From Tehran to Shiraz, taste Iran and Persia on this Real Food Adventure.

Iran’s charm begins with its stunning environment – snow-capped mountains, rolling deserts, ancient cities and crowded bazaars all add to an unforgettable tapestry of a culture less experienced. However the heart of this charm truly lies in the palate – within the odorous spices, succulent meats and mouth-watering stews created through thousands of years of perfected techniques. Saffron, cheeses, crispy rice and succulent meats all contribute to full flavoured meals capable of taking anyone to another place. It’ll happen to you too. Once you dine on tah chin, fesenjan or any of the other dishes on this Real Food Adventure, it’ll only take a hint of saffron to throw your thoughts back into the depths of that bazaar – that unforgettable moment where the taste of Persia first hit your tongue.

Before booking on this trip we recommend that you read the ‘Safety’ section in the trip notes regarding special safety considerations for Iran trips.

Save on Europe & the Middle East

See the world differently in 2020 - Book now for up to 10% off trips in Europe & the Middle East. Offer ends 31 October 2019.

Terms & Conditions

Start
Tehran, Iran
Finish
Tehran, Iran
Destination
Iran
Style
Original
Theme
Food
Code
HPZF
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Cook culinary favourites in Iranian family homes – from the sumptuous spiced meat and rice of biryani to sharp and tangy fesenjan stews, you’ll be tasting exotic yet oh so delightful dishes every day.

  • Sample regional delicacies at some of the finest sweet stores in Iran during a visit to Yazd, snacking on crunchy almond qottab or chewy soft baqlava as you experience local life passing you by.

  • You haven’t had real kabab until you’ve tried Iran’s version. Discover the regional variations of the national dish, including kabab koobideh (the original) and kabab barg (barbecued fillets of meat).

  • Learn the secrets of ancient Persian ‘medicine’ at a local home, where food and drink were, and still are, pivotal to overall health and wellness, and the prevention of ailments.

  • Discover the dazzling colours of Golestan Palace in Tehran, Yazd’s old mud brick city, and the ancient city of Persepolis in between your eating escapades.

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, obscene material (including glossy magazines showing people in immodest poses), and controversial literature will all be confiscated by custom officials. Upon arrival, it is likely that you will be whisked through customs, but please 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.

  • 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.

  • Please note that travellers cannot use debit or credit cards while in Iran. You will need to bring all the money you will need for your entire trip with you. Please read through the money matters section of your essential trip information for further details.

  • Getting a visa for Iran can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. It may take a couple of weeks to get your authorisation code, and then it can take up to 30 days to receive your visa back from the embassy or consulate. Rules can and do change often – this is the nature of the destination. We are here to help you through it, so please speak to your booking agent if you need more information about the process.

Itinerary

Salam! Welcome to Tehran, Iran. You will be met on arrival at Tehran International airport and transferred to your hotel. This marvellous city sits at the bottom of the Alborz Mountains – their snowy peaks serving as a photogenic backdrop for the colourful buildings below. Tehran is commonly known as one of the country’s most liberal metropolitan areas and this may become obvious through an adventure into the depths of their hospitality scene. It’d be easy to call Iran a land of kebabs, but the country’s gastronomy is a little more complicated than that. Lamb, chickpeas, tahdig (crispy rice pies) and potatoes are all common staples – just don’t forget they’re best washed down with a cup of dugh (minty yoghurt drink). Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting today at 6 pm. Once you arrive, jump straight into a food adventure by sharing a welcome meal with family in their home. Depending on the day, your hosts may prepare typical dishes like khoresht gheimeh (a beef and split pea stew with fried potatoes), zereshk polo morgh (baked saffron rice with barberries and chicken), the famous fesenjan (a poultry stew with pomegranates and walnuts), baghali polo (a rice dish with lamb, saffron, fava beans and dill), or ghormeh sabzi (lamb with herbs and kidney beans, served with rice). Tonight is also about introductions, so enjoy this dinner spread while getting to know your new travel crew.
Included Activities
  • Tehran - Welcome dinner with local family
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

As your Real Food Adventure begins on a Thursday, we highly recommend passengers exchange money at the airport upon arrival, as all other currency exchange houses in the city will be closed until Saturday.
This morning, head to the local food markets to gather ingredients in preparation for today’s lunch – tahchin. Meaning ‘arranged at the bottom’, this Persian dish, often made for special occasions, is a type of crisp saffron-infused rice cake layered with onions, chicken, rice, yoghurt and eggs. The layer of rice at the bottom becomes crunchy as it bakes against the pan. If you ask most people, that’s the best part of the dish! Also today, you’ll be introduced to traditional Iranian ‘medicine’ – more so a focus on food and drink for overall health and wellness. Traditionally, Persian ‘medicines’ thought of the psychological factors of the human body to be based on seven principles, known as umoor e tabiya. Food is a very important factor in this to establish a synchronised biological rhythm, and your hosts for today will share how, historically, maintaining health by following these methods has always been part of Persian culture. Not only will this cooking class at a local house gives you the chance to learn how to cook this Persian favourite, you’ll also understand the larger picture of local health and wellbeing. After your lunch, take to the streets of Tehran on an orientation walk with your group leader. Check out the Golestan Palace – the dazzling colours of the walls and stained-glass windows are definitely worth a photo or two. Also, stop by the bustling Tehran Bazaar before returning to your hotel for a relaxed evening.
Included Activities
  • Tehran - City walking tour
  • Tehran - Tah-Chin Morgh, Cooking Class
  • Tehran - Persian Medicine Workshop
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Make tracks for Esfahan this morning. On your way, you’ll stop by the township of Kashan to have lunch at a restaurant called Morshedi – well-known for its high-quality traditional Iranian cuisine. Also on the agenda for today is Tabatabaei House – a classic example of Persian architecture, designed by 19th-century architect Professor Ali Maryam Kashani. The house has two distinct sections and is joined by a grand quadrangle and courtyard. Tabatabaei’s examples of stucco and tile art and striking mirror and glass work provide a glimpse into Iran’s fascinating past. Afterwards, continue on to Esfahan, and once the evening kicks in, get ready to prepare to cook up a delicious homemade Persian biryani. The delicate layering of rice interspersed with spices and meat relies on a Persian steaming method known as ‘dam pohkt’, meaning ‘steam-cooked’. While it can be served up with a variety of meats, tonight’s dish will contain lamb, onions, Iranian sangak bread and spices.
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Biryani Cooking Class (Dinner)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
A top destination for travellers to Iran, Esfahan has a lot to offer for those looking to explore Persian culture. The gardens, Islamic buildings and the World Heritage-listed Naqsh-e Jahan Square are just a few of the highlights the city has to offer – it’s hard to miss something that isn’t full of colour or boasting some intricate architecture. Start off today with one of the country’s biggest cities on a guided walk past the Naqsh-e Jahan Square and its nearby mosque, before heading to the Sheik Lotfollah Mosque and the palace of Ali Qapu. Later today, take a visit to a nearby farm to get a feel how the local farmers work these lands. Thanks to a variety of diverse factors such as climate, regional soil and altitude differences throughout the region, the Esfahan Province is widely regarded as one of the most important agricultural sites in Iran. This means there’s plenty of fresh produce growing in the area outside the city just waiting to be harvested. You’ll then travel back into town for a visit to the Esfahan bazaar located in the old part of the city. Fresh fruit, rugs, trinkets, memoirs and entire shops dedicated to saffron are hallmarks of the typical Persian market – just make sure to stick close to the group as these busy halls can easily sweep up lost people.
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour
  • Esfahan - Ali Qapu Palace
  • Esfahan - Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Gaz Tasting and Bazaar Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
En route from Esfahan to Yazd today, stop by Aqda for another traditional Persian lunch; this time in a beautifully preserved house. Your main dish will be fesenjan – a rich tangy chicken stew with walnuts and pomegranates. This dish is typically served as a holiday favourite during Shab-e Yalda – a winter solstice that predates Islam by thousands of years. To prepare, cook chicken in olive oil until lightly golden, then a sauce is then made from ground-up toasted walnuts, pomegranate molasses and spices, and slowly simmered until it turns a rich walnut colour. The end result is a complex and delicious sauce that’s sweet and slightly tart in flavour. Onwards to Yazd – a maze of streets, winding lanes and archways upon archways, Yazd is much of a city as it is a labyrinth! Begin your adventure on a leader-led orientation walk, visiting the Masid-e Jameh – a stunning example of an Azari mosque that boasts the tallest minarets in the country. Check out the symmetrical alcoves of the Amir Chakhmaq Complex, then head on to the Water Museum before arriving at the old mud brick city. Tonight, your food experience is a Yazd favourite. It’s a delicious, traditional stew called gheimeh yazdi, made of lamb or beef, with peas, onion, turmeric and tomato. Your local hosts will lay out a tablecloth on their carpeted floor, and while this may seem unusual, this is the way most Iranians still dine.
Included Activities
  • Yazd - Aqda Traditional House Lunch
  • Yazd - Guided walking tour
  • Yazd - Gheimeh Yazdi, Cooking Class (Dinner)
  • Yazd - Amir Chakhmaq Complex & Square
  • Yazd - Water Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Take to the streets of Yazd for a wander through the finest sweet stalls in Iran. Many generations of confectioners have operated in this area for centuries, selling treats unlike anywhere else in the world. There’s haji badam – small round balls made with chickpea flour, eggs, sugar, almonds, cardamoms and nutmeg; nan berenji – a round cookie made with rice flour, cardamom and rosewater and sprinkled with poppy seeds; and souhan – a grainy version of brittle made with pistachios instead of peanut. There’s also the flour-based baqlava – made with almonds, pistachios, cardamom and rosewater. The best seller of all is qottab – an almond-shaped and infused cookie with a crispy shell rolled in powdered sugar. After loading up on sweet treats, visit a local workshop that makes sugar cubes before heading on to a traditional bakery for a bite of gata or koloocheh. The afternoon is free for you to explore the streets of Yazd, perhaps finding a local restaurant for Iran’s favourite: kabab.
Included Activities
  • Yazd - Food Focused City Orientation Tour
  • Yazd - Traditional Sweet Shop & Bakery Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
There are multiple ways to prepare and taste one of the many incarnations of country’s national dish, Chelow Kabab. Consisting of steamed rice and saffron with succulent grilled and marinated meat, Chelow is served in many different ways. Kabab Koobideh is the signature incarnation Iran’s kebab and possibly the most famous of them all – the perfect fusion between chopped onion and ground lamb, chicken or beef, resulting in a juicy strip of delicious meat. Joojeh Kabab is much the same as Koobideh, except the meat is specifically chicken, marinated in different sauces, then grilled or barbecued to perfection. Kabab Chenjeh is ‘pure’ meat and very similar to the way steaks are prepared in the west, however, there’s no onion involved in the cooking process – a point of difference compared to most Iranian kababs. Finally, Kabab Barg comes from barbecued fillets of lamb, chicken or beef, and add some onions, saffron, olive oil and mild spices – you’ll have yourself a delicious bite of juicy, flavoursome meat.
Today’s adventures begin with a drive from Yazd to Shiraz (approximately 6.5 hours), and once arrived, head on an orientation walk through the town, visiting locations such as the Karimkhan Citadel and the Pars Museum. A stop at the Vakil Bazaar offers a taste and insight into the making of traditional Iranian ice-cream and faloudeh – a delicious cold desert consisting of noodles and frozen rose water syrup with lime juice added to serve. While the city may have once played namesake to Shiraz wine, not a drop of the stuff has come from the area since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Yet the region is still full of master beverage producers with some of the local non-alcoholic drinks boasting an unmatched flavour through the use of unexpected ingredients. Different plants such as rose, mint, musk willow and walnut are distilled to create drinks with both medical and gastronomic uses. You’ll be able to learn more about this at an included visit to a workshop where some of these beverages are kept and produced.
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - City walking tour
  • Shiraz - Traditional Beverage Demonstration
  • Shiraz - Karimkhan Citadel
  • Shiraz - Vakil Bazaar
  • Shiraz - Pars Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Drive 60 kilometres northeast of Shiraz into the countryside of the Fars Province on a hunt for the ancient city of Persepolis. The former capital of the Achaemenid Empire, this World Heritage-listed site holds some of the earliest examples of the Achaemenid style of architecture – hallmarked by intricate carvings, flat surfaced structures and lots of stone. A few more kilometres north of Persepolis lies the necropolis of Naqsh-e Rustam. Though parts of this ‘city of the dead’ is said to have suffered major damage over the last millennium, the impressive stone carvings on the side of the necropolis’ massive cliff face are still a spectacular site to this day. After exploring these ancient cities, head to a cheese making process in the evening. Persians are big lovers of cheese, so expect some excellent flavours which you might get to sample, if you’re lucky. A traditional panir cheese recipe creates a very delicate, mild tasting cheese with hints of mint and lime. Lighvan cheese is a little more sour – it’s covered with holes and usually ends up served at breakfast or dinner with a piece of fresh bread. An Iranian favourite is Persian feta, which involves taking a block of Greek style feta, drying it out, brining it for a day before serving it up dry with sunflower oil, lime zest and garlic – a flavour you can’t beat.
Included Activities
  • Persepolis - Entrance and Guided tour
  • Persepolis - Naqsh-e Rustam Necropolis
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
After a free morning in Shiraz, prepare for a flight back to Iran’s capital, Tehran (approximately 1.5 hours). Depending on flight schedules, you’ll have some time in the afternoon to check out the city, and maybe head somewhere you missed earlier on in your Iranian adventure. In the evening, celebrate your culinary quest through Iran with a special dinner at Gilani restaurant in town. Gilani cuisine is a regional variation of Northern Iran, specialising in fish and caviar, as well as an abundance of vegetables, due to the region’s vicinity to the Caspian Sea, Sefid-Rud River and the lush Alborz Mountains. This regional cuisine has been acclaimed by UNESCO, with its capital, Rasht, having been named a Creative City of Gastronomy. Toast with your group leader and travel crew the fascinating sites and delicious tastes you’ve tasted in Iran.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
There are no activities planned for today and you are free to depart the accommodation at any time. Please note you must check out of the hotel by 12 pm.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 6 dinners

Transport

Private Transport, Public bus, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (9 nights)

Included activities

  • Tehran - Welcome dinner with local family
  • Tehran - City walking tour
  • Tehran - Tah-Chin Morgh, Cooking Class
  • Tehran - Persian Medicine Workshop
  • Esfahan - Biryani Cooking Class (Dinner)
  • Esfahan - Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour
  • Esfahan - Ali Qapu Palace
  • Esfahan - Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Gaz Tasting and Bazaar Visit
  • Yazd - Aqda Traditional House Lunch
  • Yazd - Guided walking tour
  • Yazd - Gheimeh Yazdi, Cooking Class (Dinner)
  • Yazd - Amir Chakhmaq Complex & Square
  • Yazd - Water Museum
  • Yazd - Food Focused City Orientation Tour
  • Yazd - Traditional Sweet Shop & Bakery Tour
  • Shiraz - City walking tour
  • Shiraz - Traditional Beverage Demonstration
  • Shiraz - Karimkhan Citadel
  • Shiraz - Vakil Bazaar
  • Shiraz - Pars Museum
  • Persepolis - Entrance and Guided tour
  • Persepolis - Naqsh-e Rustam Necropolis

Dates & availability

Trip search is unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Iran Real Food Adventure trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may change, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

Important notes

1. An arrival transfer is included on this trip.

2. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.

3. As our trip begins on a Thursday we highly recommend passengers exchange money at the Airport as all other currency exchange houses in the city will be closed until Saturday.

4. An internal flight from Shiraz to Tehran on Day 9 is included in the price of the trip. The maximum check-in baggage allowance is 17kgs per person plus hand luggage.

5. 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

6. Please note that travellers cannot use debit or credit cards while in Iran. You will need to bring all the money you will need for your entire trip with you. Please read through the money matters section of your essential trip information for further details Please note that travellers cannot use debit or credit cards while in Iran. You will need to bring all the money you will need for your entire trip with you. Please read through the money matters section of your essential trip information for further details is included on this trip.

7. Please note that the 16 May 2019 departure of this trip is during the month of Ramadan. Included meals will be served when the restaurants are open and the cooking classes will be held in private local houses. There may also be some slight amendments to the times of some of the activities to accommodate Ramadan.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

Reviews