Harandeh & Burnik Cave; Plan Your Trip heaven.
Everything you need to know to plan your trip to the heavenly nature of Harandeh and the Burnik Cave.
08 minute read
Harandeh. An idyllic oases hidden in the central part of the Alborz mountain range. After having spend two days, one night in this dreamy, adventurous land I couldn’t help myself but to write a guide about it, so you can experience this awe-inspiring land yourself.
Immerse yourself in heaven-like nature, explore the majestic Burnik cave and reload yourself away from the bustle of the city. This surprisingly unknown gem is only 134 kilometers east from Tehran and can be reached within just two hours driving. Given the peaceful environment and the outdoor options Harandeh is an excellent place for an active daytrip or an overnight getaway. But with little to no facilities a trip to Harandeh does involve some preparation.
From tips on what to do, when to visit, what to pack and where to stay, this very complete guide to Harandeh and the Burnik Cave will bring you everything you need for a wonderful outdoor adventure.
Harandeh, what to do
Stroll down the valley, walk between apple gardens and indulge yourself in nature. Relax at the river side or get active and hike up to the main attraction; the centuries old Burnik cave. Burnik means ‘safe’ in English. And might just refer to the safe haven this place has been since ancient times. Evidence shows that the history of this place goes back all the way to the era of cavemen!
It is also said to be one of the longest virgin caves in Iran. Got registered as national heritage in 2002 and is still free to visit. How amazing is that?! Be aware that you cannot drive up to the cave. It will take some time and effort to reach this place, making it a great deal for people who love to be active outdoors. Read about my experiences in this cave here and instructions on how to get there later in this article.
Cave exploring, what to bring
Do bring a headlight with plenty battery to create light in the darkness. Really, you don’t want to get stuck in the cave without light! Bring plenty of water and snacks as you won’t find it around. Sunblock can safe your skin on hot, sunny days. Bring shoes suitable for hiking/ walking mountain trail and walking on –sometimes wet- stones in the cave. Carry something warm to wear inside as it can be quite cold in the cave.
Harandeh, where to stay
Harandeh can be visited as a day trip from Tehran, but is also an excellent place for an overnight getaway. That is, if you like camping. The soft grass everywhere is great for a comfortable night outdoors and you can pitch your tent practically everywhere. Make sure you bring enough water and food as there are no shops around.
If you don’t have a tent you can contact Mr. Akbar (+989128155695 or +989122453356, speaks Farsi only) who owns the only shelter and tea shop in the valley and can provide you with a very basic shelter, blankets and food on request. Be aware that the shelter is more a ‘roof over head’ with mosquito nets serving as walls. As you sleep on a hard, concrete floor it might be desirable to bring an extra mat or plaid for comfort. Depending on the season warm clothes are also advisable. The shelter has one outside toilet but no shower facilities. It doesn’t provide much privacy, but it does feel like you’re living in the nature. Be sure to call Mr. Akbar before you go, because he only opens on request. If you want blankets and food it needs to be specifically mentioned.
When to visit
Best times to visit Harandeh are spring and autumn. In spring the valley turns green and blooming while in autumn you can see a colour palette of red, orange and yellow. With temperatures between 16 and 24 during daytime the temperature is at its best in these seasons. As temperatures can drop at night it’s always good to bring something warm. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go and pack accordingly.
Summers are warm, with an average of 30+ degrees. While winters are cold. Be extra cautious in the winter, as there might be snow and ice, making it a dangerous operation to venture into the mountains.
What to bring
Depending on the season you’ll need different gear. Always check the weather forecast and pack accordingly. Always bring enough water and food as there aren’t any shops around! And always bring sunblock, hiking shoes, something warm and (flash) light. Your own camping gear is highly recommended if you want an overnight stay. If you stay in the shelter be sure to read the tips written above.
How to get there
From Tehran there are two options to reach Harandeh; private transportation and public transportation. Private transportation is a lot faster and recommended for daytrips. As no transportation reaches into the valley the last part of the road has to be done by foot. This way, written below both transport options is the same regardless if you travel by foot or by bus.
From Tehran, just follow the Firuzkuh road up to Hanrandeh. Drive into the village up to the dirt road that will lead to the valley. You can either park your car around here and walk in 30 minutes to the valley. Or you can drive the dirt road as far as you can to cut down on walking time.
From Tehran take a Firuzkuh or Sari bound bus and jump off at Harandeh. This journey will take about 2.5 hours plus an additional 45-50 minute walk to the valley. Busses run regularly from the Tehranpars-shargh bus terminal. Do check with the driver if the bus passes Harandeh and inform him about your destination.
Walk to the valley
Both private and public transportation require to follow a dirt road connecting the village to the valley. The dirt road is located somewhere at the right edge of the village. (Look at the map below) If you have trouble finding it, show any local a picture of the valley and they’ll be happy to help you out!
Route to the cave
To reach the cave from the valley; hike from the shelter to the cave in +/- 45 minutes. There are only two trails you can follow from the shelter; one is a path along the river. This trail will lead to some homes and gardens further ahead in the valley and does not pass the cave.
The other trail (see the map below) bends to the right to the slopes of the mountains. This path will lead all the way up to the Bunnik cave. Be aware that there is a clear, safe path up to the cave so there’s no need to struggle the way we did! In the event that you cannot find the route, just walk a bit ahead. Although not too obvious it’s still pretty straight forward. Download Google maps for extra confidence and use GPS to guide your way up.
Note on sustainable travel
Please be conscious when roaming around in nature. Don’t leave any garbage and be careful not to damage the stalactites and stalagmites in the cave. If you make fire; try to collect dead wood instead of breaking trees down. And pick up garbage if you can along the way. We are all responsible for keeping this environment healthy and clean, so that we all can enjoy it in its natural state 😊
Extra piece of advice
Don’t leave your valuables out of sight. Due to low visitor rates there is not much social control. Occasional bypasses might be interested in your stuff and take it with them. To avoid this, carry your valuables and make camp in a sheltered place.
How do you feel about visiting Harandeh or the Burnik Cave? Or have you ever visited?! Be sure to write your thoughts and experience in the comment section below :)!
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