As a child, whenever we were in Iran, our family holidays would center around the north of the country. Pretty much like most of the residents of Tehran. It was closer and we had place to stay not so far away from the beach. But then Kish island started getting popular and we would head down south when it was all cold and shivers up here in the capital.
My first time in Kish was amazing. It was my first time in the Persian Gulf and I loved to see how different it was from the north of the country. The island is rather small and we had not seen anything. So we basically visited all the touristy sites and were over the moon to enjoy powder-fine beaches instead of the dark sand up north by the Caspian sea.
Through the years, Kish island became a popular winter destination in the family. But since we had already seen everything there was in the island, it was more about having a relaxing time by the beach and enjoying the delightful weather.
Years went by, Kish got a lot of attention from investors since it was a free zone. Huge shopping centers were built, fancy hotels stretched to the sky and the island got even more popular amongst Iranians. Where sun-hazed days, turquoise waters, sun-kissed beaches and verdant greenery was guaranteed and a whole host of adrenaline pumping activities would have you occupied. Not to mention it has the best ladies beach in all of Iran and probably the only place to witness the latest bikini trends!
But as south of Iran is starting to get some attention among foreign tourists, many prefer Qeshm to Kish and for a good reason. Kish island is more like a smaller and less developed Dubai. There’s nothing authentic about it. There’s hardly any local culture. Sure the beaches are nice but to say they compete with those in Europe or South East Asia is more like a joke. And let’s be honest, no one comes all the way to Iran to go to the beach.
I still go to Kish. The same ticket and hotel price could get me to Istanbul or another neighbouring country, but I know why I’m there. Every once in a while I need a break from the adventurous side of me and since I know there’s nothing else for me to see there, I know I’ll enjoy my time without having to worry about anything. i’ll even get to spend my money on water sports instead of entrance fees to attractions for a change.
Kish is a free zone. There’s no visa required for any nationality and you could request a visa for mainland Iran right there on the island. Qeshm is also not that far away and ferries run between both islands frequently.
We like to say that in Iran you can be skiing in the north of Tehran and bathing in warm waters of the Persian Gulf within an hour flight. It’s lovely actually. Not so many countries get such variety of seasons within their own land. But if you were visiting Iran and wanted to escape the winter for a change, head over to Qeshm or Hormoz island instead. I haven’t been to the latter yet, but only heard amazing things about it. 😉