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Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.

Day 1: arrive tehran

Azadi Freedom Monument, TehranAzadi Freedom Monument, Tehran

Your arrival in Tehran will be either very late this evening or very early the following morning.  On arrival, expect to spend at least an hour or more getting through immigration and customs. Iran requires customs agents to fill out additional forms for Americans, so it generally takes longer than European travelers. After passing through customs, a representative will be waiting for you just as you exit the airport. He or she will assist with the transfer to your hotel, which is about an hour away. 

 

Meals
None
Lodging
Espinas Hotel (or similar)

Day 2: tehran city tour

Ancient pottery at the Abguineh MuseumAncient pottery at the Abguineh Museum

You'll have a chance to rest up before heading out on a leisurely tour. Visit some of Tehran’s major museums, including Iran’s National Museum that displays a precious and spectacular collection of pre-historic and ancient artifacts with pottery dating back to 6-7 millennium B.C. and dioramas depicting more than 300,000 years of human occupation of Persia. Also visit the Abguineh (Glass & Ceramics) Museum, with a valuable collection of pre-Islamic and Islamic glass and ceramics beautifully displayed and located in an elegant and architecturally unique early 20th-century mansion.

Return to your hotel, or spend more time at the bazaar. If you like, your guide will take you on a visit to the Carpet Museum, with an extensive collection of old and new Persian carpets and rugs from the major carpet-weaving centers of Iran. (Carpets are a major theme in Persian history and this is the place to understand and appreciate their cultural, historic and material significance. If you're thinking of purchasing a Persian carpet, this is the place to learn about metrics and aesthetics of fine craftsmanship. You cannot purchase a carpet at the museum.)

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Espinas Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: tehran's palaces & bazaar

Today, visit a few of Tehran's famous and opulent palaces. The oldest of the historic monuments, Golestan Palace, is a world heritage site. The next oldest is the Saadabad Palace Complex, founded in the 19th century under the Qajar Kings and the Palace of Niavaran, and is one of the most impressive Pahlavi palaces. After, enjoy some time at bazaar Tajrish to pick up some scarfs or tunics to wear during your trip.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Espinas Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: flight to kerman

A morning flight takes you to Kerman, the capital city of the Kerman Province. This is the most important city in Iran's southeast, famous for its long history and strong cultural heritage. Here there are many historical mosques and Zoroastiran Temples. Kerman was founded as a defensive outpost by Ardashir I (founder of the Sasanian Empire) in the third century AD. 

On arrival at the airport, you'll immediately head out to the city center and visit Kerman's 14th century Friday Mosque, the main place for Muslim prayer in Kerman. What's unique about this mosque is that it has no minarets and you can enter the mosque either from the Kerman Bazaar or from Shohada Square. Next, visit the Ganj-Ali Khan Complex, a Safavid-era structure also containing a school, a mosque dating back to the 11th century, a square, a caravanserai, a bath house, a water reservoir, a mint, and a bazaar. The bath house was built in 1631 and is decorated with beautiful Safavid era paintings. The bath house contains alabaster panels that glow when the sun hits it at a certain time, giving bathers an idea of the time. It has now been turned into an anthropological museum. You'll have some time to explore the bazaar before being transferred to your hotel where you settle in for the night.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Kerman Pars Hotel (or similar)

Day 5: excursion to rayen and mahan

Today is a full day as you spend time exploring the village of Rayen where you will visit the Arg-e-Rayen Citadel, a miniature version of the Arg-e-Bam, once the largest adobe building in the world. Despite many natural disasters that have destroyed similar structures, the Rayen Citadel is well preserved and contains all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel. It is believed to be about 1,000 years old and was one of the trading centers on the trade routes. This is probably one of the most interesting sites in Iran.

On the return back to Kerman, stop in Mahan, famous for the tomb of the great Sufi leader, Shah Nematollah Vali and the Shazdeh Garden. The Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine is a historical complex containing the remains of the famous Iranian poet, who died in 1431. The Shazdeh Garden (Prince's Garden), is a fine example of a Persian garden originally built for Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar Sardari Iravani around 1850. Today it is listed as a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Kerman Pars Hotel (or similar)

Day 6: drive to yazd via zein-o-din caravanserai

Visit a Caravanserai on the drive to YazdVisit a Caravanserai on the drive to Yazd

Drive to Yazd (approx. 5 hrs), stopping en route at the 16th century Zein-o-Din Caravanserai, located in the middle of the desert. A caravanserai was a roadside inn where travelers (caravaners) could stop and rest while traveling the trade routes. 

On arrival in Yazd, you will have some free time this afternoon to relax. Yazd is the capital of Yazd Province and recognized as a World Heritage Site due to its unique Persian architecture. This town has a history that dates back over 5,000 years, and because of its remote desert location and difficult access, Yazd was often overlooked by conquerers. To tolerate the extreme hot summers, many old structures in Yazd have impressive wind towers and large underground areas and even contain many yakhchals, otherwise known as "ice houses," that were used to store ice retrieved from the glaciers of the mountains. 

You'll overnight in a beautiful traditional style hotel with modern amenities.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Moshir Garden or Safaieh Hotels (or similar)

Day 7: yazd city tour

Climb to the top of the DakhmaClimb to the top of the Dakhma

Enjoy a full day sightseeing in Yazd, the center for Iran’s fast-disappearing Zoroastrian community. Visit one of the two Zoroastrian abandoned Towers of Silence (Dakhma), dating back to the 18th century, and the active Zoroastrian Fire Temple, the fire of which has been burning for about 1500 years. View the immense Friday Mosque (1324 A.D.), with the highest portal and minarets in Iran. Other notable Islamic period monuments in Yazd include the Seljuk shrine dedicated to the Twelve Shi’ite Imams, and Ziaieyeh Theological School, known as Zendan-e-Eskander or Alexander’s Prison. You can stroll past the many beautiful old homes in Yazd, among them the Dowlat-Abad Garden, with an 18th-century feudal hexagonal house.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Moshir Garden or Safaieh Hotels (or similar)

Day 8: yazd to shiraz via pasargadae

Tomb of Cyprus the GreatTomb of Cyprus the Great

Today you make the approximate 6-hour drive through desert mountain terrain to Shiraz. En route, visit Pasargadae, a site pre-dating Persepolis. Pasargadae was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great who had it built between 559 and 530 BC. Cyrus is the Founder of the Persian Empire, and at Pasargadae, you'll see his simple but impressive tomb. You'll also see the remains of his palaces, all located in the vast plain of Dasht-e-Morghab.

Continue on to Abarkuh, a charming desert town, for a tea break under the shade of a supposedly 4,000-year-old Cyprus tree, then continue to Shiraz for your overnight. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Homa or Pars Hotel (or similar)

Day 9: shiraz

See the colors through the windows at the Pink MosqueSee the colors through the windows at the Pink Mosque

On a full-day city tour of Shiraz, visit some of the famous gardens of this city of “roses and nightingales,” including the Eram Garden and the tombs of Iran’s greatest lyric poets, Hafez and Sa'adi. See the pink-tiled 19th-century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque and the Arg-e-Karim Khan 18th-century citadel, sites which invite creative photography.  The dazzling Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, also known as the "Pink Mosque" due to its pink colored tiles, contains an extensive colored glass that acts as a keleidescope when the sun shines in. The Arg-e-Karim Khan was built during the Zand dynasty in 1180 AD and served as Karim Khan's living quarters. It was even once used as a prison, but today is a museum, operated by Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization.

After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Madrassa Khan (Theological School) for possible interaction with teachers and students. Then explore the Qajar-period Narenjestan Garden and Mansion, a traditional and historical home built between 1879 and 1886 by Mirza Ibrahim Khan. Next, visit the Holy Shrine of Shah-e-Cheragh, an important pilgrimage site. It contains the remains of Ahmad and Muhammad, brothers who took refuge in the city during the Abbasid persecution of Shia Muslims. The shrine is not open to non-Muslims but it can be seen from the outside. Finish the day with a visit to the Vakil Bazaar (closed on Fridays), the main bazaar of Shiraz. This 11th century AD bazaar contains beautiful courtyards, caravansarais, bath houses, and old shops that sell all kinds of Persian handicrafts, rugs, spices, and antiques. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Homa or Pars Hotel (or similar)

Day 10: ancient persepolis

The ruins of PersepolisThe ruins of Persepolis

Today's adventure takes you out to the ancient city of Persepolis, the magnificent springtime capital city of the ancient Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC). The city is known for its spectacular reliefs and towering columns built by Darius I. It is thought that Alexander the Great burned the great palace after invading Persepolis in 330 B.C. Some of its objects from Persepolis can be seen at the National Museum of Tehran. 

This afternoon, visit the rock-cut tombs of the Achaemenid kings including Darius I at Naghsh-e Rostam. Nearby is the Cube of Zoroaster (Kaba-ye Zartosht), a 5th century B.C. Achaemenid square tower. Also visit the Sassanian reliefs at Naghsh-e Rajab where you will see the inscription of Ardeshir I (226-241 AD), founder of the Sassanian dynasty, and Shapur I depicting his celebration of his military victory in 244 over the Roman Emperor, Valerian. Return to your hotel in Shiraz for dinner and overnight.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Homa or Pars Hotel (or similar)

Day 11: drive to isfahan

See the Khaju Bridge in IsfahanSee the Khaju Bridge in Isfahan

This is a day of mostly driving through scenic countryside to Isfahan (approximately a 4-hour drive). Isfahan, known as "Nesf-e-Jahan" to the Persians, means "Half The World" due to its beautiful hand-painted tiling and magnificent public square. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world and its architecture, tree-lined boulevards and relaxed pace make it one of the highlights of Iran.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Abbasi or Kowsar Hotel (or similar)

Day 12: isfahan

Visit one of the Mosques in IsfahanVisit one of the Mosques in Isfahan

Today is dedicated to exploring the many beautiful sites of Isfahan. Begin with the magnificent Friday Mosque, with the famous Uljaitu Mihrab (Prayer Niche) from the Il-Khanid period. This Friday Mosque is considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture and is truly one of the world’s greatest mosques. Also visit the Harun-e-Velayat Shrine and the Ali Minaret. From here drive to the Chehel Sotun Palace, built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century. Twenty wooden columns reflected in the surface of the pool give rise to its name, "The Palace of Forty Columns." Finally, visit the Hasht Behesht pavilion built in 1670 by Shah Solayman and known as the Pavilion of Eight Paradises or the Palace of Nightingales. This small but intricate building is elegantly sited among tree-lined alleys with a reflecting pool and water falls. Afterwards, return to your hotel where you can spend some time relaxing in the hotel's garden.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Abbasi or Kowsar Hotel (or similar)

Day 13: isfahan

Handicrafts in the bazaarHandicrafts in the bazaar

Enjoy another full day of sightseeing in Isfahan beginning with visits to the city's famous bridges including the 14th century Pol-e Shahrestan (The Shahrestan Bridge), one of the oldest surviving bridges in Iran; Pol-e Khaju (Khaju Bridge), perhaps one of the finest bridges in Isfahan. It was built by the Safavid king Shah Abbas II around 1650 and originally ornated with artistic tile works and paintings (at one point it even served as a teahouse); and Si-o-Seh Pol (The Bridge of 33 Arches), one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design. There may or may not be water in the river, but look for wading birds. 

Tour the Armenian Quarter including the important Cathedral of Vank, which includes a good museum with a section on the Armenian genocide. In the afternoon, visit one of the world’s grandest squares, the Maidan-e-Naghsh-e-Jahan. Admire the Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo games. You will see two of the Islamic world’s greatest mosques—the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Imam—with magnificent architecture and tilework. End the afternoon with a visit to the Qeisarieh Bazaar with hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous (closed on Fridays). 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Abbasi or Kowsar Hotel (or similar)

Day 14: drive to kashan via natanz

Depart early for the drive to Kashan (approximately 3-4 hours of driving), with a stop at the charming town of Natanz. There, visit a beautiful Islamic complex including the Friday Mosque, Monastery, and Tomb of Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani. This is also the location of a contentious (former) underground nuclear site. You will drive by the entrance, but are not allowed to take photos. Continue on to Kashan to visit the historical garden of Fin, first planted during the Safavid period and kept alive with water from the nearby Sulaimanieh Spring. This beautiful garden was expanded by the Zand and Qajar monarchs, with many open pavilions added. You will also visit a fine example of a 19th-century merchant residence known as Taba-Tabai House with its beautiful stucco dome and inlaid mirror work, plus some of the best examples of “badgirs,” or wind-catchers. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Kuhrang Hotel (or similar)

Day 15: kashan to tehran via qom

Nomads of IranNomads of Iran

After breakfast, your tour of Kashan continues with a visit to the Kashan Bazaar, Agha Bozorg Mosque, and the important archaeological site of Tepe Sialk. The Kashan Bazaar, known for it's impressive mud-brick architecture, is thought to have been built during the Seljuk period. Be sure to notice the intricate designs in the dome of Timche-ye Amin Od-Dowleh. Agha Bozorg Mosque was built in the late 18th century by master architect Ustad Haj Sa'ban-ali. This was where Ustad Ali Maryam began as a pupil and started his career as a brilliant architect, responsible for the architectural style of Taba-Tabai House and Boroujerdi ha House. At Sialk Hill you'll find the remains of an ancient city containing the world's oldest zigurat, which dates back to 3000 BC. The oldest settlement in Sialk dates back to 5500-6000 BC! It is thought that Sialk was settled due to the fresh water sources that run down from the nearby mountains. These pristine water sources still continue to run today.

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue with the drive back to Tehran (approximately 3-4 hours of driving) via Qom, Iran's second holiest city. The city is the largest center in the world for Shiʿa scholarships and is an important destination of pilgrimage. On arrival back in Tehran, check in to your airport hotel and enjoy a final dinner with your group.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
A local airport hotel

Day 16: depart tehran

Say good-bye to the people of IranSay good-bye to the people of Iran

Your representative will meet you at the hotel and assist with your early morning transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Expec to depart your Tehran hotel at least three hours before your flight departure time. 

Meals
None
Lodging
None

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$5,900
- $6,400
Group size 6-7: $6400 Group size 8-12: $5900
Single Supplement:
$1,250
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Apr 16-May 1, 2018
Sep 3-18, 2018
Apr 15-30, 2019
Sep 2-17, 2019

Need to Know

Iran can get extremely hot, so we recommend packing light, breathable clothing and scarves to be as comfortable as possible. 

Duration:
16 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Most hotels are 4/5 star or best available
Activity Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Some opportunities to climb steep stairs or hike in rocky terrain, but this is not necessary to enjoy trip.
Group Size:
6-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.​

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

From the Bird's Word Blog

Travel to Iran: What we learned as a group of women

In April 2017, Journeys hosted its first women's-only adventure through Iran. Led by staff member Kerina Rowley, this group of women included 13 seasoned travelers, all of whom were eager …

Soak in the Mosque of Isfahan's beauty
Soak in the Mosque of Isfahan's beauty
Beautiful stained glass of Shiraz is abundant
Beautiful stained glass of Shiraz is abundant
Meet the welcoming people of Iran
Meet the welcoming people of Iran
Enjoy an evening out with locals
Enjoy an evening out with locals
Explore the ruins of Persepolis
Explore the ruins of Persepolis
See schoolchildren out for a field trip
See schoolchildren out for a field trip
Intricate artwork inside the Mosque
Intricate artwork inside the Mosque
Markets abound with colorful fruits
Markets abound with colorful fruits
Painstaking details everywhere you look
Painstaking details everywhere you look
See 6,000 years of well-preserved history
See 6,000 years of well-preserved history
Stroll around the square with the locals
Stroll around the square with the locals
Breathtaking architecture is everywhere
Breathtaking architecture is everywhere
Spend time getting to know the people of Iran
Spend time getting to know the people of Iran
Persian rugs are a sight to be seen
Persian rugs are a sight to be seen
The museums are like candy stores for history buffs
The museums are like candy stores for history buffs
Mesmerizing light shines through stained glass
Mesmerizing light shines through stained glass
See tents of the nomadic people
See tents of the nomadic people
Buy colorful crafts at the market
Buy colorful crafts at the market

Persia Past & Present

Ancient sites, cultural encounters and the modern mystique of Iran

overview

Iran, the modern incarnation of Ancient Persia, offers travelers a wildly enigmatic, exceptionally hospitable, savory experience of history, traditional culture, good food and beautiful scenery. You will meet local people eager to hear about your life in America and eager to demonstrate that Iranian citizens, regardless of government statements, really like Americans.

Ancient Persia has been the seat of many civilizations delivering major contributions in poetry, art, architecture, science and history. You will visit many of the country’s archaeological gems that have been well preserved and portray Iran’s rich historical heritage. Your tour will not only explore ancient ruins and colorful cities but also exotic bazaars, old baths, mountain landscapes and nomadic camps. You will marvel at ancient monuments and beautifully tiled mosques. You will stroll through medieval bazaars that remain much as they were centuries ago. You will visit local nomadic tribes when driving across the vast country. Your journey will take you to Mahan (often associated with Sufism), to Yazd (the center of Zoroastrian culture) and to Shiraz (city of poets with major Jewish and Christian communities). You will also explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Isfahan, Pasargadae and Persepolis.

Your leadership team will include a very experienced Iranian guide, as well as drivers who share in the delight of revealing their country to you. 

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
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overview

Iran, the modern incarnation of Ancient Persia, offers travelers a wildly enigmatic, exceptionally hospitable, savory experience of history, traditional culture, good food and beautiful scenery. You will meet local people eager to hear about your life in America and eager to demonstrate that Iranian citizens, regardless of government statements, really like Americans.

Ancient Persia has been the seat of many civilizations delivering major contributions in poetry, art, architecture, science and history. You will visit many of the country’s archaeological gems that have been well preserved and portray Iran’s rich historical heritage. Your tour will not only explore ancient ruins and colorful cities but also exotic bazaars, old baths, mountain landscapes and nomadic camps. You will marvel at ancient monuments and beautifully tiled mosques. You will stroll through medieval bazaars that remain much as they were centuries ago. You will visit local nomadic tribes when driving across the vast country. Your journey will take you to Mahan (often associated with Sufism), to Yazd (the center of Zoroastrian culture) and to Shiraz (city of poets with major Jewish and Christian communities). You will also explore the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Isfahan, Pasargadae and Persepolis.

Your leadership team will include a very experienced Iranian guide, as well as drivers who share in the delight of revealing their country to you. 

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.
  • Day 1: arrive tehran
    Azadi Freedom Monument, TehranAzadi Freedom Monument, Tehran

    Your arrival in Tehran will be either very late this evening or very early the following morning.  On arrival, expect to spend at least an hour or more getting through immigration and customs. Iran requires customs agents to fill out additional forms for Americans, so it generally takes longer than European travelers. After passing through customs, a representative will be waiting for you just as you exit the airport. He or she will assist with the transfer to your hotel, which is about an hour away. 

     

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Espinas Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: tehran city tour
    Ancient pottery at the Abguineh MuseumAncient pottery at the Abguineh Museum

    You'll have a chance to rest up before heading out on a leisurely tour. Visit some of Tehran’s major museums, including Iran’s National Museum that displays a precious and spectacular collection of pre-historic and ancient artifacts with pottery dating back to 6-7 millennium B.C. and dioramas depicting more than 300,000 years of human occupation of Persia. Also visit the Abguineh (Glass & Ceramics) Museum, with a valuable collection of pre-Islamic and Islamic glass and ceramics beautifully displayed and located in an elegant and architecturally unique early 20th-century mansion.

    Return to your hotel, or spend more time at the bazaar. If you like, your guide will take you on a visit to the Carpet Museum, with an extensive collection of old and new Persian carpets and rugs from the major carpet-weaving centers of Iran. (Carpets are a major theme in Persian history and this is the place to understand and appreciate their cultural, historic and material significance. If you're thinking of purchasing a Persian carpet, this is the place to learn about metrics and aesthetics of fine craftsmanship. You cannot purchase a carpet at the museum.)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Espinas Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: tehran's palaces & bazaar

    Today, visit a few of Tehran's famous and opulent palaces. The oldest of the historic monuments, Golestan Palace, is a world heritage site. The next oldest is the Saadabad Palace Complex, founded in the 19th century under the Qajar Kings and the Palace of Niavaran, and is one of the most impressive Pahlavi palaces. After, enjoy some time at bazaar Tajrish to pick up some scarfs or tunics to wear during your trip.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Espinas Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: flight to kerman

    A morning flight takes you to Kerman, the capital city of the Kerman Province. This is the most important city in Iran's southeast, famous for its long history and strong cultural heritage. Here there are many historical mosques and Zoroastiran Temples. Kerman was founded as a defensive outpost by Ardashir I (founder of the Sasanian Empire) in the third century AD. 

    On arrival at the airport, you'll immediately head out to the city center and visit Kerman's 14th century Friday Mosque, the main place for Muslim prayer in Kerman. What's unique about this mosque is that it has no minarets and you can enter the mosque either from the Kerman Bazaar or from Shohada Square. Next, visit the Ganj-Ali Khan Complex, a Safavid-era structure also containing a school, a mosque dating back to the 11th century, a square, a caravanserai, a bath house, a water reservoir, a mint, and a bazaar. The bath house was built in 1631 and is decorated with beautiful Safavid era paintings. The bath house contains alabaster panels that glow when the sun hits it at a certain time, giving bathers an idea of the time. It has now been turned into an anthropological museum. You'll have some time to explore the bazaar before being transferred to your hotel where you settle in for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Kerman Pars Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: excursion to rayen and mahan

    Today is a full day as you spend time exploring the village of Rayen where you will visit the Arg-e-Rayen Citadel, a miniature version of the Arg-e-Bam, once the largest adobe building in the world. Despite many natural disasters that have destroyed similar structures, the Rayen Citadel is well preserved and contains all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel. It is believed to be about 1,000 years old and was one of the trading centers on the trade routes. This is probably one of the most interesting sites in Iran.

    On the return back to Kerman, stop in Mahan, famous for the tomb of the great Sufi leader, Shah Nematollah Vali and the Shazdeh Garden. The Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine is a historical complex containing the remains of the famous Iranian poet, who died in 1431. The Shazdeh Garden (Prince's Garden), is a fine example of a Persian garden originally built for Mohammad Hasan Khan Qajar Sardari Iravani around 1850. Today it is listed as a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Kerman Pars Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: drive to yazd via zein-o-din caravanserai
    Visit a Caravanserai on the drive to YazdVisit a Caravanserai on the drive to Yazd

    Drive to Yazd (approx. 5 hrs), stopping en route at the 16th century Zein-o-Din Caravanserai, located in the middle of the desert. A caravanserai was a roadside inn where travelers (caravaners) could stop and rest while traveling the trade routes. 

    On arrival in Yazd, you will have some free time this afternoon to relax. Yazd is the capital of Yazd Province and recognized as a World Heritage Site due to its unique Persian architecture. This town has a history that dates back over 5,000 years, and because of its remote desert location and difficult access, Yazd was often overlooked by conquerers. To tolerate the extreme hot summers, many old structures in Yazd have impressive wind towers and large underground areas and even contain many yakhchals, otherwise known as "ice houses," that were used to store ice retrieved from the glaciers of the mountains. 

    You'll overnight in a beautiful traditional style hotel with modern amenities.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Moshir Garden or Safaieh Hotels (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: yazd city tour
    Climb to the top of the DakhmaClimb to the top of the Dakhma

    Enjoy a full day sightseeing in Yazd, the center for Iran’s fast-disappearing Zoroastrian community. Visit one of the two Zoroastrian abandoned Towers of Silence (Dakhma), dating back to the 18th century, and the active Zoroastrian Fire Temple, the fire of which has been burning for about 1500 years. View the immense Friday Mosque (1324 A.D.), with the highest portal and minarets in Iran. Other notable Islamic period monuments in Yazd include the Seljuk shrine dedicated to the Twelve Shi’ite Imams, and Ziaieyeh Theological School, known as Zendan-e-Eskander or Alexander’s Prison. You can stroll past the many beautiful old homes in Yazd, among them the Dowlat-Abad Garden, with an 18th-century feudal hexagonal house.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Moshir Garden or Safaieh Hotels (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: yazd to shiraz via pasargadae
    Tomb of Cyprus the GreatTomb of Cyprus the Great

    Today you make the approximate 6-hour drive through desert mountain terrain to Shiraz. En route, visit Pasargadae, a site pre-dating Persepolis. Pasargadae was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire under Cyrus the Great who had it built between 559 and 530 BC. Cyrus is the Founder of the Persian Empire, and at Pasargadae, you'll see his simple but impressive tomb. You'll also see the remains of his palaces, all located in the vast plain of Dasht-e-Morghab.

    Continue on to Abarkuh, a charming desert town, for a tea break under the shade of a supposedly 4,000-year-old Cyprus tree, then continue to Shiraz for your overnight. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Homa or Pars Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: shiraz
    See the colors through the windows at the Pink MosqueSee the colors through the windows at the Pink Mosque

    On a full-day city tour of Shiraz, visit some of the famous gardens of this city of “roses and nightingales,” including the Eram Garden and the tombs of Iran’s greatest lyric poets, Hafez and Sa'adi. See the pink-tiled 19th-century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque and the Arg-e-Karim Khan 18th-century citadel, sites which invite creative photography.  The dazzling Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, also known as the "Pink Mosque" due to its pink colored tiles, contains an extensive colored glass that acts as a keleidescope when the sun shines in. The Arg-e-Karim Khan was built during the Zand dynasty in 1180 AD and served as Karim Khan's living quarters. It was even once used as a prison, but today is a museum, operated by Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization.

    After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Madrassa Khan (Theological School) for possible interaction with teachers and students. Then explore the Qajar-period Narenjestan Garden and Mansion, a traditional and historical home built between 1879 and 1886 by Mirza Ibrahim Khan. Next, visit the Holy Shrine of Shah-e-Cheragh, an important pilgrimage site. It contains the remains of Ahmad and Muhammad, brothers who took refuge in the city during the Abbasid persecution of Shia Muslims. The shrine is not open to non-Muslims but it can be seen from the outside. Finish the day with a visit to the Vakil Bazaar (closed on Fridays), the main bazaar of Shiraz. This 11th century AD bazaar contains beautiful courtyards, caravansarais, bath houses, and old shops that sell all kinds of Persian handicrafts, rugs, spices, and antiques. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Homa or Pars Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: ancient persepolis
    The ruins of PersepolisThe ruins of Persepolis

    Today's adventure takes you out to the ancient city of Persepolis, the magnificent springtime capital city of the ancient Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC). The city is known for its spectacular reliefs and towering columns built by Darius I. It is thought that Alexander the Great burned the great palace after invading Persepolis in 330 B.C. Some of its objects from Persepolis can be seen at the National Museum of Tehran. 

    This afternoon, visit the rock-cut tombs of the Achaemenid kings including Darius I at Naghsh-e Rostam. Nearby is the Cube of Zoroaster (Kaba-ye Zartosht), a 5th century B.C. Achaemenid square tower. Also visit the Sassanian reliefs at Naghsh-e Rajab where you will see the inscription of Ardeshir I (226-241 AD), founder of the Sassanian dynasty, and Shapur I depicting his celebration of his military victory in 244 over the Roman Emperor, Valerian. Return to your hotel in Shiraz for dinner and overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Homa or Pars Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: drive to isfahan
    See the Khaju Bridge in IsfahanSee the Khaju Bridge in Isfahan

    This is a day of mostly driving through scenic countryside to Isfahan (approximately a 4-hour drive). Isfahan, known as "Nesf-e-Jahan" to the Persians, means "Half The World" due to its beautiful hand-painted tiling and magnificent public square. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world and its architecture, tree-lined boulevards and relaxed pace make it one of the highlights of Iran.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Abbasi or Kowsar Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: isfahan
    Visit one of the Mosques in IsfahanVisit one of the Mosques in Isfahan

    Today is dedicated to exploring the many beautiful sites of Isfahan. Begin with the magnificent Friday Mosque, with the famous Uljaitu Mihrab (Prayer Niche) from the Il-Khanid period. This Friday Mosque is considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture and is truly one of the world’s greatest mosques. Also visit the Harun-e-Velayat Shrine and the Ali Minaret. From here drive to the Chehel Sotun Palace, built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century. Twenty wooden columns reflected in the surface of the pool give rise to its name, "The Palace of Forty Columns." Finally, visit the Hasht Behesht pavilion built in 1670 by Shah Solayman and known as the Pavilion of Eight Paradises or the Palace of Nightingales. This small but intricate building is elegantly sited among tree-lined alleys with a reflecting pool and water falls. Afterwards, return to your hotel where you can spend some time relaxing in the hotel's garden.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Abbasi or Kowsar Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: isfahan
    Handicrafts in the bazaarHandicrafts in the bazaar

    Enjoy another full day of sightseeing in Isfahan beginning with visits to the city's famous bridges including the 14th century Pol-e Shahrestan (The Shahrestan Bridge), one of the oldest surviving bridges in Iran; Pol-e Khaju (Khaju Bridge), perhaps one of the finest bridges in Isfahan. It was built by the Safavid king Shah Abbas II around 1650 and originally ornated with artistic tile works and paintings (at one point it even served as a teahouse); and Si-o-Seh Pol (The Bridge of 33 Arches), one of the most famous examples of Safavid bridge design. There may or may not be water in the river, but look for wading birds. 

    Tour the Armenian Quarter including the important Cathedral of Vank, which includes a good museum with a section on the Armenian genocide. In the afternoon, visit one of the world’s grandest squares, the Maidan-e-Naghsh-e-Jahan. Admire the Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo games. You will see two of the Islamic world’s greatest mosques—the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Imam—with magnificent architecture and tilework. End the afternoon with a visit to the Qeisarieh Bazaar with hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous (closed on Fridays). 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Abbasi or Kowsar Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: drive to kashan via natanz

    Depart early for the drive to Kashan (approximately 3-4 hours of driving), with a stop at the charming town of Natanz. There, visit a beautiful Islamic complex including the Friday Mosque, Monastery, and Tomb of Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani. This is also the location of a contentious (former) underground nuclear site. You will drive by the entrance, but are not allowed to take photos. Continue on to Kashan to visit the historical garden of Fin, first planted during the Safavid period and kept alive with water from the nearby Sulaimanieh Spring. This beautiful garden was expanded by the Zand and Qajar monarchs, with many open pavilions added. You will also visit a fine example of a 19th-century merchant residence known as Taba-Tabai House with its beautiful stucco dome and inlaid mirror work, plus some of the best examples of “badgirs,” or wind-catchers. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Kuhrang Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 15: kashan to tehran via qom
    Nomads of IranNomads of Iran

    After breakfast, your tour of Kashan continues with a visit to the Kashan Bazaar, Agha Bozorg Mosque, and the important archaeological site of Tepe Sialk. The Kashan Bazaar, known for it's impressive mud-brick architecture, is thought to have been built during the Seljuk period. Be sure to notice the intricate designs in the dome of Timche-ye Amin Od-Dowleh. Agha Bozorg Mosque was built in the late 18th century by master architect Ustad Haj Sa'ban-ali. This was where Ustad Ali Maryam began as a pupil and started his career as a brilliant architect, responsible for the architectural style of Taba-Tabai House and Boroujerdi ha House. At Sialk Hill you'll find the remains of an ancient city containing the world's oldest zigurat, which dates back to 3000 BC. The oldest settlement in Sialk dates back to 5500-6000 BC! It is thought that Sialk was settled due to the fresh water sources that run down from the nearby mountains. These pristine water sources still continue to run today.

    After lunch at a local restaurant, continue with the drive back to Tehran (approximately 3-4 hours of driving) via Qom, Iran's second holiest city. The city is the largest center in the world for Shiʿa scholarships and is an important destination of pilgrimage. On arrival back in Tehran, check in to your airport hotel and enjoy a final dinner with your group.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    A local airport hotel
    Show on a map
  • Day 16: depart tehran
    Say good-bye to the people of IranSay good-bye to the people of Iran

    Your representative will meet you at the hotel and assist with your early morning transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Expec to depart your Tehran hotel at least three hours before your flight departure time. 

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$5,900
- $6,400
Group size 6-7: $6400 Group size 8-12: $5900
Single Supplement:
$1,250
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Apr 16-May 1, 2018
Sep 3-18, 2018
Apr 15-30, 2019
Sep 2-17, 2019

Need to Know

Iran can get extremely hot, so we recommend packing light, breathable clothing and scarves to be as comfortable as possible. 

Duration:
16 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Most hotels are 4/5 star or best available
Activity Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Some opportunities to climb steep stairs or hike in rocky terrain, but this is not necessary to enjoy trip.
Group Size:
6-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Below is a summary of our complete Trip Terms & Conditions, which explains each of the items below in more detail. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Pricing and Payment

For most group departures, the booking deposit is $500 per person per trip, though for some trips it may be more, as noted in the trip description. The minimum booking deposit requirement for custom trips is $800 per person, and this deposit is non-refundable. A trip-planning fee of $250 per itinerary is also charged to cover costs of preparing itinerary proposals for custom trips. This fee is credited to the cost of the trip, but is nonrefundable if you do not take the trip. Custom travel during holiday seasons may require a deposit prior to trip confirmation.

For both group departures and custom trips, a second deposit of $1,000 per person is due 120 days prior to departure or at the time of booking for reservations made fewer than 120 days before departure. The balance as shown on your invoice is due 60 days prior to departure regardless of whether extensions or other arrangements are pending. Late payments may jeopardize confirmation of your itinerary and in some cases may result in additional fees. If we have not received final payment 30 days prior to departure your reservation may be canceled and subject to our Cancellation & Refund Policy stated in the complete Terms & Conditions.

We accept payments by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or check drawn on a U.S. bank account. Payment for airfare is required at the time of ticketing. Discounts that may be available for some trips are not available toward bookings made through travel agencies.​

Airfare

We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

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× comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
× activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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