Essential Iran & Armenia

Iran | Armenia

Culture | Silk Road

Discover ancient traditions, rich culture & sublime landscapes

Dates & Prices

Intro

Explore the ancient traditions and sublime landscapes of Iran and Armenia. Roam through Shiraz, taking in the sights and sounds of Vakil Bazaar and explore the ancient capital of Persepolis. Wander through the ornate gardens of Isfahan and visit the tomb of Cyrus the Great. Study Zoratz Karer, Armenia’s Stonehenge, and trek across the rock-strewn cave town of Khndzoresk. Marvel at the view from Yerevan peninsula. Relax beside the tranquil Lake Sevan, the largest lake in Caucasus.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • The poetic city of Shiraz
  • Persia’s ancient capital, Persepolis
  • Ancient mosques and palaces of Isfahan
  • Magnificent views from Tatev Monastery
  • The 'Pink City' of Yerevan
  • 'Symphony of the Stones' at Garni
  • Learn how to make traditional "Lavash" flatbread

Places Visited

Shiraz - Persepolis - Pasargadae - Isfahan - Izadkhvast - Tehran - Kashan - Tabriz - Goris - Khndzoresk - Yerevan - Garni

What's Included

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Domestic flights (if relevant - refer to itinerary)
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks
Itinerary
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Day 1 : Departure

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.

Meal plan: n/a

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.

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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 any ladies to buy suitable clothing for their time in Iran (if required). In the evening visit the famous Vakli Bazaar. Overnight stay in 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. 

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. 

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 : Persepolis - Naghsh-e-Rostam

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.

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.

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.

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 4 : Pasargadae - Isfahan

Drive to Isfahan and visit Pasargadae, the tomb of Cyrus the Great and Izadkhvast en route. Overnight in Isfahan.

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. 

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'. 

The Complex of Izadkhast is located in the Fars Province of Iran, roughly 135 km south of Isfahan. The complex consists of Izadkhast Castle, a caravanserai, and a Safavid-period bridge, with interesting archaeological styles from the Sassanid to the Qajar.

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Day 5 : Isfahan

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

Meal plan: Breakfast

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 6 : Isfahan

Half-day sightseeing in Isfahan where you will visit the famous bridges of Shahrestan, Khajou and Sio-se-pol, the Armenian Quarter and the Chehel Sotun Palace. There will be free time to spend in the Bazaar. The rest of the day is for you to spend as you please. Overnight in 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 7 : Isfahan - Kashan - Tehran

After breakfast drive to Kashan and explore the city, visiting the Royal Gardens of Fin, a traditional house and the Sialk Mounds. Then continue to Tehran for overnight stay.

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. 

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 Sialk Mounds, or Sialk Ziggurat, date back to the 6th millenium BC. The mounds which you can see today were built around 2,900BC. The area surrounding the mounds has been linked to the Zayandeh Rud Civilization. There are two hills at this site, about half a kilometre apart, with two cemeteries, where some 5,500 year old skeletons have been unearthed.

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Day 8 : Tehran

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

Meal plan: Breakfast

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).

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.

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Day 9 : Tabriz

Early morning flight to Tabriz. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city including visits to the Blue Mosque, the Azerbaijan Museum, Arg-e- Alishah and Tabriz Bazaar. Overnight in Tabriz.

Meal plan: Breakfast

The Blue Mosque is referred to in world-wide legend as ‘the turquoise of Islam’. Built in 1465, every part of the Mosque was coloured by blue majolica tiles which were engraved with striking calligraphy. The mosque was re-constructed in 1951, having lain in pieces for almost two centuries after Tabriz suffered a devastating earthquake. The restored interior now appears in the original blue style, but only the original entrance portal survived the 1773 earthquake. 

The Azerbaijan Museum displays pre-historic and historic artefacts from the Tabriz area. A number of exhibits are from the Iron Age nearby town of Hasanlu, and a re-working of the famous Ardebil carpet. More unusual are a series of ancient stone handbags, which were status symbols in the 3rd century BC, and the two statues of rams that guard the museum entrance. 

The Arg-e-Alishah was originally built in the 13th century as an elaborate Friday Mosque. In the 19th century it was converted into a fortress. Now a character-filled building which stands about 28 metres high, the Arg was used as a storage house for weapons during the Qajar period and suffered extensive damage following the Iranian revolution. "Arg" means ark in Persian and refers to a citadel or fortress, but the building is still used for Friday prayers. 

Tabriz Bazaar is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that seels traditional spice blends, gold, household goods and, most famously, carpets. The bazaar is unusual because of its stunning 15th-century brick vaulting and incredible size of 7 square kilometres. Also of interest are the timchehs, or domed halls, all 22 of which are elaborately decorated. 

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Day 10 : Tabriz - Goris

Cross the Armenia/Iran border. Change guide and transport then proceed on to Goris for overnight.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Located in a river valley, Goris is the second largest city in the southern Syunik Province of Armenia. It is surrounded by the Zangezur mountains, famous for their medieval cave-dwellings carved out of the rock. Goris itself is well-known for its variety of homemade fruit "oghee", a traditional Armenian vodka.

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Day 11 : Goris - Khndzoresk - Tatev - Qarahunge - Goris

After breakfast, explore Goris before enjoying an excursion to the cave village of Khndzoresk. Continue to explore the 10th century monastic complex of Tatev, reached via ropeway along the world's longest cable car. Enjoy an optional hike or spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Overnight in Goris

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

Dug into the steep slopes of Khor Dzor gorge, the historic cave village of Khndzoresk was created by the ancient population of Eastern Armenia following the lack of even ground on which to build settlements. Comprised of both natural and manmade caves set at differing heights, much of the community is accessed via a complex series of ropes and ladders. The caves were inhabited up until the 20th century, when it is believed that the villagers were forced to move by Soviet officials who deemed the caves uncivilised. Instead, New Khndzoresk was built in the 1950s, with a 160-metre-long suspension bridge connecting the modern village to the ancient caves. Today, many of the caves have been converted to stables and storage spaces, with local livestock grazing in the area. 

Dating back to the 9th century, Tatev Monastery is one of the oldest monastery complexes in Armenia. During the 14th and 15th centuries it was home to the University of Tatev, one of Armenia's most important medieval universities with contributions to the advancement of science, religion and philosophy. Perched on a basalt plateau on the edge of a steep gorge, the monastery is as famous for its beautiful views overlooking the Voratan River as it is for its magnificent architecture, and can be accessed via the "Wings of Tatev", the longest cable car in the world. 

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Day 12 : Goris - Yerevan

In the morning enjoy a short trip to Zoratz Karer (Armenia's Stonehenge). Proceed to the Noravank and Khor Virap monasteries. Arrive in Yerevan for overnight. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

The capital of Armenia, Yerevan, sits on the Hrazdan river surrounded by picturesque hills and snow-capped mountains. It is often referred to as the 'Pink City' due to the 106 shades of tufa lava stone used on the city's buildings. During the Soviet years, Russian architect Alexander Tamanyan completely reconstructed Yerevan to resemble the neo-classical city styles of Paris and St. Petersburg. 

The Khor Virap Monastery, located in the Ararat plains, is the closest point to biblical Mt. Ararat. It is a prominent pilgrimage site, as it is where the first Armenian Catholicos resided and where Gregory the Illuminator, Armenia's patron saint, was imprisoned for 14 years. The monastery holds regular services to this day.

Contrary to its name (which translates to "New Monastery"), Noravank Monastery was constructed before the 12th century. Perched on the ledge of the gorge in which the river Amaghu flows and surrounded by steep red rocks, the building is as famous for its magnificent surroundings as it is for its beautiful medieval Armenian architecture. The monastery's main temple, Surb Karapet, is the oldest part of the structure, built between the 9th and 10th centuries.

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Day 13 : Yerevan

Begin your walking tour of Yerevan, starting at the Republic Square, the masterpiece of the architect Alexander Tamanian. Continue to the Opera House, a stunning architectural piece and the hub of Yerevan. Freedom Square is just behind, surrounded by parks and outdoor cafes, and finally Swan Lake. Next, visit the Cascade complex, an open-air museum of modern art with huge stairways leading up to the Victory Park where there are fantastic views over the entire downtown. Finally, enjoy a visit to the Brandy Factory. Dinner is served in a traditional restaurant with live folk music. Overnight in Yerevan. 

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

The Yerevan Brandy Factory has preserved the cultural and historical heritage of its brandy-making traditions since 1887, when the first wine and brandy factory was founded in Yerevan. Authentic Armenian brandy uses only local grape varieties that are grown in the unique Ararat Valley microclimate. During a guided excursion of the factory, you will discover Armenian brandy-making secrets and see the oldest brandies kept in barrels. Afterwards, there will be a degustation of various brandies.

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Day 14 : Lake Sevan - Garni - Geghard Monastery - Yerevan

After breakfast, continue to the village of Garni and its pagan temple. Afterwards, accompanied by a local hiking guide, proceed to Garni Gorge and the Symphony of Stones (1.5 hrs easy hike). Northeast of Garni, higher up the gorge of the Azat river, sits the magnificent medieval Geghard Monastery partly carved out of a mountain. At lunch, enjoy an Armenian flatbread "Lavash" baking demonstration in the underground stove ("tonir") of a local restaurant. Later, proceed to the capital city of Yerevan. Overnight in Yerevan.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

Garni Temple is a picturesque monument of the Hellenistic period and an impressive piece of ancient Armenian architecture built in the 1st century A.D. After Christianity was proclaimed as a state religion in 301, the temple was used as a summer residence of the kings. The Garni canyon, which is a one-hour walk away along the Azat River, is particularly interesting. Its walls are formed of hexagonal rock strips, which is a natural formation known as the 'Symphony of Stones'. The gorge is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The Geghard Monastery is a magnificent monument of medieval Armenian architecture that is partially carved out of a mountain. It was founded in the 4th century by  Gregory the Illuminator when a  sacred spring was found inside a nearby cave, but the  main chapel was built only in 1215. The name is translated as 'Monastery of the Spear', named after the spear that pierced Jesus on the crucifix. Apostle Jude supposedly brought this spear into Armenia and it is now displayed in the Echmiadzin treasury. However, churches in Rome, Vienna and Antioch also claim to possess this spear. Geghard has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Day 15 : Departure

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight or return home. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation

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

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Homa Hotel

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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Abbasi Hotel

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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Espinas Hotel

Espinas 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
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Tabriz El-Goli Pars Hotel

The Pars Hotel is a large, modern building with spectacular views overlooking Tabriz and El Goli Park, as well as the Sahand and Sabalan Peaks in the distance. Three restaurants within the hotel serve both traditional Iranian and Western food, with the main tower containing a revolving restaurant. Guests can also enjoy the hotel's library and coffee shop, while rooms include luxury amenities such as free Wi-Fi and satellite television. 
 

Extensions

Isfahan Extensions (1 days)

Extend your trip from Isfahan

Mashhad Extensions (3 days)

Extend your trip from Mashhad

Kerman Extensions (4 days)

Extend your trip from Kerman

Shiraz Extensions (4 days)

Extend your trip from Shiraz

Tehran Extensions (8 days)

Extend your trip from Tehran

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

Glories of Persia (Archaeology tour) (16 days)

Journey into the history and archaeology of ancient Iran

Axes Apart: Iran & Cuba (16 days)

Delve into two beautiful, friendly & contrasting pariah sites

Essential Iran & Armenia (15 days)

Discover ancient traditions, rich culture & sublime landscapes

Troglodytes & Assassins (14 days)

Get off-the-beaten-track in Northwest Iran

Classical Iran (14 days)

Discover the history and culture behind modern Iran

Reviews

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

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

Andrew Sanders , Classical Iran

We've been fortunate enough to travel a great deal in our lives and only recently (in our 70's) have we come to accept the fact that for some destinations that we have long wanted to visit an organised tour is the best solution. This is exactly what we experienced in Iran and your flexibility and excellent planning made it possible for us to do what would otherwise have been impossible. We still have our eye on Central Asia and your "Stans" tours are at the top of our list.

Robert Lamberton , Glories of Persia

Our Classical Iran tour covered all of the wonderful sights in Iran in a logical sequence from South to North. We were well escorted by our great guide and our very capable driver. The pace of the tour was leisurely, while covering most of the key sites and the knowledge about the history of the sites by our guide was great.

Cliff Boyt , Classical 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

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

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

This is the first time I have journeyed with Travel The Unknown. We had a hitch in the itinerary and we contacted David - he was immediately on the phone to sort it out despite the fact we were in Iran. That is what I call serivce and I was very impressed.

Patrick Lau & Alan Davis , Glories of Persia, 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

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

We wanted a holiday with a difference and Travel the Unknown gave us it. From our holiday experience I would recommend not only Iran, but also Travel the Unknown to anyone.

Andrew & Sandra Doyle , Glories of Persia, 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
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