Expert-Led Group Tour

Iran group tour - A Persian Journey

Explore Iran's flourishing culture and architecture

15 days

from £4,995pp
  • Explore the ruined ceremonial city of Persepolis, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
  • Experience the colourful romantic city of Shiraz, famous for its poetry, wine and roses.
  • Wander the vast Imam Square, one of Isfahan's many examples of stunning Persian architecture.

Rising to prominence under the Achaemenid dynasty, rulers of the largest pre-Roman empire, Iran's culture and architecture has flourished ever since.

Visit the mud-brick desert citadel of Rayen then continue on to Shiraz - the cultural capital of Iran - and take in the birthplace of the country's most famous poet, Hafez. From there, visit Yadz and discover a city designed around desert life. Explore the site of ancient Persepolis, built to celebrate the success of the mighty Persian Empire, before visiting the rock-cut tombs of the Achaemenid kings. Finally travel on to Isfahan - the beautiful creation of Shah Abbas - and marvel at the magnificent Imam Square, arguably one of the wonders of the Islamic world.

WHY SHOULD I JOIN THIS GROUP TOUR?

For the addition of the expertise of either Carolyn Perry, Antony Wynn or Kamin Mohammadi depending on which departure you choose, as well as the opportunity to travel with like-minded individuals.   

IS THIS GROUP TOUR SUITABLE FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS?

Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all of the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Lecturer.

If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.

If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.

WHAT IS THE ACCOMMODATION LIKE IN IRAN?

Iran hotel options are limited. In the large, main cities the standard is good; however, in the smaller towns and villages, hotels are basic. We do our best to use the best available in each place.

HOW FIT SHOULD I BE TO ENJOY THIS TOUR?

You do not need to be particularly fit to participate; there are no long walks involved, but there will be a certain number of stone steps and uneven surfaces.

WHAT IS THE FOOD LIKE IN IRAN?

Iranian cuisine includes a wide variety of foods ranging from chelow kabab (rice served with roasted meat: barg, koobideh, joojeh, shishleek, soltani, chenjeh), khoresh (stew that is served with white Iranian rice: ghormeh sabzi, gheimeh, fesenjan, and others), ash (a thick soup: for example ash-e anar).

WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE LIKE?

Not excessively hot, with clear, sunny days. However, when travelling in the mountainous areas the weather can vary. The best time to travel to Iran is generally during the months of April, May, June, September and October as it is neither too hot nor too cold.

 



Departing on:
  • 6th September 2018

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour LecturerStatus 
6th Sep 2018 20th Sep 2018 £ 4,995 £ 700 £ 950 Sylvie Franquet Available
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation (as indicated)
  • Accompanied by a local English Speaking guide whilst in Iran
  • Accompanied by a Tour Lecturer throughout
  • Full board - 12 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches and 12 Dinners (excluding drinks).
  • Gratuities for local guide, driver and porters
  • Internal Flight
  • Transportation (as indicated)

what is excluded

  • Drinks with meals
  • International flights
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa

TO ALLOW FLEXIBILITY, OUR GROUP TOURS DO NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS AS STANDARD. WE CAN ARRANGE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS ON YOUR BEHALF AND THE ABOVE IS AN INDICATION OF COST, BASED ON RETURN FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM LONDON. ALL INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Suggested group flights
The suggested group outbound flight for this tour is:

British Airways BA153, scheduled to depart London Heathrow at 21:10 on Wednesday 5th September, arriving into Tehran international airport at 06:25 on Thursday 6th September.

An arrival transfer will be provided to connect with this flight. You will be met at the arrivals hall by a member of our local team and transferred to the Espinas hotel in Tehran. Early check-in has been arranged.

For those making their own way to Tehran and not taking the suggested group flight, the starting point for the group is the Espinas hotel in Tehran. Please speak to one of our team should you need help organising an arrival transfer. You will meet with the rest of the group for a short briefing at the arrival hotel - meeting time to be confirmed in your final documentation.


Visit to Iran's National Museum (Archaeological and Islamic)
The National Museum 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 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.

The nation's capital since the 18th century, Tehran is 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 nestled up against the foothills of the Alborz Mountains, Iran's biggest mountain range.


Lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Espinas Hotel, full board

Day 2

Carpet Museum
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.


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."


Visit the Crown Jewels
"Housed within Iran's National Bank, the National Jewels Museum of Iran represents centuries of accumulated treasures. Beginning with Safavids, Iran's subsequent ruling dynasties alternatively plundered and added to this outstanding collection of jewellery.
Whilst the highlight of the jewels - the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond - was lost to the British and remains safely ensconced in the Tower of London, many stunning treasures remain. Among these the pink Darya-ye Nur diamond, the emerald-encrusted Globe of Jewels and the Peacock Throne are particular highlights."


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Espinas Hotel, full board

Day 3

Fly Tehran to Kerman


You will be met on arrival, where you will meet your local guide and driver for your tour of Kerman.


Half Day City Tour including the Friday Mosque
Visit the Masjed-e Jameh (Friday Mosque), built in the 14th century. This mosque is famous for its four large iwans - three-sided halls that open onto a courtyard - and its shimmering blue tiles.
Behind the mosque there is small spice bazaar and market. Once a caravanserai with a vaulted brick ceiling, the larger Regent Bazaar is one of Kerman's highlights. Housed within in the complex are two former bathhouses. One is now an elegant teahouse, whilst the other contains a museum showcasing the interior of a traditional bathhouse.

Trapped between the Lut Desert and the Saheb Al Zman Mountain, Kerman was founded in the third century AD by the Sassanid King, Ardashir I. A trading city with a long and turbulent history, Kerman was originally built as a defensive outpost.

By the time Marco Polo visited in the 13th century, the city was a thriving trade emporium, but an 18th century siege by Agha Mohammad Khan led to its almost total destruction.

Today, Kerman has recovered and is littered with beautiful examples of Persian architecture, whilst its trading spirit lives on in the city's lively bazaars.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Pars Hotel, full board

Day 4

Full Day Visit to Rayen and Mahan
Travel south to the small village of Rayen. Visit the medieval Rayen Citadel and climb to its ramparts for stunning views across the surrounding desert plains.

This deserted citadel is similar in structure to the famous Bam Citadel that was destroyed in a 2003 earthquake. Built over 1,000 years ago, the remarkably well-preserved mud brick walls of the castle are believed to have foundations that may date back even further, to pre-Sassanid times.

En route back to Kerman, stop at Mahan to visit the beautifully tiled 14th century Mausoleum of Shah Nematollah-e-Vali. Also explore the nearby Shahzadeh Garden, a 19th century Qajar-period complex.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Pars Hotel, full board

Day 5

Drive from Kerman to Shiraz


Leave Kerman and travel to Shiraz. The journey will take a full day and the route passes through the arid desert landscapes of southern Iran. On the way, stop at the town of Esteban for refreshments.


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.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Homa Hotel, full board

Day 6

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.


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.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Homa Hotel, full board

Day 7

Visit Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rustam
Head to the ancient ruined city of Persepolis, around 50 kilometres northeast of Shiraz. Founded by Darius I in the sixth century BC as the ceremonial capital of the vast Achaemenid Empire, this enormous complex encompassed a wide range of buildings.

Partly destroyed by Alexander the Great, the city was once surrounded by mighty 18-metre-high walls. Today the ruins include palaces, carvings and massive bas-reliefs from the Sassanian period. The incredible stonework utilised rocks from all over the Persian Empire.

Afterwards, continue to Naqsh-e Rustam, where you will find the rock-cut tombs of the Achaemenid Kings, Xerxes I and Darius I. Accompanying these tombs are impressive carvings all from the Sassanid period and depict the conquests and investitures of Sassanid Kings, including the famous victory of Shapur the First over the Roman Emperor Valerian.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Homa Hotel, full board

Day 8

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' 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.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Moshir Garden, full board

Day 9

Explore Old Yazd
Discover the old city of Yazd, which is one of the oldest towns still in existence. Built almost entirely from mud bricks, baked- brown buildings create a labyrinth of narrow alleyways. Above the roofs, badgirs - traditional wind towers - dominate the skyline, towering above almost every rooftop.
Visit a Zoroastrian fire temple, containing a flame that has supposedly been burning for 1,500 years, then continue to the imposing 15th century Jameh Mosque. Afterwards, head to the 18th century Bagh-i-Dolat pavilion and see the tallest badgir in Yazd, standing at 33 metres.


Visit to a Tower of Silence
Head out of Yazd and visit a Zoroastrian Tower of Silence, which lies just outside the city. A sacred place for Zoroastrians - who do not believe in burial - the Tower of Silence was used to dispose of the dead.

Traditionally, bodies would be left for the vultures to devour but the government has now put an end to this practice. The location remains deeply spiritual and its haunting past gives it a somewhat eerie feel.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Moshir Garden, full board

Day 10

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 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 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.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Abbasi Hotel, full board

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.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Abbasi Hotel, full board

Day 12

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


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Abbasi Hotel, full board

Day 13

Isfahan to Tehran
Drive to Tehran in the morning, breaking the journey in Kashan for sightseeing and lunch.

In Kashan visit the Fin Garden that is an historical Persian garden. It contains Kashan's Fin Bath, where Amir Kabir, the Qajarid chancellor, was murdered by an assassin sent by King Nasereddin Shah in 1852. 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.


breakfast, lunch and dinner included


You will be staying at Novotel Hotel, Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, full board

Day 14

Suggested group flights
British Airways BA152, scheduled to depart Tehran international airport at 08:10 on Wednesday 19th September, arriving into London Heathrow at 11:55 on the same day. A departure transfer will be provided to connect with this flight.

For those not taking the suggested group flight, please speak to one of our team should you need help organising a departure transfer.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Iran

Paul Craven, Travel Expert

" I spoke to five different companies, but Paul was by far the most knowledgeable and empathetic."

"The service which I received from your Travel Expert Paul Craven was excellent, he was able to answer any queries I put to him."

"Paul must be congratulated on his expertise and great patience in dealing with all my programme changes. He must dread my phone calls!! A big thank-you from both of us to Paul and Carol."

Read More

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

Tour Expert

Sylvie Franquet

Sylvie Franquet
Sylvie Franquet was born in Belgium. She studied Arabic and Islamic studies at Ghent University, and then at Cairo University. She has led many trips to the Middle East, and has written at length about the region in travel articles and guidebooks. Having travelled extensively in the Middle East, she then went to Iran, and fell totally under the spell of the country. In the last few years Iran became the focus of her travels, as no country defies preconceptions as much as Iran. She read obsessively about the country, its culture and history, and started learning Farsi. She lives in London with her husband, the writer Anthony Sattin, and their two sons.

Enquire about this Expert Led tour:
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Group Size:

Min 6 / Max 15

Tour Expert:

Sylvie Franquet

Departure Date (S):

  • 6th September 2018

  • Active – The tour may involve daily walks and will have a faster pace in certain areas. Walks will be no longer than 6 hours. The pace of this tour will be quite busy, expect long travel days and very little time at leisure.

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