It’s hard to reconcile the country you’ve heard about on the news with a place where iPhone-toting locals carve up the Alborz piste, old women invite you in for a hot Chelow kebab and Tinder dominates the dating scene. Conservative and unconventional, deeply religious and deeply surprising, Iran tours don’t fit into any easy pigeonhole. Which is kind of why we love them. Our local guides will show you all the highlights – the Golestan Palace, the Zoroastrian Fire Temple, Esfahan’s bustling bazaars – but they’ll also show you what it means to be a modern-day Iranian. And that’s one thing you won’t get from your average news bulletin.
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Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Iran, you may find yourself travelling by:
Step into the exotic shoes of a Silk Road merchant while staying in a caravanserai in the desert. Over the centuries, little has changed about this experience.
Carrying more than a million passengers a day, the trains of Tehran are fast, efficient and affordable. Have fun getting around the city like a local.
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in Iran you may find yourself staying in a:
Spend an unforgettable night sleeping in a communal tent, just as local nomads have done for centuries.
Along with synagogues, laughter workshops and Hooters restaurants, Tinder was the last thing Taz Liffman expected to find in one of the world’s staunchest Islamic republics.
Trips on or before 31 December 2022
If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Most foreign visitors require a visa to enter Iran. Please be aware that this can be a frustrating and stressful process, and can take from 6-8 weeks. You will need to allow sufficient time for this and plan any other travel around your Iran trip accordingly. The cost of a visa also varies dependent on your nationality, and also changes regularly, making it hard for us to advise of the actual cost. But you should plan for it to cost somewhere around 100-180EUR depending if you get a visa before departure or on arrival.
Iranian visas are issued in a two-step process and this will differ according to your nationality.
If you are travelling on UK, USA or CANADIAN passport please be aware that your visa process can take longer due to government regulations. Please check that you will have sufficient time to obtain a visa before departure.
We recommend you familiarise yourself with the full process before booking. The following link provides details on what to expect throughout this process as well as detailed step-by-step instructions on how to apply for your authorisation code and visa. Simply select your nationality from the drop down list and follow the instructions relevant to the passport you wish to enter Iran on.
It's customary to tip service workers in Iran, so set aside small amounts for porters, local guides, waiters, drivers and cleaners.
You'll be able to access the internet in Iran's cities, with many major hotels and cafes having internet access. Expect little to no access in rural and remote areas.
Mobile phones from other parts of the world may not work in Iran, although it's possible to buy a low-cost prepaid SIM card in most of Iran's large cities.
Squat toilets are the most common variety in Iran, although flushable western-style toilets can be found in some tourist areas and hotels. Carry your own supply of toilet paper and soap, as these aren't always provided.
Iran is a relatively cheap place to visit when you eat, shop, and travel like a local. Here's what you can roughly expect to pay for a:
Basic Lunch = 6USD
Cup of coffee = 1USD to 4USD
Short taxi ride = 5USD
Tap water is considered safe to drink but due to the high mineral content, visitors should avoid drinking tap water which can cause stomach upsets. For environmental reasons, try to avoid drinking bottled water - ask your leader or hotel where access to filtered water can be found.
Iran is very much a cash economy. This means travellers can't use debit or credit cards, or travellers cheques while in Iran. A handful of tourist-orientated shops accept credit cards; otherwise, cash is the main method of trade in Iran. US dollars, Euros, Australian Dollars, and British Pound are accepted at Iranian banks and money-changers. Having those notes changed into Iranian rials is a fairly simple exercise.
As with the question above, ATMs in Iran rarely accept foreign cards, so cash is the main form of currency. Most foreign currencies can be exchanged into local currency onground. This included US dollars, British Pounds, Euros or Australian Dollars. Don't forget to exchange whatever you don't use back to your home currency before departing Iran.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Please note these dates are for 2017. For a current list of public holidays in Iran go to: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/iran/public-holidays
If you are travelling on a UK, USA or CANADIAN passport there are a few things to be aware of:
1. You are not eligible for a visa on arrival. Therefore you must obtain your visa before departure.
2. Your visa process will take longer due to government regulations but it certainly shouldn't deter you from travel. Please allow 60-90 days to obtain a visa before departure.
3. You will need to provide additional supporting documentation when applying for your visa. Please see our visa information for more details.
Follow the link below and select your nationality in the drop down list to access detailed visa information relevant to you: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/iran-visa-application-form
4. For US, UK or Canadian travellers any time spent in Iran outside of the duration of the tour must be facilitated by the local host (Intrepid's local Operator) and travellers must be accompanied by the Leader assigned to your trip. If you would like to spend some additional days in Iran, please contact your booking agent for availability, recommendations on extra activities, and extra accommodation requests.
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
In Iran, we stay in locally run accommodation including guesthouses, smaller-scale hotels and homestays in an effort to support the local economies. We also visit locally-run restaurants and markets where travellers will have opportunities to support local businesses and purchase handicrafts created by local artisans.