Within the majestic Zagros mountain ranges lives a group of authentic people who are nomads of Iran. They have always been in the mountains like their ancestors, for the mountains are sacred. During the first week, we join these indigenous people of Iran to accompany them in their seasonal transhumance. We then join the classic route to visit some of the main cultural centers. This tour combines the less-traveled roads with the most popular route in Iran which makes it a perfect two-week adventure.
Day 1: Fly Ahvaz / Arrive Shushtar
Day 2: Shimbar Waterfall
Day 3: Nomads’ Odyssey
Day 4: Nomads’ Odyssey
Day 5: Nomads’ Odyssey / Khoye Village
Day 6: Sar Agha Seyed Village / Chelgard / Koohrang
Day 7: Arrive Shahr-e Kord / Isfahan
Day 8: Isfahan
Day 9: Varzaneh Desert
Day 10: Varzaneh / Yazd
Day 11: Yazd
Day 12: Kashan
Day 13: Kashan / Tehran
Day 14: Tehran / Departure
● Enjoy a fascinating cultural exchange with Iran’s indigenous people
● Experience the pristine nature of Iran
● Hike Zagros mountain range while accompanying nomads in their seasonal transhumance
● Explore one of the oldest civilizations on Earth
Karoon River / Haft-Tappeh / Chogha-Zanbil / Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System / Negin Bridge / Shimbar Waterfall / Ancient Nomadic Trails / Mt. Zagrous Hinterlands / Sar Agha Seyed Village / Koohrang Spring / Shahr-r Kord / Isfahan / / Naghshe Jahan Square in Isfahan, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque / Shah Mosque / Ali Qapu / Chehel Sotoun Palace / Si-o-se Pol Bridge / Khaju Bridge / Atiq Mosque / Vank Church / Varzaneh Desert / Gav-Khuni Pond / Jāmeh Mosque of Yazd / 150-year-old Lari House / Traditional Gym (Zoorkhaneh) / Amir Chakhmaq Complex / Dolat Abad Garden / Zein-o-Din Caravanserai / in Puppet Museum House / Tabatabaei House / Borujerdi House / Agha Bozorg Mosque / Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse / Golestan Palace / Grand Bazaar of Tehran / Melli Garden / Jewelry Museum / Tabi’at Bridge
Walking / Hiking / Camping / Anthropology Sites
Half Challenging, Half Relaxing
Picking you up from Ahvaz airport, we move to Shushtar. On our way, we can visit Karoon River which is the longest river in Iran and the only one connected to international waters. Then we’ll visit Haft-Tappeh and Tchogha-Zanbil (It is the first Iranian site registered in UNESCO World Heritage Site). Apart from the historical monument, the mysterious footprint of a child going back to centuries ago is worth seeing. After lunch and a short rest, we’ll go to Shushtar’s historical watermills to see how in ancient times the locals channeled the water.
Today, we are going to see Negin Bridge and Shimbar Waterfall. Every season in this area has its own beauty. In spring there is a bright green carpet on its plains, and in autumn the golden foliage and morning mists are awe-inspiring. After having lunch in a local house, we will have around three hours of hiking to reach the Nomad’s campsite in Mt. Zagros. We set up our tent next to the nomads’ under the starry sky. At night, we’ll sit by the fire to have tea while nomads are doing their everyday routines. Tomorrow is the day of KUCH! When we are going to follow nomads in their seasonal transhumance.
During the next 3 days, we are going to experience some adventurous moments that would stick in our memory forever. While we are passing Mt. Zagros with the indigenous people of Iran and their herd of livestock, we have time to take in the breathtaking views of valleys and peaks. These Bakhtiari nomads are the most authentic nomads of Iran who haven’t changed much in the past several thousand years. They still do seasonal migrations. We are going to do ‘Kuch’ (Migration) with them and for a few days immerse ourselves in their traditional lifestyle. It is like traveling back in time; a ‘living museum’ of indigenous people of Iran. That’s why it is called an ‘Odyssey’. For 3 days we accompany them in their epic migration in Zagros mountain ranges. During these 3 days, we have an overall of 42 km of hiking. ‘Flexibility’ is a keyword since there is no fixed plan due to the Nomads’ ever-changing routine (sometimes we face some unexpected adventures to which we need to adapt ourselves). Magnificent mountain ranges, clear skies, fantastic sceneries, nomads and their unique lifestyle, sheep & goats, and the sound of their bells are some of the things we are going to experience. We can help the nomads by shepherding, collecting woods, and fetching water. We can witness how nomad women make bread and milk goats. In the afternoon, when the Nomads stop moving & set up the black tent, we have plenty of quiet to enjoy the spectacular surroundings. At nights, a cool night’s sleep under the starry sky in the lower mountain temperatures would be quite enjoyable.
On day 5, we will have breakfast with our nomad family, then we say goodbye & continue our expedition to an amazing mountainous village called Khouye. After 3 days of migration with the nomads, a comfortable cozy village house would be a perfect lodge. In this village, we have the opportunity to go around the fruit orchards and old village houses where women are making Persian carpet, handicrafts, and weaving black tents. We will stay in the village for the night.
In the morning, we’ll have a hearty breakfast in a village house facing imposing mountains. Then, we’ll have time to explore the village. Our next destination is the amazing historical stepped village; Sar Agha Seyyed Village. Here we have the chance of appreciating the views of the old village houses where the yard of one, is the roof of the other. We’ll see women carrying oak fruits coming back to the village. The salt mines and the beautiful waterfall are also worth visiting. Zagros has always been the highest and hardest part of each nomadic migration. For more than thousands of years, Nomads have stopped in this village on their way to summer or winter pastures to buy the things they need. Koohrang Spring is the next breathtaking view we are going to see. It is the biggest spring in Iran which is very rarely visited by passengers due to the hard-to-reach nature of the place & the rough road. For the night, we will stay in Koohrang hotel.
At noon, we reach Isfahan. Today and tomorrow, we visit some must-see places in Isfahan. Here we have the chance to see unique Persian architecture. There is a Persian proverb saying ‘Isfahan is half of the world’, referring to its so many palaces, mosques, gardens, bridges, etc. We will visit some famous places in Isfahan like Naghshe Jahan Square which holds Ali Qapu Palace, Imam Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and the Imperial Bazaar. The afternoon is yours to have some rest. Sunset is the best time to go to Si-o-se Pol Bridge, Khaju Bridge, or the other bridges. For dinner the amazing Isfahani cuisine Beryan & Khoresht-e Mast await us.
In the morning, we visit three more must-see places in Isfahan; Atiq Mosque / Vank Church and Jolfa neighborhood. After having lunch in an old restaurant, in 2-hour driving we reach Varzaneh. Sunset in the desert, over the sandhills, would be one of the highlights of the trip. For the night, you can either stay in Negar guesthouse or camp under the starry sky. The next day, you can try making a Persian cuisine in a local house (the guesthouse can arrange an optional Persian cooking class).
● Amir Chakhmaq Complex
● Dolat Abad Garden
● Tower of Silence
● Zein-o-Din Caravanserai
Today, after lunch we leave Varzaneh to go to Yazd. On our way, we’ll pass the desert and visit the well-known wetland; Gav-Khuni Pond, which is worth seeing. The reeds have grown all along Zayanderud and drakes & Flamingos are all around the river (of course not all the time, but in some seasons). This is where Zayanderud ends. By the evening, we are in the noble city of Yazd. We’ll settle in Nartitee Ecolodge, in Taft district. The evening is yours to explore Taft village by bike. The village has beautiful fruit orchards especially pomegranate.
The next morning, we’ll see a very notable mosque in Yazd; Jāmeh Mosque. Here we have our chance to see masterpieces of calligraphy, delicately made mosaics on its dome & mihrab, and one of the tallest tiled entrances in Iran. The 150-year-old Lari house, a good example of a luxurious house of the 13th century, is the house in which we can visit traditional Yazd architecture. Yazd glorious sunset is watched in a roof café and then we’ll see one of the Iranian ancient sports used to train warriors in the past. The night we sleep in the million stars hotel on the roof of the ecolodge.
On day 11, we’ll go to see a large impressive historical square in the center of Yazd; Amir Chakhmaq Complex. Then, we’ll go to Dolat Abad Garden. This garden has the tallest windward in the world and it is registered-in-UNESCO-World-Heritage-Sites. After lunch, we’ll visit Zoroastrian Towers of Silence (dakhme) which used to be an open burial pit in which Zoroastrians used to do their burial rituals. Our experience of silence reaches its peak when we stay in a caravanserai situated on the ancient Silk Road for the night: Zein-o-Din Caravanserai. The clear starry night sky, peace, and tranquility are some of the experiences we’re going to have.
The must-see places we are going to visit in Kashan can be classified into 3 groups: historical houses, mosques, and nature. We’ll stay in Puppet Museum House located in the heart of Kashan and surrounded by well-known historical houses like Tabatabaei House, Borujerdi House. We’ll visit the houses and hear the stories. In the evening we go to Agha Bozorg Mosque, a symmetric architectural masterpiece built in the 18th century, and Bazaar of Kashan called Timche to know more about Persian carpet.
The next day, we’ll go to see a traditional bathhouse or hammam; Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse. Last but not least, we’ll go to one of the surrounding villages to see its scenic natural beauty.
Back to Tehran, we are going to visit Golestan Palace, Grand Bazaar of Tehran, Melli Garden, Jewelry Museum, and Tabi’at Bridge. Golestan Palace used to be Qajar royal abode. The garden, architecture, thrones rooms and museums are really worth seeing. The palace is registered in UNESCO. The Grand Bazaar of Tehran with its unique architecture is also a must-see. We can wander through its labyrinthine for hours.
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