An Enchanting Iran Tour
Head east on an Iran tour designed by a producer of Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure series.
This expertly-curated Persian odyssey will take you across a land of phenomenal beauty. Iran – once the bejeweled heart of ancient Persia – is adored by all who visit.
From the bustling bazaars of Tehran to the mud-brick antiquity of Yazd; the emptiness of the Dasht-e-Lut desert to the pleasure gardens of Kashan; the ancient wonders of Persepolis to the Abbasid architecture of Isfahan, this Iran tour will astound you. And that’s not to mention the superlative-defying Persian cuisine or the humbling hospitality of the Iranian people.
As you travel, you’ll not only gain a deep insight into how the Silk Road shaped this fantastic country, but what it means to be a modern Iranian.
Inspired by Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure
Our Director, Antonia was a producer on Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure, spending a year researching and designing Joanna’s journey.
This is a completely unique opportunity to follow directly in Joanna’s footsteps: to travel to the places featured in the series, meet the people she met, stay in the same hotels and much more. No other Iran tour can give you this experience.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Arrive: Tehran IK International Airport|
Depart: Shiraz Shahid Dastgheib International Airport
- All meals
- All transfers and transport
- Professional guide
- Entrance fees
- Coffee, tea, filtered water and fresh fruit throughout
- Visa for Iran
- Guide gratuity
This tailor-made Iran tour will set-off from Iran’s capital, Tehran. You’ll spend three and a bit 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.
To round it all off, you’ll spend your nights at a lovely hotel in the midst of the city.
Tailor-Made – you choose your own dates.
Treasures of Southern Iran.
Minimum 2 persons, maximum 8 persons.
Dates availible between 1 March 2021 and 26 September 2021.
Start Point: Home Destination: Tehran (Iran) 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.
Start Point: Tehran Travel: Foot or Vehicle
Our first day in Tehran is all about acclimatising and finding our feet in what for some will be a very different tim ezone. After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll make a morning visit to Golestan Palace and bazaar, and then take a late lunch in a historic Tehran mansion in the old downtown area. In the afternoon we’ll have more time to relax before an evening stroll to the Tabiat Nature bridge and a delicious supper. We’ll be in our rather lovely hotel again this evening.
Start Point: Tehran Travel: Foot or Vehicle
Our second day in Tehran begins with a visit to the Niavaran Palace Complex followed by the Sa’ad Abad Palace and Tajrish Bazaar in the afternoon. You’ll find time today feel rejuvenated and ready for the road ahead. After an evening meal at a local restaurant, we’ll return to our friendly hotel once more.
Start Point: Tehran Destination: Kashan, via Qom Travel: Vehicle
We 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. We’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, Tamerlane and Afghans are amongst those who have plundered here in its 8000 years of existence.
From Qom we’ll continue on to the city of Kashan. This city has a record of inhabitation 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. This afternoon we will settle into our comfortable hotel, and tomorrow we’ll explore the city.
Start Point: Kashan Destination: Matinabad
We can afford to savour our breakfast this morning as we have all day to see the sights of Kashan. This morning we’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, hopefully we will have the chance to follow Joanna’s example and meet the talented carpet weavers of Kashan. We will make the short transfer (1 hour) to Matinabad desert Eco Camp this evening and enjoy supper there. Tonight is the night that families travel to Matinabad from Tehran and Isfahan, so the ambience is superb and there is more chance to meet local families. This is what Iran is all about.
Start Point: Matinabad Destination: Foot or Camel
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 – in fact, we will spend 2 nights here! Having transferred last night from Kashan, we will spend the day at Matinabad. The Eco Camp here is the first of its kind in Iran and permits us to enjoy the desert vistas whilst sleeping in comfort. This afternoon there will be a chance to go on 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.
Start Point: Matinabad Destination: Isfahan Travel: Vehicle and Foot
We’ve a couple of hours on the road this morning to bring us to Isfahan. Rightly considered one of the jewels in the crown of the Silk Road, we will have time to explore Isfahan today and tomorrow. This afternoon you can explore Isfahan with our guide on a relaxed walking tour. Suggested sights for this afternoon will be the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan, with its local artisans and handicrafts, and Vank Armenian Cathedral. This evening we’ll have dinner in Jofla Armenian district plus an evening stroll on one of iconic bridges of Isfahan and Chahar Bagh Boulevard. Delightful.
Start Point: Isfahan Travel: Vehicle or Foot
Today we have a full day to explore this incredible and very beautiful Silk Road city, including Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the Shah Mosque, Sheikh Mosque and Ali Qapu Palace. We’ll have time to meet some carpet sellers too for another authentic Silk Road experience and take lunch either in a traditional place in the bazaar, or a new tea house such as Atiq O Dole – depending on time!
Following this we will visit Hasht Behasht and Chehul Sotoun pavilions built in the 17th Century – incredible parts of Isfahan not always on every time-pressured itinerary. Another relaxing night in our hotel will leave a lasting impression of this great city, sometimes known to its inhabitants as “half the world”.
Start Point: Isfahan Destination: Yazd Travel: Vehicle and Foot
An early morning visit to the Friday Mosque of Isfahan (UNESCO world heritage site) will start our day on the right note, before a four-hour drive to Yazd – the first Iranian city to have a historic centre designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. Outside of Yazd we’ll stop in Meybod to have lunch in a traditional home. In Yazd itself we’ll have an introductory walking tour of the historic Fahadan neighbourhood including Amir Chamagh square, and water museum.
In the evening we’ll visit the Zuhrkhane “house of strength” – a place where Zoroastrian ritual, spiritual practice and wrestling meet. This is one of the highlights of Joanna’s ITV episode on Iran. We’ll have supper on a rooftop overlooking the city before retiring to a traditional hotel for the night.
Start Point: Yazd
This morning we’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 termeh textiles. If you haven’t heard of them but have ever seen a paisley pattern, then you’ve looked upon one of the motifs often employed in termeh textiles – known here as a ‘botteh’. These textiles are as intricately woven as they are linked with the Silk Road itself, being printed on silk and wool mix cloth for hundreds of years. We’ll have time for baklava tasting and tea, visit the Dowlat Abad gardens and spend our evening once again at our hotel. You’ll have had the time to really feel the ambience of this remote desert city.
Start Point: Yazd Destination: Shiraz Travel: Vehicle
Today marks our longest transfer of about 5 hours from Yazd to the famous city of Shiraz. We’ll have a hearty breakfast and make a 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 our first evening with a beautiful sunset to put us in the mood for the famed poetry if its famous son, Hafez. When Joanna travelled here, she adored the reverence for and knowledge of poetry that suffuses the city.
Start Point: Shiraz Travel: Vehicle or Foot
We’ve all day to soak-up the sights of Shiraz, of which there are plenty. We can offer a guided set of visits or you can spend your time here as you wish. Key among the sites 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. We’ll have the option to try local food specialities such as faloodeh, torshi and karam polo, followed by dinner in a local home. We’ll then repair to our comfortable hotel before an early start tomorrow.
Start Point: Shiraz Destination: Persepolis
Today will be one of the very few early starts on our trip! The reason? Persepolis – as with any ancient and popular site – is best seen without hordes of stampeding click-happy groups! So, we’ll have a short transfer that will bring us 60km to Persepolis bright and early in order that we can enjoy just a fraction more privacy in this most special of places.
Joanna simply loved Persepolis and the chances are that you will, too. You’ll hopefully 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 we’ll visit the ancient Naqsh-e-Rostam necropolis about 20 minutes from Persepolis, 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 literally as ‘the Emperors’ Gardens, or Bagh e Shah.
We’ll have a bite of lunch near the gardens, and then return to Shiraz for a farewell dinner this evening where we’ll wish you all safe travels. The suggested Turkish Airlines flight departs at 03.00 tomorrow morning so we’ll transfer you to the airport around midnight.
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, having followed in Joanna’s exact footsteps
Where will we be staying?
As this is a tailor-made tour, you can choose your accommodation. Usually our guests stay in a variety of accommodation – from larger hotels in Isfahan and Shiraz to local hotels in Yazd and Kashan and wonderful, family-run guesthouses and even an eco-resort on the edge of the desert. The accommodation has been chosen to give you a real glimpse of life in Iran.
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 Shiraz) with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. We can offer flight inclusive packages also though. Again, we’ll send you an information pack containing all the information you need when you book your place.
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 on a diet.
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.