Iran’s Highlights (9 days)
On this nine-day trip we experience the best of Iran. Not only is this fascinating country a world apart from what’s often represented in the international media – it’s a delight to visit in the winter. The warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people and the profound beauty of their land is mesmerizing. We explore richly decorated mosques, hectic bazaars, classic gardens and sumptuous palaces of Shiraz and Isfahan. We walk along the river between historic bridges from the 17th century in Isfahan, where we also feel the atmosphere of the Christian district of Jolfa.
In Kashan we enter one of the city's historic trading houses, and in Tehran we experience modern Iran. In addition, the journey takes us to the old caravan city of Yazd in the desert. Here the wind towers rise above traditional houses built in sun-dried clay, and we meet the pre-Islamic religion Zarathustrianism in the city's fire temple as well as at the Towers of Silence.
Salaam! Welcome to The Great Persia (Iran). You will be met at Tehran Airport by a local driver for a transfer to your hotel (approximately 1 hour). You may arrive in Tehran at any time today, with hotel rooms are generally available after 12 pm (midday). Until then, the rest of your day is free to explore your surroundings. Home to 15 million people, Tehran is exciting, noisy and chaotic – it’s the country's beating heart. After short rest, head out with your group to the Tabiat Nature Bridge
for some afternoon exploration. Built on three large pillars, the 270-metre curved structure has broad entrances, multiple pathways and three floors of restaurants and cafes and sitting areas. Spend some time relaxing over a welcome dinner by The Great Persia.
at one of the many restaurants by Ports Park, situated on one side of the bridge. On the other, the rolling trees of Taleghani Park offer a great opportunity for a wistful stroll.
- Tehran - Tabiat Nature Bridge
An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel. Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Start the morning with an exploration of the city. Visit the World Heritage-listed Golestan Palace, an opulent masterpiece of the Qajar era that is decorated with beautifully painted tiles and set around an elegant garden and the National Museum, whilst it may not look inspiring from the outside inside is a treasure chest of Iran's rich history, keep your eye out for the Salt Man from Zanjan, preserved in salt for centuries. Check out the labyrinthian Tehran Grand Bazaar before heading to the train station in the afternoon. Remember to grab some snacks before you go so you’ve got something to munch on for dinner on board your train journey this evening.
Transfer to the train station later this afternoon for the 5-hour journey to Yazd. Arrive and transfer to your hotel.
- Tehran - National Museum
- Tehran - Golestan Palace
The current schedule for the train from Tehran to Yazd will see us departing Tehran on the 15.50 service which will arrive in Yazd at 22.00. After breakfast this morning please check out of your room and ensure you have all your belongings. Your luggage will remain on the bus today and after our city tour we will travel direct to the station.
This ancient desert city was a major stop on the caravan routes to Central Asia and India during the Silk Road period and it still retains a rustic feel. Yazd is also the heart of Zoroastrian religion, which you'll learn more about during visits to the Fire Temple and Towers of Silence. The fires within the Fire Temple are said to have continuously burned since AD 470. Enjoy a hearty local breakfast then set out on a walking tour to visit the Jamesh Mosque and the older parts of the city. Walk the narrow kuches (lanes) past simple courtyards and ornate doors on mud-brick buildings. One of the most distinctive features of Yazd is the presence of wind towers, that capture the softest of breezes and send them to the buildings below in a forerunner of modern air-con. The water museum shows how the underground channels brought water to the city from the mountains for thousands of years.
- Yazd - Jameh Mosque of Yazd
- Yazd - Water Museum
- Yazd - Fire Temple and Towers of Silence
- Yazd - Amir Chakmaq Sq
Say farewell to Yazd and travel to Shiraz, the city of poets. The trip will take approximately 5.5 hours and you'll pass through some incredible desert scenery on the way. After arriving in Shiraz, head out for dinner. This, however, is dinner with a difference in a local home, enjoy some Iranian Hospitality.
- Shiraz - Home cooked meal
- Abarkuh - Cypress of Abarkuh
- Abarkouh - Ice Houses
Rise and shine for a day of exploring this artistic city, visit the colorfully decorated Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, where sunlight streaming through stain glass windows fills the interior with kaleidoscopic colours, stroll the alleys and lanes of one of Iran's most loved Bazaars Vakil, a great spot to sit and chat and enjoy a glass of orange blossom tea. The highlight of the tour today may be your guided visit of Shahcheragh. This glittering mosque and funerary monument is a popular pilgrimage site, as is the Tomb of Hafez; see this intricately carved tomb, where Iranians come to pay their respects and place flowers.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of Persepolis, an ancient city that was sacked by Alexander. It was once the centre of the Persian Empire, one of the truly great cities of the world, which took 150 years to build under the reign of Darius I. The imposing gateways, exquisite carvings and towering columns will leave you in doubt that this was once the center of the ancient world.
- Shiraz - Nasir al Molk Mosque
- Shiraz - City tour
- Shiraz - Vakil Bazaar
- Shiraz - Shahcheragh shrine
- Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
This morning travel 5.5 hours to one of the finest cities in the Middle East. A 16th-century rhyme called it 'half the world' and, after spending a few days here, you may well agree. There are many fine Islamic buildings covered with the blue mosaic tiles Iran is famous for, as well as an enormous bazaar, superb palaces, tranquil gardens and picturesque bridges crossing the Zayandehrud. Arrive in the later afternoon and visit the picturesque Safavid Chehelsotoon Palace and then, in the evening, enjoy a home-cooked meal with a local family. Being invited into an Iranian's home for dinner is a highlight for most travelers, and the traditional food is carefully prepared for hours, sometimes even days. Prepare yourself for plenty of food and some truly incredible hospitality.
- Esfahan - Chehel Sotun Palace
Spend today discovering the wonders of Esfahan. You'll have plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere during a tour, starting at the immense Imam Square, which covers an area of 82,500 square metres and is the second-largest square in the world. Many grand buildings surround the square explore some of them with your leader and visit the atmospheric bazaar, complete with exotic scents and spices, musical merchants' cries and, of course, thousands of locals bargaining at the stalls. Walk the covered lanes of the sprawling marketplace, where shafts of light filter through ceiling and lattice and perhaps stop for lunch.
This afternoon visit the astonishing Armenian Vank Church before an evening stroll along the river.
- Esfahan - Leader-led walking tour
- Esfahan - Imam Square
- Esfahan - Shah Mosque
- Esfahan - Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
- Esfahan - Armenian Vank Church
- Esfahan - Khaju & Si-o-seh Pol Bridges
Journey from Esfahan to Tehran after breakfast, (5 hours). Stop off in Kashan a merchant town known for its high-quality ceramics, silks, carpets and fine houses. Visit the lush Bagh-e Tarikhi-ye Fin (Fin Garden), a classical Persian garden that contains Kashan's Fin Bath. This is where Amir Kabir – the Qajarid chancellor and a nationalist hero – was murdered under the orders of King Nadir al-Din in 1852. Spend time at the fascinating Tabataei House, built in the 1840s for the affluent Tabatabaei family, and enjoy a farewell lunch at Morshedi House, a traditional house serving traditional Iranian Cuisine. Continue to Tehran for the evening.
- Kashan -Tabatabei house
- Kashan - Lunch Morshedi House
With no activities planned for today, your adventure in Iran will come to an end today after breakfast. Drive to International Tehran airport to take departure flight.
- Visa (Invitation letter)
- 8 Nights accommodation at comfortable standard hotels based on B.B
- Accompany professional Tour Guide
- All Transportation with A/C Deluxe vehicle
- Meals (8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners)
- Excursions and entrance fees according to program