5 Enriching Outdoor Cultural Experiences to Try in Iran
The new generation of world explorers is probably not aware that Iran is one of the most enchanting places on earth. Many have this notion that Iran has been so ravaged by the major wars which it was involved with in the eighties that it is still in the painful process of “restoration.”
If you come to visit the country, however, you will be surprised with how there are almost no traces of the troubled years it experienced. Iran, after all, is home to the most innovative builders in the world.
New buildings have risen in the capital and nearby cities. More impressively, while it continues to advance into the future, Iran has managed to preserve its rich history and natural beauty.
Needless to say, as a tourist destination, it offers wonder after wonder. As such, whether you are a holidaymaker who is after the luxurious hotel accommodation in Iran or you are a culture vulture who wishes to avoid the over-tourism in the city and, instead, want to experience the raw aspects of the countryside, you will easily find the experience you are looking for.
But if you are the latter type, you can find delight in the Iranian outdoor adventures that are guaranteed to provide you a good look into the warmth of Iranian culture. Five of them are listed below:
Neor to Subatan Hiking
From your cozy quarters in Ardebil, you can arrange for transportation to Neor which is only about an hour’s drive away. There, you can put on your hiking shoes and arm yourself with a hiking stick for a scenic trek. Start off at Neor Lake (which is a popular camping ground for tourists) and make your way up to the Subatan Highlands.
You will find the trail an absolute natural wonder. Parts of the landscape are bursting with vibrant colors because of the vast fields of flowers such as wild poppies, and you can expect sightings of goats, horses, sheep, and different kinds of birds.
You may also chance upon some friendly locals on your hike. They will insist on having you over for a meal where you may be able to sample traditional Iranian sweets, which are said to be the specialties of the northern region.
Boating at Zrebar Lake
Otherwise known as Zeribar, Zarivar or Zrewar, Zrebar Lake boasts great weather and scenery for boating. If you want to ride a boat, just hang out by the docks and you will likely be invited to board by one of the boat owners.
During certain times of the year, boating at Zrebar Lake is a big community social event. Tourists and locals gather to see the colourful boats skimming the water. Come winter, the lake is transformed into a great place for ice skating.
When planning for a trip to Zrebar Lake, be sure to get comfy accommodation at the nearby city of Marivan so you can enjoy both an adventuresome and homey experience in this part of Iran.
Camping in Hormuz Island
Do you know that it is legal in Iran to pitch a tent anywhere, and that it is absolutely safe? The locals actually care for backpackers and campers as they are known to offer their tools and share their food with tourists and all sorts of visitors.
One of the best places for camping is any beach on Hormuz Island. Come here during the winter season. It is perfect for camping because the weather’s just divine. Throughout the day and night, you will hear the sound of the gentle waves carried by the wind. It is like a natural song that never fails to put people in a state of calm and contentment.
There are lots to see in Hormuz, but make sure to visit the Hole in the Rock, the historical Portuguese Castle, the Red Beach, and the Valley of Statues. If you are more of a camper, the best way to get to these destinations is by biking. You can rent a bike right off the ferry or in town.
Wi-Fi is not available in most of Hormuz, though, because most people really come here to disconnect from technology and just relish nature’s beauty. So, if you need to go online — say, to plan your other adventures, best ensure you have a phone that uses a plan with Internet service.
Biking in Sirjan
Biking is one of the most reliable ways of getting from one point to another in Iran. If you wish to visit Sirjan because of its salt flats, just get around there on a bike. And once you are done with the salt flats, explore the other bike trails of the area and enjoy the sights.
Don’t have a bike? If you are staying at a hotel, the staff can easily find you a bike you can use.
Trekking at the Alamut Valley
The Alamut Valley offers beautiful landscapes that make the long trek absolutely worthwhile. And, if you head to the Castle of the Assassins with a guide, for sure, you will get a detailed history lesson as well on how such a place exists in the country.
Explore Beautiful Iran
Taking part in all of the aforementioned outdoor activities is sure to bring you close to the wonderfully preserved natural beauty of the country. At the same time, you get to experience unique Iranian customs and the honest-to-goodness warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people.
In planning for your trip to Iran, consider how the average daily cost of your trip can range from USD 50 to USD 200 — this includes entrance fees to most sights, meals, accommodation and transportation. Budget travelers can expect to spend on the lower end of the spectrum while those who have a bigger allowance can splurge on guided tours and top-of-the-line accommodation as well as fancy meals.
So, if you are all about getting away from the city and finding joy in nature, and making friends with locals, these are just some of the best places Iran has in store for the wanderer in you.