What to see in Iran: useful info and photos

5 - 16 November 2018

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Sample travel itinerary
| Iran travel info
| Photos of Iran
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Sample travel itinerary in Iran

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If you are looking for a tour company in Iran and would like to book an Iran Tour from a reliable local operator, we highly recommend Alibabatrek. They provide either Iran tour packages and tailor-made tours, to meet the interests of visitors looking for any kind of travel experience, from adventures in unspoilt nature, to culture itineraries among fantastic cities with an incredibly rich history.


With its many attractions ranging from cities with an intriguing history, traditional villages, art, Persian and Islamic architecture, mosques, natural beauties and extreme landscapes, Iran is a country that can satisfy a huge variety of travelers looking for destinations still not yet affected by mass tourism. Let's see in more details what are the main things to see in Iran and where they can be found:

  • Art, architecture, traditions and museums. Ancient palaces sumptuously decorated for wealthy families, huge towers designed to capture the wind, traditional houses built with a mixture of clay and straw, museums holding priceless finds and immense bazaars developed among mazes of alleys: the cities along the axis between Tehran and Shiraz, crossing Isfahan and Yazd, are outstanding destinations, not to be missed, to know more about history, culture, traditions and architecture of Iran and ancient Persia.

  • Mosques and shrines. The architects who designed the Iranian mosques and shrines, whether they are a thousand year or just two centuries old, have indulged in solutions that will leave the visitors amazed. Three-dimensional holograms obtained with tiny holes in the domes, mosaics composed of millions of ceramic tiles mixed to fragments of glass or mirrors, rooms with a particular acoustics working like a microphone and amplifier, windows projecting beams of colored lights. From Tehran to Shiraz via Isfahan and Yazd, there are countless mosques, shrines and other places of worship, absolutely not to be missed.

  • Traditional villages. The Zagros mountains, in western Iran, are the best places to visit small mountain villages with houses built by a mixture of straw and clay. These remote villages, still holding traditions and dialects disappeared from the rest of Iran, are frequented by nomadic shepherds and are surrounded by a spectacular landscape very interesting also for the geology. An easily accessible mountain village with traditional red-clay houses, is Abyaneh and can be visited by taking a short detour while on the road between Isfahan and Kashan. Other remote villages require instead longer time and detours.

  • Iran deserts. Iran has several deserts among different regions of the country, showing beautiful landscapes dominated by large dunes, multicolored rocks with bizarre shapes and vast expanses of white salt. At least a couple of deserts are easily accessible and can even be visited as day trips from Kashan (so they are suitable even if you would like a cultural itinerary just between major cities): these are the Maranjab desert and the Matinabad desert. However, if you would like to spend more time in these deserts or would like to visit the more remote Lut Desert (with a landscape quite similar to some regions of Sahara desert), you need to plan a specific tour for those destinations.

  • Ruins of ancient cities. Not far from Shiraz, the ruins of Persepolis with the adjacent Necropolis and Pasargadae, are the ideal place to learn more about the Achaemenid Empire and the Persian kings, a story well documented by ancient stone inscriptions largely deciphered, by wonderful bas-reliefs dating back to 2500 years, and by precious archaeological finds now held in a museum.

  • Iran mountains. With its 5671 meters, Mount Damavand is becoming an increasingly popular destination for high altitude trekking, since it does not require complex climbing techniques, but is just a normal trek (as long as proper acclimatization to high altitude is strictly followed during the climb). Mount Alamkuh (or Alamkooh) is the third highest altitude of Iran, but to climb its 4805 meters visitors must be in very good shape and, depending on the chosen route, some experience with climbing techniques may be required. With a similar altitude, but on a relatively easier trail, Mount Sabalan is a volcano that houses a lake (ice-free only in July and August) in its summit crater, while geothermal springs and be located at various points along the sides.

  • Islands of the Persian Gulf. Off the southern coast of Iran, in the Persian Gulf, some Iranian islands offer unique landscapes quite unexpected for this part of the world, such as mangrove forests, canyons eroded by water, salt caves, colored rocks containing iron and gypsum, dramatic cliffs leading to deserted beaches. A short boat trip from a traditional fishing village will give instead the opportunity to meet countless dolphins swimming among rich coral reefs. The Iranian islands of Persian Gulf are a very little know destination, absolutely not to be missed for any nature lover.

The itinerary presented in this travelogue is mainly concentrated on the cultural aspect, on art and architecture among major cities, and takes place over 11 days. Visiting all (or most) of the attractions in Iran obviously requires much more time or multiple trips, either for the distances to be covered, either and for the time needed to fully enjoy the regions to be visited.


The main Iranian airports on which international flights operate are Tehran (IKA - Imam Khomeini) and Shiraz (SZY). Some airlines such as Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways offer the opportunity to arrive in Tehran and depart from Shiraz (or vice versa) avoiding the need to return to the starting point of the tour on the last day (and therefore avoiding a very long journey by car, or an internal flight with the related transfers between hotels and airports).


Most group tours or individual trips booked through an agency, will be operated by either a car or van with driver / guide and this is probably the best way to move around in Iran, especially for those having little time available for the holiday and for those wishing to learn as much as possible from someone knowing the country and the attractions very well (usually the cost for this kind of travel is very accessible, even for solo travelers). In Iran it is still possible to rent a car, just consider that driving in the traffic, due to the average driving style below western standard, can be difficult and that sometimes the routes to get to the destination are not always easy to find, even using a navigator. Alternatively, on short distances, you can use taxis (very cheap, especially choosing collective taxis) while major cities like Tehran and Isfahan have a good network of buses and subway. In order to travel over long distances, low cost internal flights are available (but the ticket can not always be purchased through the normal international channels), while the major cities are also connected by Iranian railways and buses.


If you wish to go to Iran but are discouraged by the negative image that newspapers and Western governments give on this country, you must know that the Iranian people are very friendly and welcoming. Traveling in Iran doesn't pose any particular risk or danger and, like you already do in any western city like Rome, Paris or New York, you just need to take care not to leave around your personal belongings unattended and to watch for pick-pockets while in crowded places. The only real safety issue when traveling in Iran may come from traffic, but it is enough just to take extra care when crossing the streets, double checking even when using pedestrian crossings.


The weather in Iran has quite important extreme temperatures both in summer and in winter, so the best time to go to Iran is in most cases the middle season, that is late spring (between April and May) and the early autumn (between mid September and mid November). Climatically speaking, even in March would be a best time to visit Iran, but we must consider that during the second half of the month there are several national holidays in a row, during which lot of Iranians travel around to visit museums, traditional houses and mosques, resulting in over-crowded places. Visiting Iran in summer is possible too, but you have to be prepared to deal with rather high temperatures (not recommended for deserts, and in any case not really comfortable for cities, as you will spend many hours walking among museums and monuments). Iran in winter can be instead very cold because not only the climate is continental, but also because most cities are located at an elevation between 1000 and 2000 meters, with possible snow showers. The dry season in Iran is summer, while most rainfall occurs between late autumn and early spring (but we are still talking about very dry regions of the world, so even during wet season, the rainfall is limited and can be managed well).


How to dress in Iran and what rules to follow on clothing in Iran can be one of the most frequently asked question (or even a source of anxiety) when planning a trip to Iran, especially by women. Many concerns are perhaps due to the fact that when people see images of Iran on TV, completely black chador are usually shown, although the real dress code in Iran is much more casual than a Western can imagine, even for women. There are however some rules that must be followed by both men and women, let's see what they are:

  • Dress code in Iran for women: women in Iran need to cover their hairs with an headscarf in every public place. Neck, shoulders and legs need to be covered as well, therefore, "long" clothing is required. Although it is recommended to use loose fitting pants and cardigans (mainly because they are more comfortable), long trousers like tight jeans are absolutely allowed. Obviously the clothes can be elegant and colorful as you like, and it is allowed to wear make-up as you wish. In case of hot weather, sandals with or without socks are allowed. The chador may be required only when visiting some shrine and, in this case, it can be rented at the entrance or purchased at a nearby bazaar.

  • Dress code in Iran for men: men in Iran must wear long trousers, while t-shirts can be short or long-sleeved. Short pants are not allowed. When it is particularly hot, men can wear sandals with or without socks. Ties are not customary, but if you want to wear it, it's not a problem.


  • Smart phone in Iran Most overseas mobile operators have roaming agreements with Iranian companies and coverage in the country is quite good in the cities and along most of the main highways. There is no coverage yet in remote places (like far away in the deserts).

  • Wifi in Iran Almost all hotels offer free Wifi, with good connection speed. It is eventually possible to buy an Iranian SIM to have Internet on your smart phone or portable router at any time.

  • Currency in Iran The official currency of Iran is the Rial, a currency usually subject to lot of fluctuation. It is also a currency with quite low value, reason for which a dinner can cost hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of Rials (however still equivalent just to a very few Euro or Dollar, as the cost of living in Iran is much lower than the western standards). To overcome the number of zeros on receipts and invoices, sometimes the Rials are indicated in Toman equivalent (one Toman equals to 10 Rials). Due to the volatility of the exchange rate, it is recommended to change only a small amount of money to Rials each time: banks and official money change kiosks can be found everywhere in the cities.

  • Credit cards in Iran Because of the economic sanctions, credit cards and ATM's belonging to international circuits will not work in Iran. It is therefore necessary to bring a sufficient amount of cash (Euro, Dollars, Pounds) to cover all the expenses for the whole stay, changing in local currency only a few amount of money each time as already suggested.

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Teheran Tehran <<-- VAI
Tehran is the city where most tour in Iran will either start or finish. We get the opportunity to visit some beautiful old palaces, several museums, a stunning mosque and the vibrant historical center with its huge bazaar.
Kashan traditional houses Kashan: traditional houses and gardens <<-- VAI
Kashan is particularly known for the traditional houses, ancient palaces built with an intriguing architecture, that housed wealthy families. We visit some of these old houses, the ancient baths and a typical Persian garden.
Abyaneh Abyaneh: a traditional village in Iran <<-- VAI
Nestled in the mountains of western Iran, in the heart of an arid desert, the traditional village of Abyaneh is entirely built by red clay mixed with straw and still preserves ancient customs now disappeared from the rest of the country.
Natanz Natanz <<-- VAI
A short detour along the highway that connects Kashan to Isfahan, lets us to discover this little known village, which houses a very old sanctuary and where visitors can experience a pottery factory that still works with traditional methods.
Isfahan Isfahan: mosques and gorgeous palaces <<-- VAI
With its large mosques finely decorated with millions of tiles and its sumptuous traditional buildings, Isfahan is one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East. Let's go to discover its intriguing architecture and its rich history.
Yazd Yazd: city of the wind-catcher towers <<-- VAI
In the heart of an arid and hot desert, the ancient inhabitants of Yazd have solved the problem of conditioning the houses through the wind-catching towers. Let's find out how these curious structures work by walking among the beautiful historical center of the city.
Persepolis ruins Persepolis, the Necropolis and Pasargadae <<-- VAI
Over 2500 years old, the ruins of Persepolis, the nearby Necropolis and Pasargadae, tell the story of the Achaemenid Empire and ancient Persia through stone inscriptions, marvelous bas-reliefs and priceless archaeological finds.
Mirror room in Shiraz Shiraz - sumptuous palaces and mosques <<-- VAI
Shiraz can be defined as the city of the gardens and ancient palaces, where the architects have used all their imagination to satisfy the requests of wealthy families. Visitors shouldn't miss the Pink Mosque and other beautiful mosques.

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