Iran is an old country with numerous tourist attractions. If it is the first time you are going to travel to Iran, its diverse climates and racial diversity could be very surprising for you, from continuous rains in the north of Iran to dry lands of Iranian deserts, and from the cold weather of Azerbayjan and Kordestan Provinces to 50ᵒC heat of southern parts of Iran, all have beautiful and surprising attractions. In this article, you will read some important points about traveling to Iran that can help you as useful guides during your visit to Iran.
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Safety while traveling to Iran
Surely, you have heard of Iran as the so-called Middle East’s Safe Island among countries in the region. Despite some terrorist groups such as ISIS and Taliban gaining power in the region, as well as some of their attacks carried out in central parts of Europe, Iran is a safe country and you can travel to Iran safely and enjoy the attractions of this country. Despite the negative news about safety in Iran, according to two international studies, Iran is as safe as European countries. (Read more about safety in Iran) When you travel to Iran, you will notice how much Iranians are respectful, friendly, hospitable and welcoming toward foreign tourists.
Tourist attractions in Iran
With a history of about several thousands of years, you confront with various tourist attractions and places of interest in Iran. In your travel to Iran you can visit following regions:
- In the south of Iran, there are port cities such as Bandar Abbas, Chabahar and beautiful Persian Gulf beaches in Qeshm and Kish Islands as touristic destinations.
- In the central part of Iran and such Provinces as Shiraz, Yazd, and Isfahan, there are many places to go for a visit. In Central Province of Iran and in Isfahan, many tourist attractions are waiting for you. As case in point: Si-o-se-pol, Pol-e Khajoo, Imam Mosque, Naqhsh-e Jahan Square, Vank Cathedral, Menarjonban, and many other monuments worth seeing. In Yazd city, there are fire-temples with thousands of years of history, as well as old wind towers, houses, and historical mud-brick castles. In Shiraz, historical monuments with global reputation such as Takht-e Jamshid, Naqhsh-e Rostam and Eram garden are from among historical places to go.
- Traveling to the north of Iran, you can enjoy very good climate and beautiful beaches of Caspean Sea, spending visionary holidays in Iran.
- In the east of Iran, especially Mashhad, there are religious places such as Holy Shrine of 8th Imam of Muslims -Imam Reza (PBUH) – visitors of which are mostly from Muslim countries coming to the city for pilgrimage and also recreation.
- In the west of the country, beautiful Iranian mountainous landscapes and traditions of the people in such provinces as Kermanshah and Azarbayjan can be enjoyable to visit.
Cultural taboos to observe in your travel to Iran
Iranian people are warm and hospitable. However, in your travel to Iran you have to respect cultural traditions of the country. Some of these traditions are rooted in religious beliefs and some in cultural and ethnic conventions. Some of the examples are:
- Alcoholic drinks are prohibited and consuming them is a crime in Iran.
- Women have to observe Islamic Hijab (covering up their hair and body). While visiting religious places, they could be asked to put on chador (a long veil).
- As a male tourist, you have not to shake hand with women as it is contrary to etiquette in Iran.
- In Iranian culture, Mosques and Holy Shrines of Imams and offsprings of Imams are specifically respectable. Visiting them, like any other religious place around the world, requires respectful and humble behavior.
- As required, it is better for female tourist to have in their bags some kind of scarf or shawl so that they would not face any problem finding one at the airport.
- According to Iranian customs, men are not expected to put on sleeveless shirts and/or short trousers in public, although it is not prohibited legally.
- Saying hello when beginning conversation with somebody or entering a shop or restaurant or even asking an address is as some kind of cultural value or respect.
- Swimming or tanning in pools or Iranian beaches (south or north of Iran) is allowed in separated places for men and women.
- If you want to take a picture of one of cultural landscapes, or especially one of the Iranian citizens, you would better to take permission.
- Entering most of the houses in Iran, you have to take off your shoes or ask if they are OK with doing. Otherwise, it could be considered as being disrespectful.
- Using compliments is ordinary in Iran. For example, when checking out, you may be told by receptionist or cashier to be our guest. Best thing to do is just to thank them.
Complete guide to Persian culture and Iranian social traditions
Climate in Iran
It does not matter in what season you are traveling to Iran, it is a four season country. All seasons of the year could be experienced within one day in different regions of the country. For example, while there is -30ᵒC in mountainous areas, in other parts of the country people are experiencing hot weather of 50ᵒC! So, before starting your travel, it is better to decide on what climate you prefer to spend your vacation in.
What is the best time for traveling to Iran?
Iranian Monetary System
- Iranian currency is Rial; however, many people use Toman instead. Each Toman equals 10 Rials; for example, 10000 Rls. Is the same 1000 Tomans.
- To pay main travel costs such as hotel costs you can make use of Euro, Dollar, or Pound and for taxi fares from airport to hotel or vice versa, it is better to use Iranian Rial.
- For other expenditures, you are required to make exchange. To do so, you have to refer to reliable currency exchanges.
- Other countries’ credit cards are not active in Iran. It is better not to carry great amounts of cash with you while sightseeing. So obtaining an Iranian credit card is one of the most important things to do.
Traditional and delicious Foods
One of interesting and exciting points remembered by many tourists as their unique and pleasant experience in their travel to Iran is the delicious Persian cuisine.
Due to wide range of different Iranian folks, Iran is a country with high food diversity, that is, visiting each of the cities, you can taste foods and pastries specifically made in that city. However, the main course of most of Iranians is rice served with different popular types of Khoresh (stews) like Ghormeh Sabzi, Gheymeh and Fesenjan. Rice cooked and served with kebab and chicken is also popular in Iran. Different types of Iranian soups and potages (Ash) such as Ash-e-Reshteh or Ash-e-Dough could also be added to the list.
If you prefer not to change your dietary habits, you have to know that various Chinese, French, Italian, and vegetarian foods are served in restaurants in big cities of the country, so you will not be restricted to Iranian foods. Fast food restaurants including those serving pizza or sandwich are also widely available in all cities.
Tea is very popular in Iran which is served with sugar cubes. There are many people also interested in coffee and Nescafé.
In general, it has to be noted that Iranian foods are among the healthiest foods in the world. By adding Persian culinary tour to your Iran journey, you can experience cooking at a Persian kitchen and create tasty memory of your Iran trip.
Read more about Top 10 delicious Persian foods
After travelling to Iran, you can take your trip via airplane, train, bus, taxi, and cars based on your requirements.
In towns and cities also, there are buses, taxis, Snapp (web based taxis). Metro is also available in big cities such as Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Mashhad.
Read more about transportation in Iran.
In this paper, the most important points about what you may face when traveling to Iran are stated. Good planning and using of reliable tourism agencies turn your trip into one of the memorable experiences of your life.