central Desert.
Alamut Valley and Real Life Assassins Creed
An Iranian ruler named Marzuban went on a hunting trip. During the trip, he saw an eagle flying over a mountain and then sat on the peak. As he was following the eagle with his eyes, he realized the strategic value of the location and took the eagle as an omen. That was the moment he decided to build a castle there and name it Alamut, meaning the eagle’s nest. However, after a while, the mysterious murderers (Assassins) captured Alamut castle as their base.
Alamut Castle, also known as Castle of Hassan, is located in the Northeast of the Gazer Khan village in Qazvin province. It was built over a 200-meter high cliff of the Alamut region. This castle was the base of the intense activity of Ismailis, also known as Assassins, under the leadership of Hassan Sabbah (the old man of the mountain). He built this group to fight against the government of Abbasid and the Seljuk Empire. The strategic position and the design of the castle made it an undefeatable castle which was suitable for the Assassins. It is said that the Ismailis believed that Hassan Sabbah can show them the path to heaven and they can see the garden of Eden.
After the invasion of the Mongols and by the order of Hulagu Khan, the castle was burned in the fire. Then, at the ruling time of the Qajar era, they started digging different parts of the castle to find the Alamut treasures which caused a lot of damage to this monument. Now it is mostly ruined but still, has a lot to offer. The ruins are located among some of the most epic mountain landscapes in the northern part of Iran. In order to get there, you have to take a fairly hard climbing route, but as soon as you get there and see the mysterious castle and the picturesque landscape beneath, you will see that it was absolutely worth it.
Caspian Sea Coastal Plains
Alongside the Caspian Sea, a unique natural beauty lies with its biological diversity, endangered species, and its flourishing scenery, known as Hyrcanian Forests. The mixed forests of the southern coast of the Caspian Sea represent a key habitat for different species of birds. Migratory species visit the area as a stop between Russia and Africa. Some other species use this forest as their breeding grounds. The Caspian Hyrcanian Mixed Forests ecoregion is an area of lush lowland and montane forests covering about 55,000 square kilometers near the southern shores of the Caspian Sea of Iran and Azerbaijan. The forest is named after the ancient region of Hyrcania, meaning “wolf land”. This UNESCO world heritage site presents an outstanding example of ongoing geological and biological processes in the development of landforms and ecosystems. This natural area keeps a vast geological diversity with different weather, various kinds of plants and a high number of endemic species. This ancient forest contains its full complement of wild plants and animals. Hyrcanian Forests is the perfect spot for trekkers who enjoy walking among trees as they hear nothing but the birds singing and the breeze coming from the sea to welcome them to the authentic paradise of the coast.
Lar national park: Flourishing Land of Flowers
With only 70 kilometers northeast of Tehran, Lar national park is located in Mazandaran and Tehran. This 30000-hectare park is in the Central Alborz mountain range, at the foot of the highest mountain of Iran, Damavand. This national park has existed since 1976 and it became a protected area since 1982 by the Iran Department of Environment. Since 1991 hunting has been prohibited in this national park because of the different living species of the area such as leopard, gray wolf, and goat. It is worth mentioning that the Lar dam and reservoir is located within the park. This protected area is a major tourist attraction.
If you are lucky enough to visit this stunning park during spring, you will know how paradise looks like. The colorful flowers and tulips and mineral waters running down from the peaks of Damavand make a lively scenery that can only be found in the promised land.
The Lut Desert, also known as the Dasht-e Lut is a large salt desert which is located in the south-east of Iran, near Kerman and Sistan and Baluchestan. This desert is testified by NASA satellites to be one of the hottest places on earth with a temperature of 70°C in summer. The Dasht-e Lut is also an exceptional example of ongoing geological processes. You can find various animal species in this UNESCO World Heritage site.
You’ll not only see a desert, but you will also get to see all the must-see sites of this spectacular desert such as Kalouts, Gandom Beryan, and Shur River. Kalouts are shaped by erosion and if you see them from a long distance you may think that you are looking at high buildings with people living in it. Actually, locals call it the city of the ghosts since it has a magical and mysterious atmosphere. Gandom Beryan is all covered with dark lava which is the reason for the production of the beautiful basal stones and it is one of the rare areas of the Lut desert which is easily accessible. Touching the salty sands of the Shur (salty) River is another wonderful experience you’ll have. Shur River is the only permanent river that flows in this UNESCO world heritage site.
If you are truly a trekker and an adventurer just close your eyes and imagine how it feels to walk on the soft hot sand dunes of the desert and seeing the natural beauties of this mysterious desert all by yourself.
Lush Land of Arasbaran
Near Tabriz, in the Kalibar city, the exquisite Arasbaran Forests can be seen. Arasbaran forests also known as “Qaradagh” or “Karadagh” are the mountains area stretching from the Qusha Dagh massif, south of Ahar, to the Aras River in East Azerbaijan Province. The region is confined to Aras River in the north, Meshgin Shahr County and Moghan in the east, Sarab County in the south, and Tabriz and Marand counties in the west. Since 1976, UNESCO has registered 72,460 hectares of the region as a biosphere reserve. All you can see in this area are big green trees surrounding you. One of the historical attractions of the Arasbaran forest is Babak Khorramdin fort. This fort was built in the Sassanid era by Babak Khorramdin, the leader of the Khurramites in Azerbaijan. He built this stronghold in order to protect Iran against Arab invasions and he was successful. The castle stood up for about 20 years against them and after 1200 years, it is still standing there like a soldier on duty and it has become a national symbol for Iranians. Arasbaran forests keep numerous hot springs and different bird species of birds which add to the beautiful features of this glorious forest.
One of the great experiences you will have is that you may be lucky enough to see the Nomad camps in the area. The nomads are very kind and they will welcome you with their fresh dairies. While standing on the green hills of Arasbaran you can enjoy the stunning view in front of you. The cool weather is pleasing and the cold breeze touches your skin, all surrounded by the clouds that want to welcome you to the lush land of Arasbaran.
Plain of the unique Fritillaria Tulips
Iran is the land of different species of tulips, but there is one single plain of tulips in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province which is one of a kind. The spectacular Fritillaria plain is located in Koohrang county. The unending natural beauties of this county have made it a unique tourist attraction. However, the most beautiful part of this county is the Tulips plain. Fritillaria, which is also called Lale Vazhgoon and Gol Ashk (Tear of flower), is a legendary flower in Iranian myths and there is a story about this short-lived flower in Shahnameh. A part of this plain is under the protection of Iran’s Organization of Environment Protection as a national natural site. The unending natural beauties of this county have made it a unique tourist attraction, especially for the trekkers and nature lovers.
The second part of Trekking Iran will be all about mountains. The high glorious Talysh, Sabalan, Zagros mountains range, and the highest peak of Iran, Mount Damavand. Don’t miss reading the best part of the Land of Adventure.
Isfahan, Isfahan Province, Iran
Pasargad, Shiraz, Fars Province, Iran
Dizin Ski Resort, Tehran
Shahdad Kalouts, Shahdad, Kerman Province, Iran
Isfahan Province, Iran