Five experiences you must try in Iran

By Caden Allison

 

mahdiar-mahmoodi-452489-unsplash

Photo credit: Unsplash

Did you know that as well as fascinating landscapes, delicious cuisines, dense jungles and more sweet tea than you can poke a stick at, Iran also boasts snow?… I know right!

Disregard what you may have heard about Iran being unsafe – it’s simply not true. Those that venture to Persia will be pleasantly surprised!

With some of the most hospitable people on earth, amazing history and a unique culture, the ‘real’ Iran is sure to captivate you from start to finish.

Read on to discover the best experiences you must try when visiting Iran.

skiing-iran

Photo credit: Unsplash

Go skiing

You probably didn’t know skiing was possible in Iran, let alone highly regarded. Iran is home to hundreds of mountains that are more than 2,000m above sea level – and it’s quickly becoming a destination popular with powder hounds from across the globe.

A great alternative to the Alps in Europe is Iran’s Alborz mountain range, which features four major resorts. Dizin is the most popular resort due to its proximity to Iran’s capital of Tehran.

The consistent winter snowfall, world-class hospitality, and a unique culture in Iran’s mountains will make you wish you were staying the entire season. Time to bomb some groomers don’t you think?

DSC00468

Photo credit: Unsplash

Trek to ancient ruins in the jungle

From snow to the jungle! Yes, Iran really does have it all. Hidden in the rainforest of Iran is not only adventure, but perhaps some of the most mysterious sights you will ever lay eyes on.

The Alborz mountain range in north-western Iran rises up from the Caspian Sea, creating a unique forest ecosystem that is bursting with biodiversity. Previously home to Caspian Tigers, bears, boars, and other predatory animals, these jungles offer an experience like no other.

The city of Rasht is a great base for exploring the surrounding mountains and cloud forests. From here, you can head out to see the ancient ruins of Qaleh Rudkhan (Rudkhan Castle), which is quite literally hidden in the forest.

If you prefer a less strenuous day, take a local bus up to the picturesque town of Masuleh, where you can sample traditional tea, pick up some local handicrafts, or organise a homestay for around $15 USD pp/night.

DSC01071

Photo credit: Unsplash

Visit a mosque

Contrary to popular belief, mosques are not always only reserved for practicing Muslims.

The majority of religious buildings throughout Iran are open to all who want to view their divine design – and I definitely recommend you do so.

While the external architecture of extravagant tiles and curved archways is spectacular in itself, it’s nothing compared to the intricate beauty of the interior. Mirrors, rugs, paintings, and shimmering silverware will entrance you from the moment you step foot inside – and with the Koran softly falling upon your ears at afternoon prayer, there is no better place to experience the peaceful nature of Persia.

Iran’s mosques are often connected to bustling squares and holy shrines, which are designed as community spaces and are often used for study, relaxation and family outings.

Make sure you grab a map from your accommodation and spend a day exploring all of them, taking time to fully appreciate the spectacular design inside and out.

IMG_2195

Stay with a local

The best way to experience and holistically embrace the culture of the country you are in is to live like a local.

Couch surfing is a hugely popular practice in Iran, with locals and tourists from all over the world making the most of the friendly Persian hospitality.

Make sure you stay at least once with a local during your stay in Iran. It may push you right out of your comfort zone and force you into a situation you might never have imagined yourself in, but if you take the plunge I can guarantee you will have an experience of a lifetime.

You’re sure to be fed until you burst, laugh until your sides hurt, and make lasting friendships. Worst case scenario, you have a free bed for the night!

lex-sirikiat-218252-unsplash

Photo credit: Unsplash

Go camping

A massive surprise during my stay was the huge camping culture within Iran.

You can take advantage of the incredibly lush gardens and parks of Iran by spending a night under the Persian sky. You can basically camp anywhere you like.

Pitch a tent in down town Tabriz, or string up a hammock in the back streets of Esfahan. Although completely legal, locals may look at you strangely and ask why you do not simply sleep in a hostel. If you’re lucky they may even whisk you away for a home cooked meal before returning you to your ‘accommodation’.

Spending such a night underneath the Persian stars is incredible and not to be missed. Even better yet, organise a tour to camp out under the stars at a desert oasis. If this doesn’t ignite your inner Indiana Jones, then I don’t know what will.

Iran is definitely a country full of surprises and the time to discover them is now!

So what are you waiting for? Bail on Bali! It’s about time you went on a more adventurous trip don’t you think?

Who is Caden?

Caden

Caden Allison is an intrepid introvert, budgeting boss and border junkie, who is hell bent on discovering adventure in wild locations. Hailing from Western Australia, Caden is constantly looking for new ways to get off the beaten path and haven ‘real’ lasting experiences. He is passionate about outdoor adventure, solo travel and exploring different cultures.

Read more about Caden’s latest journey on The Wandering Westerner as he uncovers some of Asia’s best kept secrets (and the best Ramen!) on his adventures from the Philippines to Japan.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s