Iran Journey 2015: How to get to Kandovan from Tabriz

The village of Kandovan with its troglodyte homes carved in the volcanic rocks is located in the Osku County of East Azerbaijan province of Iran. Kandovan derives its name from the cone-shaped homes that resemble wild bee hives (in Persian, کندوی عسل – Kandoo-e Asal, bee hive). Some of the dwellings are around 700 years old, and they are still inhabited. It reminded us of the cave village of Khndzoresk in Armenia, only no one lives there anymore.

Read the full text about our visit to Kandovan

How to get to Kandovan from Tabriz:
There are no direct buses or minibuses to Kandovan from Tabriz, so you’ll have to either get to the city of Sahand, or Osku first, and from there make your way to the village. Hitchhiking is easy and fast, but the transportation is so cheap that it almost makes no sense. Note that even though there is no entrance fee for visitors, the drivers must nevertheless pay some entrance fee to pass the Kandovan check point, so if you’re hitchhiking and you don’t want to make your driver pay, just get out of the car at the check point.
The historical village of Kandovan, Iran

Of course, there’s always the option of taking a private taxi directly to Kandovan. You can ask your driver to wait for you while you explore the village, and then return back to Tabriz. But that’ll cost some money, and if you’re traveling with low budget, then you better consider other options described below.

How we got there: We hitchhiked all the way to Kandovan from Tabriz. On the way back, we hitchhiked until Sahand, and from there took a bus back to Tabriz.

Option #1: Hitchhike! Hitchhiking is easy and fast. So if you’re looking for experiences with local people, then just hitchhike your way to Kandovan and back. To get to a more or less suitable spot, from Rah Ahan square take any bus that goes in the direction of Sardroud, and leave the bus once you’re out of Tabriz. The roadside is wide, and there’s plenty of good locations where you can start hitchhiking.

Option #2: From the city center, take any bus that goes to Rah Ahan Square (intersection of 22 Bahman Boulevard and Mellat Boulevard). Costs 300 toman per person. There’s a bus terminal next to the square, from where you can take a bus to the city of Sahand (500 toman per person). From Sahand, you can either hitchhike or take a shared taxi to Kandovan. Get out at the check point and walk about 500 meters from there until you reach the village.

Option #3: From Tabriz, take a minibus to Osku. The bus stop is next to the Tabriz Railway station and Rah Ahan square mentioned above. The price is around 1500-2000 toman. From Osku, you’ll have to take either private or shared taxi.

Option #4: Shared taxi! If for some reasons you don’t like public transportation (gender segregation, inconvenience, etc.), then this option is for you. Approximate prices (per person):
From Tabriz to Sahand – 2000-2500 toman (shared taxis are also at Rah Ahan square; you’ll have to leave the car right before you enter the city of Sahand)
From Tabriz to Osku – 3000 toman (but it will a little hard to find one going directly to Osku)
From Sahand to Osku – 700 toman
From Osku to Kandovan – the price normally is 3000 toman for local people, but some taxi drivers tend to overcharge tourists asking something like 10,000 or 15,000 toman. For this one, I’d suggest to clarify the price beforehand.

Exchange rate: 1$ = 3,600 toman (as of December 2015)

Tabriz to Kandovan – ~60km
Tabriz to Sahand – ~30km
Tabriz to Osku – ~40km
Sahand to Osku – ~10km
Osku to Kandovan – ~20km
Sahand to Kandovan – ~30km.


4 thoughts on “Iran Journey 2015: How to get to Kandovan from Tabriz

  1. Pingback: Iran Journey 2015: The Village of Kandovan in Photographs – On The Road

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