Astara, Namin, Ardabil

Journey Through Northern Iran: Mountains, Passes, and Pristine Lakes

This tour takes you on a journey through the picturesque landscapes and natural wonders of northern Iran, specifically focusing on the regions of Gilan, Ardabil, and Zanjan. Over two days, you’ll venture through breathtaking mountains, explore hidden gorges and passes, and marvel at the pristine beauty of lakes and forests. The tour also offers glimpses into local culture and heritage, with recommended stops at significant landmarks along the way.

2 Days

Astara  Hiran Pass  Neor Lake

Day 1: Crossing the Hiran Pass and Exploring Ardabil Province

We’ll commence our tour with the enchanting Hiran Pass, situated in Gilan province at the Ardabil province border, offering a breathtaking glimpse into the Hyrcanian forests of Azerbaijan. Our journey to Hiran Pass begins either from Astara or Ardabil, nestled within the Talash mountains, marking the divide between Gilan and Ardabil provinces.

From Gilan, our route takes us through Astara, the northernmost tip along the Caspian Sea’s coast. After indulging in the local sights like the Steel Lagoon and Astara Bazaar, we ascend towards Ardabil, transitioning from the sultry climate of Astara to the cooler, refreshing air of the mountains. The improved roads of Garneh Hiran ensure a smooth journey, culminating in a spectacular cable car ride to the Fandoglou forest’s heights in Ardabil province.

Upon descending into Ardabil province, Namin welcomes us. For those who missed the cable car, Fandoglou forest still beckons with its pristine beauty. In Ardabil, historical sites like the tomb of Sheikh Safiuddin Ardabili and Shorabil Lake await our visit. With a range of accommodations from hotels to eco-tourist lodges, Ardabil offers a unique blend of comfort and cultural immersion.

Day 2: Discovering Neor Lake and the Sarchem Road

Our next destination is the serene Neor Lake, located southeast of Ardabil and a scenic one-and-a-half-hour drive from the city. The journey along the Zanjan road, or Sarchem road, leads us to the lake, guided by clear signage at the Bodalalo tee.

As a protected natural reserve, Neor Lake is untouched by construction, preserving its tranquil beauty. The area permits camping, providing an intimate experience with nature. While hunting is restricted, fishing is allowed during specific months, offering a peaceful retreat for nature enthusiasts.

The return journey on Sarchem Road is an adventure in itself, flanked by the Hirochai and Qezel Ozen rivers and adorned with twelve tunnels, each named after one of the twelve Imams, adding a spiritual dimension to our travels. The road’s highlight is the Pirtaghi suspension bridge, offering a thrilling walk across the Qezel Ozan River and a valley, creating unforgettable memories.

As we reach the Zanjan-Tabriz highway, approximately 90 km from Zanjan, the choice becomes yours: continue towards Zanjan or explore the rich heritage of Tabriz? This journey through Ardabil province and beyond offers a deep dive into Iran’s natural splendor and historical richness, promising an enriching experience for every traveler.

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