Iran · November 25 - December 2 2024

8 Day Central Cities of Iran

Classic highlights of Iran- grand architecture, historical sites, cuisine, and culture.

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Overview

Beginning in the metropolis of Tehran we will visit some of Iran’s finest museums and bazaars before we embark south toward the historic city of Esfahan while making a stop to see the beautiful historic homes in Kashan. Next, we move on toward the desert to explore the city of Yazd and its surroundings, famed for its history steeped in Zoroastrianism and its delectable shirini (sweets). Finally the expedition descends into the stunning city of Shiraz to explore its beautiful mosques and shrines and its monuments to Persian poets of the past, as well as the renowned historic site of Persepolis. *US, UK, and Canadian passport holders are welcome to join this tour.

Highlights

Experience Tehran

Experience Tehran

See the melting pot of Tehran, where people and tradition mingle from all over the country.

See Half of the World in Esfahan

See Half of the World in Esfahan

Esfahan harbors some of the Islamic world's grandest pieces of architecture. See why Esfahan people say Esfahan is half of the world.

The Gorgeous Architecture of Shiraz

The Gorgeous Architecture of Shiraz

From perfectly tiled mosques to grand stained glass pieces, Qajar-era historic homes, and an ancient bazaar, Shiraz is one of Iran's true highlights.

Desert Oases of Yazd

Desert Oases of Yazd

Sat on the edge of the desert, Yazd feels a bit like an oasis city. Yazd is also famous for its sweets, which you must indulge in.

Itinerary

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Tehran

Day 1: Welcome to Iran

Home to over 15 million people, Tehran is a melting pot of the cultures and traditions that comprise Iran. Today we will take the time to explore the city’s Grand Bazaar, the Qajar-era Golestan Palace, and the National Museum of Iran.

Please note that we most of our guests will arrive in Tehran either late evening on November 14 or early morning on November 15. As such this night prior to the start of the tour will be included in the price.

Accommodation: Traditional hotel

Included

Breakfast

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Kashan & Esfahan

Day 2: The Beauty of Kashan

On our second day of this classic Iran itinerary, we will get an early morning start in order to make our way south toward the famed city of Esfahan, making a stop in Kashan on the way.

After about 3 hours on the road, we will reach the small city of Kashan where we will have a bit of time to explore its famous historic houses that all date to the 18th and 19th centuries. We will also take a brief time to see the grand Agha Bozorg Mosque and the beautiful Sultan Amir Ahmad Bath House.

In the afternoon we will continue our drive to Esfahan where we will watch sunset over Naqsh e Jahan Square.

Drive time: ~5 hours
Accommodation: Traditional hotel

Included

Breakfast

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Esfahan

Day 3: Esfahan, Half of the World

Today we will explore the grand architecture within Naqsh e Jahan that helped to gain Esfahan the saying ‘Esfahan is half of the world. This includes the mesmerizing dome of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Shah Mosque’s lovely courtyard, the grandiose tiling of Shah Mosque, and Ali Qapu Palace’s view out over the square.

After lunch, we will get lost amongst the stalls of Bazaar e Bozorg, and make the quick walk over to Chehel Situn Palace. In the late afternoon, we’ll have some time to check out the historic bridges of Esfahan.

Accommodation: Traditional hotel

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Maybod, Chaq Chaq, Kharanaq & Yazd

Day 4: Into the Desert

On the 4th day of this classic Iran itinerary, we will get another early start to depart Esfahan for the desert highlights of Maybod, Chak Chak, and Kharanaq on the way to Yazd.

In Maybod we’ll get to explore the Narin Fortress and Shah Abbasi Caravanserai, Chak Chak famous for its Pir e Sabz Fire Temple, as well as a quick pop into the ancient mudbrick village of Kharanaq.

About 1 more hour of driving from the Maybod area will finally bring us to Yazd where we will have time to roam around the desert city and try some of its famous shirini (sweets).

Drive time: ~4 hours
Accommodation: Traditional hotel

Included

Breakfast

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Yazd

Day 5: Zoroastrianism and Islam

Today we will visit the highlights that make Yazd a much-loved city in Iran. We’ll visit the 13th century Jameh Mosque, which was built over a Sassanid-era fire temple. After, we will wander the narrow, mud-brick streets to visit the Amir Chaqmaq Complex, which contains a caravanserai, and a bathhouse.

In the afternoon will also take time to learn how underground water channels kept the city hydrated in its early days with a visit to the Yazd Water Museum before heading off to see the famous Ateshkadeh Zoroastrian Fire Temple to see the holy fire that has been burning there since 470 AD.

We will finish our 5th day of this Iran itinerary by seeing the ancient Zoroastrian Towers of Silence where of sky burials once took place.

Accommodation: Traditional hotel

Included

Breakfast

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Persepolis & Shiraz

Day 6: The Ancient Capital of the Achaemenid Empire

Early in the morning, we will begin our long nearly 5 hour drive to our final destinations on this Iran tour of Persepolis and Shiraz.

We will arrive in Persepolis in the early afternoon where we will have time to explore the once-great capital of the Persian Empire and then take time to visit the nearby Naqsh e Rostam Necropolis that is carved right into a mountainside.

After we’ve spent the afternoon immersed in Iran’s ancient history, continue to Shiraz where we will move into our final traditional hotel on our tour of Iran.

Drive time: ~5 hours 30 minutes
Accommodation: Traditional hotel

Included

Breakfast

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Shiraz

Day 7: History, Gardens & Poets

In the morning we will get an early start in order to reach the famous Nasir al Molk pink mosque when it opens to see the famous stained glass reflections illuminated by the rising sun in the morning. After taking a moment to bask in the early morning beauty we will continue exploring the remainder of the mosque. We’ll also take some time out today to visit the Citadel of Karim Khan, and the Vakil Mosque and bathhouse.

Drive time: ~1 hour
Accommodation: Traditional hotel

Included

Breakfast

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Shiraz

Day 8: Departure

Departures from Shiraz throughout the day today. 

Included

Breakfast

What's included

What's Included

Meals as indicated on the itinerary

English-speaking guide

Transportation

Accommodation on twin room sharing basis

Letter of Invitation

Travel insurance

Iran visa fees

International airfare to and from Iran

Tips to local staff

Personal spending

Hosts

Nicole Smoot

Nicole Smoot

Expedition Lead


Despite being born and raised in the mountains of Alaska with plenty of backyard adventures that could have kept her busy for a lifetime, the unusual dragon blood trees of Socotra, the truly bizarre landscapes of Iran’s far-flung Sistan and Balochistan Province, the gingerbread-house-like architecture of Sana’a, and the dazzling turquoise lakes of Tajikistan’s Fann Mountains lured Nicole to the other side of the planet and on to get to know these locations extremely well.

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8 Day Central Cities of Iran Expedition

8 Day Central Cities of Iran Expedition

Classic highlights of Iran

FROM$2,520.00/pp

BOOK NOW

Extras & Options

Single Supplement

Single Supplement

Opt for a private room. Subject to availability.

FROM$400.00/pp

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FAQs

Since 2022, the political situation in Iran has become more unstable than it has been for the past several years. Our local team in Iran takes the safety of our tourists very seriously and will provide mitigation in situ if any issues arise. That said, generally, Iran is a safe country for tourists to visit with a low crime rate.

This 8 Day Iran Central Cities Expedition will begin in Tehran, Iran on November 25th, and end on December 2nd in Shiraz, Iran.

Yes, passport holders from the US, UK, and Canada can visit Iran. Visitors from these countries must be accompanied by a guide with credentials from the government allowing them to guide these nationalities. We do work with a network of guides who hold this credential. 

Most nationalities require a visa/e-visa to enter Iran. We will provide the necessary documentation in order for you to apply for your Iran visa.


The only countries that can enter Iran visa-free are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, China, Egypt, Georgia, Hong Kong, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Macao, Malaysia, Oman, Syria, Turkey and Venezuela. It appears more nations have been added to this list as of December 2023 but it has not been announced when this will be implemented. 

This 8 Day Central Cities of Iran expedition is rated as easy. We will be spending every night in a hotel and each day will require some walking in and between sites.

As per the entry requirements for Iran, all visitors must carry a travel insurance policy that is valid in Iran. We will provide travel insurance to all participants in the price of the expedition.

Iran uses the Iranian Rial (IRR), a currency that fluctuates violently. It is important to bring more than enough cash than you think you may need in Iran as ATMs do not accept foreign cards and there is no official way to obtain money once in the country. 


All money you plan to spend in Iran including personal expenses, souvenirs, lunches, dinners, etc. should be brought with you from home and in cash. The best currencies to bring to exchange are US dollars, British pounds, and Euros. Make sure that your bills are in crisp, clean, and new condition with no bends, tears, or folds. 

Yes, we do provide a suggested packing list and preparation guide for all of our Iran expeditions that can be viewed here

Persian food is a delight, featuring meats, rice, fresh salads, aromatic, spices, and a variety of herbs. Chai and flatbreads accompany almost every meal.


Please let us know of any dietary restrictions or allergies in advance so that we can accommodate your needs. 

It is possible to purchase SIM cards on arrival at the Tehran as well as at mobile service provider shops in the city and our accommodations will feature Wi-Fi.


Internet in Iran is highly monitored and censored, so you can expect to not be able to access most social media sites and news websites. Most Iranians use VPNs to work around this, but which ones will work and when is always in flux.

Yes, a minimum of 4 passengers will need to be on this expedition in order to run. If the minimum isn't reached, we will contact you about the potential to still operate the trip but at an additional charge or you will be given the option to cancel and your deposit/payment can either be returned to you or applied toward a different expedition of your choosing.

8 Day Central Cities of Iran

Iran · November 25 - December 2 2024 · 7 nights

FROM$2,520.00/pp

BOOK NOW