Tailor-Made Holiday

Highlights of Iran

13 days

from £2,935pp (excluding flights)

This holiday to Iran offers a wonderful introduction to this fascinating destination.

  • Experience the romantic city of Shiraz, famous for poetry, literature and exquisite gardens
  • Lose yourself in the ancient site of Persepolis a UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Explore Yazd where labyrinthine bazaars and mud brick streets remain unchanged
  • Discover the city of Isfahan home to beautiful Islamic architecture

Your journey begins in the capital city of Tehran before flying south to explore the beautiful city of Shiraz with the botanical gardens of Bagh-e Eram and the UNESCO world Heritage site of Persepolis. Continue onto the oasis town of Yazd and the sacred ancient Zoroastrian burial sites, the Towers of Silence.

Spend 2 days in the city of Isfahan with its wealth of stunning sites including 3 of the finest religious buildings anywhere in the Islamic world. Isfahan is also a wonderful place to meet and interact with the locals who are incredibly proud of this city. Also home to the grand Imam Square, the world’s second largest public space and another of the countries UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 2935 £ 560
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Gratuities
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • International flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas


Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Tehran overnight

Day 2

Morning at Leisure

Visit the Golestan Palace
Built within the city's historic Safavid citadel, the Golestan Palace Complex was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times. The current structures were largely constructed under the Qajar Shahs, during the 19th century.

Set around carefully landscaped gardens, the buildings within the palace are beautifully decorated with colourful tile work and carved stone work. Fountains dot the gardens, lending to the tranquil atmosphere; at odds with busy Tehran.

One of the highlights of the complex is the Hall of Diamonds (Talar Almas), which contains intricate mirrored ceilings, decorative murals and striking paintings.

Only the nation's capital since the 18th century, beneath the cities rough façade lies Iran's biggest and most vibrant city; a place where contemporary culture thrives alongside conservative traditionalism. Packed with almost 20% of the country's population, Tehran is squashed up against the foothills of the Alborz Mountains, Iran's biggest mountain range. Despite its reputation as a modern, expanding city, Tehran is not bereft of sites.

Day 3

Visits include the Carpet & National Museums
Explore the city's Persian Carpet Museum, housing over 100 pieces from across Iran. These date back as far as the 17th century and showcase the different regional styles of each of Iran's provinces. Among the highlights is the unique 'Tree of Life with Kings and Notables' carpet.

Continue on to the National Museum, which showcases a collection of Persian artefacts. Housed in an attractive, French-designed building, this museum is packed with objects that reflect Iran's rich history. These include archaeological treasures from the ancient sites of Persepolis and Susa.

Visit to the Glass Museum
"Head to the beautifully housed Glass and Ceramics Museum, formerly the home of an aristocratic Persian family.
Inside, admire the impressive array of artifacts that fill the beautiful interior. Dating back to the second millennium BC, these are arranged in chronological order and encompass a number of different regions."

Day 4

Fly Tehran to Shiraz

Spend Half a Day at the Poet's Tombs and Bagh-i-Eram
Visit the tombs of Hafez and Sa'adi, two of Iran's most famous poets. Surrounded by carefully manicured gardens, the tombs are oases of tranquility in the busy city.

Of the two, Hafez's tomb is undoubtedly the more popular and grandiose, reflecting his position in Iranian folklore. Such is his status among Iranians that his writing is considered second only to that of the Qur'an.

Afterwards, continue to the Bagh-e Eram, a UNESCO-listed garden that was built during the Qajar period. Laid out around an attractive pool, the gardens are packed with tall Cyprus trees. Incredibly popular with young Shirazis, this is a great place for relaxing and people-watching.

Ravaged by earthquakes over the centuries, Shiraz's surviving treasures are relatively few, but its relaxed atmosphere remains. Briefly Iran's capital under the Zand dynasty, the city is still considered the country's capital of culture and is renowned for its poetry, wine and roses.

Bizarrely, whilst Shiraz wine is world-famous, the city itself - just like all of Iran - is free of alcohol. Following the Islamic Revolution, wine production was banned and vineyards were either converted to fruit production or destroyed.

Also used as a launch-pad for visits to the nearby site of Persepolis, its proximity to this fabled ruined city more than makes up for Shiraz's own depleted architectural heritage.

Day 5

Half Day City Tour of Shiraz
Begin at the Pars Museum, an elegant octagonal building that is located at the centre of the Zand-era Nazar Garden. Beautifully decorated, the museum contains a lavish 18th century reception room, as well as exquisite decorative plasterwork.
Afterwards, continue to the Vakil mosque and adjacent bazaar. Adorned with intricate azure tile work, the mosque's walls are mesmerizing.
Head into the bazaar and slowly explore the labyrinth of stalls, selling all manner of produce. Often frequented by Kashqai nomads, this is a boisterous and colourful place.

Day 6

Persepolis and surrounding sites
Persepolis today vies with Ephesus and Classical Greece in the importance of its remains. Founded by Darius 1 in 512 BC, it was once surrounded by walls 18 metres high and ruled over the largest empire the world had yet seen. Today it boasts impressive ruins of a cosmopolitan nature, including original palaces, carvings and massive bas-reliefs from the Sassanian period. The city was largely destroyed by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. Four kilometres away at Naghe-e Rostam the rock-cut tombs of the kings Xerxes 1 and Darius 1 and II are to be found above pictures of investitures and conquests.

Day 7

Drive from Shiraz to Yazd via Pasargadae

Leave Shiraz and travel to Cyrus the Great's capital of Pasargadae, which is approximately 90 minutes away.

Thought to have been built to commemorate King Cyrus's victory over the Medes, the city dates back to the sixth century BC. Visit the king's tomb and the remains of his private palace, all set amid a verdant plain scattered with wildflowers. Continue on to Yazd, which is another four and a half hours away.

Trapped between two of Iran's largest deserts, Yazd is an oasis town that is famous for its unique architecture. Generations of adaptation to the harsh desert environment have left Yazd with a distinctive architectural style.

Soaring minarets and hundreds of badgirs - specially designed wind towers - make up Yazd's iconic roof-scape. Such adaptation is a necessity for survival in the city; the nearby Dasht-e Lut was the hottest place on Earth for seven consecutive years during a 21st century scientific study.

The city is also renowned for its Zoroastrian community. Although now much-depleted after centuries of persecution, this religious minority still makes up 10% of the city's inhabitants.

Day 8

Yazd sightseeing
Yazd is an oasis town surrounded by mountains, its roofscape a plethora of blue domes, soaring minarets and hundreds of wind towers. The old town of Yazd is a labyrinth of secret passages, bazaars and mud brick streets, unchanged for centuries. It was, and still is, an important centre for Zoroastrinism. The shrine of Duvazdah Imam, (the 12 Imams) from the 11th century Seljuq period, the ’Towers of Silence’, pits where the bodies of the dead were left for the vultures and the Zoroastrian Fire Temple are all possible visits.

Day 9

Drive from Yazd to Isfahan via Meybod and Naein

Leave Yazd and travel to Meybod, approximately an hour's drive north.

Here, explore this picturesque mud-brick town that sits in an area of semi-desert. Meybod is particularly notable for its impressive Safavid ice house and caravanserai.

Continue on to the famous carpet-weaving town of Naein.

Also the geographical centre of Iran, Naein is primarily known for its production of outstanding carpets. Visit the town's pit-weavers, who make clothing for the town's clergy, as well as the early Islamic-era Jameh Mosque.

Afterwards, drive on to Isfahan.

Widely regarded as one of Iran's greatest treasures, Isfahan reminds the world of the glories of Persia. Regarded as one of the most beautiful Islamic cities in existence, its cultural and architectural zenith was reached in the 17th century, under Shah Abbas I.

Today, its many wonders remain and so too does its status as a cultural hub. Bisected by the Zayandeh River, Isfahan's green riverbanks are lively places, buzzing with culture. Joining the two sides, the iconic Khaju Bridge is at the heart of this energetic city.

Day 10

Visit to Armenian Quarter and the bazaar
Head to Isfahan's Armenian quarter, known as Jolfa, and visit some rare examples of Christian architecture.

Take in the 17th century Vank Cathedral with its modest exterior but lavish interior. Decorated with fine paintings and gilded carvings, the inside of the cathedral is beautifully preserved.

Afterwards, take a stroll across one of the city's elegant bridges and visit Isfahan's bazaar, a labrynth of tunnels containing all manner of goods

Day 11

Full Day of Sightseeing
Spend a day exploring Isfahan's wide range of Islamic architecture, largely built during the reign of Shah Abbas I.

Arguably the most stunning of Isfahan's sights is the vast Imam Square, the second-largest square on earth. Consisting of a huge ensemble of majestic buildings, this square is one of most impressive collections in the Islamic world.

Adjacent to the square are the Imam and Sheikh Lotfallah mosques, both breath-taking in their beauty. The former towers over the southern side of the square with its magnificent blue dome, whilst the latter exhibits exquisitely detailed and complex tile work.

Other highlights include the Ali Qapu Palace, Chehel Sotun Palace and the Jameh Mosque.

Day 12

Travel from Isfahan to Tehran via Kashan

Travel to Tehran visiting Kashan enroute. Kashan is an attractive oasis town which was in the past famous for its carpets, ceramic tiles and silk. Visit the Fin Garden famous not only for its beautiful design as a "natural garden" but also for a bath in the garden called "Fin Bath" in which the famous great Iranian Chancellor "Amir Kabir" was assassinated by the order of Nasser-al-din Shah of Qajar dynasty.

Also see Tabatabaee a large Merchant House with delightful wall paintings and elegant stained glass windows that includes other classic signatures of Traditional Persian residential architecture.

Continue onto Tehran.

Day 13

Fly Tehran to London

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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