Beyond Turkey > legendary Iran
legendary Iran --- Discover the homeland of Cyrus the Great, Darius and Xerxes with a unique itinerary that brings together Iran's past, and the contemporary...

We cover the highlights of Tehran, Shiraz, Yazd and Isfahan as we stroll timeless streets and colorful bazaars, and mingle with hospitable and proud locals. Tour also includes ancient Persepolis, the Persian gardens, and several other UNESCO listed sights...
  • 13 days - tour starts in Shiraz, ends in Tehran
  • contact for pre- & post-tour services
tour highlights
  • People-to-people experiences, oriental bazaars, gardens
  • UNESCO listed sights: Friday Mosque of Isfahan & ancient Persepolis
  • UNESCO listed sights: Golestan Palace, Pasargadae, Eram Garden
  • Vaults of Central Bank for the Crown Jewels
  • Mausoleum of Cyrus the Great
  • Marvelous architecture of Isfahan, inspiration to 1001 stories
  • Armenian Quarter and Vank Cathedral in Isfahan
  • Zoroastrian Temple and Tower of Silence in Yazd
  • Qashqai Nomads, rural Abyaneh Village
included are
  • All accommodations – best available in Iran
  • All meals, bottled water with the meals
  • All admissions and tours for listed activities
  • Experienced Turkish or American tour leader during the entire tour
  • Experienced bilingual (Farsi & English) certified guide during the entire tour
  • Tips for all services provided with the tour, incl. guide and driver tips
  • Big bus to stretch for all tours and transfers in Iran
  • Travel information and preparation package

itinerary details

Day 01 - Saturday: Arrive in Shiraz --- Participants will be provided with a transfer from airport to hotel upon arrival. Suggested flight to Shiraz is Turkish Airlines from Istanbul landing at 01:30 am.

Start the day after a late breakfast. Our day is dedicated to stunning Shiraz, the city of poets, fine arts, roses and the nightingale! We will visit Eram and Narenjestan Gardens –heavens on earth-, learn about and enjoy the 6000 year old Persian garden culture which influenced gardens from Andalusia to India. The Eram Garden is listed by UNESCO, while the Narenjestan Garden is a meticuolously kept property featuring a fine 19th century Persian mansion. Persian’s beloved poet Hafez is one of the very few poets whose mausoleum is honored as a pilgrim destination. While visiting the lovely garden and mausoleum, we will recite his verses and join millions in appreciating his talent and inspiration. Nasir-Ol-Mulk is a breathtaking kaleidoscope of fine Persian Islamic tiles, after appreciating the fine work in this mosque, we will move to the impressive Madrassah Khan, the theological school. Before calling it a day in the 11th century oriental Vakil Bazaar, we will visit the Aliebnehamze Holy Shrine and adore the mirror decorations.

Sleep in Shiraz, 3 nights / Meals: B, L, D / Walking: Moderate / Bus: 2 hrs incl. transfer

Day 02 - Sunday: Visiting the Nomads --- Shiraz and surroundings are in the province of Fars, birthplace of two ancient Iranian Zarathushti dynasties, the Acheamenians founded by Cyrus the Great, and the Sassanians. Today, we will visit with generous and hospitable Qashai nomads (pastoral nomads of Turcic origin) and witness their ancient life style and traditions. We will return to Shiraz for the evening.

Meals: B, D / Walk.: Moderate / Bus: 3 hrs

Day 03 - Monday: Firuzabad & Ardeshir-Khurra “Glory of Ardeshir” --- In the morning we will leave Shiraz for a short trip to Firuzabad (ancient Gur) to see the Ardeshir-Khurra “Glory of Ardeshir" palace built by priest-king Ardeshir, the founder of the Sassanian dynasty.

Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Moderate / Bus: 3 hrs

Day 04 - Tuesday: Shiraz - Persepolis – Necropolis – Pasargadae - Yazd --- After bidding farewell to Shiraz with a stop at the monumental Quran Gate we will head to ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid dynasty, Persepolis, a UNESCO site. Initiated by Darius I, Persepolis was the only major city of the ancient world built by free. We will marvel at the reliefs and monuments of this eternal city and then move to UNESCO listed Naqshs-e Rostam, the monumental rock Busved necropolis of Achaemenid kings, Darius the Great, Darius II, Artaxerxes and Xerxes. We will also see the Kaba-Zardosht, the fire temple and sanctuary. Later in the day, we will visit another UNESCO site, Pasargadae. It was the first capital of the Achaemenid Empire prior to Persepolis and founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BC. Among ruins we will see is the tomb of Cyrus the Great himself. We will continue to Yazd where we will sleep for 2 nights.

Sleep in Yazd, 2 nights / Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Moderate to strenuous / Bus: 5-6 hrs

Day 05 - Wednesday: Yazd --- Yazd, center of Zoroaster, a living museum, is one of the oldest cities in the world according to UNESCO. The isolated location of the city made it the shelter for Zoroastorians running away from Arabs, and artists and poets running away from the Mongols. Tucked between two deserts, Yazd is charming with its narrow streets, and fine textiles. Here, we will enjoy a guided city walk, see the highest “badger” Wind Catcher / Wind Tower, the Azeri style 12th century Friday Mosque with tallest entrance portal in Iran and the Amir Chakhmaq Complex, one of the largest buildings in Iran. In the Old City, we will visit silk weaving workshops to see termeh brocades.

Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Moderate to strenuous / Bus: 1 hr

Day 06 - Thursday: Yazd to Isfahan --- In the morning we will continue exploring Yazd on foot. We will visit the Zoroastrian Fire Temple where sacred fire has been continuously burning since 470 AD and is now a Zoroastrian pilgrim center. This is an opportunity to learn about Zoroastrianism, the ancient, pre-Islamic religion of Persia. It was founded by the Iranian prophet and reformer Zoroaster in the 6th century BC, it shares many central concepts with the major world religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Then, we will move onto Towers of Silence, the burial place for Zoroastrians. Since the Zoroastrians consider dead body unclean, they put them on top of the Towers of Silence to be consumed by vultures, cleansed by the winds and the sun. In the afternoon, we will drive to Isfahan.

Sleep in Isfahan, 3 nights / Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Strenuous / Bus: 4-5 hrs

Day 07 - Friday: Isfahan --- 16th century capital of Persia, Isfahan well known for the Persian-Islamic architecture adorning the city protects most of it’s historic glory with beautiful boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, mosques, and minarets. Hence it is know as “"Esfahan nesf-e- jahn ast", Persian proverb meaning “Isfahan is half of the world”. In the two full days we will spend in Isfahan, we will discover its outstanding highlights. We will have an extensive visit at the Naqsh-e Jahan Square also known as the Imam Square is the largest historical public square in the world after Tiananmen Square and a UNESCO's World Heritage Site. It is surrounded with Safavid period monuments, including Imam Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, and the Qeisarieh “Isfahan” bazaar, all of which we will be visiting. In the afternoon, we will visit Si-o-Se Pol (thirty three) and Khajoo bridges over Zayande river, and drink tea and smoke water pipes in a traditional tea house.

Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Moderate / Bus: 1 hrs

Day 08 - Saturday: Isfahan --- In the morning, we will cover the Chehel Sotun Palace,a.k.a. the Forty Columns Palace a reception and entertainment hall from the 17th century, marveling at the wonderful wall paintings, frescoes, miniatures and the ceramics of the interior. Last but not the least of mosques we will visit in Isfahan is the Friday Mosque also known as the Jameh Mosque, a UNESCO site. It is a stunning example of the evolution of mosque architecture spanning twelve centuries from 9th century onwards. It is the oldest monument of its kind in Iran and a prototype for later mosque designs throughout Central Asia. Our afternoon is devoted to discovery of New Julfa, Armenia in Iran, which was established in the early 17th century by Armenian immigrants from Julfa in Nakhichevan. Famous for their silk trade, these influential and well connected people had a business network from Europe to Asia, as a result over the next few centuries New Julfa became the hub of one of the greatest trade networks of the modern era. Today, the area is still one of the largest ethnic Armenian quarters in the world with a school, sixteen churches and the amazing Surp Amenaprgitch Vank (Holy Saviour’s) Cathedral. The interior of the cathedral celebrates Armenian religious art with its fine frescos, gilded carvings and rich tile work. Depicting the stories of the Old and New Testament stories.

Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Moderate to strenuous / Bus: 1 hr

Day 09 - Sunday: Isfahan to Abyaneh --- Our trip will take us to the historical red mud brick village of Abyaneh in the rural countryside. En route, in Natanz, we will visit Jameh Mosque and adjoining mausoleum of Sufi mystic Abd-As Samad. Then, in Abyaneh, we will walk the narrow streets and mingle with the colorfully dressed inhabitants.

Sleep in Abyaneh, 1 night / Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Moderate / Bus: 2 hrs

Day 10 - Monday: Abyaneh to Kashan --- Today we head to Kashan, a large oasis whose pale desert color contrasts charmingly with the greenery of the well-tended oasis. In this city well known for majestic historic mansions, we will visit the Fin Garden, one of the most beautiful gardens of the Middle East; wander the streets of the mud-brick the Kashan Bazaar; visit the Tabatabi Residence, a fine example of historic mansions with well functioning wind towers, delightful wall painting and elegant stained glass windows.

Sleep in Kashan, 1 night / Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Easy / Bus: 2-3 hrs

Day 11 - Tuesday: Kashan to Tehran --- As our trip unwinds in Iran, we will drive to Tehran. By way of the Holy city of Qum, we will arrive in Tehran and enjoy the last stop of the tour in the capital.

Sleep in Tehran, 2 nights / Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Easy / Bus: 2 hrs

Day 12 - Wednesday: Tehran, the Historic Heritage --- Today we will discover Tehran, the thriving capital of Iran since late 18th century. In the National Museum, we will visit both the Archaeological Museum (a.k.a. Museum of Ancient Iran) designed by French architect Andre Godard, and the Museum of the Islamic Era. Then, we will visit the Iran National Bank and admire the amazing Imperial Crown Jewels of Persia, acquired from 16th century onwards. The collection includes 182 carat Daria-i Noor diamond and the Pahlavi Crown worn by the last Shah of Iran. We will also visit the glorious Golestan Palace built over 400 years, ago. Spend the rest of the day in the Tehran Bazaar.

Meals: B, L, D / Walk.: Easy / Bus: 2 hrs

Day 13 - Thursday: Good-bye --- Tour is over after breakfast.

Meals: B

need to know
  • It is legal for US citizens to travel to Iran with a passport valid for at least 6 months at time of their trip. Switzerland Embassy in Tehran is the protector of US interests and provides consular services for US citizens in Iran. Anyone with an Israel stamp on the passport can travel to Iran after 1 year from the date of Israel’s visa stamp. There is no trouble in getting to Iran if your trip to Israel was more than a year ago.

  • SRM will apply for visas on behalf of travelers and receive an application reference number for every tour participant. This service is included in the tour price. Then, each traveler will need to contact the Iran Embassy or Consulate in the country they reside to receive the visa with the reference number we will provide. In USA, Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC represents Iran and is authorized to provide visas for American travelers. Visa process may take around 5 to 6 weeks, hence we will ask for all participants to submit their passport copies and information to us latest 2 months prior to start of the tour. As of time of writing, Iran visa costs USD 192 for American citizens.

  • Iran is a not any different than any other country. Violating laws would get you into trouble. Theft, breaking into private property, using & trafficking drugs are some of the basic crimes that are punished. It is not wrong to assume that whatever would get you into trouble in your home country or USA would also get you into trouble in Iran. Couple of the differences can be listed as adultery and alcohol consumption, both of which are subject to punishment. Iran is completely “dry”, alcohol is strictly against the law. However, non-alcoholic beer is legal and available.

  • By law, women have to dress loose fitting and modestly, only to reveal their hands and face. The tops should be long enough to cover the hips. Women also should wear scarfs at all times except for the privacy of their hotel room. The scarf does not need to be tightly wrapped, it can be loose on the head revealing some of the hair on the front. Pants are very common to wear, unless they are capris. We advice you to make a Google search for images, you can search for “Iran women”, this way you can see a wide spectrum of Iranian women, from very conservative to modern and how they are dressed. Wearing make up is common, and Iranian women love to express themselves with it.
  • Iran is a large country with a varied geography, deserts, mountains and valleys. Iran is almost as big as Alaska. The tour will enjoy the diverse geography. Based on stats, weather averages thru the tour will be around 50 - 55 F in Tehran and Yazd, 58 - 62 F in Shiraz and Isfahan.

  • Overall food is delicious and comes in a variety. High quality stews and kebabs are very popular. Herbs and spices are commonly used, but Iranian dishes are far from being “hot” or “spicy”, as these are only applied in moderate to give food different tastes. GDOs are not allowed, vegetables and fruits carry taste the same old original taste. The meat usually served in the restaurants is chicken, veal, fish and lamb. Turkey, quail and shrimp are also available, but no pork, snake, frog, shellfish, dog or others. They are prohibited to be taken in Islam and this is observed everywhere. Vegetarians are welcome, raw or cooked vegetables are easily available.

  • Official Iranian currency is Iranian Rial (IR). Notes are in denominations of IR 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 200 and 100. Coins are in denominations of IR 500, 250, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. However, “Toman” is more commonly used than the rial; 10 IR = 1 Toman.

  • Credit card is very uncommon outside the shops and businesses that cater to international travelers, it is the best to start your trip pre-calculating possible cash expenses. Note that, all tours, meals and experiences are included in the tour price and there aren’t any hidden costs. All you need to bring in cash is your personal pocket money.

  • Following are not allowed in Iran: alcoholic beverages, narcotics, guns and ammunition, horticultural and agricultural goods including seeds and soil, aerial photo cameras - drones, transmitter receiver apparatus.

  • Work days are from Saturday thru Wednesday. Thursdays and Fridays are the national off days. Though, on Thursdays, some companies may work half day.
  • Tour has an average pace and physical difficulty level. Anyone who has done well enough in Istanbul and Turkey would be fine in this particular tour. In the tour itinerary, there are couple of places with steep uphill and downhill walks, if you don’t want to walk downhill or uphill, you can still be able to enjoy the sights and visits bypassing these walks.
Itinerary subject to change due to unforseen circumstances.
tour date/s;
  • Nov.10-Nov.22, 2018
tour price; per person in double/twin occupancy
USD 4,590.- / 27 to 32 participants
USD 4,800.- / 21-26 participants
USD 4,990.- / 16-20 participants
USD 950.- single suppl.
tour price excludes visa expenses
* this tour requires minimum 16 travelers to operate






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