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Trekking in Iran – the Valley of the Assassins
Explore a greener, quieter side of Iran walking in the wonderful Alborz Mountains. Rising from the Caspian Sea this mountain range is a world away from the cities and deserts that the country is known for. This trekking in Iran adventure takes you into a seldom visited part of the country and follows the route that Freya Stark wrote about in the 1930’s classic, ‘The Valley of the Assassins.’
- Discover the assassins castles in Lambesar, Alamut, Babak, and Roodkhan
- Wander the twisting alleyways of Tabriz, a UNESCO World Heritage site
- Be a guest of the Shahsevan nomads
- Walk through the Alborz Mountains
- Experience life in the villages of Masule and Sobatan
- Explore the Blue Mosque, built in 1465
This 14 day adventure begins in Tehran with a visit to the luxurious Golestan Palace with its crown jewels and the magnificent Peacock Throne. Leaving the city, your first stops will be the traditional village of Masule and the grand Roodkhan Castle. Masule is known for its charm and the traditional wooden homes found there.
From there you’ll have a series of treks onto the high plateaux that make up the Talesh Highlands. Here you’ll not only see gorgeous mountain vistas, but you’ll visit the Shahsavan – pastoral nomads who have spent their summers on these grasslands for thousands of years. The plan is to camp during these days, but in previous trips locals have invited the group to be their guests – giving you an opportunity to be embraced by local hospitality and to sample delicious home cooking. From Sobatan, a village centred around a gorgeous local spring, you’ll explore lakes Neor and Givi, an incredible scene at 2700m.
The second week begins in the agricultural region of Khalkal and the town of Meshkin Shahr, a prominent place during the 16th century Safavid period. Afterwards, if you like, you can trek to the top of Mount Sabalan (4811m). And finally a stop in Kandovan, famous for its hermit like dwelling similar to those in Cappadocia in Turkey.
You’ll be trekking 3-6 hours each day and camping during the night so reliable gear is essential to your comfort. But nothing is so strenuous or technical that a novice won’t enjoy these daily hikes. The vital ingredients are your own willingness to explore and open your heart and mind to this intriguing land. This is Iran like you never imagined. Enquire today.
Day 1: Tours starts in Tehran
Rooms will be available from mid-afternoon today for anyone arriving before the suggested group flights which arrive in the early hours of Day 2.
Day 2: In Tehran
After a relaxing start we’ll visit the bazaar, the sumptuous Golestan Palace and the crown jewels including the glorious Peacock Throne.
Day 3: Tehran – Alamut – Zarabad
Our adventure starts in earnest today as we head north to the Alborz Mountains visiting Lambesar and Alamut “assassins” castles. Approx 3-4 hrs walking
Day 4: Zarabad – Roodkhan – Masule
A morning’s drive takes us to Roodkhan castle, one of the best preserved in the country. After our visit, we head for our overnight stop in the lovely old village of Masule. Approx 2-3hrs walking
Day 5: Masule – Talesh
We’ll have the morning to enjoy the charming delights of Masule, famed for its traditional wooden buildings, before heading towards the Caspian Sea town of Talesh.
Day 6: Talesh – Sobatan
We’ll make our way up on foot to the beautiful village of Sobatan, centred on a local spring and set amidst wonderful scenery. Approx 4-5 hrs walking
Day 7: Sobatan – Neor Lake
Moving on from the village we’ll make our way on foot through the green hills to Givi and Neor Lake, a beautiful stretch of water at an altitude of 2700m. Approx 4-5 hrs walking
Day 8: Neor Lake – Meshkin Shahr
Rejoining our vehicle today we head to the agricultural Khalkal region and on to the town of Meshkin Shahr, which flourished in the 16th century in the Safavid period.
Day 9: Meshkin Shahr – Shabil
This morning we drive to a region inhabited by the Shahsevan Nomads where we will go walking amidst the stunning mountain scenery. Approx 3-4 hrs
Day 10: In & around Shabil
We’ll have a whole day in this region with opportunities to spend more time with the local nomads and, for those that wish, trekking to the summit of Mt Sabalan (4811m), Approx 5-6 hrs walking
Day 11: Shabil – Kalibar
This morning we head to the dramatic mountain fortress of Babak where our trek today will lead us through some spectacular mountain scenery. Approx 4hrs walking
Day 12: Kalibar – Tabriz
A 3hr drive takes us to Tabriz, which is home to many famed sights including the Blue Mosque, which was constructed in 1465.
Day 13: In & around Tabriz
We head to the nearby village of Kandovan which is known for its troglodyte housing reminiscent of Turkey’s Cappadocia region. Afterwards we’ll return to Tabriz for exploring and shopping in the UNESCO World Heritage bazaar.
Day 14: Tour ends in Tabriz
The tour ends with breakfast at the hotel.
As an overall ethos, wherever possible we aim to use characterful accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, not just offers a bed for the night. This can obviously vary dramatically from country to country and from trip to trip. On this particular trip we will be in a handful of hotels but predominantly in homestays and guesthouses with the occasional night wild camping or staying with locals. Please note that the accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is intended as a guide only and is always subject to availability.
On this tour we will use minibuses and our own two feet (trekking 3-6 hours per day).
The best time for exploring the mountains of Northern Iran are May, June and September where we can avoid the extremities of summer and winter and still have a good chance of meeting locals. Expect hot days and cold nights.
Please be advised that on this trip vegetarians can be catered for, but the selection and variety may be limited. It should be noted that Iran is a ‘dry’ country and it is forbidden to take alcohol into the country.
Women should be aware that it will be necessary to follow Iranian dress code whenever in public places.
Due to Iranian legislation British, American and Canadian passport holders must be accompanied by a guide at all times so please bear this in mind if considering taking flights other than those suggested, or if planning an extension, as all extra services will have to be pre-booked through us in advance.
- 28 May 2017 (15 days)
- 17 September 2017 (15 days)
Price: from £3,295 GBP (land only)
- Full services of a Tour Leader with local guides and drivers
- Meal plan with drinking water as required with the majority of meals being taken in local restaurants where viable
- All transport as outlined in the itinerary.
- All accommodation
- 2-man dome tents while camping
- Foam mats while camping
- All entrance fees, as per itinerary
- Visas (if applicable)
- Local airport taxes
- Tips (always optional, but some guidance will be given in the pre-departure information pack you’ll receive after booking)
- Beverages other than drinking water & any costs of a personal nature
- International flights to/from the start/finish of the trip
- Airport transfers (unless taking the suggested flights) – NB, under current Iranian legislation British, American and Canadian passport holders MUST have a guide at all times and as such will need to book transfers separately (at additional cost) if not on the suggested flights.
This operator is a multi-award winning adventure travel company specialising in small group tours and tailor made holidays to some of the most extraordinary destinations across the Indian sub-continent, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, Latin America and Europe. We love their unique, original itineraries – whether they are for small group travel or individually created for tailor made clients – allowing you to take journeys that venture beneath the surface of the region.
They don’t source itineraries from other agents, nor do they run the same tour over and over (thus creating a ‘tourist circuit’, spoiling an untouched region). Instead, they rarely run any group tour more than a couple of times a year and they are on routes they have discovered for themselves, to give a truly authentic, off-the-beaten-track experience.
Trekking in Iran
- Trip Code: AWA318
- Dates: 28 May & 17 Sept 2017
- Price: from 3,295 GBP
- Depart: Tehran, Iran
- Arrive: Tabriz, Iran
- Length: 15 days
- Adventure: A walking adventure into the quieter, greener and more traditional side of Iran