Do you want to experience the real Iran?

Live the way locals do and see outside of the big cities at one of Iran’s many ecolodges. Away from the hustle and bustle of tourism hubs, you can start to feel the real energy of Iran.

Ecolodges are an increasingly popular choice for ecologically minded travelers and those who are seeking a genuine cultural experience. Iranian ecolodges are like ecolodges everywhere, a hotel or guesthouse that follows the philosophy and principles of ecotourism.

Fruit picking with locals at the Gileboom Homestay Ecolodge in Gilan

Fruit picking with locals at the Gileboom Homestay Ecolodge in Gilan, Northern Iran (photo by


Ecotourism and ecolodges in Iran

Through principles of conservation and ecological awareness, ecotourism aims to connect tourists with local communities, in a mindful manner that observes local culture and the environment.

It may surprise you to read that Iran is essentially a self-sufficient state. Due to extreme sanctions against Iran that have prevailed for more than 40 years, very few materials (including foods) are imported to Iran. And most companies are owned and operated by Iranian families. There are virtually no international hotels or businesses in Iran. So, interacting with local communities and supporting local businesses is all-but unavoidable in Iran!

The experts say an ecolodge should be:

  • designed to reflect the culture and heritage of the local people using locally sourced materials for building, furniture, and decor
  • set in a natural environment and/or cultivate endemic plants
  • environmentally-friendly with sustainable energy, water, and waste systems in place as well as using local food wherever possible
  • an opportunity for guests to interact with local businesses, guides, farmers, etc.

We’ve compiled a list of the top ecolodges across Iran that tick all these boxes. Read on to find out more or contact 1stQuest to have a travel expert arrange your ecotourism holiday in Iran.

Exploring outside the big cities gives tourists an insight into the real Iran.

Exploring outside the big cities gives tourists an insight into the real Iran.


Nartitee Ecolodge, Yazd Province

Located just 20 kilometers outside of the historic city of Yazd, Nartitee Ecolodge is the perfect place for travelers to stay to see Yazd and surrounding areas. Offering simple, traditional style rooms and home-cooked meals, Nartitee’s philosophy encourages visitors to rest and rejuvenate during their stay.

Nartitee Ecolodge

Nartitee Ecolodge just outside of Yazd in central Iran offers visitors a chance to rejuvenate in their comfortable, traditional style accommodation.

Built using age-old building techniques (such as mud bricks and straw), Nartitee’s architecture blends in the with

surrounding village houses and the wider desert landscape of the Yazd Province.

Nartitee Ecolodge runs tours of various farms, gardens, and orchards in the surrounding villages, giving travelers the opportunity to learn about Iran’s ancient agricultural techniques which have enabled locals to survive in the desert for thousands of years.

Guests can easily transit to and from Yazd via public buses (running every 30 minutes), taxi or by prior arrangement with the ecolodge manager.

Need help getting to Yazd? You can book buses and flights to Yazd via 1stQuest.


Towers of Silence, Yazd

A view of the Towers of Silence in Yazd | Photo by ete Ofathousandflights on Unsplash

Gileboom Homestay, Gilan Province

Gileboom Homestay is an awesome choice for travelers who venture into Iran’s northern province of Gilan (sometimes written as Guilan). Gilan is a refreshing change from the desert areas of central Iran being green with rice paddies, tea plantations, seaside villages, and wild forests. Gilan is also famous for its amazing cuisine and has been internationally recognized as a UNESCO culinary diverse region.

The main house on the Gileboom Homestay property in Gilan

The main house on the Gileboom Homestay property in Gilan, Northern Iran (photo by

Gileboom Homestay was established by a Tehrani couple who sought a green-change, and by all accounts, they’ve done a fantastic job at creating a sanctuary that embodies all the principles of ecotourism. Through implementing sustainable practices such as rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse and vermicomposting, together with an ethos for continuous improvement, owners Ro and Mahin are on their way to creating a 100% carbon neutral ecolodge.

Guests will have the opportunity to participate in the many activities offered at Gileboom Homestay.

Local women work alongside eco-tourists

Local women work alongside eco-tourists in the rice paddies near Gileboom Homestay, Gilan, Iran.

Fancy trying your hand at pottery or felting? Do you want to weave a basket from Caspian reeds? Or maybe rice planting, orange blossom harvesting or tea picking is more your thing? No matter the season, a range of activities are always on offer at Gileboom Homestay.

Gileboom Homestay is located northwest of Ramsar, just outside Chaboksar on the Caspian Coast. About 400 kilometers by road from Tehran, you can book buses from Tehran to Ramsar and most other major easily through 1stQuest. Gileboom Homestay can host up to 17 guests in rooms, cottage, and tree-house.

To book your Gileboom Homestay experience, visit


Matin Abad Eco-Resort and Organic Farm, Isfahan Province

Located in the middle of the desert and built around a caravanserai, Matin Abad Eco-Resort offers ecologically-minded tourists the perfect desert experience.

The complex is designed using ancient techniques and built with locally sourced materials. Guests can choose to stay in the caravanserai rooms, traditional style huts or tents – all decorated with beautiful Persian rugs and handicrafts. The resort’s restaurant serves delicious organic food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Powered tents/ campsite in the Matin Abad ecologically certified complex in Isfahan Province, central Iran.

Powered tents/ campsite in the Matin Abad ecologically certified complex in Isfahan Province, central Iran.

The on-site organic farm grows a variety of fresh produce including pomegranate, pistachio, watermelon, pumpkins, pepper, eggplants, tomato, and saffron. They also breed horses, camels, and ostriches on the property. As well as visiting the farm, guests can take camel rides, explore the area on bike and star gaze with the resident astronomer.

Matin Abad has received certification from the UN and acknowledgment from the ecotourism industry for its ecological practices and for supporting local communities and industry.

Matin Abad Eco-Resort is located about 60 kilometers outside of Kashan, one of Iran’s popular tourism hubs. Famous for its rosewater distilleries, architecture and impeccably designed Persian gardens, visiting Kashan is a must. For more about Kashan read: A Brief Guide to Kashan: Iran’s Architectural Gem. Other surrounding sites include the historic village of Abyaneh and Nooshabad Underground City.

Secure your booking for Matin Abad Eco-Resort and Organic Farm by booking your room easily through 1stQuest.

View of the caravansarai at Matin Abad Eco Resort and Organic Farm

View of the caravansarai at Matin Abad Eco Resort and Organic Farm

Planning an Iran trip?

Here at 1stQuest, we’ve written plenty to help you plan your trip to Iran! For all the latest tips and deals, check out our Iran travel blog.

Wanna know where to go in Iran?

Check out our compact itinerary in 7 days in Iran and for those travelers seeking the path less trod: Exotic villages in Iran; Surviving remembrance of old times.

Need an Iranian visa?

Almost all international travelers (with the exception of only a few countries) are required to obtain a tourist visa for entry into Iran. To reduce your risk of rejection and long waits at the airport, we recommend applying for an Iran visa in advance. For all, you need to know about Iranian visas, read: 10 Frequently Asked Questions about Iran Visa.

how to get Iran visa

1stQuest can help you apply for your Iranian visa in advance. Prices start from 19 EUR.

Iran on a budget?

Can you do it? Yes! Iran is a very inexpensive country for international travelers. Budget accommodation is available in most touristy areas. Find out more here: Hottest Prices of 2019: Cheap Hostels in Iran.

For our complete guide to budget travel in Iran, see A Backpacker’s Guide to Iran – May 2019.

What should you wear in Iran?

Iran is an Islamic country and as such, Islamic customs are required by law. This means women need to wear modest clothes and a headscarf in public. Men should also wear long pants and no sleeveless tops. For more information, check out: Dress code in Iran; Go long!

Do you need travel insurance in Iran?

Like visas, all incoming tourists are required to have travel insurance for the duration of their stay. 1stQuest offers visitors to Iran cheap and easy travel insurance from just 12 euros. Check out our Iran travel insurance offers.

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