Ghalat Village in Iran – a nature break from city life in Shiraz
If you’re not tight with time during your visit to Shiraz, consider an escape to Ghalat, a little village in the mountains, located only about 45 minutes’ drive away from the bustle of Shiraz, very popular with day trippers from the city, because of its accessibility and natural environment.
There aren’t a whole lot of things to do in Ghalat, but if you just want to get a feel of nature, it makes for a perfect escape. Also, if you want to go deeper into the mountains, day treks can be very easily arranged with a guide.
If you don’t want to bother with trekking, you can just walk around the trails in the village, stopping at one of the few cafes and restaurants, or have a picnic by the stream running by Ghalat village, as so many Iranians seemed to be doing when we were there.
Ghalat is also known for being rather liberal, having a more relaxed stance compared to other conservative places in Iran.
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How to get to Ghalat village from Shiraz
Getting to Ghalat village from Shiraz is as easy as it gets, seeing that it only 45 minutes’ drive away. We used Snapp! for a private drive there, but then went back to Shiraz by public bus.
The ride from Shiraz to our guesthouse in Ghalat set us back 200,000 rial (20,000 toman), whilst the bus from Ghalat back to Shiraz cost 30,000 rial (3,000 toman) each, so getting the bus is definitely more affordable, although you would also need to factor in the cost of taxi ride from your hotel to the bus station, unless you are staying close by.
Bus no. 50 from Ghalat to Shiraz, runs on a seemingly very regular schedule, every 30 minutes or so. If you stay at Afshar’s guesthouse like we did, he will help you with any transport queries you might have.
Where to stay in Ghalat village
You won’t find any large hotels in Ghalat village, although the area is home to few guesthouses and homestays. One of the more popular homestays is that run by Afshar and his wife Sara (and dog Nana). Afshar is also a mountain guide, taking people on treks around the area, and since we were interested in exploring the mountains, we booked a stay at his home.
Afshar was simply fantastic from the moment we got in touch with him via whatsapp, till the time we got back to Shiraz, and we kept exchanging messages even beyond that time.
We had our own pretty apartment on the ground floor of Afshar’s house, which suited our needs perfectly, and we had arranged with Afshar to have our meals with his family since we were looking for a proper homestay experience.
We absolutely loved staying with Afshar and Sara, and as expected, Nikki fell totally in love with Nana, the dog. Sara is a very talented local artist who welcomed us with open arms, and whose work, which we greatly admired, is proudly displayed around the house.
The home cooked food was delicious and Afshar introduced us to the best dates we’ve ever tasted from the Bam region of Iran. We ended up buying as many boxes of them as we could carry, once we were in Bam! After dinner, we would sit with the lovely couple, who would tell us about their life in Ghalat and who also introduced us to traditional Persian music, much to our delight.
Afshar’s number is +989397992428. One night’s accommodation and breakfast set us back €24, which we thought was very reasonable.
What to do in Ghalat village
The most pleasant activity in Ghalat village is to literally walk around in nature. There are some waterfalls around the village which are easily accessible, and make for some pretty pictures. The few cafes and restaurants there are usually quite full with local tourists, seeing that Ghalat village is rather popular with (mostly) young Iranians.
Ghalat is also home to some ruined ancient buildings including a church and a fort, as well as several brick houses. Afshar explained how an intelligent irrigation system had been set up by locals whereby the water from the natural stream was directed to different fields at different times of the day by manually blocking or releasing parts of the system, during the allotted time slots.
If you’re thinking of going on mountain treks, be sure to be accompanied by a guide, since it is apparently easy to get lost, as the trails are unmarked. We had originally intended to trek up the mountains with Afshar, but on the day of the trek, Nikki’s knee started playing up, and we decided to go on a less strenuous canyon / valley trek instead, seeing that the mountain treks required some serious scrambling.
Afshar was a fantastic guide, explaining the area in great detail. The scenery was superb, despite the cloudy skies, with trails, caves and some rocky passages amidst the amazing autumn colours.
It was simply great to breathe the fresh mountainous air, and Afshar of course was the most gracious guide, planning stops along the way, handing us fresh sweet lemons and pomegranates, and even carrying a large thermos with hot water and packets of hot chocolate and cappuccino! Learning how to smash pomegranates and pierce holes in its skin, to suck out the freshly ‘smashed’ juice was a novel way of eating the fruit for us!
We were accompanied faithfully by the sweet Nana who was one great walking companion! The price of the guided trek was €35, a fitting fee for a fantastic day!
If you’re on a tight schedule, fitting in a side trip to Ghalat village is not the best idea, however if you have 1 or 2 days to spare whilst you’re in Shiraz, Ghalat might prove to be your perfect little getaway village!Read more about Iran!