Hiking Iran's Alborz Mountains

Overview

Few countries' history and culture are as rich, deep, and palpable as Iran's. In the northern reaches of this enchanted land, the breathtaking Alborz Mountains harbor pristine examples of the nation's textured past and colorful present. On this exclusive MT Sobek adventure, spend 6 glorious days trekking through the Alborz's varied highlands. En route, visit world-class museums, ancient ruins, sacred mosques, local villages, nomadic tribes - even soak in restorative hot springs and sleep in rock caves! Led by an expert guide, this incredible trip offers an unparalleled experience of Iran.

  • Trek through the contrasting landscapes and cultures of the southern and northern Alborz Mountains

  • Visit UNESCO-listed sites like terraced Masuleh village, magnificent St. Stepanos Monastery, and Soltaniyeh's dome

  • Explore fortresses, castles, bazaars, mosques, monasteries, museums -- and overnight in an ancient rock dwelling!

  • Arrive: Tehran, Iran
  • Depart: Tehran, Iran
  • Duration: 14 Days
  • Group Size: 6-15 Guests
  • Minimum Age: 16 Years Old

Itinerary

  • Day01

    Arrive in Iran

    Welcome to Tehran! Meet your MT Sobek guide and transfer to the hotel. Join the group for a short welcome talk and trip briefing, then begin your cultural extravaganza at the Carpet Museum of Iran, home to stunning Persian carpets dating to the 16th century. After lunch visit the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, which showcases an impressive collection comprising works by Picasso, Matisse, van Gogh, and other world-class artists. Nearby is a small flea market where you can do some fun treasure (and bargain) hunting before a welcome dinner.

  • Day02

    Behold the Jewels of Tehran

    Start the day off with a buffet breakfast before driving into the city center to visit one of the gates of old Tehran. Then spend the rest of the morning visiting the National Museum of Iran, which features some of the world's most valuable Persian antiquities right up to the modern Islamic era. After a hearty lunch, feast your eyes upon the largest and most dazzling collection of jewels in the world at the Crown Jewels Museum, located in the National Treasury. This evening, enjoy dinner with the group.

  • Day03

    Enter the Alborz Mountains

    Lace up your hiking boots! Begin your trek today with a short warm-up hike in the southern Alborz Mountains' dry desert climate. From here, drive past flowing rivers and gentle springs en route to the northern Alborz, which has a wildly different landscape and climate than other parts of Iran - dense forests, green hillsides, often rainy skies. Arrive in tiny Parachan, one of 40 villages in the verdant Taleqan valley and an old trade-route stop for traders bound for the Caspian Sea, where renowned Persian rice was traded for wheat.

    • Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Alborz, Iran
    • Activity: 4 hours/3.5 miles hiking with 3,300' elevation gain
    • Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day04

    Hike Mt. Lashkarak & Alam-Kuh

    Today is a full day of hiking, beginning with an ascent nearly all the way to the peak of Mt. Lashkarak (13,959'). Then you descend into the Alborz's densely forested Caspian side on an 8-hour mountain trek. The day is both challenging and rewarding, with every step affording breathtaking views - including of snow-capped Alam-Kuh (15,906'), Iran's second-highest peak.

    • Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Alborz, Iran
    • Activity: 8 hours/2.5 miles hiking with 3,000' elevation gain & 2,600' elevation loss
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day05

    Journey into the Paradise of Iran

    Continue trekking through the northern Alborz's lush landscape and descend through the mountainous Galu valley into Kelardasht. Nicknamed the "Paradise of Iran," this verdant region is a popular getaway for nature-loving Tehranis. Tonight you're in for a special treat: experiencing the local warmth and hospitality firsthand when you overnight in an Abbasabad home!

  • Day06

    Step Back in Time in Gilan

    Drive along the sea to Rasht, the largest city on Iran's Caspian coast, then west to statue-laden Fuman, where an easy hike leads to Rudkhan Seljuq, a brick-and-stone castle hidden among dense mountainous forest. The medieval military complex - originally constructed in the Sasanian era (225-651) - is quite weathered but, incredibly, its 42 towers are still intact. Continue to Masuleh, a UNESCO-registered village established in the 10th century with spectacular, unique architecture: Its courtyards and rooftops serve as pedestrian streets. Explore on foot, walking by - and on! - its interconnected buildings.

    • Accommodation: Kadus Grand Hotel or Sefid Kenar Hotel
    • Activity: 4 hours/2-3 miles hiking (in two 2-hour stints) with negligible elevation gain/loss
    • Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day07

    Experience the Sufi Mystics & Nomadic Life

    Take a scenic drive to Sarein along the gorgeous Asalem-Khalkhal Road. En route, visit the magnificent Ardabil Shrine, tomb of the 13th-century Safavid Dynasty founder. The shrine complex is an architectural marvel, with well-preserved and richly ornamented tiled facades representative of medieval Islamic design and Sufi mysticism. Built between the 16th and 18th centuries, the site was the Islamic empire's largest and most complete monastery, and the most prominent Sufi shrine. This evening it's another unforgettable overnight experience: living the life of a nomad and camping with the Shahsavan tribe!

  • Day08

    Hike Mt. Sabalan & Relax at Sarein's Hot Springs

    Get back into your boots! Embark on a four-hour hike on the slopes of sacred Mt. Sabalan (15,784'), Iran's third-highest mountain. This area is also a home base for the local Shahsavan nomadic pastoral tribe, with whom you enjoy a cup of tea. This afternoon, your feet will thank you for soaking them in Sarein's soothing hot springs. The area's mineral-rich waters are known throughout Iran for their healing and spiritual powers. Each spring is slightly different in mineral composition, size, and temperature, and is recognized for curing particular ailments.

    • Accommodation: MT Sobek Camp-Alborz, Iran
    • Activity: 4 hours/4-5 miles hiking with 500' elevation gain
    • Transportation: 3-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day09

    Take in the Treasures of Tabriz

    After breakfast, drive to the cultural mecca of Tabriz, home to the 14th-century Arg-e Alishah (also known as the Arg-e Tabriz) ruins, allegedly the largest brick structure ever built. Explore the archeological and historical Azerbaijan Museum, featuring superb metal and stone relics up to 3,000 years old, Ahad Hossein's powerful sculptures of life and war, plus a re-weave of the legendary Ardebil carpet. Also visit the splendid Masjed-e Kaboud, or the Blue Mosque. Constructed in 1465, the mosque is renowned for its remarkable domed ceilings, dazzling turquoise tile mosaics, and intricate calligraphy.

  • Day10

    Visit St. Stepanos Monastery & Tabriz's Legendary Bazaar

    Start the day exploring ancient tomb and caravanserai ruins en route to the architecturally masterful St. Stepanos Monastery. Built in the 9th century entirely of stone, it has been restored and rebuilt several times over the centuries. After lunch, return to Tabriz to hunt for treasures at its vibrant, UNESCO-listed bazaar explored by Marco Polo in the 13th century. Stroll through its 22 magnificent brick-domed halls and 24 caravanserais filled with carpets, jewelry, spices, hats, leather, housewares, produce, and much more.

  • Day11

    Trek the Sacred Valley of Kandovan

    Another day of trekking today, though this time it's through the scenic valley of Kandovan in the historic Mt. Sahand foothills, a 30-mile drive from Tabriz. Sahand, a dormant volcano, is the highest mountain in Iran's East Azerbaijan province. Cut into its slopes is the remarkable village of Kandovan, where just over 600 people reside year-round, comprised of manmade cliff dwellings excavated inside volcanic rocks and tuffs. Tonight you settle into bed in one of these 700-year-old cave-like residences - indeed a night to remember!

  • Day12

    Mountain Drive South to Zanjan

    Another mountain drive this morning through the Zagros mountains' passes and villages leads to the spectacular Sassanid Takht-e Soleyman citadel. This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary, partly rebuilt in the 13th-century Mongol period, and a Sasanian-period (6th- and 7th-century) temple dedicated to Anahita, divinity of the waters. The designs of the fire temple, the palace, and the general layout have strongly influenced the development of religious Islamic architecture, as well as other cultures.

    • Accommodation: Zanjan Grand Hotel
    • Transportation: 4-hour private van transfer
    • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Day13

    Visit Breathtaking Soltaniyeh and Qazvin

    Behold breathtaking UNESCO-listed Soltaniyeh, home to Iran's oldest (1302-1312) and tallest double-shell dome, and one of the world's largest brick domes. Sadly much of the Dome of Soltaniyeh's exterior decor has been lost over the centuries, but the interior's remarkable mosaics, murals, calligraphy, and faience have been preserved. Next is Qazvin, an ancient Persian Empire capital known today as the calligraphy capital of Iran. Visit its wonderfully restored caravanserai-turned-arts precinct, architectural marvels, sensorial bazaars, and atmospheric alleyways. After lunch, return to Tehran for a farewell dinner.

  • Day14

    Depart from Tehran

    After a farewell breakfast, transfer to Tehran's international airport for your homeward-bound flight.

    • Meals: Breakfast
Want to extend your adventure?
Contact our Regional Specialists for more travel ideas!

Upcoming Departures

  • AvailableJun 29 - Jul 12, 2019
  • AvailableAug 24 - Sep 06, 2019
View More Departure Dates
From: $7,295.00 What's Included?
14 Days
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Got Questions?
Speak with an expert.

Brian Allen

MT Sobek Regional Specialist

1.888.831.7526CallEmail

Hiking Iran's Alborz Mountains Map

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Why take this trip with us?

Reason #01

MT Sobek has crafted pioneering adventures across the globe for 50 years, and has taken guests through Iran for over five years.

Reason #02

Our team of local guides are true experts, each with over 20 years' of experience trekking in the Alborz Mountains.

Reason #03

This unique adventure takes you out of the tour van and into the mountains to explore by foot - a rarely offered opportunity.

Meet Our Guides

Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.

What To Expect

  • Activities

    Journey blends hiking up to 8 hours a day on sometimes rocky mountain paths with immersive cultural touring of historical sights.

  • Lodging

    Comfortable hotel accommodations and two nights camping in the Alborz Mountains. Also includes a night at a boutique cave hotel in Kandovan!

  • Climate

    July and September temperatures range from the low-60's F to low-100's F. The mountains are colder in the low 30's F at night. Rain is unlikely.

FAQ

  • Who will meet me on arrival?

    Our MTS representative will meet you at the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran on Day-1.

  • Is it legal for Americans to travel to Iran?

    Even though the U.S. and Iran do not have diplomatic relations at this time, it is legal for Americans to travel to Iran.

  • Do I need a visa for Iran?

    Yes, we handle the visa for you and apply as a group.

  • Do I need to follow a special dress code for Iran?

    Yes, women must cover their arms, head, and neck and wear a top garment that extends to mid-thigh. Men should not wear tank tops or shorts. In remote trekking areas, these restrictions can be relaxed.

  • Do need to bring a sleeping bag for this trip?

    Yes, please bring a sleeping bag rated to 0F and a sleeping pad.

  • What happens to my luggage while we are trekking?

    Your luggage will be transported by mules during the trek and you will have it in camp each night.

Dates & Pricing

Pricing Dates

Scheduled Dates

  • Available
    Jun 29 - Jul 12, 2019
  • Available
    Aug 24 - Sep 06, 2019

Customize Your Trip

Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!

Book This Trip Customize A Trip
2019
$7,295.00 Price per person

Additional Cost

  • $1,700.00 Single Supplement

Price Includes

  • Expert leadership from experienced adventure guides
  • Accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals as noted in the daily itinerary
  • Potable water and snacks throughout
  • All tips and gratuities for support staff with the exception of your lead adventure guide(s)
  • All necessary specialty activity gear
  • All group entrance fees, activities, and ground transportation
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers

Price Does Not Include

  • International airfare, any airport taxes, or excess baggage charges
  • All wine and beer since alcohol is illegal in Iran
  • Optional tips to your lead adventure guides
  • Personal expenses such as medical immunizations, phone calls, laundry, or souvenirs
  • Optional travel protection

Testimonials

  • "I've taken six MTS trips and they have all exceeded my expectations. The staff, the food, the logistics and the communications have always been exceptional. Thank you for being my "go to" adventure travel company!"

    Margaret I.

    MT Sobek Traveler

  • "I have traveled extensively around the world. The experience with MTS was by far the best I have ever had. Thank you for such excellence."

    Marianne W.

    MT Sobek Traveler

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