A gentle breeze strokes my cheeks and blows locks of hair out of my face. The waves play a symphony in my ears and I can almost hear our giggles and laughters from many summer holidays spent here by the Caspian shores.
It’s been years since I haven’t been back. The dark shades of sand is not what I’ve been accustomed to in the past couple of years but with every lingering wave a memory finds its way to my head. In these waters I’ve bathed and experienced the daunting moment of drowning, In these sands I’ve made castles and buried myself in their chilly underlayers. I’ve written my name, drawn hearts and collected bags of shells to decorate plant pots and giggled over the thought of swimming all the way to Russia!
Now it’s many many years passed. I’m back. There’s a nip in the air and I could feel a storm brewing. I try to relish every second as the fiery sun sets behind luscious mountains sprinkled with autumnal colours. it’s not everywhere in the world where you get the beach and mountains so nearby. I wonder what took a beach lover like me so long to be back here!?
Here we are in Ramsar, a town that came to spotlight during the Safavid era and was later rediscovered by the Pahlavis. An airport was built during the time of Reza Shah and Allied leaders made it here during WWII to make some world changing decisions in the old Ramsar hotel right next to where we were staying. It’s not hard to understand why the choice of location. With pristine views out of the window, the beach at a walking distance and hot springs for pampering, this could have easily been taken for paradise compared to war-torn Europe.
On our first day we took the cable car right up to where is known as the Roof of Ramsar. From here all of Ramsar was at our feet and the blue waters of the biggest lake in the world shimmered under the sun beams. Here on top there are cottages to rent belonging to the Hotel Bam of Ramsar right in the middle of the woods with no reliable way down but the cable car itself. While the whole idea of being marooned in your own little cottage deep in the woods with all your necessities catered piques my fancy, I wasn’t really sold to the untastefully designed cottages.
What did have me sold was the zip line. The adventurous side of me soon took over my fear of heights and I was buckled up in no time ready to venture into the mighty woodlands. I have to say I probably looked really pale when I got off, but I’d highly recommend it without a doubt. 😉
Soon our stomachs were rumbling and I couldn’t wait to devour on some ethnic delicacies the North has to offer. I opted for Sour Kebab, a famous dish from this side of the country which had me and my tummy truly satisfied. 🙂
Ramsar is a great lodging location if you’re planning to visit this part of Mazandaran province. It’s a gorgeous chunk of land with some magnificent natural wonders close-by. You could easily make day trips and stay the night back in town. The hot springs are also widely famous and seduce many travelers to spend their holidays here. It’s easily accessible and your transportation options are varied. We stayed 3 nights but we didn’t get to see as much since I was a guest and I didn’t pull the strings. But one place we did see which had me head over heels was Chaldareh in Tonekabon.
Chaldareh is an area deep in the lush forest and has a hotel delicately customized to very specific customers. Rentable cottages are scattered in the forest which unlike the ones I told you about earlier are elegantly designed. You’d have to cross a small bridge to get to the cottages which is limited to guests only. What makes this place specially unique was their strict policy on isolating their guests from technology. Mobile phones are taken away upon arrival. There’s no cable, no phone and definitely no wifi. Everything is catered to ensure your tranquility and to reciprocate the isolation you have the option to go for long walks, rent bikes and even go horse riding in the forest. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I wouldn’t say no to waking up to the sound of the streaming river and humming of birds.
What else is there to see?
I’m not a big expert on the area but I wouldn’t miss the famous 2000 road and the village of Javaher Deh from where you have dreamy clouds swiveling under your feet. Tonekabon is also nearby and worth a visit and the royal palace is something most travellers don’t miss, although I don’t think you would have lost much if you didn’t go. Apart from that you really need to go off the beaten path to discover the real gems and having a car really helps.
How to get there?
I would strongly suggest taking the Chalous road from Tehran. This road is one of the most scenic roads of the whole country and the landscapes and vegetation keeps changing with every turn. If you’re not up for a road trip, taking a flight to Ramsar would be the most hassle free way to get there.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Marcopolo Iran Touring Company on this trip. This post was not sponsored by them, however I decided to mention them as token of my gratitude. If you’re looking into traveling to Iran with a tour, consider checking them out. 😉
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