Be enchanted by Iran in the quiet and cool of winter

Embark on a compact nine-day journey through 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. Discover refined 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 out a local board game cafe in Shiraz, the warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people and the profound beauty of their land is mesmerising.


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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Be invited into an Esfahan home for dinner and savour traditional, long-simmering and lovingly prepared Iranian dishes along with incredible hospitality.

  • Explore the ancient ruins of Persepolis on a guided tour that will take you back in time, to an era when the city was the centre of the ancient world.

  • Travelling with a local leader means more opportunities to visit real local hangouts, like a boardgame cafe popular with young folk in Shiraz where you spend a night mingling.

  • Learn some of the secrets of Iranian cuisine during a hand-on cooking lesson in Shiraz, crafting dishes using local ingredients.

  • Wander alleyways lined with mud-brick buildings in Yazd and wonder at ingenious windcatchers – high, hollow towers that provide ventilation to the traditional buildings in this dry desert city.

Is this trip right for you?

  • One of the biggest misconceptions is that Iran is an unfriendly or unsafe country for visitors – this couldn't be further from the truth. See the ‘Safety’ section of the Essential Trip Information for more.

  • Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people and environments. On arrival in Iran, all women must wear a headscarf and must also have their arms and legs covered. Men should wear long trousers and have shoulders covered.

  • 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. Pork, material deemed obscene by Iranian law (which can include non-pornographic materials like fashion magazines), and controversial literature will all be confiscated by custom officials. As a foreigner you will likely be whisked through customs, but 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.

  • Iran is a big country and this trip covers a lot in nine days, so be prepared for some long days on the road with lots of opportunity to take in the great landscapes or catch up on some sleep.

  • 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. Home to 15 million people, Tehran is exciting, noisy and chaotic, and where the country's true national identity is found. Expect to see women wearing full-length chador competing for space with young girls in figure-hugging manteau and headscarves. The locals love nothing more than to chat, so prepare to be stopped to discuss anything and everything.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at midday (12.00pm)  on day 1. Afterwards, 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 light meal 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.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tehran - Tabiat Nature Bridge
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Once you have provided your flight details to your booking agent, 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. As tourism is a developing industry in Iran, it is possible your driver will not speak English. Please provide your detail at least 14 days before your trip.

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.


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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tehran - Iran National Museum
  • Tehran - Golestan Palace
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yazd - Jameh Mosque of Yazd
  • Yazd - Water Museum
  • Yazd - Fire Temple and Towers of Silence visit
  • Yazd - Amir Chakmaq visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Say farewell to Yazd and travel by private bus 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - Home cooked meal
  • Abarkuh - Cypress of Abarkuh
  • Abarkouh - Ice Houses
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Rise and shine for a day of exploring this artistic city, visit the colourfully 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 the Great. 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 centre of the ancient world. 
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - Nasir al Molk Mosque
  • Shiraz - City tour
  • Shiraz - Vakil Bazaar
  • Shiraz - Shahcheragh guided tour
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
  • Persepolis - Entrance and Guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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 travellers, and the traditional food is carefully prepared for hours, sometimes even days. Prepare yourself for plenty of food and some truly incredible hospitality.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Chehel Sotun Palace
  • Esfahan - Vank Cathedral
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Leader-led walking tour
  • Esfahan - Imam Square
  • Esfahan - Shah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Khaju & Si-o-seh Pol Bridges
  • Esfahan - Home cooked meal
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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.  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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kashan -Tabatabei house
  • Kashan - Lunch Morshedi House
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

Private vehicle, Train

Accommodation

Hotel (8 nights)

Included activities

  • Tehran - Tabiat Nature Bridge
  • Tehran - Iran National Museum
  • Tehran - Golestan Palace
  • Yazd - Jameh Mosque of Yazd
  • Yazd - Water Museum
  • Yazd - Fire Temple and Towers of Silence visit
  • Yazd - Amir Chakmaq visit
  • Shiraz - Home cooked meal
  • Abarkuh - Cypress of Abarkuh
  • Abarkouh - Ice Houses
  • Shiraz - Nasir al Molk Mosque
  • Shiraz - City tour
  • Shiraz - Vakil Bazaar
  • Shiraz - Shahcheragh guided tour
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
  • Persepolis - Entrance and Guided tour
  • Esfahan - Chehel Sotun Palace
  • Esfahan - Vank Cathedral
  • Esfahan - Leader-led walking tour
  • Esfahan - Imam Square
  • Esfahan - Shah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Khaju & Si-o-seh Pol Bridges
  • Esfahan - Home cooked meal
  • Kashan -Tabatabei house
  • Kashan - Lunch Morshedi House

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

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

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Important notes

1. Single Supplement - A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

2. Welcome Meeting - There is a welcome meeting at midday (12.00 pm) on day one of this trip, please check in the hotel lobby for a welcome notice.

3. Transfers - A complimentary airport arrival and departure transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

4. Visa Information - Please note that US, British and Canadian passport holders will need to book this trip at least 3 months before departure as this is the length of time it takes to process a visa for these nationalities. The application for visa should be made at the time of booking or at least 3 months prior to departure date. There may also be further travel restrictions that apply to these nationalities including restrictions for when you can arrive and depart. Please see the visa section in this essential trip information below for more details and ensure you discuss options with your booking agent before confirming non-refundable airfares.

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

5. Important Money Matters - 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

6. This itinerary has many included activities and free time for you to rest, relax or discover. Please keep in mind that under the regulations of the Iranian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, US, UK and Canadian travellers must be accompanied by a local host (Intrepid's local Operator) on all activities. For this reason your Tour Leader may suggest optional activities during this free time that are organised by our Operator at your own expense. Alternately this free time is the perfect opportunity to relax in your hotel.

7. Booking Conditions - 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.

8.Safety - We recommend that before your departure you check your government's latest travel advice for information on travelling in Iran and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas of your itinerary. We have links to prominent government travel advisories and regular updates on issues affecting this trip on our Travel Alerts page: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts

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

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