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NOTE: All of our Iran tours include your visa to the country if you are UK-based or your visa authorisation code if you are not. Please ask us for details.


Recent political turbulence may have burned Iran`s fragile reputation to the ground, but this country is slowly rising from the ashes to reveal its strength of spirit and unique historical and natural delights. Formerly known as Persia, Iran is littered with a diverse, eye-catching array of ancient temples and artworks, mosques, fortresses, and striking monuments, each of which reflects its own intriguing history. With a warm, but not overbearing climate, you can bask in the sunshine and take in the multitude of different atmospheres this country has to offer.

Authentic Iranian culture and tradition is kept alive in the many scenic local villages and the city bazaars. And hikers are spoilt for choice with Iran`s stunning mountains, valleys and and the Middle East`s highest peak, Mount Damavand. History lovers can soak in the legends of ancient temples and imposing fortresses, dating from early civilisations such as the Safavids and the Sassasians. Art enthusiasts can admire the innovative mosque designs and ancient mountain relief paintings. A warm welcome, historical secrets and an artistic paradise awaits you.

Archaeology of Iran (see Glories of Persia tour)

Discover the beauty and splendour of the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis, walk the classical city of Hamadan, discover the ancient mud architecture of Yazd, and marvel at the Throne of Solomon, and its fire temple perched on a volcano rim. Iran is a country with a profound and intriguing history, a vibrant culture and a warm and welcoming people. Explore the architectural wonders of ancient Persia and uncover the layers of history at the heart of modern Iran.

Western & Northern Iran (See Troglodytes & Assassins tour)

Western and Northern Iran boast ancient and medieval architecture, littered with churches, mosques, ancient temples and early Persian art. Discover the bygone temple relics at the Throne of Solomon and marvel at the mystical Sassassian rock relief carvings in Kemashah. See the mighty base belief of Darius I at Bisotun, with its inscriptions in lost languages, and the Temple of Anahita, with its serene lake pool. Explore the crumbling city of Sultaneih, `The Land of the Sultans` and its rich cultural heritage, and witness the lost civilisation of Hamadan. See the idyllic Armenian St Stephano`s Church, the mountain-set Babak Castle and admire the Blue Mosque at Tabriz. By the coast, delight in scenery and culture of Ramsar and explore the serene mountain village of Masuleh with its authentic rust-red houses.

Classical Iran

Take a fascinating journey through Iran`s history and enigmatic architecture as you enter a world of dramatic fortresses, ornate palaces with stunning gardens, and archaeological and cultural gems. Travel the lost land of Ancient Persia and learn about the rich cultural history at the heart of modern Iran. Surrender to the chaotic energy of the Tehran Bazaar, and marvel at the circle-shaped fortress city of Firuz Abad. Discover the remains of the Zoroastrian community in Yazd, and witness the dramatic Towers of Silence and the eternal flame burning at the Fire Temple. Uncover legend at Persepolis, home of the Archaemenid Kings, and explore the stunning gardens at Kashan. Walk in the footsteps of Isfahan`s ancestors by crossing Shiraz`s spectacular river bridges, and enter a poetic maze of stunning palace gardens and boulevards. Uncover tradition in the 1000 year old mud-brick towns at Meybod and the Kharanagagh Village, and succumb to folktales at the cliff-town of Chak Chak. Admire architectural triumphs like the Islamic complex at the small town of Natanz and the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini in the traditional village of Niasar.

TAILORMADE IRAN OPTIONS

Trekking, hiking & walking

Iran offers a multitude of excellent trekking and walking routes to suit all levels. Mount Damavand at 5,671 metres is the highest mountain in the Middle East and offers an excellent challenge to more experienced trekkers and climbers; likewise Alam Kuh in the Takht-e-Soleiman region. For village-based walking tours, the Valley of the Assassins, the Zagros region and the area South and West of the Caspian Sea afford numerous possibilities to experience Iran’s nature as well as gaining a real insight into its culture, heritage and hospitality. Desert hikes can also be arranged. Kish island, in the Persian Gulf, offers excellent diving opportunities with an abundance of sea life, colourful corals and a multitude of sea wrecks of varying ages to explore.

Mount Damavand

Climb to the peaks of the Middle East`s highest mountain with a beautiful trek through the Alborz mountain range. Gain fantastic views of the Caspian Sea and its ivory cliffs, as you get closer and closer to the summit. Take in the thrills of an environment shrouded by myth and folklore, and stand on the mountain known as the symbol of resistance in Persian literature. Feel the mystique that surrounds the mountain legend as you relax in its thermal springs.

Skiing

Iran boasts numerous excellent ski resorts including many within a short distance of Tehran. Due to the high altitude of many resorts the ski season is longer than in Europe – from mid- November until May typically. Dizin, the largest resort, also offers grass skiing in summer.

Meet Iran`s Nomads

Iran is home to over one million nomads from dozens of tribes. The most distinctive and thus most famous are the Bakhtiaris and the Qashqais. The Bakhtiaris summer in the high Zard Kuh Mountains, South and West of Isfahan, and winter in Khuzestan, near the Persian Gulf. They wear a distinctive dress of wide trousers, a short tunic and a round hat, and are known for their unique style of music. Qashqais summer in the highland pastures North of Shiraz and winter almost 500km further South, nearer the Persian Gulf. They are renowned for their pile carpets. Meet and share a meal with these gentle pastoral people, and get an insight into their daily lives.

Iran`s Deserts

There are two extensive deserts in Iran, Kavir-e-Lut, and Kavir-e-Markazi, covering an area of over 360,000 square kilometres, in central Iran. These vast expanses of sand dunes, salt lakes, steppe-like plains, and wadis of date palms and camel flocks are some of the most interesting, yet unknown areas in Iran. A vast network of Caravansaries follow ancient, camel-trodden trade routes and through the scorched salt flats of Kavir-e-Markazi.

Birding in Iran

With huge variation in habitat and climate Iran makes a perfect haven for wild birds. With 517 known species, the Pleske`s Ground Jay is nonetheless the only truly endemic species, though the Caspian tit, Red-tailed wheatear, Sind-Pied woodpecker, and Caspian snowcock are near endemic and there are more than 50 endangered or critically endangered species. A sample itinerary covers the semi-arid lands inside Touran National Park to see Pleske`s Ground Jay and Desert warbler, and a few days in Parvar to see Caspian tit and Caspian snowcock.






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"Iran is country I have wanted to visit for a long time. All my questions prior to and post booking were answered promptly. The trip itself was superb and the people were warm, friendly and welcoming."

- Andy Pollard,
Classical Iran







"This was my first experience with Travel the Unknown, and it exceeded my expectations. The itinerary was comprehensive, the local guide exceedingly knowledgeable, and hotels carefully selected for convenience and comfort. Staff were readily accessible to answer pre-trip queries, and the visa application efficiently handled."

- Peter Adams,
Glories of Persia




Next 5 departures

Tour

Country

Departure date

Duration

Price

Glories of Persia (Archaeology tour)

Iran

04 September 2014

15 days

£2,595

Classical Iran

Iran

20 September 2014

13 days

£2,295

Troglodytes & Assassins

Iran

04 October 2014

14 days

£2,295

Classical Iran

Iran

04 April 2015

13 days

£2,295

Glories of Persia (Archaeology tour)

Iran

11 April 2015

15 days

£2,595

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Click for Classical Iran tour details

Classical Iran »
Discover the culture and history behind modern Iran

Off the beaten track rating

Activity rating
3


Iran

  • 20 Sep 2014
  • 4 Apr 2015
  • 25 Oct 2015

13 days

£2,295
More info
Click for Glories of Persia (Archaeology tour) tour details

Glories of Persia (Archaeology tour) »
Unlock the secrets of ancient Iran

Off the beaten track rating

Activity rating
4


Iran

  • 4 Sep 2014
  • 11 Apr 2015
  • 13 Sep 2015

15 days

£2,595
More info
Click for Troglodytes & Assassins tour details

Troglodytes & Assassins »
Unlock the secrets of ancient Iran

Off the beaten track rating

Activity rating
4


Iran

  • 4 Oct 2014
  • 19 Apr 2015
  • 10 Oct 2015

14 days

£2,295
More info



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Travel The Unknown is a UK based tour operator specialising in off the beaten track travel in some of the least explored places on Earth.

We are currently offering tours to North East India: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya; Serbia, Syria and Colombia. Our off the beaten track tours are diverse and include tribal tours, cultural tours, Kaziranga safari trips, mountain trekking expeditions, village tours, Buddhist temple tours and camping in stunning remote places. We also offer festival tours including the Ras Festival in Majuli and many festivals in Arunachal Pradesh including Nyochum, Si-Doni, Losar, Tawang Torgya, and many more. In Colombia the Barranquilla festival is available.

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