Iran’s magnificent Alborz Mountains extend for around 1 500 kilometres in an east to west direction across the northern part of the country. They include the over 5 600 metre high Mount Damavand – the highest peak in the Middle East – and for travellers, the Alborz range presents an opportunity for unforgettable, high-elevation adventures. Of course, Iran’s sprawling capital city of Tehran is itself at the foot of the central Alborz Mountains, and it is from here that you can easily access and explore some of the best of the Alborz range. Here are some ideas for some high elevation adventures in and around Tehran.
Go skiing at Shemshak and Dizin:
Two of the Alborz’s biggest ski resorts – Shemshak Ski Resort and Dizin Ski Resort – are a scenic one to two-hour journey north of Tehran. Shemshak is the closer of the two and its steep slopes are considered more appropriate for expert skiers and snowboarders. Dizin is larger and has more facilities, and better for beginners. Iran’s ski season starts from November and lasts until May, and at Shemshak and Dizin, as well as other places, there are chalets and hotels for accommodation, and equipment (and skiing instructors) for hire.
Trek through the Alborz foothills:
One of Iran’s greatest attractions is its massive diversity of natural terrain. Luckily, travellers can easily get a taste of it just outside Tehran. From Darakeh and Darband, which are on the outskirts of the city, there are dozens of well-established walking and trekking routes that track their way through the beautiful natural scenery of the lower slopes and foothills of the mountains. Many of these can be completed in a morning or afternoon, and will take you past waterfalls and streams, natural forests, and up some spectacular rocky crags. Along the way, you can also stop for a snack at one of the area’s traditional tea-houses.
Climb Mount Damavand:
Climbing and trekking experts say that Mount Damavand is one of the most easily accessible ‘big mountains’ of the world, and a summit of the 5 671 metre high peak can be done in as little as five days. Treks and climbs of varying difficulty can be organised through several well-established guiding companies based in Iran and Tehran.
Explore Lar National Park on two wheels:
Iran’s Lar National Park is around 130 kilometres north of Tehran, in the heart of Alborz mountain territory. For mountain bikers it’s a dream destination, and with adventure guide operators like Iran Eco Adventure, you can arrange multiple-day riding adventures to explore its magnificent floral and animal life, and spectacular natural terrain.
As travelling to Iran is currently becoming more of a reality for tourists from all parts of the world, many are waking up to the fact that Iran – with its capital Tehran, and other destinations like Mashhad, Isfahan, and Shiraz – is a true traveller’s paradise. Among many other things, Iran offers spectacular architecture all around the country, a rich history of art, craft, and design, countless relics of Iran’s ancient culture, and an incredibly diverse landscape that includes mountains and snow, deserts, a coastline and offshore islands, and a very rich floral and animal kingdom. There’s also delicious cuisine to be enjoyed, and some very friendly people to be met while you’re exploring.