Caspian Iran, also known as Northern Iran, is a beautiful region of Iran along the coast of the Caspian Sea. The forested coastal plains rise up quickly into the Alborz Mountains. The region consists of the three provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan.
- 1 Aqqala
- 2 Babol
- 3 Babolsar
- 4 Behshahr
- 5 Bandar Torkaman
- 6 Fouman
- 7 Ghaemshahr
- 8 Gorgan
- 9 Masouleh
- 10 Ramsar — sea resort backed by verdant mountains popular with Iranians; offering hot springs as well
- 11 Rasht
- 12 Sari
- 13 Shahkooh
Most people in Caspian Iran speak Persian as a first or second language. The native language of most people of Gilan is Gilaki, and the native language of the people of Mazandaran is Mazanderani (which is called "Gilaki" by native speakers, but is a different language). People in Mazndaran especially tend to speak in their native language, not Persian. In Golestan Province, particularly in Gonbad and Bandar Torkaman, people mostly speak Turkmen, but other people in the rural areas of the province, particularly in Gorgan, speak only Persian.
There are airports in Rasht, Ramsar, Nowshahr, Sari, Amol, Gorgan, Gonbad, and other cities.
Bus tickets are cheap in Iran. Choose a VIP bus, if available, since ordinary (maamooli) buses stop often because stations are close to each other in this densely populated region of Iran. The ViP buses are also more comfortable.
There are many stations for taxis (savari).
If you are driving a car, do not underestimate the chaos of traffic in this densely populated—and highly visited—area. In certain areas, particularly Amol–Babol area, local drivers usually ignore road rules and are known for driving especially aggressively.
In the central Province of Mazandaran, There are many things to see, ranging from natural to cultural attractions. Here are a few natural attractions:
- Safarood Public Forest, located 5 km on the road to Ramsar-Javaherdeh, in the beautiful forest regions of the Alborz mountain range and near the Safarood river. This forest has many recreational centers.
- Mineral Water Springs. Ramsar is quite famous for its mineral water springs. Some of these are: Nei-Dasht cold mineral water spring another located 12 km south of Ramsar, in a valley near the Safarood river the warm mineral water springs located behind the guesthouse of Ramsar, under the bridge of Ramsar (on the eastern edge of the hotel) and sadat-shahr, Mas-Rash and Tanijan warm mineral water springs in Jannat-Roodbar.
- Waterfalls: These are numerous waterfalls in the mountainous regions of Ramsar which have created the most beautiful views. These include Dareh-Rashmeh on the northwestern road to Ramsar-Javaherdeh, Laj-o-Mij in Oshkoor, a hamlet near a village by the same name, etc. Kaboudval waterfall which is one of the most beautiful waterfalls of Iran, is located near Aliabad-e Katul, Golestan province. Shirabad Waterfall is located 7 kilometers south of Khanbebin, Golestan.
- Gonbad-e Qabus tower, the tallest pure-brick tower of the world is located in Gonbad city of Golestan. Listed as an UNESCO World Heritage site
- Great Wall of Gorgan, located near Gorgan, Golestan. After Great Wall of China, it is the longest defensive wall in existence.
- Abbasabad Gardens in the town of Abbasabad, Mazandaran. This is one of nine Persian gardens inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
- Golestan National Park
- Hyrcanian Forests, a set of forests along the coast of the Caspian Sea in the region that was historically known as Hyrcania, that are listed as a natural world heritage site.
Spend time in the coast of the Caspian Sea, climb mountainous areas, and go to forests. You can smoke qelyoon (hookah) in the many cafes (ghahveh-khooneh) near the beaches, but it is not recommended, as this type of smoking is especially unhealthy.
Fish is the best way to go. If you are not that keen in eating fish, there are kebab shops scattered all over the region. Don't forget a meal in this part of Iran would not be complete without salads, yogurt, olives, and barbari bread. A famous dish in Mazandaran and Golestan is Akbar Joojeh (اکبر جوجه), offered at restaurants with this name.