The 10 Most Incredible Caves in Iran

Discover the 10 Most Incredible Caves in Iran, a journey through the heart of the Earth’s natural splendor. Iran’s diverse landscape hides awe-inspiring caves, each with unique geological formations, historical secrets, and breathtaking beauty. From the world’s largest water cave to icy wonders and ancient habitats, these caves offer adventurers and explorers unparalleled experiences.

Dive into the depths of Iran’s majestic underground world, where history and nature merge in spectacular displays of the Earth’s ancient artistry.

Start your exploration now and uncover the hidden treasures of Iran’s most extraordinary caves.

1. Katale Khor Cave, Zanjan

Katale Khor Cave, Zanjan
Katale Khor Cave, Zanjan

Katale Khor Cave is renowned for its beauty and grandeur, with only a portion of it explored so far. In the local language, “Katale” refers to a low mountain, and “Khor” is derived from the word for sun. This cave is the first limestone cave in Iran to be discovered, with only three levels explored out of an estimated seven, due to uncertain conditions. Dating back 120 million years, the cave houses human skeletons and various pottery artifacts, suggesting it was either a lost or a burial site. Located 165 kilometers south of Zanjan, it can be accessed via Kaboudarahang or Soltaniyeh.

Quick Facts: Katale Khor Cave, Zanjan

  • Location: 165 km south of Zanjan, Iran.
  • Discovery: A stunning, partly explored limestone cave.
  • Age: Estimated at 120 million years old.
  • Levels Explored: Only three out of seven levels explored.
  • Features: Home to ancient skeletons and pottery.
  • Significance: First discovered limestone cave in Iran.

2. Chama Ice Cave, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari

Chama Ice Cave, Chaharmahal And Bakhtiari
Chama Ice Cave, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari

A must-visit during summer, Chama Ice Cave is one of Chelgerd’s attractions in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province. Experiencing ice and snow in summer adds a unique charm to this cave. It’s a natural wonder of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, comparable only to the northernmost parts of the globe. Snow accumulation over years has permanently transformed it into an ice cave, also serving as a fresh water source. A clear, beautiful river flowing from the ice melt leads to the Kouhrang Dam.

Safety tips for visiting this cave include wearing proper shoes and staying on the path due to the complex route. The cave is about 25 kilometers from Chelgerd city.

Quick Facts: Chama Ice Cave, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari

  • Location: In Chelgerd, Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province.
  • Best Time to Visit: Ideal in summer for its icy wonders.
  • Natural Phenomenon: A permanent ice cave formed over years.
  • Features: Supplies fresh water, with a beautiful, clear river leading to Kouhrang Dam.
  • Safety Tips: Wear proper shoes; stay on the path due to complex routes.
  • Unique Experience: Comparable to the world’s northernmost ice caves.

3. Ali Sadr Cave, Hamedan

Ali Sadr Cave, Hamedan
Ali Sadr Cave, Hamedan

The world’s largest water cave, Ali Sadr Cave in Hamedan, features extensive water channels and lakes, enhancing its beauty. Visitors must navigate the cave by boat, with water depths reaching up to 14 meters in some areas. This Jurassic-era cave, millions of years old, is devoid of life due to the absence of light, making flashlights essential for exploration. Single-celled organisms and algae are the most common life forms found here.

The cave’s temperature remains a constant 14 degrees Celsius year-round, making it a unique destination regardless of the season. The entrance is via the road from Hamedan to Lalejin.

Quick Facts: Ali Sadr Cave, Hamedan

  • Location: Hamedan province, accessible via Lalejin road.
  • Status: World’s largest water cave.
  • Transport: Exploration by boat due to extensive water channels.
  • Age: Dates back to the Jurassic era.
  • Life: No vertebrates; only single-celled organisms and algae.
  • Temperature: Constant at 14°C, offering a unique visit any season.
  • Significance: A marvel of nature with breathtaking waterways and lakes.

4. Ayub Cave, Kerman

Ayub Cave, Kerman
Ayub Cave, Kerman

Ayub Cave, one of Kerman’s famous caves, sits atop a mountain with a notably large entrance. This lava cave is considered the world’s largest, with historical remnants dating back to the Parthian era. Located at a 35-meter distance from the Joopar junction, its significance is marked by its expansive entrance and length.

5. Roodafshan Cave, Tehran

Roodafshan Cave, Tehran
Roodafshan Cave, Tehran

Located in Tehran province, Roodafshan Cave is accessible via the Firuzkuh route. After passing through Seyedabad village, a 30-minute walk is required to reach the cave entrance. Absolute darkness inside necessitates the use of flashlights. The cave’s 20-meter entrance suggests a challenging path, advising against visits from children, the elderly, or those with respiratory issues.

Quick Facts: Roodafshan Cave, Tehran

  • Location: Accessible via Firuzkuh route, near Seyedabad village.
  • Approach: Requires a 30-minute walk to the entrance.
  • Environment: Complete darkness inside; flashlights necessary.
  • Entrance Size: 20 meters, indicating challenging access.
  • Visitor Advice: Not suitable for children, the elderly, or those with respiratory issues.
  • Experience: Offers a true adventure for spelunkers seeking untouched nature.

6. Saholan Cave, Mahabad

Saholan Cave, Mahabad
Saholan Cave, Mahabad (photo by Wikipedia)

Saholan, a major attraction in West Azerbaijan’s Mahabad, stands as the second-largest water cave in Iran after Ali Sadr Cave. With an explored length of 550 meters, its temperature varies between 10 to 13 degrees Celsius. Located 43 kilometers southeast of Mahabad, the cave presents a mesmerizing experience for visitors.

Quick Facts: Saholan Cave

  • Location: Near Mahabad, West Azerbaijan province.
  • Rank: Second-largest water cave in Iran after Ali Sadr.
  • Temperature: Constant 10-13°C, ensuring a steady climate.
  • Explored Length: 550 meters have been mapped.
  • Access: 43 km southeast of Mahabad, towards Bukan.
  • Features: Two entrances and a mesmerizing water body inside.
  • Significance: A key natural attraction in West Azerbaijan, offering a unique caving experience.

7. Karaftu Cave, Kurdistan

Karaftu Cave, Kurdistan
Karaftu Cave, Kurdistan

Karaftu Cave, 70 kilometers from Divandarreh in Kurdistan province, is a limestone cave possibly dating back to the Seleucid era. Previously a human habitation, the cave has undergone modifications, setting it apart from others. Its interior includes rooms, corridors, and a Greek inscription, likely linked to Alexander the Great’s successors.

Quick Facts: Karaftu Cave, Kurdistan

  • Location: 70 km from Divandarreh, Kurdistan province.
  • Historical Era: Possibly dates back to the Seleucid period.
  • Nature: A limestone cave once used as human habitation.
  • Unique Aspects: Contains rooms, corridors, and a Greek inscription.
  • Significance: Known for its historical modifications and special features.
  • Accessibility: Access involves a journey through the rugged terrain of Kurdistan.

8. Quri Qale Cave, Kermanshah

Quri Qale Cave, Kermanshah
Quri Qale Cave, Kermanshah

To explore Iran’s longest and Asia’s largest water cave, visit Kermanshah. With a 65 million-year history, Quri Qale Cave amazes with its natural beauty and scenic environment. Named during the Sassanid era due to its proximity to a castle-like structure, it was once home to numerous vertebrates, and rare bat species can still be found. The temperature remains between 7 to 11 degrees Celsius throughout the year.

Quick Facts: Quri Qale Cave, Kermanshah

  • Location: Near Kermanshah city.
  • Age: Approximately 65 million years old.
  • Type: Iran’s longest and Asia’s largest water cave.
  • Temperature: 7-11°C, stable throughout the year.
  • Fauna: Hosts rare bat species.
  • Significance: Offers stunning natural and aquatic landscapes.
  • Exploration: Named for its proximity to a Sassanian-era fortress.

9. Bat Cave, Ilam

Bat Cave, Ilam
Bat Cave, Ilam

Bat Cave (Ghar-e Khofash) in Dehloran, Ilam, unique for its bat population, has attracted attention despite its small size. Previously a human dwelling, it has since been overtaken by bats. Located just a kilometer from Dehloran’s hot springs, the sight of bats emerging at dusk is truly captivating.

Quick Facts: Bat Cave, Ilam

  • Location: Dehloran, Ilam province.
  • Distinctive: Sole Iranian cave inhabited by bats.
  • Size: Small, but significant for its bat population.
  • History: Once a human dwelling, now a sanctuary for bats.
  • Proximity: 1 km from Dehloran hot springs.
  • Evening Spectacle: Bats exit in swarms at dusk, creating a mesmerizing view.
  • Exploration Caution: The cave’s unique ecosystem requires respectful visitation.

10. Shapur Cave, Fars

Shapur Cave, Fars
Shapur Cave, Fars

Finally, Shapur Cave in Fars province blends natural beauty with historical allure. Notable historical features include a 6-meter statue of Shapur I and a column at the entrance dating back 1700 years. The cave’s entrance measures 30 meters in length and 15 meters in height, offering a glimpse into Iran’s rich past.

Quick Facts: Shapur Cave, Fars

  • Location: Near Kazerun, Fars province.
  • Features: Houses a 6-meter statue of Shapur I.
  • Historical: Contains relics dating back 1700 years.
  • Entrance Size: 30 meters long, 15 meters high.
  • Natural and Historical Appeal: Offers both natural beauty and historical artifacts.
  • Accessibility: Situated within a captivating landscape, inviting exploration.

In Conclusion

Iran’s diverse caves each offer a unique exploration opportunity, catering to every taste and adventure level. These natural wonders, each with its distinct features, promise an unforgettable journey filled with discovery and awe. Whether you’re an experienced caver or a curious traveler, Iran’s caves are a testament to the country’s natural beauty and historical depth.

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Armen Ohanian

I am a traveler and experienced travel planner. I have been working in the field of travel for over ten years, and have gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the industry. I specialize in trip consulting and work to help individuals and travel agents plan their perfect vacations to explore the other side of the world. Here I am sharing you stories and experiences.

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