Iran Tours & Holidays
Small Group Tours & Tailor-Made Holidays
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Everywhere you look in Iran, there are reminders of the rich history and vibrant traditions of the Persian Empire, from the remains of King Darius’ palace at Persepolis to the Zoroastrian ‘Towers of Silence’ in Yazd. Our Iran tours and holidays highlight some of the finest ancient architecture found anywhere in the world. Isfahan was described as “half the world” and with its stunning mosques, bridges and squares it’s not difficult to see why. Other architectural ...
Everywhere you look in Iran, there are reminders of the rich history and vibrant traditions of the Persian Empire, from the remains of King Darius’ palace at Persepolis to the Zoroastrian ‘Towers of Silence’ in Yazd. Our Iran tours and holidays highlight some of the finest ancient architecture found anywhere in the world. Isfahan was described as “half the world” and with its stunning mosques, bridges and squares it’s not difficult to see why. Other architectural highlights include the intricately carved domes and madrasas of Shiraz and the ingenious wind towers of Yazd. With 21, it is home to the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites for Culture in the Middle East.
Contrary to the media perception of Iran, the country has always been outward-looking and has a long history of learning and poetry. Visiting the tomb of Hafez in Shiraz you will find old and young gathered to pay tribute and to read his words of love and wine. Travellers on our Iran tours are invariably overwhelmed by the friendliness and hospitality of the people, and it is the one thing our guests comment on again and again – how welcome they were made to feel. This is a country with a strong cultural heart and a long tradition of Persian hospitality.
Iran’s capital of Tehran is a bustling contemporary city with luxury retail outlets, fashionable restaurants and modern skyscrapers, while the ancient cities of Shiraz, Yazd and Isfahan offer a more traditional Persian experience, with their winding streets, coffee shops, peaceful gardens and impressive mosques. Iran is a very youthful country, with over 65% of the population being under 35, and in the cities, you will find locals pushing the dress code as far as they can. In the countryside meanwhile, you will find a more conservative but equally welcoming Iran.
Highlights of rural Iran include the Bavanat valley, a beautiful and fertile region of apple orchards, walnut forests and alpine scenery, which is a great place to experience a homestay. Journeying north to the shores of the Caspian Sea is the perfect antidote to the frenetic pace of city life, where you can explore “assassins’’ castles”, the striking Alborz mountains, pretty towns including Bandar-e-Anzali (famous for its caviar fishery) and meet nomadic people. Head east for the Lut Desert, where you can discover ancient Zoroastrian cave dwellings, forgotten strongholds and vast landscapes containing a timeless beauty.
Although it may receive headlines in the media, there is so much more to Iran than what is seen on the frontpage. It’s a nation of fabulous cultural wealth and historical significance whose people are friendly, and rightly proud of their long heritage. Why not step off the tourist trail for your holiday, and experience all that the country has to offer with Wild Frontiers group and tailor-made Iran holidays. Read our guide to visiting Iran, including information about obtaining visas, safety, dress code and FCO advice.
Start your journey
Travel to Iran with like-minded people on one of our small group tours (usually max size 12), featuring knowledgeable local guides and an expert tour leader.
Whether you want to travel on one of our award-winning itineraries or build your own journey from scratch, our expert consultants will help create the perfect tour for your tastes and budget. Below are a few suggestions of the kind of trips we can offer, all of which can be tailored to you.
HIGHLIGHTS OF IRAN
OUR FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY
Visit the Museum of Contemporary ArtTehran is home to paintings by the likes of Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas and Kandinsky. After the 1979 Islamic revolution many of its priceless paintings were hidden in the museum’s vault and only recently put back on display.
Visit the Royal Square of IsfahanThe city is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture, considered to be the most beautiful in Iran. Visit Imam Square, the huge central square of Isfahan, surrounded on three sides by two exquisite mosques (Imam and Shaikh Lutfallah) and the Ali Qapu Palace.
Explore the Old Town of YazdEasily one of the most architecturally striking and atmospheric cites of Iran, wandering through the labyrinthine alleyways of the Old Town is one of the best things to do. Get lost in the myriad gardens, bazaars and timeless buildings.
Visit Nasir al-Mulk MosqueVisit the stunning but intimate Nasir al-Mulk Mosque between 9.30am - 11am and watch the beautifully stained glass wash the prayer room in a kaleidoscope of colours.
Wander through Eram GardensShiraz's famous gardens were introduced at the time of the first Persian Empire and became the model for gardens throughout the Muslim world. Take a wander through the Eram Gardens and listen to some poetry at the tomb of Hafez, the Persian Mystic poet.
Dine with the locals in DarbandIn the evening visit Darband to the north of the city, where Tehranis go for an evening out. Follow the locals up the mountain alongside a rushing stream to visit the tea houses on the mountainside. Have a bite to eat or enjoy a cup of tea under the trees.
TOP PLACES TO VISIT
WHEN TO GO
The weather conditions can be extremely varied, however, May and September tend to be the best time to visit when the days are mainly warm and sunny.
Health and Vaccinations
There are no mandatory immunisations for travellers to Iran though you should be up-to-date with Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A. We recommend you seek advice from your local GP or travel centre as to the correct immunisations and preventative treatments.
In Iran the official unit of currency is the Iranian Rial, but Toman are also referred to often. 1 Toman is the equivalent of 10 Rials, so essentially you knock off a ‘0’.
To check out the latest exchange rate for the places that you are visiting you can go to www.oanda.com.
On our tours you will frequently interact with local people, each with their own distinct customs and traditions. We therefore ask you to be considerate and to treat them with respect. Your tour-leaders and guides will always be able to advise you accordingly.
Being an Islamic Republic, Iran has a dress code for women by law that applies everywhere outside your hotel bedroom. Please note the advice given on this in the “packing list” section that follows. Note that in many mosques we visit it will be necessary to remove your shoes before entering. Women will sometimes be required to wear a chador at holy sites and this will be provided where necessary. In some mosques there are separate areas for men and women which should also be respected.
Language & Religion
The official national language is Persian, also referred to as Farsi, of which its oldest records date back to the Persian Empire of the 6th Century BC.
The large majority of the population are Islamic and belong to the Shi’a branch of Islam, which is the official state religion. There are minority groups of Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians.
Iran is 3.5 hours ahead of GMT. A useful website to check the time zone differences is www.worldtimezone.com.
Food and drink
As an Islamic Republic almost, all alcohol is banned in Iran. The import, sale, manufacture and consumption of alcohol in Iran is strictly forbidden on religious grounds, with the only exceptions for certain recognised Iranian religious minorities (NB. not foreigners). Penalties can be severe so do not attempt to bring alcohol into the country or try to buy it during your trip.
In Iran you will find the meals are mainly rice-based and that shashlik (kebab) is very popular, with lamb and chicken widely served. Many varied salads are also available, along with some tasty stews of meat, vegetables and pulses. Picnics are also a popular Iranian pastime.