Cupped between towering, broad-shouldered peaks, Kelardasht is nicknamed the ‘Paradise of Iran’ – it’s probably the most popular Caspian-area getaway for nature-loving Tehranis. Surrounding areas offer trout fishing, cross-country skiing, trekking, mountain climbing and plenty of cool, fresh summer air. The panorama as you approach Kelardasht from Marzanabad is particularly impressive, with several spectacular views of snow-toothed Alam Kuh soaring behind the town. At Kaleno an 11km part-paved road leads up to Valasht Mountain Lake.
Kelardasht’s commercial centre is Hasankeif, where most of the shops, banks and an internet cafe are clustered close to Hasankeif Sq. More traditional Rudbarak starts around 5km south of Hasankeif. It’s closer to the mountains and is the starting point for most hikes, though it has fewer direct views. Here, amid the holiday homes, you can still find a few old log-framed barns and houses with slate or wood-slat roofs anchored with rocks.