Hormuz – The Rainbow Island of Iran

Hormuz Island

Interested? PIN NOW, read later!

For practicalities on visiting Hormuz island and things to do in Hormuz, scroll to the end of this post. 

Hormuz island is officially my favourite place in the world. I first visited this magical rainbow coloured gem in 2016 when I was hitchhiking across Iran. I had met my Persian Princess and we had fallen in love. It was on this awesome island, whilst camping out beneath the stars, that we made the commitment to try and stay together, despite the incredible cultural, financial and passport-related challenges that lay ahead…

Me and Nina in Hormuz in 2018

Photos from our recent adventure to Hormuz in 2018

Our friend Haji, helping us find some sick ass camping spots.

Following the red road to hidden beaches

Hormuz is a popular hang out for artists, note the eyes…

A gorgeous beach, but how to get down there?

Hunting for a place to camp



Nina heading deeper into the island

In search of crystals

Look Mum! I can do artsy photos!

The rainbow valley

Simply stunning scenery

A glittering beach of silver and red sand

Epic rock formations

Nina exploring a salt cave

Melting rocks and trippy vibes

Scarf on the wind

Exploring the Portuguese fort

The underground chapel

A happy kid outside the art centre

Dr. Ahmad Nadalian’s incredible art work


The entrance to the art centre

An artist painted our campsite, complete with tent.

Setting up for the night

It could be bigger…

Girl, it gonna be so big.

Potentially too big.


Sparks on the wind

Beach + tent + girl = my happy place.

Nina making tea in the morning

Cheeky Active Roots promo

Time for another hippy adventure day

Exploring a dry river bed

A friendly local girl

Martian 1 reporting for duty.

Gorgeous colours… red, blue, yellow and silver sands

Time for another fire

Our tent on day 4


The Story from our first visit to Hormuz in 2016

I awoke with a jolt, the ferry pulling into the small harbour of Hormuz island, as the local Iranian passengers begin preparing to disembark, some unfurling umbrellas to fend off the scorching rays of the sun.

Within moments, the ferry is empty, the locals scrambling across the concrete jetty in search of shade. I grab my pack and the huge pop-up tent I had been gifted by an Iranian couchsurfer and follow Nina, my adventure buddy, into the small town of Hormuz.

The town is tiny, a collection of simple buildings and two or three shops selling basic supplies. We stock up on food and water and pull out a map; whilst the town is nice, this is not why we are here.

Hormuz island is a special place, this is a geological wonderland…

Hormuz Island Iran, Red Road

Soon, a local Hormuz man approaches and asks me and Nina if we need a ride. The roads are red, unpaved, similar to something out of Mad Max (the greatest movie of all time), and our new friend, Hajji, leads us to his vehicle.

It is pimped out, we jump in and he smiles at me, speaking very little English, as I point at my map, showing him the place I think I want to go. We hit the road, red dust spewing into the air as we leave the small town and head out into the sun-scorched, rainbow landscapes of Hormuz.

It is the single most exhilarating drive of my life.

On all sides, mountains of red, purple, yellow and blue explode into the sky like impossible rocky mushrooms.

Bands of colour zig and zag in impossible patterns, local fishermen pull in their catch of the day as the sun bounces low over the water, sizzling sands beginning to cool as the heat of the day recedes.

Hajji drops us in a spot I am not going to reveal and we follow a rocky track, our packs upon our backs until we reach a stunning golden beach of multicoloured sands.

Patches of silver sparkle like glitter as the waves rush in and I cannot help myself, I dump my stuff and run to the water, wading into the cool refreshing waves of the Persian Gulf.

I run back to Nina, spinning her around, her hijab flying free, there is nobody else on this beach, we have it all to ourselves.

Hormuz Island Iran, on the beach

The sun begins to set and I pitch the tent, gather firewood and build a small stone fireplace to block out the worst of the wind. We sit on the sand, sharing a bottle, and cook dinner with the use of sticks… which frequently catch fire.

Hormuz Island Iran, Making fire

Man. Make. Fire.

The moon appears from behind a pillar of rock, illuminating the scene.

There is a purple tint to the air, the sky is an electric blue punctuated with pinpricks of light, a million stars.

A full moon, a perfect beach, a hot Iranian chick, dinner sizzling away, dazzling sands… It was all very romantic.

We sleep on the sand, a single sleeping bag thrown over the top of us.

The next day, the exploring begins…

Hormuz Island Iran, Silver Sand

The perfect place to find amazing stones…

Hormuz island Iran, Silver looking sand

Sands speckled with glitter…

Hermit crabs in Hormuz island Iran

Hermit crabs and even the occasional turtle can be found on the beaches

caves in Hormuz island Iran

Huge and mysterious caves leading into the centre of the earth

caves in Hormuz island Iran

The echo of distant waves within this dark and cool refuge from the sun

colorful cliffs in Hormuz Island Iran

Red, yellow and purple stained cliffs…

colorful road in Hormuz Island Iran

Leaving the beach, we take to the red-dust road…

Hormuz Island Iran, Red Dust Road

The sun beats down, we search for shade…

Deers running free in Hormuz Island Iran

Leaving the road, we follow the deer into Hormuz interior…

Walking down Hormuz Island Iran

This is the real Hormuz, a geological wonderland…

Splash of Colors in Hormuz Island Iran

A place of Tolkien-esque rock formations and dinosaur eggs…

Looking over Hormuz Island Iran

Psychedelic vibes…

Persian Dancing in Hormuz Island Iran

A place where Persian hippies come to explore…

Backpacking in Hormuz Island Iran

The colours here are simply impossible to capture on my shitty camera. Hormuz needs to be seen to be believed.

Salt Crystals in Hormuz Island Iran

This is not snow – these are crystals.

Salt Crystal in Hormuz island

Endless fields of salt crystals…

Salt Crystals in Hormuz Island Iran

Insane patterns… roots covered with salt.

Persian Chick looking over salt crystals in Hormuz island Iran

A Persian nomad stands proudly surveying her homeland…

Sunset in Hormuz Island Iran

With the sun beginning to set, we return to the beach to soak in a perfect sunset…

The Island of Hormuz – A Backpacking Guide

To get to Hormuz, you will need to take a ferry from Bander Abbas or Qeshm – both of these places have airports and Bander Abbas also has rail-links to much of Iran.

It is possible to see much of the island of Hormuz in just one day by car but this is definitely not the way to go.

I strongly recommend bringing a tent to Hormuz island and camping for at least a few days; there are a few spots, some on the beaches and some in the valleys where you can camp out. I camped in Hormuz a week on both occasions and could have easily stayed longer.

There are a couple of shops on the island where you can buy basic supplies and, crucially, gas canisters for cooking stoves. It is well worth bringing a stove with you – especially if you are on a budget as your main cost in Hormuz is likely to be transfers to and from your campsite.

There are now some homestays and basic rooms where you can stay in the village. After a long night of partying on my birthday, me and Nina wanted a proper afternoon’s sleep (it’s too hot on the beach during the day to survive in a tent) so we went to Ashpazkhune Jafari (Khondegh) – you can contact them here on Instagram or by using this number – 0098-9179393720

They have A.C Rooms available from $11 – $15 – we stayed in the ‘honeymoon suite’.

Enjoying the honeymoon suite in a local restaurant.

If you camp; it is essential that you take all of your rubbish with you, this is a truly special place – do not trash it.

Hormuz island gets unbelievably hot during midday; this is a good time to either hole up in some shade or to pop into town to eat lunch; I only ever found one place called “Sofre khune Khale”, along the seafront, that serves food. In 2018, we found several other places serving food.

Ideally, the best time to visit Hormuz is in winter.

Whilst camping, be sure to have essential supplies – namely water! – with you; it really is a bitch to walk into Hormuz town to get stuff.

Walking into town can take a very long time and there is sometimes hardly any traffic at all; when you do see a vehicle it is very easy to hitch a ride but you can’t count on coming across one.

There is very little wood in Hormuz and you will struggle to collect enough to have a decent fire however some locals do sell wood – 15,000 for a big bundle that will last about 90 minutes – so ask around and you might be in luck.

Haji is reliable and although he speaks very little English he knows Hormuz island well and is able to sort you out with anything you need. He charges fair rates, you can reach him at 0098-9367651669  (you can also reach him on this number on the Telegram app). 

You will want to hire a driver to take you on a round the island tour – it’s a big island and would take serious time to walk around. I recommend camping out and exploring for a few days but also definitely recommend splashing out on a day tour so that you can see the best of the island; Haji charges around $50 – $60 for a day and this is fair.

You should definitely visit the incredible River Art studio in town, run by my friend, the friendly and talented Dr. Ahmad Nadalian. This incredible initiative aims to provide free art training and education to all of the women upon the island, thus providing them with a wonderful opportunity to create art and earn some money on the side by selling handicrafts to tourists.

You can pick up a free map, super handy, of the island at the River Art Studio.

Hormuz is a tough place to eke out a living, please do consider buying some artworks or souvenirs from the ladies outside the Portuguese fort or at the art studio.

You can contact Dr. Ahmad Nadalian here: [email protected]

Hormuz is an amazing place… I wish you luck on your backpacking adventure across Iran!


Solo Travel v.s. Group Tours in Iran

Traveling solo in Iran is a truly rewarding experience, but for some people, the country seems like a challenge to tackle alone. Iran is a country with heaps to see and do, but experiencing the best, lesser-known about places and communities not found on the typical tourist trail requires some local knowledge and insider connections. 

In March 2020, we are planning to run a brand new Epic Backpacker Tours trip in Iran to help adventurers get the most out of this spectacular country in a short amount of time.

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you probably know that in 2016, I met my wife Nina in Iran, and have been exploring every corner of the country ever since. 

Nina and my love of Iran, as well as our unique insider knowledge and contacts within the country, came together to devise this EPIC Iranian adventure itinerary that connects foreign backpackers with authentic adventure and cultural experiences. This Iran adventure itinerary is the product of years of on the ground research and is led by our expert guide, Pedro Ricardo Dias. Pedro has been leading adventures in Iran for years and knows this magical country extremely well… 

check the EBT site for details.

Want to find out more – you can read a full review of a guest’s experience in Pakistan here. 

Want to learn how to travel the world on $10 a day? Check out the Broke Backpacker’s Bible…

Like this Post? PIN ME!!

Hormuz Island


  • Avatar DoloTripper says:

    Absolutely incredible photos. I’ve never even heard of this place and you rarely ever see a nation like Iran painted this way. In US media it’s usually always negative things. That shot with the huge cliffs and beach looked amazing, my only fear is that getting to the beach is a one way trip! LOL

    Very great blog post and beautiful images, appreciate you sharing.

  • Avatar Plamen says:

    Hi, Thank you for the details on Hormuz Island. I have a question, is there a car ferry from the mainland to the island of Hormuz, because I’m traveling by car/camper. Thanks!

  • Dear Will Hatton

    I am Ahmad Nadalian the artist who has house and art center in Hormoz. Thank you fore introducing my house. In your text you writ my name Dr. Ali Nadalian . My first name is Ahmad. So the text should changed to Dr. Ahmad Nadalian. Thank you very much

  • Hello Will and thank you for sharing your experiences and beautiful pictures.
    I am so glad to see that you enjoyed your travel to Iran.
    good luck and keep going

  • Avatar Sue Hoppe says:

    Wonderful, thanks, time to get planning! Really enjoy your writing and photos, thanks!

  • Avatar Sue Hoppe says:

    Thanks for this cool post, been wanting to explore Qeshm for a while, but Hormuz wasn’t on our radar till now, definitely going to add it to the agenda! Just a question, for a geriatric couple with mobility issues (replaced knees and wonky ankles) how accessible would a camping trip be? Are there ways to get out into the awesome geology and camp without having to walk for miles daily?

    • Hey Sue! Never fear, you won’t have to walk for hours – just maybe 15 – 20 minutes from the road to get to a good camping site. You definitely DO need a dude with a car, I recommend Hajji, who you can call and he’ll come get you to take you into town for food and take you round the island etc – he also can take you on supply runs to buy food to cook on a fire and help you get firewood.

      • Avatar laurence lesaffre says:


        Merci pour ton compte rendu.

        Peux tu me dire si on peut mettre une voiture sur le ferry qui va de Bandar à Ormuz ?
        idem pour le ferry de ormuz à Qeshm ?

  • Avatar Mostafa says:

    We would love to be our guest on Hormuz Island. Please visit Hormuz Island, we are waiting for you. You can contact us from all over the world, WhatsApp Number: 00989384364872

  • Avatar Rodillo Jerhen says:

    Hi Will, can I have the contact no. of Hajji?

  • Perfect shots! We are heading to Hormuz island on a photography tours. Thank you for your helpful tips.

  • Avatar calzia says:

    No doubt, it is really a nice place to enjoy in Iran. Thanks for sharing this pictures because with the help of this post I am able to remember the great moments of that place.

  • three star suites hotel with best price in Hormuz island.
    visit our website :
    contact Mr Ali 00989121575713

  • Avatar Zahra says:

    wonderfullllllllllllll photos!!!
    -it really made me happy that you had enjoyable time in my country
    every part of Iran is really beautiful specialy bandar abbas and Persian golf

  • Avatar Shayan says:

    Hi , my name is Shayan ,
    i’m from Bandar Abbas port , the main and biggest port in south of Iran , you should travell to Hormoz Island from my town , i’m very happy you liked my country , specially Hormoz Island.

    I do believe beautifulness , greatness and humanity have nothing to do with politics or religion , i believe history tells us everything.

    Hope to see you again in Iran.

  • Avatar Mohammad says:

    Hi to everyone.It’s really good to hear that you had a great time in my country (Actually any foreign tourist has a great time here).I read what Laura said,but i think i have a point to contrast with her.I haven’t heard anything about monitoring or these stuff,I think it’s just a simple misunderstanding,but i’d liked to share something about the conflict between my country and the rest of the world.After the 1978 revolution, the states lost his greatest ally,not only in the middle east,but also in the world,and my country became the most dangerous country(or threat as they say) to Americans safety(Don’t want to be rude but that’s bu**it).Since 1978, they have been trying everything to change the regime,to weaken the people,to bring us to our knees.They don’t tell people what the hell they have done to us for years(including the 8-year-war between us and Iraq when Iraq was being supported by about 30 countries including the U.S,France,the U.K, etc,murdering our scientists,sanctions and so on)but they try to show a terrorism-supporter picture of us.How can a country be supporting terrorists when more than two thousands of its people have sacrificed their lives protecting the innocent and fighting those terrorists?Did they ever told you these?i don’t think so.Anyway,hope you tell your friends and families to come to and visit my country.

    • Hey Mohammad, you raise a valid point amigo – Iran is a beautiful, really very friendly and safe, country that has been demonised by the media. Luckily though, people realise that there is more to Iran than the news portrays 🙂

  • Avatar Bahram says:

    On picture of a woman, It should be titled “local woman”, as nomad means people who migrate from place to place.

  • Avatar Laura says:

    It’s great that Iran is starting to get more positive coverage away from the mainstream media. But please be aware that you need to be sensitive about the information you share on the internet (about people and places) as the Iranian authorities are actually monitoring these things. For us travellers, going to isolated places where Iranians reclaim their freedom away from the authorities is super exciting and we want to tell the world about it. But we should be careful to not destroy those safe havens for our Iranian friends. They may be a great travel story for us, but they are vital for them. One of my friends told me that some places (including Hormuz) are now regularly monitored by police because of travellers writing about them. Having a good time is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous for Iranians and I think there are ways to tell a good story without openly giving away names and locations 😉

    I enjoyed your articles otherwise, but I think those are things you should bear in mind when writing about a country like Iran.

    • I understand where you are coming from and I wrestled long and hard about whether or not to promote Hormuz but, after talking to several Iranian friends, I was encouraged to write about Hormuz. My objective is to continue to promote Iran as an incredible destination, to improve relations between Iran and the outside world and to show people online that Iran is not ‘just a sandbox’ and is, in fact, one of the most colourful, diverse, welcoming and beautiful countries in the world.

      I hope you will forgive my decision on this occasion 🙂

      • Avatar farzin says:

        Continue promote iran…thanks alot
        i m iranian and i visited hurmoz for the first time, i fall in love with this island.
        thank you for promote iran

  • Avatar Anastassia says:

    Hello, how often do ferries from Bandar Abbas go to this fabulous island?

  • Avatar Jenna says:

    Looks enchanting! Those photos are stellar!

  • Beautiful photos man!!! Iran sure has a lot of hidden wonders ready to be explored 😀

  • Avatar Teacake says:

    Freaking awesome photos Will! REAL adventure dude!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *