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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

The flights arrive in Tehran either late in the evening (Sep 3) very early in the morning (Sep 4). 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 and assist with the transfer to your hotel, about an hour away. 

Due to the flight arrival times, we highly recommend you add an extra day in Tehran. It is possible to explore Tehran on your own if you do arrive early. 

Meals
None
Lodging
Espinas Hotel (or similar)

Day 2: tehran museums

Ancient pottery at the Glass & Ceramics Museum in TehranAncient pottery at the Glass & Ceramics Museum in Tehran

After a leisure breakfast, you'll have a chance to rest up before beginning sightseeing later in the morning (around 10 am). 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.E. 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, and 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 (Persian carpets are not sold at the museum).

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Espinas Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: drive to hamadan

Group in front of Shrine of Shahzadeh in QazvinGroup in front of Shrine of Shahzadeh in Qazvin

Drive to Hamadan (250 mi/5 hrs driving) via Qazvin, where you will stop to visit the holy shrine of Shahzadeh Hussain, son of the 8th Shiite Imam, dating from early Safavid period. Continue to Hamadan, the capital of the Median Empire in the 7th century B.C.E., and the summer capital of the Achaemenid kings in the 5th century B.C.E. Visits include Ganjnameh; the inscriptions by Darius I, and his son, Xerexes, carved on the rocks of the mountain; the Tomb of Esther & Mordecai, a major Jewish pilgrimage center; the 12th century Alavyan Tom Tower; and the tomb of Avicenna, Iran’s celebrated philosopher/scientist/physician, whose prescriptions are still used by Western and Iranian medical universities. Dinner and overnight in Hamadan.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Bu-Ali or Azadi Hotel (or similar)

Day 4: drive to kermanshah

Typical scene along the roadTypical scene along the road

Drive to Kermanshah (110 mi/3 hrs driving) via Kangavar, a small town dating back to 200 B.C.E., to visit the ruins of the Temple of Anahita, goddess of water and fertility. Continue to Bisutun, where you will see texts that helped decipher cuneiform script. The 400-foot-high inscription carved into the cliff side has been recently restored. On arrival in Kermanshah, visit the important Sassanian reliefs at Tagh-e-Bostan that depict royal hunting scenes and the investiture of the Sassanian kings. End the day at Parisian Hotel or similar for check-in, dinner, and overnight.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Parisian Hotel or similar

Day 5: drive to dezful and explore susa

Covering up at the Tomb of DanielCovering up at the Tomb of Daniel

Today's drive takes you to Dezful (210 mi/5.5 hrs driving) via Susa (also known as Shush), site of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating back to 5000 B.C. Both Daniel, of the lion's den fame, and Nehemiah lived in Susa during the Babylonian captivity and it is here where Esther became queen, married King Ahasueurus, and saved the Jews from genocide. You'll visit the Tomb of Daniel, a place of pilgrimage for both the Muslim and Jewish faiths and the Apadana Palace (Palace of Darius) which dates back to 521 B.C. The palace was badly damaged during the Iran-Iraq War, but some of the column bases still exist. Next to the Apadana Palace sits the Susa Castle, built by a French archaeologist in the late 1890's, designed similar to medieval castles in France. It too was heavily damaged by bombs, but has since been completely restored. Afterwards, transfer to the hotel in Dezful for dinner and overnight.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Tourist Inn or similar

Day 6: drive to ahwaz

Visit Chogha Zanbil zigguratVisit Chogha Zanbil ziggurat

After breakfast, continue on to Ahwaz (100 mi/3 hrs driving), withs stops along the way to visit Haft Tappeh (7 Mounds), Chogha-Zanbil, and Shushtar. Haft Tappeh (7 Mounds), is one of Iran's most significant archeological sites. The site contains written records on hundreds of inscribed tablets. There is also the possible foundations of a ziggurat, courtyards, and rooms to be seen. At the UNESCO World Heritage site of Choqha Zanbil, you'll see the largest ziggurat (pyramid) in Mesopotamia, consisting of five towers built inside of each other. The pyramid was built 3,300 years ago and contains the ruins of the sacred city of the Elamites. See the world's first alphabet inscription and evidence of water channels that brought water from 45 kms away. Time permitting, You will visit the impressive water channels of Shushtar, a UNESCO World Heritage site before arriving in Ahwaz for dinner and overnight.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Fajr Hotel or similar

Day 7: drive to shiraz via bishapur

Beautiful Persian womenBeautiful Persian women

Drive to Shiraz via Bishapur, the Sassanian city built by Shapur 1st (241-273 A.D.), the second Sassanian king. The building complex includes a central chamber, a large courtyard which had been covered with impressive mosaics, plus the remains of a temple dedicated to Anahita, the Goddess of Water and Fertility. Also see the Sassanian relief carvings at Tang-e-Chogan commemorating Shapur’s victories over the Romans and other adversaries. Dinner and overnight in Shiraz.

 

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

Day 8: exploring the "city of roses and nightingales"

Admire the beauty of the Pink Mosque in ShirazAdmire the beauty of the Pink Mosque in Shiraz

Explore Shiraz, known as the "City of Roses and Nightingales" for its famous gardens. Stop at the residential citadel of Karim Khan built in 1766 during the Zand Dynasty. The structure resembles a medieval fortress and was even used as a prison in the past; visit the stunning pink-tiled 19th century Mosque of Nasir-ol-Molk and see the extensive colored glass windows; explore the elegant Narenjestan Garden and House (Qavam House), a traditional, upper-class home built in the late 1880's during the Qajar period; and the Vakil Complex, which was once a Caravanserai (a roadside inn where caravans would stop along the trade routes), and includes the Vakil Mosque and the Bazaar of Shiraz. The Vakil Mosque was built in the mid 18th century during the Zandieh dynasty. After spending some time admiring the beautiful floral patterns of the mosque, you'll have some time to spend at the Vakil Bazaar (as time permits), which not only has local items for purchase including rugs, spices, handricrafts, art, etc. for sale, but you'll admire the beautiful courtyards, bathhouse, and pools.

This afternoon, visit a nomadic carpet workshop/gallery where you can choose to shop or just to learn more about Persian tribal rugs. Note: credit cards will be accepted here, but if you plan on purchasing a rug, we recommend you inform your credit card compnay you may be making a large purchase in Shiraz. Afterwards, if you like, you can head to the beauty salon for insight into the private lives of the women where scarves are not expected and low-cut, short-sleeve shirts are accepted. Services include, manicure, pedicure, or facial (these services are not included in the land cost and do not include tips.)

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

Day 9: ancient city of persepolis

Admire the impressive bas-reliefs at PersepolisAdmire the impressive bas-reliefs at Persepolis

Head 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 it's 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 incription 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 10: drive yazd via pasargadae & abarkuh

Tomb of Cyprus the GreatTomb of Cyprus the Great

Drive today through desert mountain terrain to Yazd. (275  mi/6 hrs driving). En route, visit Pasargadae, a site pre-dating Persepolis. View the simple but impressive tomb of Cyrus the Great, the Founder of the Persian Empire, and remains of his several palaces, all located in the vast plain of Dasht-e-Morghab. Continue on to Abarkuh, a charming desert town, to see the ancient ice house and possibly for a tea break under the shade of a supposedly 4,000-year-old Cyprus tree. On arrival in Yazd, check-in to your hotel by dinner.

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

Day 11: yazd exploration

Yazd's Fire TempleYazd's Fire Temple

Enjoy a full day sightseeing in Yazd, the hub of Iran’s fast-disappearing Zoroastrian community. You will visit one of the two abandoned Zoroastrian Towers of Silence (Dakhma), dating back to the 18th century, and the active Zoroastrian Fire Temple, the fire of which has been burning for approximately 1,500 years. View the immense Friday Mosque (1324 A.D.), with the highest portal and minarets in Iran. Also enjoy strolling past the many beautiful old houses in Yazd, among them the Dowlat-Abad Garden, with an 18th-century feudal hexagonal floor plan.

This evening, attend a performance of Zurkhaneh, a traditional work-out once used to train Persian warriors. It combines martial arts, calisthenics, and strength training, while the announcer drums and chants or prays. Return to your hotel for your overnight.

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

Day 12: drive to isfahan via na'in

Explore the Mosque of NainExplore the Mosque of Nain

Today is another driving day, through scenic countryside (200 mi/4 hrs driving).Your ultimate destination is Isfahan, but you will go via Na’in, a small desert town where you will visit the 10th-century Friday Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran. This unique mosque has no dome and the basement was used as a prayer chamber in the hot summers and cold winters. Also visit the Ethnological Museum/Pirnia House (closed on Monday), a perfect example of a desert house from the Safavid period. You may also have the opportunity to visit a cave weaver where special wool textiles are made from people who do their weaving in caves (sardab or aba bafi). These former Zoroastrian caves maintain about the same temperatures year round and have been workshops for around 700 years.  Depending on the season, a stop may also include a pomegranate and/or pistachio grove. Continue to Isfahan in time for dinner.

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

Day 13: isfahan exploration

Enjoy a stroll through the marketEnjoy a stroll through the market

Today is dedicated to exploring the many beautiful sites of Isfahan. This is a favorite location for shopping and a frequent destination for Iranian tourists, many of whom will enjoy chatting and having their pictures taken with you. This was the 17th-century capital of the Safavids, referred to as Nesf-e-Jahan (Half of the World) in Safavid sources. Visit the famous bridges of Shahrestan, Khajou, and Sio-se-pol. 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: isfahan tour

Stroll through the gardens of your hotelStroll through the gardens of your hotel

Enjoy another full day sightseeing in Isfahan, including 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. If you like, afterwards, return to the square for some final shopping at the bazaar or 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 15: return to tehran

Delicate patterns of the Taba-Tabai House dome in KashanDelicate patterns of the Taba-Tabai House dome in Kashan

Depart early for your drive back to Tehran, 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, and also including some of the best examples of “badgirs,” or wind-catchers. Continue the drive to Tehran for a final dinner and overnight at the airport hotel.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
IKA Novotel Hotel (or similar)

Day 16: depart tehran

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

Very early this morning, you will be assisted with the walk or hotel shuttle across the highway to the airport terminal for your departure flight. 

Meals
None
Lodging
None

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$5,625
The cost quoted is the Land Cost and is subject to change. This covers accommodations, transfers, activities, touring, guide services and meals as described. The quoted Land Cost will apply when group size falls in the specified range and when travel is on the indicated dates.
Single Supplement:
$1,075
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.

Need to Know

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- or 5-star
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:
8-12
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 …

Smiling Iranians await your arrival
Smiling Iranians await your arrival
Soak in the Mosque of Isfahan
Soak in the Mosque of Isfahan
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
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
Your guide, Mojie, is ready to answer all of your questions
Your guide, Mojie, is ready to answer all of your questions

A Women's Odyssey Through Persia

Ancient sites, cultural encounters, and the modern mystique of Iran

overview

Join this all-women's trip to Iran, accompanied a female Iranian guide, Mojie. Uncover the many layers of Iranian culture, mores, religion, and history as you attempt to understand the unique climate of the country. Explore colorful cities, exotic bazaars, ancient baths, and rich ruins. Marvel at ancient monuments and exquisitely tiled mosques. Stroll across plazas that remain much the same as they were in medieval times. Learn about ancient Persian poetry, art, architecture, science, and history – and how past achievements have shaped a modern world. Encounters along the way will enlighten your group's discussions of this enigmatic, must-explore destination.

Your guide, Mojie, ran our first all-female trip in April 2017. She has an amazing knowledge of the destinations, historical sites, and Persian Empires, as well as an obvious passion for the local cultures. She is eager for the next all-female group to arrive, and is ready to answer your questions about Iran and about what it's really like to be an Iranian woman.

 

 

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
View Map

overview

Join this all-women's trip to Iran, accompanied a female Iranian guide, Mojie. Uncover the many layers of Iranian culture, mores, religion, and history as you attempt to understand the unique climate of the country. Explore colorful cities, exotic bazaars, ancient baths, and rich ruins. Marvel at ancient monuments and exquisitely tiled mosques. Stroll across plazas that remain much the same as they were in medieval times. Learn about ancient Persian poetry, art, architecture, science, and history – and how past achievements have shaped a modern world. Encounters along the way will enlighten your group's discussions of this enigmatic, must-explore destination.

Your guide, Mojie, ran our first all-female trip in April 2017. She has an amazing knowledge of the destinations, historical sites, and Persian Empires, as well as an obvious passion for the local cultures. She is eager for the next all-female group to arrive, and is ready to answer your questions about Iran and about what it's really like to be an Iranian woman.

 

 

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

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

    The flights arrive in Tehran either late in the evening (Sep 3) very early in the morning (Sep 4). 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 and assist with the transfer to your hotel, about an hour away. 

    Due to the flight arrival times, we highly recommend you add an extra day in Tehran. It is possible to explore Tehran on your own if you do arrive early. 

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Espinas Hotel (or similar)
  • Day 2: tehran museums
    Ancient pottery at the Glass & Ceramics Museum in TehranAncient pottery at the Glass & Ceramics Museum in Tehran

    After a leisure breakfast, you'll have a chance to rest up before beginning sightseeing later in the morning (around 10 am). 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.E. 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, and 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 (Persian carpets are not sold at the museum).

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Espinas Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: drive to hamadan
    Group in front of Shrine of Shahzadeh in QazvinGroup in front of Shrine of Shahzadeh in Qazvin

    Drive to Hamadan (250 mi/5 hrs driving) via Qazvin, where you will stop to visit the holy shrine of Shahzadeh Hussain, son of the 8th Shiite Imam, dating from early Safavid period. Continue to Hamadan, the capital of the Median Empire in the 7th century B.C.E., and the summer capital of the Achaemenid kings in the 5th century B.C.E. Visits include Ganjnameh; the inscriptions by Darius I, and his son, Xerexes, carved on the rocks of the mountain; the Tomb of Esther & Mordecai, a major Jewish pilgrimage center; the 12th century Alavyan Tom Tower; and the tomb of Avicenna, Iran’s celebrated philosopher/scientist/physician, whose prescriptions are still used by Western and Iranian medical universities. Dinner and overnight in Hamadan.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Bu-Ali or Azadi Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: drive to kermanshah
    Typical scene along the roadTypical scene along the road

    Drive to Kermanshah (110 mi/3 hrs driving) via Kangavar, a small town dating back to 200 B.C.E., to visit the ruins of the Temple of Anahita, goddess of water and fertility. Continue to Bisutun, where you will see texts that helped decipher cuneiform script. The 400-foot-high inscription carved into the cliff side has been recently restored. On arrival in Kermanshah, visit the important Sassanian reliefs at Tagh-e-Bostan that depict royal hunting scenes and the investiture of the Sassanian kings. End the day at Parisian Hotel or similar for check-in, dinner, and overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Parisian Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: drive to dezful and explore susa
    Covering up at the Tomb of DanielCovering up at the Tomb of Daniel

    Today's drive takes you to Dezful (210 mi/5.5 hrs driving) via Susa (also known as Shush), site of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, dating back to 5000 B.C. Both Daniel, of the lion's den fame, and Nehemiah lived in Susa during the Babylonian captivity and it is here where Esther became queen, married King Ahasueurus, and saved the Jews from genocide. You'll visit the Tomb of Daniel, a place of pilgrimage for both the Muslim and Jewish faiths and the Apadana Palace (Palace of Darius) which dates back to 521 B.C. The palace was badly damaged during the Iran-Iraq War, but some of the column bases still exist. Next to the Apadana Palace sits the Susa Castle, built by a French archaeologist in the late 1890's, designed similar to medieval castles in France. It too was heavily damaged by bombs, but has since been completely restored. Afterwards, transfer to the hotel in Dezful for dinner and overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Tourist Inn or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: drive to ahwaz
    Visit Chogha Zanbil zigguratVisit Chogha Zanbil ziggurat

    After breakfast, continue on to Ahwaz (100 mi/3 hrs driving), withs stops along the way to visit Haft Tappeh (7 Mounds), Chogha-Zanbil, and Shushtar. Haft Tappeh (7 Mounds), is one of Iran's most significant archeological sites. The site contains written records on hundreds of inscribed tablets. There is also the possible foundations of a ziggurat, courtyards, and rooms to be seen. At the UNESCO World Heritage site of Choqha Zanbil, you'll see the largest ziggurat (pyramid) in Mesopotamia, consisting of five towers built inside of each other. The pyramid was built 3,300 years ago and contains the ruins of the sacred city of the Elamites. See the world's first alphabet inscription and evidence of water channels that brought water from 45 kms away. Time permitting, You will visit the impressive water channels of Shushtar, a UNESCO World Heritage site before arriving in Ahwaz for dinner and overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Fajr Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: drive to shiraz via bishapur
    Beautiful Persian womenBeautiful Persian women

    Drive to Shiraz via Bishapur, the Sassanian city built by Shapur 1st (241-273 A.D.), the second Sassanian king. The building complex includes a central chamber, a large courtyard which had been covered with impressive mosaics, plus the remains of a temple dedicated to Anahita, the Goddess of Water and Fertility. Also see the Sassanian relief carvings at Tang-e-Chogan commemorating Shapur’s victories over the Romans and other adversaries. Dinner and overnight in Shiraz.

     

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Homa or Pars Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: exploring the "city of roses and nightingales"
    Admire the beauty of the Pink Mosque in ShirazAdmire the beauty of the Pink Mosque in Shiraz

    Explore Shiraz, known as the "City of Roses and Nightingales" for its famous gardens. Stop at the residential citadel of Karim Khan built in 1766 during the Zand Dynasty. The structure resembles a medieval fortress and was even used as a prison in the past; visit the stunning pink-tiled 19th century Mosque of Nasir-ol-Molk and see the extensive colored glass windows; explore the elegant Narenjestan Garden and House (Qavam House), a traditional, upper-class home built in the late 1880's during the Qajar period; and the Vakil Complex, which was once a Caravanserai (a roadside inn where caravans would stop along the trade routes), and includes the Vakil Mosque and the Bazaar of Shiraz. The Vakil Mosque was built in the mid 18th century during the Zandieh dynasty. After spending some time admiring the beautiful floral patterns of the mosque, you'll have some time to spend at the Vakil Bazaar (as time permits), which not only has local items for purchase including rugs, spices, handricrafts, art, etc. for sale, but you'll admire the beautiful courtyards, bathhouse, and pools.

    This afternoon, visit a nomadic carpet workshop/gallery where you can choose to shop or just to learn more about Persian tribal rugs. Note: credit cards will be accepted here, but if you plan on purchasing a rug, we recommend you inform your credit card compnay you may be making a large purchase in Shiraz. Afterwards, if you like, you can head to the beauty salon for insight into the private lives of the women where scarves are not expected and low-cut, short-sleeve shirts are accepted. Services include, manicure, pedicure, or facial (these services are not included in the land cost and do not include tips.)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Homa or Pars Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: ancient city of persepolis
    Admire the impressive bas-reliefs at PersepolisAdmire the impressive bas-reliefs at Persepolis

    Head 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 it's 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 incription 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 10: drive yazd via pasargadae & abarkuh
    Tomb of Cyprus the GreatTomb of Cyprus the Great

    Drive today through desert mountain terrain to Yazd. (275  mi/6 hrs driving). En route, visit Pasargadae, a site pre-dating Persepolis. View the simple but impressive tomb of Cyrus the Great, the Founder of the Persian Empire, and remains of his several palaces, all located in the vast plain of Dasht-e-Morghab. Continue on to Abarkuh, a charming desert town, to see the ancient ice house and possibly for a tea break under the shade of a supposedly 4,000-year-old Cyprus tree. On arrival in Yazd, check-in to your hotel by dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Moshir Garden or Safaieh Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: yazd exploration
    Yazd's Fire TempleYazd's Fire Temple

    Enjoy a full day sightseeing in Yazd, the hub of Iran’s fast-disappearing Zoroastrian community. You will visit one of the two abandoned Zoroastrian Towers of Silence (Dakhma), dating back to the 18th century, and the active Zoroastrian Fire Temple, the fire of which has been burning for approximately 1,500 years. View the immense Friday Mosque (1324 A.D.), with the highest portal and minarets in Iran. Also enjoy strolling past the many beautiful old houses in Yazd, among them the Dowlat-Abad Garden, with an 18th-century feudal hexagonal floor plan.

    This evening, attend a performance of Zurkhaneh, a traditional work-out once used to train Persian warriors. It combines martial arts, calisthenics, and strength training, while the announcer drums and chants or prays. Return to your hotel for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Moshir Garden or Safaieh Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: drive to isfahan via na'in
    Explore the Mosque of NainExplore the Mosque of Nain

    Today is another driving day, through scenic countryside (200 mi/4 hrs driving).Your ultimate destination is Isfahan, but you will go via Na’in, a small desert town where you will visit the 10th-century Friday Mosque, one of the oldest in Iran. This unique mosque has no dome and the basement was used as a prayer chamber in the hot summers and cold winters. Also visit the Ethnological Museum/Pirnia House (closed on Monday), a perfect example of a desert house from the Safavid period. You may also have the opportunity to visit a cave weaver where special wool textiles are made from people who do their weaving in caves (sardab or aba bafi). These former Zoroastrian caves maintain about the same temperatures year round and have been workshops for around 700 years.  Depending on the season, a stop may also include a pomegranate and/or pistachio grove. Continue to Isfahan in time for dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Abbasi or Kowsar Hotels (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: isfahan exploration
    Enjoy a stroll through the marketEnjoy a stroll through the market

    Today is dedicated to exploring the many beautiful sites of Isfahan. This is a favorite location for shopping and a frequent destination for Iranian tourists, many of whom will enjoy chatting and having their pictures taken with you. This was the 17th-century capital of the Safavids, referred to as Nesf-e-Jahan (Half of the World) in Safavid sources. Visit the famous bridges of Shahrestan, Khajou, and Sio-se-pol. 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: isfahan tour
    Stroll through the gardens of your hotelStroll through the gardens of your hotel

    Enjoy another full day sightseeing in Isfahan, including 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. If you like, afterwards, return to the square for some final shopping at the bazaar or 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 15: return to tehran
    Delicate patterns of the Taba-Tabai House dome in KashanDelicate patterns of the Taba-Tabai House dome in Kashan

    Depart early for your drive back to Tehran, 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, and also including some of the best examples of “badgirs,” or wind-catchers. Continue the drive to Tehran for a final dinner and overnight at the airport hotel.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    IKA Novotel Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 16: depart tehran
    Say good-bye to the people of IranSay good-bye to the people of Iran

    Very early this morning, you will be assisted with the walk or hotel shuttle across the highway to the airport terminal for your departure flight. 

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$5,625
The cost quoted is the Land Cost and is subject to change. This covers accommodations, transfers, activities, touring, guide services and meals as described. The quoted Land Cost will apply when group size falls in the specified range and when travel is on the indicated dates.
Single Supplement:
$1,075
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.

Need to Know

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- or 5-star
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:
8-12
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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