Tehran’s Nearby Deserts: A Journey into the Sands

Without a doubt, one of the best places to seek serenity, far from the city’s hustle and bustle, and under the luminous umbrella of the night sky is the desert and its enchanting nights. Walking on the sun-kissed soft sands and dunes of the desert is a unique experience in itself.

Imagine yourself standing atop a sandy hill, watching the sun set, as the horizon shrouds your vision in the endless expanse of sand dunes and the vast desert. It’s not hard to imagine, especially when you realize that such a desert exists near Tehran.

If you’re planning a trip to the desert and you reside in the capital, let’s introduce you to the best deserts near Tehran. It is very easy to access the best deserts around Tehran, and you can easily plan a short trip (even just a day) during the best season to visit.

Matinabad Desert

Perhaps the most equipped desert point close to Tehran is “Matinabad”. Matinabad is Iran’s first eco-camp. This camp, in terms of amenities, equipment, and different accommodations available for tourists, is among the most complete desert areas in Iran. Moreover, it’s conveniently located near Tehran, making it an excellent travel destination.

Given the route, the numerous recreational facilities, and the various activities that you can engage in at Matinabad eco-camp, planning a day or longer can result in a superior travel experience. The camp offers three types of accommodation (rooms, clay huts, and tents), and you can choose the best option according to the number of people and your budget.

Amenities such as cooling and heating systems, various recreational facilities like bicycles, ATVs, star gazing, camel riding, organic farms, children’s playground, an ostrich breeding center, and more are part of this camp’s offerings. Notably, the camp harnesses clean energy sources like solar power and has implemented proper waste recycling, making it more sustainable. The camp is also equipped with sanitary facilities, TVs, refrigerators, and other conveniences. Don’t forget to take a walk on the sands near the camp and visit the village of Matinabad! In 2014, the Matinabad tourist region was listed among the top 18 sites in the world.

Maranjab Desert

Matinabad Desert
Matinabad Desert

After Matin Abad, it’s the turn of one of the most famous desert points in the country: the Maranjab Desert. Located on the edge of the Salt Lake and 40 kilometers from the city of Aran and Bidgol. In this desert, there’s a Safavid-era caravanserai where you can stay and spend the night. The recommended duration for a trip to Maranjab is approximately 1.5 days; mainly because the starry nights in the Maranjab desert are truly an exceptional experience.

It should be noted that due to frequent trips to this desert area and the non-observance of many travel and environmental considerations by tourists, Maranjab has lost some of its untouched beauty. However, there still remain many of its charms. Walking on the soft sands of the desert, immersing oneself under the starry night skies of Maranjab, camel riding, off-roading (with experienced and environmentally conscious individuals) are among the attractions of Maranjab.

It’s best to use suitable vehicles to traverse the road leading to Maranjab Desert, but traveling there with personal vehicles is also possible; you just need to drive carefully. Be sure to visit the ‘Wandering Island’, located near Maranjab in the Salt Lake. The shifting position of this island, due to optical illusions, is the reason behind its unique name.

Best Time to Visit

The best times to visit Maranjab are during the spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) when temperatures are moderate. Avoid the scorching summer months.

The primary route from Kashan leads to Aran and Bidgol, continuing to Padgan. To access the Maranjab desert, you’ll need to traverse approximately 45 kilometers of unpaved road. Given the presence of a military base in the vicinity, it’s advisable to have a local guide accompany you. A day-tour is sufficient to explore the Maranjab desert.

Abuzeydabad Desert

Abuzeydabad Desert
Abuzeydabad Desert

Another desert near Tehran is Abuzeydabad Desert, a destination for many travelers. This desert is strategically located providing easy access to several other attractions, allowing you to experience multiple sights with one journey.

Like other deserts, Abuzeydabad boasts soft sands, starry nights, and other desert allurements. However, what sets it apart is its proximity to historical surroundings, such as the historic city of Noush Abad, the underground city of Ouyi, the Safavid-era water storage, the Kershaahi Castle, and other noteworthy sites. Due to their relative closeness to Abuzeydabad, you’ll have the opportunity to visit them.

Just 35 kilometers from this desert is the village of Abyaneh in Kashan, one of the most beautiful villages in Iran. Recognized for its red-colored historical houses, geographical location, local costumes, and more, it’s of great significance.

Address to Abuzeydabad Desert

Upon arriving in Kashan, head to Qotb-e Ravandi Boulevard. Follow it until you reach Mulla Sadra Boulevard. There, you’ll find a two-way street on your left. Turn left on this street, and it will lead you directly to Abu Zeidabad Desert in Kashan.

Central Desert of Iran

Dasht-E Kavir
Dasht-E Kavir

For those based in Tehran and seeking a nearby desert experience, the Central Desert of Iran is a top choice. Located mainly to the south of the capital, this desert can be accessed by traveling on the Varamin road towards Javadabad, continuing your journey until you reach your destination. Your journey to the Central Desert starts with entering the Kavir National Park, a location that is protected due to its home to rare plant and animal species.

Within this desert, which is considered close to Tehran, there are various caravanserais (traditional desert inns) where travelers can rest. Notable among these are the Deir-e Gachin Caravanserai, often dubbed the “Mother of Iran’s Caravanserais,” the Ein-al Rashid Caravanserai, and the Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai. If you wish to visit Qasr-e Bahram and stay there, be sure to obtain the necessary permissions from the environmental conservation organizations.

Directions to the Central Desert of Iran

To get to the Central Desert, you should pass through Varamin road, head towards Javadabad, and cross Pishva of Varamin. The Central Desert is approximately 300 kilometers to the east and south of Tehran, stretching westwards and ending at Kashan and Aran Bidgol.

As you familiarize yourself with the deserts surrounding Tehran, bear in mind that even for a one-day desert tour, it’s essential to be well-prepared. Even if you’re visiting a desert near Tehran and your residence, you should carry the appropriate equipment. It’s advisable to gather information about the necessary gear beforehand, prepare a checklist of desert trip essentials, and then embark on your journey.

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