Joanna Lumley’s Footsteps: Iran

Tailor-Made Iran
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Follow the Silk Road on an Iran Tour

Join us on a Iran tour inspired by Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventures.

This Persian Odyssey will will unlock the ancient treasures of the Silk Road, from the bustling bazaars of Tehran to the mud-brick antiquity of Yazd.

Further afield, the emptiness of the Dasht-e-Lut desert and the pleasure gardens of Kashan enchant foreign adventurers. For architecture buffs, the ancient wonders of Persepolis and the Abbasid architecture of Isfahan are a goldmine of inspiration. This Iran tour will allow to see it all, as well as introducing you to plenty of charming Iranians along the way.

Inspired by Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure

This Iran tour has been designed by one of our directors, Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent – an award-winning travel writer and TV producer. Antonia was a producer of Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure, spending a year researching and designing Joanna’s journey and filming several episodes of the series with the crew.

Thanks to these months of specialist research, this is a completely unique opportunity to follow directly in follow in the footsteps of Joanna Lumley. With us, you will travel to the places featured in the series, meet the people she met, stay in the same hotels and much more. No other company can give you this experience.

Please note that this is a sample tailor-made itinerary, and can be altered to suit your desires and tastes.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATIONArrive: Tehran IK International Airport

Depart: Shiraz Shahid Dastgheib International Airport

DEPARTURE TIMEPlease arrive on the date that this trip is scheduled to depart.
See Itinerary for details
  • Accommodation
  • Some or all meals
  • Airport transfers and all transport
  • Professional English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees
  • Coffee, tea, filtered water and fresh fruit throughout
  • Visa for Iran
  • International flights
  • Guide gratuity
  • Souvenirs

Visit Isfahan

Isfahan is one of our favourite places to explore in Iran. Located half-way between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, Isfahan was frequented by caravans in the golden days of the Silk Road.

When you visit Isfahan on our Iran tour, you will encounter the riches of that vibrant era. From its beckoning mosques to its enchanting bazaars, this city is charged with Silk Road romance.

Follow the Silk Road in Joanna Lumley’s Footsteps: Iran
Tailor-Made tour. March to November.


Day 1

Start Point: Home
Destination: Tehran
Travel: Plane and Hotel Transfer

You’ll be met at the airport and transfer to our hotel in central Tehran after a late evening arrival.


Day 2

Start Point: Tehran

Your day in Tehran begins with a morning visit to Golestan Palace and a meander through the Tehran bazaar. Lunch will be in a historic Tehran mansion in the old downtown area, followed by a visit to either the Niavaran Palace Complex or the Sa’ad Abad Palace. There’ll be time for an evening stroll to the Tabiat Nature bridge before a delicious supper. Tonight will be in the same hotel.


Day 3

Start Point: Tehran

Today you have another full day in Tehran to explore this vibrant city. You’ll find time today feel rejuvenated and ready for the road ahead. After an evening meal at a local restaurant, you’ll return to our friendly hotel for a final night.


Day 4

Start Point: Tehran
Destination: Kashan, via Qom

You’ll leave Tehran this morning and spend an hour or so on the road to Qom, a little-visited city on the road towards Kashan. A highly important centre for religious education for centuries, Qom hosts the very beautiful Alholbait Mosque and Fatima Musameh Shrine. You’ll grab a bite to eat in Qom and you can look out on the modern city to imagine the many times it has been sacked over the millennia! The Mongols, Timur and the Afghans are amongst those who have plundered here in its 8000 years of existence.

From Qom you’ll continue on to the city of Kashan, a city with a record of inhabitation stretching back over 9000 years. The name itself gave rise to the Persian name for a tile – kashi – this desert oasis’ signature export. This afternoon you’ll settle into your comfortable hotel and make a visit to a historic merchant house.


Day 5

Start Point: Kashan
Destination: Matinabad
Travel: Vehicle and Foot

You can afford to savour our breakfast this morning as you have all day to see the sights of Kashan. This morning you’ll visit the Fin Gardens (UNESCO) – the most complete traditional Persian garden of its kind in the world – and tour the Kashan bazaar, with its speciality carpets and famous local products including rose water and essences. In the afternoon, you’ll have the chance to follow Joanna’s example and meet the talented carpet weavers of Kashan.  After this it’s a short one-hour transfer to the Matinabad desert Eco Camp, where you’ll spend the night and enjoy a wonderful supper.


Day 6

Start Point: Matinabad

Whilst Iran is certainly a centre for arts, architecture and high culture, it is also a place of deserts, so it would be remiss not to visit the desert for at least one night on our trip. This Eco Camp is the first of its kind in Iran and permits you to enjoy the desert vistas whilst sleeping in comfort. This afternoon you’ll have a guided walk in the desert close to the camp, to learn about – and hopefully see – some of the wildlife that calls this place home. You can also ride camels and help with the planting of the desert around the Eco Camp if you wish.


Day 7

Start Point: Matinabad
Destination: Isfahan
Travel: Vehicle

After breakfast it’s a two-hour drive to Isfahan. Rightly considered one of the jewels in the crown of the Silk Road, you will have time to explore Isfahan today and tomorrow.

Among the delights you will see here are the famous Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the Imam Mosque, the Sheikh Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan, Vank Armenian Cathedral and more.

Tonight will be spent in the Jofla Armenian district – including an evening stroll on one of iconic bridges of Isfahan and Chahar Bagh Boulevard. You’ll eat yet more gorgeous food in the Armenian district before retiring to your lovely hotel.


Day 8

Start Point: Isfahan

Today we have another full day to explore this incredibly beautiful Silk Road city. You’ll meet some carpet sellers and have lunch in a traditional place in the bazaar. Following this you’ll will visit the 17th century Hasht Behasht and Chehul Sotoun pavilions – incredible parts of Isfahan often missed from time-pressured itineraries. Another relaxing night in our hotel will leave a lasting impression of this great city, sometimes known to its inhabitants as “half the world”.


Day 9

Start Point: Isfahan
Destination: Yazd
Travel: Vehicle

After an early morning visit to the Friday Mosque of Isfahan (a UNESCO-listed world heritage site), it’s a four-hour transfer to Yazd – the first Iranian city to have a historic centre designated as a UNESCO-listed world heritage site. After stopping for lunch with a family, you’ll arrive in Yazd in the early afternoon. Here, you’ll start with an introductory walking tour of the historic Fahadan neighbourhood including, Amir Chamagh square and the water museum. Later, you’ll visit the famous Zurkhaneh, or house of strength, a place where Zoroastrian ritual, spiritual practice and wrestling meet. You’ll have supper on a rooftop overlooking the city before retiring to your charming hotel for the night.


Day 10

Start Point: Yazd
Travel: Vehicle and Foot

This morning you’ll visit some key Zoroastrian sites in Yazd, including the Towers of Silence and Fire Temple, as well as visit the Grand Bazaar. Here you’ll find intricately woven termeh textiles – printed here for hundreds of years. After this there’ll be baklava tasting and a visit the Dowlat Abad gardens. You’ll have had the time to really feel the ambience of this remote desert city.


Day 11

Start Point: Yazd
Destination: Shiraz

Today it’s a five-hour drive from Yazd to the famous city of Shiraz. You’ll have a hearty breakfast and stop for lunch on the way in Abarkuh – good photo opportunities and great food abound – leaving plenty of time for a wash and brush-up before our evening meal in Shiraz itself, home to many unique dishes. This warm southern city will hopefully bless your first evening with a beautiful sunset to put you in the mood for the poetry of its famous son, Hafez. When Joanna travelled here, she adored the reverence for and knowledge of poetry that suffuses the city.


Day 12

Start Point: Shiraz

Today you’ve got all of today to soak up the sights of Shiraz, of which there are plenty. Key among the places to visit are the Nasir-ol-Molk (Pink Mosque), the Vakil bazaar and mosque, the Zand-era citadel, the Quran gate, Qavam House and Gardens, Eram Gardens, Shiraz carpets and so much more. You’ll have the option to try local food specialities such as faloodehtorshi and karam polo, followed by dinner in a local home. Tonight is in the same good hotel in Shiraz.


Day 13

Start Point: Shiraz
Destination: Persepolis
Travel: Vehicle

Today will be an early start! The reason? Persepolis – as with any ancient and popular site – is best seen without hordes of stampeding click-happy groups. So, you’ll get to Persepolis bright and early so you can enjoy just a fraction more privacy in this most special of places.

Here you’ll enjoy the chance to marvel at the mind-boggling scale of the place and imagine how other travellers – including Alexander the Great, who also plundered it – must have felt on first approaching the giant flat terrace with its sky-scraping columns.

Joanna loved Persepolis and we’re sure you will too.

After Persepolis you’ll visit the ancient Naqsh-e-Rostam necropolis, before heading to the Eram Gardens for an afternoon visit. This wonderful house and gardens were laid out between the 12th and 14th centuries and were known as ‘the Emperor’s Gardens, or Bagh-e-Shah.


Day 14

Start Point: Shiraz
Destination: Home
Travel: Airport Transfer and Plane

We will get you to the airport in good time for your flight home early this morning – it’s a small airport about 25 minutes’ drive from our hotel. You’ll fly away with wonderful memori