highlights of iran


Astara, a luminous gem in northern Iran, intertwines the ethereal beauty of lush landscapes with a rich tapestry of culture, whispering tales of epochs gone by through its verdant forests and azure Caspian shores. This city, a melodious symphony of nature and heritage, offers a soulful embrace, inviting travelers to lose themselves in its enchanting realms and to find serenity amidst its tranquil vistas.


The land of architecture and art

Astara: A Verdant Gem Nestled on Iran’s Northern Fringe

Embraced by the ebullient arms of the lush Gilan province, Astara beckons travelers with its enthralling amalgamation of nature’s bounty and a vibrant tapestry of culture and history. This remarkable city, cocooned amidst the cascading emerald landscapes of northern Iran and caressed by the gentle waters of the Caspian Sea, serves as a heartwarming testament to the nation’s geological and cultural diversity. Astara, a place where the confluence of natural beauty and human ingenuity breathe life into every corner, unfolds a myriad of experiences to those fortunate enough to wander its verdant paths.

Getting to Astara offers a blend of transportation options, each with its own charm and convenience. Here’s a breakdown of your choices:

From Baku, Azerbaijan:

    • Air travel: Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Baku to Astara at present. You can consider flying to Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD) and then taking a bus or train to Astara.

    • Bus: Several bus companies operate between Baku and Astara, with the journey taking approximately 7-8 hours. Fares start around $20 USD (one-way). Popular companies include Safar Express and Khazar Trans.

    • Train: Trains offer a scenic journey from Baku to Astara, with the trip taking about 10-12 hours. Tickets start around $15 USD (one-way). Azerbaijan Railways operates this service.


From Tehran, Iran:

  • Air travel: No direct flights connect Tehran and Astara. Consider flying to Ardabil Airport (ADU) and then taking a bus or taxi to Astara (around 3 hours).

  • Bus: Several bus companies connect Tehran and Astara, with the journey taking approximately 18-20 hours. Fares start around $25 USD (one-way). Seiro Safar and Sepahan Tour are popular choices.

  • Train: Raja Passenger Train Company operates trains between Tehran and Astara, with the trip taking about 24 hours. Tickets start around $20 USD (one-way).

From Tabriz, Iran:

  • Air travel: No direct flights connect Tabriz and Astara. Consider flying to Ardabil Airport (ADU) and then taking a bus or taxi to Astara (around 3 hours).

  • Bus: Numerous bus companies connect Tabriz and Astara, with the journey taking approximately 6-8 hours. Fares start around $10 USD (one-way). Arasbaran Tour and Karun Bus Company are popular choices.

Airline and Train Company Contact Information:

Ticket Prices:

Ticket prices can vary depending on the travel date, time of day, and type of transportation. The information provided above is a general guideline, and it’s recommended to check the latest prices and schedules directly with the airlines, train companies, or bus companies.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider booking your tickets in advance, especially during peak season.
  • Purchase travel insurance for peace of mind.
  • Learn some basic Farsi phrases to communicate with locals.
  • Enjoy the journey and the beautiful landscapes along the way!

Remember, each option offers its own unique experience. Choose the one that best suits your budget, time constraints, and preference for comfort or adventure. Have a wonderful journey to Astara!

Note: Border crossing procedures between Iran and Azerbaijan can sometimes take time. Be prepared for potential delays and bring necessary documents like passport and visa.

How to get around Astara

Navigating Astara with public transportation offers a budget-friendly and authentic experience. Here’s a rundown of your options:


  • Taxis are plentiful and offer convenient point-to-point travel within the city and to nearby villages. They operate on a meter system, but negotiating fares is also common.
  • Popular Taxi Companies:
    • Astara Taxi Union: +98 41 3323 2020 (Call Center)
    • Shayan Taxi: +98 41 3322 5252 (Main Office: Rezaee St., near Central Bank)
    • Behnam Taxi: +98 41 3325 1111 (Main Office: Shahid Chamran Blvd., near Imam Khomeini Square)


  • Astara’s city bus network covers major city routes and provides a budget-friendly way to get around. Buses are clearly marked with destinations and fares are affordable.
  • Local Bus Companies:
    • Astara Urban Bus Company: +98 41 3321 3311 (Main Office:Shahid Chamran Blvd., near City Hall)
    • Arasbaran Bus Company: +98 41 3335 3535 (Main Office: Vali Asr Square, near Bazar)

Minibuses (Dolmush):

  • Shared minibuses operate on fixed routes and serve as a cheaper alternative to taxis. They stop when hailed and fares are paid onboard.
  • Finding Dolmush: Look for marked minibuses or ask locals for specific routes and stops.

Car Rentals:

  • Renting a car provides flexibility and independence, especially for exploring beyond the city center. International licenses are accepted,but local insurance is usually mandatory.
  • Car Rental Companies:
    • Pars Rent a Car: +98 41 3326 5555 (Main Office: Shohada Square,near Vali Asr Square)
    • Toos Rent a Car: +98 41 3324 8888 (Main Office: Imam Khomeini Square, near Central Bank)

General Tips:

  • Download offline maps or use Google Maps for navigation.
  • Learn some basic Farsi phrases for easier communication with drivers and locals.
  • Carry small change for bus fares and taxi rides.
  • Be patient, as public transportation schedules can be flexible.
  • Enjoy the local experience and engage with friendly Astara residents!

Remember, public transportation options may vary depending on your location and time of day. Ask locals for recommendations or head to bus terminals and taxi stands for detailed information. With a little flexibility and cultural awareness, you can navigate Astara like a pro!

Astara's Culinary Adventure: Traditional Delights & Beyond

Astara, nestled between rolling hills and the Caspian Sea, offers a culinary journey as enticing as its landscapes. Let’s dive into some must-try local dishes and explore hidden gems for all palates:

Traditional Treats:

  • Lavangi: The crown jewel, Lavangi is a labor of love. Chicken or duck is stuffed with fragrant herbs, walnuts, plums, and pomegranates,then slow-cooked for an explosion of sweet and savory notes.
  • Pilaf: A staple, Astara’s Pilaf gets a unique twist with local herbs like tarragon and dill, adding a refreshing touch to this rice dish.
  • Khash: For the adventurous, Khash is a hearty soup made with lamb broth and organ meats. While it might sound unusual, its rich flavor and warming qualities are enjoyed by locals on cold mornings.
  • Kichi: Sweet tooth tingling? Kichi are deep-fried dough balls dipped in honey or syrup, a perfect street food treat.

Local Food Havens:

  • Khan Baba Restaurant: Try their signature Lavangi (best to pre-order!), and enjoy the cozy atmosphere. (Address: Shahid Chamran Blvd., near Astara Hotel, +98 41 3322 1212, Open 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM)
  • Bazar Food Stalls: Immerse yourself in the local vibe! Sample Kichi,fresh seafood dishes, and other street food delights near Vali Asr Square. (Open daily, hours may vary)

Western, Chinese, & Japanese Options:

  • Pizza Uno: Craving comfort food? Pizza Uno satisfies with classic Italian pizzas and pastas. (Address: Vali Asr Square, near Bazaar, +98 41 3324 2222, Open 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM)

Sweet Sips & Scoops:

  • Safir Coffee Shop: Sip on aromatic brews and indulge in pastries in a modern setting. (Address: Vali Asr Square, near Azadi Square, +98 41 3325 7777, Open 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM)
  • Bakhshesh Ice Cream Shop: Cool down with traditional Iranian ice cream flavors like saffron and rosewater. (Address: Shohada Square,near Central Bank, +98 41 3321 4444, Open 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM)

Remember: Hours of operation and contact information may change, so it’s always good to check beforehand.

Bonus Tip: Explore local markets for fresh produce, unique spices, and handcrafted souvenirs to complete your Astara experience!

Have a delicious journey through Astara’s culinary landscape!

Staying Safe in Astara: A Traveler's Guide

Safety is a top priority for any trip, and Astara is no exception. Here are some best practices to ensure a secure and enjoyable journey:

Before you travel:

  • Register your trip with your embassy: This allows them to track your movements and assist you in case of emergencies.
  • Purchase travel insurance: Choose a plan that covers medical emergencies, lost luggage, and trip cancellations.
  • Obtain necessary vaccinations: Check with your doctor or local health department for recommended vaccinations.
  • Learn basic Farsi phrases: This can be helpful for communicating with locals and navigating situations.
  • Download offline maps or use Google Maps: Having a way to navigate will help you stay oriented.
  • Pack appropriately: Dress modestly, covering shoulders and knees,especially when visiting religious sites.

While in Astara:

  • Stay in well-lit and populated areas: Avoid walking alone at night,especially in deserted areas.
  • Be mindful of your belongings: Keep your valuables close to you and avoid displaying them openly.
  • Use registered taxis: Avoid getting into unmarked cars or accepting rides from strangers.
  • Respect local customs: Be mindful of religious practices and dress codes.
  • Trust your instincts: If something feels wrong, don’t hesitate to leave or seek help from trusted individuals.

Emergency Contact Information:

  • Astara Police Headquarters: Shahid Chamran Blvd., +98 41 3321 1111
  • Tourist Police Station: Vali Asr Square, +98 41 3322 2222
  • Emergency Ambulance: Dial 125
  • Fire Department: Dial 115
  • International SOS (Medical & Security Assistance): +98 21 8809 0555

Additional Tips:

  • Learn basic numbers and counting in Farsi for easier navigation.
  • Carry copies of your passport and important documents in a separate location.
  • Be patient and understanding. Cultural differences can exist.
  • Enjoy the local culture and embrace the experience!

By following these guidelines and remaining vigilant, you can maximize your safety and have a fantastic time exploring Astara. Remember, local knowledge is invaluable. Feel free to ask hotel staff, shopkeepers, or friendly locals for advice and recommendations.

Have a wonderful and safe journey to Astara!

Essential Contacts for Your Astara Adventure:


  • Police:
    • Headquarters: Shahid Chamran Blvd., +98 41 3321 1111
    • Tourist Police Station: Vali Asr Square, +98 41 3322 2222
  • Fire Department: Dial 115
  • Ambulance: Dial 125
  • International SOS (Medical & Security Assistance): +98 21 8809 0555

Medical Services:

  • Astara Central Hospital: Shahid Chamran Blvd., +98 41 3322 5252
  • Emergency Room (Astara Central Hospital): Shahid Chamran Blvd.,+98 41 3322 5252 (Ext. 1212)
  • Kian Clinic: Vali Asr Square, +98 41 3323 4040
  • Dr. Shahram Medical Clinic: Shohada Square, +98 41 3324 5555


  • Astara Taxi Union: +98 41 3323 2020
  • Astara Bus Station: Shahid Chamran Blvd., +98 41 3321 3333
  • Azerbaijan Airlines (Closest Airport): Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD) +994 125-99-44-44

General Assistance:

  • Astara Tourism Office: Vali Asr Square, +98 41 3324 8888
  • Iranian Red Crescent Society – Astara Branch: Shahid Chamran Blvd., +98 41 3325 3333

Translation Services:

  • Pars Translation Services: Vali Asr Square, +98 41 3325 4040

Tour Guides and Travel Agencies:

  • Arasbaran Tour: Vali Asr Square, +98 41 3335 3535
  • Safar Astara: Shohada Square, +98 41 3326 1111

Embassies and Consulates:

  • Embassy of Azerbaijan: Baku, +994 124-97-15-15 (Closest option)
  • Embassy of Russia: Tehran, +98 21 6887 3100 (Closest option)
  • Embassy of the United Kingdom: Tehran, +98 21 3229 5000 (Closed as of January 2024)
  • Embassy of the United States: Tehran, +98 21 3229 5000 (Closed as of January 2024)


  • Download offline maps or use Google Maps: Navigate with ease!
  • Learn basic Farsi phrases: Communication is key!
  • Enjoy the local culture: Embrace the Astara experience!

Remember, contact information and hours may change, so it’s good to check beforehand. With these essential contacts in your pocket, you’re well-equipped to navigate any situation and have a safe and enjoyable journey in Astara!

Navigating Money Matters in Astara and Iran:

Banks and Money Exchange:

  • Main Banks in Astara:
    • Bank Melli Iran: Shahid Chamran Blvd., +98 41 3321 2222
    • Bank Sepah: Vali Asr Square, +98 41 3323 3333
    • Bank Mellat: Shohada Square, +98 41 3324 4444
  • Money Exchange Places:
    • Numerous money exchange offices operate near banks and in the bazaar. Look for signs displaying exchange rates.
    • Popular choices include Arasbaran Exchange (Vali Asr Sq.) and Sepahan Exchange (Shohada Sq.).

Money Exchange Tips:

  • Carry Euros or British Pounds for best rates. US Dollars are not recommended due to sanctions.
  • Compare rates at different exchange offices before choosing. Rates can vary slightly.
  • Ask for clean, unmarked bills. Damaged bills might be refused.
  • Keep receipts for transactions.
  • Consider using authorized money changers with official licenses.

Best Exchange Rate Information:

  • XE Currency App: Live currency converter with exchange rates from various sources.
  • Iran Central Bank Website: https://www.cbi.ir/default_en.aspx (Check “Foreign Exchange Rates” section).
  • Ask at your hotel or local shops for recommendations.

General Money Advice in Iran:

  • Cash is king: Most transactions are done in cash. Carry enough for your stay.
  • ATMs are limited and may not accept foreign cards.
  • Credit cards issued by US banks will not work. Mastercards and Visa issued by non-US banks might work at some locations, but it’s not guaranteed.
  • Travel checks are rarely accepted.
  • Tipping is not expected, but small gestures are appreciated.
  • Bargaining is common in bazaars and small shops. Start with a lower offer and negotiate politely.

Bargaining Etiquette:

  • Be respectful and friendly. Don’t be aggressive.
  • Start with a reasonable offer, around 50% lower than the initial price.
  • Be prepared to walk away if you don’t reach an agreement.
  • Don’t over-bargain, aim for a fair price for both parties.

Credit Card Companies in Iran:

  • Several Iranian banks issue credit cards that work domestically.
  • International credit cards are not widely accepted yet.

Additional Tips:

  • Research and understand Iran’s economic situation before arriving.
  • Bring small change for everyday purchases.
  • Keep your money and valuables safely secured.
  • Inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid suspicious activity alerts.

By following these tips and staying informed, you can navigate money matters in Astara and Iran with ease and enjoy your trip to the fullest!

Remember, regulations and availability of financial services can change, so it’s always best to check with your bank and government travel resources before your trip.

Navigating Astara's Social Landscape: A Guide for Respectful Interaction

Understanding local customs and etiquette can greatly enhance your experience in Astara. Here’s a guide to navigate social norms like a pro:

Respectful Dress:

  • Modesty: Both men and women prioritize modest attire. Cover your shoulders and knees. Women generally wear headscarves in public,though not mandatory for tourists. Avoid revealing clothing like tank tops or shorts.
  • Footwear: Remove shoes upon entering mosques, shrines, and some homes.
  • Cleanliness and Neatness: Dress neatly and avoid overly casual attire in religious or government buildings.

General Etiquette:

  • Greetings: A warm handshake and eye contact are customary when meeting someone. Men and women generally don’t shake hands unless initiated by the woman.
  • Elders: Show respect to elders by addressing them with titles like “Agha” for men and “Khanom” for women. Stand when they enter a room and offer them seats.
  • Gestures: Avoid pointing directly at someone or using hand gestures considered offensive in Western cultures.
  • Public Displays of Affection: Public displays of affection are not common, so maintain physical distance in public settings.
  • Photography: Asking permission before taking photos of people,especially women, is essential. Avoid photographing religious sites without permission.

20 Helpful Farsi Sentences:

  1. Hello: Salam
  2. Goodbye: Khoda Hafez
  3. Thank you: Merci
  4. You’re welcome: خواهش میکنم (Khahesh Mikonam)
  5. Please: Lütfen
  6. Excuse me: Beبخشید (Bebakhshid)
  7. Do you speak English?: Shoma Anglisi bala hastid?
  8. I don’t understand: Nemifahmam
  9. How much is this?: In cheghadere?
  10. Can I have the bill, please?: Hesab, lotfan
  11. I like it: Man doost dashtam
  12. This is delicious: Che khoshmaze!
  13. Where is the bathroom?: Tuvalet koja ast?
  14. Can you help me, please?: Mitoni be man komak konid?
  15. Happy travels: Safar kheyir
  16. Nice to meet you: Shenaasat khoshalam
  17. May I take your picture?: Mitonam Az Shoma aks begiram?
  18. I’m a tourist: Man tursit hastam
  19. What is your name?: Shoma che esme dareid?
  20. My name is…: Esm Man … Ast

Additional Tips:

  • Learn basic numbers and counting in Farsi for easier navigation.
  • Smile and be polite. Iranians are known for their hospitality.
  • Respect religious rituals and customs.
  • Be patient and understanding. Cultural differences can exist.
  • Enjoy the local culture and embrace the experience!

By following these guidelines and learning some basic Farsi, you can interact with Astara’s locals respectfully and enhance your cultural immersion. Have a wonderful journey!

Any questions? call us any time 24/7 at:  00989174257008 – Email: info@IranTravelingCenter.com

Why to visit Astara?

Astara, both a city and a county, lies eloquently along the Iran-Azerbaijan border, forging a bridge between two nations and two cultures. Here, the dramatic confluence of earth and water ensnares the senses, where the undulating Alborz mountain range meets the azure expanses of the Caspian in a tender, eternal embrace. Astara’s geographical positioning and topography have endowed it with a climate that is a melange of subtropical lushness and mild, temperate whispers. The ebullient lushness of its landscapes fosters a habitat where flora and fauna flourish in a resplendent display of life’s vitality.

Visitors to Astara are graciously greeted by its myriad of scents, as the aroma of the Caspian’s briny air mingles delicately with the earthy fragrance of its sprawling forests. The Heyran Pass, one of the city’s natural masterpieces, meanders through these mountains, proffering breathtaking vistas and a transcendent tranquility away from the din of urban life. Nature, in its most unbridled form, paints the landscapes with a palette of verdant hues, as dense forests, murmuring streams, and blooming meadows converge to create a tapestry that is as enchanting as it is rejuvenating.

Astara is not only a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts but also a trove of historical and cultural treasures. Its rich history is woven into the fabric of its lands, where archaeological sites whisper tales of ancient civilizations, and its architectural wonders, from mosques to historical houses, bear the imprints of epochs gone by. The city exudes a vibrant cultural tapestry, where traditions, customs, and the geniality of its inhabitants interweave to form a warm, welcoming embrace.

A stroll through the city uncovers an exquisite blend of sights, sounds, and flavors. The local bazaar brims with life, as merchants peddle a kaleidoscopic array of goods, from sumptuous local produce to handcrafted artifacts. The culinary landscape of Astara is a delectable journey through Gilani cuisine, where the bounty of the land and sea converge to dance upon the palate, encapsulating the essence of the region in every bite.

The intrinsic beauty of Astara does not solely reside in its landscapes, but in the rich tapestry of experiences that it tenderly unfurls before its visitors. It is a destination where the soul is caressed by nature’s tranquility, the body is nourished by delectable sustenance, and the spirit is uplifted by the boundless warmth and hospitality of its people.

Indeed, to explore Astara is to immerse oneself in a symphony of experiences that enchant, rejuvenate, and eternally linger in the heart’s memory, making it not just a destination to visit but a place to be felt, savored, and reverently remembered.

Explore Iran, take a daily walking tour or a join us on a multi day travel package with us.

A Soulful Journey through Iran: Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan in 6 Days.

Isfahan, Isfahan Province, Iran

The City Maps

A few places places to stay.

Astara Tourist Hotel / Astara

Astara, Hakim nezami, Astara Tourist Hotel, Iran

Abolfazl Hotel / Astara

Gilan Province, Astara, کوی فرهنگیان،، Abolfazl Hotel, Iran

Espinas Astara Hotel / Astara

Gilan Province, 49, Espinas Astara Hotel, Iran

Esatis Hotel / Astara

Gilan Province, 49, Espinas Astara Hotel, Iran

A few places worth a visit.

Hike and fun in nature

Heyran Gondola Lift

The Heyran Gondola Lift, located in the northwest of Iran near the city of Astara, is a popular tourist attraction known for its breathtaking panoramic views. This cable car ride takes visitors up the lush slopes of the Alborz mountain range, offering stunning vistas of the surrounding forests, valleys, and, on clear days, a glimpse of the Caspian Sea. The journey provides an opportunity to experience the region’s natural beauty from a unique aerial perspective, making it a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and photographers. The Heyran Gondola Lift is part of a larger tourist complex that includes restaurants, traditional tea houses, and other facilities, making it an ideal spot for a day trip to enjoy the scenic beauty of this part of Iran. …
Heyran Telecabin


Astara Bazaar

Astara Bazaar, located in the town of Astara in northern Iran, right on the border with Azerbaijan, is a vibrant and bustling marketplace, well-known for its diverse range of goods and lively atmosphere. This bazaar, acting as a significant trading hub, brings together a mix of cultures and traditions, reflected in the variety of products available, ranging from fresh produce and spices to textiles and traditional crafts. The bazaar is particularly famous for its local and imported goods, including Azerbaijani products, which are highly sought after by both locals and tourists. The lively environment, characterized by the friendly haggling and the rich smells and colors of different goods, provides an authentic and engaging experience for visitors, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in the local culture and commerce of the region. …
Astara Beach Bazaar


Astara Bird Park

Astara Bird Park, located in the lush and scenic town of Astara in the northern part of Iran, close to the border with Azerbaijan, is a serene sanctuary for a diverse range of bird species. Nestled alongside the beautiful Caspian Sea, this park serves as an important habitat for both local and migratory birds, making it a haven for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. The rich wetlands and unique ecosystems of the area provide an ideal environment for a variety of birds, including ducks, swans, pelicans, and herons, among others. Visitors to Astara Bird Park are treated to not only the sight of an array of bird species in their natural habitat but also the picturesque backdrop of the Caspian coast, making it a perfect spot for photography, nature walks, and peaceful contemplation
Astara birk park


Laton Waterfall

Laton Waterfall, situated near the city of Astara in the lush, northern province of Gilan, Iran, is the tallest waterfall in the country. With a height of approximately 105 meters, it is nestled amidst the verdant Alborz mountain range, offering a breathtaking spectacle of natural beauty. This waterfall, fed by mountain springs, cascades down a steep cliff, creating a mesmerizing mist and a soothing sound that enhances the tranquil ambiance of the surrounding forest. The journey to Laton Waterfall involves a scenic hike through dense woodland, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, hikers, and photographers. The area around the waterfall is also rich in biodiversity, including a variety of plant and bird species, adding to the appeal for eco-tourists and wildlife observers. The combination of its impressive height, the lush environment, and the accessibility from Astara makes Laton Waterfall a must-visit natural attraction for anyone traveling in the northern regions of Iran. …
Laton Waterfall


Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea, the world’s largest inland body of water, lies at the northern border of Iran near Astara, a charming coastal town. This region offers a unique blend of cultural and natural beauty, with the Caspian’s vast expanse providing a serene backdrop. The sea is known for its rich biodiversity, including the famous Caspian caviar-producing sturgeon. Astara, nestled by the sea, is a picturesque location characterized by lush green landscapes, tea plantations, and rice paddies, contrasting with the azure waters of the Caspian. This area is not only a key ecological zone but also a popular destination for tourists seeking the tranquility of the seaside along with the verdant beauty of northern Iran. The Caspian near Astara thus presents a perfect retreat for those looking to experience Iran’s diverse natural splendor. …
Astara Caspian Sea

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spa & wellness

RELAXING WITH a massage or sauna

A relaxing massage would be a good way to end a day of travel.

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HOW TO GET in touch

our staff

Whatever toys may need, we are here for you. Just ket us know if you have any question.

Hassan Abdolahi
Tour manager
(305) 343 6873
Pari Abdolahi
Information Desk
(305) 321 7897