Iran’s captivating blend of tradition and modernity has long drawn in visitors for centuries; from Swedish explorer Sven Hedin’s 19th Century mountaineering exploits on Mt. Damavand (5610m), the country’s highest peak, with the Persian king Nasr-ed-din Shah, to Ibn Battuta’s jaunts through stretches of the Persian Silk Road in the post-Mongol Empire era. The allure of the country’s culture, landscape, and its people continues to fascinate adventurous and enquiring minds around the world. Being the second largest country in the Middle East, it’s unsurprising that there are a multitude of things to see and do; from Esfahan, the legendary city of traditional Islamic archaeology with its iconic turquoise domes, to Naqsh-e-Jahan, the second largest city square in the world (after Beijing’s Tiananmen Square), or the UNESCO recognised village of Abyaneh which is one of the oldest in the country. No matter how long you choose to stay, or where you choose to visit, Iran will undoubtedly leave a long-lasting impression and strengthen your wanderlust for years to come.
A cosmopolitan city, first-time visitors to Tehran are often surprised by the modernity and offerings available, such as its many museums, sprawling parks, and endless restaurant opportunities. There are plenty of urban icons to visit as well, such as Azadi Tower and Golestan Palace.
The focal point of Esfahan (or Isfahan) is Naqsh-e Jahan Square, which means “Half the World” in Persian. The relaxed pace of the city, combined with extensive UNESCO listed architecture, such as the Imam Mosque, make it one of the most talked about cities in Iran. Along with checking out the bazaar, which has beautiful handicrafts for sale, along with teas, and sweets, it’s also worth visiting Ali Qapu Palace for it’s well-decorated and ornate ceilings.
Nicknamed the “City of Windcatchers”, Yazd is an ancient city dating back to the 3rd Century A.D. There is a lot packed into Yazd ranging from; the Zoroastrian fire temples, which Yazdian’s claim has been burning non-stop since 470 A.D; the 15th Century Amir Chakhmaq Complex, which hosts a caravanserai, mosque, bathhouse, confectioners, a well and a tekyeh, which is a location for Shiite’s to gather for mourning of Muharram. If that’s not enough to keep you busy there’s also the exquisitely decorated Masjid-e Jame, the domed rooftops you can wander amongst, and the old parts of the city to explore.
MT. DAMAVAND AND ALBORZ MOUNTAINS
Mount Damavand (5610m), is a stratovolcano and the highest peak in the Middle East and Iran. As well as being the highest volcano in Asia it has long been a special place in Persian folklore and mythology. Located in the middle of the Alborz Mountains, on a clear day you can catch glimpses of the Caspian Sea from the summit caldera.
On top of all these incredible places to visit, there’s still many more exciting things to discover in Iran ranging from Mashhad, the Qashqau nomads, the Great Wall of Gorgan, the masked women of Bander Abbas and the traditional Iranian gyms called zurkhanehs.
LOI provided by UTB for Canadians, British and USA. Many other nationalities get visa on arrival.
Semi-arid to sub-tropical. Winters can be very cold with snowfall and summers very hot.
Credit and debit cards will not work in Iran. You need to bring all the cash you require for your trip with you. You can exchange currency in cities. For up to date exchange rates please have a look at www.xe.com
Two prong European style systems (types C and F).
Most guesthouses and hotels will offer Wifi. In cities 3G works well.
Persian cuisine, often spiced. Lots of nuts and dried fruits. Rice and meat are staples.
Alcohol is illegal in Iran.
Conservative. Recommended to wear loose fitting clothing and refrain from showing too much flesh. Women must cover their heads.
SAFETY & SECURITY
The FCO considers Iran to be a low risk travel region. However it does advise against travel to the regions bordering Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Primarily this is due conflict in the neighbouring regions spilling over into Iran. We take precautions when travelling to Iran. Contact us for information on how we work to minimise risk for our guests and staff.
Trips in Middle East
The trip begins in Baghdad and visits ancient Sumerian and Babylonian sites, as well as medieval souks, UNESCO-recognised minarets, Shia Islam’s two holiest sites, and a boat trip on the Shatt al-Arab. There is an add-on to Kurdistan available directly…explore