475 miles (825 km) 26th August to 23rd September 2018

The fourth leg of our ride started on the opposite coastline of the Black Sea from Constanta, where we had reached the end of Eurovelo 6. After, contemplating & researching our options for riding through Turkey, we decided to cycle over the Caucasus Mountains, riding through Georgia & Armenia into Iran. We did not want to ride across Turkey for two reasons, the likely presence of ex-ISIS fighters flushed out of Syrian & Iraq and the more pressing issue of terrible reputation of Turkey’s dogs attacking cyclists.

As we set off, we viewed this leg of the ride as the most intrepid section yet, including crossing remote mountain passes & lots of wild camping (there are no campsites). Then there was the excitement of crossing the land border into Iran.

Entering Iran meant that we had to undertake lots of research about getting visas, travelling with a guide, whether we could cross the land border as UK passport holders etc. We found the Tehran based Maral Tours Travel Agency, who were incredibly helpful, arranging our “letters of invitation” for our visa applications and making all of our hotel & travel bookings in Iran, including our guides (a compulsory requirement for UK citizens).

There is more information about travelling to Iran on our “Tips & Tricks” page…. Travelling to Iran.

There is a Flickr Album of Tim’s photos here…

Caucasus Mountain Ride

Iran 2018

Alysun’s diary of our ride….

  • DAY 01… Home to Kutaisi to Kitskhi
    DAY ONE… 17.5 miles (28 km) Home to Luton Airport…. 26th August The journey has begun. We had some problems getting here! Our coach was cancelled just the night before…
  • DAY 02… Kitskhi to Borjomi
    DAY TWO… 27.75 miles (44.25 km) We cannot leave before we have had breakfast they say. Alarmingly there are two chickens in a big pot. For us?  We protest and…
  • DAY 03… Borjomi to Lomaturtskhi
    DAY THREE… 19.5 miles (31.5 km) Everywhere we look to try to buy camping gas or paraffin we are met with helpful offers of candles or explosive acetone.  Then we…
  • DAY 04… Lomaturtskhi to Gyumri
    DAY FOUR… 49 miles (78.5 km) Rose at 6am to dawn over the mountains, a wonderful sight. Lovely ride on unmetalled road to the next town. We had no water…
  • DAY 05… Gyumri
    DAY FIVE… Rest Day After hours and hours of searching in the shops and market area, we finally procured some paraffin, or something like it, wrong colour and wrong smell….
  • DAY 06… Gyumri to Aparan
    DAY SIX… 47.25 miles (75.5 km) We are back on the road and we’ve flown along for the first 15miles, leaving at 7.15am, and getting to our first stop around…
  • DAY 07… Aparan to Lake Sevan
    DAY SEVEN… 37.5 miles (60 km) Rose at 6am to wonderful mountains again. It wasn’t so cold and the wind had dropped overnight. We had a breakfast of more yoghurt,…
  • DAY 08… Lake Sevan to Martuni
    DAY EIGHT… 36 miles (58 km) Woke at 6am. It was quite cold and windy. We set off but were beset by thick black clouds of tiny flies. They all…
  • DAY 09… Martuni to Malishka
    DAY NINE… 41 miles (66 km) Mercifully I slept through the Russian sex orgy party but received a very full report at 6.30am from a very sleepy Tim. The revellers…
  • DAY 10… Malishka to Gorayk
    DAY TEN… 31.5 miles (50 km) We’ve stopped by a small brook, in a fancy restaurant garden (table and chairs!!) for banana and tea. Really, it’s 10.30am but I feel…
  • DAY 11… Gorayk to Shaki
    DAY ELEVEN… 19.5 miles (31.5 km) Woke 6am .. Lots of condensation on the tent. It felt absolutely freezing getting out of bed. Tim had a puncture which delayed our…
  • DAY 12… Shaki
    DAY TWELVE… Rest Day We are staying near Shaki, a lovely little holiday eco-resort, although we are the only guests.  We have had the whole of the downstairs to ourselves…
  • DAY 13… Shaki to Tatev Monastery
    DAY THIRTEEN… 27 miles (43 km) Back on the road today and really needing to watch out for the large trucks. Some came horribly close to me as I hadn’t…
  • DAY 14… Tatev Monastery to Kapan
    DAY FOURTEEN… 31.25 miles (50 km) We’ve opted to take the small road from Tatev to Kapan even though it is unmetalled, due to it being quiet and having no…
  • DAY 15… Kapan to Meghri River valley (near Vank)
    DAY FIFTEEN… 11 miles (17.5 km) Late 7.30am rising, and opted to get to the Meghri Pass by taxi. Headed for the Eco tourist office, the people whom Tim had…
  • DAY 16… Meghri River valley (near Vank) to Agarak
    DAY SIXTEEN… 16 miles (25.5 km) Cold start 6.30am. We have very little distance to cover, as we seem to have got ahead of our schedule…… we have nearly reached…
  • DAY 17… Agarak to Siahrood
    DAY SEVENTEEN… 16 miles (25.5 km) We crossed over the border into Iran at 9am. There was a problem with my visa at the border. I stood there for ages…
  • DAY 18… Siahrood to Arzil
    DAY EIGHTEEN… 42.5 miles (67.75 km) Woke at 5.40am with the muezzin’s call to prayer from the local mosque. Set out on to the road at 8.15am after buying some…
  • DAY 19… Arzil to Ivand
    DAY NINETEEN… 16.5 miles (26.5 km) Morning; and for breakfast Tim eats the local bread, “lavash”, which he describes as like trying to eat a newspaper. We set off. Ali…
  • DAY 20… Ivand to Tabriz
    DAY TWENTY… 16.5 miles (26.5 km) Morning time and tea with the proprietor. The price is decided very slowly over some discussions about the state of the Rial and Dollar…
  • DAY 21… Tabriz
    DAY TWENTY ONE… Rest day & sight-seeing We had a day of sightseeing in Tabriz… the Blue Mosque, destroyed by an earthquake in 17thC and reconstructed painstakingly. Ali insisted on…
  • DAY 22… Tabriz
    DAY TWENTY TWO… Rest day & night train to Tehran Last night we were given an amazing supper by our hosts in the hotel. The most divine aubergine dish, crispy…
  • DAY 23… Tehran
    DAY TWENTY THREE… Ashura Festival Arrived Tehran still feeling rather Zopicloned out, and searched desperately for tea. Tim is getting through a small amount of the “newspaper” lavash bread; people…
  • DAY 24… Isfahan
    DAY TWENTY FOUR… Bus ride to Isfahan We took the metro to the bus station and caught the 9am bus which was running late. It’s a surprisingly long journey interspersed…
  • DAY 25… Isfahan
    DAY TWENTY FIVE… Ashura, remembering the Martyrs More celebrations today in the square. And lots more free food and drinks. We go into a mosque and are given lurid green…
  • DAY 26… Isfahan
    DAY TWENTY SIX… Sightseeing in the amazing city Our only day to take in the incredibly beautiful architecture of Isfahan. I was so taken with the care and the skill…
  • DAY 27… Tehran
    DAY TWENTY SEVEN… The last day Our last day in Iran.  Maryam, our Tehran guide, met us at the station and escorted us back to our hotel.  She was keen…

Buddha Cycle Touring Iran Caucasus Mountains Armenia