chalus , When living abroad, I crave for the strangest things; like grabbing a handful of barberries from the fridge and gobbling them up before anyone sees, a sprinkle of Persian hogweed on my bowl of pomegranate seeds, the seasonal greengages and green almonds that we would get in spring and a bucket full of mulberries that was possibly picked from a garden in the outskirts of Tehran. There’s certainly one thing that my mum thinks I’m a weirdo for: craving for homemade yogurt from Siah Bisheh Iran tour operator
Siah Bisheh is a small village along the road of Chalus Iran. It’s deep within the mountains and almost always covered with a blanket of fog. Famous for its local-made dairy products, we would always make a stop here to purchase a bucket of their finest yogurt when I was a child. The thick sour taste still lingers in my mouth…
But Chalus is not only about the postcard villages offering a variety of pickles, lavashaks and dairy products. Along its curvy narrow asphalted route are rivers floating, endless green forests home to wild animals, dams creating artificial lakes and scenery that is nothing short of ethereal.
Chalus holds a special place in the heart of Tehraners. Providing the quickest connection to the Caspian Sea, it is their escape route when the bustling city holds a grip around their neck.
Chalus is a village in northern Iran, before the Caspian Sea, later connected to Karaj and then Tehran through the Alborz Mountains. It took many years to construct it as curves around Rocky Mountains and sometimes through multiple tunnels through them. If you are not a rigorous driver, road is possibly dangerous. However, it offers an eye-catching panorama with every turn.
The southern side is an uphill ride. It’s usually drier, but comes with the gushing sound of the river flowing by. The dam of Karaj, providing the major water supply of the capital can be quite a scene. Numerous restaurants and teahouses offer kebabs with saffron rice followed by a cup of tea beside the river. Many Tehraners just come here to chill. To them, the road is not simply a path, it’s a destination.
The road is an uphill drive until the 1886m length tunnel of Kandovan. Once you get out of the other side, everything has changed! Snow is almost inevitable unless you’re travelling in the very hot season. Dried Rocky Mountains have been replaced with lush greenery home to wolves, lynxes and bears. From here to the north, it’s all crawling downhill and the scenery only gets better.
When to travel to Chalus?
The best season would be autumn or spring. They both guarantee spectacular views. One filled with colorful red, yellow and orange tones and the other with marvelous greenery. Waterfalls and rivers will be in sight and chances witnessing untouched white snow is high.
read more: WHAT IS THE FIRST IRANIAN FIRST DESTINATION?
When not to travel?
Iranian holidays! Even though there are a few roads connecting Tehran to the Caspian Sea, this is by far the most popular. It’s easy to get stuck in traffic for hours if you’re travelling when everyone else is. Trust me, it’s not fun.
Checking weather conditions before departure is a must. This road can easily be closed to public during the winter time as avalanches and heavy snow falls are not rare.
Where to stay in Chalus ?
Everywhere! I’d say, take it as slow as can. Depart super early in the morning to beat the crowds if you’re travelling during the weekend. Make stops for tea and lunch. Make sure you get a bowl of Ash just before Kandovan tunnel and don’t skip a picnic in the forest just to arrive an hour earlier to your destination. Enjoy the road, marvel at the scenery and make it your destination.