Tailor-Made: Iran – Northern Silk Route

Code: IR/SR/NOR/19
12 Days
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A Bespoke Iran Tour

Follow the hallowed trails of the Silk Road on this enchanting tailor-made Iran tour.

A land of incredible diversity and phenomenal beauty, Iran was once the thriving heart of the mighty Persian empire.

On this enthralling, culture-rich journey we’ll take you away from the usual paths and into the historic, rarely visited Caspian Sea region. You’ll get up close and personal with Mount Damavand, stroll through the tea gardens of the Caspian coast (possibly even helping with the harvest if timings allow), watch fishermen as they haul in their catches and sample delicious seafood.

Heading south, this Iran tour will take you to the bazaars of Tehran. In this region of the country, you will cook classic Iranian dishes, visit remote mountain villages, bargain with carpet sellers in Kashan and star-gaze at a pioneering new eco-camp in the desert.

You’ll end your trip with time to explore the historic and magnificent city of Isfahan, arguably the most beautiful city on earth. This will be a immersive Iran tour which allows you to see a part of the world that few westerners get to experience.

As with all of our tailor-made itineraries, this is a sample tour and can be altered to suit your tastes.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Arrive: Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport

Depart: Isfahan International Airport

DEPARTURE TIME Please arrive on the date that this trip is scheduled to depart.
See Itinerary for details
  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • All transfers and transport
  • Professional guide
  • Entrance fees
  • Coffee, tea, filtered water and fresh fruit throughout
  • Visa for Iran
  • International flights
  • Guide gratuity
  • Souvenirs

Visit Tehran

This bespoke Iran tour will set-off from Iran’s capital, Tehran. You’ll spend two days here exploring its Persian wonders. With palaces, bazaars and mosques to explore, Tehran will take you back in time to the golden days of the Silk Road.

This is an incredible opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with some areas of Iran that are little-visited, to meet the people and break bread with them. Wonderful.

Flexible Departure : April – November

Iran: Northern Silk Road

April-November only.


Day 1

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

Arrive in Tehran. You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Tehran.


Day 2

Start Point: Tehran
Travel: Vehicle and Foot

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
Destination: Mount Damavand
Travel: Vehicle and Foot

This morning it’s a two hour drive to Iran’s mythical Mt. Damavand, where you’ll enjoy a walk and a picnic of traditional homemade foods. You’ll then return to Tehran in the early evening and head to our supper in a local restaurant in the mountainside village of Darband, on the northern outskirts of Tehran.


Day 4

Start Point: Tehran
Destination: Ramsar
Travel: Vehicle and Foot

It’s a superb road trip today through the Alborz Mountains to the Caspian Sea – among the most scenic drives in Iran. On the way you’ll stop for a short hike and picnic lunch in the Keldardasht area. Tonight will be spent in the Caspian resort of Ramsar: very popular with Iranian holidaymakers, this isn’t a place you will see other tourists


Day 5

Start Point: Ramsar
Destination: Rasht, via Larijan

After a leisurely breakfast you’ll head west along the lush Caspian coast, past tea plantations and rice paddies. This is not the Iran you might normally think of! In May and June you can take part in the tea harvest and see the local traditional attire still being work by women working the rice fields. There’ll then be time for a cable-car ride and a short hike in Larijan. Tonight will be in a good hotel in Rasht.


Day 6

Start Point: Rasht
Destination: Masouleh
Travel: Vehicle

Today will start with a visit to the food bazaar in Rasht before visiting local Gilaki homes and handicraft-makers on the way to Masouleh, one of Iran’s most iconic traditional villages. In Masouleh you’ll have a cooking class and stay overnight in a local home. This is the real Iran and you will be welcomed incredibly warmly.


Day 7

Start Point: Masouleh
Destination: Zanjan

It’s about four hours on the road today, with visits to both the Gilan Rural Heritage Museum and the olive oil steppes in Saravan. In Zanjan you will visit the famous bazaar – the city is known for both jewellery design and specialty knives and has some stunning architecture from the 11th – 14th centuries.


Day 8

Start Point: Zanjan
Destination: Qazvin
Travel: Vehicle

Your first stop today is the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site of Soltaniyeh. This city was built in the 14th century as the capital of the Mongol Ilkhanid rulers and was a Christian Diocese – subordinate to Samarkand – and part of the Chagatai Khanata (Chagatai was Ghengis Khan’s second son). You’ll then continue to Qazvin – the Safavid capital of Iran before Isfahan. Both Qazvin and Soltaniyeh were vital Silk Road hubs.


Day 9

Start Point: Qazvin
Destination: Matinabad Eco-lodge, via Kashan
Travel: Vehicle

It’s a four hour drive to Kashan this morning. This city has a record of habitation stretching back over 9000 years. The name itself gave rise to the Persian name for a tile – kashi – so this gives an idea of why this was such an important place on the Silk Road in terms of architectural impact. Here you’ll visit the UNESCO-listed Fin Gardens and the Kashan bazaar, with its speciality carpets and famous local products. including rose water and essences.

In the late afternoon you’ll arrive at Matinabad desert eco-lodge and have some time to rest before going to supper with a local family. You’ll be spending the night at the eco lodge – one of Iran’s first such enterprises.


Day 10

Start Point: Matinabad
Destination: Isfahan
Travel: Vehicle

You’ll leave the desert today for a short transfer to Isfahan – a jewel in the crown of Silk Road architecture. 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 11

Start Point: Isfahan

Today is another full day to explore this famous city, described by many as the most beautiful on the Silk Road. This is also your last chance to load up with souvenirs from the bazaar, before you head home tomorrow.


Day 12

Start Point: Isfahan
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 northern Iran and its people.

Tour Start Date End Date Price
Iran's Northern Silk Road. Tea, caviar and beaches 30/04/2021 30/09/2023 £4,200.00 Taking Bookings

Where will we be staying?

We’ll be staying in a variety of accommodation – from larger hotels in Tehran and Isfahan, to local hotels in Rasht and Zanjan and even an eco-camp at Matinabad. The accommodation has been chosen to help give you a real glimpse of life in Iran.

What will the weather be like?

In spring you can expect pleasantly warm days of  around 16-20 degrees, and cool nights, especially in the desert.  In summer the heat is ramping-up and can reach 40 degrees, so bring 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 kit 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! It depends on where you are travelling from and how you want to get there. From London, it’s around £500 return (outbound to Tehran and return from Isfahan) with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. We can also offer  ATOL-protected flight inclusive packages.

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 meat and fish. This isn’t the country to come  to if you’re on a diet! The North of Iran has some food specialties that are particular to the region, and even some towns are famous for one dish or another. Fish is a staple along the Caspian Sea coast and here is a selection of other dishes, noted with enthusiasm by a Guardian newspaper article.

  • Berenj o kareh: Light, airy butter rice.
  • Torshi sir: garlic cloves pickled in vinegar, and pomegranate syrup
  • Zeytoon parvardeh – crushed walnuts, pomegranate seeds and green olives marinated in pomegranate molasses
  • Mirza ghassemi – charcoal roasted eggplants with tomato, garlic and eggs. Although mirza ghassemi might sound like a simple eggplant omelette, to achieve the precise silky combination of smokiness, garlic and juicy tomato takes a master.

Do you perform proper risk management on your expeditions?

Yes. We are members of TRIP – the Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group – and perform detailed country risk assessments prior to departure, in line with the ISO 31000 international standard for risk assessment. We also maintain close contact with the relevant Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice for countries we plan to visit, in addition to making use of the Australian Smart Traveller assessment tool, and the US State Department’s OSAC service. Beyond this, we have a full set of risk management and disaster contingency plans for each expedition and are expedition first aid trained by Crux Medical. For final back up we also use the services of Remote Medical Support that allows us to have a UK expedition doctor on the end of a telephone line wherever we may be. And we always carry a satellite phone. We really don’t mess around when it comes to safety.

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.



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