Outrageous Escapism: Badab-e Surt, Iran

Outrageous Escapism: Badab-e Surt, Iran

One of Iran’s most awesome natural attractions, the terraced pools of water at Badab-e Surt make for a great day trip from Tehran, Semnan or Sari. It’s a tricky drive but the photos at sunset are well worth it.


Badab-e Surt, Iran


Lesser-known and more arresting than Pamukkale
in Turkey, Badab-e Surt is a geological masterpiece located in
Mazandaran province. Shaped like a natural staircase, albeit the
kind Henry Holland would design for his abode, the rust-coloured
terraces were formed over thousands of years by water flowing from
two hot mineral springs.

Thanks to the springs, the water cascading across the pools is
mirror-clear and reflects the sky – particularly beautiful on
cloudless days. Avid photographers should visit at sunrise or
sunset when the pools are ablaze with reds, oranges and golden

Where to stay

A three-hour drive from the springs and a 90-minute drive from
Tehran, Ghasre Shirin Ecolodge is a family-run
guesthouse where local hospitality is felt at its very best. The
communal breakfast feasts are worth staying an extra night for.

What to pack

Temperatures differ wildly between the cities and the springs.
This wool-knit wrap by Missioni will keep you warm
when the temperature drops and protect you from any over-zealous

Travel tip-off

Don’t attempt to drive straight up to the pools, leave the car
in Ororst village and walk. It’s a fairly easy 60-minute stroll and
ensures your car won’t get stuck in the makeshift mud roads.

How to get there

Although it’s a little tougher to reach thanks to winding roads
and a few unpaved mountains passes, Badab-e Surt is still possible
to visit in a day. From Semnan it’s just over a two-hour drive.

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