WHY WE LOVE THIS?
+ Explore fabled capitals of ancient empires with our expert Trip Leader, well-spoken and experienced in sharing his native land with travelers.
+ Stroll in magnificent Persian gardens that trace their design principles to the days of Cyrus the Great.
+ Mingle with local residents and vendors in three colorful markets including the only bazaar in the world recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
+ Discover Pasargadae and Persepolis, cities of the Achaemenid Empire that rank among the world’s greatest sites of antiquity.
+ Get to know the warm Iranian people as you dine in fine local restaurants we’ve selected for their delicious Persian food and friendly ambience.
DAY 1: TEHRAN
After arriving in Tehran from Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) our professional tour guide will meet and greet you then you will be transferred to hotel for rest. In afternoon you will visit National Museum of Iran, where you can see fabulous historical items from 5000 BC to the advent of Islam in Iran which shows brief history of our Land.
Note: The priority in sightseeing may be changed due to the time of your arrival, preference of your guide and also official and unofficial holidays of some museums.
DAY 2: TEHRAN – SHIRAZ
This morning we take you a World Heritage Site, the lavish Golestan Palace. Built during the Qajar Dynasty that rose to power in the late 1700’s, this fabulous walled complex is centered on a landscaped garden with tranquil pools. Many of the elements you’ll admire today date to the 19th century when local Qajari architects and artisans were looking to integrate traditional Persian style with elements of Western and Russian origin. The palace buildings are among the oldest in modern Tehran and they are still regarded as a crowning achievement of the Qajar era.
Time permitting, we can walk around Tehran Bazaar, few steps far from Golestan Palace. Continue along the Bazaar route, we go to the Timche Akbarian. Timche Akbarian dates back to almost 260 years from the Qajar era when its main purpose was for exchange and gold. Later it was developed into the first bank of Iran ran mainly by Jews who were the prominent residents of Oudlajan neighborhood.
As of today, there’s no bank or money exchange but the place has been delicately restored into a Dizi Sara and tea house where tea comes in thin waist cups and along with sugar canes.
Dizi doubtlessly is one of the most delicious and traditional Iranian food. Eating it has a special custom. Dizi is a Mesopotamian stew usually made with lamb, chickpeas, white beans, onion, potatoes, tomatoes, turmeric and dried lime. Everything is mixed and cooked together.
At the Treasury of National Jewels inside the Central Bank of Tehran, you’ll be dazzled by a breathtaking collection of crown jewels, many of them gathered from around world during the Safavid Dynasty that ruled from 1502 to 1736. Also part of this glittering collection is the Naderi Throne; made of wood, covered in gold, and encrusted with more than 26,000 precious gemstones, some believe that this throne was inspired by the legendary Peacock Throne of Shah Jahan, the Mughal Emperor who built the Taj Mahal.
In the afternoon, we take you to the airport for your included flight to Shiraz.
DAY 3: SHIRAZ
After breakfast, will start your full day tour of Shiraz. At first, you will visit Eram Garden with its aromatic myrtles, beautiful flowers, fruit trees, and towering cypress (one of which is said to be 3,000 years old). You will also visit Karim Khan Citadel. Built during the Zand Dynasty.
Then you’ll have time to explore and shop in the bustling Vakil Bazaar, home to hundreds of stores, beautiful courtyards, and even an ancient caravanserai.
After that, you will visit Nasir-al-Mulk Mosque (Pink Mosque). It built by the order from one of the lords of the Qajar Dynasty, Mirza Hasan ‘Ali Nasir-al-Mulk, it took 12 years to complete in 1888. Its interior reveals a magnificent masterpiece of design with stunning colors. This is a space where light and worship intertwine. The mosque comes to life with the sunrise and colors dance throughout the day like whirling dervishes. It reflects on the ground, walls, the arches and the towering spires. It even reflects on the visitors as if a colorful ball is hit by the first sun ray and explodes to thousands of butterflies all around.
Next up is the beautiful orange-scented Narenjestan Garden, laid out in the 19th century during the Qajar Dynasty.
In evening, you’ll visit the lovely garden tomb of Sa’adi and tomb of Hafez, two of our most outstanding poets to feel the taste of Persian Literature. Hafez is one of great poets who impressed everyone with his mastery. His poems give us a special feeling and the peace in his tomb is really outstanding. Sa’adi is a poet, philosopher and mystic who is known as the father of an alternative tourist. About seven previous centuries he travelled to different countries and cities. Then he collected all his experiences in verse and Rhyme prose in two books named Boustan and Golestan. These two books give you Lots of inspiration and information. We will get a chance to pay homage to tombs of these great poets
DAY 4: SHIRAZ – ISFAHAN
We have a full day of driving today to reach our destination of Isfahan; it is a good idea to stock up on locally bought and easily found dates and pistachio nuts for the journey.
We will have some stop in our way to visit legendary city of Persepolis, former capital of Darius the Great and founded in 512 BC. There was no more impressive construction in the ancient world, except perhaps Karnak in Egypt,
Darius built the terrace, the Apadana (great audience hall), the Tachana (palace), the monumental staircases and his son, Xerxes, added the harem and the Hall of 100 Columns. Alexander the Great entered Persepolis in January 330 BC and then committed an uncharacteristic act of wanton destruction that still mystifies historians today, burning the mighty city to the ground. Though a shadow of its former self, the soaring pillars, terraces and sculptures of Persepolis still remain, but probably most impressive are the bas reliefs which line the site, telling the story of ancient governors and kings that came to Persepolis to pay tribute to the Persian Emperors.
From here we will drive a couple of miles to Naqsh-e-Rustam, the Necropolis where Darius and his successors are buried. Carved into the side of a cliff, the site is extraordinary in its magnitude and sheer ambition and does not disappoint even after the impressive Persepolis. Continue to Shiraz and check in to our hotel.
Then visit Pasargadae, UNESCO World Heritage Site, tomb of Cyrus the Great and former capital of the Achaemenid Empire. We will spend some time exploring the site and though not as striking as Persepolis, there is a great viewpoint where we can look over the site and the surrounding area.
Continue to Isfahan and check in to our hotel.
DAY 5: ISFAHAN
As the 17th-century capital of the Safavid Empire, Isfahan was one of the world’s greatest cities – architecturally striking, wealthy beyond imagine, and politically powerful with Europeans, Ottomans, Indians and Chinese coming to its court – the heart of a vast Persian Empire that stretched from the Euphrates River in present-day Iraq to the Oxus River in Afghanistan. Indeed, its grandeur inspired the rhyming proverb, Isfahan nesf-jahan (Isfahan is Half the World).
Today you’ll join our expert guide to begin your exploration of the city, starting with some of the centuries-old, still elegant bridges that span the Zayandeh River. The 14th-century Shahrestan Bridge, for example, evokes the greatest aqueducts of ancient Rome and is the oldest bridge in Iran. In the city’s Armenian quarter, you’ll delve more deeply into the region’s complex history as you visit several churches including the 17th-century Vank Cathedral with its lavishly decorated interior and unique blend of Islamic and European architectural elements.
Continue your exploration in Isfahan at another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Simple at first glance but wondrous in its rich detail and bold design, the Masjed-e Jamé is another masterpiece of Iranian architecture, covering nearly 5 acres in the heart of this historic city. This is one of the oldest congregational mosques in the country, and its construction and embellishment over the past twelve centuries illustrate a number of important periods in Islamic architecture. Next up is Chehel Sotun. Set in a landscaped and forested park in front of a tranquil reflecting pool, this graceful pavilion was built by Shah Abbas II for entertainment and court receptions. Entering through a portico with twenty slender wooden columns, you’ll discover soaring halls embellished with frescoes, paintings and mosaics; the Hall of Mirrors is especially breathtaking!
This afternoon, your exploration continues in Imam Square. This 17th-century site is one of the largest public spaces in the world. Here in the square, you’ll visit the 17th-century Shah Mosque, revered as a masterpiece of Islamic architecture and easily recognized by its magnificent tile-work and soaring cupola and minarets. In the Ali Qapu Palace, you’ll marvel at its beautiful music rooms and the balconies where Safavid kings would sit to enjoy the polo matches unfolding in the square below. You’ll end your day exploring the Qeisarieh Bazaar that surrounds Imam Square. With hundreds of local vendors that specialize in traditional arts and crafts, it’s a wonderful place to shop for pottery, enamel, jewelry and delicately inlaid board games.
DAY 6: ISFAHAN-KASHAN-TEHRAN
After breakfast drive to Kashan, on our way to Kashan, you will visit Abyaneh village. Abyaneh Village is known as the Red Village because of its red soil and houses. The houses of Abyaneh bear an ancient architectural style, featured by the use of clay as the construction material and latticed windows and wooden doors. After arriving in Kashan, you will visit Boroujerdi and Tabatabaei Traditional House and Fin Garden (A registered site in UNESCO world heritage). This very early Persian garden reflects ancient landscaping principles that trace their roots to the time of Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BCE.
This evening, leaving Kashan behind, we’ll travel to the capital.
DAY 7: TEHRAN (DEPARTURE)
Our tour guide will transfer you to Imam Khomeini International Airport according to your' flight time.
Note: We have a suggestion for your departure flight: You can find many flights from Shiraz International Airport to international destinations through most popular airlines so no need to go back to Tehran. You have more time to enjoy Shiraz.