15 days, 14 nights
Landing in Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA), our guide is already waiting to take you directly to the hotel.
After breakfast, our first discovery tour starts. We will lean back on the van and enjoy magnificently decorated palaces, glittering mosques, old bazaars, modern high-rise buildings and shopping centers from the window. After half an hour we reach the Niavaran Palace, where we visit the main part of the palace. At lunchtime, we will go to Tajrish bazaar. Do you know white mulberries or have you ever tried camel yoghurt? If you are feeling peckish, there is bound to be a tasty snack in the bazaar before we visit the Crown Jewel Museum in downtown Tehran. In the early evening we will be back in our hotel.
Today we will proceed toward Kashan and will reach this beautiful city in less than 3 hours. First we will visit Tabatabai house. It was built by a carpet dealer in the 19th century and inhabited by the influential Tabatabai family. Then we spend some time in the shady grounds of a paradise garden with flowering beds, fountains, bathhouses and pavilions. The “Fin Garden” is a national cultural heritage and it is listed in the UNESCO world heritage sites. We will also visit Aqabozorg mosque and school and also Kashan traditional bazaar.
The road to Isfahan is not that long and it varied due to the desert landscape and the foothills of the Zagros Mountains. After about 1 hour we will reach the extraordinary village of Abyaneh, which lies at the foot of the Karkas Mountain and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In Abyane village customs are still remained, the women wear colorful dresses and even the old dialect has been preserved. The mud structures press against the rocks and are hardly recognizable from a distance. We enjoy the serenity of this quaint village on a walk (approx. 1 hour, easy) and have the opportunity to have lunch on the imposing panoramic terrace of the Hotel Viuna. We still have about 180 kilometers to go, so in the evening we reach our centrally located hotel in Isfahan, which will be our home for three nights.
Today start our city tour on foot from our centrally located hotel. After a few minutes we reach Nagsh-e Jahan Square (Imam square). The third largest square in the world is flanked on three sides by great architecture. The great Ali Qapu Palace is in the west. On the opposite is the Shah Mosque and on the north side a masterpiece of Safavid architecture, the Sheik Lotfollah Mosque. Both mosques shine with their blue tiled entrance areas and the blue domes in the sunlight. We visit the Sheik Lotfollah Mosque, the Palace and then the Chehel Sotoun Palace, the so-called "Forty Pillar Palace", before we enjoy some free time to stroll through the bazaar and great Naqsh-e Jahan square If you like, you can have lunch in one of the restaurants around the square. Afterwards we meet again with our guide and visit the Azadegan teahouse together, which looks like a real robber's cave due to its unusual decoration.
After breakfast we will continue our city tour in Isfahan to visit Armenian district called Jolfa. In Jolfa district we will visit Vank Cathedral with its beautiful biblical murals. In the attached museum, exhibits, pictures and documentaries tell about the moving history of Armenia. Our guide gives us a restaurant tip for dinner before we drive back to the hotel. In the evening we meet again to visit Zayandeh River, where we want to stroll along the 33-arch (Siosepol bridge) and the Khaju bridge. Then we spread blankets on the shore and picnic next to Iranian families.
After breakfast we stow the bags again and drive west to Nain. We interrupt our journey in Nain on the edge of the central desert and stretch our feet when visiting the great Friday Mosque. Then we proceed to Meybod in the south to discover the Narin Ghaleh castle, which dates back to pre-Islamic times. In the evening we arrive at our traditional ecolodge and let the evening end very relaxed.
We start a fresh morning in the heart of the desert. Then we will explore the village of Garmeh and Mesr desert, which means Egypt in Farsi. A few hundred years ago, a cameleer came to this side of the desert to ﬁnd his lost camel. When he saw the beauty of the place he said: “I will make my own Egypt here”. He started to dig a water channel for 5 km to bring water into the area and build a small village with the name of Mesr. This village was destroyed by a ﬂood a few years ago. We will have a light trek in the central desert of Iran. We will see the beautiful sunset in the desert while visiting sand hills, gathering around a fire and drinking tea from a wood fired oven. In the evening we proceed toward Yazd. We will spend a relaxing night in our traditional hotel. The restaurant in the courtyard of our traditional hotel offers a wonderful setting for this.
The founder of religion Zarathustra founded his religion hundreds of years before Christianity. In Yazd there are still many adherents of his faith today. The city is known for two types of towers: first, the wind catcher towers, which provide the homes with cooler air, and second, the "towers of silence" that are no longer used. In the Temple of Zarathustra, we learn a little more about this special religion when we see the “oldest flame in the world”. Yazd is also an important center of Islamic Shiite belief, which we will learn on our further tour of Amir Chakhmagh Square. The west side of the city's main square is dominated by an impressive building construction. This serves to give more weight to the speeches of the religious leader, especially in the mourning month of Muharram. Yazd is also known for its almond biscuits - your tour guide knows the best places in town!
After having breakfast first, we visit the "Tower of Silence". A tower that was used by the Zoroastrians for the burial of the dead. From the tower of this complex we have beautiful views of the fascinating mud brick city. During a walk we visit a magnificent fire temple of the Zoroastrians and the Dowlatabad garden with its impressive wind towers. At lunchtime we find a bakery where we can try the Yazd cake specialties (optional). The best view of the old mud brick city is then best enjoyed from the roof of the Café Honar.
Today we will say goodbye to Yazd and heat the road for the next highlight of Iran. Around noon we reach Pasargadae, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great. Then there is another ride ahead of us until we reach Shiraz in the evening, the hometown of poets and Persian poetry.
Today we explore Shiraz on foot and by van all day. We visit the Nasir-al molk Mosque, also known as the “Pink Mosque”. Then we walk to to Vakil bazaar and Saraye Moshir to visit a wide range of Persian carpets, spices and gold glittering jewelry. We walk across the bazaar to the Karim Khan Citadel, which we can admire from the outside. After the lunch time, we will visit Ali Ebn-e-Hamzah Shrine, which impresses us with its mirrored vault. In the afternoon we walk in the footsteps of the local poet Hafiz in Hafeziye and we walk through the Eram garden as well. It is not far from here to the hotel. Perhaps you would like to arrange an evening meal near the hotel in the evening.
Today we will hit the road to enjoy a two-day excursion with Nomad tribes. We will proceed toward Sepidan. On the way we will enjoy visiting beautiful sceneries of Oak and grape trees. We will meet the Nomads around noon and we will have our lunch with them. Then we will participate in their daily activities like sheepherding, farming, ranching and handcrafts production. Their products they produce include rice, wheat, beans, apple, peach, yoghurt, butter, dough and curd. Their handicraft consists of carpet and rug weaving. We will have plenty of quiet to enjoy the spectacular surroundings. At the end of the day, you will rest and relax in your nomadic tents.
Overnight: Staying with Nomads
You will be heading to a very beautiful area with pleasant weather in Zagros mountain range. 95 km northwest of Shiraz on the northern edge of 3600 meter Barm-e Firouz peak we will reach Tang-e Ganbil which is a beautiful valley. This valley is located in a highland region surrounded by eye-catching landscapes including green fields around the village, vast forests and gardens especially during spring and summer which creates a pleasant ambience for visitors. In Tang-e Ganbil you will see a waterfall, straits, caves and plains all at the same time. In the afternoon we will proceed toward Shiraz to have a relaxing evening in the city of roses.
Today we will have a great excursion to the old royal city of Persepolis. There, we marvel at columns and reliefs over 2,500 years old, which testify to the power and wealth of the Achaemenid rulers. Our guide takes us to the Spring Palace and the Necropolis (Naqsh-e Rostam), where we can admire the rock tombs of the Achaemenid kings.
In the afternoon we will drive back to Shiraz to spend the evening with a Shirazi Family. We will enjoy the Persian family dinner.
We will reach Shiraz Airport. Then it's time to say goodbye to this fairy tale.
Thoughtful thoughts to your inbox