While Iran might not seem like the typical tourist destination, this Middle Eastern treasure is filled with millennia of rich history. From the rise and fall of ancient civilizations to more modern cultural norms that exist today, Iran holds a mecca of gorgeous cities and is home to welcoming people, delicious cuisine and glorious architecture. Due to the dynamic seasons, tourists can view the awe-inspiring attractions of Iran at any time of the year and experience something new each time. The beautiful islands here hold natural and geographical wonders that transcend the realm of time. The diverse customs and traditions found on these islands make it an even more intriguing spot to visit for globetrotters, writers, and tourists looking for something unique. Take a look at our list of best islands in Iran for some insight into your next getaway.
1. Larak Island
Larak Island in Hormozgan Province is a great choice as it’s not as frequently visited compared to the others on this list. Being a rather small island with a population of just over 400 people, this travel spot is most suited for those who want to spend time in nature and enjoy utter relaxation. You can catch stunning views of the sunset, and at night, the ocean lights up in an ethereal way thanks to the phytoplanktons. Tours on the island often offer scuba diving for those who wish to explore the underwater beauty. Planning a visit is easy, as you simply travel by ferry from Qeshm and return the same way. Plan an overnight trip so you can try a little night fishing or go camping under the stars.
Address: Strait of Hormuz, Qeshm County, Hormozgan, Iran
2. Minoo Island
Located in the province of Khuzestan, Minoo Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iran. A venture to this spot will make for a memorable visit, particularly due to the beauty of the island at night. With gorgeous palm trees and lush greenery, you will find an abundance of migratory and native birds here. Travel with compact binoculars so you can do a bit of bird watching around the island. You may even spot the occasional wild boar or even a hedgehog. Nature lovers will especially love this island as tours will show you the best spots to get amazing views. Local food like grilled fish kebabs and ice cream can be had in and around the many stalls. For adventurous travellers, you can go on a grand tour of the island by horseback riding or boating, where you’ll get better views of the local wildlife.
Address: Minu District of Khorramshahr County, Khuzestan province, Iran
3. Shidvar Island
Shidvar Island appears like nothing more than flat land when you peer upon in it from a distance. Located on the southeast corner of the Persian Gulf, the island stands uninhabited but for a flurry of wildlife. You’ll find species of snakes, hawksbill sea turtles, and migratory birds such as the crested tern and bridled tern. Birdwatchers will be awed by just how many species live on this island. With no natural predators, the population has grown. It has been instituted as a protected wildlife zone. Beautiful coral reefs line the island that lucky divers can view while snorkelling or taking a dip.
Address: Hormozgan Province, Southeast Persian Gulf, Iran
4. Qeshm Island
Qeshm is a popular tourist destination in the Persian Gulf of Iran and a hot spot for locals. The first thing you’ll notice as you arrive on the island is the rustic, desert-like appearance that looks straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. Don’t worry though, there is plenty to do and see while traversing the island. One of the best spots to stay in is Assad’s - though small, this place serves good food and offers comfortable accommodations. Chahkooh Valley, also known as Mount Well, is a must-see. Villagers built wells at the bottom of the valley to catch rainwater. Another place to visit is Hara Mangrove Forest, where you’ll catch a view of flamingos and other mainland birds.
Address: Strait of Hormuz, Qeshm County, Persian Gulf, Iran
5. Islami Island
Islami Island, otherwise known as Shahi Island, is located in Urmia Lake and is the largest island here. The lake was once home to a large number of animals, including the Artemia Urmia, a unique type of saline shrimp. However, due to drought, it has almost dried up. This hasn’t dampened the mood of tourists who flock in droves to the island each year. Birdwatchers can enjoy a mix of native wildlife such as flamingos, pelicans and ruddy shelduck. When you’re hungry for some local grub, dried fruits and cucurbits make for tasty snacks. In the day time, explore the rural villages or try a little mud bathing that will rejuvenate your spirits.
Address: Urmia Lake, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran
6. Kish Island
Kish Island is a beautiful tourist trap just northeast of the Persian Gulf of Iran. Tourists can access this resort using their passport, and after passing through the immigration at the airport, visitors can stay for up to 14 days. Once on the island, you will enter a tropical bliss - palm trees, beautiful blue waters and a laidback vibe is what travellers can enjoy during their stay. The beaches are perfect for snorkelling, scuba diving, jetskiing and reef-walking. A few places to check out are Kish Dolphin Park that offers sea mammal shows and Mysteries of World Zoo that has a number of exotic animals. Those who are interested in history can pay a visit to Kariz Underground City that is more than 2,500 years old.
Address: Bandar Lengeh County, Hormozgān Province
7. Hengam Island
Another lovely mention is Hengam Island located south of Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf. It is best known for its crystal clear waters and beautiful wildlife such as gazelles and dolphins. A boat tour will afford you some views of the dolphins leaping into the air, and you may even spot a few more creatures like turtles. Snorkelling is said to be good here, and some people like to set up camp and stay overnight. Eateries dot the coast of this small fishing village, and you’ll be able to purchase seafood here.
Address: Hengam Island, South of Qeshm, Persian Gulf, Iran
8. Hormuz Island
Hormuz Island, also popularly known as ‘Rainbow Island’, is situated just eight kilometres (four miles) off the Iranian coast. The island was once home to Chinese, Portuguese, and even Grecian inhabitants. With its unique topography, it features vibrant colours throughout its landscape. A Portuguese fort remains as a sign of its previous occupants. Tour to Rainbow Mountains, a place that showcases stunning colours interspersed throughout the island. The Museum and Gallery of Dr Ahmad Nadalian is a great spot to visit since it showcases artworks created by its namesake.
Address: Strait of Hormuz, 8 km (4.9 mi) off the Iranian coast, Hormozgan Province, Iran
9. Ashooradeh Island
Ashooradeh Island was inhabited but is now a deserted island in the Persian Gulf. This is a beautiful place to have a getaway. It is teeming with wildlife and enjoys a perfectly moderate climate. Plus, lush vegetation is in abundance here, with pomegranate trees and raspberry bushes lining the island. At one point, cotton, date palm, and sugar cane were grown here, though their presence has since disappeared. Tours of the fisheries and the piers on the island are much loved by tourists who find the process fascinating. Nature lovers will enjoy a boat ride around the island.
Address: East Miankaleh peninsula, Behshahr County, Iran
10. Naz Island
The tiniest island on this list, Naz is an ideal place to get stunning views of the ocean. The island is mostly flat and has rock walls about 10 meters (10 feet) high. The shallow waters surrounding the island allow for a nice dip, while more outgoing types can hop on a jet ski and ride the ocean waves. When the tide is low enough, you can walk or drive to and from Qeshm. Camel riding and dune buggy rides are a couple of unique activities one can enjoy here.
Address: Qeshm Island, Persian Gulf, Iran
Visit islands off the coasts of Iran
Iran’s gorgeous islands are home to an abundance of wildlife, exotic creatures, and beautiful landscapes. Tourists have found respite from the stresses of daily life with just a trip to one of these sanctuaries. It won’t be too difficult to find your way to these fabulous islands and make your next vacation a memorable one.
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