early bird special: book and pay by 27 November 2018
Famed for the hospitality of its people, Iran is a wonderful destination for those wanting to experience the warmth of the Persian people. This nine day tour is a perfect way to experience the best of Persian history and culture.
- Visit site of one of the first great civilisations – the ancient city of Persepolis.
- Experience millennia old way of life in the town of Abyaneh
- Discover the architectural beauty of Isfahan
Day 1: Shiraz
Upon arrival at Shiraz International Airport you will be met by our local operator who will transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to unwind from your travels and to begin steeping in the rich culture and heritage of Iran.
Day 2: Shiraz – Persepolis – Shiraz (B)
Following breakfast at your hotel embark on a journey back through time to the ancient city of Persepolis. You will depart from Shiraz via the Quran gate. First built in the 9th Century it was Karim Khan Zand who built the room over the main arch where the Quran was kept. It was intended to protect the travellers passing through the arch blessing them with Islamic protection through the holy book.
45 km north of Shiraz you will stop at Persepolis - the outstanding ceremonial palace of the Achaemenians and one of the great cities of antiquity (550BC). This UNESCO heritage site was conquered by Alexander the Great who reputedly in a drunken stupor ordered his generals to sack and burn the city – only to wake up the next day furious that his army had followed his drunken orders!
Later visit the Necropolis where you will see four tombs of Achaemenian kings high in the cliffs of limestone before returning to your hotel in Shiraz.
Day 3: Shiraz – Pasargadae – Yazd (B)
Today you move on from Shiraz and drive through mountain scenery featuring Eagle Mountain to visit Pasargadae another UNESCO heritage and the earliest Achaemenian capital. It is here that the well-preserved tomb Cyrus the Great the man who freed the captive Jews from Babylon is maintained.
As you continue on to your hotel in Yazd you will pass through the dramatic Central Iran Mountain Range.
After arriving in Yazd you will visit the beautiful Amir Chakhmaq Tower – a stunning example of 15th century Persian architecture which looks even more exquisite after sunset when the orange illuminations inside each archway are lit.
Day 4: Yazd (B)
Today you experience the grandeur of Yazd the truly ancient city which Marco Polo wrote so fondly of. The city retains its other-worldly charm where every narrow alleyway unfolds like a secret museum passage. Highlights of today include the Fire Temple which is the Zoroastrian place of worship. This fascinating religion was the pre-Islamic national religion of Persia for a millennium and has been practiced since 2000 BC.
Silence Tower is next and serves as a pensive contrast to the later attractions you visit culminating with an unforgettable experience at the Yazd Bazaar.
Day 5: Yazd – Naeen – Isfahan (B)
This morning you will drive from Yazd through Naeen. 3000 years ago the Persians worked out how to draw water from the mountains to the plains via underground aqueducts and Naeen is a fascinating example of how this system is still in use today. In fact as recently as the 1960s 70% of Iran’s water was supplied through these ancient systems.
Onwards next to Isfahan where you will visit Naghshe Johan Square a huge open square in the centre of Isfahan which is listed as a UNESCO heritage site and depicted on the reverse of the Iranian 20000 rials banknote. The square periphery is marked by outstanding Safavid buildings which include the Ali Qapu palace the Imam Mosque the Sheikh Lotfollah (ladies) Mosque and to the north the expansive bazaar where you can see artisans crafting metal work Persian miniatures printing intricate designs on cloth and other activities.
Day 6: Isfahan (B)
Today you visit the stunning Vank Cathedral with its exquisite frescos and its adjacent museum. Later you will visit the Friday Mosque Shaking Minarets and Chehel Setoun Palace. The name Chehel Setoun means Forty Columns in Persian and was inspired by the twenty slender wooden columns supporting the entrance pavilion which when reflected in the waters of the fountain appear to be forty. The palace is ornately decorated with wall and ceiling paintings which are true masterpieces from Safavid times.
Day 7: Isfahan – Abyaneh – Kashan (B)
Your first stop on the drive from Isfahan is Abyaneh. This ancient and fascinating village with its ochre mud brick houses characterized by a peculiar reddish hue blends perfectly into the mountains in which it is nestled. The village is one of the oldest in Iran where little has changed for several centuries – including the colourfully dressed inhabitants.
Continue onwards to Kashan which some believe was where the biblical three wise men set out on their journey from. The city is famed for its high-quality pottery and tiles – indeed the Persian word for tile is Kashi and is taken from the name of the town.
Day 8: Kashan (B)
A full day in Kashan begins with a visit to Sialk Hills. This fascinating archaeological site has been dated to as far back as 6000BC. Next take in an ancient silk workshop before moving on to Tabatabaei House yet another stunning example of Persian architecture albeit from a slightly more modern time. Two more examples of sumptuous near-modern design are visited next; Boroujerdi House and Ameri house. The large number of palatial 19th century homes are a result of a series of devastating earthquakes which struck the city in the 18th century meaning many had to be rebuilt.
The day finishes with a visit to the bazaar before returning to your hotel.
Day 9: Kashan – Qom – Tehran (B)
Today depart Kashan for the capital city Tehran where depending on the time of your onward flight you will either be transferred directly to the airport or you will have time for one last soak in Iranian hospitality and culture at the National Museum and the carpet and jewellery museums before your flight.
- Authorization number for visa
- Accommodation (8 nights) with breakfast in DBL/TWIN occupancy.
- Daily bottled mineral water
- All Transfers in air conditioned vehicle
- All costs of local professional English speaking guide
- Meet & assist services in Airport (Arrival – Departure)
- All road permits taxes parking charges etc.
- All entrance fees (Mentioned in Itinerary)
- Visas ( unless specified)
- Travel insurance ( compulsory)
- Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
- Personal expenses
- Porterage ( unless small group and specified)
- Meals not specified or hotel / cruise minibar
- Optional sightseeing or activities
- International airfares
- Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
First Class accommodation based on the following or similar:
Shiraz (2 nights): Royal Hotel
Yazd (2 nights): Dad Hotel
Isfahan (2 nights): Piruzy Hotel
Kashan (2 nights): Negarestan Hotel
Deluxe Class accommodation based on the following or similar:
Shiraz (2 nights): Homa Hotel
Yazd (2 nights): Safaiyeh Hotel
Isfahan (2 nights): Abbasi Hotel
Kashan (2 nights): Negarestan Hotel
To obtain an Iranian Visa you need an authorisation number from the Iranian Government. This number is issued generally 15 days prior to travel It is based on an approved itinerary signed by clients and forwarded to our Iranian operator. To obtain the authorisation letter the booking must be paid in full. Once the Visa authority is provided it is a simple process at the Iranian Embassy in Wellington or upon arrival in Tehran. Please note that if you hold a passport with an Israeli stamp or exit stamp from a border neighbouring Israel you will be refused entry into Iran. This applies to New Zealand passport holders only.
The consumption and purchase of alcohol is prohibited in Iran. The penalty for tourist is deportation as a minimum.
During the Holy Month of Ramadan Muslims fast, abstaining from eating, drinking & smoking during daylight hours (approx. 7am-6.30pm). As a sign of respect, tourists should also try to refrain from these activities in public during the fasting hours. Some restaurants in hotels will be open, however be prepared by purchasing snacks in the evening as in regional areas no shops maybe open until sunset. In 2019, Ramadan should begin around 05 May. After 30 days, or on sighting the full moon, Eid Al Fitr is celebrated & most public and private institutions close for at least three days.
Modest dress is required for entrance to holy sites – Men: Long pants, Women – skirt or long pants and shoulders covered.
The markets (souqs) are closed on Fridays, Museums generally closed on Tuesdays. The normal operating hours for archaeological sites are; 01st of April till 30th September (summer time): Open at 09:00 and close at 18:00 01st of October till 31 March (winter time): Open at 09:00 and close at 16:00 During Ramadan month: Open at 09:00 am and close at 15:00 pm
Accommodation in Iran
Iran is developing it’s tourism infrastructure. The standard of accommodation varies according to location and in more remote areas the best available accommodation will be selected. Many properties are located in the historic quarters of cities and offer a very authentic and atmospheric experience, however the water pressure and pipes in some cases struggle with modern requirements. Please follow instructions provided by the hotels to maximise your experience in these cities.
Travel to other countries
Once you have travelled to Iran , if you intend to travel to the USA you will need to apply for an American visa in person as opposed to using the ESTA system.
Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable). All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.