Jolfa is in Iranian Azerbaijan.
Boring border town, but good base to explore Aras river valley and sights there along.
Inner-Iranian train schedules can be checked at the Unofficial Iranian Railway Website . It's wise to confirm the scheduled times at a guesthouse or railway station.
There is a daily early morning train to Jolfa (about 3h) from Tabriz.
A few shared taxis run from Tabriz to Jolfa (about 40$ for the taxi, i.e. 10$ p.p. when full, about 2h).
A privately full-day chartered taxi from Kaleybar along the Aras river will set you back about 45-55$ depending on whether you want to stop at some sights along the Aras river.
Own car or (shared) taxi.
- Armenian St. Stephanos monastery , about 17km west of Jolfa . Entry fee is 25.000 IR for Iranian and 150.000 IRR (about 4$) for foreign tourists (Jun 2016). If you don't look to much like a Western tourist (don't speak any English at the ticket booth or entry gate where the tickets are checked) try to get a local ticket by handing the clerk at the ticket booth 25.000 IRR p.p. (or requesting in Farsi or Turkish/Azari if you can ...). Return taxi incl 1h waiting time is 7-10$ from Jolfa.
- Aras river valley west of Jolfa. If you drive west to the monastery (or even further to the Aras dam) there are nice stretches of the Aras river with the road on the Iranian side and the railway line leading from Jolfa (Iranian border town) via Culfa (Nakhcivanian border town) to Nakhcivan City. If you don't see any Iranian military lookout points you can stop with your car/taxi and take pictures of the Aras river valley.
- Aras river valley east of Jolfa. Similarly, you can also drive east long the Aras river (see Get out section).
Several small eateries and supermarkets.
There are several basic guesthouses or hotels in Jolfa. You can ask your taxi driver to bring you to one of them, after visiting for example the monastery.
- Aras Guesthouse (Hotel & Restaurant), Simple but clean guesthouse. Double with bathroom (squat toilets) about 17$, Double with shared bathroom (one squat toilet and a shower in the courtyard) about 11$. Tel. +98 414 202 2256 or +98 914 492 5560 (mobile).
Inner-Iranian train schedules can be checked at the Unofficial Iranian Railway Website . It's wise to confirm the scheduled departure times at a guesthouse or the railway station (close to town center).
Daily train to Tabriz in the afternoon (about 3h).
A few shared taxis run to Tabriz (about 40$ for the taxi, i.e. 10$ p.p. when full, about 2h), ask around for the savari gathering point.
A private full day taxi charter to Kaleybar (for Babak castle), about 170 km further east, along the Aras river, is about 45$ (1.500.000 IRR, Jun 2016). Add at about 5$, if you want to visit some sights along the way (1.800.000 IRR, Jun 2016) like Asyab "waterfall" and Kordasht Hamam / Palace (entrance fee for Iranians about 25.000 IRR, for foreigners 3$ / 100.000 IRR, Jun 2016). Try to bargain, maybe you can get the ride a bit cheaper. Ask the driver to stop from time to time, to take some pictures from the scenic Aras river valley (if there are no military lookouts on the Iranian side).
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