Days
13
Price from
FR3,765CHF

Be awed by the architectural splendour of Esfahan, intrigued by the Zoroastrian legends of Kermanshah and charmed by the hospitality of everyday Iranians

Iran is quite simply an extraordinary country, where visitors are welcomed with open arms by friendly people who have redefined the word ‘hospitality’. The architecture is amazing with breathtaking mosques, stepped hillside villages, cleverly-designed wind towers (badgirs) and impressive structures such as the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence. The country's history is astonishingly rich, and Ancient Persepolis is one of many staggering reminders of this past. The current culture is in many ways a fusion of all the influences; the country’s religion is predominantly Islam (mainly Shiite, but some Iranians are Sunni), although you will probably also encounter Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians and Baha’is along the way. Although Iran is portrayed by some Western media as being ruled by a dour and repressive regime, you will find that it is a land full of warm, lively and friendly people. Join Peregrine for this foray into one of the world’s most fascinating and least-visited countries.

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Terms & Conditions

Start
Tehran, Iran
Finish
Tehran, Iran
Country
Iran
Style
Peregrine
Code
PGAP
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
17 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Explore one of the greatest cities of antiquity, Persepolis. The relief carvings and towering columns will leave you in no doubt that this was once the centre of the known world

  • Once a major stop on the Silk Road, visit Yazd and discover the role religion plays in the city, from the impressive Jameh Mosque to the Zoroastrian towers and temples

  • Dine at one of Isfahan's oldest restaurants. Tastefully furnished with tall stained glass windows an intricate mirror work, this is the perfect setting to sample some traditional Persian cuisine.

  • Spend 2 nights at our 'feature stay' hotel in Yazd; an old renovated caravanserai that dates back to nearly a century ago

  • Soak up the sights and atmosphere of the jewel in the crown of Persia, the beautiful town of Esfahan. Feel the past glory at the Imam Square and its surrounding palaces and mosques. Explore the Vank Cathedral and see the stunning Si-o-she Pol (the Bridge of 33 arches) lit up at night.

Is this trip right for you?

  • Iran is one of the safest and friendliest places you can travel but it is very conservative. It is very important that before you sign up for this tour you are committed to following a strict dress code (particularly for women) in what may be quite warm weather. Things don't get much more different to home than this!

  • Upon arrival in Iran, all women must wear a headscarf and must also have their arms and legs covered. Men must also be conservatively dressed.

  • Alcohol is strictly forbidden in Iran and severe penalties will be incurred by anyone attempting to bring it into the country. Drug laws are also extremely strict and travellers face lengthy jail terms if caught. If found, pork, obscene material (even glossy magazines showing people in immodest poses), and controversial literature will all be confiscated by custom officials. Upon arrival, you as a foreigner will likely be whisked through customs but note that random bag checks do occur.

  • It's becoming increasingly difficult to confirm our preferred hotels listed in the trip notes due to limited 4 star options. While we will always look to the next suitable alternative in some cases these may not be centrally located. It's important to note that local star ratings are not necessarily equivalent to quality. In some locations the 3 star hotels are a better quality ( and location ) than the 4 star ones and be priced accordingly.

  • The pathways around some of the sites may be un-even, rocky or dusty. Some of the guided trips may involve quite a lot of walking in the elements (especially the heat). Please bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared with hats, sunscreen, water or layers for cooler weather.

  • Iran is a big country and we cover a lot in two weeks, which mean a some long travel days and a very busy itinerary. However all land travel is in private air-conditioned buses, with regular stops along the way.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to Iran. A Tehran airport arrival transfer is included, so please provide your flight details at the time of booking or no later than 14 days prior to travel. Once you have provided your details, a transfer representative will be booked to meet you and transfer you to your hotel (approximately 1 hour). This is simply an arrival day so you may arrive in Tehran at any time, though please note that hotel rooms are generally only available after midday. There will be a trip briefing at 6 pm; please refer to your hotel noticeboard or talk to reception for more details. Until then the rest of your day is free to explore your new surroundings.

Iran's capital is exciting, noisy and chaotic. Home to 15 million people, Tehran is the country's beating heart and where its true national identity is found. Expect to see women wearing full-length chadors competing for space with young and hip girls in figure-hugging manteau and headscarves. Also expect to be stopped by friendly locals who love nothing more than to chat with you about anything and everything. In the evening, perhaps take a seat at a city coffee shop for some people watching.
Accommodation
  • Roudaki Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tehran - Guided museums tour (3 museums - minimum 2 people) - USD90
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
An airport arrival transfer is included. This transfer is only valid if arriving on day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Peregrine. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.

Please note that we use a local supplier for the arrival airport transfer and as tourism is a developing industry in Iran, it is possible your driver will not speak English.


Begin your discovery of Tehran with a full day tour, focusing on the sprawling Sa'd Abad Palace and Museum complex. This 104-hectare park is home to 18 palaces, most of them converted into museums, and it is stunningly back-dropped by towering mountains. The site was used as a royal summer residence during the Pahlavi period (from 1925-1979), before the monarchy was overthrown in the revolution. Aside from the artefacts contained within, the palaces offer a fascinating glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the shah and his guests, and their decoration was the height of fashion for the day.

Don't miss the bronze boots of Reza Shah outside the White Palace, all that remains of a massive statue that was 'cut down to size' during the revolution. The interior of the 54-room palace is filled with extravagant furnishing, from tiger pelts to the biggest carpet in the country. The Abgineh Museum exhibits three collections of porcelains, glass works and crystals from the 18th & 19th century's BC, while the other museum exhibits range from royal automobiles to royal dishware, miniature paintings and anthropological displays. Tonight, a welcome dinner is your first opportunity to experience traditional Persian cuisine and the legendary hospitality of the Iranians.
Accommodation
  • Roudaki Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tehran - City Tour
  • Tehran - National Museum
  • Tehran - Abgineh museum
  • Tehran - Sa'ad abad Palace visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Transfer to Mehrabad Airport and take a domestic flight to Shiraz (about 70 minutes)

Welcome to Shiraz. Valerian, the only Roman emperor to have ever been a prisoner of war, lived out his last days in captivity here circa AD 260. Many of the local ruins date from this period. There’s plenty of chances to explore this Pearl of Persia over the next few days – the name itself evokes thoughts of tranquil gardens, lavish palaces, philosophers and artists. Shiraz has managed to retain its relaxed provincial atmosphere and serves as a lovely place to walk around. In the bazaar, there’s a chance to spot members of nomad groups who come to the city to stock up on provisions.

In the afternoon, take a guided walk to explore some of the city such as Vakil Bazaar and the Khan citadel. Bazar-e Vakil is regarded as one of the most evocative bazaars in the country and specialises in fine carpets, handicrafts, textiles and spices. The centre of town hosts the Arg-e Karim Khan, a mud-brick citadel from the 18th-century which was created at a time when Karim Khan ruled Persia from Shiraz. Don't miss the room exhibiting historic photos from the 19th and 20th centuries or the legendary tales depicted on the tiles at the entrance gate.
Accommodation
  • Zandiye Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Begin the day with a trip to the remains of Persepolis (approximately 1 hour drive away) – once the centre of the Persian Empire and considered as one of the great cities of the ancient world. The Takhte Jamshid complex of palaces was known as the historic marvel of the country, constructed over the course of 150 years as the ceremonial capital of Darius I’s Achaemenid Empire. The imposing gateways, intricate relief carvings, mountainside tombs, grand staircases and towering columns leaves little doubt that this was once the heart of the known world. Continue on to Naqsh-e-Rajab, the site of four limestone rock face inscriptions and bas-reliefs that date to early Sassanid times.
In 330 BC, invading armies led by Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great set fire to the city, destroying it and in turn symbolising the destruction of the Persian Empire. While today only small ruins remain from those once-magnificent structures, the site is still impressive. 

Tonight enjoy a traditional home cooked dinner with your group.
Accommodation
  • Zandiye Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - Persepolis guided tour
  • Naqsh-e Rustam necropolis
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Take a city tour that covers the highlights of this celebrated historical city. Visit the lovely, vast complex of Eram Garden, also known as the ‘Garden of Paradise’ (Bagh-e Eram). Wander the grounds, filled with young Shirazis, where artificial rivers run through an impressive collection of cypress trees before pooling in front of a colourful palace.

Following this, visit the tombs of Hafez and Sa'di. The Persian poet Hafez was born in Shiraz around 1310 and travelled the world before returning to pass away in Shiraz, where he is regarded as a literary giant and folk hero. Look out for how the tomb’s cupola resembles the hat of a dervish (of Whirling Dervish fame). Sa'di, another great poet and writer from Shiraz, was more of a scholar. His tomb is also set in a garden, resting by a fishpond. Appreciate the intricate artwork of their tombs and understand their continued relevance and importance in Iranian society. Nearby is the Aramgah-e Shah-e Cheragh, known as one of the holiest sites in Shiraz. The beautiful structure serves as a mausoleum to one of Imam Reza’s brothers and the forecourt is often packed with Shiite pilgrims. After witnessing these stunning sites, the rest of the day is free for exploration.
Accommodation
  • Zandiye Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Shiraz - City tour
  • Shiraz - Tomb of Sa'di
  • Shiraz - Bagh-e Eram Gardens
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
  • Shiraz - Arg-e Karim Khan
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Depart from Shiraz en route to Yazd (approximately a 6 hour drive). Along the way, stop off at Naqsh-e-Rostam, a cave-tomb containing the bodies of several Achaemenid kings. There are seven reliefs dating back to the Sassanid era, each of which depicts a battle that glorifies a Sassanid king. At one time a Zoroastrian religious centre was located here, perhaps the most important in the world. 
After lunch, head towards Pasargadae, an ancient city built by Cyrus the Great that precedes Persepolis. It’s not as well preserved as the latter, but still reflects the architectural genius of the Achaemenids, the beauty of simplicity and balance.

Tonight’s hotel is an old renovated caravanserai that dates back to nearly a century ago. Stay in the comfortable rooms, relax and enjoy the beautiful ambience in the courtyard.
Accommodation
  • Dad Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Fars Province - Pasargadae visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
The ancient desert city of Yazd was a major stop on the caravan routes to Central Asia and India during the Silk Road period – Marco Polo visited the city on his way to China – and it retains a rustic feel. It's also known as the heart of the Zoroastrian religion.

Explore the old part of the city in the morning, considered by UNESCO to be steeped in antiquity. Visit the Dolat Abad Garden and Amir Chakmaq complex, then walk through the narrow kuches (lanes) past simple courtyards and the ornate doors of local mud brick buildings. One of the most distinctive features of Yazd are the wind towers (‘badgirs’) that capture even the softest of breezes before sending them to the buildings below, cooling them off as a forerunner of modern air-con.

Afterwards, visit two vestiges of Yazd’s Zoroastrian heritage on a trip to the Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence. Zoroastrianism, dating back over 4,000 years, was the state religion of Iran before the arrival of Islam. In the Zoroastrian religion, fire and water are agents of ritual purity, and the fire in the Atashkadeh Fire Temple is said to have been continuously burning since 470 AD. The intriguing Towers of Silence are part of the Zoroastrian tradition of raised circular structures where the dead are laid out to be picked clean by scavenger birds.

To round off today’s adventures, head down to visit a famous confectionary maker at Haj Khalife Ali Rahbar. Taste generations of expertise at the oldest and most famous sweet shop in the city, where treats are made through traditional techniques.
Accommodation
  • Dad Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Yazd - Jameh Mosque
  • Yazd - Zoroastrian Fire Altar & Towers of Silence
  • Yazd - Amir Chakmaq visit
  • Yazd - city walking tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Breakfast this morning is a special treat – Persian sangak. This traditional rectangular whole wheat bread offers a slightly sour flavour with a distinctively spongy texture – it’s often regarded as an authentic Iranian meal. Afterwards, leave Yazd and drive to Isfahan (approximately 320 kilometres, 4.5 hours), stopping en route in the quiet town of Na’in on the edge of the Central Desert. Na’in retains much of its traditional charm – the town is full of old clay houses sitting on top of underground aqueducts which draws water from the mountains to the plains.

Continue on a 3-hour drive to Esfahan, known as the jewel in the crown of Persia. Arrive in the mid-afternoon, check into the hotel and take some time to rest before heading to the 10th-century Jameh Mosque (one of the oldest in Iran), the Kavir museum and the old part of town.

In the evening, take a stroll down to the Zayandeh River and witness the historic bridges arching over the water. The stunning Si-o-seh Pol (bridge of 33 arches) lights up at night, creating a fairytale spectacle best witnessed either on the banks of the river or at a local teahouse. While away some time in this magical location, truly one of the most atmospheric that Iran has to offer.
Included Activities
  • Na'in - Jameh Mosque
  • Esfahan - Kavir Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
There’s plenty of time to soak up the sights and atmosphere of Esfahan, often considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Esfahan reached its peak during the reign of Shah Abbas I in 1587 when it was declared capital of Persia, yet much of its past glory still remains despite the country’s capital later being shifted to Shiraz and then Tehran.

Begin today’s adventure through Esfahan with a guided walk through the Imam Square; covering an area of 82,500 square meters, it’s the second largest in the world. There’s many grand buildings in the surrounding area such as the Ali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Qeysarieh Portal and the majestic Imam Mosque – all of which are truly remarkable sights. In the Safavid era, this place was renowned for its parades, military reviews, polo games and festivals. These days it’s better regarded as a place for families to idly wander or enjoy a picnic come the early evening. After exploring the area, the rest of the day is free for soaking up the visual appeal of the city and discovering the many beautiful secrets it holds.
Accommodation
  • Safir Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Imam Square
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Continue exploring Isfahan with a guided visit to the Vank Cathedral, located in the Armenian quarter of the city. The striking interior of this building boasts gilded ceilings, intricate wall architecture and eye-catching paintings. The stunning, delicate artwork of the dome depicts the Biblical story of Genesis, from the creation of man to the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. The church also plays home to a museum, full of historic manuscripts. Originally, Armenian Christians were brought to the cathedral by Shah Abbas I who placed great value in their skills as artists and merchants. They have been allowed to practice their religion in peace, but are confined to this single area of the city.

Esfahan also boasts a wonderful bazaar. Walk through the covered lanes of this sprawling marketplace, where shafts of light filter through celling and lattice alike. Browse for fabrics, spices, jewellery and other treasures before ducking into the nearby teahouse to rest. For tonight’s dinner, enjoy a meal at Shahrzad Restaurant, one of Isfahan's oldest restaurants set in an opulently decorated Qajar-styled building.
Accommodation
  • Safir Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Esfahan - Vank Cathedral
  • Esfahan - Dinner at Shahrzad Restaurant
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive on to Kashan in the morning, a merchant town known for its high quality ceramics, silks, carpets and fine houses. Visit the lush Fin Garden (Bagh-e Tarikhi-ye Fin), a historic and classical Persian garden that contains Kashan's Fin Bath. This is where Amir Kabir, the Qajarid chancellor and a nationalist hero, was murdered under the orders of King Nadir al-Din in 1852.

Take a stop at Borujerdi House (Khan-e Borujerdi), built in the 1840s for the affluent Tabatabaei family. Exception attention was paid to all minute architectural details of this building as dictated by the geographical and climatic conditions of the area. It’s a fascinating place to visit, and enables an insight into a traditional (albeit exquisite) Persian residential home’s features such as a biruni (where visitors and guests are entertained) and an andaruni (the private part only open to family members). Head back to Tehran (approximately 450 kilometres, 6 hours) – arrival should be approximately around 5 pm in the evening depending on traffic.
Accommodation
  • Roudaki Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Visit the Carpet Museum of Iran in Tehran to understand an important part of Iran’s culture. Founded in 1976, the museum exhibits a range of Persian carpets spanning from all across the country and dating from as far back as the 16th century. Carpet weaving is undoubtedly one of the most integral parts of Iranian art, dating all the way back to the Bronze Age. Various types of rugs were woven by different castes, ranging from nomadic tribes to royal courts and everyone in-between. As a result, the carpets represent different yet simultaneous lines of tradition and serve as a reflection of Iran’s general history. Different townships used different weaving techniques, patterns, dyes and wools – a trained eye can make an educated guess at the era and region that an individual rug comes from.

Following the excursion to the museum, head onwards to the Tabiat Nature Bridge for some afternoon exploration. Spend some time relaxing over a light meal at one of the many restaurants by Ports Park, situated on one side of the bridge. On the other, the rolling trees of Taleghani Park offer a great opportunity for a wistful stroll.

Afterwards, return to Tehran for the trip’s final evening. Join the rest of the group for a farewell dinner at a local Tehran restaurant
Accommodation
  • Roudaki Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tehran - Tabiat Nature Bridge
  • Tehran - Carpet Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Your adventure in Iran will come to an end today after breakfast.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

12 breakfasts, 3 dinners

Transport

Private aircon bus, Plane

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotel (12 nights)

Included Activities

  • Tehran - City Tour
  • Tehran - National Museum
  • Tehran - Abgineh museum
  • Tehran - Sa'ad abad Palace visit
  • Shiraz - Persepolis guided tour
  • Naqsh-e Rustam necropolis
  • Shiraz - City tour
  • Shiraz - Tomb of Sa'di
  • Shiraz - Bagh-e Eram Gardens
  • Shiraz - Hafez Tomb
  • Shiraz - Arg-e Karim Khan
  • Fars Province - Pasargadae visit
  • Yazd - Jameh Mosque
  • Yazd - Zoroastrian Fire Altar & Towers of Silence
  • Yazd - Amir Chakmaq visit
  • Yazd - city walking tour
  • Na'in - Jameh Mosque
  • Esfahan - Kavir Museum
  • Esfahan - Imam Square
  • Esfahan - Vank Cathedral
  • Esfahan - Dinner at Shahrzad Restaurant
  • Tehran - Tabiat Nature Bridge
  • Tehran - Carpet Museum

Reviews

Our Ancient Persia in Depth trips score an average of 4.29 out of 5 based on 17 reviews in the last year.

Ancient Persia in Depth, May 2017

Nadine Harrison

Ancient Persia in Depth, April 2017

Elizabeth Sutton

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
An optional single supplement is available on this trip. Please refer to your booking agent for further information.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.