Qeshm is the largest island in the Persian Gulf, with rocky coastlines that protects a mountainous and often beautiful interior.
The coast is dotted with small villages and towns. Qeshm Island is free duty zone. The western part of the island is a designated UNESCO Geopark. The extremely relaxed pace and incredible landscapes can be a welcome relief from the opulence of tourist attractions in the main cities.
If you are coming from Bandar Abbas the simplest way is to get on a speedboat or ferry at main harbour, Shahid Haqani Passenger Port. There are lots of them departing each few minutes, dependent on weather. The ride takes between 30 to 60 minutes depending on the boat. The rate for the ferry was 125.000 IRR in July 2016, 150.000 IRR in January 2017. You need to show Iranian visa in your passport to purchase a ticket.
A car ferry leaves regurelaly from Bander-e-Pol, about 60km west of Bandar Abbas. Total cost of return ticket for one car and two persons is 180,000 IRR (rates of November 2011). It is allowed to go on the island with a foreign vehicle (they will want to see your Carnet de passage).
Qeshm and its mainland port at Bandar Abbas are linked to all major cities in Iran by bus, both VIP and mahmooly. If you are traveling from other cities, it is easier to book a direct bus to Qeshm instead of going to Bandar Abbas and then take the ferry. Note that the buses coming from the west don't take the ferry from Bandar Abbas to Qeshm but cross more west towards Laft. Also, the buses might drop you off near Dargahan from where a shared Taxi to Qeshm shouldn't be more than 40.000 Rials per person. Especially the buses to Qeshm might be means of transport for oil too. Beware that the oil might leak into the luggage room of the bus and get your luggage soaked in. To be on the safe side, get your luggage wrapped in plastic bags or foil before boarding a bus to Qeshm. As of September 2014 a VIP night bus including a chicken kebab with rice from Shiraz to Qeshm Island cost 360.000 Rial and took about 9,5 hours. In Janaury 2017 mahmooly bus from Yazd was 290.000 IRR per person overnight, around 10 hours.
There are flights from major cities (Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Mashhad) to Qeshm International Airport by Qeshm Air, Aseman Airlines and Mahan Air. The airport is located in the middle of the island, near Direstan. Internal flights are cheap in Iran but essentially impossible to book unless you speak Farsi and have an Iranian credit card: try and get a local or your hotel to help you. Expect to pay around USD$30-60 for flights to and from Qeshm from major cities in Iran. There is a daily flight from Dubai that costs about US$ 40. Unlike Kish Island you need a visa for Iran if you are arriving from another country, you don't get it on arrival.
Qeshm Island is very long (approximately 150kms from east to west), and its main attractions are far away from each other, and therefore taxis and private drivers are strongly recommended. When going outside of Qeshm city it is safest to get yourself a private taxi that drives you around and back later as it might be hard to find a taxi somewhere on the island.
The cheapest and safest way to get a taxi is through a hotel or through your homestay, but hailing them off the streets is easy. Haggling is recommended but some drivers will give quote the exact rate (be wise and distinguish between these two behaviours): hotel staff cab advise in advance of the legitimate rates to destinations. With the Saman Taxi company as of September 2014 a Taxi cost 200.000 Rial per hour. Usually a full day with a private driver costs 1.000.000-1.500.000 IRR.
Hitchhiking may be doable and some locals understand the word hitch (though pronunciations vary from hitch to heetch). In emergencies wave to any vehicle to attract a lift (but remember, don't show a "thumb up" sign as its considered an obscene gesture. The driver might ask you to pay but you can refuse and just find another car as there is plenty of traffic.
Chahkouh Valley at Qeshm Island
Qeshm Island is renowned for its natural beauty, and more recently for its designation as a UNESCO Geopark, which promotes sustainable development alongside preservation of geological heritage. The western park of th island, some hundreds of square kilometres, constitutes the Qeshm Geopark. To get the most from the Geosites, you should book a knowledgable driver, a local tour guide or ask your homestay host. If you're looking at the 2012 Lonely Planet be careful: the Avaye Tabiate Paydar Institute does not exist.
- Hara Marine Forests (Mangrove Jungle), (turn right off the main road when you see a boat sculpture). According to environmentalists, about 1.5% of the world birds and 25% of Iran's native birds annually migrate to Hara forests, which is a national park. It's a vast mangrove tree forest that depending on if it's high or low tide partially grows under water. You can rent small open top speed boats there to take you around and into the many water ways in the forest. While it is possible to go at low tide, boats can only actually go inside the forests at high tide so it is advisable to time your visit there. The cost for a boat as of July 2016 is 700.000 Rial, and boats seat up to six people. The boat driver will go at high speeds if you ask! Souvenirs and a small restaurant serving mainly locally caught fish at the site of boat rental. edit
- Qeshm desert. A bit west of Qeshm there is a small but beautiful desert part with super soft sand and actual dunes. It's accessible by a 4x4 car, while locals also go in there with their mopeds. Access it from Qeshm city or alternatively it's possible to go from the small street that goes off the main highway towards the Kharbas caves. Follow the street beyond the caves into the flat terrain in the middle of the island and then follow the off road ways eastwards. It turns off-road quickly, but the landscape is stunning to see. edit
- Namakdan salt cave & dome. Located in the Geopark on the west of the island, around 100km from Qeshm town, these incredible salt caves are worth a visit. The gate keeper will give you head torches to enter the caves. You can visit the main cave which is near the car park without a guide, but there are numerous other caves in the network which are several km walk away. It is recommended you have a local guide to show you through the caves and the desert between underground sites. Free entry edit
- Star Valleys. Beautifully surreal valley that is untouched nature. Awesome spot to take photos. It's nice and quiet and a perfect spot to enjoy the sunset. They close at 7 but as sunset usually is not later than 6 there is enough time to get back to the entrance by then. Probably not too accessible in flip flops. As of July 2016, entrance fee is 30.000 Rial pp. edit
- Chahkouh Valley, (Around 15km west of Tabl). One of the most famous Geosites is this spectacular series of valleys. The amazing rock formations were created by water running through the valley at various speeds, resulting in twisted formations, deep holes and narrow passages. The valley is a short walk (~500m) from the car parking but wear proper shoes so you can scramble up the steep sides - a good local guide will show you a route to the top where you have amazing view of the valley, and of the tourists far below. Make sure you drink from the char, a well which has been used by travellers and shepherds for centuries. Free entry. edit
- Laft Historical Port. The historic part of Laft is on the northern part of the island. There are beautiful badgir (wind catching towers like in Yazd) and old houses. edit
- Portuguese Castle. Centrally located in Qeshm Town near the port, this historic castle is partially intact but there is not much to see here. </see *<see name="Naaz islands"> edit
- Kharbas caves. edit
- Crocodile farm. edit
- Qeshm roof. edit
- Bukhow Mountain. edit
- Basira Mountain. edit
- See all of island with Small Plane. edit
- Meet friendly people and listen to the traditional music.
- Embrace village life with homestay instead of staying in a hotel
- Hiking around the islands
- Speedboat to Hengam Island to watch the dolphins
- Diving and swimming in Persian Gulf - but if you're a woman, your hijab and clothing must remain!
Qeshm is a duty free zone, meaning it is possible to buy things here free of duty. Here there are many bazaars in Qeshm and the near town of Dargahan where shirts cost around $US2 and trousers for $US5.
- Iranian cuisine — in the city centre or the main town named Dergahaan has a wide array of conventional eatery-stalls and restaurants. those eateries serve almost all Iranian cuisine with some speciality dishes of Qeshm. The most common item is the Iranian variant of the shewerma, or Arabic meat sandwich. Kebabs and other Iranian dishes are available.
- Restaurant Shabhaye Talai, Park e Zeytoon (in the Park e Zeytoon), ☎ 0936 39 74 103, . 6-2 pm. One of the best restaurants in Qeshm. It serves seafood, traditional Iranian food and fast food in town. Also you can enjoy a fine tea with a marvellous shisha. It is located directly at the beach of Park e Zeyton and has a fantastic view on the Persian Gulf.Sometimes there is live music in the South-Iranian Bandari style, the crowd just loves it. The owners speak English and German and of course Persian. Foreign travellers are more than welcome and get the best service also for arranging tours etc or other important information. edit
- One of the best restaurants is named "Nights of Island" in pardis junction. This restaurant has a great view to the Hormoz island and the sea.
- Omid's house in Soheyli has amazing seafood - ask your driver to take you, there is no signage or street names!
Like mainland Iran, alcoholic beverages are not served on the Island. The tea is light, good in taste and is kept at every home, shop and other social places. The Pepsi from Dubai is served with many meals, and is much better than the mainland!
- Haftrangoo Homestay (owned by Hassan Sharifi), Haft Rangoo (Close to Tabl, west part of the island), ☎ 00989179032762, . This lovely and friendly homestay is located next to Tabl village, it's around 15 minutes driving from Qeshm airport. There are always taxis in the airport that can take you to Haftrangoo for around $7-8. If you book your place in advance, they will send a taxi to pick you up from the airport/port. The place is owned and managed by Hassan Sharifi and his family, a local family from Haft rangoo. They have more than 20 rooms which you can stay solo or by friends/family/couple. They have different tours around Qeshm Island: They take you to other islands to swim and watch dolphins, tours to natural attractions like salt cave, Tandis, Mangrove forests, .... They also offer local meals cooked by Hassan's family. Usually it's fresh sea food with southern spices. Price per person: Rooms: $9/night, Food: $3/breakfast, $8/lunch, $5/dinner. edit
- Nuredin's home stay, Coludang Dekhoda, Qeshm, ☎ +98 917 366 5256. This lovely home stay is situated in the vilage of Dekhoda and is close to Bandar e Laft where many buses will stop from other large cities (i.e. Shiraz, Yazd or Kerman). Nuredin will be able to pick you up from the ferry or airport, depending on where you are coming from. Nuredin's home stay will provide you with a private room with air conditioning, breakfast, lunch and dinner. All the served food has great variety and they are able to take into account if you are vegetarian. Nuredin also provides services to visit all sight seeings of Qeshm and has great connections at the whole island (for example riding camels and drinking camel milk). He charges money for each breakfast, lunch or dinner seperately and you can share the costs for his taxi services with other guests (if present). Breakfast 100.000 IRR, Lunch 250.000 IRR, Dinner 100.000 IRR, Night 250.000 IRR. Nuredin and his family are very kind, thoughtful and truly deliver genuine experience of Qeshm! edit
- Singo Hotel, Dargahan, Qeshm Island, ☎ +98 76 35274245 +98 76 35274248, . Singo Hotel at the Center of Dargahan City in Qeshm Island, Located in Darya Commercial Complex Near to the city's other Shopping Centers A nice and clean place located hotel opposite the Persian Gulf. Prices include also a good breakfast, the staff speaks good english and is very nice & helpful. Internet and Wi-Fi is available. All in all a very good choice for budget travellers coming to Qeshm. Buffet breakfasts are offered every morning in the hotel's restaurant. The hotel offers transportation to and from QESHM International Airport, also shuttle-bus from hotel to malls and vice versa.The hotel also has a restaurant and coffee shop. Single: $22 US; Double: $39 US, triple $63 US. (B.B). edit
- Red Beach Suites Hotel, Hormuz island, Qeshm, ☎ +98 9121575713, . This hotel that has facilities like kitchen, is located in a pure and very touristic island near Qeshm called Hormuz island. A nice and clean place located hotel opposite the Persian Gulf. The staff is very nice & helpful. Internet and Wi-Fi is available. All in all a very good choice for budget travellers coming to Hormuz. edit
- Qeshm International Hotel, Bahman Blvd.,
- Tolla International Hotel. 10 kms away from the city centre and approximately an hour from the Qeshm International Airport, which makes this hotel very calm and a little secluded. The hotel is comparably cheap and has an extensive courtyard area for walking or jogging. Tree-lined walkways and the long benches installed on the sides are best for the evening stroll and rest. It also has a couple of restaurants serves a nominal but satisfactory Iranian cuisine, and most widely Indian and continental cuisine, a couple of coffee shops, a videoke (Video Karaoke Bar) and an internet cafe (bandwidth speed is slow). 100,000 IRR for single men and women (for beds located in what range from 2-person rooms to 10-person villas—; 300,000 IRR for an entire villa.. edit
- Assad's Bed & Breakfast, Bandar'e Dulab (West part of Qeshm Island: 26°40′53.1''N 55°28′14.4''E), ☎ 00989362477331 or email@example.com, . checkout: 2pm. A charming bed&breakfast in Dulab, a calm village of the sea coast of Qeshm Island. The place is really well situated just 5 minutes from the sea. From this B&B, numerous possibilities to discover the countryside. Assad can arrange tours to saltcave's, canyons and dessert by car or offroad by motorbike for a very fair price. Assad offers a genuine experience, visit his parents, dress up with his wife, go night fishing with his brothers. The options are only limited by your willingness tor try. 15 Euro incl. food (breakfast / lunch / dinner) per person.. edit
- Shabhaye Talai, Park e Zeytoon, ☎ 0098 936 397 4103, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 13:00. Right in the Park and just 30 meter from the beach this place is best located to go for a swim, snorkel or take a dive to enjoy the corals and watch the fishes.Women can borrow swimwear and the showers are directly at the beach so nobody has to worry about wet clothes. The owners Ali and Annelie are too friendly and helpful and can arrange all kinds of tours and extra service, for example money-exchange. They speak English and German fluently, cause Ali is Iranian and Annelie German. Annelie does tours herself and you can ask all kinds of questions that you might be shy to ask the locals. Very relaxing atmosphere and amazing food variety like lobster, fish,kebabs and steaks, but also vegetarian food or pasta. Wifi is available. edit
Head to one of the surrounding islands by speedboat: Hormoz is highly recommended as a day trip for its amazing geology (from Qeshm Town port) whilst Hengam Island is known for its dolphins (2 hour round trip by speedboat from near Shib Deraz).