Travelling to Iran will make you forget that the country has actually been closed from the world in the recent decades. It has been a typical sight in the country to see throngs of tour groups visiting mosques, as well as the usually crowded bazaar alleys.
While this is a positive reflection of Iran’s tourism, dealing with what seems like perpetual crowds may not be your idea of a great adventure.
The incredible cities of Iran, namely Tehran, Esfahan, Yazd, Shiraz, and Kashan, are also the most frequented places in the country. Luckily, people who want to get off the beaten track and get away from the crowd has a lot of options to choose from.
As with the must-visit ‘tourist tracks’ in Iran, there are also must-see places for the people who want to go off the beaten track. Below, you will find 4 of the places that will make a trip to Iran even more worthy.
Valley of the Assassins (Alamut Valley)
The word “assassin” derives from a secretive murder cult in the 11th and 12th centuries called the “Hashishin”, meaning “hashish eaters”. While much of the origin of this cult has been lost, the original leader was Hasan Ben Sabah.
In 1090 CE, Hassan Sabbah, the leader of Ismailites in Iran, chose the Alamut region as his headquarters to campaign, preach and convert new followers. This proved to be a turning point for the destiny of Alamut Valley. The result of over two centuries of Ismailite stronghold, the region witnessed numerous castles throughout, of which at least 20 “castles“ dating back to this era have been identified. The most magnificent castle in the Alamut Valley is the Alamut Castle, which is built on top of a high rock reaching 2163 m above sea level near the Gazor Khan Village. The rock is 200 m high and covers an area of 20 hectares (49 acres); with its steep slope and deep and dangerous ravine, the rock is practically inaccessible and forms a part of the fort’s structure. Currently, only ruins of the fort and some towers are apparent, and it is only through archaeological excavation that the main portions can be discovered.
Dashte-e Lut Desert
The Dasht-e Lut desert, one of the Earth’s hottest and driest places, is a (hardy) trekker’s dream, with incredible rock formations, sand dunes, salt plains and the Valley of Meteorites – imposing landscapes that enchanted Marco Polo and, 700 years later, Wilfred Thesiger.
It takes four days to reach the summit of the country’s highest mountain, a 5,671-metre volcano. Base camp is two hours from Tehran, making Damavand one of the most accessible 5,000-metre-plus mountains in the world. If all goes to plan, this seven-day trip includes two days’ recovery in Larijan’s thermal spring and Tehran. Click here for more information.
Adventure and activity trips
Adventure Iran has a range of activity trips, such as eight days’ biking from Alamut through mountains to the Caspian, or a 4WD off-road tour of the Dasht-e Kavir and Lut deserts. Ten days’ biking the Central Desert and Yazd includes a Silk Route desert stretch of 240km.
Need help in planning your stay in Iran? Looking for an accommodation near Iran’s must-see sites? Contact us so we can help you.