Custom Solo Tours Iran

Iran is the Middle East’s best-kept secret. Renowned for its friendly hospitality and rich history, this enigmatic and often misunderstood nation is home to some of the most stunning architecture and natural scenery in the world.

Despite ongoing political tensions, Iran is a safe place to visit provided you travel responsibly and respect the culture. Gypsian Boutique Tours can help you make the most of your time in this stunning country.

The cultures that have populated the Persian plateau for thousands of years are incredibly diverse. As such, Iran is a nation of many contradictions but also great beauty. In sharp contrast to its mysterious reputation in the west, travellers are customarily welcomed with open arms.

From Darius the Great’s ancient site of Persepolis to the desert of Dasht-e Loot, the Iranian landscape is filled with captivating destinations. Whether you’re interested in the historical Persian period or more modern eras, you can immerse yourself in the nation’s notoriously tempestuous history while travelling from one gorgeous site to the next. There’s also delicious Middle Eastern food, intriguing traditions and picturesque regional areas to discover.

Here are Iran’s must-see destinations



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Highlighted Destinations

Shiraz

No visit to this ancient city would be complete without stopping at the Nasir ol Mulk Mosque (the Pink Mosque). The simplicity of the building’s façade gives no hint to the beauty that lies within. Visit at dawn to watch the early morning light stream through the vibrantly coloured glass windows, creating a kaleidoscopic effect on the Persian carpet. Around one hour from Shiraz you’ll find the well-preserved ruins of Persepolis. Spanning over 125,000 square metres, Persepolis is made up of elaborate carvings and towering structures, eloquently representing the Persian Empire’s magnificence as it was nearly 2,500 years ago. The King of Persia, Cyrus the Great, chose the site. But it was Darius the Great who built the terraces and great palaces that still stand today. Getting to Persepolis is fairly easy – a private taxi from Shiraz only costs around $18 (AU). While sightseeing, be sure to stop for some Persian ice cream at the onsite café.

Isfahan

Known for its traditional Persian architecture, Isfahan is located around 340 kilometres south of Tehran. Thought to have been the largest city in the world for hundreds of years, it has retained much of its past glory. The go-to attraction in Isfahan is Imam Square, the site of the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. Featuring stunning blue-green tiles and a soaring roof, this breathtaking mosque demonstrates the intricate craftsmanship used by masons during the Safavid dynasty. Visit at night to see how the lit-up façade majestically watches over Imam Square.

Kashan

Located just a short distance from Isfahan, Kashan’s most famous attraction is the Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse. With vaulted ceilings and detailed mosaics, it’s one of the best-preserved historical bathhouses in Iran. The roof dates back to the 16th century and offers 360-degree views of the city and surrounding desert. For some downtime, we recommend visiting Fin Garden. With water features and stone pillars, this authentic Persian garden is famed for its beauty and tranquillity.

Yazd

Nicknamed ‘the city of wind catchers’ for its wind-operated water system, travellers can’t help but fall in love with Yazd. Dating back thousands of years, it’s said to be one of the oldest living cities on Earth. To see elegant patterns of brickwork and dazzling tiles, pay a visit to the Jāmeh Mosque, the city’s principal place of worship. If you’d like to learn about the city’s iconic wind catchers and the role they play in providing fresh water, check out the Yazd Water Museum.

Meybod

Every traveller should include a visit to Meybod on their list of things to do in Iran. Dating back to the pre-Islamic era, this 1,800-year-old city is located roughly 52 kilometres north of Yazd. One of the city’s main attractions is the mud-brick Shah Abbasi Caravanserai (a caravanserai is a traditional style of inn found throughout North Africa and the Middle East). Other popular landmarks include the Meybod Ice House, a gigantic conical structure with a deep bowl sunk into the ground. Before the luxury of fridges, it was used to keep food cool throughout the year. A dream destination for history buffs, visiting Meybod is like travelling back in time.

Abyaneh

The first thing visitors notice about Abyaneh is the way the village cascades down a hillside. It’s not uncommon for roofs to be used as courtyards for houses located higher up the slope. Apart from the beauty of the village itself, the local inhabitants are just as fascinating. You can watch the locals go about their day in much the same way they have for centuries, offering a glimpse into traditional Iranian life.

Qom

Qom is the second holiest city in Iran, after Mashhad. It hosts the Mausoleum of Fatima, considered one of the most significant Shi’a sites in the country. It was in this complex that Fatima, the sister of an 8th-century Shia Imam, was buried. Thousands of Shiite Muslims visit her shrine annually to ask for blessings. Legend has it that more miracles have happened at the Mausoleum of Fatima than any other place in the world.

Zanjan

The Dome of Soltaniyeh is a must-see when visiting Zanjan. Along with Turkey’s Hagia Sophia Mosque and the Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, this is one of the greatest brick constructions in the world. Built between 1302 and 1312 AD, it was commissioned by King Mohammad Khodabanda. If you’re hoping to pick up some souvenirs, Zanjan produces some of the most beautiful handcrafts available in Iran, including silver jewellery, traditional Persian sandals and decorative dishes.

Tehran

Housing ancient artefacts and contemporary paintings, Tehran is home to the best museums and galleries in Iran. Despite not having the illustrious history of Isfahan or Shiraz, this vibrant city represents Iran’s modern identity. From the tarnished grandeur of the Pahlavi palaces to the many fading murals in praise of revolutionary Ayatollah Khomeini, Tehran has played a role in many of the country’s 20th-century upheavals.

Gypsian Nitty Gritty on Iran

How safe is Iran for travelling

While Iran is safe, travellers are advised to exercise a high degree of caution. The country’s political climate is notoriously tense, but by keeping a low profile and observing the local culture and values, you shouldn’t need to fear for your safety. For security reasons, travellers are advised to stay at least 10 kilometres away from the Iraq border at all times.

If you’re a little nervous, it’s important to remember that Iran is often misrepresented in Western media. Far from being closed off and hostile, it’s one of the most hospitable places in the world.
Like most countries, Iran isn’t without its share of tourism scams. There’s currently a thriving black market for foreign travel documents, so be sure to keep your passport secure at all times. Make copies of your passport and Iranian visa, just in case.

Embracing Persian Culture

Most Iranians don’t speak much English, with the exception of hotel staff and local tour guides. To avoid miscommunications, try to learn some basic Farsi (Persian language) before your trip. Most Iranians won’t be offended if you can’t speak the local lingo – simply do your best, and if all else fails, communicate through hand signals (just remember the rule about not doing the thumbs up!).

Climate

Iran’s climate is hot and dry, with short winters and long summers. If you’re prone to heat exhaustion, try to avoid visiting between June and September, as temperatures can rise to over 40°C at this time of year.
Even though Iran is known for its desert landscape, the northeast and west of the country can get extremely cold between November and February. It even snows in some mountainous regions, creating ideal conditions for skiing and snowboarding.

Iran’s climate is at its most mild between March and May.

Compared with some countries, travelling to Iran can involve slightly complex logistics. To counteract this, it’s always best to plan your trip well in advance. To begin organising your Iranian expedition, contact Gypsian Boutique Tours today.

Does my hijab have to be black?

You have no doubt heard about Iran’s strict dress code as this is one of the biggest concerns, especially for female travellers to Iran. Men and women must be modestly covered in public at all times. Gentlemen, this means no shorts, no 3/4 pants and no sleeveless tops. Ladies, things are more complicated for us. As well as wearing loose clothing that covers you from elbows to ankles (and everything in between), you must also cover your head with a headscarf, or hijab, while you are in public. You MUST be wearing this the moment you exit the plane and are officially in Iran so do not forget to PACK A HEADSCARF IN YOUR HAND LUGGAGE.

The good news is that you don’t have to wear a burka or in fact anything else that covers your entire body, however please note that tops and shirts should cover your bottom and the sleeves should reach below your elbows.

Outside of the summer months it can get a little chilly particularly at night, so don’t forget to pack a light jumper or cardigan.