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Persepolis, Fars Province, Iran

Iran holidays

Expect the unexpected with Iran. The country and its people both bring equal measures of beauty, charm and warmth.

Iran is quite simply one of the most fascinating countries you can visit on holiday. Birthplace to one of the world’s great empires, Iran has been subsequently dominated and influenced by a host of cultures whose architectural remains lie scattered across the country.

We have been sending people to Iran continuously for over two decades on group tours and tailor-made holidays. Our experts have travelled there extensively and will be able to give you all the little-known knowledge you need to get the most out of your visit.

Bakery, Shushtar, Iran
Bakery in Iran

Why we love Iran

Over many years of organising Iran holidays, our experience is of a friendly, hospitable and cultured nation that will extend a warm welcome to you. It’s one of the many ironies of this complicated country that a nation with an international reputation for hostility should be inhabited by people of such generosity.

Golden Eagle Train, Iran
Golden Eagle Train in Iran
Spice market, Kerman, Iran
Spice market in Iran

What to expect on a holiday to Iran

The cuisine in Iran is delicious with freshly cooked food and plentiful fruit. Internal transportation will typically involve some longish journeys in 4×4 vehicles, with some internal flights. Hotel accommodation is best described as being adequate and functional; however, it is possible to travel through Iran in luxury on the Golden Eagle Train.

In today’s Iran, glossy shopping malls are de rigueur. The girls and boys who stroll contentedly along are worlds apart from general impressions of Iran. They are young, beautiful and fashionable – their hair coiffed and styled as if on a fashion shoot. This society is young and modern and so different from the images that look down from billboards of men dressed in robes and turbans.

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  • Tehran
  • Isfahan
  • Shiraz
  • Yazd
  • Persepolis


A selection of activities and experiences you could consider including in your holiday to Iran.


Visit Shiraz, the city of poets, and birthplace of Hafez and Sa’di.

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Isfahan’s central square is an architectural wonder, follow it with a stroll through the nearby sprawling bazaar.

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Visit the oasis town of Yazd renowned for its Zoroastrianism community and unique architecture.

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Persian Carpets

Explore the traditional centre of the carpet trade in Hamedan.

Tabriz Churches

Hidden away close to the Turkish border, visit the remote Armenian churches near Tabriz.

UNESCO Persepolis

Built by Darius the Great and then sacked by Alexander the Great, Persepolis is an impressive archaeological site.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Paul Craven

Paul is the Conde Nast Traveler chosen Specialist for Central Asia and the Silk Route.

Being from a family with Army connections I can from an early age remember travelling. From camping in Europe and then later being sent to boarding school when we lived in Germany at the age of eight, complete with shorts, long socks, a cap and my suitcase. In appearance not too dissimilar to the children evacuated to the countryside during the blitz. Later, my father’s postings took us to Nepal where we had to transit Delhi and Kathmandu where we were sometimes stranded for days and Hong Kong from where I travelled in 1983 through China for two months.

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Deborah Brock-Doyle

My first journey for Steppes was in 1999 when I set off to explore Thailand to gather those little details that constitute Steppes Travel’s trademark knowledge. I have since been lucky enough to travel extensively in Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East and India. A few special memories include being joined at dinner by an otter in Laos, proudly being shown an illicit picture of the Dalai Lama in Tibet and diving with manta rays on Christmas day in Indonesia. I’m pretty sure I always leave a country wishing I had done more, seen more, learned more ….. but I also always hope to return …

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  • 01285 601 784

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Everything worked really well, including Steppes rapidly sorting out a visa refusal. We had a wonderful trip assisted by pretty well perfect weather and one of the best guides I have ever had.


Frequently asked questions about Iran

Is Iran safe to travel around?

With a turbulent past, Iran is only now re-emerging as a tourist destination with its fascinating history, warm people and beautiful scenery. When it comes to the safety of tourists, the Iranian people are extremely friendly and will do their best to make foreigners feel safe and welcome. However, we advise leaving valuables at home, keeping an eye on personal belongings in crowded areas and avoiding unknown areas without your guide.

Is there a dress code to follow?

Due to Islam being the main religion in Iran, there is a strict dress code that should be followed and respected by visitors. Women must wear a headscarf at all times, along with a long top over trousers, ensuring arms are covered. They should also avoid wearing bright red. For men it is a little easier, as Western dress is favoured; however, shorts are forbidden.

What should I see when visiting the country?

Being such a vast country with such a rich history, it is no surprise that Iran has a wealth of things to do and see. Once part of the famous Silk Route, the cities of Yazd, Hamadan and Tehran still harbour undiscovered gems, and exploring the alleyways and bazaars will transport you back in time. The world heritage site Persepolis is one of the world’s most awe-inspiring ancient ruins and is a must-see that should be included on any itinerary.

Can I drink alcohol in Iran?

No. Alcohol is prohibited in Iran and anyone found with alcohol will be liable to the penalty for possession.

Can I use my credit card?

No, credit cards are not accepted, so you must bring enough cash for the duration of your trip.

Can I use my mobile phone in Iran?

Roaming agreements do not exist in Iran. If you want to use your mobile, then pre-paid sim cards may be available and can be topped up throughout your stay. Phones are available at most hotels and restaurants. Phoning from any hotel room can be very expensive, so we suggest you enquire at the reception beforehand.

What is the international dialling code for Iran?


What is the time zone in Iran?

Iran is 3 ½ hours ahead of GMT.

Is the food safe to eat?

Like any country when you travel, we always suggest eating at busy places which are popular with the locals and where the food is fresh. Avoid buffets and food which is not freshly prepared.

Can I drink alcohol in Iran?

No. Alcohol is prohibited in Iran and anyone found with alcohol will be liable to the penalty for possession.

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Why Choose Steppes?

These may be uncertain times but they are, without a doubt, still full of opportunity to discover the extraordinary safely. Through knowledge and expertise, we can connect you to those destinations embracing travellers with the added confidence of flexible booking and decades of insight.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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