19 days & 18 nights
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Iran is located in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea to the north, and the Persian Gulf to the south. Thanks to its geopolitical location, Iran has always been the center of attention. Additionally, being on the Silk Road, Iran has played an important role in the international trade, especially in Asia, Europe, and Africa for over 1700 years.
In this 18 days Iran tour you will experience the whole diversity of Persia; magical palaces, lively bazaars, millennia-old cities and fantastic natural landscapes – but the real treasure of Iran is its friendly people, whom we meet along the way. Whether in the religious city of Mashhad or when visiting a Persian family for dinner, the Iranians look forward to a chat with foreign tourists! Fairy tales from 1001 Nights come true on this trip. During this tour we wonder at 2500-year-old testimonies of the Achaemenid rulers in Persepolis, walk in Shiraz in the footsteps of the poet Hafez, look at the wind towers of the old city of Yazd, walk through the Persian gardens and get to know the religion of the Zoroastrians in Yazd. We also experience Iran’s spectacular natural landscapes. We observe the Caspian Sea, hike through the unique sandstone formations of the Lut desert and discover a waterfall in the rain forest of the Golestan National Park.
Enjoy Iran with all your senses!
Landing in Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA), Our guide is already waiting to take us directly to the hotel.
We'll give you time to sleep and have a hearty breakfast this morning, then we'll go on a discovery tour together. First we walk to the Nasir-al mulk Mosque, then to the Narenjestan Ghavam orange garden until we finally reach the old town to plunge into the frenzy of the Vakil Bazaar. If you like, you can try the Faludeh here - Shiraz is known for that! In the middle of the bazaar is the Vakil bathhouse, which is now a museum - we take a look around and then get on the bus to drive to the mausoleum of the Hafez. Your guide brings the famous Persian poet to life with a few verses. How about a refreshing bath after returning to the hotel - our house has a swimming pool! For dinner, we invite you to a typical restaurant today.
Today we will have a great excursion to Persepolis and Necropolis. We leave the hotel and reach Persepolis after only an hour's drive. We wonder at the more than 2,500-year-old pillars of the former capital of the Achaemenid Empire and also take a look around the nearby Necropolis. On the way back we pass the Quran gate. A lunch break in the hotel interrupts our discovery tour, which we then continue with a visit to Shah Cheragh holy shrine, the mausoleum of Amir Ahmad, the "King of Light": Countless finely crafted tiles cover the dome above the shrine. The late afternoon is yours, and we will only meet again in the evening. At night we will be dining with a Persian family.
Our journey today is long - but it is varied and the destination is definitely worth it. White glistening salt lakes, endless desert landscapes and fig plantations accompany us on our onward journey to Kerman! We pause for A short walk and taking some photos. Our guide sweetens the ride with a selection of Persian music. In the evening we finally reach our hotel in the desert town of Kerman. The next two days are great experiences waiting for us!
After breakfast, we first explore the center of the historic trading town of Kerman on foot. The desert architecture with the wind towers and the long halls of the bazaar in the Ganjali Khan complex are fantastic! We stroll through the bazaar, visit the bath house, the school and the Carvanserai. There is a traditional restaurant in an old bathhouse which invites you to a little refreshment before we switch to 4x4 vehicles and drive over the mountains to the famous Kalut Canyons. We are right in the middle of the Lut desert, which until a few years ago was still considered impassable. At the destination we take a small hike together with a specially trained desert guide through the spectacular landscape (approx. 1 hour, easy). Today we spend an adventurous night. Our crew has set up a tent camp for you and we enjoy our dinner in the light of the stars, which is prepared on an open fire. We will surely sit together longer this evening, enjoy the sea of stars above our heads and then retire to the tents.
Overnight: Lut Desert
The tour guide wakes us up early because we want to hike through the desert before it gets too hot. Our desert guide takes us around four hours through one of the most magnificent landscapes the world has to offer. If you don't want to hike, you can simply enjoy the peace and quiet of the desert near the camp. Around noon we all meet for lunch, which the crew has already prepared. After our equipment is stowed in the car again, we drive further into the desert and reach a comfortable Eco Camp in the evening where we spend the night.
Today we have breakfast in the desert. On the edge of the desert we say goodbye to our desert guide and the drivers and continue our journey by bus. We hit the road toward Zein-o-din traditional carvanserai. As at the time when the traders of the Silk Road were looking for shelter here, we also spend an hour in the Carvanserai. Then we proceed to the historic trading town of Yazd.
Today we start a little later in order to rest. 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 before we go make our way to a wonder of the world - Isfahan awaits us after a four-hour drive in the evening, and the guide will tell us where to find the best kebabs near our traditional hotel.
After a relaxed breakfast, we walk to Naqshe Jahan Square (UNESCO World Heritage Site). The second largest square in the world is flanked on three sides by great architecture. Aliqapu Palace, the Shah Mosque and the masterpiece of Safavid architecture, the Sheiklotfollah Mosque. Both mosques shine with their blue tiled entrance areas and domes in the sunlight. We visit both mosques and the palace before walking to the Chehel Sotun Palace. Afterwards, we enjoy some free time to stroll through the bazaar and stroll in the large square or have lunch in one of the restaurants. Together we then visit the Azagedan tea house, which, due to its unusual decoration, resembles a real robber's cave. After having tea, coffee and / or a water pipe, the rest of the afternoon is free. Only in the evening will the tour guide take us again to marvel at the Sio se pol and Kajou bridges, which are wonderfully illuminated at night. You will definitely get a few insider tips for dinner.
We leave the hotel early in the morning and drive to Natanz. We walk through the green oasis, which is located in a high mountain valley. At lunchtime we leave the pretty village and reach Kashan in less than an hour. We spend the afternoon 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. Then we take the bus to the former Tabatabaee merchant's house and can imagine in this magnificent building how the ancient and rich Persians lived. Shortly after sunset we reach our hotel, which is in no way inferior to the merchant's house.
After breakfast, we proceed toward the vibrant capital, Tehran. At noon we reach the great Tehran bazaar (if this day falls on a Friday, we postpone the visit to the next day). We walk to the nearby Golestan Palace, where a copy of the famous peacock throne can be seen. Afterwards we walk to the National Museum and let our guide explain the numerous artifacts from pre-Islamic and Islamic times. In the evening we reach our hotel by bus. After you have freshened up, we invite you to a typical.
Today our driver takes us to the Jewel Museum, where we immerse ourselves in the world of diamonds. Then we enjoy Tehran from the one of the highest television towers in the world, the Milad Tower, we look at the metropolis with 10 million populations! Then we walk over the Tabiat Bridge to Haghani Park - seeing and being seen is the motto here and we are right in the middle! The driver takes us to Valiasr street and we discover the modern shops, chic café houses. In the late afternoon the driver brings us back to the hotel.
Today we are in no hurry and do not start our trip to the Alborz Mountains until 10:00 a.m. Eh hit the road for a small mountain road up to 2,600 m. A golden dome appears in the small village of Davoud between the 4,000 m high peaks. We reveal an insider tip, Dizi tastes particularly good here! The national dish made from beans and meat is mashed with pieces of bread in a clay pot and eaten straight from the pot - delicious! After eating there is enough time to explore the village and the holy shrine before we drive back to Tehran via the beautiful narrow road. We arrive at the hotel in the late afternoon.
The train to the Caspian Sea leaves the Tehran train station at 5:30 a.m. We leave early enough and the driver takes us to the train station in half an hour. The route to Sari is considered the most beautiful in the Middle East. At the beginning there are still corn fields, orange groves and orchards. We arrive at Sari at 2 p.m. and the driver takes us directly from the train station to the beach. We walk along the beach and watch the fishermen at work in the village of Farah Abad. For dinner today there is “Akbar Joojeh”, a stuffed chicken with pomegranate dressing – The specialty of the region!
From the coast we head towards Bandar e Turkman. Here we walk over the famous Turkman bazaar. It continues to the highest waterfall in Iran, the Kaboodall waterfall. To reach it, we hike through a gorge in the dense forest (1 hour, easy). After returning from the waterfall, we visit the Gonbad e Kavoos tower after a short drive. It is the region's landmark and the tallest and best preserved tomb tower in northern Iran and has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the early evening we reach our hotel in Minudasht.
In the early morning 4-wheel drive vehicles are waiting for us to drive into the mountains of the green Golestan National Park. It is not far to Khaled Nabi. The place is named after a pre-Islamic prophet who is said to have predicted the arrival of Jesus. From his mausoleum we walk through the green landscape to a former cemetery with phallic shaped gravestones that date from pre-Islamic antiquity and give the place a mystical impression. After we have looked around extensively, the four-wheel drive vehicles bring us even deeper into the Golestan National Park. On the way we enjoy a lunch picnic in a nice place. In the small village of Tutli Tamak, we walk to a well-located lookout point, with a bit of patience, to spot leopards, wolves, wild boars, maral deer or goiter gazelles. We have enough time to look around on our own before going back to our hotel.
After breakfast we make our way to Mashhad. First we drive through the forested region, which then changes into bush areas and grass steppes. Our tour guide always finds good places for a photo stop on the way, where we can also stretch our feet. In the afternoon, just like the traders of the ancient Silk Road, we reach Mashhad, the center of the former Persian Empire, Khorassan, is now the most important pilgrimage city in Iran. We drive directly to the Ferdowsi Mausoleum and visit the tomb of the famous Persian poet. In the early evening, the driver takes us to our centrally located hotel, past the constant streams of pilgrims on the way to the holy shrine.
The morning belongs entirely to the famous 15th century Goharshad mosque and the Imam Reza shrine. We walk from the hotel to the nearby entrance and join the pilgrimage to get to the inner courtyard, the Harram. Men and women enter through separate entrances. The women are given a chador (full-body cloak) and are told how to wear it. During a tour of the huge complex with its countless arcades and courtyards, our guide explains the peculiarities of Shiite Islam. The holy shrine inside the sanctuary can only be entered by Muslims. At lunchtime, we are very close to the Imam Reza bazaar, where we can buy the best saffron in the world at one of the stands. Numerous snacks and restaurants are available for lunch in the vicinity. The rest of the afternoon is free for your own discoveries. As a farewell you are invited to the national dish Chelo Kebab in the evening.
During the night we say goodbye to the holy city and are brought to the airport for our return flight.
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