From quick city escapes to coastal hideaways, Culture Trip rounds up Iran’s most beautiful beaches.
Iran may not be the first place you think of when it comes to beaches, but the country’s 2,400 km (1,491 miles) of coastline is incredibly diverse. From the well-loved Ladies’ Beach in the southern island of Kish to all the way up north to the Gisoom Beach in the Gilan province, there are plenty to choose from.
Ladies’ Beach on Kish Island has to be top of the list for any female reader. Here women are free to enter the water, which isn’t always the case with other beaches in the country. Often described as being somewhere like Hawaii, this coastal site provides an interesting insight to beach life in Iran. With clear water, women can enjoy going into the sea while they discover the vibrant coral reefs. Lines of sunbathers can be seen relaxing and you can have a massage on the beach. Be aware that you are not allowed to take pictures here and you may be asked to hand in your phone upon entry.
Marjan Beach, again on Kish Island, is coated in golden sand and provides plenty of opportunities for relaxing walks as you look out onto lines of palm trees. You can also go surfing, or rent a boat to really explore the vast clear water here. Kish Island can reach hot temperatures in the summer, so spring or even winter are better times to visit.
With a diving school onsite for all levels, Zeitoon Beach in Qeshm (part of Zeitoon Park) is a great beach for water sports. There are lots of restaurants dotted around the area serving up fish dishes you may not expect to find in Iran, such as octopus and shrimp coated in local spices of turmeric, cloves and dried rose petals for a refreshing foodie alternative. Some of the places to ear have live music, so you can have an even more memorable dining experience while looking out to the sea. Women aren’t allowed to swim in the water here, but are allowed on the beach itself.
Gisoom Beach, located in the Gilan province of Iran, is coated in lush sand. It is well-loved for Iranians going on holiday and for escaping city life. Gisoom Beach is again one for water sports, where you can jet ski and cross the sea. You can camp here too, which is a popular experience for travellers. Remember to explore the surrounding nature of the area, notably Gisoom Jungle which is clustered with trees. At the end of the jungle is the 1,000-year old White Mosque.
In the south of Iran sits Bandar Abbas Beach, where you can walk along soft sands along the gentle slope. This makes it a great choice for families where children can enjoy building sandcastles. Winter is the best time to visit as there is less humidity in this area of the country and with water temperatures as high as 24°C (75°F) in December, it is still pleasant enough to enjoy in the winter. There is a great selection of modern hotels which provide guests with even more water action thanks to their very own swimming pools.
Rishehr Beach sits in Bushehr which is close to big cities like Abadan and Shiraz, giving travellers an attractive alternative escape from touristy spots. It is popular with overseas visitors, particularly those from Bahrain and Kuwait. Rishehr Beach has a sandy and rocky landscape, which makes it great for climbing. The beach is perfect for water activities such as hiring speed boats. Again, it is best to visit during the winter when temperatures are cooler but still warm enough to go for a dip. You can enjoy swimming in water temperatures as high as 22°C (72°F) as late as December here.