Iran culture and adventure tour (Expired)

Tour details

  • Tour code: Culture143
  • Tour duration: 14 Days
  • Difficulty: 3 out of 5
  • Age range: 5-60
  • Holding date: 1399-11-05
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Group size: 1-50 persons

About tour

Iran culture and adventure tour

Welcome to the hidden world of Iran. On Iran culture and adventure tour, we travel through this fascinating country to discover refined Islamic cities, colorful bazaars, ancient Persian ruins, fascinating nomads and shimmering deserts. You’re relaxing in a tea house in Tehran; enjoying guided tours of ancient cultural sites, or breaking bread with nomads on the harsh Iranian plateau, the warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people is endearing and the profound beauty of their land is mesmerizing.

In this tour you can:

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

Explore the rich history told in the ancient ruins that lie across the country. Modern Iran is a great fusion of civilizations – 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 center of the known world.

Immerse yourself in rural nomadic life with a beautifully remote home-stay with the Qashqai people.

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.

Slip into the exotic shoes of a Silk Road merchant with an overnight stay in a classic 16th century Caravanserai.


Day by day itinerary

Stay Attractions Tour Description
Tehran Golestan Palace

Welcome to Iran. You will be met on arrival at Tehran International airport and transferred to your hotel. There will be a Welcome Meeting on this day. Please refer to your hotel noticeboard or talk to reception for more details. 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 have this on hand.

Iran’s capital is exciting, noisy and chaotic. Home to 15 million people, Tehran is the country’s beating heart and where its true national identity is found. Expect to see women wearing full-length chadors competing for space with young and hip girls in figure-hugging manteau and headscarves. You will visit the superb Golestan Palace to view some of the excesses of the Qajar rulers, ramble through the enormous bazaar, and visit the Iman Khomeni Mosque. Later, you could try some fine Iranian cuisine like dizi (soup stew mashed into a paste) while enjoying traditional music at a local restaurant. As there’s only a short time in Tehran on this trip, perhaps arrive a few days early and spend some time visiting the sites.

Stay Attractions Tour Description
Shiraz Shah-e-Cheragh Mausoleum, Jame’ Atiq Mosque of Shiraz

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, colorful woolen rugs, art, philosophy, poetry and of course, the famous Shiraz red wine (although, unfortunately, no longer found here). Shiraz is also a renowned center of learning and boasts many of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. Known as Iran’s cultural capital, this city was home to two of Persia’s most famous poets in the 13th and 14th centuries, Hafez and Saadi, whose mausoleums are found here. Today you’ll take a walking tour around the city, stopping by Shahcheragh – a beautiful mausoleum for one of Imam Reza’s brothers and the holiest site in Shiraz. You’ll also stop by Jame Atiq mosque, one of the oldest mosques in the country. The tour ends with a visit to a traditional tea house in the wonderful Bazar-e Vakil. In the bazaar you might also spot the members of nomadic groups who come to the city to stock up on provisions.

Stay Attractions Tour Description
Shiraz Eram Garden (Bagh-e Eram)

Your first stop today is Iran’s premier attraction, Persepolis (approximately 1 hour). It was once the center 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 center of the known world.
Later, consider visiting the lovely Eram Gardens, also known as the ‘Garden of Paradise’ (Bagh-e Eram), or the tombs of Hafez and Sa’di. Hafez was a Persian poet who is regarded as a literary giant and folk hero. Sa’di, another great poet and writer from Shiraz, was more of a scholar. Appreciate the intricate artwork of their tombs and understand their continued relevance and importance in Iranian society. In the center of town is the Arg-e Karim Khan, a mud-brick citadel from the 18th century, a time when the whole of Persia was ruled by Karim Khan from Shiraz. Don’t miss the room exhibiting historic photos from the 19th and 20th centuries, and the legendary tales depicted on the tiles at the entrance gate.There are many activities to fill your day, please speak to your trip leader who can help you with planning your day.

Stay Attractions Tour Description
Shiraz Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Enjoy a free day in the ‘City of Flowers and Nightingales’, which has managed to retain its provincial, relaxed atmosphere and is a lovely place to explore. We recommend a visit to the colourfully decorated Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, where sunlight streaming through stain glass windows fills the interior with kaleidoscopic colours. Later, travel on to meet your nomadic hosts. The Fars Province is famous for its nomadic people, and the barren landscape provides a stark contrast to the vibrancy and hospitality of its inhabitants. Iran has over 500 different nomadic tribes. The largest, the Qashqai, are Turkic speaking pastoral nomads who winter near the Persian Gulf and summer on the central Iranian Plateau. The area north of Shiraz has been the home of nomadic tribes for centuries. Migration is a way of life and herding cattle, sewing carpets and embroidery form the basis of these tribal economies. Join a group of local nomads and share a meal, then maybe enjoy a traditional song and dance. A ‘house of hair’, made from goat and sheep fleece, is your accommodation for the night. This is your chance to observe the lifestyle of nomads as they herd their animals, tend to the fields and enjoy simple meals.

Please note that due to conditions outside of our control there may be times when we are unable to visit or stay with the nomads. In this situation we will stay with a local family in the Qashqai village. You will be treated to a delicious home cooked meal and spend the night exchanging stories with your home stay hosts.

Notes: Tonight’s accommodation is very simple. We share close quarters in the home or Nomadic tent and will also share bathroom facilities which are also very basic.

For your comfort, a simple rollable foam mattress, pillows are provided, but consider bringing your own thermarest (or similar) and sleep sheet if you’d like the extra comfort. 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!
Also, due to the nature of the nomadic tribes, there may be occasions when they are ‘on the move’ and we are not able to locate their camp. We’ll do our best to make the regular arrangements, but on rare occasions there may be times when we are not able to meet with the Nomads. We request your patience and understanding in this situation.

Stay Attractions Tour Description

Say farewell to your nomad hosts and journey towards the town of Eghlid. In ancient times Eghlid acted as the main gateway from the north to Persepolis as other routes were too mountainous and difficult to pass. Check into your hotel in this sleepy town, then head out to visit Sassanid Empire ruins that date back 1,800 years, a Zoroastrian ‘Tower of Silence’, and the sacred shrine of Eghlid. Zoroastrianism, which dates back over 4,000 years, was the state religion of Iran before the arrival of Islam. Followers believe there is one God called Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), and they worship communally in a Fire Temple or Agiary. The intriguing Towers of Silence are part of the Zoroastrian tradition. The towers are raised circular structures where the dead are laid out to be picked clean by scavenger birds.

Stay Attractions Tour Description

Continue on your journey (approximately 1 hour) and arrive at the historical town of Abarqu, located in the desert valley beneath the Zagros Mountains. Check out the town’s main sights, which includes an ice house (a specially constructed house that acted like a fridge), the 11th century Gonbad Ali Dome, the Khan-e Aghazadeh Qajar-era mansion, the Jameh Mosque, and a 4,000-year-old cypress tree. Then travel across the stunning Zagros Mountains and reach the Zein-o-din Caravanserai. Set in the desolate Dasht-e Lut desert, Zein-o-din is a classic caravanserai built during the 16th century under the orders of Shah Abbas, who supposedly built 999 such hostels to promote business. The constantly mobile Silk Road travelers needed places to rest and shelter in the isolated areas between the widely spaced cities and towns, leading to the construction of many such caravanserai. Their main function was to receive travelers and store merchandise, so they were designed to be spacious enough to shelter guests, as well as goods. A night’s stay in a caravanserai is a wonderful chance to step into the exotic shoes of a Silk Road merchant, and relive the age when this area hummed with travelers. Most of the rooms remain unchanged from days gone by, with carpets covering raised wooden floors, and heavy curtains rather than doors separating rooms from the hallway. Like Silk Road travellers before you, experience a rich red sunset while the night sky fills with stars.

Stay Attractions Tour Description
Yazd Atashkadeh (fire temple)

Get up early and enjoy an authentic breakfast of freshly baked bread. Then enjoy free time to bask in the sunshine on the rooftop of the glorious caravanserai, overlooking the barren landscape of the surrounding desert plains. Travel by private van to Yazd (approximately 1 hour). This ancient desert city was a major stop on the caravan routes to Central Asia and India during the Silk Road period – Marco Polo even visited the city on his way to China – and it still retains a rustic feel today. Yazd is also the heart of the Zoroastrian religion. On arrival, set out on a walking tour visiting 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, which are some of the oldest on Earth according to UNESCO. Walk the narrow kuches (lanes), past simple courtyards and the ornate doors of the mud brick buildings. One of the most distinctive features of Yazd are the wind towers (‘badgirs’) that capture even the softest of breezes and send them to the buildings below in a forerunner of modern air-con. The water museum shows how the quants (underground water channels) brought water to the city from the mountains for thousands of years. You will also visit the Fire Temple and Towers of Silence, both vestiges of the city’s Zoroastrian heritage. In the Zoroastrian religion, fire and water are agents of ritual purity, and the fire in the Atashkadeh Fire Temple is said to have been continuously burning since 470 AD.

Stay Attractions Tour Description

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 – a traditional 19th-century traditional mansion – puff on a qalyan or try the local favourite, camel fesenjun, in the shady courtyard.

Stay Attractions Tour Description
Isfahan Ali Qapu Palace

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. This evening, you might like to stroll to the Zayandeh River and have a look at its historic bridges, which seem to have come straight from a fairytale. At several of the bridges local people gather to talk, drink tea and sing beautiful folk songs. This is a magical place to while away some time, and one of the most atmospheric places in all of Iran.

Stay Attractions Tour Description
Isfahan Naqsh-e Jahan Square

You’ll have plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of Esfahan, beginning today with a half-day tour of the city. Your guide will give you an insight into life under Persia’s greatest ruler, Shah Abbas, with the city reaching its peak and becoming the capital of Persia during his 16th century reign. Even though the capital was moved to Shiraz and then Tehran, the city still retains much of its past glory. You will start the tour at the immense Imam Square (formerly Naqsh-e Jahan Square), which covers an area of 82,500 square metres and makes it the second largest square in the world. The square is surrounded by many 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, who used it to receive guests and foreign ambassadors. You’ll visit the atmospheric bazaar with its wonderful scents and spices, musical merchants’ cries and, of course, thousands of locals bargaining for their most desired items. Walk the covered lanes of this sprawling marketplace, where shafts of light filter through celling and lattice, and browse for fabrics, spices, jewellery and other treasures.

Stay Attractions Tour Description

You have a free day to explore this lovely city, so take time to wander along the city’s many tree-lined boulevards and spacious gardens. Visit the Jameh Mosque (Friday Mosque), the biggest in all Iran and full of lovely designed stuccos, or the fresco-filled Chehel Sotun Palace, a relaxed complex with a water pool surrounded by shady tree. You could also discover the bizarre Manar Jomban (shaking minarets). Perhaps head to the Armenian Quarter and the Church of St. Joseph of Arimathea, which has a striking interior of gilded ceilings, walls and paintings. The stunning, delicate artwork of the dome depicts the biblical story of Genesis, from Creation to Man’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Make sure to take a stroll by the Zayandeh River and stop for a well-deserved chai at one of the stunning bridges.

Stay Attractions Tour Description

Continue on by private van down the mountains, into the desert, and on to Kashan (approximately 3 hours). Kashan is a beautiful oasis city with a very long history – human settlement in the area dates back to the 4th millennium BC. It’s also a merchant town known for its high quality ceramics, silks, carpets, and some of the finest traditional houses in Iran. See these houses with visits to the Khan-e Borujerdi and Khan-e Tabatabei. These 19th-century khans were funded by wealthy merchants and feature lovely courtyards, lush gardens and fine intricate relief designs carved into stone. Khan-e Borujerdi was built in the 1840s for the affluent Tabatabaei family after the father set one condition of marriage: that his daughter be able to live in a home at least as lovely as his own. 18 years later, this exquisite Persian residential home was completed (though she did marry in the interim). Take some time for lunch, then head to the most impressive Islamic complex in Kashan – the Agha Bozorg Mosque and Madraseh, famous for its symmetrical design. Later, if you have the energy, take some free time to explore the town’s other sights such as the Fin Gardens, a classical Persian vision of paradise and one of the most beautiful gardens in the Middle East. In the evening, there’s an opportunity to experience some delicious Iranian cooking in the home of a local family.

Stay Attractions Tour Description

This morning, make your way from Kashan to Tehran (approximately 4 hours). Stop along the way to visit the still under construction holy shrine of Imam Khomeni, the leader of the Islamic Revolution. When completed, the Iranian’s believe the shrine will be one of the greatest buildings in the Islamic world. Revered as the father of the 1979 revolution, Imam Khomeni was buried here in 1989. His funeral was attended by an incredible 10 million people, making it the world’s biggest. People from all around Iran come here to pay their respects. You’ll also visit the nearby Behesht-e Zahra, an enormous cemetery where many who lost their lives during the Iran-Iraq War are buried. With over 200,000 graves, it serves as a moving reminder of the futility of war. Arrive at your Tehran hotel this afternoon. Tonight you can relive your unforgettable adventure over an optional farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Stay Attractions Tour Description

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are free to depart at anytime. Please note you must check out of the hotel by 12pm.

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Isfahan (or Es·fa·han (ĕs’fə-hän’, Persian: اصفهان) is a city in central Iran, south of Tehran and is the capital of Esfahan Province. The Persians call it “Nesf-e-Jahan”, meaning “Half The World”. Due to its beautiful hand-painted tiling and magnificent public square, it is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. An ancient town and capital of Persia from 1598 to 1722, it was long noted for its fine carpets and silver filigree. Today, textile and steel mills take their place. Its architecture, tree-lined boulevards and relaxed pace make it one of the highlights of Iran.

It is easy to get around Isfahan by bus. A single journey costs IRR10000 (November 2016); you can pay the driver directly, or buy multi-journey contactless cards at certain bus stop booths. Note that there are separate men (front) and women (rear) sections on each bus.

From Kaveh Bus Terminal, take Bus 91 which runs down Chahar Bagh-e Pa’in St towards the city centre, past Takhti Junction and Imam Hossein Sq.

There is a tourist information on the main boulevard a bit west of the palace. They speak English and can give helpful tips and have English maps.

For non-Iranian visitors, taxis are probably the most convenient mean of transport. There is not a lot of room for haggling as prices are more or less fixed. Ask locals who take taxis about what the price should be and agree with the driver before you get into the car.

If an unmarked car stops while you are hailing a taxi, don’t be alarmed. Many taxis in Shiraz are unmarked and also as a means to supplement their income, is not uncommon to find private car owners touting themselves as taxis.

However it is always good to find a taxi through a reputable “telephone taxi” agency. For a set fee, drivers of these agencies will take passengers to their destination, drive them around town and also wait for them while they shop or run errands. All hotels and local residents will have a phone number of one these agencies. There are also taxis driven by women that specifically cater to women passengers.

The city also has a reasonable bus service.





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