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.