Travel Iran on a Tailor-Made Tour
Persian rhythms. Potent fragrances. Vibrant colours. Ancient Persia invigorates the senses. From north to south, Iran is blessed with with jaw-dropping landscapes, sights and culture.
Visit Tehran, Persepolis, Yazd and more
From the bustling bazaars of Tehran to the pleasure gardens of Kashan, you can follow in the footsteps of Byron, Marco Polo and more. Out in the desert, the mud-brick houses of Yazd and the ruins of Persepolis stand firm against the blazing sun.
Off-shore, island paradise awaits on Hormuz and Qeshm. Throw in Isfahan’s world-renown Abbasid architecture, and you’ve got a Iran tour that’ll be the talk of the town for years to come.
Oh, and don’t forget to add in hugely varied and delicious Persian cooking, a range of ecological zones and the legendary hospitality of the Iranian people.
Inspired by Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure
This classic Iran tour was inspired by Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure series. One of our directors, Antonia, was one of the producers of the show, spending a year setting up the stories and locations featured in the series.
Travel to Iran with us, and you can take advantage of the months of painstaking research that went into producing the show – from the best place to eat baklava to which guest houses you stay in.
Flexible Departure: April to October
On this Iran tour, you’ll be accompanied by a superb local guide and driver throughout. With their help, you’ll really get to know and understand the cultures – past, present and future – of this wonderful country.
You’ll be met at the airport and we will be with you throughout this amazing trip.
If you’re interested in travelling to Iran, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Arrive: Tehran IK International Airport|
Depart: Tehran IK International Airport
|DEPARTURE TIME||See itinerary for details|
- Half Board (Bed, breakfast and lunch) throughout
- All transfers and transport with drivers
- Professional guide/driver
- Coffee, tea, filtered water and fresh fruit throughout
- Visa for Iran
- Guide gratuity
Total Iran – 30 Days of Persian Delight
Flexible Departure – April to October only.
Maximum 8 persons.
Start Point: Home Destination: Tehran Travel: Plane and Hotel Transfer
You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to the Hotel Ziba in central Tehran after a late evening or early morning arrival. After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll make a morning visit to Golestan Palace and bazaar, eating lunch somewhere traditional in this thriving market. In the afternoon you’ll have more time to relax before an evening stroll to the Tabiat Nature bridge and a delicious supper. You’ll be staying at Ziba Hotel this evening.
Start Point: Tehran Travel: Vehicle and Foot
Your second day in Tehran, and more time to get into the rhythm (and timezone, if you’ve travelled any distance to be in Iran). More time in the bazaars for those who’d like to, and an afternoon visit to the Niavaran Palace Complex followed by the Sa’ad Abad Palace. You’ll have an early meal at a local restaurant before retiring once more to the Hotel Ziba.
Start Point: Tehran Destination: Kashan
Transfer 3 hours to Kashan, explore the Fin Gardens, mosques, bazaar and historical houses of this city, the birthplace of Iranian ceramic tiles, and a gateway to the desert. You’ll stay at the Sana historical hostel this evening, a charming old building converted to a super-comfortable hostel, more like a hotel.
Start Point: Kashan Destination: Matinabad Travel: Vehicle, Foot or Camel
You’ll drive for an hour to Matinabad, an eco-camp on the edge of the Dasht-e-Khavir desert. Here you’ll stay in glamping-style tented accommodation and enjoy excellent food. There will be evening fires and plenty of people to chat to. There are options to get out for walks in the surrounding desert, ride camels and relax into the desert way of life.
Start Point: Matinabad Destination: Yazd
You’ll drive 4 hours south to the fantastic desert city of Yazd. Outside of Yazd you’ll stop in Meybod to have lunch in a traditional home. In Yazd itself you will stay 2 nights in either the Al Zahra or Siavash guest houses. There is much to see in Yazd – the first Iranian city to have a historic center designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. You’ll walk to tour the historic Fahadan neighborhood including Amir Chamagh square, and water museum. In the evening you can visit the Zuhrkhane “house of strength” – a place where Zoroastrian ritual, spiritual practice and wrestling meet.
Start Point: Yazd Travel: Vehicle and Foot
This morning you’ll visit some stunning 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 – 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. You’ll have time for baklava tasting and tea, visit the Dowlat Abad gardens and spend our evening once again at your guest house.
Start Point: Yazd Destination: Meymand
Today you’ll take the four hour long jounrey to Meymand, a 12,000 year old cave village near to Kerman. You’ll have time to explore this ancient place with its totally unique architecture, and stay this evening at a local house. You’ll experience first-hand the generous hospitality of the Iranian people, and probably have to refuse yet more food being brought before you!
Start Point: Meymand Destination: Kerman
This morning, you’ll take the short journey to Kerman, the main city of south-eastern Iran. This place has a lot of history to offer, and is a surprisingly large city! Sites include the Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine, the delightful Shazdeh Garden from the late Qajar period, the Ganjali Khan complex and bath from the Safavid era, 2nd century Jabalieh dome, a super bazaar (one of the oldest trading centres in Iran) and much more besides. You’ll have today and tomorrow here to get the best from the city.
Start Point: Kerman Travel: Vehicle or Foot
More time to see the impressive set of sites that comprise this desert city, staying once again at the Godin guest house.
Start Point: Kerman Destination: Bam Travel: Vehicle and Foot
Bam was once one of the jewels in the crown of Iran’s cultural heritage. An ancient city with roots stretching back at least 2,500 years and containing the world’s largest adobe building, the city was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake in 2003.
Driving 2 hours outside of Kerman, you’ll see how this UNESCO-listed Persian citadel has been painstakingly and sympathetically restored. Whilst you cannot replace what was lost, the city is still worth the trip as the contrast between the newly reconstructed parts and the rubble of the historic parts is fascinating. You’ll have time to wander the streets and sites before retiring to the Asia Kadeh guest house for the evening. Sunset and sunrise are pretty special in Bam….
Start Point: Bam Destination: Bandar Abbas Travel: Vehicle
One of the longer transfer days today, as you make the 6 hour journey to the south coast of Iran, overlooking the Straits of Hormuz. A city with a long heritage, including Portuguese and Omani rule, it is now the point at which you’ll make the hop over to Qeshm, tomorrow. For tonight, you’ll be staying at a local house and getting to know the distinct food culture of the coastal area, including fish and spicy dishes not seen elsewhere in Iran.
Start Point: Bandar Abbas Destination: Qeshm Travel: Vehicle
This is the start of 3 glorious days by the beach in Qeshm. You’ll transfer over to the Island with diver and car, and then have the place to either relax or explore for the following three days. You’ll be staying at the Nakhoda Amini local guest house, near Sarbili (and other) beaches in Tabl village. Nowhere is far away on this island, and you can easily also visit the traditional fishing town of Laft, or take a trip to Hengam Island, or just relax under the date palms…
Start Point: Qeshm Notes: Rest Day in Qeshm
Start Point: Qeshm Destination: Hormuz Island
Day trip over to Hormuz Island (1 hours by foot ferry). Today will be an interesting excursion to the ‘rainbow island’ – known for its fortresses, mangroves, cliffs, beaches and gin-clear waters You’ll use a rickshaw for your transport and along with your guide, you’ll be able to explore at will, as long as you are back for the afternoon ferry to Qeshm!
Start Point: Qeshm Destination: Bandar-e-Kong Travel: Ferry and Vehicle
Back to the mainland and you’ll travel for 4 hours via Bandar Abbas to the city of Bandar-e-Kong. You’ll spend the night at the traditional (and lovely!) Younesi Guest house near to the beach. This town has an Afro-Indian influence and a particular culture of its own as a result. Here, you’ll experience highly-spiced foods and have the chance to see traditional wooden lenj boats being made in the shipyard. The skills are dying out, so this is a special opportunity to see the craft.
Start Point: Bandar-e-Kong Destination: Bandar-e-Siraf Travel: Vehicle
You’ll follow the coast north for 4 hours today, hugging the Persian Gulf all the way to the ancient Silk Road port town of Bandar-e-Siraf. This was a major port of antiquity, and recent archaeological finds have shown plenty of Gujarati pottery, wealthy merchant houses and the associated infrastructure of a busy maritime town. Very few tourists make it down here, and you’ll be unlikely to see many in your time here. You’ll spend tonight at a local guest house close to the beach. Sunset should be spectacular…
Start Point: Bandar-e-Siraf Destination: Bushehr
Today will be the last day of your coastal exploration as you head 3 hours north to the city of Bushehr. With at least five thousand years of documented history behind it, this was a major trading port for Iran, but has fallen into a less important role after the completion of deep-water ports to the north and south. The city has some unique architecture and was heavily influenced by Portuguese style, still evident in many older buildings. The old city has a tumble-down but very warm feel to it, and you’ll find plenty of winding alleyways and balconies that make superb photos. The fishing port is also an interesting place to spend time watching the world at work.
You’ll spend this evening at Hamisheh Sabz, a little gem of a guest house.
Start Point: Bushehr Destination: Shiraz
You head 4 hours inland today to the gorgeous city of Shiraz. So much to see here that you’ll have all day tomorrow too. You’ll stay at the Sovashon or Setayesh traditional family house guest houses tonight – both full of character and charm.
Start Point: Shiraz Travel: Vehicle and Foot
You’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 with your guide, as you wish.
Some special 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.
You’ll have the option to try local food specialities such as faloodeh, torshi and karam polo, followed by dinner in a local home. You’ll return to the same hotel as last night, before heading north towards Isfahan tomorrow.
Start Point: Shiraz Destination: Isfahan Notes: Travel Time: 6 Hours
Today you’ll 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. You’ll have time to 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 you can 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 your hotel will leave a lasting impression of this great city.
Start Point: Isfahan Travel: Vehicle and Foot
Today you’ll have a full day to explore this opulent Silk Road city, including Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the Shah Mosque, Sheikh Mosque and Ali Qapu Palace. You’ll have time to 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 you can 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 your hotel will leave a lasting impression of this great city.
Start Point: Isfahan Destination: Hamedan Travel: Vehicle
You’ll put a few miles under your belts today, as you head 6 hours north to the city of Hamedan. There are quite a few things to stop and see en route, so it needn’t be just a hard trek up the highway.
Hamedan itself is known to be one of the oldest cities in Iran and contains the tomb and monument to Avicenna, also known as Ibn Sina – a polymath who died in around 1070 and often considered one of the fathers of modern medicine. Hamedan also hosts a set of inscriptions dating back to Darius, and certainly worth a quick visit, plus the tombs of Ester and Mordechai (Jewish Queen of Persian King Xerxes 1st, and her cousin).
Tonight you’ll stay at the Amiran Hotel in Hamedan, a very comfortable modern hotel.
Start Point: Hamedan Destination: Qazvin Travel: Vehicle
Qazvin has always been a very important strategic city, sitting between the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea. It is also on the main route south of the Alborz mountains that connects the east and west of the Silk Road route. After a 3 hour drive, you’ll reach this regional capital and spend the night at a local hotel – the Razhia or Marmar – before heading up to the border regions.
Start Point: Qazvin Destination: Zanjar Travel: Vehicle
You have a little time this morning to explore the sights of Qazvin today, including the Hammam Qajar Anthropological Museum, Jameh Mosque, Chehel Sotoun (older than the building of the same name in Isfahan), the Kantur Russian church, several Seljuk and Safavid mosques and one that was a Zoroastrian Fire Temple in pre-Islamic times. The Safa Hammam is one of the best of the ancient bath houses still in operation today.
Three hours on the road will bring you tom Zanjan, which hosts several interesting and quirky museums, but for us the most interesting part is the ancient (11th Century) bazaar, still covered and still buzzing all these years later. Aside from this, there is the usual – by now you’ll be rather used to the array of gorgeous mosque, madrassah and museum ivan doorways in each Iranian cities – collection of antique buildings. You’ll stay in the Dadman Guest House in Zanjan
Start Point: Zanjan Destination: Tabriz Travel: Vehicle Notes: Travel Time: 3.5 Hours
Whilst in Zanjan, you’ll be within striking distance of the spectacular Soltaniyeh Dome, a 50m high turquoise thing of beauty, and possibly the largest brick building in the world. Whatever the case, it is very beautiful indeed and only around 45 minutes south of Zanjan itself. A visit here is well worth it before returning and making the journey up to Tabriz.
Tabriz is a place with plenty to do, not least the largest (7km2) covered bazaar in the world, for which a half day is recommended by itself. There are also plenty of coffeeshops including the achingly hip Kaj Drinks Tabriz, and the Blue Mosque to explore.
Taken together, this will eat most of your first day in Tabriz at the end of which you’ll stay at a local house in the city.
Start Point: Tabriz Travel: Cable Car and Foot
Today, our recommendation would be to take the telecabin (Cable car) up Eynali mountain, which hangs above the city, for a stupendous view and a cup of coffee . You can either catch the cabin back to the city, or take the air with a 2.5 hour walk back down, enjoying the view the entire way down.
Tonight you’ll spend once more in the local homestay in Tabriz.
Start Point: Tabriz Destination: Ardabil Travel: Vehicle
You’ll drive 3 hours today from Tabriz to Ardabil – an interesting place to explore, with a huge amount of history behind it. The entire region of Northern Iran that you’ve been travelling through is called East Azerbaijan and in fact Azerbaijan itself was once part of Persia.
Ardabil hosts the shrine and tomb of Safi ad-Din, the founder of the entire Safavid dynasty that has influenced so much of the Silk Road network. It is a small but special building! From this building in 1803, was taken one of the famous Ardabil carpets, now residing in the V&A in London. If you’ve got a few spare thousand to spare, here would be a good place to grab a carpet bargain…
Tonight you’ll once again be staying in a local house.
Start Point: Ardabil Destination: Ramsar Travel: Vehicle
You’ll travel for 6 hours today towards the Caspian Sea coast today, sneaking north behind the Alborz mountain range to the coastal plain. A lunch stop will provide a sense of the northern city of Rasht – the largest on the Caspian coast and capital of Gilan Province.
Then you’ll continue to end the day in relaxing Ramsar. This Caspian “resort” is very popular with Iranian holidaymakers and isn’t a place you will expect to see a lot of other tourists.
Start Point: Ramsar Destination: Tehran and Home Travel: Vehicle, Airport Transfer and Plane
A superb, 4 hour road trip today through the Alborz Mountains from the Caspian Sea down to Tehran – among the most scenic drives in Iran. You’ll have time for some last-minute shopping for souvenirs in Tehran today before your transfer out to Tehran’s Imam Khomeni International Airport in time for your flight home. Most flights depart late evening.
Your driver/guide will bid you a fond farewell today as they drop you at the airport. You will have experienced much of Iran, and many things that few others ever get to see. Those memories will doubtless last a lifetime.
Where will we be staying?
We’ll be staying in a variety of simple accommodation – from larger hotels in Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz 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. In Qeshm you’ll be close to the beach, whilst in other places you’ll have mountain views. The accommodation has been chosen to give you a real glimpse of life in Iran. As this is a tailor made itinerary, we can pitch the accommodation level up or down to suit your taste and budget.
How is this different to other Iran adventures I’ve seen?
There is truly nothing like this out there. We developed this itinerary for a small private group, and loved the result so much that we decided to offer it to a wider audience. The value is incredible, the range of experiences is second to none and the hospitality is hard to believe. Simply put, this is as unique and beautiful as the country it traverses.
What will the weather be like?
It totally depends on when you travel, and Iran is a country with a huge variation in climates, from the almost tropical beaches of the Persian Gulf to the jagged mountains of the north. You’ll likely need a warm jacket and raincoat as much as lightweight shirt and sun hat. 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.
What vehicles will we be travelling in?
We’ll be travelling by sedan/saloon cars or small ‘midi’ bus in comfort to most locations on this trip. 4×4’s are not necessary, but where they are useful they will be of high quality.
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 £550 return to Tehran with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul. We can offer flight inclusive packages if needed via our ATOL License. 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 fairly well catered-for (particularly in the north) 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.