Discover 12 of the Best Caves in Iran for Tourism

While there is no precise and documented data on Iran's caves, caving and cave exploration have a considerable following in Iran. In this section, we will introduce you to some of Iran's caves, each famous for its reasons. Now that we have learned about these caves let's look at 12 beautiful, tourist-friendly, and important caves in Iran. Not all of the caves mentioned are equally challenging, and some of the caves below may only be recommended for tourists with experience in caving and physical fitness.

What you will read in this article:

What should I know about Namakdan Cave on Qeshm Island?

Namakdan Cave, located on Qeshm Island, is recognized as the world’s longest salt cave. It features spectacular salt stalactites and crystal formations that create a surreal and otherworldly environment. The cave’s length and unique salt features make it a fascinating destination for geologists and tourists alike.

Yes, Ali Sadr Cave is one of the most accessible caves in Iran, known for its large subterranean water canals which visitors can explore by boat. It’s suitable for visitors of all ages and fitness levels, making it a family-friendly destination.

The best time for caving in Iran depends on the specific region but generally, the cooler months from October to April are preferable. During this time, the weather is more conducive to physical activity, and the risk of sudden weather changes inside the caves is lower.

When planning to explore caves in Iran, always go with a knowledgeable guide, wear appropriate safety gear including helmets and sturdy shoes, and carry sufficient water and lights. Some caves require more specialized caving equipment, so check the requirements in advance.

Essential caving equipment includes a sturdy helmet, a high-quality headlamp, backup light sources, appropriate footwear (preferably hiking boots that provide ankle support), gloves, and comfortable yet durable clothing. Additionally, carrying a water bottle and some high-energy snacks is advisable.

Hiring a guide is highly recommended, especially for less experienced cavers. Guides can provide valuable insights about the cave’s layout, difficulty, and historical context. They also enhance safety by managing navigation and any technical challenges.

Frequently Asked Questions: Exploring Iran’s Caves

Namakdan Cave, Qeshm Island: The World's Longest Salt Cave

This cave is located in Hormozgan Province on Qeshm Island and is one of the most fascinating caves in Iran. Namakdan Cave is situated approximately 90 kilometers from the city center. Namakdan Qeshm consists of several passages, with the longest one named Namakdan 3, stretching about 6,400 meters. Naturally, as you go deeper into the cave, light diminishes, so brighter lanterns are needed for exploring its depths. Namakdan Cave 3 also features a saltwater lake with a depth of 1 meter, located 160 meters from its entrance.
Additionally, several large and small chambers are within the cave, with the first being approximately 700 meters from the door. Namakdan Cave has a continuous water flow that exits the cave, creating a white-colored lake that resembles snow from a distance. Furthermore, the salt in this cave is known for its therapeutic properties, and many professional athletes use it.

Burnik Cave: A Cave with a Massive Entrance

Located 135 kilometers from Tehran and 6 kilometers from the village of Harandeh, Burnik Cave is part of a long and winding valley through which the fast-flowing Namrood River runs. Burnik combines “bur” and “nik,” meaning a good or pleasant place. Burnik Cave has three separate chambers and is approximately 1,950 meters above sea level, making it one of Iran’s most beautiful caves. Burnik and its multiple rooms can be challenging, as some parts of the cave feature 20-meter-deep pits. The cave is adorned with stalactites and stalagmites, giving it a unique appearance. Burnik is known for its massive entrance, and you’ll need to traverse curved and narrow passages to explore it fully.

Sahoolan Cave: A Cave with Both Dry and Wet Sections

Sahoolan Blue Cave is one of Iran’s incredible caves in West Azerbaijan Province. It is situated at an elevation of 1,750 meters above sea level, approximately 17 kilometers from Bukan and 43 kilometers from Mahabad. Sahoolan combines “sahool” and “lan,” which means a cool place. Sahoolan Cave has dry and wet sections, each with its own entrance, but the damp area is several times larger than the dry one. The dry place leads to several islands formed due to ceiling collapses. Since the cave floor is submerged in water, Sahoolan does not have stalactites but does have stalagmites. The exception is a large stalagmite found in one of the chambers. One striking feature of this cave is its beautifully shaped stalagmites. However, with decreased rainfall and drought, the amount of water dripping from them has significantly reduced, and apart from a few, most of them are now dry. The presence of protrusions in the wet section of the cave suggests that its formation may not be like other limestone caves. Sahoolan Cave faces two threats: firstly, the digging of wells and the discharge of groundwater, which could lead to the cave drying up, and secondly, the installation of lights for easier tourist visits, resulting in algae growth. Since this cave has become a tourist destination, plans have been made to facilitate visits, but precautions must be taken to ensure that these visits do not harm the cave.

Ali Sadr Cave: Iran's Longest Cave with Two Ceilings

 

Ali Sadr Cave, much like Soolan, is a water cave and holds the title of the longest cave in Iran. This cave is located near Hamadan and the village of Kabudarahang, and it is one of Iran’s most visited caves. Ali Sadr stretches over 11,000 meters; when exploring it, you will have a 2,000-meter journey by boat. Besides its beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, the main feature that sets this cave apart is its two ceilings, making it unique.

Throughout the route, you will see peculiarly shaped rocks, stones, and sculptures resembling animals. Eagle’s claw, the Statue of Liberty, a two-headed lion, a pigeon, an upside-down boat, a grape cluster, cauliflower, and a rock resembling “Mubarak Allah” are among these formations. These natural rock sculptures have been created over millions of years due to the erosion of limestone rocks and are akin to artistic masterpieces. Ali Sadr Cave has multiple chambers, also considered its distinctive features. The Freedom Chamber, measuring 100 meters in length, 60 meters in width, and 40 meters in height, is the most famous of these chambers.

Bat Cave: Habitat of Bats

This cave is located 3 kilometers from Dehloran and is famous for the thousands of bats that inhabit it, making it one of the most fascinating caves in Iran. Bat Cave has tunnels that reach a depth of 400 meters. The history of the cave dates back to the era of cave dwellers, and a layer of bat guano covers the cave floor, which farmers use as fertilizer. During sunset, the bats exit the cave in large numbers, creating a terrifying and captivating scene.

Quri Qaleh Cave: Iran's Enchanting Cave

This cave is situated in Kermanshah Province, 87 kilometers from Kermanshah city and 25 kilometers from Paveh. The cave is also known as Quri Qaleh or Goli Castle and is located at an altitude of 1,200 meters above sea level. Quri Qaleh is famous for its peculiar and interesting stalactites, although it doesn’t have many stalagmites. Unlike anything seen in other caves, these stalactites result from gradual changes in the water levels. Quri Qaleh Cave now has two sections. The first section is equipped with lighting and has an easily accessible path for visitors. This section has no restrictions on visitors, and anyone can explore it. The second section is separated from the first by an iron door. Exploring this section requires appropriate equipment and cave diving experience. The formations created by the rocks in this cave are highly remarkable and attractive, making Quri Qaleh one of Iran’s most beautiful caves.

Kotleh Khor Cave: A Complex Three-Story Cave

The name Kotleh Khor is derived from “kotleh,” meaning short mountain and “khor,” meaning sun, which translates to “Mountain of the Sun.” Kotleh Khor Cave is located in Zanjan, 5 kilometers from the village of Garmab. Discoveries of several graves, bones, and artifacts around the cave’s entrance have led to various theories about its history and use. Whatever its history, the cave was first discovered in 1951 by a veteran mountaineer from Zanjan.

The cave entrance is narrow and requires visitors to crawl through, which has preserved it untouched for many years. However, since the 1980s, it has become a popular caving destination, and more people have learned about it. The cave has three stories connected by tunnels, making Kotleh Khor one of Iran’s most complex caves due to its unique combination of features found in other caves.

Poraw Cave: The Most Challenging Columnar Path

Poraw Cave is located in Kermanshah and takes its name from a mountain. Poraw is 3357 meters above sea level and translates to “water-filled mountain.” This cave is among the vertically oriented caves in the country and was first visited by a group of British cave explorers in 1971. In 1991, the Kermanshah Mountaineering Center successfully traversed the entire cave. Poraw Cave is one of Iran’s most astonishing caves.

Poraw consists of 26 cave shafts covered with various types of rocks. It is one of Iran’s most challenging caves for spelunking, requiring professional equipment, knowledge, and cave exploration experience. It is not open to the general public.

Karftu Cave: The Largest Hand-Dug Cave

Karftu Cave is 46 kilometers from Takab and has great historical and natural significance. Just beneath the wall leading to the cave’s entrance, there is a permanent spring. The cave served as a defensive fortification in the past, with people living inside it. The cave has two sections, a natural section and a hand-dug section. It is a three-story cave filled with halls, passages, and interconnected rooms; not all parts have been discovered yet.

Beautiful cave pearls, stalactites, stalagmites, vast underground spaces, menacing underground rivers, and Greek inscriptions on the third level will amaze you. It’s worth noting that over 2,000 years ago, people chiseled and removed 238 cubic meters of rock from this cave to construct one of its chambers, using only essential tools.

Chal Nakhjir Cave: An Ancient Cave

Chal Nakhjir Cave is another of Iran’s amazing caves in Delijan County. It belongs to the third geological era and was discovered in 1989. Cavers have explored up to 2,000 meters deep into the cave and have found new sub-passages. The den features crystallized rocks and is said to have a blue pool at its end, surrounded by various chambers. The stalactites and stalagmites in the cave are stunning. Chal Nakhjir Cave is open to the public, and visiting it does not require caving equipment. The paths are well-marked, and there is interior lighting. Guides are available to accompany visitors.

Roud Afshan Cave: The Best Cave Near Tehran

In the vicinity of Tehran are at least 60 small and large caves, with Roud Afshan Cave being one of the most attractive. Located 120 kilometers east of Tehran, near a village of the same name, Roud Afshan is one of the limestone caves of our country, known for its large entrance with a height of twenty meters and captivating chambers. Access to Roud Afshan Cave is neither easy nor challenging, but its numerous slopes offer some adventure for exploration and visits. Adequate facilities have been provided inside the cave, allowing tourists to explore various parts and not just settle for selfies at the entrance!

Chama Ice Cave: A Polar-Like Landscape

In the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, near the city of Koohrang and the surroundings of Chelgard, one of Iran’s most unique and beautiful caves, Chama Ice Cave, can be found. This ice cave has transformed into a snowy mountain over the years due to snow accumulation and retains its icy appearance throughout all seasons of the year. Speaking of the cave’s appearance, it’s worth noting that one of the most beautiful natural sights you can witness in Iran exists right on the cave’s ceiling. However, accessing Chama Cave is complex, and full exploration is recommended for beginners without proper equipment. Chama Ice Cave is also known as Iran’s largest source of freshwater.

Final Words:

Iran has many beautiful caves; this article hasn’t covered them all. Here, we’ve tried to introduce you to some of Iran’s most famous and visited caves. Shelters are not typically among the most popular tourist attractions for everyone, and many people who have no interest in spelunking may have never experienced it firsthand. However, these natural wonders are full of marvels for those with an affinity for caves.