Kish Island is a 35-square-mile island about 12 miles off the coast of Iran. Kish is the more luxurious and developed of the two main Iranian islands. Like Qeshm, it is also a free-trade zone, and foreign tourists require no visa for up to 14 days, meaning that even if you cannot make it to the mainland, you can still hop over to Kish to get a taste of Persian hospitality. Summers can be unbearably hot and humid, so the best months to visit are between November and March. Here are the top ten things to do and see on Kish Island.
Owing to its free trade zone status, the island is touted as a consumer’s paradise, with numerous malls, shopping centres, tourist attractions, and resort hotels.
From parasailing to scuba diving, wake-boarding to jet skiing, Kish has it all. If you do not want to actually get in the water, you can try the glass-bottom boats to catch a glimpse of the colorful sea life of the Persian Gulf’s aquarium.
The 47-mile-long bike path snakes all around the island and is independent of car roads, making for a scenic and especially easy way to find secluded beaches and stop at your leisure to take pictures against the picturesque backdrop of the Persian Gulf’s azure water. Rental stations are located throughout the island, and bicycles, tricycles, tandem bikes, and scooters are all available to rent on an hourly or daily basis.
Khoula F. has been anchored on the southwest coast of the island since 1966. The ship was built in Britain and changed owners several time before reaching the last owner, who was Greek. The ship finally went offshore off of Kish, and though an attempt was made to save her, it proved futile, and she has remained in place since. The Greek Ship is especially picturesque at sunset, when tourists come to take pictures of her.
Located on the east side of the island, this beach is named for the beautiful coral that can be found there. The coast is lined with pergolas, which, along with the palm trees and landscaping, provide an especially panoramic view. This beach is a particularly popular site to watch an unforgettable sunrise. Many of the sea sports clubs are also located here, making it easy to make reservations for any of the activities.
Kariz Underground City
Water being a scarce resource in many parts of Iran, ancient Iranians came up with the qanat system — gently sloping vertical wells that lead water into arid areas. Kariz is one such 2,500-year-old qanat, and visitors can take a walk through its tunnels and get an up-close view of this kind of system. The tunnels extend more than five miles, making Kariz look more like an underground city. This ancient structure has been preserved but modernized with the addition of handicraft stalls and a traditional teahouse.
Harireh Ancient City
It is said that this 8th century city is the same one that renowned Persian poet Sa’adi mentioned in his work, Golestan. Located in the central, northern part of the island, Harireh offers a glimpse of ancient architecture, and though not much of it remains intact today, the ruins suggest a once thriving region. Excavation of this site estimates it having been established around 1000 and abandoned 600 years later.
Kish Dolphin Park
The Dolphin Park is a 170-acre park that not only has marine life but also a variety of gardens, including butterfly, orchid, and cactus, as well as the largest pool on the island which houses dolphins, sea lions, and whales. The park’s Bird Garden includes over 47 species of birds and other animals. A full visit to the park takes a few hours, but it could be an exciting stop especially for visitors with children.
Kish Island: A Luxurious Oasis in the Persian Gulf
Nestled amidst the azure waters of the Persian Gulf, Kish Island stands as a haven of tranquillity and delight, beckoning travelers with its captivating blend of natural splendor and modern allure. Renowned for its opulent hotels, exhilarating water sports, and rich cultural heritage, Kish Island offers an unforgettable escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
A Shopping Paradise for Discerning Travelers
With its status as a free-trade zone, Kish Island has blossomed into a consumer’s paradise, enticing shoppers with an array of gleaming malls, bustling marketplaces, and enticing boutiques. Indulge in the thrill of discovering hidden treasures amidst the labyrinthine corridors of shopping centers, where designer brands and local handicrafts vie for your attention.
Embracing the Thrill of Water Sports
For those seeking an adrenaline rush, Kish Island’s pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters provide the perfect stage for an assortment of exhilarating water sports. Soar through the air on a parasail, harness the power of the wind with a windsurf board, or plunge into the depths of the underwater world with a scuba diving excursion. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a curious novice, Kish Island’s diverse range of water sports caters to every level of expertise.
Pedaling Through Scenic Beauty
Escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty by embarking on a leisurely bicycle ride along the well-maintained bike paths that wind their way through the island’s verdant landscapes. As you pedal along, let your senses be caressed by the refreshing sea breeze and the breathtaking panorama of the Persian Gulf unfolding before you. Pause at your leisure to capture the island’s captivating beauty in stunning photographs.
A Glimpse into the Past: The Greek Ship
Standing as a silent sentinel against the backdrop of the setting sun, the Greek Ship, Khoula F., evokes a sense of mystery and intrigue. This British-built vessel, now permanently anchored off the southwestern coast of Kish Island, has captured the imaginations of visitors for decades, its weathered hull bearing witness to the passage of time and the tales of the sea.
Sun-Kissed Shores: Marjan Beach
Renowned for its captivating beauty and abundance of coral, Marjan Beach beckons sunseekers with its promise of relaxation and rejuvenation. Bask in the warmth of the sun’s golden rays as you stretch out on the soft sands, or take a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf. The beach’s picturesque pergolas, adorned with lush palm trees, provide an idyllic setting for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.
A Journey into the Depths of Time: Kariz Underground City
Venture into the depths of time and marvel at the ingenuity of ancient Iranians as you explore the labyrinthine tunnels of Kariz, a 2,500-year-old qanat system. This marvel of engineering, designed to harness the precious resource of water, stretches for over five miles, providing a glimpse into the remarkable achievements of our ancestors.
Whispers of the Past: Harireh Ancient City
Step back in time and wander amidst the evocative ruins of Harireh Ancient City, a testament to the rich history of Kish Island. Once a thriving settlement, Harireh is believed to be the same city immortalized in the works of renowned Persian poet Sa’adi. Though much of its grandeur has faded with the passage of time, the remnants of its architecture offer a poignant reminder of the region’s once-flourishing civilization.
A World of Marine Wonders: Kish Dolphin Park
Embark on a captivating journey into the enchanting realm of marine life at Kish Dolphin Park, a sprawling oasis that houses a dazzling array of creatures from the depths of the ocean. Witness the playful antics of dolphins, marvel at the grace of sea lions, and be awestruck by the majestic presence of whales. The park’s Bird Garden, brimming with over 47 species of avian wonders, further enriches the experience, providing a glimpse into the vibrant tapestry of nature.
Kish Island, a jewel amidst the vast expanse of the Persian Gulf, beckons with its promise of adventure, relaxation, and cultural exploration. Whether you seek the thrill of water sports, the serenity of sun-kissed beaches, or the echoes of ancient civilizations, Kish Island offers an unforgettable journey that will leave an indelible mark on your soul.