Iran's Nature 08 Mar 2024 BY Maryam Mahmoudian

Chalus: Iran's Most Beautiful Road

Chalus Road, also known officially as Road 59, is a scenic route in northern Iran.

It is a popular highway connecting the capital Tehran (via Karaj in Alborz province) to the Caspian Sea resort city of Chalus in Mazandaran province. The road offers a beautiful and convenient passage to the Caspian Sea coast, making it a favorite destination for tourists and locals alike.


The History of Chalus Road in Iran

History of Chalus Road

Construction of Chalus Road began in the 1930s under the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi. Completed and opened to the public in 1933, it was a monumental achievement in Iranian engineering. Prior to its construction, travel between the central plateau and the Caspian Sea was arduous and time-consuming. Chalus Road stands out as the first to successfully cross the Alborz Mountains at a lower elevation, creating a more accessible and efficient route. This accomplishment significantly boosted trade and travel opportunities between these two important regions of Iran.

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Chalus Length and Route

Chalus Length and Route

Chalus Road stretches for approximately 160 kilometers (99 miles) between Karaj and Chalus. The route winds its way through the scenic Alborz mountain range, offering breathtaking views along the journey.  While the primary purpose of the road is to connect these two cities, there are several notable landmarks and points of interest that attract tourists, including the Amir Kabir Dam, a significant source of hydroelectric power in Iran.

Amir Kabir Dam, also known as Karaj Dam, is located about 23 kilometers north of Karaj. Construction on this multi-purpose dam began in 1959 and was completed in 1964.  The dam serves several crucial functions:

  1. It is a primary source of drinking water for Tehran, Iran's capital city.
  2. The dam regulates water flow and provides irrigation for over 50,000 hectares of farmland near Karaj.
  3. The lake formed behind the dam has become a popular tourist destination, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, and other recreational activities.

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Chalus Road Scenic Beauty

Chalus Road Scenic Beauty

If we say  Chalus road one of the most beautiful roads in the world, we are telling the truth!

Chalus Road is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. As the road winds through the majestic Alborz mountain range, travelers are treated to a captivating display of diverse landscapes.

  1. Towering Mountains: The imposing peaks of the Alborz Mountains dominate the scenery, their snow-capped summits (especially during winter) adding a touch of grandeur.
  2. Lush Forests: The southern foothills of the Alborz are adorned with dense, verdant rainforests. These forests provide a cool and refreshing escape, especially during the hot summer months.
  3. Sparkling Waterfalls: Cascading waterfalls can be found at various points along the road, adding a touch of dynamism and sound to the natural environment.
  4. Caspian Sea Glimpses: As travelers approach Chalus, they are rewarded with captivating glimpses of the Caspian Sea, its vast blue expanse contrasting beautifully with the mountainous backdrop.

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Chalus Road's beauty transcends seasons, offering a unique visual experience throughout the year:

  1. Spring: The verdant rainforests come alive with vibrant greens as new growth emerges. Wildflowers paint the landscape with colorful accents, making for a truly picturesque display.
  2. Summer: The dense foliage provides a welcome respite from the summer heat. Cascading waterfalls become even more powerful due to the spring snowmelt, adding to the refreshing atmosphere.
  3. Autumn: The landscape of Chalus road in autumn undergoes a stunning transformation as the leaves of the trees transform into fiery hues of red, orange, and yellow. This creates a breathtaking spectacle, often referred to as "Chalus Road's colorful tapestry."
  4. Winter: The mountains become cloaked in a blanket of pristine white snow, creating a magical winter wonderland. While some sections may require extra caution due to snow and ice, the winter scenery offers a unique and captivating experience.

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Is Chalus Road Dangerous?

Is Chalus Road Dangerous

While Chalus Road offers stunning scenery, navigating it requires attentiveness and adherence to safety precautions. Here's what drivers should be aware of:

  1. Winding Roads: The road winds its way through mountainous terrain, featuring numerous curves and sharp turns. Drivers should maintain a moderate speed and be prepared to navigate these bends cautiously.
  2. Potential Traffic: Chalus Road, particularly during weekends and holidays, can experience heavy traffic congestion. Patience and adherence to traffic regulations are essential.
  3. Road Safety: Drivers unfamiliar with the terrain should exercise extra caution, especially on blind curves and narrow sections. Staying alert and maintaining a safe following distance are crucial.
  4. Weather Conditions: Weather in the Alborz Mountains can be unpredictable. It's advisable to check weather forecasts before embarking on your journey and be prepared for potential rain, fog, or snow, which can significantly impact driving conditions.

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Things to Do at Chalus Road in Iran

Things to Do at Chalus Road in Iran

The journey along Chalus Road isn't just about the destination. The scenic beauty and abundance of natural features provide ample opportunities for various activities:

  1. A Fun Tradition: No journey on Chalus Road is complete without experiencing the Kandovan Tunnel. This 1,886-meter long tunnel, located near the village of Kandovan (known for its troglodyte dwellings), is the largest on the route. As you enter the tunnel, it's common for passengers to raise their voices in song or even screams due to the echoing effect created within. This lighthearted tradition adds to the fun and memorable experience of traveling through Chalus Road. There's no need to be afraid; it's simply a way for travelers to enjoy the unique acoustics and create a lasting memory of their journey.
  2. Nature Immersion: Picnicking by a cascading waterfall or exploring the lush rainforests alongside the road allows visitors to connect with nature. Hikers can find designated trails offering varying levels of difficulty for exploring the Alborz Mountains.
  3. Local Villages: Stepping off the main road and venturing into the charming villages like Gachsar, Siyah Bisheh and Marzan Abad, nestled along the foothills allows visitors to experience a more traditional way of life in Iran. Sampling local cuisine at village restaurants or interacting with friendly residents can provide a unique cultural experience.
  4. Adventure Activities: For adrenaline seekers, there are opportunities for white-water rafting on the Chalus River or ziplining through the verdant forests. These activities offer a thrilling way to experience the natural beauty of the region.
  5. Relaxation: Several resorts and hotels can be found along Chalus Road, offering comfortable accommodations and stunning views. These provide a perfect base for relaxation and enjoying the scenic surroundings.

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Chalus Road's Culinary Delights

Chalus Road

A trip along Chalus Road isn't just a scenic adventure; it's a culinary journey as well. Here's a taste of what awaits your palate:

  1. Regional Specialties: Sample hearty stews like Baghala Ghatogh, a bean and dill dish, or savor the smoky flavors of Mirza Ghasemi, an eggplant and tomato creation.
  2. Succulent Kebabs: Be sure to try the kebabs, a cornerstone of Iranian cuisine. These skewered meats are prepared with fresh, local ingredients and infused with aromatic spices.
  3. Freshly Baked Bread: No Iranian meal is complete without the warm, pillowy Iranian bread, a testament to the skill of local bakers.
  4. Caspian Sea Teas: Complement your meals with a cup of fragrant tea, a delightful tradition in the Caspian Sea region.

The combination of breathtaking scenery and delectable local cuisine makes Chalus Road a truly immersive experience for all senses. It's a road trip that will leave you satiated with both scenic beauty and delicious memories.

| Need a personalized tour to explore the natural wonders that you can't find anywhere else? Check out our Iran Private Tours!

Chalus Road

Final Takeaway

Whether you seek breathtaking landscapes, exciting activities, or a taste of local cuisine, Chalus Road has something for everyone. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and prepare to create lasting memories on this unforgettable adventure.

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