Eye-wateringly beautiful Persian architecture, magnificent ancient ruins and the warmest people you could hope to meet: welcome to Iran. A truly captivating destination, Iran offers a wealth of unique experiences to those lucky enough to visit. With its magnificent mosques richly decorated in glazed tiles, towering clay minarets rising above arid deserts and beautiful courtyard homes decorated with patterned brickwork and colourful stain glass windows, Iran’s architecture is second to none. The landscape of the country is also magnificent. With half of Iran covered by soaring mountains, a quarter by some of the hottest and most arid deserts in the world, and the remainder covered by fertile plains and lakes sustaining an abundance of flora, fauna and wildlife, it really is a terrifically varied and beautiful country. But perhaps the best part of Iran, and certainly what leaves the most lasting of impressions, are the people, who are famed for their Persian hospitality. Iranians are a warm, friendly and curious people, who will (if you are willing), spend hours sharing stories with you over a cup of sweet Iranian tea.
Romantic Isfahan is a must see for anyone travelling to Iran. Its storied past as capital of the once mighty Persian empire is evident in its tree-lined boulevards, grand palaces, impressive bridges and glistening turquoise domes.
Often overlooked, this oasis city has more to offer than many realise, and those who make the decision to visit are greeted by stunning gardens, a fabulous covered bazaar, and the most beautiful traditional accommodation to be found anywhere in the country.
Famed for poetry, beautiful gardens, and of course wine, the poetic city of Shiraz presents dazzling tombs, pink mosques & beautiful gardens. Shiraz is also base to those exploring the ruins of the ancient capital of the Achaemenid Empire, Persepolis.
Nestled at the foot of the Alborz mountains, Iran’s capital is a bustling metropolis and the heartbeat of the country. More secular and liberal than any other part of Iran, with its intriguing mix of tradition and modernity, Tehran is well worth a visit.
The enchanting desert city of Yazd with its winding lanes, mud-brick houses, soaring minarets is one of the oldest cities in the world and the heart of the ancient Zoroastrian religion.
We create all our itineraries from scratch, designed to the specifications of each individual client. Occasionally we put together an itinerary that we think would offer a good taste of what’s possible to help others in their planning. If we’ve created any of these, you’ll find them below.
Any itineraries shown are intended to be just a starting point for your plans – contact us to discuss your own interests and travel style and we will create one tailored to you.
We do not have any itineraries at this time.
Best of IranContrasts the enormous salt pans of Makgadikgadi National Park with the outstanding big game of the lush Moremi Game Reserve, the lagoons and islands of the Okavango Delta and the elephant-rich Chobe Riverfront. Fly between camps in light aircraft, with spectacular views of the ever-changing landscape from the air. With time to see Victoria Falls before flying home, this once-in-a-lifetime holiday encapsulates everything which makes Botswana so incredible.
Most trips to Iran start in either the capital Tehran or the Southern city of Shiraz. There are no direct flights from the UK into Iran but Airlines such as Qatar, Emirates, Etihad and Turkish Airlines fly into Iran via their hubs with a total flying time starting at around 8 hours. You can enter Iran overland from Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Although you can apply for a visa at the border, it is strongly advised to have one in advance as it is not uncommon for visas that are applied for at a land border to be denied.
Because of the large distances between major cities, most itineraries in Iran will include at least one domestic flight or overnight rail journey. There are several domestic airlines that operate in Iran, and flights are frequent and low in cost. Iran Air has an extensive network of flights that covers all the major cities. Travelling by long-distance train is another option, as the rail network is rapidly expanding and some of the private franchise operators offer modern, air conditioned trains of a European standard. Pardis intercity trains and Fadak overnight sleepers are a good way to see the countryside and meet some locals. Regular services run from Tehran down to the south of the country (Esfahan/Shiraz), however it is worthwhile noting that some trains arrive at their destination in the middle of the night. Self-drive (car hire) is not common in Iran, and aside from the large distances to be travelled, the local driving is questionable. The best way to explore a particular region is with a car plus driver/guide – this relatively inexpensive option offers flexibility and local colour. The areas of Shiraz, Persepolis, Yazd and Esfahan can all be reached by car from each other without needing to fly between points.
Iran is a vast country and travelling to your destination can take several hours. Having said that the views can be spectacular, and you will often pass through settlements and stumble across ancient ruins along the way. Travelling with a driver guide means that your guide can provide you with information on these places as you travel and will happily detour to any places of interest along the way.
Accommodation in Iran ranges from the 5* luxury hotels found in the bigger cities of Tehran, Shiraz, and Isfahan, to the small traditional hotels found in the likes of Kashan and Yazd. A stay in the latter makes for a wonderful experience, with beautiful courtyards with turquoise pools, and stained glass windows shooting rainbows of light through the hotels. It is worth noting that a 5* hotel in Iran is not the same as a European 5*. Although they are still of a good standard, you should be aware of this before travelling to Iran to avoid disappointment.
Quick country facts
- Recommended airlines
Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad.
- Flight time
8 hours indirect with Turkish Airlines
- Time zone:
GMT +3:30 hours
- Visa requirements:
Weather and when to go
The springtime months of March through to May and the Autumn months of September through to early November are high season in Iran. This is the best time to visit as you will experience clear blue skies while avoiding the searing heat. It does however make this a more expensive time to visit. Prices spike and availability in hotels gets trickier around Nowruz (Iranian New Year), which falls on the 20th of March, so avoiding travel during these dates is advisable. Around this period, you can expect crowding especially in Shiraz, Isfahan and Yazd. The crowds fade away after the first week of April. June is shoulder season in Iran with fewer people travelling due to the warmer weather. This means costs are lower, but with temperatures reaching up to 44 degrees Celsius in the south of the country, sightseeing can be rather unpleasant. In September and October prices are reasonable and the temperatures start to fall. This is a great time to visit if you are a keen hiker, as the skies are blue and temperatures fall to an average of between 22 -32c in September and 15-24c in October. The winter months of December to February are best avoided as temperatures can get very chilly, and roads are often impassable from the snow.
- NOT ADVISED
UK nationals require a visa to enter Iran. The visa process takes approximately a month but can take longer, so for this reason it is advised to start the application process as soon as possible. Applicants can apply for a visa as soon as they are within three months of their intended arrival date in Iran. Your passport must have at least 6 months validity from the date you enter Iran: if your passport is due to expire less than 6 months after the date you enter you will need to apply for a new passport before starting the visa process. A visa can only be obtained if travelling as part of an organised trip booked through an agency, or if you have a sponsor in Iran. Temple World assists our clients throughout the entirety of the visa process.