A Classic Iran Tour
A land of incredible diversity and phenomenal beauty, Iran was once the thriving heart of the mighty Persian empire. This bespoke Iran tour uncovers a nation of heart-warming hospitality, mouth-watering food and Persian romance.
This fabulous itinerary lets you discover some of the most iconic Silk Road sights in Iran. You’ll fall in love with the pleasure gardens of Kerman, encounter Hafez in Shiraz, marvel at the ruins of ancient Persepolis, barter with carpet sellers in Yazd and be astounded by the beauty of Isfahan. But above all you’ll adore the Iranians themselves – and of course their superlative-defying food.
Bustling cities, ancient ruins, sumptuous food, silent deserts, starry skies and history galore – this is a fascinating trip that will stay with you forever.
As with all of our tailor-made trips, this is a sample itinerary, and can be altered to suit your tastes and wallet.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Arrive: Isfahan International Airport|
Depart: Shiraz Shahid Dastghaib International Airport
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive on the date that this trip is scheduled to depart.|
See Itinerary for details
- Some meals
- All transfers and transport
- A professional local guide
- Entrance fees
- Coffee, tea, filtered water and fresh fruit throughout
- Visa for Iran
- International flights
- Guide gratuity
This classic Iran tour will take you to the enchanting desert city of Yazd, with its mud-brick houses, Zoroastrian ruins and ancient, winding lanes. Among the things you’ll admire here are the towers of silence, Persian gardens, crumbling fortresses, the 15th century Amir Chakhmaq complex and the city’s distinctive wind catcher ‘chimneys’.
Flexible Departure: April to October.
Tailor-Made Iran: Classic Silk Road
Start Point: Home Destination: Isfahan Travel: Plane and Hotel Transfer
Arrive in Isfahan. You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Isfahan.
Start Point: Isfahan Travel: Vehicle and Foot
Today you have a full day to explore this incredible Silk Road city. 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.
Start Point: Isfahan Destination: Yazd Travel: Vehicle and Foot
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 center 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 neighborhood 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.
Start Point: Yazd Destination: Zein O Din 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. This evening you’ll be staying in the beautiful 16th century Zein O Din caravanserai hotel. A night here will give you a real flavour of what life was like for merchants on the ancient Silk Road.
Start Point: Zein O Din Destination: Kerman Travel: Vehicle
After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel you’ll leave for Kerman, the most important city in south-eastern Iran. On the way you’ll stop in Rafsanjani to visit the President Rafsanjani Museum and sample some of the world’s best pistachios. This is, after all, the pistachio capital of the world. You’ll be in Kerman in time for lunch and an afternoon exploring the city, with its historic mosques, Zoroastrian temples and winding bazaars. Tonight will be spent in a good hotel in the city centre.
Start Point: Kerman Destination: Kalout Desert
You’ll leave Kerman this morning and head out into the Kalout Desert, to spend the day walking with an expert local guide. Tonight will be spent under canvas, sitting around the camp fire under a star-spangled sky.
Start Point: Kalout Desert to Kerman Destination: Kerman, via Bam
After enjoying a fantastic desert sunrise and breakfast over the camp fire, it’s a three-hour drive to the ancient city of Bam – the world’s largest earthen city, and yet another UNESCO world heritage site. Tragically, much of Bam was destroyed by an earthquake in 2003, with great loss of life. There has been a huge amount of rebuilding going on, and whilst you can’t replace what was lost, the reconstruction gives a good idea of what had been standing here for two thousand years or more.
On a different note, Bam has the best dates in the world and this is the major industry here, so you’ll definitely sample some today! You’ll then drive two hours on to Mahan’s Shazdeh Gardens for a late afternoon stroll. Tonight you’ll return to Kerman, and the same hotel.
Start Point: Kerman Destination: Persepolis, via Sarvestan Travel: Vehicle
This morning it’s a three-hour drive to historic Sarvestan, where you’ll stop for lunch. Here you’ll visit the ruins of a 5th Century Sassanid palace and go for a walk in the beautiful Ghanibi valley, known for its springs and almond and pistachio trees. From here it’s an hour to Persepolis, where you’ll spend the night at a good hotel close to the ancient city.
Start Point: Persepolis Destination: Shiraz 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.
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.
Tonight you’ll be in a very good hotel in Shiraz.
Start Point: Shiraz Travel: Vehicle and Foot
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 faloodeh, torshi and karam polo, followed by dinner in a local home. Tonight is in the same good hotel in Shiraz.
Start Point: Shiraz Destination: Qhalat Village Travel: Vehicle and Foot
After a gentle start, it’s a short drive to the traditional village of Ghalat, where you’ll enjoy a local lunch and a walk up to the natural waterfalls and pools in the Ghalat gorge, before returning in the late afternoon to Shiraz.
Tonight is your last night in Iran, so you’ll have a delicious farewell dinner with your guide, before a final night at the hotel.
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. You’ll fly away with wonderful memories of Iran and its people.
Where will we be staying?
You’ll be staying in a variety of accommodation – from larger hotels to wonderful, family-run guesthouses and a desert camp. The accommodation has been chosen to give you a real glimpse of life in Iran. However, as this is a tailor-made trip, the accommodation can be altered to suit your exact tastes.
What will the weather be like?
This depends when you choose to go. In spring you can expect pleasantly warm days around 16-20 degrees and cool nights – down to around 5 degrees – especially in the desert. In summer the heat is ramping-up and can reach 40 degrees, so you’ll need a good sun hat and cool clothes. In autumn the fierce heat gives way to balmy evenings and a lovely – though busier – time of year. But have no fear, we will supply you with a detailed packing list after you’ve signed up.
What clothes do I need to bring?
We will provide you with an information pack after signing up to this trip, and this will detail any particular equipment we think either necessary or useful.
How much are flights?
This is a moving feast and of course depends on where you are travelling from and how you want to get there. From London, it’s around £500 return (outbound to Isfahan and return from Shiraz) with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul.
What will the food be like?
Very, very good. The food in Iran is justly famed and you’ll enjoy a dazzling array of dishes. Vegetarians are well catered-for and you’ll also have an abundance of meat and fish.
Is this really for me?
If you love adventure, new places, friendly people, wild landscapes, history and culture then yes! However, if you’re the sort of person who is going to be worried about the lack of flush loos in a desert camp, might complain that the road to Persepolis is too bumpy (it isn’t!) or frets about Wi-Fi availability, then this probably isn’t your bag.