places Visited: Tehran | Ahvaz | Shiraz | Kerman | Yazd | Naein | Isfahan | Kashan
On this sumptuous 15-day tour, visit some of Iran’s finest UNESCO World Heritage Sites and museums, and travel through beautiful, rugged landscapes to visit its most important towns and cities. This comprehensive itinerary includes Iran’s key historical and cultural sights with time to absorb its two most important destinations.
Tehran’s spectacular National Museum displaying artefacts and treasures of ancient and Islamic Iran.
Persepolis and other UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Zoroastrian Fire Temple and Towers of Silence in Yazd.
Julfa, Isfahan’s historic Armenian neighbourhood.
Enjoying local cuisine and café tea-drinking culture.
Arrive at Tehran’s international airport and transfer to hotel. Rest of day/evening at leisure. Overnight Tehran.
Visit the world-class National Museum showcasing the art and artefacts of Ancient Iran and an astounding collection of treasures of Islamic Iran. Also visit the Glassware and Ceramic Museum, the vast 18th– and 19th-century Golestan Palace complex and the Carpet Museum. Late evening flight to Ahvaz. Overnight Ahvaz.
Full day excursion to Susa and nearby region visiting the Chogha-Zanbil Ziggurat and Daniel’s Tomb. At Shushtar see one of the world’s oldest man-made hydraulic systems. Overnight Ahvaz
Drive to Shiraz. En-route visit the ancient walled city of Bishapur and the Palace of Ardeshir, and examine the bas-reliefs of the Temple of Anahita. Arrive late evening. Overnight Shiraz
Walk through some of Shiraz’s legendry gardens, visit the tombs of Hafiz and Saadi (the great Iranian poets), stroll in the city’s famous covered Bazaar, visit the Vakil Mosque and bath complex, and the beautiful 19th-century Nasir al-molk Mosque with its stunning tilework.
Explore Persepolis (about an hour from Shiraz and probably Iran’s most impressive pre-Islamic monument) with its majestic columns, ceremonial staircases, chambers and stunning bas reliefs celebrating the triumphs of the Achaemenid Empire. Visit the nearby necropolis of Naqsh-e Rostam, the burial place of Achaemenid emperors, and the tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae. Overnight Shiraz both days
Early morning drive to Kerman pausing en route at Sarvistan to visit the 5th-century Sassanid Palace standing in an immense plain. After a picnic lunch there is another halt at Neyriz to visit the Jame Mosque, one of Iran’s oldest mosques. Late evening arrival in Kerman. Overnight Kerman.
Visit the 15th-century Shah Nematollah Vali shrine (the mausoleum of a renowned mystic and poet) and the 19th-century Shazdeh Garden (a traditional Persian ornamental garden) in nearby Mahan, and Arg-e Rayen (Rayen Castle), one of Iran’s most impressive and best preserved mudbrick, or adobe, fortresses. Overnight Kerman
Morning exploration of Kerman’s main sites including the Ganjali Khan complex, a huge 17th-century ensemble of public square, arcaded bazaars, a caravanserai, mint, mosque and bathhouse. After lunch drive to Yazd for late evening arrival. Overnight Yazd
Yazd is the historic centre of Zoroastrian culture – visit the famous Atash Behram ‘fire temple’ and the ancient ‘towers of silence’. Stroll through the old town visiting its main monuments and historical sites: the stunning Friday Mosque, Amir Chachmaq square and pavilion, and the magnificent Dolat Abad garden with its unique wind tower. Overnight Yazd
Early morning start for Isfahan. Drive through the starkly beautiful desert dotted with monuments and settlements. Pause at Narin Castle, the caravanserai complex in Meybod. Stop at the small town of Nain which is famed for its carpets and has one of Iran’s earliest and most beautiful mosques. Continue to Isfahan for early evening arrival. Overnight Isfahan
One of Iran’s great destinations, Isfahan is sometimes known as Nesf-e Jahan (meaning ‘half the world’) and is graced with some of the country’s finest and most celebrated architecture. Stroll through the great Naqsh-e Jahan Square (or Maidan-e Imam) and its ensemble of domed mosques and delicate palaces. The nearby 17th-century bazaar is a masterpiece of urban design and still thronged with locals and small, almost boutique-like shops. Visit Julfa, the historic Armenian neighbourhood whose churches display a distinctive mix of Christian symbols and liturgy with an Iranian architectural style. Overnight Isfahan both days
Early morning drive to Tehran pausing in the ancient city of Kashan to visit Fin Garden, a 16th– to 19th-century classic Persian walled garden with channels of flowing water and pretty pavilions. After lunch visit a traditional Persian ‘palazzo’ townhouse. Arrive Tehran late evening. Overnight Tehran (in airport hotel).
Short ‘skywalk’ transfer for departure flights.