You will be greeted at Imam Khomeini International Airport by both your YellowWood and local guides, to be transferred to your hotel in Tehran to relax and freshen up. We will then have our first group dinner together in a restaurant in the city, discovering the delicious cuisine of Iran!
We will take a tour of the capital including its breath-taking palaces such as the Ahmad Shahi Pavilion situated in the great wooded Niavaran complex in the north of the city, home to the last Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. We will also visit the Golestan Palace and other royal buildings in the gardens of royal Qajar complex of the preceding dynasty before heading to the bustling and vibrant Grand Bazaar. After lunch we drive to Mehrabad airport and fly to Shiraz.
We embark on a guided tour of Shiraz, one of the best tourism destinations in Iran. This starts by visiting the lush Eram Gardens, before moving on to the Nasir ol Molk Mosque, better known to the world as the renowned ‘Pink Mosque’, with its incandescent mosaics and stained glass windows . Our next stop will be to admire the breathtaking architecture of the Vakil complex, exploring both its elegant mosque and bazaar. Our last site is the tomb of Hafez, whose poetry has inspired millions of Iranians.
We drive out of the city into the dry deserts of Iran, towards one of the greatest historical sites in the world. Persepolis was the ancient capital of the Persian Empire, before it was mostly destroyed by Alexander the Great in retribution for the burning of Athens. In 480 BC, under the Persian Achaemenid Empire, it ruled the greatest ever percentage of the global population (approximately 44%), making it the largest empire in history. We then drive for six hours into the very heart of Iran; Yazd.
We will learn the fascinating history of the Zoroastrian religion, which precedes Islam, at its ancient sites at the Tower of Silence, and a fire temple that holds a fire that has been kept alight continuously since 470AD. The city’s Jame Mosque, built in the 12th Century and still in use, it is an example of some of the finest Persian mosaics; its minarets souring up to be the highest in the country. We will finish with a rooftop dinner watching the sun descend amid the city’s windcatchers – for which it is famous.
It is only a three hours driving to Isfahan, but on the way we will visit Narin castle in Meybod, and also Jame mosque and Pirnia house in Nain. This is a great opportunity to discover some of the smaller towns of Iran and meet the local people there. We will of course be continuing to discover the country’s delicious foods in many different types of local restaurants. We finish today with a relaxing evening in the calming atmosphere of the picturesque Isfahan.
We partake in a full-day excursion in Isfahan to visit its cultural highlights, including Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Ali Qapu Palace, Imam Mosque, Sheikh lotfollah mosque and Bazaar, before heading to Hasht Behesht and Chehel Sotun Palace. Of course you are free to see as much or as little as you like but the Jame Mosque is not to be missed! After dinner we can walk down to the famous bridges where many of the city’s inhabitants congregate in the evenings before another well-deserved night in our hotel.
We get an early start for the two hour drive toward Matin Abad Eco Resort in the desert, stopping along the way to explore the unique Abiyaneh Village and the delicate and refined architecture of Kashan’s Fin Garden and Tabatabieha House. When we reach the resort we can enjoy a camel ride out into the desert, although this isn’t compulsory. We will have our last group dinner this evening, concluding our cultural adventure.
We will drive the three hours from the camp to the airport for flight departures. If you wish to stay an additional night or more in Tehran we will be happy to arrange this for you.