Iran holiday, Persian Explorer

Peel back Iran's veil and discover a breathtaking country uniting an ancient Persian empire and stupendous Islamic architecture with a vibrant, cosmopolitan and friendly present-day.
Shiraz Persepolis tomb of Cyrus the Great at Pasargadae Yazd Isfahan Tehran Achaemenid tombs at Nagsh e Rostam
Price
£2465 excluding flights
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Duration
10 Days
Type
Small group
Reviews
More info
Price includes all activities/equipment, tour leaders, local guides and drivers, meals, transport (excluding international flights), accommodation and entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary. Optional Single Supplement: £395
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Description of Iran holiday, Persian Explorer

With a human legacy dating back millennia, the lands occupied by modern day Iran have witnessed an epic sweep of rich history. This short but insightful trip takes you into the cultural and physical heart of what was once Persia to see ‘behind the veil’ of a much misunderstood country.

The beautiful city of Shiraz is your starting point, famed for its gardens and teahouses, shrines and bazaars – plus the towering Arg-e Karim Khan fortress and the tomb of the great Persian poet Hafez. There's also a day-long sightseeing trip to see Darius the Great’s fabulous Persepolis, plus visits to the magnificent Achaemenid tombs at Nagsh e Rostam and the six-tiered tomb of Cyrus the Great - founder of the Persian Empire - at Pasargadae.

Yazd, meanwhile, is a vibrant blend of well- preserved traditional houses and Zoroastrianism burial towers dotted on characterful winding streets, mingled with sights like the Bagj-e-Doulat Abad Gardens, the breathtaking Jameh Mosque and the Water Museum.

Your next stop is one of the Middle East’s most spectacular destinations – the 17th century former Persian capital of Isfahan. As well as admiring superb Islamic architecture – plus the world's second largest square, the Mayden-e Imam – this unforgettable city offers a chance to take tea in one of the old bridges that span the Zayandeh River or tempt yourself with wonderful handicrafts and carpets in colourful bustling souks. Other highlights in a city once known as “half the world” include the six-storey 16th century Ali Qapu Palace and the Armenian Quarter.

Your trip concludes in Iran's cosmopolitan modern capital Tehran, where diverse sightseeing options include the 16th century Golestan Palace, six centuries of woven wonders in the Carpet Museum of Iran, plus museums showcasing classical Persian and contemporary Iranian art.

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Price information

£2465 excluding flights
Convert currency:
Price includes all activities/equipment, tour leaders, local guides and drivers, meals, transport (excluding international flights), accommodation and entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary. Optional Single Supplement: £395
Make enquiry

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Pricing:
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Reviews

2 Reviews of Iran holiday, Persian Explorer

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 13 Jan 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Forget any concerns about Iran being dangerous, hostile of unfriendly. Highlights are numerous: Shiraz's blue mosques with amazing mekhana, after which, it being New Years Eve, we had blue cocktails and a blue cake (thanks to our guide, Mark). Persepolis's reliefs, Towers of Silence where Zoroastrians left their dead for birds to pick their bones, wind towers to cool houses, mud merchant houses in Kashan, pistacio icecream sandwiches at a service station, watching at a Zurkhanah where men showed their muscles in a sweaty ritual, accompanied by chanting and drumbeats, old men singing love songs to each other by Khaju Bridge in Isfahan, the complicated but worthwhile procedure for buying wonderful sweets at Hodj Kalife Rahiber's sweetshop, the views from The Art House Cafe in Khasan (no wifi- lets pretend it is 1995 says their notice) and carpet shops, mosques and more mosques....

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Dress is more liberal than you might expect. Hair covering is compulsory but hair can show, and a wooley hat or turban covering a reasonable amount of hair is fine. Tight trousers are fine if worn with a top that covers your bottom - mid-thigh length tunics are ideal. Take wet wipes for toilets.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Local people were delighted to see us and give a good impression of their country. We bought pottery and other crafts from the people who made it - pottery students and local craftsmen.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Outstanding guides, hotels good on the whole but but rather drab in Shiraz.

Reviewed on 09 Jan 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Learning about the culture

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Women - make sure you follow the dress code. as it gets hot in the summer months it might be better to do this trip in January when it is cooler. We only had 1.5 days of rain the other times we had lovely blue sky.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good

Responsible Travel

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.

Planet

By keeping the group size to a maximum of 12, we can also minimise the human impact on the fragile sites and ecosystems we visit.
We attempt to reduce plastic bottle use wherever possible by promoting use of reusable and filtered water bottles. Our partnership with Water-To-Go provides a discount on filtered water bottles to our clients. We do not provide water from plastic bottles to our clients in country but always ensure there is regular access to drinking water on our tours.
We are promoting the natural beauty and ancient heritage of Iran through visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Golestan Palace and Persepolis. UNESCO Sites are chosen by the UNESCO committee and must "bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to civilisation", "an important interchange of human values" or be outstanding examples of major stages of Earth's history or ecological and biological processes in evolution. Visiting such sites helps sustain the traditions and natural ecosystems of Iran through tourism.
Throughout most of the trip we will be travelling in minibuses. Travelling as a group in a small bus contributes less pollution than a multitude of vehicles. We will also be exploring many areas on foot, to not only soak up the amazing sights at a slower pace, but to reduce our environmental impact and footprint along our journey. Slower travel also allows for more chances to interact with people from another culture.

People

On each Group tour we use local ground handlers. This means that all operational costs go directly into the local economy and help improve employment opportunities in remote regions. Such support can also be seen in our incorporation of homestays, locally owned hotels, family run restaurants and the services of local guides and drivers into our itineraries, which ensures that the money you spend with us goes directly into the local economy and local community.

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