2013 Van (TR) - Isfahan (IR)

Route and report


Van - Khoy (IR) - Urumia - Saqqes - Sanandatsch - Kermanshah - Chorramabad - Isfahan.

Due to time constraints, we did some partial routes by bus. There are very good bus services between Urumia - Kermanshah and Isfahan.


The visas arrived by parcel service at the latest moment, just a day before we left. Happy with our visas, we rode together to Basel airport at 4am. Then the usual things, ...bike, check in, etc. First with Easyjet to Istanbul, then with domestic flight "Anadolujet" to Van (Turkey). When booking the flight online with "Anadolujet" the "bicycle as additional baggage" was not possible. With a small surcharge it was no problem right at check-in, ... a "like" for "Anadolujet"...


From Van we drove via Özalp, Saray into the mountains to the border with Iran. The visa was fine andvery quickly we were in another world, in Iran. I immediately noticed something was not ok, people stared at me as if I came from the moon. Something wasn't right, I didn't know what I had done wrong. After a while I realized that they were staring at my earrings. Obviously it's not common there, of course I pulled them out and afterwards everything was ok. Everyone wanted to talk to us, but they didn't speak a word of English. Everyone spoke in a foreign language at the same time, it was so funny, we all laughed. This was the first amazing experience in Iran, already at the border, see picture gallery. After this warm welcome wave we drove to Khoy and further to Urumia. In this area (Van - Khoy - Urumia) there are really amazing landscapes, look the beautiful pictures!

Urumia - Isfahan

We decided to stay on the main roads. On side streets you might have a problem to read the Arabic letters...!?  Then you might have no idea where you are. You can ask people, but note, there is a different culture! People want to be friendly. Not knowing is indecent, so they say something, maybe wrong, maybe right.
The road conditions, traffic, etc. were quite demanding, a lot of traffic. Tour with children is not suitable. The Iranians were not used to look about the bicycles on the streets, even if everything else drives there, ... besides PW's many trucks, tractors also horse-drawn carriages, etc. See photo gallery. It was not entirely harmless, the rear-view mirror proved to be very useful. The constant and strong headwinds - the same every day - it was really a problem. There was dirty sand and dust everywhere that had accumulated in the summer. The headwind blew the dirt right into our faces,  ...we dreamed of beautiful green landscapes in France. But on the other hand, we were delighted with an almost limitless hospitality. We were invited again and again, e.g. for an overnight stay with students, see photo with people on carpet.


The city of mosques and gardens. What we saw there exceeded all of our expectations.
The "Hagia Sophia" in Istanbul is great, but thousands of tourists are smuggled through, hustle and bustle, no time and peace to get a real impression. In the mosques and gardens of Isfahan this is really possible. Sometimes there are hardly any tourists and we had enough time to immerse ourselves in this world. Look at the beautiful pictures again...
More informations about isfahan (Wikipedia):
-- > Isfahan, Culture and Attractions