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Contrary to popular belief, rich traditions and a stringent dress code, Iran is becoming a popular tourist destination. Far from the barren desert landscape that most people believe, Iran is a myriad of colours and a country that is merging cultural heritage and new technology. Just like the country is a multitude of colours, the Iranians are a patchwork of different ethnic groups that are influenced over thousands of years by Greek, Arab, Turkic and Mongol occupiers. Their hospitality and generosity is heartwarming.
There are so many beautiful places to visit from the kaleidoscope colours of the Shiraz, a stunning and imposing city with beautiful stained glass windows, lush landscaped gardens, delicate mosaics and soaring but intricate arches in their architecture. If you go, don't forget to visit Eram Garden, an incredible botanical garden and the Nasir Al Mulk Mosque that is lit up with a rainbow of colours and is truly a must see. Or go to Isfahan for the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque to wonder at the skill of the creators. Reminiscent of the Taj Mahal, this stunning structure is intricately decorated with blue and white mosaic, patterns with incredible undulations and minarets.
- Meals: 13 breakfasts, 3 dinners
- Transport: Bus, Plane, Private Mini Bus
- Accommodation: Hotel (11 nights), Guesthouse (1 night), Nomad Tent (1 night)
- Included activities
- Tehran - Golestan Palace Entrance
- Tehran - City walking tour
- Shiraz - Shahcheragh guided tour
- Shiraz - Jame Atiq Mosque visit
- Shiraz - City walking tour
- Shiraz - Home cooked meal
- Persepolis - Entrance and Guided tour
- Shiraz - Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque and Khan Madraseh
- Eghlid - Orientation walk
- Abarkouh - Ice Houses
- Abarkuh - Cypress of Abarkuh
- Yazd - Guided walking tour
- Yazd - Fire Temple and Towers of Silence visit
- Esfahan - Khaju & Si-o-seh Pol Bridges
- Esfahan - Sheik Lotfallah Mosque
- Tehran - Iman Mosque entrance and guided tour
- Esfahan - City walking tour
- Esfahan - Ali Qapu Palace
- Esfahan - Qeysariye Bazaar
- Esfahan - Chehel Sotun Palace
- Esfahan - Manar Jomban (Shaking Minarets)
- Esfahan - Vank Cathedral
Day 1: Tehran
Welcome to Tehran! 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. There will be a welcome meeting at 6 pm today.
Day 2: Overnight Train
Discover Tehran on a walking tour with your local leader. Visit the World Heritage-listed Golestan Palaceis, an opulent masterpiece of the Qajar era, decorated with beautifully painted tiles and set around an elegant garden. Take advantage of one of the day rooms to refresh yourself before boarding your overnight train to Shiraz.
Day 3: Shiraz
Arrive in Shiraz in the morning and transfer to your hotel. Have breakfast, freshen up and then hit the town in a walking tour of ‘the Pearl of Persia’. Shiraz is a city of poets and gardens, and has been considered the centre of Persian culture for thousands of years.
Day 4: Shiraz
Just an hour away from Shiraz lies the ancient city of Persepolis. Once the centre of the Persian Empire and one of the great cities of the ancient world, Persepolis was constructed during the reign of Darius I and took 150 years to complete. T
Day 5: Homestay
This morning rise and shine early and your Leader will accompany you the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, undoubtedly the best time to experience the true atmosphere of this astonishingly beautiful mosque is in the early morning light. Spend the evening with a Qashqai family in one such local village, sharing a meal, stories and songs with your hosts.
Day 6: Eghlid
Say farewell to your desert hosts and journey towards the town of Eghlid. In ancient Persia, Eghlid acted as the main gateway from the north to Persepolis, as other routes were too mountainous and difficult to pass. Check into your hotel in this sleepy town, then head out to explore the ruins of the Sassanid Empire, including the shrine of Eghlid and the ‘Towers of Silence’.
Day 7: Yazd
Travel one hour to the desert-valley town of Abarqu, tucked under the Zagros Mountains. Continue to Yazd, arriving in the late afternoon. This ancient desert city was a major stop on the caravan routes to central Asia and India during the Silk Road period – Marco Polo even visited the city on his way to China – and it retains a rustic feel to this day.
Day 8: Yazd
Set out on a walking tour of this fine city, stopping first at the local Jameh Mosque, notable for its fine mosaics and beautiful exterior. From here you are ideally placed to explore the older parts of the city, which scholars believe to be the oldest adobe (earthen material) city on earth.
Day 9: Zein-O-Din Caravanerai
Join an optional morning excursion outside of Yazd, including stops at the impressive Kharanak mud-brick village, Chak Chak fire temple, and the Meybod citadel. The impressive town of Kharanak is believed to be 1000 years old, and you can explore the abandoned structures of this hillside settlement, peering into the houses of wealthy merchants and hammans (bathhouses).
Day 10: Esfahan
Rise and shine for an early, authentic breakfast of freshly baked bread. Then enjoy free time to bask in the sunshine on the rooftop, overlooking the barren landscape of the surrounding desert plains.
Then, make the 5-hour journey to Esfahan.
Day 11: Esfahan
Soak up the atmosphere of Esfahan during a half-day tour of the city. Your leader will give you some insight into life under Persia's greatest ruler, Shah Abbas, who ruled Esfahan when it became the capital of Persia during in the 16th century.
Day 12: Esfahan
This morning, take a walking tour of the Christian-Armenian quarter of Esfahan with your leader.
Day 13: Tehran
Enjoy a late start this morning and, after lunch, transfer to the bus station to catch the public express bus back to Tehran.
Day 14: Tehran
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are free to depart at anytime. Please note you must check out of the hotel by 12 pm.
Please note, prices listed are guide prices only and are based on 2 people sharing and don't include any additional supplements. Holiday prices are fluid and dynamic and may be changed at a moment's notice, prior to booking, at which point they are confirmed. Please call the team free on 0800 707 6229 for more departure dates available and a quote.
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