Classical Iran

Iran (Paused)

Culture | Silk Road

Discover the history and culture behind modern Iran

14 days £2,910 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Intro, Dates & Prices



Lose yourself in Yazd`s mud-brick alleyways, marvel at Isfahan’s sheer beauty, take in a poetry reading in Shiraz and take a trip back to the ancient Achaemanian era with a visit to Persepolis. Dig deeper in some of Tehran’s excellent museums, explore the Zoroastrian shrine of Chak Chak, browse for handicrafts in Nain`s bazaar and wander the lovely gardens of Kashan.

NOTE: Iranian visa authorisation code is included for all those booking on this tour.

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  • The poetic city of Shiraz
  • Persia’s ancient capital, Persepolis
  • The tomb of Cyrus the Great
  • Stunning mud-brick village of Kharanagh
  • Ancient mosques and palaces of Isfahan
  • Shopping for crafts in bazaars
  • Isfahan's stunning Friday mosque
  • Khans and gardens of Shiraz and Kashan
  • Qom - the Islamic Heart of Iran
  • The National Museum of Iran

Places Visited

Shiraz - Firuz Abad - Persepolis - Naghsh-e-Rostam - Naghsh-e-Rajab - Pasargadae - Yazd - Chak Chak - Kharanagh Village - Meybod - Na'in - Isfahan - Kashan - Abyaneh - Tehran - Qom

What's Included

Visa authorisation code
Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
English-speaking guide
Entrance fees to sites & parks

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Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Arrival

Depart your home country on a flight to Shiraz. On arrival a hotel room will be available to you.

NOTE: If you arrive on this day (as opposed to the early hours of the following day) it is not a problem. The hotel room will be available from 2pm.

Overnight in Homa Hotel, Shiraz

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Shiraz

On arrival into Shiraz airport in the early morning hours you will be met by a Travel The Unknown representative and transferred to your hotel. After some sleep meet in the hotel lobby at 11am sharp. Today's tour will visit Khan Madrassa, the Narenjestan gardens and house, the 19th century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, and the Holy Shrine of Ali Ebn e Hamze Shrine. You will also have the chance to visit the tomb of the famous Iranian poet Hafez. There will also be an opportunity at some point today for ladies to buy suitable clothing for their time in Iran. Overnight in Shiraz.

Overnight in Homa Hotel, Shiraz

Meal plan: Breakfast

Khan Madrassa, a theological school in Shiraz, was founded in 1615. After being partly destroyed by earthquakes, only the elaborate entrance portal remains of the original building. Still in use and having been rebuilt, the roof offers excellent views over the Baazar. 

Shiraz is the capital of Fars province in Iran and the fifth most populous city in the country. The earliest references to the city date back to 2000 BC and it has been an important trading centre for over a thousand years. It was briefly the country's capital on two occasions in the Zand and Saffavid eras. It is famous for its poets, including Hafez and Saadi.

The poet Hafez is buried on the north bank of the Khoshk River in Shiraz, his hometown. Hafez wrote poetry with numerous references to wine and love in the 14th century and is recognized as the master of the Ghazal, a form of poetry composed of five to fifteen couplets. Built in 1953, Hafez's tomb is engraved with some of his works. It is a place of pilgrimage for Iranians, who treat their poets the way rock stars are treated in the West.

Ladies clothes shopping opportunity - as clothing in Iran can be difficult for ladies we will take you for a short visit to a market to pick up some items of clothing appropriate to the local customs, fashions and, of course, restrictions. 

Nasir Ol Molk was a wealthy governor of Shiraz during the Qajar era and built this private mosque to his own personal taste. It is a very colourful affair known as the “Pink Mosque” for its liberal use of pink tiles. Its design follows advanced mathematical and geometrical patterns and the wooden elements are made from expensive walnut wood. Some bricks are also made of wood and were designed to insulate the building from earthquakes. There is also a well that used cows to pull up water. The mosque, however, is most famous for its stained glass windows. 

Imamzadeh-ye Ali Ebn-e Hamze is a 19th century shrine built on the site of older shrines. The current incarnation boasts a huge bulbous Shirazi dome, stained glass windows that allow plenty of light to enter and mirror work that is truly dazzling.

Narenjestan-e-Ghavam (also known as “Qavam House”) is a beautifully-set historic house built by the Qavam Family who were originally merchants from Qazvin (west of Tehran). The inside is ornately decorated with mirrors, inlay work and hand-painted tiles. The gardens, Bagh-e-Ghavam, boast seven types of orange trees and display beautiful symmetry.

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Day 3 : Shiraz - Firuz Abad - Shiraz

After breakfast, there will be an excursion to Firuz Abad from Shiraz. Visit the old walled city and the famous palace of Ardashir overlooking the lake. In the evening you will visit Vakil Bazaar. Overnight in Shiraz.

Overnight in Homa Hotel, Shiraz

Meal plan: Breakfast

Firuz Abad was originally built by the Sassanian King Ardashir in 200 AD, who designed it as his own royal residence. Firuz Abad was christened "Ardashir-Khurra" which means 'the Glory of Ardashir'. It was originally a walled city in the shape of a circle, with four gates located at each cardinal point. Out of the centre of the city, the remains of the square minaret of rubble-rose stone can still be seen. Nearby is the enormous palace of Ardashir, which was built on a plain overlooking a small natural lake. In the opening of the valley are some striking bas-reliefs that depict Ardashir defeating the Parthian King, Artabanus. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in June 2018 as part of the Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region.

Vakil Bazaar is the most famous of Shiraz’s markets. With its wide brick avenues, it is more roomy than most and was originally intended to enhance Shiraz’s role as a trading centre in the Zand era when it was built by Karim Khan. It acts as a living ethnographic museum and is a great place to people-watch, with frequent visitors from the Persian Gulf, various Nomadic tribes and people from all over Southern Iran. The lovely Serai Mushir is a caravanserai near the Southern Vakil Bazaar that is also worth visiting. 

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Day 4 : Shiraz - Persepolis - Naghsh-e-Rostam - Shiraz

Full day excursion to Persepolis and its museum. There will also be the chance to visit Naghsh-e-Rostam and Naghsh-e-Rajab. Overnight stay in Shiraz.

Overnight in Homa Hotel, Shiraz

Meal plan: Breakfast

Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings that tells the story of the Archaemenid Empire’s magnificence and grandeur, as well as its demise. The city wasn’t recovered until the 1930s, which is partly why it still survives so intact today. Construction of the site began under Darius the Great, but the complex was expanded upon by subsequent rulers and contains the remains of the palaces of Darius, Xerxes and Artaxerxes. The Tachara Palace is decorated with famous bas-reliefs depicting kings, courtiers and other gift-bearing representatives of tributary nations of the Persian Empire. The Persepolis Museum, thought to have once been a harem to the king’s consorts and concubines, displays a stone foundation tablet and other artefacts recovered during excavations.

Naghsh-e-Rostam, a mooted UNESCO world heritage site, is a series of four rock-tombs, fashioned out of a cliff. Archaeologists think the tombs are those of Xerxes I, Artaxeres I, Darius I and Darius II. The tombs copy the model from Persepolis, showing the kings supported by figures of surrounding nations. Also carved into the cliff are seven Sassanian reliefs that show images of imperial conquests and royal processions, including Shapur I’s famous victory over the Roman Emperor Valerian.

Naghsh-e-Rajab is a magnificent archaeological site dating back to the early Sassanid era, located near the ruins of the ancient Achaemenid city of Istakhr. It is the site of four limestone rockface inscriptions and bas-reliefs that feature the investitures of Ardeshir I and Shapur I, as well as Shapur's military victory over the Romans.

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Day 5 : Pasargadae - Yazd

Drive to Yazd and visit Pasargadae, the tomb of Cyrus the Great, as well as a four thousand year old Cyprus tree en route. Overnight in Yazd.

Overnight in Dad International, Yazd

Meal plan: Breakfast

Pasargadae was established as a city by Cyrus the Great (the founder of the Persian Empire) in about 546 BC, predating the famous site of Persepolis. The city houses Cyrus the Great’s simply-constructed tomb, which consists of six stone tiers supporting a modest rectangular burial chamber. The tomb has an unusually imposing architecture which combines styles of its contemporary civilizations. Also in the serene plain of Dasht-e-Morghab are the remains of Cyrus the Great’s several palaces made of black limestone plinth. Just north of the Palace is the Prison of Solomon, often mistaken for a sundial or fire-temple. 

The Cypress Tree in Abarkuh is 25m high with a circumference of 18m. It is estimated to be over 4000 years old and some believe it may be the oldest living thing in Asia. 

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Day 6 : Chak-Chak - Kharangagh

After breakfast there will be an excursion to Chak-Chak and Kharanagh before returning to Yazd. The afternoon will be free to spend as you please and in the evening there will be an optional visit to a Zurkhaneh on your own time. Overnight stay in Yazd.

Overnight in Dad International, Yazd

Meal plan: Breakfast

Pir-e-Sabz, or Chak Chak, is a small Zoroastrian shrine set on a cliff side, famed for being one of the most important shrines in Iran. In Farsi, Chak Chak literally means 'Drip Drip'. The name refers to the local legend of the princess who was sheltered in a cave by a Zoroastrian God to save her from the invading Arab army. The princess waited anxiously for the army to leave, hearing only the sound of dripping water from the rocks. Today, an annual celebration between the 14th and 18th of June sees many Indian and Iranian Parsis visit the site for pilgrimage. 

The Kharanagh Village is a bewitching 1,000-year-old village composed of many crumbling mud-brick buildings. The mosque, the caravanserai and the eclectic 17th century shaking minaret have now been restored. The village also boasts an impressive ancient aqueduct. 

A Zurkhaneh, which literally translates as “house of strength”, is a traditional gymnasium where Pahlevani rituals are practised. These rituals combine martial arts, callisthenics, strength training, music and poetry. There are around 500 of the gyms dotted around the country, each with strong ties to its local community. Some of them welcome visitors, though a small contribution may be expected.

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Day 7 : Yazd

Today will be spent sightseeing in Yazd including a walking tour through the old Fahadan area of Yazd, Alexander's Prison, the Friday Mosque, the Bazaar, Mirchachmagh Maidan and the Water museum. There will also be a visit to the two Zoroastrian Towers of Silence (Dakhma), and the Fire Temple. Time permitting there will also be a visit to Dowlabad Gardens, Overnight in Yazd.

Overnight in Dad International, Yazd

Meal plan: Breakfast

Yazd, one of the oldest mud-brick cities in Iran, is the centre for Iran’s small Zoroastrian community, who first established a settlement there to shelter from the invading Arabs. Having escaped destruction from Genghis Khan, it blossomed into a trade centre in the 14th and 15th centuries, producing silk, textiles and carpets. Named after Yazdegerd I, a Sassanid ruler, the city’s modern-day inhabitants are known as peaceful, hardworking and family-oriented people. Its skyline is famous for wind badgirs, an energy-efficient form of air conditioning that makes use of any little wind to cool building interiors.

Yazd’s two Dakhma, or 'Towers of Silence' date back to the 18th century and reign over the city. The towers were used as storage houses for the dead, who were left there to decompose and be devoured by birds until as recently as 50-60 years ago. Zoroastrians believed burials or cremations would pollute the Earth or Fire, which are precious elements in their religion. They felt that using Towers of Silence was a better way of recycling the deceased.

Yazd’s Zoroastrian Fire Temple is also known as 'Ateshkadeh', which means 'Eternal Sacred Flame'. It houses an active fire that has burned for about 1,500 years. It was first moved to Yazd in 1174 and to its present site in 1940.  

Yazd’s Jameh Mosque (Friday mosque) is arguably the city's greatest architectural landmark. It dates back to the 15th century and was built on the site of an older mosque, which was most likely built on the site of an even older Fire Temple. Flanked by two 48-metre-high minarets, it boasts a 15th- century inscription and has one of the tallest tiled entrance portals in Iran. The best mosaics can be seen on the dome and mihrab. 

Yazd Water Museum, housed in a former merchant’s house orignally built in 1929, is one of Yazd's best new attractions. The museum displays a variety of water objects from qanat to water ownership documents. The museum traces the water history of the region and how water technologies and everyday life have been interwoven across the ages. 

The beautiful Dowlatabad Garden complex features historic buildings constructed during the time of Mohammad Taqi Khan. Its wind badgir is 33 metres high, the highest in Yazd. The advanced building architecture and the beautiful gardens make it one of the city's most celebrated sights.

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Day 8 : Yazd - Isfahan

In the morning drive to Isfahan via Meybod and Na'in. In Na'in visit the 10th century Friday Mosque, and the 17th century Pirnia House which is now also an Ethnographic Museum (if it is open). After lunch continue to Isfahan for an overnight stay.

Overnight in Abbasi Hotel, Isfahan

Meal plan: Breakfast

Meybod is an ancient desert town composed of mud-brick buildings dating back some 1,800 years. Visitors have the chance to look around a 17th-century caravanserai and witness a weaving demonstration. There is also a 300-year-old postal station and a colossal Safavid-era Ice House with an eccentric cone-shaped roof. Several pottery workshops surround the town’s masterpiece, the Narin Castle. It dates back to Sassannian times and is said to be the oldest mud-brick construction in Iran.

Na’in is a relaxed ancient town situated on a crossroads in the desert between Yazd and Isfahan. Its location has allowed Na’in to act as a trading centre since the Sassanid era. Na’in has long specialized in handicrafts and in past centuries it was famous for spectacular ceramics and textiles. Today it exports skillfully-woven carpets and camel-wool cloaks to all over Iran and beyond. Most striking in the town are the Narin Castle and Jameh Mosque. Narin Castle is a fire temple from the pre-Islamic Parthian and Sassanid eras that  is composed of roughly-shaped mud bricks and boasts a large moat. Na'in's Jameh Mosque is one of the first Iranian mosques and was built between the 11th and 12th centuries. ‘Jameh’ is understood by Persians to refer to the grand mosque of a city where people congregate for Eid and Friday prayers (the word ‘Jam’ means 'gathering'). Defying the style of its time, it has elaborate stucco work inside and an underground prayer hall.  

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Day 9 : Isfahan

Take a full day tour of the beautiful city of Isfahan, including its famous Grand Square, the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, the Shah (Imam Mosque) and the Friday Mosque. Finish by admiring the local crafts of the Qeisarieh Bazaar. Overnight in Isfahan.

Overnight in Abbasi Hotel, Isfahan

Meal plan: Breakfast

With a myriad of stunning boulevards, ornate gardens and some of the most impressive architecture Iran has to offer, Isfahan was once the 17th-century Safavid capital of Persia and still retains a high status in the country today. It was referred to as ‘Nesf-e-Jahan’ in ancient Safavid sources, which translates to 'Half of the World'. 

Located in the historic centre of Isfahan, the Masjed-e-Jameh ('Friday mosque') can be seen as a stunning illustration of the evolution of mosque architecture over twelve centuries, starting in 841AD. It is the oldest-preserved edifice of its type in Iran and a prototype for later mosque designs throughout Central Asia. The complex, covering more than 20,000 square metres, is also the first Islamic building that adapted the four-courtyard layout of Sassanid palaces to Islamic religious architecture. Its double-shelled ribbed domes represent an architectural innovation that inspired builders throughout the region. The site also features remarkable decorative details representative of stylistic developments over more than a thousand years of Islamic art.

Built by Shah Abbas the Great, the magnificently-tiled Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is one of the architectural masterpieces of Safavid Iranian architecture, standing on the eastern side of Naghsh-e-Jahan Square in Isfahan. Built between 1603 and 1619, the mosque is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The mosque is also known as Imam Mosque or Jameh Abbasi Mosque.

Isfahan’s Grand Bazaar (a.k.a. Quesarieh or Imperial Bazaar) links the Shah mosque in Imam Square with the Jameh Mosque. Parts of it date back over a thousand years, but the majority dates to the Shah Abbas period (16th Century). The bazaar is a maze of alleyways, madrassas and caravanserais and is probably the best place in Iran for souvenir and gift shopping including many arts and crafts for which Isfahan is famous.

Naqsh-e-Jahan Square (meaning 'pattern of the world', a.k.a. Imam Square) was built at the centre of Isfahan between 1598 and 1629. It measures about 160m wide by 510m long and is surrounded by buildings from the Safavid era including the Shah Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and the Ali Qapu palace. The creation of the square by Shah Abbas the Great was key to centralising power in Iran. It was this square that inspired French poet Renier to describe Isfahan as 'half the world', a tag that has stuck with Iranians. It is the second largest square in the world after Tiananmen Square. 

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Day 10 : Isfahan

Half-day sightseeing in Isfahan where you will visit the famous bridges of Shahrestan, Khajou & Sio-se-pol, the Armenian Quarter and Chehel Sotun Palace. There will also be free time to spend in the Bazaar. The rest of the day is for you to spend as you please. Overnight in Isfahan.

Overnight in Abbasi Hotel, Isfahan

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Chehel Sotun Palace was built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century. The 20 wooden columns of the palace are reflected in the surface of the pool and give rise to its nickname, 'Palace of Forty Columns'. The Throne Hall has a fascinating series of frescos with imposing historical scenes above them on the upper walls. The perfectly-manicured palace garden Bagh-e Chetal Sotun is UNESCO listed. 

Isfahan’s Armenian Quarter (a.k.a Jolfa or New Jolfa) dates back to the era of Shah Abbas I, who transported Christian craftsmen from the town of Jolfa in Northwest Iran. Today it boasts 13 Armenian Churches, the most important and interesting of which is Vank Cathedral. Its interior  mixes Islamic and Christian styles. It  is a riot of Biblical scenes, many of which are gloriously gruesome.

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Day 11 : Isfahan - Kashan

Morning drive to Kashan. En route visit the ancient village of Abyaneh. In Kashan, visit the Agha Bozorg Mosque, the historical gardens of Fin and a historic house. Overnight in Kashan.

Overnight in Negin Hotel, Kashan

Meal plan: Breakfast

Found on the rim of the central Salt Desert, Kashan dates back to prehistoric times. It is the city of carpets, velvets, glazed tiles, pottery and rosewater. Kashan is home to the Royal Gardens of Fin, with their abundant water supply, garden, pool with numerous spouts and an old historical bathing-house. Kashan also boasts numerous old khans (private residences, the Agha Bozorg Mosque, a covered bazaar and the ancient Sialk Mounds - a settlement dating back to approximately 4,500 BC.

The Qajar-period Agha Bozorg Mosque boasts a symmetrical design and minarets that are composed of exquisite tiles. Its large door is decorated with studs that represent verses in the Qur’an.

Abyaneh is a beautiful ancient village located at the foot of the Karkass mountains. The village’s buildings are characterised by a unique reddish clay and many interesting architectural styles. The Abyaneh people steadfastly resisted conversion to Islam until around the 16th century, preferring to hold onto Zoroastrianism – the ancient Iranian religion.

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Day 12 : Kashan - Qom - Tehran

After breakfast drive to Tehran via the city of Qom. Overnight in Tehran.

Overnight in Espinas Persian Gulf Hotel, Tehran

Meal plan: Breakfast

Qom, the site of the shrine of Fatema al-Masumeh, is considered one of the holiest cities in Iran. It is the largest centre for Shi'a scholarship in the world. While the inhabitants can be somewhat ambiguous towards tourists compared to other parts of Iran, it is an interesting look inside one of the vanity projects of the Islamic Republic. It is hard to deny Qom’s splendour.
NOTE: to visit the centre of Qom it will be necessary to take a local bus in and out.

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Day 13 : Tehran

Today you will visit the National Museum of Iran, Golestan Palace and the Crown Jewels museum. Overnight in Tehran.

NOTE: There are many things to do in Tehran. If you would like to spend more time in Tehran or to visit other places in Iran not covered on your itinerary please contact us about this. Depending on the day of the week some sights visited in Tehran on the main tour may vary.

Overnight in Espinas Persian Gulf Hotel, Tehran

Meal plan: Breakfast

Tehran has been Iran's capital since 1778 and is its biggest city, with over 14 million people living within its metropolitan area. It also boasts countless museums and is at the heart of most of Iran's cultural and artistic events. The city is on an upwards slope going North, with the city centre at about 1,200m and parts of North Tehran rising up to 1,700m. 

The Golestan Palace Complex is the oldest of all the historic monuments in Tehran, belonging to a group of buildings once enclosed within the historic Arg of the ancient city. The Arg itself was built during the Safavid dynasty between 1524 and 1576. It later became the royal residence of the capital during the Qajar dynasty, first lived in by Agar Mohamed Khan Qajar. The Palace today appears as it did in 1865 when it was rebuilt by Haji Abol-hasan Mimar Navi, but parts of the original structure still remain. As a complex of 17 different palaces built over a time span of 200 years, the Golestan Palace has historically been the place of coronations and important ceremonies. The Tahkt-e-Marmar or marble throne is particularly stunning, and the palaces are adjacent to beautiful gardens.

The National Archaeology Museum of Iran was completed in 1928 by the French architect Andre Godard. It contains ceramics, pottery and other archaeological gems from excavations all over Iran, including Persepolis, Susa and many other significant sites. The exhibition displays are charmingly chaotic, but stuffed with authentic artifacts, including pottery dating back to 6-7th millennium BC. Striking finds include a human-headed capital from Persepolis and some stunning friezes from the Apadana Palace. The museum is an absolute must for anyone interested in archaeology or the history of Iran.

The Crown Jewels Museum houses the largest set of crown jewels in the world. Its displays include splendid crowns and expensively decorated thrones, swords and shields, aigrettes and a vast number of precious gemstones used to make exquisite jewellery. Highlights include the world's largest pink diamond and the famous Peacock Throne. Open Saturday to Tuesday (afternoons only).

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Day 14 : Tehran - Departure

Transfer to Tehran airport for departure flight.

Meal plan: Breakfast



All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Homa Hotel

Shiraz (4 nights)

The Shiraz Homa Hotel is located right next to the Azadi Park, with spectacular views of the Zagros Mountains. The hotel offers both garden and mountain view rooms. The Homa Hotel boasts several restaurants serving various cuisines, including Iranian and Western. A tennis court, swimming pool and shopping arcade provide guests with ample activities to fill their leisure time. There is also free wireless internet.

Visit hotel's site
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Dad International

Yazd (3 nights)

Hotel Dad is located at the heart of the historic city of Yazd and is among Yazd's most famous structures and establishments. Dating back to almost a century ago, Hotel Dad was designed by Haj Abdolkhalegh Dad who created the site in 1928. The bedrooms each feature an en suite bathroom, air conditioning, free internet connection, mini-bar and satellite TV. The hotel offers an indoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi in the area.

Visit hotel's site
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Abbasi Hotel

Isfahan (3 nights)

The Abbasi Hotel is well known as the location of the 1974 Agatha Christie-based film, Ten Little Indians. The 300 year old complex was built as a Caravanserai for travellers journeying along the Silk Road. The bedrooms include air-conditioning, satellite television and a fridge. Wifi available.

Visit hotel's site
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Negin Hotel

Kashan (1 night)

The Negin Hotel is located in the heart of old city next to the ancient and famous Bazar and within 5-10 minutes walk of multiple historic mosques, houses and districts in Kashan. The on-site restaurant and coffee shop serve a range of traditional Persian dishes. Wi-fi is available at this hotel. 

Visit hotel's site
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Espinas Persian Gulf Hotel

Tehran (2 nights)

Espinas Persian Gulf is a modern hotel in the heart of Tehran. Boasting a traditional Persian restaurant and a breakfast bar which commands wonderful views among the treetops of Keshavarz Boulevard. The hotel also has a fitness centre with sauna, steam room and swimming pool for guests use.  All rooms have contemporary furnishes with a range of modern amenities including; a safety deposit box, mini-bar, LCD TV and tea/coffee making facilities. 

Visit hotel's site
Trip Notes



Thank you for booking your holiday with Travel The Unknown. We love Iran and we are confident that you will go away with fantastic memories of your tour in this incredible country. Please read the Money Exchange section below under the Money Matters heading, so you don't get caught out and also pay particular attention to the Cultural Sensitivity (dress code) section under the Responsible Travel heading. Please contact us if there's anything else you need to know before your trip. 


Your final itinerary will include the day-by-day details of your trip, meal plan, accommodation and relevant contacts. If you do not have your final itinerary, or are unsure about it, please contact us by one of the methods below:
Phone (UK): 020 7183 6371
Phone (US): 1 800 604 6024
Phone (IRL): 01 254 8657
Skype: traveltheunknown

Itineraries are correct at the time of printing and are updated throughout the year to incorporate suggestions from past travellers, our own research and information from our guides and local operators. Itineraries are also subject to change as a result of local and individual trip circumstances, and are to be treated as a guide rather than a definitive plan. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this. Please ensure that you have read and reviewed the final copy of your final Trip Notes and itinerary at least a week prior to travel in case there have been changes that may affect you.

Health & Safety


It is important to keep a high standard of hygiene when travelling, just as you would at home. Wash your hands with soap and water or antibacterial gel before eating or drinking and after using the toilet. 

We recommend that you stick to drinking bottled water and even use it to brush your teeth as tap water may be unsafe to drink. When dining, avoid food which has been left out (especially in the heat), salads and raw vegetables (as they may have been washed in local water) and ice creams (which may have been made with local water or allowed to thaw and re-freeze). Decline ice cubes in cold drinks and remove them when provided, as they may also be made with local untreated water.
When organising your own meals, be selective where you eat. Choose places that seem quite clean and where you see many locals eating. A high turnover usually means food is not left lying around and is made fresh. 


All Travel The Unknown travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in the group travel experience. If, in the opinion of our ground handler, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Travel The Unknown reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. Please read the itinerary for this tour thoroughly and pay close attention to the Activity Ratings shown on our website and then realistically self-assess your physical ability to complete the trip as described. Please consult with your doctor if you have any doubts or give us a call with any queries you may have. 

An excellent resource for up-to-date travel medicinal requirements is We recommend that you consult your doctor or a travel clinic at least 45 days prior to your departure for up-to-date medical travel information. You should also carry a first aid kit, as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that in some more remote areas you could be some distance away from medical facilities. For legal reasons, our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drugs, including headache tablets and antibiotics.

At the time of writing the following vaccinations were recommended for travel to Iran: Hepatitis A and Tetanus. Others to consider included: Hepatitis B, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Cholera, Rabies. 

Travellers should vigilantly protect themselves against mosquito bites from Spring until Autumn by wearing long-sleeved tops and long trousers, and using a mosquito repellent with a high quantity of DEET.


There is rarely any trouble in the areas our tours cover. We closely monitor the safety situation on a continuous basis, using both government sources and our own network of contacts on the ground, and will amend the itinerary if safety concerns require us to. Please check for the latest government advice on travel to the region (see some helpful links below) and please contact us if you have any further questions or concerns about safety issues.

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New Zealand  -

When travelling, you are subject to the same dangers that you may find at home, such as theft or pick pocketing in busy places. Travelling with an experienced group leader will help protect your trip from such dangers, but do not let your guard down completely. You are still responsible for your own belongings. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities; however during your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Travel The Unknown itinerary, and Travel The Unknown makes no guarantees about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement. Travel The Unknown cannot be held responsible for any injuries or losses that may occur during any such optional activity. Please also note that Travel The Unknown retains the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. 

To ensure the safety of your documents and other valuables, we strongly recommend that you use a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, whilst a lock is recommended for securing your luggage. It is not advisable to bring valuable jewellery when travelling. 

Generally speaking, Iran is a safe place, crime rates are low and most Iranians are very honest. However, normal precautions against pick pockets and petty crime should be taken and you should always know where your important belongings are. Drugs are something not tolerated by the Iranian regime and we strongly advise that you take this seriously. 

Money Matters

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some people spend a lot of money on drinks, whereas others may spend more on souvenirs or presents. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing money for drinks, shopping, participation in optional activities and tipping. 

- a soft drink in bar/restaurant        $2-4
- a meal in a mid-range restaurant  $10-20
- 10km taxi ride in a big city            $5-7


Tipping is completely voluntary and often not expected. It is, however, almost always appreciated. It is customary on tours to tip guides and drivers if you have been happy with their services.

If you would like to tip whilst in Iran, the following guidelines will give you an average tipping amount:

Suggested tip per person:

Guide for 1 Day          $10
Guide for 3 Days        $20
Guide for 1 Week       $50
Guide for 2 Weeks     $80
Driver for 1 Day          $5
Driver for 3 Days        $10
Driver for 1 Week       $25
Driver for 2 Weeks     $40
Restaurant                  7-10% of total bill
Porter at hotel            $1

Departure Tax

Please note, departure tax for Iran is only levied on Nationals of Iran, residing in Iran. 

Emergency Funds

Please make sure you have access to an additional £200 ($300), to be used if unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster or political strife) necessitate a change to our intended itinerary. This is not a common occurrence, but it is better to be prepared.

Note:  you will be responsible for any additional expenses incurred on your trip which are outside the scope of your tour package (e.g. costs related to personal emergencies, extra meals, phone calls, etc.). Any such costs must be paid in full locally.

Money Exchange

Iran is currently cut off from the international financial markets and it is NOT possible to get money from banks, ATMs or through travellers cheques. You must bring any money you will need for your trip IN CASH.

It is best to exchange your foreign currency (ideally US dollars, Euros or Sterling) in money exchange shops or in small amounts at your hotel. If bringing dollars, the only acceptable notes are ones that have been issued after 2006. If bringing Euros, the only acceptable notes are ones that have been issued after 2000. Money exchange shops may be found in all major towns and cities, as well as in almost all hotels (though the rate in some hotels is not particularly good). There are no money exchange shops at the Tehran airport, only banks, which will not give you a good exchange rate. It is best to ask your guide before exchanging anything other than a small amount of money.

At the time of writing the rate in money exchange shops was about 15-20% more than the official rate, but this can change quickly. A useful, though not always up-to-date, website is, which shows both official and unofficial rates. Another that may be more up-to-date is​, but this uses Tomans (see note below on denominations).

Some carpet sellers, in certain cities, have recently accepted credit cards for payments. Payments are usually processed over the phone with an agent elsewhere (often Dubai). If you opt to make payment via this method, you do so at your own risk, however we have not heard of any problems with such payments to date. 

Iranian Currency Denominations
The Iranian unit of currency is Rial - Internationally abbreviated to IRR. Every 10 Rials is also know as 1 Toman and Tomans are the way Iranians most often express prices though written prices will most often be in Rials. It is best to ask your guide to explain Iranian money as it can be confusing. 


Some meals are included in the price. Please refer to your itinerary for information on which meals are provided and budget accordingly for meals not included. 

We recommend that you budget about £7-15 or $10-20 per meal, although it will often be substantially cheaper.


Group Travel

To minimise the footprint our tours leave - both on the environment and the local culture - we keep our group sizes limited to 12 people.

In your group, there may be large variations in age and a variety of nationalities. While this is mostly a good thing, it can occasionally cause some difficulties, so we ask you to be patient with your fellow passengers and realise that everyone likes to travel differently. Please also consider your fellow passengers by respecting scheduled meeting times. If any issues occur within the group please inform your guide who will do his / her best to help to resolve it.

Tour guides

We have gone to great lengths in securing the best guides and drivers available to ensure your trip runs smoothly and you have the best experiences possible in your chosen region. 

However, please note, Iran has recently experienced a very significant surge in tourism and there are a very limited number of experienced guides and certainly not enough senior guides to meet the demand. Thus, whilst we endeavour to find the most experienced guides, many of the guides available to us are less experienced than we would ideally like to offer to our clients. In some cases, the guides we use may still be learning their trade and we ask you to show some understanding and patience with this. They are doing their best and are very eager to learn. We appreciate all of the feedback you can provide both to us and directly to our guides, as the only way they can improve is through experience and feedback. We thank you for your understanding.


Travel between destinations is by well-maintained and comfortable vehicles. If you need to get around town on your own in Iran, taxis are an inexpensive and easy way to do so. You can ask your guide or the reception at your hotel to call you a taxi and to help you arrange services. It can be useful to have your guide's number on hand when getting a taxi if language is a problem. The majority of taxi drivers in Iran are honest and helpful.

Additional Tours/Services

We can arrange additional tours, hotel nights and airport transfers before or after your chosen tour. Please let us know what you would like to do and we'll be happy to help. Any services, tours or other activities booked, agreed to or paid for locally are undertaken entirely at your own risk and the company will not be liable for any injury or loss incurred from such activities. You will also be responsible for any additional expenses incurred on the trip which are outside the scope of the tour package (e.g. costs related to personal emergencies, extra meals, phone calls, etc.). Any such costs must be paid in full locally.


Our tours typically include any in-country domestic flights. International flights from the UK can also be arranged if required. If you prefer however, you can book your own flights and our representative will meet you at the airport on arrival and take you to your hotel before your tour starts. Please let us know your preference when booking your trip.

Please note, for domestic flights, the typical baggage allowance, unless explicitly stated elsewhere, is 15kg.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. As a minimum, we require that your insurance covers you for medical expenses, including emergency repatriation. We also strongly recommend you are covered for personal liability, loss of luggage and personal effects. You will be required to give details of your insurance prior to departure. Travel the Unknown do not recommend which travel insurance to take out however we do have a partner who offers travel insurance. For clients based in the UK or Ireland you can buy online direct with Accident & General at 

Many insurers now cover Iran, but if you are having any problems finding an insurer, please contact Mike Berry at Campbell Irvine (020 7937 6981,, or Ian Hawes at Harrison Beaumont ( for help with an Iran travel insurance policy.

Alternatively Ulle at IHI based in Denmark should be able to help with insurance to Iran for those based outside as well as in the UK. Webpage and contact details are below.

Phone: +45 70 23 84 48 


We or our trusted ground handlers have personally vetted all accommodation. If any of our preferred first choice accommodations are not available, we will organise something of a similar standard. Please check your itinerary for a list of the accommodations on your trip.

Due to the unprecedented demand for hotels in Iran at the current time, it is not always possible to get our first choice accommodation. We will always do our best to get these and, where we cannot, to provide an adequate replacement. For Iran tours, it is usual that the final confirmed hotel list will not be provided until about a month before the trip starts.

Note also that we will generally use the best available accommodation, particularly when we are away from Iran's tourist trail, though in remote or less-visited places, this can often mean quite basic hotels and lodges with minimal services. 

Joining and finishing points

Unless otherwise indicated on your itinerary, you will be greeted at your arrival airport by a Travel The Unknown representative and escorted to your accommodation. See itinerary for details. At the end of your trip, you will be escorted to the airport for your departing flight, unless otherwise specified in your itinerary. 

Trip Specifics

Passports, Visas & Immigration

All travellers require a passport to travel. Your passport must have validity for 6 months beyond the intended length of your stay. Your passport must also have a minimum of two blank pages.

All travellers will require an Iranian visa to enter Iran. For all clients, we will arrange a visa authorisation code which will enable you to get an Iranian visa by going to your local embassy in person. In some countries, this can also be done by post. For more information on Iran visas and the latest information visit

United Kingdom - Consulate Section of Iranian Embassy, London
USA/Canada - Iranian Interest Section of the Pakistan Embassy, Washington D.C 
Australia - Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Canberra
Ireland* - Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dublin (*It may be possible for clients from NI to issue their visa here) 
New Zealand - Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Wellington

Clients obtaining an Iranian visa on arrival in Iran are in theory required to pay a compulsory $20 health insurance fee though in practice this may not be enforced. 


Electricity in Iran is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Iran with a device that does not accept 230 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. 

There are three main types of voltage converter. 

- Resistor-network converters will usually be advertised as supporting something like 50-1600 Watts. They are light-weight and support high-wattage electrical appliances like hair dryers and irons. However, they can only be used for short periods of time and are not ideal for digital devices.

- Transformers will have a much lower maximum Watt rating, usually 50 or 100. Transformers can often be used continuously and provide better electricity for low wattage appliances like battery chargers, radios, laptop computers, cameras, mp3 players and camcorders. However, they are heavy because they contain large iron rods and lots of copper wire.

- Some companies sell combination converters that include both a resistor network and a transformer in the same package. This kind of converter will usually come with a switch that switches between the two modes. If you absolutely need both types of converter, then this is the type to buy.

Outlets in Iran generally accept 1 type of plug: Two round pins (as used in continental Europe).

If your appliances plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter. Depending on how much you plan to travel in the future, it may be worthwhile to get a combination voltage converter and plug adapter. 


There are internet cafés and call shops in most large Iranian towns. International calls are also reasonably simple. Many foreign mobile phones will not work in Iran though it is worth checking with your mobile phone provider prior to travel. Many hotels have internet, often including wi-fi, but connections can be spotty and many sites can be blocked, e.g. Facebook, BBC News, Virgin email.

TIP:  If you think you will need to make or receive a lot of calls, then it would be worth investing in a prepaid SIM card on arrival at the airport or soon after. Ask your guide if you would like to buy a local SIM card. Do ensure that you have also purchased credit on your new SIM.  You have to make sure your handset is unlocked prior to leaving your home country. 

TIP 2: You can download VPN (virtual private network) software to your phone, tablet or laptop prior to travel to Iran to enable you to get around some of the blocks on accessing specific websites.


Iran is 3.5 hours ahead of the UK. 


Laundry facilities are offered by some hotels for a charge. In addition, laundry services can be found outside our hotels in all major cities and many smaller ones.

We advise you not to leave doing your laundry to the last minute, as drying times may be required and laundry services will not be available at all stops.


Iran has a hot, dry climate characterized by long, hot, dry summers and short, cool winters. The climate is influenced by Iran's location between the subtropical aridity of the Arabian desert areas and the subtropical humidity of the eastern Mediterranean area. January is the coldest month, with temperatures from 5°C to 10°C, and August is the hottest month, with temperatures from 20°C to 30°C.

In most areas, summers are warm to hot with virtually continuous sunshine, but high humidity on the southern coastal areas of the Persian Gulf. Daily temperatures can be very hot; on some days temperatures can reach easily 40°C or more, especially along the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea, which causes a danger of heat exhaustion.

About 70% of the average rainfall in the country falls between November and March; June through August are often rainless. Rainfall varies from season-to-season and from year-to-year. Precipitation is sometimes concentrated in local, but violent storms, causing erosion and local flooding, especially in the winter months. A small area along the Caspian coast has a very different climate, where rainfall is heaviest from late summer to mid-winter but continues to fall throughout the year.

The most comfortable times to travel to most parts of Iran are April, May, September, October and November, when it is not excessively hot, but the days are long enough for sufficient sightseeing.

Required clothing:
Lightweight cotton clothes are advised in the spring, summer and autumn, with a sweater for cooler evenings, especially in the inland areas. Waterproof gear is recommended for the winter, and warmer clothing for the mountainous areas of northern Iran. Please see the Cultural Sensitivity / Dress Code section under the Responsible Travel heading for more information on what to wear in Iran.


Thank you ------------------ Motshekeram
Hello ------------------------- Salam
Meat ------------------------- Gosht
Yes --------------------------- Bale
No ---------------------------- Na
Hot water ------------------- Abe Garm
I don’t understand -------- Man Nemifahmam
Please ----------------------- Lotfan
How are you? -------------- Che tor hastid?
I’m fine ----------------------- Khobam
How much? ----------------- Chand ast?
There is some -------------- Yek lami ast
There isn’t any ------------- Chizi nist
Toilet ------------------------- Toilet or WC
Where? ---------------------- Koja
Food -------------------------- Ghaza
Is there any food? --------- Ghaza hast?
Key ---------------------------- Kelid


This is a generic checklist of things to remember before travelling. Not all may apply to you:
- Tell your bank you are travelling, so that they do not block your transactions when you are abroad
- Ensure you have the relevant visas and a valid passport
- Ensure you have any required vaccinations and medications for the trip
- Ensure you have adequate travel insurance and that you have sent the relevant details of your policy to Travel The Unknown
- Make a note of your passport number, take a photocopy with you and email a scanned version to yourself
- Email a copy of your itinerary and trip contacts to any family members who may want to contact you
- Bring some money to cover emergency situations
- Check with your mobile service provider to make sure your phone works abroad (enable roaming if required)
- Check the What To Bring section of these Trip Notes to see if there are any particular items you require

While travelling, please bear in mind the following:
- Think about what you are doing at all times and trust your instincts - don’t take risks that you wouldn’t at home
- Don’t openly display valuables such as mobile phones or digital cameras and consider using a padlock on suitcases or backpacks
- Find out about local customs and dress, behave accordingly and obey local laws - there may be serious penalties for breaking a law that might seem trivial at home
- Respect the environment – don’t buy wildlife souvenirs, conserve resources (like water) and don’t drop litter


Please note that some of our tours can be physically demanding. A basic level of fitness, mobility and decent health is assumed. Please contact us if you are unsure about your suitability for this trip.

Check the activity rating of your tour on our website and consult the chart below.

*     Relaxation. There are no activities scheduled.

**    This will typically include some short walking tours and some medium-length car/minibus journeys.

***   This is the standard for most of our cultural tours. It involves city walking, short walks in rural areas and some medium-to-long drives.

****  This typically involves some short hikes or the equivalent, as well as some long-ish drives and city walking.

***** This is typically a hiking or activity itinerary and can be quite strenuous. A good level of fitness is expected.

NOTE: Ratings are inherently subjective and are made using our best judgement. Also, different parts of an itinerary may merit different ratings, so the ratings assigned are an assumed average for the whole trip. In any case, please contact us if you are unsure of the level of fitness required for any given trip.

Please note that many sites in Iran have uneven steps, often with no banisters. 

What to bring

Below is a recommended list of items to bring. It does not claim to be exhaustive. 

•    Any required medicines
•    Basic first aid kit, insect repellent and sunscreen (min. factor 15)
•    Day pack (useful for carrying basic items)
•    Basic toiletries and tissues
•    Clothing for both hot and cold conditions (practical clothing is strongly advised, especially long-sleeved tops, long trousers and a sun hat)
•    Sandals and walking shoes
•    Binoculars, torch, sunglasses, small towel and electricity adapter
•    Waterproof bag for documents and electronics
•    Notepad, pen and book
•    Watch (strict time-keeping is required at times)
•    Money for meals, souvenirs and contingencies
•    Drinking bottle
•    Travel plug (for sinks without plugs)
•    Travel pillow (can come in handy for longer journeys)

Most importantly, come with an open mind!

Please also read the 'money matters' section and don't forget to bring cash in foreign currency.

What can I not bring?
There is a lot of misinformation on this. Generally speaking there are not a lot of things you cannot bring into Iran. You cannot bring in alcohol or any illegal drugs (prescription medicines are not a problem. It is not necessary to carry prescriptions unless you have very large quantities). You also cannot bring in more than US$5000 without declaring it on arrival.

Cameras and camera equipment is not a problem on arrival but carrying a lot of specialist camera equipment/large lenses etc is may attract unwanted attention from the authorities during the trip. There are no restrictions or problems about which books you bring in.

What can I not leave Iran with?
You cannot leave Iran with any objects over a hundred years old. Furthermore it is a crime to buy or sell any pre-Islamic objects. You must declare any foreign currency amounts over US$10,000 you leave with.

Electronic Items

•    Camera – don't forget your accessories: memory cards, battery and charger
•    If you use a film camera, bring film, lenses, batteries, etc.
•    Mobile phone and charger
•    Plug adaptors 
•    Music player and charger
•    Laptop or tablet and charger (useful if you want to keep a blog and upload photos)

Recommended Reading

David's recommendations:
A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind - Michael Axworthy
Iran Awakening: A memoir of revolution and hope - Shirin Ebadi
​City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death, and the Search for Truth in Tehran - Ramita Navai
In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs - Christopher de Bellaigue

More good books:
The Persians: Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran - Homa Katouzian
Shah of Shahs - Ryszard Kapuscinski
All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror - Stephen Kinzer
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books - Azar Nafisi
​Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi
Persia through writers' eyes - edited by David Blow
The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay: An American Family in Iran - Hooman Majd
The Road To Oxiana: Robert Byron

Faces of Love - Hafez, Khatun (lady poet of same time) and Zakani (Cat and Mice) - translations by Dick Davis
Persian Poems - Everyman's Library, Pocket Poets

YouTube - The last Shah - Iran History BBC Documentary (Ben Kingsley Narration)

The Rough Guide to the Music of Iran

Please do suggest more if you have read/watched anything good. We do try to keep up and others are always welcome of new suggestions.

Responsible Travel

Responsible Travel

As regular travellers, one thing that never ceases to amaze and inspire us is the kindness and generosity of people, often people who have very little to their name. We firmly believe that the people who make these places special should also benefit from our visit. Therefore, as first preference, we use local guides and locally-owned lodges, shops and eateries. We do our best to ensure that the benefits of our tours reach as widely as possible into the communities where they operate. We also support a small portfolio of charities and local grassroots organisations which you can see on our website at

The Environment

Please be mindful of the environment in which you travel. We ask you to be vigilant about disposing of your waste.  Dispose of all rubbish correctly and do not leave litter or cigarette butts in natural environments. 

Help us to reduce single-use plastics
We are very happy to announce our tie-up with WaterToGo -

This will give you the chance to help us to reduce single-use plastic usage on our trips - and as such we would encourage you to buy reusable water bottles from the link above. This will not cost you any more, in fact you can get a 15% discount by entering the code "TTU15" at the checkout - and we will get a small percentage commission too which we will donate to WaterAid -   They have many amazing water-related projects ensuring clean water, decent toilets and sanitation are something everyone can access. Thank you for helping us to make a little difference.

Visit for further information on our responsible travel initiatives.

Cultural Sensitivity

We go to great lengths to ensure our tours have minimal impact on the environment and the people who live there. We ask you to respect the culture of the people and to familiarise yourself with local laws and customs prior to travelling with us. 

If you would like to photograph someone, ask their permission first to avoid causing offence. In some countries, photographing officials, the army, police, government buildings and borders may be illegal and may result in having your equipment confiscated.

Dress Code: 
Iranian law states that women should cover their hair, neck, arms and legs, so some type of head scarf is a necessity. Loose clothing and long garments should also be worn to cover the body. Jeans are acceptable when worn with a long shirt that covers the bottom. Men are not allowed to wear shorts, extreme short-sleeved shirts, or tight shirts. Sandals without socks are acceptable for both sexes. Generally, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to pick up some suitable clothing while in Iran. Do a Google search of 'Iran clothes' and look at the photo results to get an idea of the range of clothing worn in Iran. Check out our blog this blog post for more information on the female dress code:

We typically include a visit to a small clothing market after the first day of sightseeing to allow people to pick some clothing suitable for the climate and the local styles but there may not always be a huge selection so it would be wise not to only rely on this.

Please note that the smaller towns are generally more conservative when it comes to dress code.

Stay in touch


If you would like to find out about new tours and all that is happening with Travel The Unknown, please sign up to our newsletter on our website,, send us an email at or call us on 020 7183 6371 (UK) or 1 347 329 5524 (US).


We have spent much time and effort to make your trip a memorable experience for all the right reasons. However, we are constantly looking to improve our tours and any feedback you can give us or suggestions you may have would be very much appreciated. Visit to share your thoughts with us. 

Tour photos

We prefer to use real photos taken on our tours on our website and in our print material, so we actively encourage you to send us your photos. Happy snapping! 

If we use your pictures we will be happy to credit you as the photographer - just let us know you would like us to do so when you send in your photos. You can also share your photos on our Facebook page,

Stay in Touch

You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and our blog by visiting our pages shown below:

Blog:         www.traveltheunknown​.com/blog


Mashhad Extensions (3 days)

Extend your trip from Mashhad

Isfahan Extensions (1 days)

Extend your trip from Isfahan

Kerman Extensions (4 days)

Extend your trip from Kerman

Culinary Iran (1-14 days)

Discover sumptuous Persian cuisine & hospitality

Meet Iran's Women

A glimpse into the lives of Iran's women

Tehran Extensions

Extend your trip from Tehran

Shiraz Extensions (4 days)

Extend your trip from Shiraz

UNESCO Sites of Iran (25 days)

Discover the unique wonders of Iran

Grand Tour of Iran (21 days)

In-depth tour to get under the skin of modern Iran

Silk Road through Persia (19 days)

Ancient routes of merchants, scholars and smugglers

Axes Apart: Iran & Cuba (16 days)

Delve into two beautiful, friendly & contrasting pariah sites

Glories of Persia (Archaeology tour) (16 days)

Journey into the history and archaeology of ancient Iran

Essential Iran & Armenia (15 days)

Discover ancient traditions, rich culture & sublime landscapes

Classical Iran (14 days)

Discover the history and culture behind modern Iran

Troglodytes & Assassins (14 days)

Get off-the-beaten-track in Northwest Iran


A thoughtfully organised and fully educative trip into, what was for me, substantially the 'unknown'.

Andrew Sanders , Classical Iran

We have recently returned from a wonderful trip to Iran. The size of the group (12) was just right and staying several nights in each place a bonus. An interesting and varied itinerary and our experience of the welcoming people made for a very memorable holiday. We’d be happy to book with Travel the Unknown again.

Margaret & David Baker , Classical Iran, Iran

When people say "Why Iran?" say "Why not?". We will never forget all of the amazing sites we saw and the beauty of the countryside but the enduring thing we will take away from this trip is the warmth and friendliness of the people we met. We sat down after an amazing tour around Persepolis and were immediately part of an Iranian picnic. We don't speak Persian, they had little English but we were welcomed like old friends. Not only is Iran the cradle of civilisation it is also the most welcoming place we have ever been.

Julia & Clive Stephen , Classical Iran

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, Iran

Travel The Unknown were very easy and professional to deal with in planning my trip to Iran. They catered to my needs and customized my solo private trip, and sent me all the required reading material and information I'd need while abroad. I'd definitely recommend and use them again in the future.

Dana Zubaid , Tailormade Iran

Very moving, life-changing experience. Iran is a fascinating, complex place with a long, dramatic history. The itinerary of three days in each significant city (Shiraz, Yazd, Esfahan) follows the chronology of the empires beautifully. Three days in each place gives you time to relax and explore. The hotels are first class and quite spectacular. A small group gives you the chance to respond to group ideas, and also to go to local restaurants, off the beaten track from the large tour groups.

Madeleine Murray , Classical Iran, 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, Iran

What an amazing tour. There was just so much to enjoy - the wonderful historical sites, the intriguing layers of culture and politics, the delicious food, the lovely people and stunning landscapes. I'm still processing it all! The trip was really well organised, the hotels a good mixture from 5* to simple. Marina our guide was super-good and I think made the tour such a success. I'm sure everybody is impressed as I was by Persepolis, the necropolis, and wonderful mosques and gardens, but the little things also stay with me, such as the picnics that Marina put together for us, looking out at the landscape as we drove between cities whilst everyone else was asleep, seeing a (very small!) sandstorm, buying freshly made bread and eating it, still hot, as we wandered down a street looking at the shops, having Persian coffee for the first time in a little cafe, watching cars narrowly miss each other at speed all the time, having mountains around wherever we went. I just loved the whole experience. Thanks again, I've got so many lovely memories and when I've saved up again I'm sure I'll be booking my next trip with you!

Anne Sagnia , Classical Iran

This is our second time to Iran and I hope one day to go again. The people are warm and friendly and often eager to meet foreigners and learn more. Iran may not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking of a holiday, but if you enjoy something different, have an interest in ancient history amazing sites, or just people, you will not be disappointed.

Andrew Doyle , Classical Iran

I was a bit nervous about going to Iran, being a woman on my own. But travelling with Travel The Unknown made it all easier and I had a lovely experience there. I got to see fascinating sights and beautiful places in Iran. We were a small friendly group with a very professional guide and driver. I felt totally relaxed and safe at all times.

Cristina Roldan Parra , Classical Iran

This was probably the best holiday I have ever had. There was so much to see and do and we received the warmest of welcomes everywhere we went. Every aspect of the trip worked out as planned with no delays or changes.

Nigel Semmens , Tailormade Iran

Excellent trip - off the beaten track, as their name implies, but offering a wonderful overview of the country. Very good organisation - everything went smoothly, prompt replies to any queries.

Chris & Sue Fleckney , Troglodytes & Assassins and Classical Iran, Iran
More reviews