7 reasons to visit Ramsar Iran-
Tucked between the exuberant green forests of the snow-topped Alborz mountain range, and the calm blue waters of the Caspian sea, lies the idyllic town of Ramsar. Often described as the most scenic spot of the Caspian sea, Ramsar is favored by many Tehrani’s to escape the capitals’ crowdedness and hot summer heat. Arriving by road, it’s the combination of mountains meeting sea that’s mesmerizing at once. Followed by a liberating, heavenly-like feeling.
With an abundance of lush nature, water, and even hot springs, Ramsar is the perfect place to relax a couple of days. At the same time, it has enough in store for active sightseeing as well. Breathe the fresh air, smell the sweet orange trees when blossoming and get ready for some relaxed holiday vibes. Meanwhile, use this list with seven reasons to visit Ramsar to get your spirit going.
1. Soak in sulphuric hot springs
One of my favorite things about Ramsar -and initially my number one reason to visit Ramsar- are the sulphuric hot springs and spa’s the city is rich. While there are several springs, the most central and scenic one is the Hotel Spring. Located behind the Old Hotel, halfway the road from the Shah Complex Museum exit, this spring is easy to be found.
While men and woman are (obviously) separated, it’s possible to dress and cool down in the open air. Complete with marvelous views on the green Alborz mountains in the background. It’s a delight to be able to enjoy the hot spring both in-and outdoors, without worrying about the Islamic dress code. Visit the spring at morning or twilight to avoid the heath of the day. And bring a bathing suit as well as a swimming cap for hygienic reasons.
2. Dip your feet in the Caspian Sea
Officially not a sea, but the world’s largest inland water body. Dip your feet in the water and watch people enjoying a variety of activities such as jet skiing, boating, and parachuting. Or stroll around the small amusement park and drink a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice. The views on the Caspian Sea during sunset are by far some of the most enchanting I’ve ever seen. Furthermore, the seaside provides exciting views on mountains meeting water. Overall a very good place for some leisure time. While actual swimming is possible in some places, be sure to comply with the Iranian dress before you swim. Alternatively, ladies can swim in a bikini at special designated places at the beach.
3. Watch the sunset from the Telecabin
The scariest, but probably most rewarding reason to visit Ramsar is to watch the sunset from the Telecabin. That is scary at least if you fear heights! Located north in the city, a shaky, somewhat old looking cable-car will carry you along a two-kilometer cable, up to 700 meters above sea-level in just over 15 minutes. Honestly, I didn’t feel all that comfortable up in the air, but the fantastic views over Ramsar and the Caspian sea certainly made up for that.
While I had certainly saw spectacular views during twilight, I’m convinced that a visit during sunset is a true dream come true. Imagine a soft pink, purple and grey toned sky along with the blue waters of the Caspian Sea, from a birds eye’s view from the sky! Add forested mountains, fields of rice, and a view on Ramsar town and you get why it’s arguably most rewarding reason to visit Ramsar.
Once arrived up there, try some delicious Persian meals and local specialties in one of the small restaurants. The north of Iran is famous for anything ‘Torsh’ (sour) so get ready for some interesting flavors. Other activities involve a jungle walk or an adrenaline-rushing zip-line experience. Regardless of your plans, bring your camera along to capture some of the beauty around here.
4. Hike in the Ramsar Jungle
With an abundance of green forests, Ramsar offers plenty of options for an active day hiking. Take the Telecabin up to wander around Ramsar’s jungle. Or hike to the remains of the Mar-kooh castle. Both places can be reached independently and offer spectacular views over the city and the sea. In addition, the towns rice fields and tea farms are a great place for a relaxed stroll. More challenging, (half)day hikes can be done under local guidance. Gileboom Homestay organizes a variety of guided hikes to explore high altitude villages and nature in the Caspian Hyrcanian Jungle and Alborz mountains. Some of which even includes an overnight stay in nature.
5. Visit the Ramsar Palace Museum
Established in 1937, the Ramsar Palace and historical garden served as a summer residence to the royal Pahlavi family. Until the ruling monarchy got overthrown during the Islamic Revolution in 1979. At present time the palace functions as a museum displaying a variety of artifacts and thematic rooms. Get a unique glimpse at the royal life of the Pahlavi’s in the main palace. And see old artifacts of historical life from the Mazandaran and Gillan province in one of the smaller palace buildings. Also, don’t miss the impressive collection of craftwork in the Ivory museum, close to the exit. Finally, enjoy a stroll in the orange-tree rich garden. And dress up in local costume at a traditional photo studio on the complex.
6. Sip a coffee overlooking magnificent views at the Old Hotel
Image classy 1920’s interior, large windows with sea-side views and excellent beverages for a shortstop or lunch break. Sounds good, doesn’t it?! Both the 1933 build Ramsar Old hotel, and the neighboring 1963 build ‘new’ hotel have plenty of options for a classy break halfway the day. In addition, roam around the beautifully maintained botanical gardens at the back of the hotel. Together with the jungle-clad hills in the backdrop, it’s a perfect place for a short break. The Moallem boulevard, leading up to the entrance of the Old Hotel forms a direct road to the Caspian Sea. Build to orders of King Reza Shah, the hotel served guests of the king back in its glory days.
7. Walk above clouds at Javaher Deh
Located 27 kilometers south of Ramsar, Javaher Deh is a small mountain village tucked away in the Alborz mountains at 2700 meters. Favored by many it’s a popular place to escape Ramsar’s humidity in summer. Small shops with local products welcome you all the way up to the village; knitted dolls, woven wall decorations, cups of fresh tea, all kinds of sour pickles, local honey and even stuffed goats are for sale. Even the road going up there is lovely, as it windingly leads you higher and deeper into the mountains. This alone could be a reason to visit Ramsar.
Javaher Deh itself had several hiking trails, although all of them are written in Farsi. The easiest –and most popular- option is to head up straight in the village, all the way up until you reach a small waterfall and some excellent views. Javaher Deh is often covered in clouds, so go on a clear day. If you’re lucky you can see a sea of clouds slowly coming in until you’re all covered in mist. Quite an enchanting experience!
To get there by shared taxi from Ramsar; ask for Istgah Yeiylagh (which translates to ‘Station to the countryside’) in the Lat Mahalleh district. From there the taxi will follow the Javaher-Deh road up to the village. Depending on the car it usually takes between 30-45 minutes to reach.
Best time to visit Ramsar
Visit Ramsar in autumn and spring to enjoy colorful mountains and an overall good climate. Expect wet and cold weather between late autumn and winter. And a very high humidity in summer. Another reason to visit Ramsar in the spring and early summer are the soothing, sweet scents of blossoming orange trees town round.
For the most relaxed experience try to avoid Iranian holidays and weekends in general. Ramsar is a much-loved place among Tehrani’s to escape the large city and summer heat. Especially during the holidays the small town can become very crowded.
How long to stay in Ramsar
Given the small size of the town, even travelers with little time can see and do a lot in one day. But to truly experience and appreciate this place I’d suggest a minimum of 2-3 days stay. But even longer stays will work well if you are looking for a place to relax and take it slow in a stunning, nature-rich environment.
To go to Ramsar
From Tehran; take the super scenic Challus Road and drive to Ramsar in about 5 hours. This road is so stunning that it on itself should be a reason to visit Ramsar. Spectacular as it is, I wrote a whole separate blog post about it here. Alternatively you can catch a short domestic flight to reach there faster.
From Rasht; catch the bus to Ramsar/ Challus. Reach there in about 2.5 hours.
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For more information about Iran; Click to read about The most scenic road trip you must not miss to reach Ramsar. Or visit my Iran page for a variety of articles about Iran.