• Duration

    15-day trip

  • Start

    Tehran, Iran

  • Finish

    Tehran, Iran

  • Group size

    Min 2, Max 12

  • Included meals

    Full board

  • Accommodation grade

    3-star and Traditional hotels

  • Transport

    Four-wheel drive, Van

  • Physical rating

    □□

  • Trip notes

    Printable trip note (Coming soon)

From Deep Deserts To Historical Cities

Explore Iran Nature & Culture in 15 Days

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS & ITINERARY

Exploring both the nature and culture of the central regions of Iran will take us all the way into a deep and pristine desert which has not been crossed by humans until a few years ago. We will experience why Rig-Jen desert was abandoned throughout the history. We will learn how people brought water and civilization into a remote village and named it Mesr Desert. Moving through the old and abandoned routes, we will visit other desert civilizations and will experience the microclimate. They lead us to our final destination of Yazd, the main civilization in the center of Iran.

Tour Highlights

  • Journey through a vast ocean of untouched nature in Rig-Jen and the Central Desert
  • Explore the beginnings of different desert civilizations
  • Visit beautiful villages with unique histories and stories
  • Visit the main cities of Iranian civilization (Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd & Kashan)
  • Travel with an experienced team who are committed to the maxims of eco-friendly tourism

Free Special Entertainments (Optional)

  • » Half a day experiencing the Nomadic life and staying alongside an Iranian nomad family that is likely to be one of the most memorable parts of your journey. Read more…
  • » Half day Persian hospitality tour to spend time with an Iranian family, learn and help to cook homemade foods and eat like Iranian people. Read more…
  • » One-day tour of Iran’s Northern railway and crossing the Alborz mountains on SURFIRAN's private train (Departure every Thursday 6:30 AM to 10:30 PM). Read more…
  • » Watch a Zurkhaneh performance.  Zurkhaneh is a form of traditional martial arts in Iran, where men practise callisthenics and other body-building exercises in a ring. In 2010 Pahlevani and Zoorkhaneh rituals inscribed on the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Read More…
  • » Visit an old system of water supply called QanatRead More…

Travel Itinerary

DAY 1: TEHRAN

After arriving at Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) in Tehran, our representative will meet and greet you; then, you will be transferred to the hotel to rest.

O/N Tehran

DAY 2: TEHRAN – KASHAN 2 H 42 MIN (244 KM)

Leaving Tehran behind, we’ll travel south to Kashan, a town originally famous for its textiles and ceramic production, but now better known for Fin Garden and its extensive bazaar and hamams.

Fin Garden (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) is our first stop; a relaxing and visually impressive Persian garden with water channels all passing through a central pavilion. There is also the chance to buy some rose water, a local specialty, outside of the site.

Then, you will visit Boroujerdi Traditional House. It was built about 130 years ago in reign of Qajar dynasty (1857) by Iranian famous architect Ustad Ali Maryam. The owner was Haj Seyed Hasan Natanzi, a well-known merchant who mostly dealt with people of Boroujerd city. That’s why the house is known as Boroujerd's House.

Afterwards, we will visit the bazaar area, a widespread complex filled with hamams and mosques; one hamam has been converted to a traditional teahouse where we will stop for those who need a break from shopping.

O/N Kashan

DAY 3: KASHAN – ABYANEH – ISFAHAN 3 H 32 MIN (269 KM)

Leaving Kashan behind, your first stop this morning will be in 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.

Your overland journey continues to 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 e jahan (Isfahan is half of the World).

Together with your expert guide, you will begin your exploration of the city by visiting some of the centuries-old, still elegant bridges that span Zayandeh River. The 14th-century Shahrestan Bridge, for example, evokes the greatest aqueducts of ancient Rome and is the oldest bridge in Iran. Other famous bridges on Zayandeh River are Sio-ce-pol and Khaju. There are sluice gates below the bridge to let the water runoff Zayandeh River in the spring, and there are beautiful stony archways above each gate. These archways provide a great acoustic place for every man who wants to sing. You can always find a man or a group of men singing under the bridge. The songs are usually about betrayal or unrequited love. You have the chance to chat with these men and listen to their songs.

O/N Isfahan

DAY 4: ISFAHAN

Continue your exploration in Isfahan at a 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 historical city. This is one of the oldest congregational mosques of the country, and its construction and embellishment over the past twelve centuries illustrate a number of important periods in Islamic architecture.

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. You will also visit Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, also known as the Ladies Mosque, as it was built for the Shah's harem, renowned for brightly colored domed ceiling, where the light creates the image of a peacock. 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 exploration of the square by visiting the Qeisarieh Bazaar. 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.

Next up is Chehel Sotun Palace. 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!

In the city’s Armenian quarter, you’ll delve more deeply into the region’s complex history as you will visit several churches including the 17th-century Vank Cathedral with its lavishly decorated interior and unique blend of Islamic and European architectural elements.

O/N Isfahan

DAY 5: ISFAHAN

You are free to spend the day at the city center, and the bazaar to shop.

O/N Isfahan

DAY 6: DUNES OF THE JENN DESERT

Today, the safari experts of RO Nature Adventure will pick you up from your hotel and for the next 4 days, they will show to you spectacular parts of the central desert with their equipped four-wheel drives. Our route to the desert will take us through different desert climates, from colorful mountains to the dunes of Rig-e Jenn Desert. We will go off-road to get on the dunes and explore this desert.

After that, we will drive to the place where we will stay overnight, in a desert village. We will show you the lifestyle of the villagers as well as the artists who moved to these villages to develop their art in a pure environment. Camping is also possible upon request.

O/N Camping/ Local house

DAY 7: OUR EGYPT

We continue our journey to the desert named Mesr, which means Egypt in Persian. A few hundred years ago, a cameleer came to this side of the desert to find his lost camel. When he saw the beauty of the place he said: “I will make my own Egypt here”. He started to dig a water channel for 5 km to bring water into the area and build a small village with the name of Mesr. This village was destroyed by a flood a few years ago.

The beautiful desert in this region is named after the village. We will pass through some small oases which still bear traces of old desert architecture. In the evening we will sit around the fire on the dunes until the sky is full of stars. At night, we will drive back to a village on the side of the central desert and stay in a beautiful local house and enjoy their hospitality.

O/N Camping/ Local house

DAY 8: MEETING THE LOCALS

Today, we will continue to explore the desert. As we cross it, we will see dunes, colorful mountains and canyons. In the evening, we will arrive in Garmeh. This village has the biggest palm gardens in the region and is the beautiful home of the pioneer of traditional local accommodation in Iran, Maziar Aledavood. We will stay at his Ateshooni House for the night and enjoy the live special music that you will not hear anywhere else in the world.

O/N Camping/ Local house

DAY 9: ON THE ROUTE TO CIVILIZATION

After a morning stroll through the palm gardens and the water cave in the village, we will head to our next desert destination, the ancient village of Kharanagh. It has fortress-like 4-story buildings which are at least 3000 years old. Upon request of our guests, we can visit the Zoroastrian temple of Chak-Chak before we bring our guests to their hotel in Yazd.

O/N Yazd

Day 10: YAZD

Yazd is one oldest continuously inhabited towns of Iran. Its silhouette punctuated by minarets and the ingeniously-designed wind towers that capture desert breezes to cool homes during the hot summer months. Yazd is also the center of Iran’s Zoroastrian community, which is where you’ll begin the day’s sightseeing.

At the Tower of Silence, you’ll learn about one of the traditions of this ancient pre-Islamic religion. Until the mid-1900s, the dead were transported to this tower where they were left to decompose and be devoured by birds. Zoroastrian tradition considers a deceased body to be “unclean” and this process of excarnation prevents contact with either fire or earth– both of which are considered to be sacred.

At the still-active Zoroastrian Fire Temple, you’ll see a flame that is said to have been burning for the past 1,500 years. It’s an important pilgrimage site for the faithful and here our expert guide will offer additional insight into one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions.

In Amir Chakhmaq Square, you’ll see a very impressive Hussainiya– a congregation hall for Shia commemoration ceremonies. With three tiers of recessed alcoves, all perfectly proportioned, its facade is one of the city’s most photographed landmarks.

The next place to visit is the Friday Mosque, built in 1324, where you can gaze upon the tallest minarets in the country.

Among the many other historic sites to be seen in Yazd are beautiful old homes and the Dowlat Abad Garden. Standing by the garden’s long reflecting pool, you’ll be shaded by ancient cypress trees. Ahead of you is an 18th-century hexagonal pavilion with a beautiful stained glass window and a graceful wind tower– the tallest in Iran. All around are flowering fruit trees and other ornamental plants and trees.

O/N Yazd

DAY 11: YAZD – SHIRAZ 5 H 17 MIN (449 KM)

Today, we have a full day of driving to reach our destination of Shiraz; 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 on our way to visit the Legendary City of Persepolis, the former capital of Darius the Great which was founded in 512 BC. There was no more impressive construction in the ancient world than Persepolis, except perhaps the Karnak in Egypt. Darius built the terrace, Apadana (great audience hall), Tachana (a palace), and the Monumental Staircases; 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.

Then, you will visit Pasargadae, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 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 Shiraz and check into the hotel.

O/N Shiraz

Day 12: SHIRAZ

After breakfast, you will visit Nasir-al-Mulk Mosque (Pink Mosque) which is few steps far from Vakil Bazaar. It was built at Mirza Hassan Ali Nasir-al Mulk’s command (one of the lords of the Qajar Dynasty); it took 12 years to complete it 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 the 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 has exploded into thousands of butterflies all around.

Continue your exploration in Shiraz at the beautiful orange-scented Narenjestan Garden, laid out in the 19th century during the Qajar Dynasty.

Then, you will visit Karim Khan Citadel. Built during the Zand Dynasty.

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.

O/N Shiraz

DAY 13: SHIRAZ – TEHRAN (FLIGHT) 1 H 20 MIN

After breakfast, we will continue our exploration of the city. Shiraz is famous for its gardens and we’ll visit Eram Garden with its aromatic myrtles, beautiful flowers, fruit trees, and towering cypresses (one of which is said to be 3,000 years old).

Then, we will visit the Shrine of Ali Ebne Hamzeh. Built in the 19th century over the tomb of Emir Ali, a nephew of Shah Cheragh who also died in Shiraz while en route to Khorasan to help Imam Reza, this shrine is the latest of several earlier incarnations destroyed by earthquakes.

You will end your visit on a tranquil note in the lovely garden-tomb of Sa’adi and garden-tomb of Hafez, two of our most outstanding poets to feel the taste of Persian Literature. Hafez is one of the great poets who has 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 alternative tourism. About seven centuries ago, he travelled to different countries and cities. Then, he collected all his experiences in verses and rhymed 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.

In the afternoon, you will fly back to the capital.

O/N Tehran

DAY 14: TEHRAN

This morning, we will take you to a World Heritage Site, the lavish Golestan Palace. Built during the Qajar Dynasty, that rose to power in the late 1700s, 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.

Then, we will walk around Tehran Bazaar, few steps far from Golestan Palace. Walking along the Bazaar route, we go to Timche Akbarian. Timche Akbarian dates back to Qajar era (almost 260 years old) when its main purpose was to exchange money. Later it was developed into the first bank of Iran and was 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 dishes. 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.

In the 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.

O/N Tehran

DAY 15: TEHRAN (DEPARTURE)

Our representative will transfer you to Imam Khomeini International Airport according to your flight time.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Arrival and departure airport transfers from/to Imam Khomeini (IKA) Airport
  • A domestic flight from Shiraz to Tehran
  • All nights accommodation in standard grade hotels
  • Land travel in Iran by an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Services of an Iranian tour guide throughout the tour
  • Meals: 15 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners.

WHAT’S EXCLUDED

  • International airfares, taxes, and surcharges
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry or phone calls
  • Visa costs
  • Visa authorization number fee
  • Tips to local guides and drivers
  • Entrance fees

SPEAK TO OUR EXPERTS

Sarah AzadmehrSARAH AZADMEHR
sarah@surfiran.com
+98 910 928 3853

MAHDI ESHRAGHI
m.eshraghi@surfiran.com
+98 912 147 4530

TAILOR-MADE TOUR

This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

DATES & PRICES

START DATEEND DATEDBL ROOM (P/P)SGL ROOM REQUEST
28 September 201812 October 20181790.00 EUR2100.00 EUR
06 October 201820 October 20181790.00 EUR2100.00 EUR
19 October 20182 November 20181790.00 EUR2100.00 EUR
30 November 201814 December 20181790.00 EUR2100.00 EUR

Price Information

Prices listed are on a per person basis, sharing accommodation (unless otherwise stated). Prices do not include international flights.

Most tours are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book as an individual, you will be roomed with someone of the same sex. However, on many tours we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room.

IMPORTANT NOTES

  1. An arrival transfer is included on this trip
  2. This trip starts at 9:00 in the morning on day 2
  3. On day 14, there is an included internal flight from Shiraz to Tehran.
  4. The maximum check-in baggage allowance is 17 kg per person plus hand luggage.
  5. Please note that deposits for this trip are refundable and transferable (we only deduct the bank transfer fee) as per our terms and conditions.
  6. A single supplement is available on this trip.

Accommodation

We use good quality hotels rated at the Iranian Local House and 3 star level on this tour. Local star ratings may vary slightly from international standards . Accommodation is based on double or twin en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will have a private double room. Single travellers may choose to pay a single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. Alternatively, they may choose to share a twin room with another traveller of the same sex. If there are no other single travellers available to pair up with at the time of your booking, then we will add the single supplement to the tour price, but will refund this or deduct it from your balance payment if we are able to pair you up later on.

Transport

In your trip we use private AC Van, Middle Bus or Bus throughout this tour, subject to the final size of the group.

Transfers

The tour includes a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers.

Dates & Prices

We run regular small-group departures on this tour. All departures are guaranteed to run if a minimum of 6 travellers is reached. If we do not reach this minimum number, we will offer you the option to either pay a supplement to do the tour exactly as planned, to change your date, to transfer to another tour, or we will provide you with a full refund. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and in our brochure. Please check the website for the most up-to-date prices and any special offers.

Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website. We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by making a bank transfer. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.

Passports and Visas

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller. For more information about how to get an Iranian visa please visit this page.

Joining Info

These tour joining details are provided on a provisional basis and may change prior to this tour departing. Any changes to these details will be updated on this page.

  • Joining Point: Watch this space as we announce the point soon.
  • Address: Tehran
  • Time and place: 09:00 am on day 2

ENQUIRE ABOUT THIS TOUR

CALL US

Prefer speaking to us over the phone? Our specialists would love to help you out!

+98 (21) 8884 3831

Or simply drop us an email at contact@surfiran.com

Opening Hours:
8:30am – 5.00pm Sunday to Thursday

  • WhatsApp 24/7

    +98 912 147 4530

Reviews

Just came back from Iran and I can say that I'm really enthusiast from people and visited places. A very big thank to SURFIRAN because of their help, organization and professional way to manage everything that we need. I do suggest to visit Iran and contact SURFIRAN. they can really help you and make your life easier!

Jacopo and RobertoVisited February 2017Read more

Everything was arranged very efficiently. Nothing went wrong. Our guide, Mostafa Farhadi, was remarkable. Not only was he a brilliant driver, but his knowledge of the culture, history and contemporary life of Iran was amazing. He also had superb contacts in all the places we visited.

StephenVisited November 2016Read more

We organized a 3 weeks tour in Iran through SURFIRAN. SURFIRAN is a very Professional travel agency who understands their customers needs and expectations. Our stay in Iran was just fabulous, the program built by SURFIRAN was great, we have seen many and many very interesting sites and locations.

Christiane RobichonVisited May 2016TripAdvisor

Most we enjoyed the landscape and wildlife we saw, it was just amazing and not comparable with nature we found in Germany and Europe, one of my greatest experiences! Second we enjoyed the kindness of you guys (Mehdi, Negin and her family, and the two houses we stayed) it was like meeting family and friends :)

Christian, Robin and TimVisited October 2016TripAdvisor

We visited Iran on October 2016 with SURFIRAN travel and tours company. Organization of round trip, hotel accommodation and flights were perfect. Our guide Mostafa was absolutely excellent, helpful, friendly and his information about Iran were very informative. Thanks a lot ! Will come back soon.

Johannes Visited October 2016TripAdvisor

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2 reviews for Explore Iran – From Deep Deserts To Historical Cities

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Stephen Barber

    Everything was arranged very efficiently. Nothing went wrong. Our guide, Mostafa Farhadi, was remarkable. Not only was he a brilliant driver, but his knowledge of the culture, history and contemporary life of Iran was amazing. He also had superb contacts in all the places we visited. He is clearly known and respected by many other guides, as well as by managers and owners of the hotels, restaurants and sites we visited. He managed to satisfy all our interests and to overcome every difficulty.
    Of course we were thrilled to experience the cultural treasures of this great country, but still the most treasured memories are of our encounters with Iranian people,
    Including some introductions that our friends had made beforehand.
    Thank you for arranging everything.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Donald Clary

    Our guide, Arya Atashsoda. He listened to my needs, got us into Qom, which was not on the itinerary, with the help of a mullah he knew. He personally handled money conversions each day, when needed, insuring that we did not get any possible counterfeit money. He selected good and affordable restaurants and meals. He knew when to visit each site, avoiding possible heavy traffic of visitors. He was so helpful in leading us to safely cross streets. He has extensive knowledge of Iran history, which he shared with us.

    Also we appreciated Sarah AZADMEHR, who picked us up at the end of the trip, took time to let us visit Milad tower, and then on to IKA airport. She was so friendly and helpful!

    And the exceptional friendliness of the Iranian people!

    I will write on Tripadvisor.

    I sometimes visit ThornTree forum at Lonely Planet. I recently wrote this, recommending Surfiran:

    https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/middle-east/iran?page=3
    Iranian Travel Agency?

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