Iran is going to host a myriad of tourists in the years ahead. Thanks to smartphones and a few handy apps, visiting Iran is easier than the past years. Iran startup ecosystem is experiencing a burst recently leading to launching several useful mobile applications that will immensely come in handy when tourists want to get around the cities. In this post, we share some of the most helpful local and international travel apps in Iran that make traveling to Iran and enjoying its rich history and culture easier. Most of these travel apps are available on all platforms including iOS and Android.
The Internet is one the most important traveler’s concern everywhere and particularly in Iran where even locals sometimes complain of weak services. Though it’s not ideal yet, accessing high-speed internet connection is quite easier than the past nowadays. Hotels usually provide internet connections in their rooms. 3G and 4G mobile internet are easily available using major mobile operators including IranCell and Hamrah-e Avval. You can provide a SIM Card and enough credit in the IKIA Airport upon arrival or from the private service providers everywhere in the cities. Don’t forget to ask them to help you with USSD codes and other necessary information.
Update (July 2018): Soe travelers are complaining about not being able to register as a foregner and the need to be registered by an Iranian citizen. We can’t verify it yet and we haven’t heard of a law about it, but we’re trying to help the traveleres to get SIM cards at very low rates in future. Stay tuned!
Read also: How to Stay Connected Even in Iran!
Keeping In Touch Apps
WhatsApp is a popular messenger in Iran. It’s used for sending instant messages and sharing photos with the groups of friends and families. If you’re a WhatsApp user, it’s the best way to stay in touch with all people related to your travel affairs inside Iran including the guide, accommodation, etc. before and during your visit. It’s also the best way to communicate with your friends and family every moment during your travel. WhatsApp uses the phone’s internet connection to send messages.
Telegram is the most popular messaging app in Iran thanks to its useful group chat features. Iranians use Telegram to make the groups with a large number of members. Businesses usually use a Telegram’s feature called channel to send daily useful information for their users. Small and large online stores even sell their products on this app. To use Telegram, you should have an internet connection on your phone. It could be another messaging app to communicate with locals and also your friend and family during your visit.
Update (April 2018): Telegram blocked in Iran since April 2018. (Reuters)But it’s still the number one messaging app with about 40 million users who use VPN to saty connected.
If you’re a Skype user, you can use it in Iran to get international calling and free online video and voice calls. It’s a great way to speak your friends and family about how amazing your trip is in Iran.
Google Translate is really recommended because of its voice-translate feature. Iranians speak Farsi (select Persian in Google Translate). Just open the app, select the voice-translate feature (mic icon), and ask the person to speak in the microphone, or vice versa, you can say your intention in the microphone and show the translation to the person. Unfortunately, its photo-translate feature is not available for the Persian language yet. The app is available for both Android and iOS users.
It will be a great help if you know few Farsi sentences for some essential situations like asking directions, finding nearest restaurant to eat Kebob or Dizi, or just helping you with numbers. There are two different apps with similar names to help users find appropriate Persian sentences in real-world situations. iOS users can use Learn Farsi app, and Android users can use Learn Persian (Farsi) or Learn Persian (Farsi) apps.
Android users have already known how great is this application to navigate every corner of the cities and iOS users definitely heard about it or may use it instead of their built-in iPhone app. The good news is that Google Map works fine in Iran as anywhere else in the world. So this great app can help you find your destination from a small hotel at the end of a cul-de-sac in Isfahan to a beautiful historic garden in Shiraz.
Foursquare is a handy application to find new cool places including good restaurants, cafés, galleries, etc. based on user recommendations in your area. Iranian users are among the most active users of this app. You can use this app to find the best places to enjoy delicious Iranian cuisines or drink a coffee and socialize a bit with the friendly locals. You can also use Swarm, a companion app to Foursquare and meet up with new local friends hanging out nearby.
As Tehran, Iran’s capital is famous for its daily traffic on the streets, the subway system is an absolute godsend to get around the city easier and faster. Tehran’s Subway System has four lines and more than 70 stations. It’s not as complicated as world’s major capitals, but it would be great if travelers access to a handy guide and easily find their way under the ground. Tehran Metro is a bilingual app that provides you such a guide. According to the app’s profile on Google Play, it helps users with station’s features and facilities, detecting adjacent centers and finding taxi and bus routes leading to each station, all offline and easy. The app is also available for iOS users.
Not many travel apps in Iran will be as useful as Snapp. It is the Uber clone is a ride-sharing application operates in Tehran, Iran’s capital city. You can register on the app using a Google account. After a simple verification, you can start to use the app by marking your current location and destination. The last version of the Snapp also has English and French interfaces. The app is available for both Android and iOS users.
Iran has a lot of picturesque landscapes and ancient sites, and you can’t probably wait to share your beautiful photos and videos with your friends and family. Fortunately, Instagram, the most popular photo-sharing application in the world has not filtered yet by the authorities and Iranians can still use it freely. So you can access your community on Instagram and share your adventures with them. You can also use Instagram to find must-see places in Iran before your trip by following the hashtags related to traveling to Iran. There are definitely lots of travelers that share their trip stories on Instagram.
Other Useful Travel Apps in Iran
I can bet that all of your devices memory drives will run out of space in the first few days of your visit to Iran. Especially if you’re a backpacker and your phone is the only electronic device you have. Iran is a vast and beautiful country with lots of picturesque sceneries. So you can always count on the Google Drive’s free 15-gigabyte space. The only thing you need is a Google account. You can log in to your drive and upload your photos and videos and free enough space for adventures ahead. Google Drive app is available for both Android and iOS users.
In case you travel to Iran in winter, late-March or late-October, there is always a little chance of getting rain or a steep decrease in temperature. You can use AccuWeather app to stay connected to the latest weather forecasts and prepare yourself for any change in weather conditions. The app works fine everywhere in Iran and is available for both Android and iOS developers.
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By Iman Barazandeh