- Explore the fabled cities of ancient Persia with our expert tour guides
- Visit Pasargadae, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the tomb of Cyrus the Great
- Discover Persepolis, the seat of power in ancient Persia
- Take a stroll in Fin Garden, whose landscaping principles go back to Cyrus the Great
Cover the best of Persia on this fairly short trip. Starting in Tehran, this guided tour will you will take you through beautiful landscapes and some of the world’s oldest archaeological sites, arid mountains, and rural villages. You will learn about the traditions and cultures of a land whose influence have been felt for thousands of years. Welcome to the once-forbidden land of Persia.
On this trip, we will explore the beautiful cities of Tehran, Kashan, Isfahan, Shiraz, and will uncover Persian history at the impressive Persepolis. However, the real highlight of any trip to Iran is meeting the locals, arguably the friendliest and most hospitable people on earth who are always ready to welcome visitors with a smile.
- Day 1 - Arrival
Upon arriving at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) in Tehran, our representative will meet and greet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
- Day 2 - Tehran
This morning, we will take you to a UNESCO World Heritage site, the lavish Golestan Palace. Built during the Qajar Dynasty that rose to power in the late 1700s, this fabulous walled complex is centred on a landscaped garden with tranquil pools.
Many of the elements of this palace that you’ll see today date to the 19th century when local Qajari architects and artisans were looking to integrate the traditional Persian style with elements of western and Russian origin. The palace buildings are among the oldest in modern Tehran and they are still regarded as a crowning achievement of the Qajar era. Then, we will walk around Tehran Bazaar.
In the afternoon, you will visit the National Museum of Iran, where you can see fabulous historical items from 5000 BC to the advent of Islam in Iran which shows brief history of our land.
We will also visit the Carpet Museum of Iran, home to a dazzling collection of Persian carpets collected from around the country and representing centuries of extraordinary art and skill.
- Day 3 - Tehran-Kashan-Isfahan
Leaving Tehran behind, we’ll travel south to Kashan, a town that was once famous for its textiles and ceramic production but is now better known for Fin Garden and its extensive bazaar and hamams. Fin Garden (A UNESCO World Heritage site) is our first stop: A relaxing and visually impressive Persian garden with water channels all passing through a central pavilion. There is also the chance to buy some rose water, a local specialty, outside of the site.
Then, you will visit Boroujerdi Traditional House. It was built about 130 years ago when the Qajar Dynasty was in power (1857) by the famous Iranian architect Ustad Ali Maryam. The owner was Haj Seyed Hasan Natanzi, a well-known merchant who mostly dealt with people of Boroujerd city. That’s why the house is known as Boroujerd's House.
Afterwards, we will visit the bazaar area, a widespread complex filled with hamams and mosques. One hamam has been converted to a traditional teahouse where we will stop for those who need a
break from shopping.
Late in the afternoon, we will move towards Isfahan.
- Day 4 - Isfahan
As the 17th-century capital of the Safavid Empire, Isfahan was one of the world’s greatest cities– architecturally striking, wealthy beyond imagination, and politically powerful with Europeans, Ottomans, Indians and Chinese coming to its court– the heart of a vast Persian Empire that stretched from the Euphrates River in present-day Iraq to the Oxus River in Afghanistan. Indeed, its grandeur inspired the rhyming proverb, Isfahan nesf e jahan (Isfahan is half of the World).
Your exploration starts in Imam Square. This 17th-century site is one of the largest public spaces in the world. Here in the square, you’ll visit the 17th-century Shah Mosque, revered as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture and easily recognized by its magnificent tile-work and soaring cupola and minarets.
You will also visit Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, also known as the ladies mosque, as it was built for the Shah's harem, famous for its brightly colored domed ceiling, where the light creates the image of a peacock. In the Ali Qapu Palace, you’ll marvel at its beautiful music rooms and the balconies where Safavid kings would sit to enjoy the polo matches unfolding in the square below.
You’ll end your exploration of the square by visiting the Qeisarieh Bazaar. With hundreds of local vendors that specialize in traditional arts and crafts, it’s a wonderful place to shop for pottery, enamel, jewelry and delicately inlaid board games.
Next up is Chehel Sotun Palace. Set in a landscaped and forested park in front of a tranquil reflecting pool, this graceful pavilion was built by Shah Abbas II for entertainment and court receptions. Entering through a portico with twenty slender wooden columns, you’ll discover soaring halls embellished with frescoes, paintings and mosaics; the Hall of Mirrors is especially breathtaking!
In the city’s Armenian quarter, you’ll delve more deeply into the region’s complex history as you will visit several churches including the 17th-century Vank Cathedral with its lavishly decorated interior and unique blend of Islamic and European architectural elements.
If time permits, visit Si-o se pol and/or Khaju Bridge(s).
- Day 5 - Isfahan-Shiraz
Today, we have a full day of driving to reach our destination of Shiraz; it is a good idea to stock up on locally bought and easily found dates and pistachio nuts for the journey.
First, you will visit Pasargadae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tomb of Cyrus the Great and former capital of the Achaemenid Empire. We will spend some time exploring the site and though not as striking as Persepolis, there is a great viewpoint where we can look over the site and the surrounding area.
From here, we will drive a couple of miles to Naqsh-e-Rustam, the Necropolis where Darius and his successors are buried. Carved into the side of a cliff, the site is extraordinary in its magnitude and sheer ambition and does not disappoint even after the impressive Persepolis.
Then we will have a stop on our way to visit the Legendary City of Persepolis, the former capital of Darius the Great which was founded in 512 BC. There was no more impressive construction in the ancient world than Persepolis, except perhaps the Karnak in Egypt.
Darius built the terrace, Apadana (great audience hall), Tachana (a palace), and the monumental staircases. His son, Xerxes, added the Harem and the Hall of 100 Columns. Alexander the Great entered Persepolis in January 330 BC and then committed an uncharacteristic act of wanton destruction that still mystifies historians today, burning the mighty city to the ground.
Though a shadow of its former self, the soaring pillars, terraces and sculptures of Persepolis still remain, but probably most impressive are the bas reliefs which line the site, telling the story of ancient governors and kings that came to Persepolis to pay tribute to the Persian Emperors.
Continue to Shiraz and check into the hotel.
- Day 6 - Shiraz-Tehran
After breakfast, you will visit Nasir-al-Mulk Mosque (Pink Mosque) which is few steps far from Vakil Bazaar. It was built at Mirza Hassan Ali Nasir-al Mulk’s commander (one of the lords of the Qajar Dynasty) and took 12 years to complete.
Its interior reveals a magnificent masterpiece of design with stunning colors. This is a space where light and worship intertwine. The mosque comes to life with the sunrise and the colors dance throughout the day like whirling Dervishes. It reflects on the ground, walls, the arches and the towering spires. It even reflects on the visitors as if a colorful ball is hit by the first ray of the sun and has exploded into thousands of butterflies all around.
Continue your exploration in Shiraz at the beautiful orange-scented Narenjestan Garden, laid out in the 19th century during the Qajar Dynasty. Then, you will visit Karim Khan Citadel which was built during the Zand Dynasty.
You’ll have time to explore and shop in the bustling Vakil Bazaar, home to hundreds of stores, beautiful courtyards, and even an ancient caravanserai. End your visit on a tranquil note in the lovely garden-tombs of Sa’adi and Hafez, two of our most outstanding poets.
While Hafez is one of the greatest Persian poets, Sa’adi was a poet, philosopher and a mystic who traveled to different countries and cities. Then he collected all his experiences in verses and rhymed prose in two books, "Boustan" and "Golestan". These two books give you lots of inspiration and information. We will get a chance to pay homage to tombs of these great poets. In the evening, you will take a flight back to the capital.
- Day 7 - Departure
Our representative will transfer you to Imam Khomeini International Airport according to your flight time.
- Airport transfers from/to Imam Khomeini (IKA) Airport
- Domestic flight (Shiraz - Tehran)
- Accommodation in 3-star hotels
- Land travel by air-conditioned coaches
- English-speaking tour guide
- All breakfasts and one dinner
- International air fares, taxes and surcharges
- Travel insurance
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry or phone calls
- Entrance fees to the sites
- Tips to the guides and drivers
- Visa code application fees
- Visa costs
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