Varzaneh is located 140km away from Esfahan and evidence of its 5000-year-old civilization is still very present in the small sleepy town. Usually, this charming village is not on every traveller’s itinerary of Iran, because the Kerman desert is the most famous desert in Iran, however, in Varzaneh you can find not only desert, but also a stunning salt lake!
It is very easy to get to Varzaneh from either Esfahan or Yazd. The mini buses to Varzaneh depart from the Jey Terminal in Esfahan when full and takes about 1.5 hours. It doesn’t matter where they leave you in town, you can walk everywhere.
I don’t think that there are more than 2 options to sleep in the town (as of March 2019, TripAdvisor doesn’t say so), so it shouldn’t be hard to choose one of them. I ended up staying in Negaar Varzaneh Traditional Guesthouse and I can’t recommend this place enough. They provide you with everything you might need during your stay. You can have your meals in the Guesthouse with everybody, including the staff, which is a great way to meet people and learn more about Iranians life.
Mohammad, the owner, is the best. On our second night, there was a groupd of Iranians coming to Varzaneh to enjoy the weekend, so Mohammad promptly made some calls and arranged us an apartment in town for the night, not too far from the actual Guest House.
In contrary to the rest of Iran, women typically wear white chadors, rather than black ones. There’s not an exact reason for why this happens, some say that it dates back to the Zoroastrianism, others that it’s because of the abundance of cotton in this region, or simply because it’s more comfortable to wear white in the desert rather than black.
There’s not much to see in the town of Varzaneh besides the usual Jameh (Friday) Mosque, the old bridge and one famous and the abandoned Dovecote (Pigeon house) all of them located 5 minutes walking from each other. People in Varzaneh are extremely friendly, something very common around all Iran, but when there are almost no tourists people tend to go an extra mile in kindness.
The salt lake is a wonder to behold. It was the first time that I saw a salt lake and it certainly surpassed all my expectations. The weather was not the best though, but I’ll remember forever walking barefoot in a salt lake in Iran!
On our last leg of the day, we went to the desert to watch the sunset in the dunes. I really enjoyed walking on the dunes while sharing experiences with other fellow travelers and my fellow Iranians hosts.
The next day I woke up very early to get the first morning bus to Esfahan. The bus station is 100m after the pigeon tower on the main road, very easy to spot. The journey should not take more than ~1.5 hours.
All in all, I really enjoyed my short stay in Varzaneh. A lot of that also has to do with Negaar Varzaneh Traditional Guesthouse and the people working there, along with some unique attractions, just a couple of hours away from the most visited city in Iran, Esfahan.
How to get there and away
- Local bus from the Karandish bus station in Yazd to Esfahan. When you arrive at the Esfahan bus station, just ask for the local bus to Varzaneh.
- Local bus to Esfahan.
What to do/see
- Old bridge.
- Pigeon tower.
- Salt lake.
Where to sleep
- Negaar Varzaneh Traditional Guesthouse, ~20€ for a double bed with shared bathroom.