There is no way to describe this trip other than ‘full immersion’. It is a new way to explore Iran and Persian culture. The pefect combination of all travel types: Nomads, Nature, Heritage & Culture. You have a 22-day tour package taking you through the main cultural cities of Iran plus less touristic attractions and rural districts. Visiting the authentic Nomads of Iran & living a nomadic life for some days can be quite fascinating. In this trip, we provide three main benefits: 1- Epic Kooch Migration with Bakhtiari Nomads across the pristine Zagros Mountains. 2- Discovering the magnificence of Iranian nature in different locations. 3-Visiting the world’s most beautiful cities which are true testaments to the grandiosity of human creativity.
With so many different destinations in Iran to choose from, narrowing down our options would be a great help. Here in this package, apart from the main cultural cities of Iran, we meet rare ethnic nomadic communities. We will have adventure with the proud trbe of Qashqai & explore the 12000 years of Maymand with semi-nomads. The gorgeous Lut desert, one of the world’s most beautiful deserts (UNESCO Heritage site too) & the hottest place on Earth would be an underexplored jewel furthur away from touristic routes.
Day 1 & 2: Tehran / Buin va Miandasht
Day 3 & 4: Buin va Miandasht / Nomadic villages
Day 5 & 6 & 7: Nomads’ Odyssey
Day 8: Depart from Nomads / Drive to Isfahan
Day 9 & 10: Isfahan / Sepidan / Qashqai Nomads
Day 11: Shiraz / Sa’adat Shahr
Day 12: Pasargadae / Persepolis / Maymand
Day 13: Maymand / Kerman
Day 14: Kerman / Mahan / Kaluts
Day 15: Mahan
Day 16: Nayband / Esfahak
Day 17: Tabas / Azmighan village / Kal-e Jeni Valley
Day 18: Tabas / Yazd
Day 19: Yazd / Taft
Day 20: Kashan
Day 21: Departure
* We offer this tour in Spring & Fall and the location of the nomad part varies depending on the season.
● Experience a nomadic lifestyle with ‘3 nomadic Tribes’
● Exploration of the 12000 years of Maymand with semi-nomads
● Villages of ex-Nomads in the mountains famous for unique handicrafts.
● The far away Zagros Mountains with roaring waterfalls, narrow valleys, and lakes on mountain tops.
● The gorgeous Lut desert & the Valley of Genies
● A desert camp under millions of stars.
● The vibrant taste of Persian cuisine
Golestan Palace / Grand Bazaar of Tehran / The Gate of National Garden / National Museum of Iran / Glassware and Ceramic Museum of Iran / Jewelry Museum / Tabi’at Bridge / 350-year-old Ghukas Church / 5 Different Ethnic Groups in Buin va Miandasht / Bakhtiari Nomads / Khouye / Sar Agha Seyed Village / 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 / Lut Desert / Kaluts / Karim Khan-e Zand Complex / Tomb of Hafez / Pink Mosque / Narenjestan Garden / Naqsh-e Rostam / Persepolis / Pasargadae / Maymand / Jāmeh Mosque of Yazd / 150-year-old Lari House / Sirch / Rayen / Traditional Gym (Zoorkhaneh) / Amir Chakhmaq Complex / Dolat Abad Garden / Ganjali Khan Complex / Chak Chak / Mahan Shazde Garden / Nomads of Maymand & Shiraz / Esfahak Historic Village / Nayband Village / Ezmeyghan / Morteza Ali Spring / Kal-e Jeni / Borujerdi House / Agha Bozorg Mosque / Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse /
Hiking / land / visiting archeological and cultural sites
Half Challenging / Half Relaxed (4/10)
● Grand Bazaar
● Golestan Palace
● Treasury of National Jewels
Tehran is steeped in various cultures with its ancient monuments dating back to hundreds of years ago. Highlights of the city include ToopKhaneh, Golestan Palace, the old Bazaar of Tehran & the museums. The old downtown alleys are also perfect to explore.
First, we will visit the oldest square in Tehran. Then, we will go to a spectacular gem in the heart of Tehran, Golestan Palace. One of the top experiences in Tehran is a visit to the historical Grand Bazaar where you will find yourself among traditional architecture & local people. We will have a very famous crispy rice dish, Tahchin, in one of the old well-known restaurants in the bazaar. Those who are interested in architecture would enjoy taking a walk in Tabi’at Bridge.
● Walking in Si-e Tir Street
● The Gate of National Garden
● National Museum of Iran
● Glassware and Ceramic Museum of Iran
Today, we take a walk in Si-e Tir street where in Adyan street, we’ll see how different religions are practiced side by side. Then, we will visit one of the ancient, magnificent brick gates; The Gate of National Garden. In The National Museum of Iran, we get to know more about the Museum of Ancient Iran and the Museum of Islamic Archaeology and Art of Iran, and then we will go to Abgineh museum.
In the evening, we leave Tehran to go to Buin va Miandasht where it is mostly populated by Iranian Georgians.
● 5 Different Ethnic Groups in the Same Area
● 350-year-old Ghukas Church
● The Ancient Underground City
● The Stepped Nomadic Village of Sar Agha Seyyed
Buin va Miandasht has one of the loveliest weather. It is all vast green plains, mighty mountains, and 5 different ethnic groups who are living together; Fars people, Georgians, Lors, Turks, and Armenians. Back then, a group of Georgians was exiled from Georgia to Iran and now Buin va Miandasht is mainly populated by Iranian Georgians. In the morning, you are free to wander through the village and visit the ancient church & the underground city.
Around noon, we leave Buin va Miandasht and after 5 hours of driving, we reach the layered nomadic village of Sar Agha Seyyed. We stay in a local house for the night.
● Khoye Village
● Bakhtiari Nomads on Mt. Zagros
This morning, we are going to have a hike, starting from the village, continuing along with the walnut trees, going up on a mountain, we will arrive somewhere close to the salt mines of the stepped historical village Sar Agha Seyyed located in Mount Zagros’ skirt. Back then, these salt mines were of great importance for the nomads who were passing the village on their way of migration. For the lunch, we reach the next nomadic village; Khoye.
Khoye is a green nomadic village that is famous for its handicrafts. One of the eye-catching scenes in this village is the image of the girls & women behind their carpet loom weaving a Persian rug. You can also explore the semi-nomadic lifestyle of this village. Watching women bake bread, weave rugs or black tents, milk the cows, and make handicrafts, are some of the first-hand experiences we can have. Then, in the evening we’ll join the nomadic family with whom we want to experience kooch.
● Immersing in an Authentic Nomadic Lifestyle
● Scenic Beauty of Zagros Mountains
This morning, take in the spectacular view of the flock wandering around the surrounding green pastures. Today is the day of Migration (Kooch): A Great Day for the Nomads. For 3 days, we accompany the nomads & their herd of livestock in their epic migration in the 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’ flexible routine. While moving behind the flock in Zagros’ mountainous regions, don’t forget to devour the scenic beauty of the area – a view you will never forget. You are all surrounded by imposing mountains or oak trees with the sound of the sheep’s bell in your ears. Take photos and soak up the view. In the afternoon, when the Nomads stop moving & set up the black tent, you 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. You will never forget the authentic nomadic lifestyle you experienced while doing Kooch.
● Saying Goodbye to the Nomads & Zagros
In the morning, we’ll have our last nomadic breakfast with the nomads among the Zagros mountains. Then, we’ll say goodbye to the nomads and begin our 2-hour hiking to reach Lebd where our car is waiting for us. From now on, we’ll have 5 hours of driving till we reach Shahr-e Kord where we are going to have our lunch, and then 1.5 more driving to Isfahan, where we are going to stay for the night.
● Naghshe Jahan Square
● Si-o-se Pol Bridge
● Imam Mosque
● Khaju Bridge
Today and tomorrow, we visit some must-see, UNESCO registered sites & 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..
● Atiq Mosque
● Vank Church
● Nomads of Shiraz: Qashqai Nomads
In the morning, we will visit three more must-see places in Isfahan: Atiq Mosque, Vank Church, and the Jolfa neighborhood. In the afternoon, we’ll go to Sepidan; a mountainous area on the hillside of Zagros mountains, in the northwest of Shiraz. Here, we are going to visit the second main nomadic tribe of Iran: Qashqai Nomads, to taste a different nomadic way of life.
● Karim Khan-e Zand Complex (Mosque, Hamam, Bazaar)
● Tomb of Hafez
● Pink Mosque (Nasir al-Mulk Mosque)
● Narenjestan Garden
Around noon, we reach Shiraz. First, we have lunch, then we’ll go visit Karim Khan-e Zand Complex where the best architects & artists of the time were invited by Karim Khan to work on his citadel. Hafez, the most famous and acknowledged Persian poet is buried in Shiraz. People believe Hafez’s poems give them clues to the future. We can try our chance by his tomb too. The highlight of day 12 is the Pink Mosque with its otherworldly vibrant colors. The moment we step inside the mosque, it is not hard to see why people call it Pink or rainbow Mosque. In Shiraz, nothing is more pleasant to the eye than its vast green gardens. We’ll go to Narenjestan Garden to see one of these beauties built in the Qajar era.
● Naqsh-e Rostam
● Maymand: 12,000-year-old cave village of semi-nomads
In the morning, after having our breakfast, we begin our journey to go to Persepolis; the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, and Naqsh-e Rostam. Then, we’ll have our lunch in Sa’adat Shahr where we are going to have a traditional dish. In the afternoon, we’ll go to Pasargadae & the ancient capital of the Achaemenid Empire, located in Kuh-e Rahmat (Mountain of Mercy). In the evening, we bid Shiraz province farewell to go to visit the last group of Iran’s Nomads who live in one of the most fantastic authentic villages of Iran; Maymand. For the night, we’ll stay in a historic hand-made cave in the village.
● Ganjali Khan Complex
● Shah-Nematollah Vali Tomb
● Vakil Bazaar
Early in the morning, the sounds of jackals around the village wake us up. Maymand Village is situated near Shahr-e Babak in Kerman Province. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage list as an exemplary system of manmade cave dwellings locals used to cope with the region’s harsh climate. The area is a popular destination for those who’d like to experience how life has been back then in history. The houses in this ancient village are carved like caverns inside the mountain. Today we have enough time to wander around the village & devour its beauty. We’ll have a local dish at Nane Salma’s cave.
In the afternoon, we’ll go to Kerman province where we will go to Shah-Nematollah Vali Tomb and Ganjali Khan complex and the old bazaar of Vakil. The age of this grand bazaar goes back to 600 years ago.
● Food Tour
● Shazdeh Mahan Garden
First, we have a food tour in Kerman. Then, we visit Shazdeh Mahan Garden (UNESCO world heritage list), which is a grand manor with a beautiful Persian-style fountain and lush garden right at the heart of the desert. We will have our lunch in the garden. After that, we start our expedition toward Kaluts. The strange and magnificent Kaluts (sand formations) look like a deserted city from the distance. Kaluts used to be under water millions of years ago and this geological phenomenon is the result of high-velocity winds beating at the sand for millions of years. For the night, we can either camp in the heart of the desert, or stay in an ecolodge.
● Rayen Castle
In the morning, we leave Kalutes to go to Sirch; a heaven next to the desert. In Golbāf, there we will see apricot, pomegranate, grapes, etc gardens. The geological sites of the area are also of great importance & beauty. We will have our lunch in Rayen Castle, and then we’ll drive to Mahan.
● Nayband Village
● Esfahak Historic Village
We start from Ravar in Kerman province. In Dig-e Rostam, we’ll have the chance to swim in the springs’ warm water. After that, 10km later, we’ll reach 1000-year-old Nayband village where we will have our lunch. In the afternoon, on our way to Tabas, we have the historic village of Esfahak. 38 km away from Tabas, there used to be a picturesque village that was ruined in the 1978 Tabas earthquake. Although a new village was made for the villagers, the old one was also renovated. Now, this beautiful village “is one of the seven nominees shortlisted for the To Do Award”.
Arched doorways, the historic bathhouse (khazineh), domed roofs with skylights, and small windows are some of the features of this unique village; sometimes referred to as the Moroccan Village. We’ll stay in Esfahak for the night.
● Morteza Ali Spring
● Kal-e Jeni
After an hour driving, and then an enjoyable walk in an alley & passing Shah Abbasi Dam, in thirty kilometers from Tabas, we’ll reach Morteza Ali Fountain where we can not only enjoy the beauty of the landscape but see how hot and cold water is flowing in the same stream. Morteza Ali Fountain & Shah Abbasi Dam are the Natural-Historical monuments of the area. For noon, we’ll be in Ezmeyghan. Ezmeyghan or Azmiqan is an incredible green jewel of a village, located in the heart of the desert in South Khorasan province. With its rushing rivers, the people of Azmiqan are able to cultivate vegetables, citrus trees, palm trees, and the most awe-striking of all: rice. In the afternoon, we are going to have our exciting hike among strange rocks and tall stone walls in Kal-e Jeni valley (a 10 km. long canyon in the desert). We will stay in Azmiqan for the night.
● Chak Chak
● Zeinodin Caravanserai
On the way to Yazd, we’ll go to Kharānaq & Chak Chak; One of the Zoroastrian Temples. In Zoroastrian belief, Chak Chak is where Nikbanou, the second daughter of the last pre-Islamic Persian ruler, Yazdegerd III of the Sassanid Empire, was cornered by the invading Arab army in 640 CE. Fearing capture Nikbanou prayed to Ahura Mazda to protect her from her enemies. In response to Nikbanou’s pleadings, the mountain miraculously opened up and sheltered her from the invaders.
For the night, we will stay in Zeinodin Caravanserai.
● Jāmeh Mosque of Yazd
● Amir Chakhmaq Square
● Towers of Silence
● Dolat Abad Garden
● The Fire Temple of Zoroastrianism
The next morning, we’ll go to Pahlavanpur Garden. Then, 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 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. Then, 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. At night, we’ll be in Taft.
● Borujerdiha Historical House
● Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse
● Agha Bozorg Mosque
● Bazaar of Kashan
On our way from Taft to Kashan, we’ll have a break in Naein where we’ll visit its Jāmeh Mosque. Then in Kashan, we’ll visit Borujerdiha Historical House. In the evening we will go to a traditional bathhouse or hammam; Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse. and then Agha Bozorg Mosque, a symmetric architectural masterpiece built in the 18th century. We also go to the Bazaar of Kashan called Timche to know more about the Persian carpet.
You fly to Tehran & prepare for your homeward flight. If we have time, we can go to Darband.
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Nick and I had the most wonderful trip, tailored, often spontaneously, to our last minute requests. Saba, Hossein and Navid were charming guides often going out of their way to give us a more authentic experience. Due to weather conditions we were unable to do the full few days with the Nomads, instead we were presented with wonderful solutions. Leave all your preconceived ideas behind and allow this young team to show you with pride their wonderful country. I wish them every success.