- Tour duration: 8 DAYS
Taste of Persia Tour
DAY 01: ARRIVE-TEHRAN
Arrival at Tehran’s IKA Airport; meet and transfer to Hotel for overnight stay.
DAY 02: TEHRAN-SHIRAZ
Full day visit to some of Tehran’s major museums, including Iran’s National Museum (Archaeological only – Islamic Museum is currently under renovation), displaying an authenticated collection of pre-historic and ancient artifacts with pottery dating back to 6-7 millennium B.C., the Abguineh (Glass & Ceramics) Museum, a valuable collection of pre-Islamic and Islamic glass and ceramics, beautifully displayed and located in an elegant early 20th-century mansion, and the Carpet Museum, with an extensive collection of old Persian carpets and rugs from the major carpet-weaving centers of Iran; transfer to airport for evening flight to Shiraz, as available; transfer to Hotel for overnight stay.
DAY 03: SHIRAZ/EXCURSION PERSEPOLIS
Half day excursion to Persepolis, one of the most important sites of the Ancient World, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings with remains of the palaces of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and its famous bas-reliefs, depicting kings and courtiers and gift-bearing representatives of tributary nations of the Persian Empire. Also visit Naghsh-e-Rostam to see Ka’be-Zardosht (fire temple/sanctuary), and Royal Tombs (also Achaemenid); plus seven magnificent Sassanian rock-reliefs (including Shapur the First’s famous victory over Roman Emperor Valerian); and Naghsh-e-Rajab, a nearby grotto with more Sassanian reliefs; return to Shiraz for some visits in this city of “roses and nightingales”, to include the tomb of Iran’s greatest lyric poet Hafez; Narenjestan (a reception/residential house/garden), and the pink-tiled Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque; overnight stay at Hotel.
DAY 04: SHIRAZ/PASARGADAE– ISFAHAN
Further visits in Shiraz, and drive to Isfahan, enroute visit Pasargadae, the site of the simple, but impressive, tomb and remains of the palaces of Cyrus the Great (the Founder of the Persian Empire); continue to Isfahan for overnight stay at Hotel.
DAY 05: ISFAHAN
Full day tour of the beautiful city of Isfahan, the 17th century capital of the Safavids, referred to as Nesf-e-Jahan (Half of the World) in Safavid sources, to visit the famous bridges of Shahrestan, Khajou & Sio-se-pol, the Armenian Quarter with several churches, including the important Cathedral of Vank; in the afternoon visit one of the world’s grandest squares, the Maidan-e-Naghsh-e-Jahan, with several sites (the Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo games, and two of Islamic world’s greatest mosques – the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Imam – with magnificent architecture and tilework), finishing with a visit to the Qeisarieh Bazaar with hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous; overnight stay at Hotel.
DAY 06: ISFAHAN
Another full day sightseeing of Isfahan to visit the magnificent Friday Mosque, with the famous Uljaitu Mihrab (Prayer Niche) of the Il-Khanid period. The Friday Mosque is considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture and is truly one of the world’s greatest mosques. From here drive to the Chehel Sotun Palace, built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century; its twenty wooden columns reflected in the surface of the pool give rise to its name ‘The Palace of Forty Columns’. Final stop of the day is at the Hasht Behesht pavilion built in 1670 by Shah Solayman and known as the Pavilion of Eight Paradises or the Palace of Nightingales. The small but intricate building is set amongst tree-lined alleys, a reflecting pool and water rills; return to the Maidan for further visit to shops and bazaar; overnight stay at Hotel.
DAY 07: ISFAHAN-TEHRAN
Morning drive to Tehran, enroute visit the charming town of Natanz to see Friday Mosque/Monastery/Tomb Complex, on to desert town of Kashan to visit the historical garden of Fin which was first planted during the Safavid period and kept alive with water from the nearby Sulaimanieh Spring. This beautiful garden was expanded by the Zand and Qajar monarchs, with many open pavilions added. You will also visit a fine example of a 19th century merchant residence known as Borujerdi House with its beautiful stucco dome and inlaid mirror work, with some of the best examples of existing “badgirs” (wind-catchers); on to Tehran and drive by the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini; overnight stay at Laleh Hotel.
DAY 08: TEHRAN-DEPARTURE
Transfer to IKA Airport for departure flight.
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.