Southeastern Iran

The Kaluts is a large area in which the rough, rocky desert has been sculpted by millennia of wind erosion into long lines of photogenic formations. Much the most impressive of these are five- to 10-storey high yardangs (‘sand castles’) with vertical or stepped sides. They are especially spectacular at dawn and sunset when light and shadows turn the scene into a shimmering canvas of gold and brown.

The most accessible concentration starts 30km north of Shafiabad and stretches around 3km between Kalout and the building known as the Lut Caravanserai (and much further off-road). Further east the formations tend to be lower and more rounded, albeit many are sharpened on one side.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southeastern Iran attractions

1. Lut Caravanserai

2.11 MILES

Guides claim that this small, lonely mud compound with four little towers is a caravanserai (a traditional inn with a courtyard for camel trains). In fact…

2. Rud Shur Bridge

9.43 MILES

Driving east to west across the Lut Desert you'll see plenty of mirages, but when you reach Rud Shur, amazingly, the water is no mirage. Though usually…

3. Citadel Dehseif

16.99 MILES

Less than a kilometre north of Shafiabad, Dehseif's mud-walled 'caravanserai' is actually a mud-walled citadel, with shattered remnants of many former…

4. Qanat

17.48 MILES

Close to the turning for Shafiabad and Dehseif, a passageway leads down to an unusually accessible stretch of qanat, an underground water channel.

5. Shafiabad Caravanserai

17.57 MILES

The large caravanserai in the heart of Safiabad is bigger in scale than others in the large surrounding oasis, and has four attractively faceted round…