Iran Desert | Sandy Thrills of Iran

Iran Desert : Iran enjoys a variable climate of mountainous, desert, continental and humid sub-tropical climates. However, arid climate is the predominant feature of Iran, specially in the central plateau. Center east of the Iranian plateau is covered by vast deserts. Iran desert comprises of 2 major deserts: Dasht-e Kavir (or Central Desert of Iran) and Dasht-e Lut (Lut Desert).

Desert in Iran  attracts millions of tourists from around the world come to Iran to either solely visit best deserts in Iran, or have an exotic experience of desert as part of their cultural Iran tours. Why?

iran desert - desert in iran

Mesr Desert

#1 Is Iran Desert Different?

Iran desert is wonderfully different from the famed deserts of the world. For one, desert in Iran are surrounded by high mountains, so it is not so out of the ordinary in Iran to see a snow covered peak in the horizon. Or, it may only take a few hours from luscious gardens to an endless expanse of sand dunes.

Traveling in Iran desert, one can let the stark beauty of sand dunes and salt lake captivate them under the sunny sky, and camping the nights to let the starry sky engulf them while gathered round the fire in desert. What is more, different kinds of entertainment activities like camel riding, off-road rides, etc. are there to offer you the best experience of desert in Iran.

iran desert - desert in iran - night sky

Iran Desert Night Sky

#2 Best Desert In Iran

Best Desert In Iran : There is no one best desert in Iran, as Iran desert is replete with various spectacular landscapes. So, here we have list most frequented Iran deserts.


#1 Varzaneh Desert

Location : Eastern Isfahan Province, in Dasht-e Kavir Iran desert

Famous for : highest sand dunes among Iran deserts.

Attractions :

  • Vast expanse of mesmerizing sand dunes
  • Strikingly glittering salt lake with mountains in the horizon
  • Bordering on Gavkhouni Wetlands
  • Historical village of Varzaneh
iran desert - desert in iran - Varzaneh

Varzaneh Desert

Entertainments Facilities : camel riding, off-road ATV motor and SUV rides, sand-boarding, paragliding, 2 zip-lines.

Accommodation Options : Camping and guesthouses in Varzaneh Village


#2 Maranjab Desert

Location : 60 km northeast of Kashan in Aran va Bidgol, Isfahan Province, in Dasht-e Kavir Iran desert

Famous for : most visited desert, in close distance from Tehran, Iran’s Capital


  • Dazzling sand dunes and ripples
  • Aran va Bidgol Salt Lake with mesmerizing salt polygons
  • The Wandering Island : is one of the dazzling landscapes of the salt lake, when rain water covers the lake and movement of water creates the soothing illusion of a moving island in the desert!
  • The Historical Shah Abbasi Caravanserai ( 16th to 18th century), which has turned into a traditional guesthouse
iran desert desert in iran - Maranjab desert

Maranjab Desert (Photo by :

Entertainment Facilities :  camel riding, off-road ATV motor and SUV rides, camping, …

Accommodation Options : Camping, Shah Abbasi Caravanserai traditional guesthouse, and desert Eco-camps


#3 Mesr Desert

Location : near Mesr Village, Khoor county, Isfahan Province; in Dasht-e Kavir Iran desert.

Attractions :

  • Selkenoon Salt Lake
  • Khoor Salt Lake
  • Canebrake of Mesr
  • Takht-e Abbasi Hill
  • Chilkondeh Hill
  • Tall-e Khakestari Hill
  • Namak (Salt) River Canyon
  • Bagher Dozdoo Playa
  • Historical Village of Mesr
iran desert - desert in iran

Mesr Desert

Entertainment Facilities : Camel Riding, ATV motor and SUV off-road rides, biking, camping

Accommodation Options : camping and local guesthouses in Mesr Village


#4 Rig-e Jenn Desert

Location : Vast desert covering Isfahan and Semnan Provinces; East of Dasht-e Kavir Iran Desert

Famous for : being mysterious and harsh (Professional teams are a must for visiting this desert)

Attractions :

  • Endless expanse of sand dunes
  • Beautiful night sky
  • Shrouded in mysterious legends and stories
iran desert - desert in iran - Rig-e Jenn

Rig-e Jenn Desert

Accommodation Options : camping (fully equipped) , guesthouses in villages of Anarak and Jandagh.


#5 Shahdad Desert and Shahdad Kaluts

Location : near Shahdad, Kerman Province; in Dasht-e Lut Iran desert.

Famous for : unique geological phenomenon of Kalouts (Yardangs)

Attractions :

  • Uniquely epic landscapes of yardangs (Kaluts)
  • Dazzling view of sunset and sunrise

    iran desert desert in iran - kalouts of Shahdad

    Kaluts of Shahdad Desert

Entertainment Facilities : Camel Riding, ATV motor and SUV off-road rides, camping

Accommodation Options : Camping, Shahdad desert eco-camp, local guesthouses in Shafiabad village and Shahdad town


#6 Darak Desert; Where Desert Meets the Sea!!

Location : on the sea border of Sistan and Baluchestan Province and Oman Sea.

Famous for :  desert joining the seas

Attractions :

  • Mesmerizing view of the sea meeting a desert-like stretch
  • Sand dunes ornamented with sparse date palm trees
  • Darak Village (getting to know the culture and people of Southern Iran)
iran desert - desert in iran - Darak

Darak Desert

Entertainment options : fishing, boating, swimming, camping, SUV rides, etc.

Accommodation Options : camping, local guesthouses in Darak and Zarabad Village


#2 Iranian Desert Facts

#1 Iran Desert Area / Iranian Desert Location :

Iran desert takes about 25% of Iran’s land area. Here is an introduction to 2 major Iran deserts:

    #1 Dasht-e Kavir (Kavir Desert):

Covering central parts of Iran, 800 km long by 320 km wide, with a total surface area of about 77,600 km2, Dasht-e Kavir is  the Earth’s 26th largest desert.

iran desert - desert in iran

     #2 Dasht-e Lut (Lut Desert) :

Located to the southeast of Dasht-e Kavir, 480 km long by 320 km wide, with a total surface area of about 51,800 km2, Dasht-e Lut is  the Earth’s 27th largest desert. Dasht-e Lut was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2016. Click Here.

iran desert - desert in iran

Lut Desert

Also, the hottest land surface on Earth was located in Dasht-e Lut ( reaching 70.7 °C), according to  NASA, in 2004 and 2005. Click Here to Learn More


#2 Iran Desert Map


iran desert desert in iran - Iran Desert Map

Photo Credit to Wikipedia

#3 Iran Desert Temperature

Iran Desert Temperature : The climate of Iran desert:  Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut is arid; and they receive little rain or snow (in winter). However, the mountains that surround these two Iran deserts provide plenty of runoff, enough to create vast seasonal lakes, marshlands and playas.

Iran Desert

Salt Polygons of Maranjab Desert

Temperatures in Dasht-e Kavir can reach 50 °C in summer, and in Dasht-e Lut up to 70 °C! Daytime and nighttime temperatures can vary by as much as 70 °C (130 °F) during the year. Hence, cold nights and hot days are characteristic of desert in Iran.

#4 Iran Desert Animals

Iran Desert Animals : While at first glance, desert may seem inhabitable, Iran desert inhabits a wide range of wildlife.

Iran’s Dasht-e Kavir desert is currently the only habitat of Asiatic Cheetah or Persian Cheetah, which unfortunately is critically endangered. Persian Gazelle, wild sheep, camels, Persian leopards, Persian Onager (Gur), wild cats, foxes and wolves area among the wildlife of the protected area of Kavir National Park. Snakes and lizards too are found in different parts of Iran desert.

iran desert

Dasht-e Kavir, the habitat of critically endangered Asiatic Cheetah

Iran desert vegetation is comprised of Halophyte (salt-tolerant) plants such as Persian mannaplant, saxaul, Tamarix hispida, etc.

#3 Safety Tips in Iran Desert

Iran desert while uniquely mesmerizing and relaxing, can seriously threaten your life for their inherent harsh climate. So it is only wise to take safety measures before traveling in deserts.

  • Always visit the desert with professional desert tour guides.
  • Never ever leave your group. One can easily get lost in the desert.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Dress appropriately for the hot days and cold nights. Hats, sunglasses, sun screens are a must.
  • Wear appropriate trekking shoes
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I had never loved my country more before I serendipitously found myself in tourism and took a sharp turn from my soulless job to give in to the magic of my home, Iran!

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