What conjures up in your mind when you think about traveling to Iran? Endless deserts, salt lakes, mosques, Islamic architecture, and mountains probably feature heavily. But what about a beach? Didn’t think of that, did you?!

Iran’s northern border is met by the Caspian Sea and southern border by the Persian Gulf. With over 2,400 kilometers of coastline, Iran offers travelers an array of surprisingly beautiful beaches and seaside spots.

Want to know where to go to the beach in Iran? We’ve compiled a list of our top picks.

Kish Island

Kish Island, Iran

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greek ship kish island

Shipwreck of Kish Island in the Persian Gulf

Kish Island

If you did a survey, 9 out of 10 Iranians would vote Kish as their favorite beach holiday destination. And it’s not hard to imagine why. Situated in the Persian Gulf and surrounded by a coral reef, Kish delivers picture-perfect beaches with white sand and crystal clear water. Yes, that’s right; there is more to the Persian Gulf than oil rigs and American warships!

See Sun, See and Sand: Kish, Dreamy Island in Iran for a complete guide to Kish. Kish has one of the most beautiful beaches in Iran.

In keeping with its island resort vibe, Kish has plenty of water-based activities at reasonable prices such as jet skiing, scuba diving, and paragliding. There are several attractions for kids too such as the Dolphin Park, the Ocean Water Park, and quite a few arcade halls.

Kish is a tourism hot-spot for Iranians so it has ample accommodation options. For more information on luxury accommodation options read this post: Luxury Hotels in Kish. There are plenty of private villas for rent but personally, I would not recommend this option for international tourists. Generally, foreigners will be quoted a very high price and the chances of clean sheets and towels are slim. Hotels are the safest option. You can book Kish hotels easily with 1stQuest.

One other thing, Kish is unbearably hot in the summer and should only be visited in the winter. During the warmer months, many shops, hotels, and activities on Kish close down because it is too hot. To avoid the oppressive heat and disappointment, travel to Kish in the appropriate season (mid-October to mid-March).

You can fly directly to Kish from most major mainland cities. Several airlines fly from Tehran daily and take about 1.5 hours. Check out flight price here: Iran domestic flights.

For more information on Kish and the surrounding islands read Persian Gulf Escape: Top 5 Destinations.

 

Bandar Anzali

Heading to the north of Iran, on the shores of the Caspian Sea is the seaside town of Bandar Anzali. Bandar in Persian means “port” so it comes to pass that Bandar Anzali is one of the biggest ports on the Iranian Caspian coast.

Bandar Anzali in 1971, wikicommons

Bandar Anzali is the headlands for the Sefid Rud (White River) which flows from the Alborz Mountains, through the province of Gilan, the city of Bandar Anzali and then into the Caspian. At Anzali Lagoon, tourists can take a boat tour of the wetlands and enjoy bird watching and the endemic Persian pink lotus flowers. If you prefer to stay on land, you can find cute tea houses and restaurants on the banks of the river.

Due to its geographical location, Bandar Anzali was used as a port for USSR ships during the Soviet period and was even home to the (albeit short-lived) the Persian Socialist Republic and the Persian Communist Party.

There is also a famous caviar factory based in Anzali, which unfortunately isn’t currently open for tours.

VIP buses are probably the easiest option for getting to Bandar Anzali. About a 5 hour trip from Tehran, buses run several times daily. You can book Iran buses online via 1stQuest.

 

Ramsar

The town of Ramsar is a hidden gem along the Caspian coast. A popular pre-revolutionary spot for Iranians and international tourists alike, Ramsar is well worth the 4-hour drive from Tehran.

The remarkable thing about Ramsar is a unique landscape. At Ramsar, you can travel from sea level to 600m elevation in a 10-minute cable car journey. Picture this. From the shores of the Caspian Sea, take the cable car that passes over orange groves and into the thick forests that lead up to cloudy mountain peaks. you can book Ramsar hotels easily through 1stQuest.

The mountains are so close to the sea at Ramsar Photo credit: Ehsan Doostmohammadi, Wikicommons

At the top of the mountain, you can enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of sea, farmland, and forest.

Cablecar at Ramsar

Cablecar at Ramsar

Enjoy the view from the lookout, dine at one of the restaurants or even stay overnight in the private mountaintop cabins. This place is stunning!

Ramsar itself is a cute little town. Attractions include the old casino, tree-lined boulevards, palaces, and hot springs. UNESCO’s 1975 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was ratified in Ramsar, in a bid to conserve local wetlands as well as wetlands worldwide.

 

Hormuz Island

The rainbow wonder of Hormuz Island is located in the Persian Gulf. This tiny little island is an amazing experience for all travelers if you get the chance to go.

Famous for its rainbow sands and freaky rock formations, Hormuz feels unlike other places in Iran, actually, it feels unlike other places on Earth!

The Red and Silver Beaches are the best ones to visit, with phosphorous sparkling waves (silver) and iron-rich red sands. Hiking, exploring salt caves and swimming in deserted beach coves are on the cards for travelers to Hormuz.

Hormuz Island | Photo by Hiva Sharifi on Usplash

Tourists often choose to camp along the beach but you can also book hotels online for reasonable prices.

Another great spot to check out on Iran’s south coast is Chabahar. Hormuz has one of the most beautiful beaches in Iran. Read more here: Are you Ready for an Adventurous Travel to Chabahar?

 

Swimming in Iran

Due to Islamic law, only men and children are allowed to swim in public. Well, women can swim but will need to wear a burkini (or if you don’t have one you can make do with leggings, long sleeve t-shirt and a cap).

The Ladies Plague in Kish offers women a private (and beautiful) swimming beach for a small fee. Ladies, this place is worth checking out with lockers, indoor and outdoor showers, cafes, umbrellas, beach volleyball, lifeguards, tanning beds and a massage parlor.

Most Caspian coast beaches will have a women’s section that is blocked off with tarps.

Although technically illegal, if you find a private beach you can discretely pop in for a swim, many local women do the same.

For more information on understanding Iranian dress code, read this post: Dress code in Iran; Go long!

 

Women's Cycling on the Coast of Kish

Women’s Cycling on the Coast of Kish

 

Need an Iran visa?

Several of the beach destinations listed here are among Iran visa-free zones, so you can enter them without a visa, for more information check out this article: Visa-free entry to Iran.

Most travelers will want to visit places in Iran that you require a visa for. 1stQuest offer visa services from just 19 euros. For more info visit: Iran visa.

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