For creating a memorable journey for you to the grand Persia, we have planned a 28-day tour, taking you to the main cultural cities of Iran, as well as the less-known touristic attractions and rural districts. Also Included in the plan is visiting the authentic Nomads of Iran & living a genuinely nomadic life with them for a couple of days. From what we have seen and heard from travelers’ feedback, interacting with nomadic communities and living their minimal lifestyle for a while is a fascinating, enriching experience. From getting to knowing a rich culture & enjoying a breathtaking nature, you will find all you ask for in a trip, through a visit to Iran. For many travelers, one of the main reasons for visiting Iran is to taste Persian cuisine & that is certainly a good reason to be fair. That’s why we will have a food tour for you in one of the southern cities too!
Driving through the picturesque spots in Iran and visiting the pristine places or the less known ethnicities the heart of the mountains is the ultimate trip for the adventurous soul. If you are interested in visiting various landscapes and acquiring authentic experiences, then this route calls you over.
In the following section, we have mapped out the must-see & UNESCO-inscribed sites and roadside attractions for you from all around Iran which are included in our 28 day tour:
Day 1 & 2: Tehran
Day 3: Qazvin, Soltanieh
Day 4: Rasht
Day 5: Rasht / Fuman / Masuleh
Day 6: Ardabil / Sareyn
Day 7: Meshgin Shahr / Tabriz / Kandovan
Day 8: Tabriz / Jolfa / Khoy
Day 9: Khoy / Urmia
Day 10: Mahabad / Takab
Day 11: Mariwan / Kurdistan
Day 12: Uraman Takht / Palangan
Day 13: Kermanshah (Bisotun) / Susa
Day 14: Susa / Tchogha Zanbil / Shushtar / Nomads’ Pasture
Day 15-17: Nomads’ Odyssey
Day 18: Khoye Village
Day 19: Sar Agha Seyyed Village / Isfahan
Day 20: Isfahan
Day 21: Isfahan / Yazd
Day 22: Yazd / Zein-o-Din Caravanserai
Day 23: Kerman / Kalut
Day 24: Mahan / Maymand
Day 25: Sa’adat Shahr / Pasargadae
Day 26: Persepolis / Shiraz
Day 27: Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region / Qashqai Nomads
Day 28: Fly from Shiraz to Tehran / Departure
* We offer this tour in Spring & Fall and the location of the nomad part varies depending on the season.
● Visiting almost all the UNESCO-inscribed sites of Iran
● Experiencing a nomadic lifestyle with ‘3 lovely nomadic Tribes’
● Exploring the 12000 years of Maymand with semi-nomads
● visiting villages of ex-Nomads in the mountains famous for unique handicrafts.
● Enjoying the far away Zagros Mountains view with roaring waterfalls, narrow valleys, and lakes on mountain tops.
● visiting the gorgeous Lut desert
● Camping in the desert under millions of shining stars.
● Trying the vibrant taste of Persian cuisine
● Persia Classic Route
Golestan Palace / Grand Bazaar of Tehran / The Gate of National Garden / National Museum of Iran / Glassware and Ceramic Museum of Iran / Jewelry Museum / Bakhtiari Nomads / Khoye / 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 / Traditional Gym (Zoorkhaneh) / Amir Chakhmaq Complex / Dolat Abad Garden / Ganjali Khan Complex / Mahan Shazde Garden / Nomads of Maymand & Shiraz / Borujerdi House / Agha Bozorg Mosque / Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse / Sassanid Archaeological Landscape / Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System / Haft Tapeh / Shâdorvân Bridge / Susa / Bisotun / Taq-e Bustan / Takieh Mo’aven ol-Molk / Biglar Beigi Tekyeh / Uramanat Village / Palangan / Lake Zarivar / Asef Mansion / Masjed-e Jameh of Sanandaj / Khosro Abad Mansion / Takht-e Soleyman / Prison of Solomon / Sahoulan Cave / Teppe Hasanlu / Assyrian Churches / Kazem Dashi Castle / Khan Takhti / Shams-e Tabrizi Tomb / Saint Sarkis Church / St Thaddeus (Qare Church) / St Stepanos / Tabriz Historic Bazaar /Kandovan village / Meshginshahr Suspension Bridge / Ancient Ruins of Shahr Yeri / Sheikh Safi-od-Din Mausoleum / Pol-e Jajim / The Historical City of Masouleh / Bojaq National Park / Gilan Rural Heritage Museum / ● Soltaniyeh / Old Bazaar of Qazvin / Caravanserai of Sa’d al-Saltaneh / Chehel Sotoun Palace / Jameh Mosque of Qazvin / Ali Qapu Portal
Hiking / land / visiting archeological and cultural sites
Half Challenging / Half Relaxed (4/10)
● Grand Bazaar
● Golestan Palace
● Treasury of National Jewels
● Melli Garden
● The National Museum of Iran
● Glassware and Ceramic Museum of Iran
● Saadabad Historical Complex
Tehran is steeped in various cultures with some of 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.
For starters, we will visit the oldest square in Tehran. We will then go to a spectacular gem in the heart of Tehran, Golestan Palace, a UNESCO-inscribed site in Iran. 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 serve you a famous crispy rice dish, Tahchin, in one of the well-known restaurants in the bazaar. Those who are interested in architecture would enjoy Saadabad Historical Complex. We will also visit some interesting museums.
● Old Bazaar of Qazvin
● Caravanserai of Sa’d al-Saltaneh
● Chehel Sotoun Palace
● Jameh Mosque of Qazvin
● Ali Qapu Portal
On day 3, we will have a nice visit to the capital of calligraphy in Iran, Qazvin province, which once has been the capital of Persia & which is famous for its carpets and seedless grapes. There are a handful of historical and religious monuments in the city worth visiting: the historical mosques, bazaars, traditional houses, holy shrines, gates, tombs, caravansaries, and mansions. But it’s primarily the staging point for excursions to the famous Castles of the Assassins and trekking in the sensational Alamut Valley. Last but not the least, we will have a look at the UNESCO-inscribed 7000-year-old Soltaniyeh and the mausoleum which are brilliant examples of outstanding achievements of Persian architecture in ancient times.
● Bojaq National Park
● Gilan Rural Heritage Museum
Nothing more than Rasht; the picturesque capital city of Gilan, represents this lively province. Its lovely town square & the two rivers that run through the city and out to the Caspian Sea are the highlights of this province, not to mention the scenic beauty & green nature of the area. Rasht is also known to be one of the best spots when it comes to culinary experiences. Gilan rural heritage museum, the largest eco-museum of the middle east is our next destination where we can get an accurate picture of different cultures and vogues of traditional Gilak people. Nine villages & their cultures and lifestyles are depicted in nine different sections and it would be a comprehensive encyclopedia of the whole area. From urban excitement to wandering in its nature, Gilan is a gem. Bojaq National Park makes a great introduction to the nature of the area. We’d also have a chance for bird-watching!
● The Historical City of Masouleh
Along with the Alborz mountain ranges, near the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, stands one of the most scenic villages of Iran: Masuleh. The age of this village goes back to as much as eight hundred to a thousand years! The unique architecture of the village, the natural beauty of the area & the lush green sceneries are the highlights of the site. In Fuman, we get to visit the Rudkhan Castle and enjoy its delicious cookies. on the way up to the castle.
● Sheikh Safi-od-Din Mausoleum
● Pol-e Jajim
● Covered Bazaar
● Jameh Mosque
When it comes to a combination of history & nature, few places can compete with the historic cities and dry mountains of Ardabil. The Unesco-inscribed Safavid monument, Sheikh Safi-od-Din Mausoleum, is by far the greatest attraction of the area.
A truly gigantic brick edifice, Jameh Mosque, was built on the site of a Sassanian fire temple. Pol-e Jajim, is the most famous bridge among Ardabil’s restored bridges across the Baliqli Chay (Fishy River). Next comes Sareyn, one of the mountainous towns of Ardabil. Located on the foothills of Sabalan, a high volcanic mountain, Sareyn is famous for its hot springs.
● Tabriz Historic Bazaar
● Kandovan village
● Meshginshahr Suspension Bridge
● Ancient Ruins of Shahr Yeri
Passing through the suspended bridge of Meshgin Shahrwe, we will have the perfect view of the area; of the river and the jungle beneath our feet, and of Sabalan peak. There is also a zip line which would add some excitement to the whole experience. On the other side of the bridge, we can try riding camels & horses, drinking tea in nomads’ tents, eating Āsh-e doogh, etc.
Visiting the carved faces & the stone gates of Shahr Yeri is an inseparable part of any visit to Meshgin Shahr, as it is home to a series of extraordinary monuments. The 3500-year-old ruins have around 450 tombs with figures of humans with a hand and sword or human faces with no mouth. The women’s stones have hair clips and this is how they are recognized by the men. At night, we’ll stay in a nomadic eco-camp (Dourna). We will then move toward Kandovan to see how the ash and debris from Mount Sahand have made a village when the now-dormant volcano erupted at some point in the last 11,000 years. Next, we will go to Tabriz, another UNESCO-inscribed cultural site, and among other things, we’ll get to visit its historic bazaar complex, one of the most important commercial centers on the Silk Road.
● St Thaddeus (Qare Church)
● St Stepanos
The genuine beauty of this landscape is incredibly eye-catching, especially in the spring when there is a waterfall &, the wild almond and berries on our way. We won’t miss Jolfa in the north of Tabriz either, where we’ll visit the UNESCO-inscribed Saint Stepanos, situated in a deep canyon & Saint Thaddeus Monastery, believed to be one of the oldest church buildings in the world. We also get to see the Aras, a river that flows between Iran, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.
● Teppe Hasanlu
● Assyrian Churches
● Kazem Dashi Castle
● Khan Takhti
● Shams-e Tabrizi Tomb
● Saint Sarkis Church
On this day of the tour, we’re doing some sightseeing in Urmia. First, we’ll visit the lake of Urmia & then proceed to the archeological site of the ancient city of Teppe Hasanlu & its 3000-year old cemetery. The Assyrian churches in the area are our next destination where we’d delve into some interesting historic sites. Another historic monument in Lake Urmia is the 2000 year old Kazem Dashi Castle, located on a rocky island and written on our to-visit list. In Khan Takhti village, we’ll see the huge flat slab of stone with its unique carvings. & lastly, we will go to Khoy where we will visit the Tomb of Shams Tabrizi(master of Mowlana, the Great) & Saint Sarkis Church. The tomb has been recently nominated as a World Cultural Heritage Center by UNESCO.
● Takht-e Soleyman (UNESCO-inscribed)
● Prison of Solomon
● Sahoulan Cave
In a volcanic mountain in north-western Iran, there is the archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman (“Throne of Solomon”) which is the principal sanctuary of Zoroastrianism. Inside this magnificent site, there is an artesian lake, a Zoroastrian fire temple, a temple dedicated to Anahita (the divinity of the waters), and a Sasanian royal sanctuary, all of them of high symbolic & spiritual importance. Then, we will have a look at the remains of the Prison of Solomon (Zendan-e Soleiman) which is a natural hollow cone and an extinct volcano with remains of temple structures surrounding the peak. Sahoulan Cave is our next destination: a Water cave to be the settlement of people since 2000 B.C. We will ride a boat to discover its attractions and in some areas, we’ll walk through the cave. For the night, we will be staying in Ater Ecolodge in Takab.
● Lake Zarivar
● Asef Mansion
● Masjed-e Jameh of Sanandaj
● Khosro Abad Mansion
The scenic lake of Zaivar with all its local & migratory birds and fauna and its surrounding mountains is the main attraction of Marivan. In summer we can pedal a swan boat and in winter, we can devour the beauty of the mountains dressed in snow. In Kurdistan, we’ll visit a museum of Kurdish culture; Asef Mansion, which goes back to the Safavids period. We also get the chance to know more about the architecture of the area and the Kurdish culture. Then, we’ll visit the Qajar-era mosque of the city, and Khosro Abad Mansion where we’ll have the chance to see the rituals & ceremonies.
● Uramanat Village
Located in the Kurdistan province nestled on the side of a mountain, UNESCO-inscribed Uramanat (or Hooraman) is a picturesque village. Just like Masouleh, this village has also a stepped architecture. What makes Uramanat distinctive is a unique festival called “Pir-e-Shalyar” which happens twice a year, at the beginning of spring and autumn. In this festival, locals celebrate with traditional music, spiritual dancing, and eating a special kind of Āsh. But even if you don’t arrive in time to witness this one-of-a-kind celebration, you can still enjoy the breathtaking views, refreshing weather, and organic local food in this charming village in Iran. Enlisted as a national monument in Iran, Palangan village in Kurdistan province, is our next destination where we are going to visit not only the fantastic nature and stony houses, but the Palangan Castle which dates back to the Medes and the Cyaxares era.
● Taq-e Bustan
● Takieh Mo’aven ol-Molk
● Biglar Beigi Tekyeh
If you want to visit one truly cultural-historical monument in Iran, the UNESCO-inscribed Bisotun inscription is an excellent choice. The largest, most famous, and the first known Iranian inscription, Bisotun has always been a dream destination. In the afternoon, we’ll go to Takieh Mo’aven ol-Molk; a Shiite shrine where some plays are performed during the Islamic month of Muharram to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hossein in 680 at Karbala & BiglarBeigi Tekyeh، and then around sunset when the cliffs turn to a pleasant orange color, we’d go to Taq-e Bustan which was originally the Parthian royal hunting garden.
● Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System
● Mostofi House
● Tchogha Zanbil
● Shâdorvân Bridge
● Haft Tapeh
To have a fresh start, we will be visiting the complex, UNESCO-inscribed irrigation system of the island city of Shushtar from the Sassanid era. The 13 dams, bridges, canals, and structures working together as a hydraulic system is one of the must-sees of Shushtar. After visiting Tchogha Zanbil, we will have lunch in the traditional Mostowfi Museum and Restaurant. While having lunch, we’ll have a pleasant view of one of the wonders of the world; the Shâdorvân Bridge, a 500m long overflow dam over the Karun. In the afternoon, we’ll go to the UNESCO-inscribed Susa to see a group of archaeological mounds rising on the eastern side of the Shavur River, as well as Ardeshir’s palace. Then, we will go to Haft Tapeh, an archaeological site consisting mainly of the remains of the Elamite.
In the evening, we will leave Shushtar to join the nomads in their pasture. We will have a few hours of driving and then hiking on Zagros ranges to reach them. There, we will be surrounded by mighty Zagros mountains. From its tough mountains to its beautiful rivers and wildlife, Zagros is a place where one can communicate freely with Mother Nature.
● Immersing in an Authentic Nomadic Lifestyle
● Scenic Beauty of Zagros Mountains
On the morning of the 15th day, we will be surrounded by the spectacular view of the herd wandering around the surrounding green pastures. Finally comes the day of nomadic migration (Kooch): A big day for the nomads. We accompany the nomads & their herd in their epic migration in the mighty Zagros mountain ranges. During these 3 days, we will have an overall of 42 kms of hiking. ‘Flexibility’ is key in the journey since there is no fixed plan due to nomads’ natural and personal considerations. While moving behind the flock in the Zagros mountains, take a moment to grasp the unique beauty of the area – a view you will never forget. You are surrounded from all sides by imposing mountains or oak trees, hearing the sound of the sheep’s bell here and there. Don’t forget to take photos and soak up the atmosphere. In the afternoon, when the nomads stop to take a break & set up the black tent, you have plenty of quiet time to introspect and enjoy the spectacular surroundings. At night, a very much needed night’s sleep under the starry sky in the chilly mountain weather would be quite memorable. You will never forget the authentic nomadic lifestyle you will experience while doing Kooch.
● Departing from the Nomads & Zagros
● Khoye Village
In the morning, we’ll have our last breakfast with the nomads of Zagros followed by saying goodbye to them. Then, we are going to do some hiking, starting from the village, continuing along the walnut trees, going up a mountain, and eventually arriving somewhere close to the salt mines of the stepped historical village, Sar Agha Seyyed, located in the skirt of Zagros mountain. Back in time, these salt mines were of great importance for the nomads who were passing the village on their way of Kooch (migration). For lunch, we will settle another nomadic village; Khoye.
A green nomadic village, Khoye is famous for its handicrafts. One of the eye-catching scenes in the village is the image of the girls & women behind their carpet loom weaving Persian rug. You can explore the semi-nomadic lifestyle of this village if you wish and observe women of the village bake bread, weave rugs or black tents, milk the cows, and make handicrafts.
● Village of Sar Agha Seyyed
● Naghshe Jahan Square
● Si-o-se Pol Bridge
● Atiq Mosque
● Vank Church
In these two days of the tour, we will visit some of the UNESCO-inscribed sites in Isfahan. But first, we will take some time to visit the layered village of Sar Agha Seyyed. There’s probably no better place to introduce the elegant, artistic Persian architecture than Isfahan. There is a saying in Persian that ‘Isfahan is half of the world’, referring to its many palaces, mosques, gardens, bridges, etc. Also in the plan is to visit some famous places in Isfahan like Naghshe Jahan Square which itself includes Ali Qapu Palace, Imam Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and the Imperial Bazaar. The afternoon is yours to have some rest and sunset is the best time to go to Si-O-Se Pol Bridge, Khaju Bridge, or other bridges in Isfahan. For dinner, the popular Isfahani cuisine, Beryani & Khoresht-e Mast awaits us.
In the morning, we will visit three more must-see places in Isfahan: Atiq Mosque, 400-year-old Vank Church, and the Jolfa neighborhood. The beautiful and detailed artwork, the painting, and the museums inside the church have made the place worth visiting.
● Pahlavanpur Garden
● Jāmeh Mosque
● Lari house
● Traditional Gym (Zoorkhaneh)
● Amir Chakhmaq Complex
● Dolat Abad Garden
● Tower of Silence
In the historic, UNESCO-inscribed city of Yazd, we have planned to first visit Pahlavanpour Garden. Shortly after that, we will visit a notable mosque in Yazd; Jāmeh Mosque. There, we also have the opportunity to see masterpieces of calligraphy, delicately made mosaics on the mosque’s 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 see the traditional architecture of Yazd. We will enjoy the city’s glorious sunset in a rooftop café and then we’ll see one of the ancient Iranian sports used to train warriors in the past.
The impressive, historical square in the center of Yazd; Amir Chakhmaq Complex is our next destination and Dolat Abad Garden comes next. This garden has the tallest windward in the world and it is a UNESCO-inscribed site. After visiting these two magnificent sites, we’ll visit Zoroastrian Towers of Silence (dakhme) which used to be an open burial pit for the Zoroastrians to do their burial rituals. At night, we will rest in Zein-o-Din Caravanserai.
● Ganjali Khan Complex
● Shah-Nematollah Vali Tomb
● Vakil Bazaar
● Food Tour
● Lut Desert
In Kerman province, we will visit 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. We will do some shopping in the grand bazaar and have a food tour in Kerman. Afterward, we will start our expedition toward the majestic Lut desert; another UNESCO-inscribed site. The strange and magnificent Kaluts (sand formations) look like a deserted city from a distance. Kaluts used to be under water millions of years ago and this geological phenomenon is the result of high-velocity winds beating the sand for millions of years. For the night, we can either camp in the heart of the desert, or stay in an ecolodge.
● Shazdeh Mahan Garden
● Maymand: 12,000-year-old cave village of semi-nomads
● Nomads of Maymand
On day 24, after having lunch in Shazdeh Mahan Garden (another UNESCO-inscribed site), which is a grand manor with a beautiful Persian-style fountain and lush garden right at the heart of the desert, we’ll go to live with another group of Iran’s Nomads who live in one of the most authentic villages of Iran, Maymand. For the night, we’ll stay in an ancient man-made cave in the village. Early in the morning, we will probably wake up with the sound of the jackals around the village. Maymand Village is situated near Shahr-e Babak in Kerman Province. It is also a UNESCO-inscribed cultural site as an exemplary system of man-made cave dwellings. In the past, Locals had a hard time coping with the region’s harsh climate and the area is a suitable spot for those who’d like to see how life has been back then in history. The houses in this ancient village are carved like caverns inside the mountain. We will have enough time to wander around the village & devour its beauty. We’ll also have a local dish at Nane Salma’s cave, and visit the beautiful grapes garden.
● Qashqai Nomads
You’ve probably heard about the UNESCO-inscribed Pasargadae, the ancient capital of the Achaemenid Empire, located in Kuh-e Rahmat (Mountain of Mercy). But did you know about the Qashqai nomads who are inhabitants of the same area? We’ll have our lunch(a traditional dish) in Sa’adat Shahr and then, in the afternoon, we’ll spend a couple of hours with the nomads living near the mountains.
● Karim Khan-e Zand Complex
● Tomb of Hafez
● Pink Mosque (Nasir al-Mulk Mosque)
● Narenjestan Garden
On the morning of the 26th day, after having our breakfast, we’ll begin our journey to Naqsh-e Rostam and the UNESCO-inscribed site Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire.
Around noon, we’ll reach Shiraz. After having lunch, we’ll 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, one of the most famous and acknowledged Persian poets, is buried in Shiraz. People believe that Hafez’s poems help them in dealing with dilemmas, enlighten them, and give them clues to the future. We can try “taking a faal” (opening a random page of his poem book and reciting a poem)by his tomb! The highlight of day 26 is going to be the Pink Mosque with its otherworldly vibrant colors. The moment we step inside the mosque, it becomes clear why it’s called the Pink or rainbow Mosque. In Shiraz, nothing is more pleasant to the eye than the vast green gardens. We’ll go to Narenjestan Garden to see one of these beauties built in the Qajar era.
● Sassanid Archaeological Landscape
● Nomads of Shiraz: Qashqai Nomads
In Sepidan; a beautiful mountainous area on the hillside of Zagros mountains, in the northwest of Shiraz, lives a group of nomads. These nomads are the second main nomadic tribe of Iran: Qashqai Nomads. There, we’ll have a chance to live a different nomadic life. Moreover, we will visit the UNESCO-inscribed site Sassanid Archaeological Landscape; the capital of the Sassanian Empire built by the founder of the dynasty, Ardashir Papakan.
Taking a flight back to Tehran, we will be parting ways at Imam Khomeini airport.
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