The Alamut region is located in the Qazvin province and is famous for the Assassin’s Castle, Ovan lake but mainly because of its spectacular nature. It is a trekker’s paradise.
Many people go for a day trip, but I think that this is a huge mistake. Spend 2 nights or more in the tiny village of Zarabad, slow down and enjoy the most beautiful mountainous views in Iran. There is only one option to sleep in the village, Seven Guesthouse, the best accomodation experience I ever had while travelling.
The guesthouse is run by a young couple with 2 lovely daughters that moved from Tehran to Zarabad recently and built a stunning Ecolodge. At the time of my visit there were only 2 rooms available, with the option to stay in the living room, with 2 shared bathrooms in a really good looking lodge with a fireplace at the center of the room.
You’ll be taken care like in nowhere else. You’ll have all the meals freshly cooked at a reasonable price, served with an everlasting smile that contaminates everybody. The owner even cooked vegetarian meals at our request! All of this for 40€ for a double, totally worth it.
It’s not difficult to get to Zarabad, but it requires some planning. I was in Kashan when I decided to come to Zarabad so I had to get to Tehran first. From there, it’s easy to get a bus to Qazvin. I asked the driver to stop on the roundabout before reaching town, where our pickup driver (arranged through Seven Guesthouse in Alamut) was supposed to meet us. From that point, it shouldn’t take more than ~1/2 hours to reach the guest house, through a scenic curvy road.
There’s not really anything to do in Zarabad besides hiking. I walked to the Ovan Lake passing through local settlements where agriculture is the main activity of locals. Don’t expect to visit the best lake you’ll ever see, it’s not even close, but nonetheless it is a very enjoyable walk.
On my second day in the Alamut we went to the famous Assassin’s Castle. We went on the owner’s pickup, were stopped by the police, but made it to the top of the castle. Once there you’ll have to hike quite a bit to reach the top, but it’s totally worth it. The view is stunning.
In order to get back to Zarabad we hiked quite a bit before getting transportation on the road. It required a bit of negotiation from the owner, but a young guy was kind enough to even stop and wait for us while we had lunch.
As I stated earlier, there’s no public transportation in Zarabad, so we had to take a private driver to the Qazvin bus station. Not an enjoyable ride, we had to ask multiple times for the driver to slow down, because he was driving like a maniac through tight roads.
How to get there and away
- Local bus from the Kashan's bus station to Tehran, and from there to Qazvin. From here we took a pick up to our guest house.
- Private driver to the Qazvin bus station.
What to do/see
- Ovan Lake.
- Assassin's Castle.
Where to sleep
- Seven Guesthouse in Alamut, ~40€ for a double bed with shared bathroom and breakfast included.