Persian Gems, South to North

Use this trip plan to, one by one, go through the most popular attractions of Iran from bottom to top! Wake up in the ruins of Persepolis and find your way to the Zoroastrian culture of Yazd. As you move from city to city, have a look at the forgotten villages on the way. You can use our suggestions to find an economic or high-end place to eat in each city.

Trip Timeline

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First of all, you need to get an Iran tourist visa and a valid travel insurance in Iran. You can get them at embassies or on arrivial at the international airports. You also can apply for them in advance through here:
1
Shiraz 2 Nights
Shiraz, the city of love, poetry, wine, and art is Iran’s cultural hub. With such architectural wonders as the infamous pink Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, coupled with a relaxed pace and friendly people, this city is among the top favorites the tourists visiting. Shiraz’s mosques, countless historical houses, and gardens remain the country’s most mesmerizing attractions. Not far from the main city rests Persepolis, the ruins of a once-invincible Persian Empire. Head to the historical Vakil Bazaar with its vaulted brick ceiling, bustling with merchants selling spices, rugs, Persian sweets, and get in touch with the country’s rich literary history by visiting the Tomb of Saadi and the Tomb of Hafez, two of Iran’s most revered poets. Day 1: Start the day with a jump deep into the most beloved historic site of Iran. Persepolis was once a glorious palace belonging to the first Persian Empire, now but a representation of what was, yet still possessing its magnificence. For lunch, you would have tomake an hour’s drive back to the main city. There, Shater Abbas Restaurant has been a popular choice for most travelers. After lunch, continue this journey through time in Naqsh-e Rustam. Somewhat overshadowed by Persepolis, this necropolis is home to four sarcophagi with rock carvings of celestial figures protecting them. Day 2: Refresh you day with a visit to the picturesque, surprisingly pink-hued Nasir al-Mulk Mosque. After a visit to the tombs of Persian poetry’s most prominent figures (Hafez and Saadi,) head to Vakil Complex and its vibrant mosque, followed by a trip to Arg-e Karim Khan, the residence of many Zand rulers and the successive Qajar governors. It is a good idea to end this spectacular journey with a leisurely stroll through the charming Eram Garden.
2
Yazd 2 Nights
Nicknamed “the City of Windcatchers” in Persian, Yazd was listed by UNESCO as a world heritage in 2017. One finds bits and pieces of the Zoroastrian culture in every part of this ancient city. Ever since 470 AD the fire inside Atashkadeh (the Zoroastrian fire temple) has been burning bright. You may also enjoy a visit to the Tower of silence where the dead were sent to get purified. Check out the roof of the Amir Chakhmakh complex for an eye-catching view of the city, or enjoy the architecture of its mosque. While you are there, visit Yazd Water Museum or take a selfie at the many historical houses around. Day 3: Upon arrival, visit the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence where the dead were sent to decontaminate their bodies from demons and impurities. Continue your day at the 12th-century Jameh Mosque of Yazd built during the rule of the Al-e Bouyeh dynasty. Check out Hammam-e Khan Restaurant for a unique lunch, or head to Silk Road Hotel’s Restaurant for more budget-friendly options. After lunch, a visit to the 15th-century dome, Alexander's Prison, and the qanats (underground aqueducts) in Yazd Water Museum can complete your day. A final promenade in Dowlat Abad Garden is a ideal for refreshing your mind after a busy day. Day 4: En route to Isfahan you will cross two small cities; Maybod and Naein. While in Maybod, you can visit Meybod's Shah Abbasi Caravanserai, built in the 7th century during the Safavid era, and enjoy its unique architecture. The 200 years old Piegeon Tower of Meybod can also make for an interesting selfie spot. After having luch upon arrival in Naein (Takht-e Jamshid Restaurant would be a good option) pay a visit to Narenj Castle can take in the view of the vast city below you. While in Naein, walk over to its ancient Jameh Mosque, one of the oldest ones in the whole country.
3
Isfahan 2 Nights
Nicknamed “Half the World” by Iranians, Isfahan deserves its reputation as one of the top tourist attractions in the country. Its long tree-lined boulevards, squares surrounded by historical mosques and palaces, traditional schools, cathedrals, fire temples, and lively green gardens leave little for the heart to desire. If you want to experience different religions and spiritual practices, Isfahan is the spot for you! There you will also find other hallmarks of amazing architecture, such as Si-o-Seh Pol bridge, Imam Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan. Make sure not to miss the beautiful Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. The Seashell Museum and Isfahan’s Aquarium are among other popular pastimes enjoyed by many travelers. Day 5: Begin your days in Isfahan at Naqsh-e Jahan Square, guarded by the three giant monuments of the city; Abbasi Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and its splendid tile art, and Ali Qapu Palace Pavilion. Having taken in the surrounding immensity from the pavilion’s porch, you might want to move on to the Hasht Behesht Palace and its surrounding garden. End the day by enjoying the sunset from the famous 17th century Si-o-Se Pol Bridge. Sofrekhaneh Sonnati and Khayyam Restaurant are two popular options for lunch and dinner. Day 6: Start this day with a dive into the Armenian heritage through the Vank cathedral, enjoying its gorgeous frescoes, museums, and library. Continue the trip to the Jāmeh Mosque of Isfahān. Built in the 8th century, this masterpiece of architecture carries footprints of the passage of time through centuries, yet stands today the great central mosque of the city. Feel free to spend the rest of the day at leisure, relaxing in the hotel, strolling in the historical streets, or shopping for souvenirs at Isfahan’s Grand Bazaar. Qeysarriyeh Bazaar offers the perfect opportunity for enjoying the detailed handicrafts of the locals.
Private car from Isfahan to Abyaneh
4
Abyaneh 1 Night
Abyaneh is a village, made of red brick houses tiered on top of one another. The iconic red colors of the village make it impossible to miss. The village is perfect for photography especially during the snowy winter months. Since the locals have kept the same lifestyle, clothing, and traditions year after year, the village has a pleasant pre-Islamic vibe to it. While visiting, get your hands on some beautiful handmade souvenirs sold by the locals. Day 7: En route to Kashan, do not miss Iran’s red village, Abyaneh, where you can experience the authentic traditional Persian costumes before the Islamic conquest. Spend the rest of your day (and night) connecting with nature, star gazing, and reflecting in the vast desert in Matin Abad Eco- Resort & Organic Farm. Make sure to visit their various animals and try a camel ride while you are there.
Private car from Abyaneh to Kashan
5
Kashan 1 Night
A peaceful bubble, contrasting the surrounding desert, Kashan is regrettably overlooked by many tourists. The original inhabitants of the city lived in Tepe Sialk around 3000 BC. As time went on, Kashan gained a reputation for its tile production. Today, the city is mainly known for its historical houses that used to be owned by noblemen and aristocrats. Kashan’s fantastic bazaar is also a must-see for anyone looking to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Don’t forget to enjoy the natural sights unique to this province, including the Maranjab desert and the Fin gardren with all its greenery. Day 8: Take full advantage of the city’s old neighborhoods, packed with historic buildings and traditional complexes, by visiting Kashan's two most famous and historically noble-owned houses; Borujerdi-ha House and Tabatabaee-ha House. Manouchehri House Restaurant offers some of the most popular dishes of this province. Westward are the remains of old Persia's once-untouchable civilization, Tepe Sialk. Tepe Sialk ages back about 7,500 years and is among the most remarkable archeological sites of the country. Finally, a visit to the emerald hidden in this desert, the Fin Garden with its man-made historical building, refreshing fountains, and aromatic orange trees would provide a much needed break.
6
Tehran 2 Nights
Tehran is the melting pot of traditional culture and a western lifestyle. The capital of Iran is home to various palaces and monuments of the Persian culture. Take a short drive in the clement northern areas of the town to visit the wealthy palaces of the Pahlavi dynasty. While visiting Golestan Palace, don’t miss out on the city’s museums, especially The Treasury of National Jewels and the National Museum of Iran. Being the hub of modern art and culture, various galleries, theaters, and cinemas can be found everywhere. The many cafes and restaurants around every park and campus are always bustling with college kids. This big city is likewise the ultimate destination for nightlife seekers. Tehran not only offers luxurious shopping malls, it also has the well-known Grand Bazaar, the perfect location for finding cute knickknacks and souvenirs. Day 9: It is best you begin your day early with a visit to the Grand Bazaar, to catch this cultural hub before it gets too crowded. After you are done strolling in the Grand Bazaar’s narrow streets, head to the Golestan palace. This palace is the only world heritage site of Tehran. Moslem Restaurant is popular choice for lunch in this area is. Day 10: Spend your day visiting the northern parts of the capital, such as Sa'dabad Palace Complex, a relic of the lavish Qajar and Pahlavi lifestyle, and its various museums, such as Mir Emad calligraphy museum and the museum of anthropology. After 30-minute drive, you can arrive at the Niavaran Palace Complex where the regal houses are surrounded by a beautiful garden. A look at Farah Diba’s collection of souvenirs completes your visit of the royal families in Iran. To end the day, it’s a good idea to visit Bame Tehran, the bustling resort in Alborz mountain range's foothills, perfect for enjoying a tasty snack while watching the glowing city below your feet. Another option is to head southward to enjoy the colorful lights of the Tabiat Bridge in one of its cafes or restaurants.
7
Zanjan 1 Night
Zanjan is mostly famous for Dome of Soltaniyeh lovated some 40 kilometers south. This very dome was listed as UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. While in Zanjan, travelers love to visit Rakhtshurkhaneh, a traditional Qajari era laundry house. Now it is a museum of Anthropology, where you can find statues of local men and women dressed in their traditional clothes. Although nowadays most people prefer the standard Farsi language, you can still hear various dialects spoken by the locals at different parts of the city. If you are a fan of strange geological wonders, check out the Hoodoos not far from the city. Day 11: A morning ride to Zanjan and you are welcomed by “Iran’s Taj Mahal.” Gonbad-e Soltaniyeh, the 14th-century monument and UNESCO-registered Mausoleum of Oljaytu, is known for its architectural beauty and its fine interior decoration. Visit Zanjan’s Saltmen Museum and see the perfectly preserved bodies and heads of ancient men, discovered in the Iranian salt mine of Chehrabad. One of the best diners you could try during your trip to Zanjan is Polo Restaurant.
8
Tabriz 1 Night
Tabriz is one of the historical capitals of Iran, with a history going back some 4,500 years. Tabriz is rich in history and that is evident after a short walk around the town. From its Constitution House to its Qajar period historical houses, to its famous museums, Tabriz always has a story to tell. After a day of visiting the Blue Mosque and the Bazaar of Tabriz, it would be a great idea to relax in the El Goli park by the pond. If you are a nature lover, great news! Tabriz is a short drive from Ala Daghlar colorful mountain range, Kandovan troglodytic village, and different hot spring resorts. Day 12: Begin your Tabriz experience with a visit to Azerbaijan Museum where you get to review everything you have learned about Persian culture in this trip. Admire the story behind the fallen tiles of the glorious Blue Mosque. Take a 20-minute walk to Tabriz’s Grand Bazaar and pay a short visit to Tabriz Municipality Palace, or Sa'at Tower, on your way there. This municipality built under the supervision of German engineers is a good example of the contemporary architecture of Iran. Enjoy the rest of your day at the historical market of Tabriz. If you are a foodie, El Goli Hotel’s Revolving Restaurant offers a distinctive view of the city while Haj Ali Chelo Kebab offers a down-to-earth experience.

Trip Finished