Iran never fails to surprise and delight its visitors; we have so many preconceptions as to what Iran is going to be like and most are way of the mark. This trip is no exception as it takes in the great sites and cities of the country. The blue tiled mosques, madressas and bridges of Esphahan are perhaps the most famous attractions in Iran, but the beauty of Shiraz takes some beating and for the absolute best in mosque architecture, we visit Yadz, home not just to some of Islam’s finest buildings but also centre of the ancient Zoroastrian religion.
The other thing visitor’s love about visiting this country is the friendliness of the people; everyone wants to be your friend and to know who you are. Expect countless cups of tea or coffee to be bought for you. The food is superb, as would be expected and don’t forget shopping in the ancient bazaars because this is the home of the Persian Carpet.
Border Information: If joining in Tehran, you will most likely enter Iran at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA code: IKA).
There will be a pre-departure meeting at 6:00pm - please do not be alarmed if there is no welcome note at the hotel on your arrival, as today is usually a travel day for the leaders and they are due to arrive in Tehran by mid-afternoon.
Please note that due to restrictions on citizens of the UK, USA and Canada being permitted to remain unaccompanied in Iran, you will need to fly into Tehran on the same day as the trip starts. These transfers from the airport to your joining hotel are automatically included in your trip. If arriving outside of these times please contact your sales agent. Please ensure the correct dates for your plans are clearly stated on all your visa applications.
Today we will have an included tour of the stunning Golestan Palace and the fascinating National Museum of Iran.
Today we wil have a full day's drive to the stunning old Safavid-era capital of Esfahan.
Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
On the following day we will have an included walking tour of the central highlights of Esfahan, including the showpiece central square of Naqsh-e Jahan and its surrounding mosques and royal palaces, the old bazaar, and the beautiful Jameh Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran.
On our second full day here, we will have free time to explore more of Esfahan's incredible sites, such as its ancient bridges, the curious 'Shaking Minarets', the Armenian Vank Cathedral, or the evocative Martyrs' Cemetery.
In Esfahan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Today we will have a full day drive to the southern city of Shiraz.
In Shiraz we will stay in a local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Today we will have an included walking tour of some of the highlights of the old city of Shiraz, including the beautifully-coloured Nasir ol Molk Mosque, the incredible mirrored interior of the Shah Cheragh Mosque, and the historical house of Narenjestan.
Today we will drive to the phenomenal ancient ruins of Persepolis, once the capital of the mighty Achaemenid Persian Empire until it was conquered by Alexander the Great in 330BCE.
After this we will continue north to the famous Caravanserai of Zein-o-Din, an atmospheric 16th-century guesthouse originally built to accommodate merchants travelling on the Silk Road.
In Zein-o-Din we will stay overnight at the old caravanserai.
Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours.
Today we will take a short drive to the ancient desert town of Yazd, one of the oldest extant towns in Iran. On arrival we will have an included visit to two important Zoroastrian sites in Iran - the Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence.
Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours.
On the following day we will have an included walking tour of some of the main highlights of Yazd, including the incredible Jameh Mosque, the Old Town and the Amir Chakhmaq complex.
In Yazd we will stay in a local hotel.
Today we will continue our journey to the desert city of Khoor, where we have the option to take an evening jeep trip into the nearby salt flats to have dinner.
In Khoor we will stay in a beautiful hotel in the style of a desert caravanserai.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
*Please note that with small groups and at certain times of the year we may be able to stay in a local homestay in the nearby village of Mesr*.
Today we will have a morning drive to the ancient town of Damghan. On arrival we will take a walking tour, including the Tarikhuneh Mosque which features columns dating from the year 760CE.
In Damghan we will stay in a local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.
Today we will drive to the historical town of Bastam and visit the Sufi complex in the centre. After this we will continue to the town of Shirvan.
In Shirvan we will stay in a basic local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.
Border Information: Exit Iran at Bajgiran, enter Turkmenistan at Gaudan.
Today we will head over the border to Turkmenistan and to the bizarre capital of Ashgabat
In Ashgabat we will stay in a decent quality local hotel.
Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.
*Important note - any tobacco products are practically illegal in Turkmenistan, so please do not bring them or use them in Turkmenistan. Also please do not bring any medicines containing tramadol, codeine, temazepam, morphine or opiates to Central Asia. These are illegal in all circumstances in most of Central Asia and you will risk arrest. If in doubt about a particular medicine, please do not bring it. See the notes at the bottom for more details.*
Today we will have an included tour of the city of Ashgabat using local minibuses.
Border Information: if leaving in Ashgabat, you will most likely exit Turkmenistan at Ashgabat International Airport (IATA code: ASB).
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Ashgabat. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.
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Trip Name: Splendours of Persia
Duration: 16 Days
From Price: $2,405
Supplier Tour ID: ZIA1/162959
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