Iran will throw more surprises at you than your expectant heart expected. What you experience when visiting Kandovan cave town is a place peculiarly similar to Turkey’s Cappadocia yet so quiet, without the same commercial shortfallings. There are still currently no buses that run to Kandovan Cave Town, making it an essential visit when you’re based in nearby Tabriz.
Kandovan is an off the cuff gem to visit when based in Tabriz or Osku, Iran. To get there, you can venture off from Tabriz where you can catch a train from the central train station in town. The local buses (free for foreigners) can get you there or you can go via taxi.
The road is called Kargar Boulevard and its a beautiful drive through countryside and mountains. The mini-bus costs 7,000 Rials ($0.25 US) – pay when you get off. Since there are no mini-buses to Kandovan, the best option is to hire a driver. Make sure you agree a price with the driver beforehand.
The fantastic views on the Road to Kandovan, Iran.
Kandovan is a cave town housing around 700 people so wandering round the nooks and crannies are the main things to do and take in the small village feel of the place. Mingling with the locals is very refreshing — they will talk to you. It’s polite to say “Hello, how are you?” in Farsi/Persian which is “Sallam Aleykom”.
We went inside some of the cave houses, but only those that were of a commercial nature. Some locals are selling carpets, silk and souvenirs but the tourists that flock there are of course mostly Iranian and Azerbaijani.
Some souvenirs at Kandovan Cave Town in Iran.
Aside from the cave town itself, Kandovan offers great views of the nearby mountains.
You also need to savour the views of the nearby mountains at Kandovan. Kandovan also has a main street, a river, some bridges and another side of the town.
There is slightly more to Kandovan than just the cave: a river and a bridge, a main road and a commercial part which comes alive in the summer months. On the other side of the town, there are restaurants which do well in the summer and close for the winter.
There’s no hotels here – you’ll just have to knock on the door nicely and blag a homestay.