Iran is home to some of the leading archaeological sites in the world, but the country also has excellent outdoor activities for visitors to do. The range of attractions highlight the geographical diversity of Iran itself: the cold north bordering the Caspian Sea with its tall mountains to the warmer south, straddling the Persian Gulf. Visitors can chose from desert, water or peak regions for entertainment.
Because of its topography, Iran is also home to a huge range of geology and weather conditions. For most western travelers, it is recommended to hire a tour guide or pre-arrange activities outside of Tehran, which are in isolated areas not suitable for solo exploration.
Perhaps unknown to most visitors, Iran is home to two major deserts, the Dasht-e-Kavir and Kavir-e-Lut and one amazing activity to enjoy is a desert trekking. The landscape, plants, animals, and people are amazing. Pars Tourist Agency can organize four-wheel drive and trekking tours, but always bring plenty of water and wear loose long-sleeved clothes and hats when exploring the desert.
Travelers should make it a point to do at least do one caving tour in Iran. Some of the most amazing are Shapour, which has a 1,800-year old sculpture inside; the Tadvan Cave, where the end has not yet been seen; and Zakaria, with incredible stalagmites and stalactites. Both Iran Tours and LovelyIran Travel Agency offer a range of cave tours for every ability level.
One of the best things about skiing in Iran is that the slopes are one of the best kept secrets in the world. The amenities at the major resorts in Dizin, Tochal, Shemshak, and Darbandsar are not world-class, but the snow is excellent. Additionally, prices are cheap compared to European getaways. Iran Gashttour is happy to arrange all-inclusive tours to any of the ski destinations in Iran.
Why not try something unusual and take a camel ride through the desert? Operators such as Kassa Tours can organize one- or multi-day tours. Riding through the driest parts of Iran are serene and beautiful, but visitors should take care not to become dehydrated and protect themselves from the sun. While on your excursion, visit some of the nomadic tribes that live and travel through the desert, where camels are an integral part of daily life.
Perhaps diving is not an activity that comes to mind when thinking of Iran, but there is excellent diving to be had in the Persian Gulf. Visitors can see dolphins, turtles and other marine life. The best spot is Kish where Divers Down can arrange courses and packages. There are many resorts on the island, most with their own dive shops and tours.
Iran is home to nine peaks above 13,000 feet, which means there are plenty of options for climbing enthusiasts. Mountaineering is becoming a popular pastime, but it is not for the faint-hearted. The highest is Damavand, at 18,405 feet. Kassa Mountaineering & Tourism and Dorna Gasht Tour & Travel Agency can organize a range of trekking and climbing trips with experienced mountain guides.
Maybe Iran is not the first ocean-side town that comes to mind, but the southern part of the country is home to beautiful beaches. The most famous are on Kish Island, which has grown into a major tourist spot, particularly for visitors from Dubai. Lesser known are the Chabahar beaches on the Oman Sea coast where you can enjoy plenty of water sports like windsurfing and diving. Baazi Travels can help with hotel reservations at any of the resorts in Iran.