We recommend this 14-day tour package to those tourists who would like to see southern, central, and northern Iran in more depth. It starts from Shiraz and continues through Isfahan and Tehran. The next part of your trip will be dedicated to visiting north and northwest of Iran which includes, but not limited to, Anzali Lagoon, Dome of Soltaniyeh, and St. Stephen’s Church. At the end you take a glance at Masuleh Village before moving to Tehran for departure.
Visited Cities & Towns: Shiraz, Isfahan, Abyaneh, Kashan, Tehran, Qazvin, Zanjan, Kandovan, Tabriz, Ardabil, Anzali, Masuleh
Upon your arrival in Shiraz you’ll be transferred to the hotel for a rest. In the morning our tour begins with a visit to Nasir-ol-Mulk Mosque (also called the Pink Mosque because of its stained-glass windows); Narenjestan with interesting house-museum; Arg-e Karim Khan; Vakil Bazaar; and Vakil Mosque, famous for its huge prayer hall. Next, we visit the Tomb of one of the most renowned Iranian poets—Hafez. Then the tour ends by going to Ali Ibn Hamzeh Shrine (with mirror tiles covering the entire wall and domed roof) and Quran Gate.
We are going to drive to Isfahan visiting— on the way— the UNESCO World Heritage site Persepolis, the capital of the vast Achaemenid Persian Empire for centuries. We continue our trip by seeing Naqsh-e Rustam (a royal necropolis standing as an enduring memory of glorious ancient Persia) in which there are four tombs belonging to Achaemenid kings. Within an hour’s drive from Persepolis is another ancient capital, Pasargadae, home to the Tomb of Cyrus the Great. We’ll arrive in Isfahan during the evening.
Tour of Isfahan will begin with a visit to one of the largest squares in the world, Naqshe-Jahan (a UNESCO World Heritage site) which are located around the perimeter of the huge mosque of the Imam Mosque, the exquisite Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque built without minarets, and Ali Qapu Palace. After lunch, we’ll continue our tour of Isfahan by visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site Chehel Sotoun Palace and Garden (the best sample of Islamic Persian painting). In the evening, we’ll stroll through the old arched bridge Siosepol.
During the half day tour, we will visit the Vank Cathedral, the architecture of which is a mixture of the Safavid style (high arches) and an Islamic-style dome. Next, we see the Jameh Mosque (a microcosm of some of the best experiences that Persian culture and architecture have to offer representing the maturation of the Persian style mosque). The Mosque is viewed as a magnificent museum of Islamic periods in Iran because of its various types of architecture from 1,400 years ago to the most recent century.
In the morning, after breakfast, we move to Tehran. On the way, we’ll visit the 2000-year-old village of Abyaneh (with houses made of red clay, whose inhabitants still wear traditional costumes). After leaving Abyaneh, we are going to see— in Kashan— Borujerdis House, Ameri House, and Abbasi House (built in the traditional Persian style) and the UNESCO World Heritage site, Fin Garden. There will also be an opportunity to visit the excavations of 5000-year-old Sialk Tepe (which is not far from Kashan). We’ll arrive in Tehran in the evening.
Today our sightseeing tour of the capital of Iran will begin with a visit to the Tehran bazaar and continue with a visit to Golestan Palace and the National Museum, (the first science museum in Iran that holds exhibits showing objects going back to 8 thousand years ago). After lunch, we might have a chance to take a glance at Treasury of National Jewelry Museum (which houses the largest pink diamond in the world, the Peacock Throne, and much other eye-catching jewelry). In the evening, we’ll stroll through the two-level bridge, Tabiyat, connecting two large parks.
In the morning we’ll drive to Qazvin visiting Alamut Castle situated between Qazvin region and the Caspian Sea (approximately 100 km from present-day Tehran). It is a mountain structure based on a massive rock in an elevation of 2,100 meters above sea level in the heart of the Alborz Mountain. The legendary ruins of Alamut Castle possess historical importance going back to around 1090 A.D., when Hassan Sabbah, the charismatic leader of Ismailites in Iran, picked the Alamut area as his headquarters. We stay overnight in Qazvin.
Today we are going to drive from Qazvin to Zanjan (178 km) through Takhte Suleiman. The architecture of (the UNESCO World Heritage site) Takht-e Soleyman affected the development of religious designs in the Islamic period and turned into a noteworthy architectural reference for other societies in both the East and the West. We also visit the Dome of Soltaniyeh, (a remarkable accomplishment in the advancement of Persian architecture) characterized by its creative building structure, spatial proportions, and the decorative patterns.
In the morning, after breakfast, we drive to Tabriz visiting Kandovan village on the way. Located at the foothills of Mount Sahand on the northern slopes of a valley, the village is a living example of human adjustment to the exceptionally unusual natural environment with some 700-year-old carved houses. Once in Tabriz, we have enough time to see some elegant buildings, whose architecture has remained untouched since the reign of the Qajar dynasty. We end our short tour with a walk in the park of El Goli.
Our city tour of Tabriz includes visiting Timche Mozafari, one of the main places for the sale of Iranian carpets, and the last caravanserai— during our journey— in the Bazaar of Tabriz. As one of the largest interconnected markets, this UNESCO World Heritage Site was one of the main shopping centers of the Silk Road. Next, we have a glance at the Blue Mosque, Sa’at Tower (also known as Tabriz Municipality Palace) containing a museum with historical maps, photographs of Tabriz, the first city taxi and the old fire engines.
Today we go on an excursion along the Aras River, the natural border between Azerbaijan and Iran in the direction of the old St. Stephen’s Church (a UNESCO World Heritage site) located in a picturesque valley with natural streams. The antiquity of the church is due to its location on the old roads, including the Silk Road. Next, we visit the historical Kordasht public bathhouse, now converted into a museum and the Armenian monastery of Saint Thaddeus. We then back to Tabriz staying overnight in the city.
After breakfast we leave Tabriz to Ardabil to visit Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble, the founder of the Islamic Sufi-dervish order. The richly decorated facades and interiors of the mausoleum is a unique example of medieval Islamic architecture. After lunch, we’ll go on an excursion to Ardabil Bazaar (where you can see a small mysterious mosque and historic bridges). In the evening you’ll stroll along the Shorabil Lake whose surface is covered by a thin layer of minerals which are used to treat skin diseases and rheumatism.
In the morning we’ll start our trip to Anzali (a free trade zone harbor town near Rasht, the capital of Gilan province) on the scenic road Heyran among mists and spectacular views of the green mountains. After arrival, we take a look at the popular Shanbe-Bazar (Saturday Market). In the evening we will have the opportunity to observe various species of fish, birds, and plants in the world’s largest freshwater lagoon. It is a coastal lagoon, in the Caspian Sea close to the Port of Anzali known as a good place for bird watching.
After breakfast we drive to Gilan Rural Heritage Museum, which is a unique eco-museum showing the cultural and ethnic diversity of Gilan. The museum is in a small village, surrounded by a wooden fence, and includes a tea-house, children’s playground, the town hall, stables, and lake. On the way to Tehran we are going to visit Masuleh village, in which the roof of the lower house turns into the terrace for the higher tier. In the evening you’ll arrive in Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport for departure.