AttractionsGilanIran Tourism

Subatan Travel Guide – Journey Among the Clouds

Discover the Hidden Beauty and Tranquility of Sobatan Highland

Subatan (in Talysh language: Sovoton) is a stunning attraction in Talesh, located in the northwest of the city. This highland is covered with meadows and flower fields, full of refreshing springs, grazing livestock, and roaming horses.

The old cottages with their wooden windows create an incredible scene, making it hard to believe such an untouched place exists in Iran. In Subatan, there are no electricity poles, mobile antennas, or noise pollution.

SURFIRAN invites you on a short trip to this cool highland, which is one of the best tourist destinations in Gilan during spring and summer.

Introducing Subatan Highland Talesh

Sea of Clouds at Subatan Village, Northern Iran
Sea of Clouds at Subatan Village, Northern Iran

Subatan is situated at an elevation of 1900 to 2500 meters above sea level; hence, it has very cold winters, and even in summer, some high points still have patches of snow. This village is also famous for its fields of poppies.

The name Subatan comes from the Talysh words “Su” meaning “Golpar” (a plant) and “Voton” meaning “growing.” Since Golpar grows in various parts of this highland, the area was named Sovoton, which gradually changed to Subatan. Another narrative suggests that in the Turkish language, “Su” means water and “Batan” means a place where something sinks. Thus, Subatan means a place where water sinks. There used to be a spring in Subatan where water would sink back into the ground after emerging from it.

Traditional Life in Subatan

Nature of Subatan Village in Gilan
Nature of Subatan Village in Gilan

The Subatan highland lacks electricity and gas, and hundreds of herding families and nomads still live traditionally in black tents and mud-and-wood houses. The wooden houses are an essential and charming part of Subatan’s traditional fabric, enhancing the beauty of its unique nature and towering green mountains. There are numerous cemeteries in this area, dating back thousands of years, reflecting the ancient history and civilization of this land.

Location of Subatan

Subatan is one of the most beautiful highland areas in Iran and Gilan Province. It is located 22 kilometers from Lisar and 36 kilometers from Talesh, and it is 21 kilometers from Lake Neor. Subatan is bordered by the Lisar River to the north, the Talesh forests to the east, Asbomar Jokandan highlands to the south, and Lake Neor to the west. Subatan is about 19 kilometers away from the highlands of Ardabil.

How to Get to Subatan

Route from Talesh to Subatan

One of the roads leading to Subatan is from Talesh, which is about 36 kilometers from Subatan. Some parts of this road are dirt tracks, and personal vehicles might face issues during rain. Therefore, it is recommended to hire a Nissan or Patrol from Talesh for a trouble-free journey to the beautiful Subatan.

Route from Ardabil to Subatan

Beauty of Subatan' Nature, Gilan Province, Iran
Beauty of Subatan’ Nature, Gilan Province, Iran

If you are traveling from Tehran, board the Ardabil-bound buses from Azadi Terminal, ensuring the bus passes through the Sarcham Road. Get off at the Budalalu village and use the available vans to head towards Subatan, passing by Lake Neor. It is better to take these vans for the 13-kilometer steep journey to the lake. This route is more picturesque and pleasant than the first and allows for a visit to Lake Neor.

After exploring the surroundings of the lake and the beautiful mountains, you will reach Subatan village after 18 kilometers of hiking through clouds, enjoying natural views, and observing the local herds. Along the way, you will find drinking water springs, rivers, and waterfalls, making this journey even more exciting.

Route from Talesh – Agh Oular – Subatan

The asphalt road from Talesh to Agh Oular is about 40 kilometers. Here, the forest gives way to green and flower-filled pastures. The dirt road from Agh Oular to Subatan can be navigated with high-clearance vehicles and Nissan trucks.

Route from Lisar to Subatan

The distance between Lisar and Subatan highland is about 20 kilometers. Due to the challenging path, it is not recommended for non-professional tourists. Professional travelers should seek help from a skilled local guide if they choose this route.

Where to Stay and What to Eat in Subatan

Local Houses of Subatan Village
Local Houses of Subatan Village

You can rent local houses in Subatan, though many tourists prefer camping in nature with complete gear.

Local supermarkets offer fresh dairy products, and local eateries serve fresh lamb meat dishes for lunch and dinner. If you enjoy barbecue, be sure to try the kebabs at the traditional market. Wooden tables and chairs made from forest trees are available in the restaurants, where you can also order local dishes.

Local delicacies include Soja Dile (Saj Ichi), Qurtmaj, Sirjinah, Guzli Briyan (Roast Lamb), Jazlaq, Qorma, Soja Nan (Saj Bread), and Kate Nan (Stone Bread). Another must-try is Pandira Visoj or fried cheese, where fresh cheese is boiled, fried in oil, and served with rice.

Best Time to Visit Subatan Highland


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The best time to visit Subatan is from mid-May to mid-summer. Note that during mid-June holidays, many people travel to this highland. To fully enjoy your trip, plan to visit a week before or after these holidays. This mountainous area has cool summers, making it a popular summer destination for many tourists. Visiting in late May and early June, you will encounter fields full of wildflowers and poppies.

Travel Tips for Subatan

  • Only one hill in Subatan has mobile reception, so carry enough cash as card machines do not work.
  • Bring suitable rain gear like ponchos or raincoats, as the weather is usually rainy, and you may get soaked.
  • Avoid approaching herds and taking photos with sheep, as herd dogs might attack.

Attractions in Subatan Highland

Traditional Market

Traditional Market of Subatan
Traditional Market of Subatan

Subatan’s traditional market is a must-see, along with other surrounding attractions.

Mahara Waterfall

Located in Mahara village, this waterfall is one of the highlights near Subatan.

Nomadic Black Tents

Experience the nomadic lifestyle by visiting the black tents around Subatan.

Wide Meadow of Bidadasht

Here, you can see wild horses running freely.


Known as the Flower Paradise, it is a beautiful sight in Subatan.

Ganjnameh Cliff

This cliff is perfect for watching the sunrise and sunset.

Lake Neor

Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran
Neor Lake in Ardabil, Iran

Lake Neor, located west of Subatan at an altitude of 2500 meters, lies between Talesh and Khalkhal counties, on the border of Gilan and Ardabil provinces. It is the highest glacial lake from ancient times. Fishing enthusiasts can catch rainbow trout here. To reach Lake Neor from Subatan, you need to hike 20 kilometers or take a local Nissan. The lake’s surroundings are ideal for camping, attracting visitors from far and wide to enjoy its pristine nature.

Natural Springs of Subatan

Natural Springs of Subatan
Natural Springs of Subatan

Subatan has several natural springs with cool and refreshing water, attracting visitors in warm seasons. Notable springs include Seyyed Balaghi, Nazari Balaghi, Nomandan Balaghi, Varzan Balaghi, Sari Balaghi, and Koliye Suyi, which is known for its therapeutic properties for kidney diseases.

Shakrdasht Highland

Shakrdasht Highland, Talesh
Shakrdasht Highland, Talesh

Only 7 kilometers from Subatan, Shakrdasht, also known as Shakrdasht Subatan, is another natural wonder in Talesh. Famous for its poppy fields, this highland offers stunning views that mesmerize visitors. Due to its mountainous terrain, a sea of clouds forms beneath your feet, giving the sensation of walking on clouds.

Varzan Waterfall

Varzan Waterfall
Varzan Waterfall

Located 4 kilometers west of Subatan, this 30-meter waterfall is a must-visit.

Alchalagh Forest Park

Alchalagh Forest Park
Alchalagh Forest Park

This natural forest park, situated east of Subatan, features dense shrubs and trees such as wild plum, unripe apple, and blackberries. Amidst these trees, a vast green meadow enhances the park’s beauty.

Ganjkhaneh Cave

Ganjkhaneh Cave, Subatan
Ganjkhaneh Cave, Subatan

Located northeast of the lush Subatan region, Ganjkhaneh Cave requires a guide for access. The route to the cave is lined with poppies. The cave lies between cliffs ranging from 5 to 15 meters in height, with the cliff wall being over 200 meters wide. The narrow cave entrance makes it suitable only for experienced spelunkers.

Locals believe a great treasure lies within this cave, but due to its supposed magical and cursed nature, no one has been able to explore it fully, leaving its exact dimensions unknown.

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SURFIRAN Editorial Team

SURFIRAN is an Iranian tour operator and travel agency offering tour packages to those interested in Iran. It provides the tourists with services needed to travel to Iran, offers tours across the country, and assists the tourists in obtaining Iranian visas.

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