Persian flavour and fervour, all from a female perspective.

Join like-minded women on a 12-day female-only, female-led expedition through Iran. This adventure is designed to allow travellers a unique opportunity to discover the customs, food, challenges and lives of local Iranian women through a range of experiences otherwise off limits to normal tour groups. Step inside the hidden world of an Iranian beauty salon, wander through a female only park, experience rural nomadic life with Qashqai people, meet with young female entrepreneurs, and learn secret recipes from those in the know. This trip will expose you to a range of fascinating local women and give you the chance to speak openly and honestly about life in Iran as a woman. Open your eyes to another way of viewing Iran on this female-focused escapade.


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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Uncover the extravagant wonder and hidden gems of Iran, with expert local knowledge from a female leader – ornate mosques, ancient cities, small guesthouses and exclusive experiences await!

  • Enjoy a picnic in one of Iran’s increasingly prevalent women’s-only parks – one of the few places women can enjoy the sunshine without wearing a hijab.

  • Immerse yourself in a rural nomadic life on a remote homestay with a Qashqai community. Spend time with your small group enjoying a meal, singing songs and discovering their local customs.

  • Step inside the fascinating and vibrant hidden world of an Iranian beauty salon, and visit a fashion boutique to learn about the different techniques of tying and wearing a head scarf.

  • 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.

Is this trip right for you?

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

  • Iran is one of the safest and friendliest places you can travel, but it is very conservative. You’ll need to be committed to a strict dress code in what may be quite warm weather. Things don't get much more different to home than this!

  • 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.

  • Alcohol is strictly forbidden in Iran and those trying to bring any in will incur severe penalties. Drug laws are also extremely strict, and travellers face lengthy jail terms if caught. Most foreigners are whisked through customs without any delays, but random bag checks do occur.

  • The pathways around some sites may be uneven, rocky or dusty, and there’s exposure to the elements on some activities. Remember to bring a hat and sunscreen and drink plenty of water. If it’s winter, dress in layers.

  • Iran is a big country and this trip covers a lot, so be prepared for some long travel days. Take the chance to sit back, relax and take in the beautiful scenery between destinations

  • Accommodation at the village homestay will be basic, with limited or shared facilities.

  • 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.

  • Debit or credit cards can’t be used in Iran, so you’ll need to bring cash to last you the whole trip. For more information on this, see ‘Money matters’ in the Essential Trip Information.

  • 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. But we are here to help you through it.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Salam! Welcome to Iran. You will be met on arrival at Tehran International Airport and transferred to your hotel for an important welcome meeting at 6 pm today, where you will meet your female leader and fellow travellers joining you on this adventure. Many people have a preconceived idea on the appearance of Iranian women; however, once you start exploring the country, you’ll notice a diversity and range of clothing, facial coverings and styles on display. Tonight, be hosted by local Iranian women for a dinner with your group. Each night is never the same and so it will feel like a very personal experience with these women – learning about their lives while tasting different Persian specialties.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tehran - Welcome Dinner
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. 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).
Head out on a leader-led orientation walk this morning, checking out the Imam Khomeini Mosque and the labyrinthine maze of the Grand Bazaar. A real highlight of this morning is gazing at the 182-carat pink diamond of Darya-ye-Noor and the sparkling 26,733 jewels of the Naderi Throne at the Treasury of National Jewels. Afterwards, pass by a small fashion boutique where you’ll learn different techniques of tying a headscarf, then continue on to the lively Behjat Abad Market for a food adventure. You’ll shop for fresh seasonal produce and fragrant spices, then head over to a cooking school where a local female cook will teach you how to create some of the most delectable Persian dishes. This class will include tahchin (Iranian savoury rice cake), morasa polo (jewelled rice), mirza qasemi (grilled eggplant), and the Iranian dessert of Sholeh Zard (saffron rice pudding). Take in the flavours and aromas of these delicious meals as the wafts fill the kitchen, then set the table and gather for a huge Persian feast as you chat and exchange stories.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tehran -Treasury of National Jewels
  • Tehran - Market shopping & Persian cooking class
  • Tehran - Orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Rise and shine nice and early for a 6 am train bound for Yazd (approximately 5-6 hours). Do not fear – the train is very comfortable and there will be time to rest on your way, if you can keep your eyes off the magic desert landscapes! One of Iran's most alluring cities, Yazd is the heart of the Zoroastrian religion and was a major stop on the Silk Road, and still retains its old-world charm. On arrival, get exploring with your leader, perhaps stopping off for a sweet snack as you walk – Yazd is well-known for its range of confectionary featuring plenty of nuts, rosewater and flaky pastry. Continue the Jameh Mosque, notable for its fine mosaics and beautiful exterior. From here you are ideally placed to explore the older parts of the city, walking the narrow kuches (lanes), past simple courtyards and the ornate doors of the mud brick buildings. You will also visit the Fire Temple and Towers of Silence, both vestiges of the city’s Zoroastrian heritage.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yazd - Jameh Mosque of Yazd
  • Yazd - Amir Chakmaq
  • Yazd - Water Museum
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Go beyond the landmarks of Yazd to discover the real life of the largest community of Zoroastrians in Iran. Make the short journey to the village of Taft, and spend some time discovering Zoroastrian culture and how to prepare some of their delicious local cuisine. Today, you also have the choice of taking an optional excursion outside of Yazd to Kharanak, Chak Chak and Meybod. The town of Kharanak is believed to be 1000 years old and you can explore the abandoned structures of this hillside settlement, peering into the houses of wealthy merchants and hammans (bathhouses). Chak Chak is one of the most important Zoroastrian pilgrimage sites in Iran, and you can climb up the mountainside to reach the fire temple – your efforts rewarded with wonderful views. The tour will also take you to Narin Castle, thought to be the oldest mudbrick structure in Iran, and the still growing citadel of Meybod before returning to Yazd. If you're after a more relaxing day, you can stay around your hotel – a traditional 19th-century traditional mansion – puff on a qalyan or try some camel fesenjun in the shady courtyard.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yazd -Zoroastrian Lunch and Village Visit
  • Yazd - Fire Temple and Towers of Silence visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Your group leader my suggest a group tour for your free time. It is important to note that under the regulations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran, US, UK and Canadian passport holders cannot participate in independent travel in Iran and must take the guided tour option or they can simply choose to relax in their hotel during free time.
After breakfast, get on the road and head towards Shiraz (approximately 5.5 hours). An hour into the journey, stop by the town of Abarqu in the Zagros Mountains to explore its historic sights, including an ancient ice house, the 11th-century Gonbad Ali Dome, the Qajar-era mansion Khan-e Aghazadeh and a 4000-year-old cypress tree. Load up on some snacks and continue to Shiraz, arriving mid-afternoon. After checking in, head with your group leader to get your bearings around the local neighbourhood. In the early evening, head to a popular gym to join in on a yoga class with local women. This is one of the ‘private’ spaces that Iranian women can safely and legally remove their Islamic dress to exercise and be themselves without any issues. Relax with these women and enjoy some time to be part of their day-to-day. Afterwards, perhaps discover some popular local street food with your leader – they’ll know of all the good spots to eat.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - Shahcheragh guided tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today, explore what’s often referred to as the ‘Pearl of Persia’ with your group leader. Shiraz is a city of poets, philosophy and art, and has been considered as the centre of Persian romance and culture for thousands of years. Visit the glittering mosque and funerary monument of Shahcheragh – the holiest site in Shiraz, then continue to the Jame Atiq Mosque – parts of which date back to the ninth century. Shiraz is also known for its parks and gardens, and just like the rest of Iran, female-only parks are popping up to allow women to exercise, picnic or just enjoy the sun without a hijab. You’ll head to one of these today for a chat to the locals and enjoy a small picnic. With some free time this afternoon, you may like to head to Bagh-e-Eram Gardens – conceived to symbolise Eden and the four Zoroastrian elements (air, water, earth and fire). Otherwise, the tomb of Hafez is highly recommended, and if you go with your leader, you may just catch a poetry recital!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - Women's only park
  • Shiraz - Women's only Yoga Class
  • Shiraz - Bakery visit
  • Shiraz - Nasir al Molk Mosque
  • Shiraz - Vakil Bazaar
  • Shiraz -Carpet Work Shop
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note that it is forbidden to bring cameras or phones into women only parks.
Wake up early for some fresh bread tasting at a local bakery before driving to Persepolis (approximately 1 hour). Once the centre of the Achaemenid Empire and one of the great cities of the ancient world, Persepolis took more than 150 years to build. It was designed primarily to be a centre for the events of the kings and their empire, and its grandiosity and architectural marvel is still on show today. Afterwards, head back to Shiraz and step inside the hidden world of an Iranian hair salon. The hijab comes off, the conversation is lively, and the music is blaring. Treat yourself to a manicure, or perhaps a wash and blow wave. In post-revolution Iran, opening a beauty salon was one of the most conventional ways for Iranian women to have financial independence. Often the basement of a building, or an extra room in the house was used, and off limits to men, these salons have become oases for many. In the evening, head to a local home to help cook dinner and experience, once again, an insight into the daily life of Shiraz locals.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Persepolis - Entrance and Guided tour
  • Shiraz - Home cooked meal
  • Shiraz - Women's only Beauty Salon
Optional Activities
  • Shiraz - Bagh-e Eram Gardens - IRR500000
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb - IRR500000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Embark on a morning visit of the Nasir al Molk Mosque to see the intricate rose-coloured mosaic and shimmering sunlight streaming through multicoloured windows, before returning back to your hotel for some breakfast. In the mid-morning, travel towards Bishapur – located 130 kilometres from Shiraz, Bishapur was once the centre of one of the five ancient provinces of Fars. Bishapur has also acted as the summer home of migrating nomadic tribes over the centuries, and although most nomads are more settled in villages nowadays, many of the customs and traditions live on. You’ll spend the afternoon and evening in a simple local village home, where you can discover traditional costumes, share a meal, some stories, a song or two and perhaps even learn how to make local bread with your host.
Accommodation
  • Home Stay (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Tonight’s accommodation is very simple. We share close quarters in the home. For your comfort, a simple foam mattress, pillows and blankets are provided, but consider bringing your own thermarest (or similar) if you’d like the extra padding. Also maybe pack thermal clothing if you feel the cold. Expect the unexpected – anything can happen, from a simple night in with local families to an invitation to a nomad wedding! Bathrooms facilities are shared, and western toilets are available.
Today is a long travel day (approximately 6 hours) but will be broken up with some stops along the way – you’ll get to enjoy the natural surroundings and perhaps stop off for a picnic lunch, before cruising into Esfahan in the late afternoon. Simply put, Esfahan is one of the finest places in the Islamic world. There's an abundance of fine Islamic buildings, most of which are covered with the blue mosaic tiles Iran is renowned for. There's also an enormous bazaar – an ideal place to shop for exquisite Persian carpets, or you can relax by the tranquil gardens, picturesque bridges and superb palaces around town. This evening, take a stroll down to the Zayandeh River and have a look at its historic bridges, which appear to have been lifted straight out of a fairy tale. At several of the bridges, local people gather to talk, drink tea and sing beautiful folk songs. It's a magical place to while away some time, and one of the most atmospheric places in all of Iran.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Khaju & Si-o-seh Pol Bridges
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Embark a half-day tour of the city, visiting the World Heritage-listed Imam (or Naqsh-e Jahan) Square. Here, your guide will you give you an insight into life under Persia's greatest ruler, Shah Abbas. Surrounding the square are several grand buildings, such as the Ali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Qeysarieh Portal and the majestic Imam Mosque. Located in the west of Imam Square, the Ali Qapu Palace covers six floors and was originally built as the main palace of Shah Abbas. In the afternoon, explore the bazaar with its wonderful scents and spices, musical merchants' cries and, of course, thousands of locals bargaining for their goods. Walk the covered lanes, where shafts of light filter through ceiling and lattice, and browse for fabrics, spices, jewellery and other treasures.  Stop by the Music Museum – a privately-run space showcasing over 300 traditional Iranian musical instruments.

Later in the afternoon, perhaps head out with your local Leader to visit the magnificent Armenian Vank Cathedral, wander the bazaar or just relax with your travel buddies.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Esfahan Music Museum
  • Esfahan - Imam Square
  • Esfahan - Shah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Ali Qapu Palace
Optional Activities
  • Esfahan - Safavid Chehelsetoon Palace Entry - IRR500000
  • Esfahan - Vank Cathedral - IRR500000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, drive around 2 hours to Kashan – a merchant town known for its high-quality ceramics, silks, carpets and fine houses. On arrival, take a walk in the local market for some lunch, and perhaps visit the grand Borujerdi House (Khan-e Borujerdi) with your leader. Built in the 1857 by the famed Persian architect Ustad Ali Maryam, this private residence was a gift to the new bride of a wealthy merchant. Continue to Tehran, arriving in the evening. Spend tonight with your group celebrating your unifying and enlightening Iranian journey.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policies (usually 12 pm).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 dinners

Transport

Metro, Train Private Vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (10 nights), Home Stay (1 night)

Included activities

  • Tehran - Welcome Dinner
  • Tehran -Treasury of National Jewels
  • Tehran - Market shopping & Persian cooking class
  • Tehran - Orientation walk
  • Yazd - Jameh Mosque of Yazd
  • Yazd - Amir Chakmaq
  • Yazd - Water Museum
  • Yazd -Zoroastrian Lunch and Village Visit
  • Yazd - Fire Temple and Towers of Silence visit
  • Shiraz - Shahcheragh guided tour
  • Shiraz - Women's only park
  • Shiraz - Women's only Yoga Class
  • Shiraz - Bakery visit
  • Shiraz - Nasir al Molk Mosque
  • Shiraz - Vakil Bazaar
  • Shiraz -Carpet Work Shop
  • Persepolis - Entrance and Guided tour
  • Shiraz - Home cooked meal
  • Shiraz - Women's only Beauty Salon
  • Esfahan - Khaju & Si-o-seh Pol Bridges
  • Esfahan - Esfahan Music Museum
  • Esfahan - Imam Square
  • Esfahan - Shah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
  • Esfahan - Ali Qapu Palace

Dates & availability

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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 excludes Day 8 (Village Home Stay) where you will be in shared accommodation, and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

2. Welcome Meeting - There is a welcome meeting at 6.00 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. To avoid dissapointment 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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