Be enchanted by Iran in the quiet of winter

Embark on an express journey through the mysterious world of Iran. Not only is this fascinating country a world apart from what’s often represented in the media – it’s a delight to visit in the winter. The weather can be surprisingly pleasant, especially towards the south, and fewer tourists at this time of year means a more immersive experience. Discover refined Islamic cities, colourful bazaars, ancient Persian ruins, and shimmering deserts. Whether you're relaxing in a teahouse in Tehran, enjoying guided tours of ancient cultural sites, or hanging our a local board game cafe in Shiraz, the warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people is endearing and the profound beauty of their land is mesmerising.


Start
Tehran, Iran
Finish
Tehran, Iran
Countries
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
HPSW
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Discover an Iran beyond the media portrayals of a repressive and dour regime – this is a country full of warm, lively and friendly people

  • Be invited into an Iranian's home for dinner; a highlight for most travellers. Traditional Iranian food is carefully prepared in the home and can take hours, even days to prepare. Be prepared for plenty of food and the most incredible hospitality.

  • Explore the rich history told in the ancient ruins that lie across the country. Modern Iran is a great fusion of civilisations – the Archaemedians, Alexander the Great, the Parthanians, Sassanians, Arabs, Seljuks, Mongols, and Safavids – who all left their mark in innumerable ways

  • Experience the wondrous remains of the ancient capital of Persepolis – the scale and grandeur will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world

  • Enjoy the experience of meeting and mixing with locals in the many popular teahouses through the country and a popular board game cafe hang out in Shiraz!

  • Surround yourself with beautiful landscapes and amazing architecture – from breath-taking mosques to stepped hillside villages, cleverly designed wind towers and the macabre Zoroastrian Towers of Silence

  • Visit the historic Tabatabaei House built in the 1800's for affluent Tabatabaei Family. Its a great example of traditional Persian residential architeture with 4 courtyards, wall paintings and stained glass windows and other classic features. 

Is this trip right for you?

  • Iran is one of the safest and friendliest places you can travel but it is very conservative. It is very important that before you sign up for this tour you are committed to following a strict dress code (particularly for women) in what may be quite warm weather. Things don't get much more different to home than this!

  • On arrival in Iran, all women must wear a headscarf and must also have their arms and legs covered. Men must also be conservatively dressed.

  • Alcohol is strictly forbidden in Iran and severe penalties will be incurred by anyone attempting to bring it into the country. Drug laws are also extremely strict and travellers face lengthy jail terms if caught. If found, pork, obscene material (even glossy magazines showing people in immodest poses), and controversial literature will all be confiscated by custom officials. Upon arrival, you as a foreigner will likely be whisked through customs but note that random bag checks do occur.

  • The pathways around some of the sites may be uneven, rocky or dusty. Some of the guided trips may involve quite a lot of walking in the elements. Please bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared with hats, sunscreen, water or layers for cooler weather.

  • Iran is a big country and this trip covers a lot in two weeks, so be prepared for some long travel days with lots of opportunity to take in the great landscapes.

  • Due to the nature of the nomadic tribes we visit, there may be occasions when they are 'on the move' and we are not able to stay with or visit them. In this situation we will make arrangements to stay with a local village family.

  • Please note that we use a local supplier for our arrival transfer. As tourism is a developing industry in Iran, it is possible your driver will not speak English.

Itinerary

Salaam! Welcome to Iran. Iran's capital is exciting, noisy and chaotic. Home to 15 million people, Tehran is where the country's true national identity is found. Expect to see women wearing full-length chador competing for space with young and hip girls in figure-hugging manteau and headscarves. Also expect to be stopped by friendly locals who love nothing more than to chat with you about anything and everything.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 12 noon on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. Afterwards, head out with your group to visit the Iran National Museum and be at its priceless pieces. Later, you could try some fine Iranian cuisine like dizi (soup stew mashed into paste) while enjoying traditional music at a local restaurant.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Iran National Museum
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Once you have provided your flight details, a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Please note that we use a local supplier for this transfer. And as tourism is a developing industry in Iran, it is possible your driver will not speak English.


Catch a flight today from Tehran to Shiraz (approximately 2 hours). Shiraz is considered the Pearl of Persia and its very name evokes images of ancient times: tranquil gardens, lavish mansions, colourful woollen rugs, art, philosophy, poetry and of course, the famous Shiraz red wine (although, unfortunately, no longer found here).
Head to the Zand complex including the castle, gardens and mosque to get a sense of Shiraz as a capital 250 years ago. Wonder at the beauty of Nasiralmolk mosque and walk among crowds in one of the most important and gorgeous shrines in Iran, Shahcheragh.
Later today learn some of the secrets of persian cuisine in a cooking class.
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - Zand Citadel
  • Shiraz - City tour
  • Shiraz - Nasir al Molk Mosque visit
  • Shiraz - Cooking class
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Drive to Persepolis and Necropolis (Naghshe Rostam) and unearth the great ruins of Persepolis. It was once the centre of the Persian Empire and one of the great cities of the ancient world, constructed in the reign of Darius I and taking 150 years to complete. The imposing gateways, exquisite relief carvings and towering columns will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world. 
Tonight mix with locals at a popular hang out; a board game cafe!
The first of its kind in Iran, the cafe boasts a library of over 200 games which you can choose from.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - Persepolis guided tour
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive to Yazd and get into the mysterious world of Zoroastrians by visiting their fire temple and towers of silence there. Admire people of Iranian plateau by visiting Yazd water museum and learn about the underground water canals, Qanats. Gaze at the high minarets and nice brick and tile work of Yazd Jame mosque and visit the marvellous Islamic Amirchaghmagh complex.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yazd - Fire Temple and Towers of Silence visit
  • Yazd - Amir Chakmaq visit
  • Jameh Mosque of Yazd
  • Yazd - Water Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you have the choice of taking an optional excursion outside of Yazd, which includes the impressive Kharanak mud brick village, Chak Chak fire temple, and the Meybod citadel. The impressive town of Kharanak is believed to be 1,000 years old and you can explore the abandoned structures of this hillside settlement, peering into the houses of wealthy merchants and hammans (bathhouses). You will also explore the valley and nearby mountains and get great pictures of the aqueducts that formed part of the underground water system. The system is still used to irrigate the fields here – great shocks of green that sit against the brown desert. Chak Chak is one of the most important Zoroastrian pilgrimage sites in Iran, and you’ll climb up the mountainside to reach the fire temple – your efforts rewarded with wonderful views. Chak Chak means ‘drip, drip’, named for a trickle of holy water that drips inside the temple. After lunch, check out Narin Castle, thought to be the oldest mudbrick structure in Iran, and explore the still growing town of Meybod before returning to Yzad.

If you're after a more relaxing day, then you can simply stay at the hotel & enjoy a qalyan or try the local favourite, camel fesenjun, or warm up in a tea house.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Yazd - Kharanaq-Chak-Cahk-Meybod tour - IRR900000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart Yazd and embark on a local bus ride to one of Iran's highlights, Esfahan (approximately 5 hours). Esfahan is quite simply one of the finest places in the Islamic world, and a visit here will leave you breathless. A 16th-century rhyme called it 'half the world' and, after spending a few days here, you might agree. There's an abundance of fine Islamic buildings, most of which are covered with the blue mosaic tiles Iran is famous for. There's also an enormous bazaar, which is perfect for shopping for exquisite Persian carpets. Or you can relax by the tranquil gardens, picturesque bridges and superb palaces. You’ll arrive in Esfahan during the late afternoon. Visit picturesque Safavid Chehelsetoon palace.
In the evening, enjoy a home cooked meal with a local family. Being invited into an Iranian's home for dinner is for most people a highlight of their travels to this fascinating country. Traditional Iranian food is carefully prepared in the home and can take hours, even days to prepare. Be prepared for plenty of food and the most incredible hospitality.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Home cooked meal
  • Shiraz - Shahcheragh visit
  • Esfahan - Safavid Chehelsetoon Palace visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Ponder on the breathtaking Armenian Vank church In Isfahan and marvel at the majesty of Esfahan's Jame mosque as the collection of Persian architecture in different periods of Iranian Islamic history. Stroll aside Isfahan River and admire the masters who built several bridges over it through the history.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Khaju & Si-o-seh Pol Bridges
  • Esfahan - Jameh Mosque
  • Esfahan - Vank Cathedral
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, make your way from Esfahan to Tehran (approximately 4 hours). On arrival into Tehran you will have some free time.
Along the way you will stop at the historic Tabatabai house built in the 1800's for the affluent Tabatabai family.
You will also have time to stop at the Fin Gardens, a classical Persian vision of paradise and one of the most beautiful gardens in the Middle East.

Tonight you can relive your unforgettable adventure over an optional farewell dinner with your group at a local restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kashan - Tabatabaei House visit
  • Kashan - Fin Gardens
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are free to depart at anytime. Check out time at the hotel is 12 pm.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 2 dinners

Transport

Bus, Plane, Private Mini Bus

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)

Included activities

  • Iran National Museum
  • Shiraz - Zand Citadel
  • Shiraz - City tour
  • Shiraz - Nasir al Molk Mosque visit
  • Shiraz - Cooking class
  • Shiraz - Persepolis guided tour
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
  • Yazd - Fire Temple and Towers of Silence visit
  • Yazd - Amir Chakmaq visit
  • Jameh Mosque of Yazd
  • Yazd - Water Museum
  • Esfahan - Home cooked meal
  • Shiraz - Shahcheragh visit
  • Esfahan - Safavid Chehelsetoon Palace visit
  • Esfahan - Khaju & Si-o-seh Pol Bridges
  • Esfahan - Jameh Mosque
  • Esfahan - Vank Cathedral
  • Kashan - Tabatabaei House visit
  • Kashan - Fin Gardens

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. An arrival transfer is included on this trip.
2. This trip starts at noon (12pm) on Day 1.
3. On Day 2 there is an included internal flight from Tehran to Shiraz. The maximum check-in baggage allowance is 17kgs per person plus hand luggage.
4. Please note deposits on this trip are non refundable and non-transferable as per our Terms and Conditions. You are required to pay a non-refundable deposit per person for your booking to be confirmed
5. A single supplement is available on this trip. 

Please note that US, British and Canadian passport holders will need to book this trip at least 2 months before departure as this is the length of time it takes to process a visa for these nationalities. There may also be further travel restrictions that apply to these nationalities. Please see our online visa information for more details. Simply select the relevant nationality in the drop down list to access detailed visa information http://www.intrepidtravel.com/iran-visa-application-form

Essential trip information

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