Deserts of  Iran

It is very common to hear from people who live all over the world, especially those who have not traveled to Iran, that Iran is a country with a hot and arid climate. This is because about a third of Iran is desert. There are two main deserts and many smaller ones in the country. However, if you look at the map of Iran more closely, you will understand that, in addition to deserts, about a third of the country is mountains. There are also jungles, lakes and many rivers in different corners of the country. Here, we will briefly introduce the main deserts and the most visited areas in Iran.



Dasht-e Kavir or Kavire Namak, or the Great Salt Desert, is the largest salt desert in the central highlands of Iran. It is situated in the southeastern part of the Alborz Mountain, which covers an area of ​​about 800 km (500 miles) by 320 km (200 miles). The desert has a total surface area of ​​about 77,600 km2 (30,000 miles2).

The desert is located at an altitude of about 700 meters (2,300 feet). Here, winter is quite cold, while summer is extremely hot. The desert receives little rain and snow each year. However, the surrounding mountains on all sides provide plenty of runoff to create vast seasonal lakes, swamps and playas. Temperatures can reach 50°C in summer, and the average temperature in January is 22°C.

The only plants that could adapt to this climatic condition are species such as mountaintop shrubs and grasses and mugwort, which is the most common plant.

Wild sheep, camels, goats and Persian leopards are common in mountainous areas, and Persian gazelles live in parts of the steppes and desert areas of the central plateau.

Some of the best attractions of Dasht-e Kavir are Kavir National Park, Houze Soltan, Houze Ghilooghe, Sefidab Caravanserai and Sirjan Salt Swamp.

Kavir-e Lut

Kavir-e Lut or Dasht-e Lut is the first natural item from Iran inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The maximum annual rainfall is approximately 100 mm. The desert’s average altitude is almost 600m above sea level, with the lowest point near “khabis” almost 300m above sea level.

The desert covers an area of ​​51,800 km2 (20,000 miles) with 320 km (200 miles) from northwest to southeast and about 160 km (100 miles) wide. While the eastern part is a low plateau covered with salt marshes, the central part was carved by the wind into a series of crystals and parallel grooves.

Kavir-e Lut spreads across three provinces in Iran; Sistan and Baluchestan, Kerman and South Khorasan. Most of the desert sights and attractions are in the province of Kerman, near the city of Kerman, to be more specified in the village of Shahdad. There are a number of ecolodges in Shahdad, so if you plan to travel to this amazing area and see the sunshine in Kaluts, make sure there will always be a vacant place to stay!



The Salt Lake of Maranjab is situated about 100 kilometers east of Qom and 50 kilometers northeast of Aran and Bidgol. The lake has a triangular shape that covers an area of 1800 km². The average depth of the lake is about five meters, and its deepest point is 50 meters.

As well as being one of the most beautiful deserts in Iran, the main use of the Maranjab salt lake is for salt extraction. As a suggestion, it is highly recommended to visit the salt lake area with a professional local guide, as the land around the lake is swampy.

The best sights to visit in the desert of Maranjab are Sand Dums, Aran and the Salt Lake Bidgol, Maranjab Castle, a Caravanserai and a Qanat close to it.

 MESR Desert

Mesr Desert is actually a desert village located in Khur Central District and Biabanak County in Isfahan Province. The desert is 45 km from Jandag County and 371 km from Yazd.

Mesr Desert is a unique desert in Iran due to its breathtaking landscape. The area is one of the most attractive tourist attractions in Iran. Mesr Desert tours are one of the most popular daily tours in the desert of Tehran and nearby cities. Although the area is so hot and arid for most of the year, there are beautiful and majestic gardens and date palms in the area. If you’re looking forward to some outdoor activities in the heart of the desert, you’re sure to enjoy camel rides and sand dune hikes. You will also be amazed by the beautiful night sky and watch the stars so close to your face.

The villages of Mesr and Farahzad are the areas where you can easily find accommodation to spend a night or even a few days. Khur Salt Lake, beautiful Date Gardens, the incredible night sky and Chal Eskanon are just a few places you can enjoy visiting during your trip to Mesr Desert.


In the heart of the Lut Desert, there is an area with an incredible view of the Shahdad Desert. The Shahdad Desert is located in the eastern part of the city of Kerman. The most popular desert landscape to visit is the magnificent Kaluts, which are situated exactly in an area in the east and north-east of the Shahdad Desert.

Kaluts are generated by extreme soil and water erosion. They extend from northwest to southeast of the district.

Varzaneh Desert

To reach the Varzaneh Desert, you need to drive about a hundred kilometers from Isfahan or two hundred from Yazd. The area is notable for its incredible sand dunes. For those who want to live an extraordinary experience, camps around a campfire are an indescribable option; especially if you are interested in gazing at the stars in the silence of a desert, this is the place for you!

There is a village near this area; Kharanagh, which has a history of over 1000 years. All the buildings in this village were made of dry mud. The village is almost in ruins, however you can find great views for photography! There is also a beautiful caravanserai in the village of Kharanagh, which dates back at least 400 years.

Pigeon Towers, Anahita Temple, Ghoortan Citadel, Gavkhooni Vetland, Mirmiran House, Historic Bridge and Jameh Mosque of Varzaneh are all places you can visit in the Varzaneh Desert.