Iran – north-western part – 14 days
The areas of the current north and western Iran are an extraordinary place where nations wandered for thousands of years and where kingdoms and empires rose and fell. It is difficult to name all of those historical events. Apart from the historic aspects, this exceptional part of Iran is also an exceptional geographical and natural mosaic.
We will start our journey from one of the hottest areas of the country. It is also the only extensive plain of Iran – the Khuzestan Province. We will end our journey in the mountainous and cool regions of the East Azerbaijan Province. We will see the humid and green forests in the Gilan and Ardebil Provinces, that are rather unlike the stereotypical image of Iran. We will visit many cities such as Hamadan, Kermanshah, Shushtar, whose origins date back to the first organised urban dwellings in the Middle East. We will also stop at absolutely enchanting rural villages such as Masuleh or Kandovan, and we will visit ruins of mountain fortresses: Rudkhan and Babak. The north-western part of Iran is also an extraordinary kaleidoscope of nations and religions, which we will try to get to know better during our tour.
Flights to Tehran usually take place in the afternoon and evening. After arrival, visa formalities and transfer to the hotel.
In the morning, flight to Ahvaz, the capital of the Khuzestan Province. If it is possible, in Ahvaz we will visit the community of Mandaeans – one of the most covert religious groups in the Middle East, whose origins date back to more than 2000 years ago. Then we will set off to Shushtar. There we will see a system of water mills built in the third century by Roman war prisoners. We will also visit one of the oldest preserved bridges in the world: Pol-e Shadorvan, also from the third century. In the afternoon, a visit to the ruins of the Selastel Castle and a walk around the local market. Dinner and night rest.
After breakfast, we will drive to the archaeological site of Chogha Zanbil with one of the best preserved ziggurates – stepped pyramidal monuments built when the Kingdom of Elamites existed in this area. We will also visit the nearby museum where the objects found during the archaeological works are displayed. Subsequently, we will set off to a small town with a very long and rich history – Susa. Susa (currently Shush) was the capital of the Elamite country and one of the capitals of ancient Persia. We will visit the place where, as a legend has it, Daniel the prophet was murdered, and the museum at the former location of the Apadana Castle. In the afternoon, return to Shushtar. For the sunset, we will go to the “Roof of Shushtar”, which is a hill from which we will admire the panorama of this town located on the Karun River. Dinner in one of local restaurants.
After breakfast, we will set off to Khorramabad, the capital of the Lorestan Province. The name of the province takes its origin from the Lurs, one of the numerous ethnic groups that inhabit Iran. After arrival, we will visit the spectacular citadel Falak-ol-Aflak, erected over 1800 years ago during the reign of the Sassanid dynasty. Depending on our time of arrival, we should also be able to visit the traditional house museum Akhoud Abu and a brick minaret. Dinner and night rest.
Early in the morning, we will start our journey into the mountainous regions of Lorestan, which are fairly densely covered with forests, at least for Iran. We will marvel at the natural beauty of the Bisheh Waterfall. Some relaxation before further journey to Borujerd where we will stop for lunch and visit the Jameh mosque (the oldest one in the west of Iran). Then we will continue our drive to Kermanshah. We will visit the oldest part of this city, which has been inhabited from ancient times by people representing many different nations and religions. We will visit the Jameh Shafei mosque from the 15th century, which was rebuilt in the 19th century in a rather unconventional style. We will see an active synagogue – Etehad – and Christian temples. In the evening, an optional walk around the local market. Dinner and night rest.
After breakfast, we will see what we have not been able to visit on the previous day in Kermanshah. While driving from the city to Hamadan, we will visit Taq-e Bustan with its monumental bas-reliefs from the Sassanid era. Then we will see the Behistun Inscription, carved into a cliff side, originating from the times of the reign of Darius the Great one of the most eminent rulers from the Achaemenid dynasty. Another site we will visit on our way to Hamadan will be the ruins of the temple devoted to the Iranian goddess Anahita, over 2200 years old, in the small town of Kangavar. In the evening, we will arrive in Hamadan. Dinner and night rest.
Whole-day sightseeing of the former capital of the country of Medes and Persians, whose old name is Ecbatana. One of the major highlights of Hamadan is an active synagogue with the purported tombs of Esther and Mordechai. It still remains one of the most important sites for Judaism believers. We will also visit the mausoleum with the tomb of the great Avicenna – the Persian scholar, philosopher and physician from the turn of the 10th and 11th century. There will be an option of visiting the largest water cave of the world called Ali Sadr, at about 75 km from Hamadan. Night rest in Hamadan.
After breakfast, we will set off to Kazvin. En route, we will stop at the picturesque Shah Darreh Waterfalls. After arrival in Kazvin, we will visit the Imamzadeh Hossein mausoleum with the tomb of the Imam Hossein’s son. and then we will see the Czehel Sotun Palace and the renovated market. Dinner and night rest in Kazvin.
After breakfast, we will leave Kazvin and head to the north-west, into the mountainous and very green – at least for Iran – areas, to visit the ruins of the Rudkhan fortress which was one of the ancient residences of the religious brotherhood of Ishmaelites. Their assassinations have been popularised but it is only part of the truth about this Muslim sect. We plan to visit the fortress and go for a short hike in its area. Subsequently, we will drive to the small village of Masuleh that has an extraordinary architecture. The roofs of houses located below are used as pavements and yards for those at the higher level. Dinner and night rest in Masuleh
After breakfast, the last walk around Masuleh, and then we will drive to Bandar Anzali, one of the harbours at the Caspian Sea. After arrival, we will set of for a motor boat cruise around the lagoon and on the Caspian Sea. We will also visit the local market where we will have an opportunity to taste the Caspian caviar. Relaxation at the beach, dinner and night rest in one of the hotels overlooking the sea.
After breakfast, the last chance to relax at the sea. Before noon, we will set off to Ardebil. After arrival we will have lunch and then we will visit the mausoleum of Sheikh Safi al-Din, the founder of the Safavid dynasty whose time of glory was the 16th and 17 centuries. It is during the reign of Safavids when Persia was transformed from mostly Sunni into a Shia country. In the afternoon, a drive to Sarein, a town famous for its numerous spa springs. Dinner and night rest in Sarein.
After an early breakfast, we will set off to Kaleybar. En route we will stop in Szahar Yeri, a location of the remains of temples and other structures dating back to more than 8000 years ago. Then we will arrive in a village of Kaleybar where we will change into off-road vehicles for a drive through the mountainous wilderness to the place where we will start our short hike to the ruins of the Babak Fort. The fort has a history of over 1500 years. The time of its glory was the 19th century. It is worth visiting its ruins because of a spectacular view of the surrounding area. In the afternoon, a drive to Tabriz where we will arrive late in the evening. Dinner and well-deserved rest in our hotel.
After breakfast, we will drive to the amazing village of Kandovan at 60 km from Tabriz. The village resembles Cappadocia in Turkey where houses have been carved in a soft volcanic rock called tuff. Return to Tabriz – we will visit the highlights of the city: the Blue Mosque from the 18th century, the Museum of Azerbaijan. In the evening, a visit to the Shah Goli Park, some last shopping at the market, and the farewell dinner.
After breakfast, depending on the departure time, transfer to the airport and flight to Tehran. The time left until the departure home from Iran can be used in several ways (any related costs are not included in the tour price).
- A drive to the northern regions of the city to visit the palace-park complex of the last rulers of Iran from the Pahlavi dynasty. We will see the Saad Abad complex. If time allows, we will take the cableway up to more than 4,000 metres above the see level, to one of the mountain peaks overlooking the capital. Then transfer to the airport and flight home from Iran.
- After arrival, there will be time for a shopping trip to the largest market in the Middle East. Lunch and transfer to the airport, flight home from Iran. B.
In the evening, those of you who will continue the journey to the south-east or to the classical tour of Iran, will have a meeting and dinner with new participants of the next tour.
- the length of the tour : 14 days in Islamic Republic of Iran;
- start of the trip: Teheran;
- end of the trip: Teheran;
- the highlights of this expedition We will start our journey from one of the hottest areas of the country. It is also the only extensive plain of Iran – the Khuzestan Province. We will end our journey in the mountainous and cool regions of the East Azerbaijan Province. We will see the humid and green forests in the Gilan and Ardebil Provinces, that are rather unlike the stereotypical image of Iran. We will visit many cities such as Hamadan, Kermanshah, Shushtar, whose origins date back to the first organised urban dwellings in the Middle East. We will also stop at absolutely enchanting rural villages such as Masuleh or Kandovan, and we will visit ruins of mountain fortresses: Rudkhan and Babak. The north-western part of Iran is also an extraordinary kaleidoscope of nations and religions, which we will try to get to know better during our tour.The travellers should be able to visit historic sites and towns on foot, which may take up to several hours. Accommodation is planned in hotels corresponding to the 3- and 4-star standard, and sometimes also in traditional houses transformed into cosy hotels. We will also stay in small family bed and breakfasts, especially in small towns and villages that we will visit during our journey. During the tour, we will travel by minibuses and passenger cars. The itinerary was designed to enable best possible viewing of the places that are the tourist attractions of Iran. Bear in mind that the Islamic Republic of Iran is mostly inhabited by Shia Muslims, but we will also meet other religious groups. This means the need to respect cultural differences and adhering to the appropriate dress code.Depending on the political situation, the length of the tour and the order of visited places may change. In a situation of a serious threat to travellers’ safety, the tour may be cancelled. We will keep you updated as to whether the expedition is possible.
- Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the planned end of the tour.
- Before departure, you must obtain a tourist visa. The visa can be obtained online https://e_visa.mfa.ir/en/ or in the diplomatic missions of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
- You should take with you for the trip a photocopy of your passport (the photo page) and an additional ID document.
- Before departure, we recommend a consultation with a family physician and a tropical medicine specialist.
- Malaria prophylaxis is recommended but an infection is low because of the climate, the trip dates and the itinerary of the planned tour.
- Vaccination against tetanus, diphtheria, viral hepatitis A and B and typhus is recommended.
- There is a risk of tuberculosis.
- We recommend visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries.
- During our expedition, we will drink only bottled water. You should avoid ice in your beverages and eating raw or undercooked foods.
- At the visited places, only private healthcare exists (a visit cost is approximately USD 50).
- Because of difficult travelling and accommodation conditions and particularities of the country, good general health and physical fitness are necessary.
- Please take with you the first-aid kit and the adequate supply of the medicines that you take regularly (if prescribed by a doctor); below are some of the first-aid kit essentials:
- high sun protection cream (recommended SPF 50)
- disinfectants, wound dressing materials
- analgesics and antipyretics
- anti-diarrhoeals, electrolytes and vitamins
- insect repellents – south-eastern Iran
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a relatively stable and well organised country.
For the time being, it is possible and relatively safe to travel to Iran along the itinerary we propose. The risk of an armed conflict or a terrorist attack is low. We design our itineraries so as to avoid places that are potentially most dangerous (border region with Afghanistan and Pakistan).
There may be some risk of pickpocketing or electronic equipment thefts, especially at places packed with tourists or crowded (market places).
You should avoid unpopulated places, especially after dark. You should use common sense, not flaunt expensive jewellery, valuable watches or photo cameras, and carry money and passport concealed under your clothing. The places we will visit are rather safe but nevertheless you should remain on guard.
While travelling to the north-western regions of Iran, you should remain vigilant while hiking to vantage points and mountain fortresses.
Owing to the good relations we have with local contractors, we keep following the news to be aware of any potential threats and safety risks. We also recommend you to read the latest news on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
During the tour, please take seriously the instructions of our contractors, guides and tour leader.
It is very important to respect local customs and abide by local laws and regulations. You will receive the necessary information on an on-going-basis from your local guides and the tour leader.
It is prohibited to bring into the Islamic Republic of Iran alcohol and illicit drugs, pornography, pork and meat products containing pork as well as goods produced in Israel.
There is no legal possibility of drinking alcoholic beverages in the country.
It is strictly prohibited to take photos and make video recordings at military and police installations and at airports. You are also not allowed to take photos where people in military/police uniforms are present!!!
Photographing people is possible only when they expressly agree to it. Taking pictures when the subjects have not allowed it often ends up with escalating aggressive behaviours.
The official currency in the Islamic Republic of Iran is rial. Currency exchange is possible in towns and cities – at the airport, in banks, in authorised foreign exchange points and in hotels. In small towns and rural villages currency exchange is practically impossible. The best foreign exchange rate is for euros and US dollars. UK pounds are not generally exchangeable.
Because of the international economic sanctions, it is impossible to use payment card systems that are in general use all over the world.
It is possible to open a bank account with a payment card that is generally accepted throughout the country. Because of inflation and large face value of banknotes, it is a very safe and convenient solution. If you are interested, please contact the office when booking the tours to Iran.
For current foreign exchange rates see www.xe.com or install xe.com on your phone.
The language most commonly used in the Islamic Republic of Iran is the Persian language – Farsi. Many other languages are also used within the Iran area, for example Arabian, Azeri and numerous local languages. For self-guided tours, you must speak English or hire a local guide with a command of English.
The Islamic Republic of Iran is a theocratic country that is officially ruled by Islamic laws, with ethnic and religious diversity. It is very important to read the information about clothing. Women must wear headscarves at all public places, which includes hotels and restaurants. Headscarves must be put on the head before landing in Iran. It is prohibited to wear garments with short sleeves above the elbow or with low necklines, woman’s suits, short skirts and short dresses. Loose and long skirts or trousers and tunics are necessary. The tunic or manteau should come at least to mid-thigh. It is allowable to wear sandals and open shoes, both by women and men. When visiting some mosques and other places of worship, women may be asked to put on a chador that can be borrowed free-of-charge at the entrance to the building. You should bear in mind that there are considerable differences between the conservative province and very liberal large cities, in particular Tehran and Shiraz. Men are not allowed to wear shorts and T-shirts. During official encounters, women do not give their hand to a man, and men do not give their hand to a woman. This custom is still observed in the province but is increasingly abandoned in large towns. Discussions about political subjects should be avoided. Iranians are curious about the world and tourists and are ready to take up such conversations.
It is very important to respect local customs and abide by local laws. You will receive the relevant information from your local guide or the tour leader.
The proposed dates of the individual tours to Iran are proposed in periods of the best possible weather conditions at the sites included in the itineraries.
Classical Iran. The best time for expeditions to the middle part of Iran are periods from April to the end of June and from September to November. Temperatures range from +17°C to +30°C during the day and from +5°C to +17°C at night. Occasional rainfalls are possible. There may be some difficulties related to high dustiness of the air and strong sunlight.
For detailed information about the weather, see https://www.meteoblue.com/en.
Mobile network coverage is available in most towns and villages. It is possible to purchase a local SIM-card with an Internet package for a fair price. Wi-Fi is available at most hotels in cities and in some restaurants and cafeterias. Before the trip, please enquire with your mobile network operator whether they have a contract signed with operators in Iran and what the prices of call and SMS roaming are. To avoid a nasty surprise, we recommend disabling mobile data usage.
Power sockets of type C, E and F. Voltage 230 V, frequency 50 Hz.
Wi-Fi is available at most hotels and restaurants.
Additionally, we recommend taking a capacious power bank.
For climatic and cultural reasons, loose garments will be most appropriate: long trousers, long skirts, long-sleeved shirts, which can be easily washed and will quickly dry. The most comfortable footwear for the tour will be lightweight boots. Palladium brand boots are recommended. Wearing open sandals is possible. The following are worth taking:
- sachet for documents and money
- wet wipes for body cleaning and antibacterial gels
- hiking boots, they do not have to reach above the ankle (north-western Iran)
- sleeping bag – it may be useful for the trip to the north-western part of Iran
- raincoat, especially for the trip to the north-western part of Iran
- polar fleece jacket or warmer blouse which may prove useful at evening and night times
- head cover and sunglasses – mandatory, the sun is no joke!
- comfortable summer clothes, useful during practically the whole trip
- light T-shirts/shirts
- useful odds and ends: torch, Swiss Army knife, sewing kit (usually is not needed but is not heavy and does not take much place), chargers, mug (for special occasions); inflatable neck pillow, useful on the plane and during car rides; small wallet for the local currency; books to pass the time on flights and car rides
Price: £ 2490 p/p
Two domestic flight Shiraz – Teheran – Ahvaz and Tabriz – Tehran
During the tour, we will we will travel by passenger cars or minibuses, and also, if necessary, by off-road vehicles. Speed depends on the road surface conditions, terrain characteristics and number and length of stops.
We are not able to guarantee a uniform accommodation standard at each of the planned sites during the stay in Iran. Our priorities are your comfort, safety and appropriate location. We always place emphasis on the support of local community when selecting the sites for our accommodation. In general, rooms will be assigned on the assumption of two people sharing a twin room (rooms with individual bathrooms). The surcharges for single rooms are quoted in the “Price” section.
Two overnight stays in a hotel approximately corresponding to the 3-star and 4-star standard are planned during the tour.
In some towns, we will stay for the night in traditional Persian houses transformed into small hotels.
In small towns and rural villages our accommodation will be in family bed and breakfasts or small hostels.
Meals are included in the tour price, as specified in the itinerary. B – breakfast, L – lunch, D – dinner. Breakfasts will be provided at the hotel. We will go for lunches and dinners to local restaurants. The cuisine of Iran is very varied, similarly as the culture and history of this part of the Middle East. Depending on the itinerary, we may be able to sample the local cuisine of Baluchistan, the region of the Strait of Hormuz, or the Caspian regions of the Gilan Province, where we may taste fish and seafood delicacies.
For information about the local costs of living see https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/.
Local and special guides in national parks
All entrance fees and permits to visit national parks and reserves in the itinerary
Trip preparation, the invitation necessary to obtain a visa
Costs of the main flight to and from Teheran
Costs of flight tickets are not covered by the tour price. BTP Adventure does not directly arrange and buy tickets for international flights. However, we may suggest the best connections and airlines. For this purpose, contact us by e-mail or call us.
Insurance is not covered by the tour price. Having valid insurance is a condition for taking part in the trip. We recommend taking out insurance that will be appropriate for the planned itinerary and for your individual state of health and needs. Please send us the proof of your insurance contract.
You can purchase insurance on your own on the website of Axa or any other insurance company: https://www.axa.co.uk/travel-insurance/.
BTP Adventure may help you obtain adequate insurance cover. If you want our help, please contact us.
The price does not includes the cost of tips and porters’ fees.
Meals other than those listed in the final itinerary.
Personal expenses and souvenirs.
Surcharge for a single room: 300 £
Visit of Tehran on day 14
supplementary payment for the additional accommodation In the case of arrival or departure on a different date,
We will keep updating the detailed information on the safety and final itinerary of the tour. Before you decide to submit the booking form, please learn about the current political and sanitary situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran , especially at the places on the itinerary of our tour.
The planned expedition is an exclusive proposal prepared on the basis of our experience and knowledge of the local peculiarities and major sightseeing attractions of the Islamic Republic of Iran
We are committed to ensure the best possible and safe and, as far as feasible, comfortable travelling through this rarely visited and extremely interesting country which is the Islamic Republic of Iran
Depending on the political situation, the length of the tour and the order of visited places may change. In a situation of a serious threat to travellers’ safety, the tour may be cancelled. We will keep you updated as to whether the expedition is possible.
Iran – north-western part – 14 days trip to Islamic Republic of Iran you can extend the trip to Central part of Iran “Persian classic” 12 days or the southeast of Iran.
Trip to Iran can be combined with trips to Iraq, Pakistan and Kurdistan. If you are interested, please contact the office.
With any questions please contact BTP ADVENTURE
2490 £ Per Person
The expedition “Iran – Northwest – 14 days” can be extended to the central part of Iran – “Persian Classic 12 days” or the south-eastern part of Iran.
a trip to Iran can be combined with trips to Iraq, Pakistan and Kurdistan. If you are interested, please contact the office.