Guided Group Tour
Writing this in a lovely restaurant in Kashan. We are having a splendid time in Iran. Seen so many wonderful sites, the weather has been kind to us and everything is going according to plan. Iran has exceeded our expectation; it is all you said it would be and more. The people are so warm and friendly. The food is fabulous and the ice cream is to die for. Thanks for all your efforts on our behalf.
Departure Dates - start date day 1 at Tehran.
06 April 2017
20 April 2017
DAY 01: ARRIVE TEHRAN
We will be met upon arrival at the airport in Tehran and transferred to the hotel in the city centre. In the afternoon our guide will take us on an orientation tour so you will be able to get a good feel for the size of Tehran and its position at the foot of the Alborz Mountains. Overnight Tehran.
DAY 02: TEHRAN
Today’s sightseeing will include the National Museum where we will be introduced to the prehistory of Iran, the magnificent Carpet Museum for an opportunity to see an incredible collection documenting carpets from all regions of the country, and the Reza Abbassi Museum to view one of the world’s finest collections of Persian miniature paintings. Overnight Tehran.
DAY 03: TEHRAN
Today we spend the morning at the Golestan Palace, followed in the afternoon by the Film Museum, which will provide us with an excellent insight into the history of Iranian cinema and culture. Then to the cavernous underground vault at the Bank of Iran’s main office to view the jaw-dropping array of jewelled masterpieces of Iran’s former Shahs. Overnight Tehran.
DAY 04: TEHRAN
Sightseeing today includes the excellent Abguineh Museum (Glass & Ceramics), followed by the Museum of Contemporary Art. After lunch we visit the former residence of the Pahlavi family, the last royal family of Iran. Set in extensive gardens, Sa’ad-Abad is a complex of 18 palaces and residences set in a landscaped 300 acre park in the cool reaches of North Tehran. Overnight Tehran.
DAY 05: TEHRAN - QAZVIN
This morning we head for the hills to Qazvin, travelling along the southern flank of the spectacular Alborz Mountains that separate Tehran from the Caspian Sea. The passes are very dramatic, with high peaks, narrow valleys and deep lakes. Afternoon sightseeing to include the Imamzadeh Hussein, the shrine of the son of the 8th Imam, the Friday Mosque, bazaar and the Calligraphy Museum. Overnight Qazvin.
DAY 06: QAZVIN – ALAMUT VALLEY - QAZVIN
Drive to the stunning Alamut Valley. A region of fertile valleys, hillside villages and beautiful mountains. Visit the mountain fortress of Alamut (the Eagle’s Nest), followed by the Ovan Lake. We spend the day exploring this area. Return to Qazvin for overnight.
DAY 07: QAZVIN - RASHT
Early morning departure today for a drive through the mountains to Rasht, the rapidly growing capital of Gilan Province. Historically, Gilan has been more isolated than most other areas of Iran and has fostered many rebellions and uprisings in the past. There is more of a Russian influence here in the architectural style, and it's not surprising therefore to learn that at one point in 1920 Gilan declared itself the independent Soviet Socialist Republic of Iran. We take a walk through the main square in Rasht where we will find some examples of Gilani wooden architecture, then moving on to the fabulous open air bazaar, where we can see many types of fish from the Caspian, fresh and dried, plus numerous examples of local delicacies. Overnight Rasht.
DAY 08: RASHT – CASPIAN VILLAGES - RASHT
Morning visit to the Gilan Eco Village, the Kiashahr Lagoon, lunch in a local home, followed by a walk through some of the Caspian villages. Return to Rasht for overnight.
DAY 09: RASHT – KASHAN
This morning we drive south into Iran’s desert interior, skirting the harsh, inhospitable Dasht-e Kavir desert that covers much of the central and southeast part of the country. Our destination today is Kashan, an oasis town where carpet, silk and textile weaving are the traditional crafts. It was from Kashan that the Three Wise Men reputedly started their epic journey to Bethlehem, underlying the historical importance of this ancient trade town. Overnight Kashan.
DAY 10: KASHAN
Today we will visit some of the finest traditional houses in Iran, including Khan-e Abbasian, and Khan-e Boroujerdi. Then to the Sultan Mir Ahmed Hammam, a beautiful bathhouse built 450 years ago. After lunch we will visit the exquisite Bagh-e-Fin (Fin Garden), Iran’s oldest surviving garden dating from the 16th century, and the bazaar. Rest of the afternoon at leisure. Overnight Kashan.
DAY 11: KASHAN – NATANZ - NA’IN
After breakfast we drive to Natanz, a quiet mountain town which was a favoured hunting spot for the Safavid kings. Here we will visit the Masjid-e-Jameh, one of the finest mosques in Iran with a particularly impressive 13th century portal and decorated with sublime blue tiles and Islamic calligraphy. Continue on to Na’in, a small town famous for its Persian carpets and high quality textiles. Afternoon visit to the Friday Mosque, and the Ethnographic Museum inside Pirnia House, once the home of a wealthy carpet merchant, and a beautiful example of a Safavid-period private home. Overnight Na’in.
DAY 12: NA’IN
Full day visiting villages outside of Nain famous for carpet weaving and an opportunity for us to see a traditional village lifestyle. Overnight Na’in.
DAY 13: NA’IN - YAZD
Today we drive to Yazd. This is the centre for Iran’s small Zoroastrian community, followers of a faith dating back to at least 4000 years, and along with Judaism, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. The architecture of the Old City in Yazd is unique and has been specially adapted to the harsh desert conditions. It is a fascinating place to wander around and there are 12 different bazaars dotted around the city which make for some wonderful exploring during our stay. Overnight Yazd.
DAY 14: YAZD
Today our sightseeing in Yazd includes the functioning Zoroastrian Fire Temple (Ateshkadeh) in which a sacred flame, said to have burned continuously for 15 centuries, still glows. Continuing on to the Water Museum to see how the ancient Yazdis devised the qanat, an amazing system for maximum utilisation of their water, whereby an underground water tunnel was dug by hand for many kilometres through the desert. We walk to the Amir Chakmagh Complex, followed by the Masjid-e Jameh (Friday Mosque), and a walk through the Old City. Afternoon visit to the Bagh-e-Doulat Abad Garden, once a residence of Persian regent Karim Khan Zand, built around 1750. Rest of the afternoon at leisure. Evening visit to the zurkhaneh. Overnight Yazd.
DAY 15: YAZD – PASARGADAE – SHIRAZ
A long drive today. Picnic lunch enroute before stopping at Pasargadae, the site of Cyrus the Great’s capital after his victory over the Medes in 550 BC. Continue on to Shiraz, the city most associated with the sophistication, culture and poetry of ancient Persia. Overnight Shiraz.
DAY 16: SHIRAZ
We shall spend the day visiting major monuments in Shiraz, commencing with the 19th century holy shrine of Shah-e-Cheragh, the Masjid-e Nasir-al-Molk, named for its highly decorated tiles and beautiful stained glass windows, and the 19th century Narenjestan-e Qavam, a very beautiful house and garden. After lunch visit the Arg-e Karim Khan, the imposing citadel dominating the city centre (exterior only). Gardens are a focal point of the city, popular gathering places for Iranians who still pay homage and avidly read and readily quote lines from the great Persian poets. We start with the lovely Bagh-e Eram Garden (Garden of Paradise), followed by the tombs of Hafez and Sa’adi. Rest of the afternoon at leisure. Overnight Shiraz.
DAY 17: SHIRAZ – PERSEPOLIS - ISFAHAN
This morning we will visit the most impressive archeological site in Iran: the remains of Darius the Great’s ancient city of Persepolis (Place of the Persians), followed by the necropolis at Nagsh-e Rustam, believed to be tombs of the Achaemenian rulers Darius I, Xerxes, Artaxerxes and Darius II. Then to Isfahan where we will spend the next three nights.
DAY 18: ISFAHAN
It was once said that “he who has not been to Isfahan has not seen half the world.” While perhaps something of an overstatement today, Isfahan still encourages superlatives. Unlike many other Iranian cities, this is a city that invites walking. After breakfast we will walk to the immense and magnificent 17th century Imam Square to visit the Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque, the Imam Mosque and the Ali Qapu Palace. After lunch sightseeing will include the Jameh Mosque, Vank Cathedral and a stroll over to the Zayandeh River to look at the historic bridges that give this part of the Isfahan a relaxing and colourful atmosphere! Overnight Isfahan.
DAY 19: ISFAHAN
Day at leisure for exploring more of Isfahan and shopping for that special souvenir in the extensive Qeisarieh Bazaar! Overnight Isfahan.
DAY 20: ISFAHAN - TEHRAN
After breakfast depart for Tehran International Airport. Lunch stop en-route before continuing on to Tehran for evening flight to onward destination.
Land Cost: Euros3320 per person twin share. Euros460 for a single supplement.
•a mixture of 3-4 star hotels and traditional guest houses
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Travelling in Iran should be considered as an adventure holiday so you must be prepared to rough it now and again. There has certainly been some improvement in conditions/services over the 25 years that we have been travelling to Iran, but some of the facilities you will encounter may not be to the standard which you would find on a more conventional holiday or at home. We travel through some areas which relatively speaking has seen few tourists and the infrastructure is not fully developed. So if you have a reasonable level of fitness, an open mind, a positive attitude and a keen desire to experience a very unique and special culture, then Iran is for you!
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