Embarking on a desert adventure is an exhilarating endeavor, immersing one in the untarnished splendor of Iran’s wilderness. Among the most captivating and the top desert destinations of Iran are Maranjab, Lut, Mesr, Regan, Khor, and Derek deserts, the latter being a unique confluence of sea and sand. Iran’s geographical heterogeneity bestows it with expansive deserts, each presenting distinctive features and allurements. Herein, we delineate 15 of Iran’s most mesmerizing deserts.


Top Places in Iran for Desert Excursions

In this section, we will carefully consider a comprehensive list of the top desert destinations of Iran to invite you to a world of beauty and excitement of desert trekking in this vast land. Join us to discover the best desert climbing experience on a trip to the heart of the vast deserts.


Illustration of Iran's Top Desert Destinations



Maranjab Desert

Undoubtedly, one of the most renowned deserts in Iran is the Maranjab Desert, well-known to many. Located near Kashan city within the Isfahan province, Maranjab is a mere three-hour journey from Tehran. This desert is teeming with tourist attractions. The sand dunes are so iconic, one might imagine they were extracted straight from a cinematic masterpiece.

The Maranjab desert, an old habitat of people in ancient times, whispers stories of human footprints from the Paleolithic age. This once-bustling artery of the Silk Road saw countless caravans meandering through its vast sands.

At the heart of this desert lies the Maranjab Caravanserai, a majestic relic commissioned by Shah Abbas in the Safavid era. This haven, nestled along the Silk Road, offered a sanctuary where traders could rest and gather strength before continuing their journeys.

During the Qajar period, the story of the desert changed. It became a desolate refuge for political exiles and adversaries of the ruling powers.

Fast forward to the present, and the Maranjab desert stands as a magnet for tourists, drawn by its mesmerizing landscapes and rich historical background.

Vegetation of Maranjab region includes halophyte plants, such as gaz trees, thorn trees, kich bushes, erte, skanbil, and cow tail. The fauna of the area is very rich due to the presence of abundant water and food, and animals such as wolves, jackals, hyenas, sand foxes, sand cats, chameleons, lizards, snakes, scorpions, eagles, and falcons are found in it.




Caracal Desert

Caracal desert is one of the most beautiful deserts in Yazd province, near Bafaq city. It is also called Sadegh Abad Desert because it is close to Sadegh Abad village. The desert is named after the Caracal, a type of wild cat that lives there. Caracal Desert is great for new desert trekkers, with good places to stay and fun activities. It is very close to the city and easy to reach by a paved road.

During your trip to Caracal, you can see Baghrababad Castle, pistachio and pomegranate groves, and tall sand dunes that are 50 meters high. For staying overnight, you can use Shahid Barzegari tourist camp in Sadegh Abad village, join a tour, or set up a tent in the desert. Always make a list of the things you need before going, as the desert can be dangerous despite its beauty. Travel safely and enjoy your adventure.


Caracal Desert Iran


Bagherabad Historical Castle 

Baqerabad Castle (Persian: قلعه باقرآباد) is a Qajar-era fortress in Bafq county, Yazd province, Iran. This historic castle was built by a local ruler Abdorrahim Khan Bafqi, in three stages.

The castle features 45 rooms and two watchtowers. It was originally constructed to protect villagers from bandits and also served as a grain storage site. On August 13, 2005, Baqerabad Castle was recognized as one of Iran’s national heritage sites, listed under number 13000.

This impressive structure stands as a testament to the region’s rich history and offers a glimpse into the past.


Also Read : Famous Castles of Iran 


Caracal Cat 

The Caracal (Caracal caracal) is a medium-sized wild cat found in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and India. Recognizable by its long, black-tufted ears, this agile predator weighs 8 to 19 kg and has a coat ranging from tawny-brown to reddish. Caracals inhabit savannas, forests, semi-deserts, and scrublands, preferring areas with ample cover. They are nocturnal hunters, primarily preying on small mammals, birds, and rodents, and can leap up to 3 meters to catch birds. Caracals communicate using growls, hisses, and purrs, and females give birth to one to three kittens. While not endangered, they face threats from habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict.


Also Read : Wildlife of Iran 




Mesr Desert

The Mesr Desert, situated in Isfahan province, stands as one of Iran’s most breathtaking deserts. Renowned for its vast “Sandy Sea,” it is a beloved destination for astronomers. The crystal-clear, star-studded sky of Mesr attracts numerous nature enthusiasts each year. But what makes Mesr a prime tourist spot?

Many attribute its popularity to the film “Too Far, Too Close” by Reza Mirkarimi, which unfolds in the village of Mesr. Others believe the historical tales behind the village’s name play a pivotal role in its allure. Regardless of the reason, Mesr Desert continues to captivate visitors with its enchanting beauty and celestial wonders.


Khor Salt Lake

Khor Salt Lake is one of Iran’s largest seasonal salt lakes. Its salty soil makes it impossible for plants and animals to survive there. However, the lake’s unique feature is its salt polygons, which form fascinating pentagon shapes. These polygons turn dark in winter and white in summer, creating a stunning visual contrast.


Flowing Sand Dunes

Another captivating sight in the Mesr Desert is the flowing sand dunes. The beauty of these shifting sands and rolling hills is indescribable—you have to see it to believe it. Walking on these dunes provides a unique and peaceful experience, leaving you with unforgettable memories.


Biyazeh Castle

While exploring the heart of the Mesr Desert, a visit to Biyazeh Castle is a must. This ancient village, located about 50 km southeast of Khor city, offers a glimpse into history with its traditional architecture. Biyazeh Castle, believed to be over a thousand years old, showcases Sassanid-style architecture and stands as a testament to the area’s rich past.


Mesr Desert Reeds

The reeds of Mesr, located in the northeast of the Mesr Desert, is a unique area filled with reeds that can reach heights of up to four meters. This region is home to various wildlife, including sand cats, foxes, Parsley snakes, and hunting birds like falcons. The reeds emerged after a flood in 1976, adding a lush contrast to the desert landscape.



Also Read : 10 Most Fascinating Villages in Iran 




Lut Desert

Lut desert or Dasht-e Lut is one of the most amazing and unique natural phenomena of Iran, which is located in the southeast of the country. Spanning over a vast expanse exceeding 40,000 square kilometers, this desert plateau includes segments of Kerman, Sistan & Baluchestan and South Khorasan provinces and makes up about 10% of Iran’s total landmass.

Due to its unique features, Lut Desert was recognized as the first natural site of Iran by the UNESCO in 2016. This region is known as one of the hottest places on the planet, where temperatures soared beyond 70 degrees Celsius from 2004 to 2009.

Within the Lut Desert, a plethora of intriguing geomorphological formations such as Kalouts, yardangs, and ridges abound, each exuding its own unique allure. Kalouts, often dubbed the ‘imaginary city,’ are natural edifices sculpted by aeolian and fluvial erosion, presenting a breathtaking panorama.


Kalouts of Kerman 

The Hottest Spot in the World

The term “Kalout” combines two words: “Kal,” meaning “settlement,” and “Lut,” referring to the Lut desert region. These formations are sandy mountains created by the erosive forces of desert winds, which shapes the sand and clay surface, producing landscapes that appear like a city from afar. Covering around 11,000 square kilometers, they are located about 40 kilometers from Shahdad, Kerman.

The Shahdad plain, within this desert region, boasts the largest Kalouts in Iran. Recognized by National Geographic as the fourth most impressive natural attraction globally, the Shahdad Kalouts are also the world’s largest sand cliffs and a significant tourist draw. This area is also known as one of Earth’s “thermal poles” and is considered the hottest point on the planet, with temperatures so extreme that no plant, animal, or even bacteria can survive.


Despite its severe climatic conditions, the Lut Desert harbors a surprisingly rich biodiversity. An array of fauna and flora have adapted to this harsh environment, some of which are endemic and exclusively found in this desert.

Amidst its formidable environment, the Lut Desert offers myriad attractions for aficionados of desert excursions and adventures. From undulating sand dunes to saline lakes and distinctive natural vistas, this region has become a coveted destination for tourists.


Check Out : Our Desert Tours and Activities 



Varzaneh desert

Varzaneh desert, with its sand dunes and stunning scenery, is a place that showcases the endless beauty of nature. With its salt flats and sand dunes, this desert offers an opportunity for discovery and adventure.

Varzaneh desert, with endless beauty and stunning scenery, is one of the most amazing deserts in Iran. This desert, which is located in Isfahan province, creates an unforgettable sight with sand dunes that look like sea waves and a sky that shines with bright stars at night.

During the day, the sun with its merciless rays turns the desert into a golden world where shadows move gracefully across the sand. When night falls, the Varzaneh desert turns into a silent and mysterious place where the sound of the wind and the soft movement of the sands are the only sounds that can be heard.

Visitors can have pure and memorable experiences in Varzaneh desert. From riding camels and exploring the sand dunes to spending the night by the fire and watching the starry sky, every moment in this desert can become a fond memory.

Varzaneh Desert is not only a stunning natural landscape, but also a place where visitors can connect with the peace and quiet of nature and take a break from their daily lives. This desert, with all its beauty and secrets, awaits explorers who are looking for a different and unforgettable experience.




Zardgah Desert

Zardgah desert is one of the lesser known deserts of Iran, which is located in South Khorasan province and near the village of the same name. This desert, with its unique features, brings a different experience of desert climbing. In terms of ecology and vegetation, Zardgah desert has significant differences from other deserts in Iran, and its weather is more favorable than other deserts.

Zardgah village, which is located on the edge of this desert, has a terraced architecture and spectacular adobe houses. This village, which is part of Tabas city, is less populated due to recent droughts, but there are still gardens and groves that are signs of its past prosperity.

Mount Nayband, which is located near Zardgah desert, with a height of more than three thousand meters, is the highest Chekad in South Khorasan province and is known as “Bam Birjand”. This mountain gives a beautiful view to the Zardgah desert and provides opportunities for climbing and enjoying the natural scenery.




Rig-e Jen Desert

Rig-e Jen, the third-largest sand dune in Iran, captivates tourists with its spooky and mysterious ambiance. Located in the southern part of Semnan, near the border with Isfahan province, this desert is one of Iran’s most enigmatic tourist spots. There are many stories and legends about this desert. Many visitors have reported hearing strange noises while exploring or sand riding, which locals attribute to ghosts and demons.

Rig-e Jen is an excellent location for desert tourism in Iran. Among its attractions are adventure opportunities, sand riding, trekking across dunes, and stargazing under the desert sky. Experiencing all these activities can take anywhere from 4 to 24 hours. It is important to note that Rig Jen is suited for seasoned desert travelers and professional tourists. Therefore, it is strongly advised not to venture into this area alone; instead, seek guidance from specialized tour operators or experts.