Most of Iran is safe to travel in
– but the FCO advises against all travel along the border with Iraq, as well in the far east of the country, close to Afghanistan and Pakistan. For up to date travel warnings, see the FCO website
While the average Iranian citizen is welcoming to foreign visitors, the government can still be overly suspicious. Travelling with an experienced operator will minimise any risks, but do keep a low profile and follow the rules
. Be careful of whom and what you photograph, don’t discuss politics – and certainly don’t say or do anything that could be perceived as insulting to Islam. Avoid political demonstrations and rallies.
The usual precautions apply – don’t carry large amounts of cash or flash your valuables, and backpacks or crossover bags are less likely to be easily swiped
. There have been incidents of thieves posing as policemen – although again, travelling with a tour leader should avoid any uncomfortable situations.
Alcohol is illegal in Iran
. Although it is still brewed and smuggled in, do not be tempted to drink it as punishment is severe. It is also forbidden to eat, drink and smoke in public during Ramadan – dates vary each year, so check online or ask your holiday company.
Driving is pretty dangerous in Iran
; always take care when crossing roads and avoid travelling after dark if possible.
For Iranians, intercourse between unmarried or homosexual couples is forbidden. This law does not apply to tourists, although public displays of affection are not advised
for couples of any orientation or marital status.
Don’t give anyone the thumbs up signal either
– it’s the equivalent of sticking your middle finger up at them!