Explore Iran’s 9 Most Beautiful Deserts

Explore Iran's Fascinating Deserts

1. Mesr Desert

Mesr Desert is one of Iran’s most picturesque deserts, nestled in the province of Isfahan. This desert is famous for its sandy dunes, earning it the nickname “Sandy Sea.” It’s a favorite destination for stargazers, thanks to its clear and starry skies, inviting nature enthusiasts to marvel at the desert’s starry nights.

Activities in Mesr Desert

  • Hiking: Explore the mesmerizing landscape on foot.
  • Biking: Embark on a thrilling biking adventure.
  • Camel Riding: Experience the charm of camel rides.
  • Stargazing: Witness the celestial beauty of Mesr’s night skies.
  • Off-Roading: Roam the desert’s vast expanse with a 4×4 vehicle.

For a memorable overnight stay under the starry Mesr sky, you can either opt for the local eco-friendly accommodations or set up a tent at designated camping spots. Located approximately 700 kilometers from Tehran, you can easily access Mesr Desert by joining organized tour groups or purchasing a bus ticket.

View Mesr Desert on Google Maps.

2. Rig-e Jenn Desert

Iran's Most Beautiful Deserts

Rig-e Jenn, the third-largest desert in Iran, is known for its mysterious and eerie atmosphere. Situated in the southern region of Semnan, bordering Isfahan province, it has become a fascinating attraction for adventurous travelers. Countless stories and legends surround this desert, contributing to its fame as a unique tourist destination. Many visitors have reported hearing strange and unexplained sounds while hiking and sandboarding in Rig-e Jenn, which locals attribute to spirits and supernatural entities.

Activities in Rig-e Jenn Desert

  • Adventure Exploration: Embark on an exciting adventure in this enigmatic desert.
  • Sandboarding: Glide down the sandy hills for an adrenaline rush.
  • Hiking: Trek across the sand dunes and experience the desert’s beauty.
  • Stargazing: Witness the enchanting starry nights of the desert.

It’s worth noting that Rig-e Jenn is particularly suited for experienced desert travelers and professionals. Traveling alone is discouraged, so consider joining specialized tour groups or seeking guidance from desert experts.

View Rig-e Jenn Desert on Google Maps.

3. Shahdad Desert

Iran's Most Beautiful Deserts

Shahdad Desert, also known as Kalut Shahdad, holds the distinction of being the hottest point on Earth. It ranks among Iran’s best deserts for leisure and tourism. Visitors primarily journey to Shahdad to witness its stunning natural sculptures, known as “Kaluts,” which have been shaped by erosion over the course of 20,000 years.

The desert’s unique and bizarre formations add to its allure.

View Shahdad Desert on Google Maps.

4. Maranjab Desert

Iran's Most Beautiful Deserts

Maranjab Desert is another captivating and scenic desert in Iran, located near Kashan. The name “Maranjab” is derived from the combination of three words: “mar,” “ranj,” and “ab,” which signify “man,” “hardship,” and “water.” This unique name reflects the arduous efforts of the local men who endured hardships to dig wells and qanats (underground aqueducts) to access fresh water. Over time, this tripartite word evolved into the abbreviated term “Maranjab,” and the desert transformed into a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts across the country. It’s interesting to note that Maranjab is only 300 kilometers away from Tehran, making it easily accessible despite its desert nature. The presence of rich vegetation and wildlife, along with its towering sand dunes and beautiful sky, has earned Maranjab the title of Iran’s most visited desert.

Activities in Maranjab Desert

  • Visit Shah Abbasi Caravanserai: Explore the historic Shah Abbasi Caravanserai.
  • Explore Historical Wells: Discover ancient wells, including the iconic Dastkan Well.
  • Hiking on Hot Sands: Trek across the scorching sands.
  • Off-Roading Adventures: Enjoy thrilling off-road experiences.
  • Salt Lake Exploration: Marvel at the mesmerizing Salt Lake.
  • Island of Castaways: Tour the mysterious Island of Castaways.

For a complete desert experience, plan for a visit ranging from 5 to 24 hours, depending on your chosen activities. You can also spend the night in local eco-friendly accommodations or traditional desert camps.

View Maranjab Desert on Google Maps.

5. Varzaneh Desert

Iran's Most Beautiful Deserts

Varzaneh Desert, located in Isfahan, is another enchanting desert that promises unforgettable experiences for travelers. Situated just 100 kilometers east of Isfahan, Varzaneh is known for its exceptional recreational and accommodation facilities, making it one of Iran’s top desert destinations. One of its unique features is the golden and towering sand dunes that continuously change shape with the wind, creating ever-evolving desert landscapes. Its proximity to Isfahan allows travelers from Tehran to easily reach Isfahan by plane and then drive to Varzaneh.

Activities in Varzaneh Desert

  • Camel Riding: Enjoy camel rides across the dunes.
  • ATV Adventures: Explore the desert on four-wheelers.
  • Off-Roading Excursions: Embark on thrilling off-road adventures.
  • Stargazing: Marvel at the starry desert skies.
  • Hiking: Trek across the picturesque sand dunes.
  • Sandboarding: Glide down the sandy slopes.
  • Paragliding and Buggy Riding: Experience aerial and buggy adventures.

To fully experience all these activities, allocate 4 to 24 hours of your time. If you wish to spend the night in Varzaneh Desert, you can opt for local guesthouses or desert eco-lodges.

View Varzaneh Desert on Google Maps.

6. Matinabad Desert Camp

Iran's Most Beautiful Deserts

Matinabad Desert Camp is the perfect desert getaway for amateur travelers. It is Iran’s first natural eco-camp, situated approximately 10 kilometers southeast of Kashan. Visitors to this camp do not face significant challenges and can comfortably stay in tents, domes, or purpose-built rooms. Unlike other Iranian desert areas, Matinabad boasts modern and eco-friendly caravanserais with a variety of amenities for its guests.

Activities at Matinabad Desert Camp

  • Visit Animal Farms: Explore farms with camels, ostriches, chickens, and horses.
  • Camel Riding: Enjoy camel rides through the desert.
  • Stargazing: Marvel at the desert’s clear night sky.
  • Hiking: Trek through the picturesque surroundings.
  • Desert Night Stay: Experience a night under the desert stars.
  • Biking: Explore the desert on a bicycle.

To engage in all these exciting activities, plan for a stay ranging from 24 to 48 hours. Access to this recreational spot is straightforward, with frequent domestic flights to Isfahan or Kashan being the most convenient means of transportation.

View Matinabad Desert Camp on Google Maps.

7. Tabas Desert

Iran's Most Beautiful Deserts

The Tabas Desert, situated in the South Khorasan province, is a well-known geographical landmark in Iran. The name “Tabas” is familiar to many Iranians from childhood, but the most captivating part of the Tabas Desert is the Halvan Desert. Located near the town of Tabas, the Halvan Desert is easily accessible through well-maintained roads. You can conveniently continue your journey to South Khorasan by reserving train tickets online and then proceed to Halvan Desert using public transportation.

The road leading to Tabas passes through the Halvan Desert and serves as one of the accessible routes to this region. The Halvan Desert spans a vast area, featuring sand dunes in its eastern and northern parts, as well as saline and marshy areas.

8. Khur and Biabanak Desert

Iran's Most Beautiful Deserts

The Khur and Biabanak Desert are among Iran’s most beautiful deserts, offering the perfect opportunity for solitude and the enjoyment of desert beauty. Located 399 kilometers from Isfahan, these deserts are also in close proximity to the Khur and Biabanak counties. The word “Khur” means “sun” in Persian, reflecting the ancient Iranian culture.

In the Khur Desert, you can sit back and admire the stunning sand dunes formed by the relentless winds. Some areas of the desert have hexagonal landforms, reminiscent of beehives. The Khur and Biabanak Desert also feature one of the largest salt lakes in the heart of the desert.

9. Darak Desert

Iran's Most Beautiful Deserts

The Darak Desert, situated in the Sistan and Baluchestan province, near Chabahar, is where you can experience the fascinating contrast of scorching sands meeting the cool blue waters of the Oman Sea. Walking along the sandy shores and swimming in the cool waters of the Oman Sea is an indescribable and unique experience.

View Darak Desert on Google Maps.

These are just a few of Iran’s magnificent deserts, each offering its own distinctive beauty and experiences for desert enthusiasts. Whether you seek adventure, tranquility, or the chance to witness nature’s wonders, Iran’s deserts have something extraordinary to offer.

Key Tips for Desert Travel

If you’ve chosen one of Iran’s desert regions as your travel destination, be sure to keep the following tips in mind:

1. Dress Comfortably

Wear lightweight and comfortable clothing during the day, and pack warm clothing and a travel blanket for chilly nights.

2. Consider Guided Tours

It’s advisable to travel with guided tours for safety and navigation. However, if you’re traveling independently, make sure to have a map or GPS device with you.

3. Bring a Neck Scarf or Shawl

Carry a neck scarf or shawl to protect yourself from sandstorms when needed.

4. Stay Hydrated

Never venture far from your group, and always carry extra water to stay hydrated in the desert’s arid conditions.

5. Be Prepared

Always be prepared for the unexpected. Pack essentials like a first-aid kit, flashlight, and extra batteries.

6. Follow Safety Guidelines

Observe safety guidelines provided by tour guides or local authorities, especially when it comes to wildlife encounters and desert conditions.

5/5 - (7 votes)

Saye Shams

I specialize in creating customized tours for foreign clients who are visiting Iran and showing visitors authentic Iran. In terms of activities and knowledge, my strongest points are history, culture, and local lifestyle. I have also written some texts and created content about historical places and ceremonies, such as short video clips and podcasts, which would be an honor for me to share with others.

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