Located along the Caspian Sea’s southeastern coast, this picturesque city in the Golestan Province is one of Iran’s hidden gems. Rich in history, blessed with natural beauty, and pulsating with a vibrant culture, Gorgan promises an enriching experience to all who tread its paths. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you explore this jewel of northern Iran.
Gorgan has been a significant historical hub, with roots tracing back to ancient civilizations. Previously known as Hyrcania, which means “the land of the wolves,” the city’s strategic position made it a focal point for many empires, including the Achaemenid, Parthian, and Sassanian.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Gorgan largely depends on the kind of experience you’re seeking. However, generally speaking:
This is often considered the best time to visit Gorgan. The weather is pleasantly mild, the landscapes are lush and green after the winter rains, and the surrounding Alborz Mountain range is still capped with snow, offering a stunning backdrop. The Persian New Year, Nowruz, falls around late March, making the early part of spring a vibrant and culturally rich time to visit.
The weather in autumn is also mild and comfortable. The fall foliage, especially in areas near the forests and the national park, provides a spectacular display of colors. It’s a great time for outdoor activities and sightseeing.
While Gorgan doesn’t get as hot as southern parts of Iran, summers can still be warm. However, its proximity to the Caspian Sea means that it’s more humid than other parts of the country. If you don’t mind the warmth and humidity, the summer offers extended daylight hours for exploration.
The city experiences cold temperatures, and the surrounding mountainous regions receive snowfall. While it might not be the most popular time for tourists, it’s a good season for those interested in winter sports in nearby areas.
In conclusion, for the most favorable weather conditions and to experience Gorgan in its full bloom, spring and autumn are the best times to visit. However, each season offers its own unique charm, making Gorgan a year-round destination.
How to Get There
Gorgan is conveniently accessible by air through Gorgan International Airport (GBT). You can catch domestic flights to Gorgan from major Iranian cities such as Tehran, Mashhad, and Isfahan.
From Tehran: If you’re arriving from abroad, you’ll likely land at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) or Mehrabad Airport (THR). From there, take a domestic flight to Gorgan International Airport, with a flight duration of around one hour.
Trains offer a scenic route to Gorgan, connecting it with various cities like Tehran and Mashhad.
From Tehran: Depart from Tehran Central or Tehran West Railway Station and enjoy a picturesque journey lasting 10-12 hours. Booking your tickets in advance and opting for comfortable seating options is advisable.
From Mashhad: Consider taking a train from Mashhad, located in the northeastern part of Iran. The train ride provides breathtaking views and takes approximately 16-18 hours.
Traveling by bus is an economical option, especially if you’re already in Iran. Multiple long-distance bus companies connect Gorgan with major cities.
From Tehran: Buses from Tehran to Gorgan are readily available, with a travel time of around 9-10 hours. You can choose between standard and VIP buses for added comfort.
From Other Cities: Depending on your starting point, you can find bus connections to Gorgan from cities like Mashhad, Isfahan, and Tabriz. Bus schedules may vary, so it’s best to check with local bus companies for updated information.
By Car: For those seeking flexibility, renting a car and driving to Gorgan is an option. The city is well-connected to major highways, but be sure to familiarize yourself with local driving regulations and road conditions before embarking on a road trip in Iran.
Golestan National Park
Golestan National Park is one of Iran’s oldest and most diverse national parks.
It offers stunning landscapes, including forests, mountains, and lush meadows.
Wildlife enthusiasts will appreciate the opportunity to spot various species of animals and birds, including leopards, gazelles, and eagles.
Naharkhoran Forest (Jungle) and Waterfall
Naharkhoran Forest is a picturesque woodland area located near Gorgan.
The jungle is known for its lush greenery, hiking trails, and the Naharkhoran Waterfall, a serene and refreshing spot to visit.
Gonbad-e Kavus Tower
Gonbad-e Kavus is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the stunning Gonbad-e Qabus Tower.
This cylindrical brick tower, dating back to the 10th century, is an architectural marvel and a symbol of the region.
Explore the bustling Gorgan Bazaar to immerse yourself in local culture and shop for handicrafts, spices, and local products.
The bazaar is an excellent place to experience everyday life in Gorgan.
Alang dareh Park
Alangdareh Park is a lovely recreational area near Gorgan with a serene lake.
It’s a great spot for picnics, boating, and enjoying the natural beauty of the region.
Gorgan Museum is a fascinating place to learn about the history and culture of the Golestan Province.
It houses a collection of artifacts, manuscripts, and exhibits showcasing the region’s heritage.
Gorgan Wall (Great Wall of Gorgan)
Explore the ancient Gorgan Wall, a defensive fortification that stretches for more than 195 kilometers.
Dating back to the Sassanian era, this historical site offers a glimpse into Iran’s past.
Take a boat ride to Ashuradeh Island, situated at the junction of the Caspian Sea and Gorgan Bay.
It’s a serene place to relax, enjoy fresh seafood, and watch the Caspian’s breathtaking sunsets.
Best Hotels in Gorgan
Shahab Hotel Gorgan
Shahab Hotel, with its exceptional geographical location in Gorgan, is one of the most popular 4-star hotels. This hotel, with 43 rooms spread over 4 floors, offers good access and views of the beautiful forests of this city. The rooms at Naharkhoran Hotel are available in various configurations, accommodating 1 to 4 people, including standard rooms, suites, and special suites for reservations.
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For Shahab Naharkhoran Hotel, there is a small parking area with a capacity of 50 cars, and its traditional restaurant can accommodate up to 70 people, offering traditional Iranian dishes. All rooms in this hotel are well-equipped, making it undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Gorgan.
Special and important amenities provided at Shahab Naharkhoran Hotel include a traditional teahouse, an elevator, a coffee shop, special tourist and tour services, green spaces, a dry cleaning service, and facilities for people with disabilities.
- Address: Naharkhoran Boulevard, 300 meters before the police station.
- View Shahab Hotel on Google Maps
Azin Hotel Gorgan
Azin Hotel, a 4-star establishment that should be among the top hotels to consider in Gorgan, is located at the city’s entrance. This hotel offers a panoramic view, with one side facing the mountains and the other side overlooking lush forests, making it undoubtedly the best hotel in Gorgan. The hotel, with 7 floors and 32 rooms, welcomes esteemed guests from all over the country.
Azin Hotel Gorgan’s rooms are available for 1 to 3 guests and come in different categories, including standard rooms, suites, and royal suites, all equipped with complete amenities. The hotel provides two parking options: a covered parking facility with a capacity of 30 cars and an open-air parking area with a capacity of 100 cars, both available for reservation.
Azin Hotel owes much of its fame and popularity to its special amenities, such as a lobby, an elevator, a shop, a coffee shop, taxi services, housekeeping services, laundry facilities, internet access, and more. The Azin Restaurant, with a capacity for 100 guests and a diverse menu, awaits your visit.
- Address: Gorgan City, at the beginning of the Gorgan entrance road.
- View Azin Hotel on Google Maps
Naharkhoran Tourist Hotel Gorgan
Gorgan Tourist Hotel Naharkhoran is the best 3-star hotel in Gorgan, known for its quality and excellent prices. In 2010, it underwent renovations to enhance the satisfaction of tourists. By reserving a room at Gorgan Tourist Hotel, you can have excellent access to the Alangdareh Forest and Ziarat Village. With 67 rooms spread across 3 floors, it is now considered one of the best hotels in Gorgan, offering the finest amenities.
The rooms at Gorgan Tourist Hotel Naharkhoran can accommodate 2 to 4 guests and come in various styles, including cabins, regular rooms, suites, and royal suites. The hotel has a parking facility with a capacity for 100 cars. Its restaurant, with a capacity for 150 guests, serves a diverse menu of Iranian dishes, sure to delight even the most discerning palates.
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The hotel’s amenities are designed to provide the best service to travelers and include a coffee shop, a traditional teahouse, green spaces, a library, both Iranian and Western-style toilets, and a lobby TV.
- Address: Naharkhoran Boulevard, Naharkhoran Forest Park.
- View Naharkhoran Tourist Hotel on Google Maps
Ziarat Hotel Gorgan
The best hotel in Gorgan, located in the village of Ziarat, is one of the most pleasant areas with a favorable climate in this city. For those who wish to enjoy the natural landscapes and explore Gorgan during their stay while benefiting from its excellent weather, Ziarat Hotel is one of the best choices. This two-star hotel, with 4 floors, offers 27 rooms and suites for 2 to 4 people.
If you have a personal vehicle, you can use the hotel’s parking facility with a capacity of 18 cars. The rooms are equipped with all the basic amenities. The hotel provides various services for guests, including a traditional teahouse, a coffee shop, special taxi service, an elevator, green spaces, housekeeping, and wake-up services.
- Address: Naharkhoran Boulevard, Ziarat Village.
- View Ziarat Hotel on Google Maps
Gorgan is a blend of the ancient and modern, where millennia-old traditions interweave with contemporary life. Its verdant landscapes, rich history, and welcoming people make it a must-visit destination in Iran.
Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast, a history buff, or a culture vulture, Gorgan promises memories that’ll last a lifetime.