Rating in Iran
$ 3407

Classical Iran

Culture
Culture
min $ 3407
Per person
Tour details
Destinations: Shiraz, Yazd Province, Isfahan, Tehran
Guide language: English
Price: min $ 3407
Click to Enlarge
  • Overview & dates
  • Itinerary
  • What's included

Overview & dates

INTRO

FEATURED IN SUNDAY TIMES ULTIMATE 100 HOLIDAYS

Lose yourself in Yazd`s mud-brick alleyways, marvel at Isfahan’s sheer beauty, take in a poetry reading in Shiraz and take a trip back to the ancient Achaemanian era with a visit to Persepolis. Dig deeper in some of Tehran’s excellent museums, explore the Zoroastrian shrine of Chak Chak, browse for handicrafts in Nain`s bazaar and wander the lovely gardens of Kashan..

NOTE: Iranian visa authorisation code is included for all those booking on this tour.

Iran Visa Information>>


GROUP DATES

  • 08 Oct 2018 to 21 Oct 2018 - £ 2,695 - LM
  • 15 Apr 2019 to 28 Apr 2019 - £ 2,695 - GD
  • 07 Oct 2019 to 20 Oct 2019 - £ 2,695 - AV

If these dates do not suit you but you are interested in this tour, please contact us for alternative dates.

AV - Available
GD - Guaranteed
LM - Limited places left
OR - On request (contact us for status)
CL - Closed for bookings


All tours in Iran


HIGHLIGHTS

The poetic city of Shiraz

Persia’s ancient capital, Persepolis

The tomb of Cyrus the Great

Stunning mud-brick village of Kharanagh

Ancient mosques and palaces of Isfahan

Shopping for crafts in bazaars

Isfahan's stunning Friday mosque

Khans and gardens of Shiraz and Kashan

Qom - the Islamic Heart of Iran

The National Museum of Iran


PLACES VISITED

Shiraz - Firuz Abad - Persepolis - Naghsh-e-Rostam - Naghsh-e-Rajab - Pasargadae - Yazd - Chak Chak - Kharanagh Village - Meybod - Na'in - Isfahan - Kashan - Abyaneh - Tehran - Qom Shiraz
Firuz Abad
Persepolis
Naghsh-e-Rostam
Naghsh-e-Rajab
Pasargadae
Yazd
Chak Chak
Kharanagh Village
Meybod
Na'in
Isfahan
Kashan
Abyaneh
Tehran
Qom

Itinerary

ITINERARY

Short | Detailed | PDF


Choose departure date08 Oct 2018 -- 21 Oct 201815 Apr 2019 -- 28 Apr 201907 Oct 2019 -- 20 Oct 2019

Day 1 : Arrival

Depart your home country on a flight to Shiraz. On arrival a hotel room will be available to you.

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


Day 2 : Shiraz

Full day sightseeing in Shiraz. Overnight in 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 ladies to buy suitable clothing for their time in Iran. Overnight 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. 

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.

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.

Day 3 : Shiraz - Firuz Abad - Shiraz

Half day excursion to Firuz Abad for sightseeing. Overnight in Shiraz.

After breakfast, there will be an excursion to Firuz Abad from Shiraz. Visit the old walled city and the famous palace of Ardashir overlooking the lake. In the evening you will visit Vakil Bazaar. Overnight in Shiraz.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Firuz Abad was originally built by the Sassanian King Ardashir in 200 AD, who designed it as his own royal residence. Firuz Abad was christened "Ardashir-Khurra" which means 'the Glory of Ardashir'. It was originally a walled city in the shape of a circle, with four gates located at each cardinal point. Out of the centre of the city, the remains of the square minaret of rubble-rose stone can still be seen. Nearby is the enormous palace of Ardashir, which was built on a plain overlooking a small natural lake. In the opening of the valley are some striking bas-reliefs that depict Ardashir defeating the Parthian King, Artabanus. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in June 2018 as part of the Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region.

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. 

Day 4 : Shiraz - Persepolis - Naghsh-e-Rostam - Shiraz

Full day excursion to Persepolis and its museum. Overnight stay in Shiraz.

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.

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.

Day 5 : Pasargadae - Yazd

Drive to Yazd, and visit Pasargadae, the tomb of Cyrus the Great, and a four thousand year old Cyprus tree en route. Overnight in Yazd.

Drive to Yazd and visit Pasargadae, the tomb of Cyrus the Great, as well as a four thousand year old Cyprus tree en route. Overnight in Yazd.

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. 

The Cypress Tree in Abarkuh is 25m high with a circumference of 18m. It is estimated to be over 4000 years old and some believe it may be the oldest living thing in Asia. 

Day 6 : Chak-Chak - Kharangagh

Excursion to Chak-Chak and Kharangagh before returning to Yazd. Afternoon free. Overnight stay in Yazd.

After breakfast there will be an excursion to Chak-Chak and Kharanagh before returning to Yazd. The afternoon will be free to spend as you please and in the evening there will be an optional visit to a Zurkhaneh on your own time. Overnight stay in Yazd.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Pir-e-Sabz, or Chak Chak, is a small Zoroastrian shrine set on a cliff side, famed for being one of the most important shrines in Iran. In Farsi, Chak Chak literally means 'Drip Drip'. The name refers to the local legend of the princess who was sheltered in a cave by a Zoroastrian God to save her from the invading Arab army. The princess waited anxiously for the army to leave, hearing only the sound of dripping water from the rocks. Today, an annual celebration between the 14th and 18th of June sees many Indian and Iranian Parsis visit the site for pilgrimage. 

The Kharanagh Village is a bewitching 1,000-year-old village composed of many crumbling mud-brick buildings. The mosque, the caravanserai and the eclectic 17th century shaking minaret have now been restored. The village also boasts an impressive ancient aqueduct. 

A Zurkhaneh, which literally translates as “house of strength”, is a traditional gymnasium where Pahlevani rituals are practised. These rituals combine martial arts, callisthenics, strength training, music and poetry. There are around 500 of the gyms dotted around the country, each with strong ties to its local community. Some of them welcome visitors, though a small contribution may be expected.

Day 7 : Yazd

Spend the day sightseeing in Yazd. Overnight in Yazd.

Today will be spent sightseeing in Yazd including a walking tour through the old Fahadan area of Yazd, Alexander's Prison, the Friday Mosque, the Bazaar, Mirchachmagh Maidan and the Water museum. There will also be a visit to the two Zoroastrian Towers of Silence (Dakhma), and the Fire Temple. Time permitting there will also be a visit to Dowlabad Gardens, Overnight in Yazd.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Yazd, one of the oldest mud-brick cities in Iran, is the centre for Iran’s small Zoroastrian community, who first established a settlement there to shelter from the invading Arabs. Having escaped destruction from Genghis Khan, it blossomed into a trade centre in the 14th and 15th centuries, producing silk, textiles and carpets. Named after Yazdegerd I, a Sassanid ruler, the city’s modern-day inhabitants are known as peaceful, hardworking and family-oriented people. Its skyline is famous for wind badgirs, an energy-efficient form of air conditioning that makes use of any little wind to cool building interiors.

Yazd’s two Dakhma, or 'Towers of Silence' date back to the 18th century and reign over the city. The towers were used as storage houses for the dead, who were left there to decompose and be devoured by birds until as recently as 50-60 years ago. Zoroastrians believed burials or cremations would pollute the Earth or Fire, which are precious elements in their religion. They felt that using Towers of Silence was a better way of recycling the deceased.

Yazd’s Zoroastrian Fire Temple is also known as 'Ateshkadeh', which means 'Eternal Sacred Flame'. It houses an active fire that has burned for about 1,500 years. It was first moved to Yazd in 1174 and to its present site in 1940.  

Yazd’s Jameh Mosque (Friday mosque) is arguably the city's greatest architectural landmark. It dates back to the 15th century and was built on the site of an older mosque, which was most likely built on the site of an even older Fire Temple. Flanked by two 48-metre-high minarets, it boasts a 15th- century inscription and has one of the tallest tiled entrance portals in Iran. The best mosaics can be seen on the dome and mihrab. 

Yazd Water Museum, housed in a former merchant’s house orignally built in 1929, is one of Yazd's best new attractions. The museum displays a variety of water objects from qanat to water ownership documents. The museum traces the water history of the region and how water technologies and everyday life have been interwoven across the ages. 

The beautiful Dowlatabad Garden complex features historic buildings constructed during the time of Mohammad Taqi Khan. Its wind badgir is 33 metres high, the highest in Yazd. The advanced building architecture and the beautiful gardens make it one of the city's most celebrated sights.

Day 8 : Yazd - Isfahan

Drive to Isfahan via Meybod and Nai'in. Overnight in Isfahan.

In the morning drive to Isfahan via Meybod and Na'in. In Na'in visit the 10th century Friday Mosque, and the 17th century Pirnia House which is now also an Ethnographic Museum (if it is open). After lunch continue to Isfahan for an overnight stay.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Meybod is an ancient desert town composed of mud-brick buildings dating back some 1,800 years. Visitors have the chance to look around a 17th-century caravanserai and witness a weaving demonstration. There is also a 300-year-old postal station and a colossal Safavid-era Ice House with an eccentric cone-shaped roof. Several pottery workshops surround the town’s masterpiece, the Narin Castle. It dates back to Sassannian times and is said to be the oldest mud-brick construction in Iran.

Na’in is a relaxed ancient town situated on a crossroads in the desert between Yazd and Isfahan. Its location has allowed Na’in to act as a trading centre since the Sassanid era. Na’in has long specialized in handicrafts and in past centuries it was famous for spectacular ceramics and textiles. Today it exports skillfully-woven carpets and camel-wool cloaks to all over Iran and beyond. Most striking in the town are the Narin Castle and Jameh Mosque. Narin Castle is a fire temple from the pre-Islamic Parthian and Sassanid eras that  is composed of roughly-shaped mud bricks and boasts a large moat. Na'in's Jameh Mosque is one of the first Iranian mosques and was built between the 11th and 12th centuries. ‘Jameh’ is understood by Persians to refer to the grand mosque of a city where people congregate for Eid and Friday prayers (the word ‘Jam’ means 'gathering'). Defying the style of its time, it has elaborate stucco work inside and an underground prayer hall.  

Day 9 : Isfahan

Spend the day exploring Isfahan. Overnight in 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


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'. 

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. 

Day 10 : Isfahan

Spend the morning sightseeing. Afternoon free. Overnight in Isfahan.

Half-day sightseeing in Isfahan where you will visit the famous bridges of Shahrestan, Khajou & Sio-se-pol, the Armenian Quarter and Chehel Sotun Palace. There will also 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.

Day 11 : Isfahan - Kashan

Drive to Kashan, stopping at Abyaneh village on the way. Visit the Agha Bozorg Mosque and the gardens of Fin. Overnight in Kashan.

Morning drive to Kashan. En route visit the ancient village of Abyaneh. In Kashan, visit the Agha Bozorg Mosque, the historical gardens of Fin and a historic house. Overnight in Kashan.

Meal plan : Breakfast


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 Qajar-period Agha Bozorg Mosque boasts a symmetrical design and minarets that are composed of exquisite tiles. Its large door is decorated with studs that represent verses in the Qur’an.

Abyaneh is a beautiful ancient village located at the foot of the Karkass mountains. The village’s buildings are characterised by a unique reddish clay and many interesting architectural styles. The Abyaneh people steadfastly resisted conversion to Islam until around the 16th century, preferring to hold onto Zoroastrianism – the ancient Iranian religion.

Day 12 : Kashan - Qom - Tehran

Return to Tehran via the city of Qom. Overnight in Tehran.

After breakfast drive to Tehran via the city of Qom. Overnight in Tehran.

Meal plan : Breakfast


Qom, the site of the shrine of Fatema al-Masumeh, is considered one of the holiest cities in Iran. It is the largest centre for Shi'a scholarship in the world. While the inhabitants can be somewhat ambiguous towards tourists compared to other parts of Iran, it is an interesting look inside one of the vanity projects of the Islamic Republic. It is hard to deny Qom’s splendour.
NOTE: to visit the centre of Qom it will be necessary to take a local bus in and out.


Day 13 : Tehran

Day sightseeing in Tehran. Overnight in Tehran.

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

NOTE: There are many things to do in Tehran. If you would like to spend more time in Tehran or to visit other places in Iran not covered on your itinerary please contact us about this. Depending on the day of the week some sights visited in Tehran on the main tour may vary.

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. 

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.

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).

Day 14 : Tehran - Departure

Transfer to Tehran airport for departure flight.

Transfer to Tehran airport for departure flight.
 

Meal plan : Breakfast


What's included

INCLUDED Visa authorisation code Arrival & departure transfers Ground transport with driver Accommodation Breakfasts English-speaking guide Entrance fees to sites & parks
All tour descriptions and conditions are given in accordance with the information of Travel The Unknown
You may also like
Highlights of Iran
Culture
Culture

Iran

Rating in Iran
$ 990
Paradise in Persia Tour
Culture
Culture

Iran

18 days

Interesting facts
Visit Zanzibar for a Vacation You Won't Forget!
An island of thrill and relaxation A pride of Tanzania and less than 50 kms off the cost of mainland, Zanzibar is an amazing location for you if you are looking for adventure in Africa. Surrounded by natural beauty, rich culture and a welcoming att…
×