Description of Iran tours
Enjoy the intimacy of a small group tour that goes 'Behind the Veil' to discover northern Iran and Azerbaijan. Travel through the beautiful valleys of the Alborz Mountains to the shores of the Caspian, taking in Assassins Castles, troglodyte villages and the vibrant city of Tabriz to see a region where few tourists have been.
Teheran's historic sites and fine museums give way to the hillside villages and rugged castle-studded vistas of Alamut and ancient walled city of Qazvin as you journey towards the shores of the Caspian Sea passing through a landscape of paddy fields, tea plantations, orangeries, olive groves and traditional local markets.
Sweeping round the Caspian shore into Iranian Azerbaijan, enjoy a boat trip on the Anzali Lagoon before seeing the UNESCO World Heritage sights of Ardebil and the volcano-shaped Kurdish town of Takht e Soleiman. You'll also visit the remarkable troglodyte houses of Kandovan. The atmospheric city of Tabriz provides some superb sights, including a Citadel, Blue Mosque and the Azerbaijan Museum.
The trip's final leg follows in the footsteps of legendary historic figures Darius and Alexander the Great at sites including the inscription-adorned UNESCO protected cliffs at Bisotun, and the hill town of Hamadan where Alexander's friend and general Hephaestion met his death. You'll also visit key Biblical sites plus the historic town of Kangovar, before heading back to Teheran.
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PlanetDuring this tour we visit the Sheik Safi Mausoleum, the Church of Saint Thaddeus, Takht e Soleiman, an archaeological site located on a volcano crater rim, and Bisotun, a protected cliff area bearing many carvings and inscriptions, which are all listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Our visits to these sites help to support local projects to conserve the area's cultural and geographical heritage.
Our guides will brief travellers on appropriate behaviour, both cultural and environmental, and when visiting areas of natural beauty such as the region of Alamut with its hillside villages, and several paddy fields and tea plantations, we make a point of ensuring that we leave no permanent traces of our stay behind, taking all rubbish with us to protect these valuable tourist destinations.
Our local partner in Iran is instrumental in developing a regional policy for environmentally sustainable tourism and works very closely with the official bodies in advising them how to best implement this. This includes the preservation of some key natural attractions and ensuring that the gradual increase in tourism and its associated services does not have a detrimental effect.
This is a concept that is still very much in its infancy in this part of the world and we are proud to be working with such a respected pioneer in this field at such a key moment in tourism. This includes such issues as waste management, management of scarce resources such as water, and ensuring that future developments in the tourism sector are carried out in an environmentally sensitive manner.
We work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues, an important effort in a country where the environment is often taken for granted.
PeopleWe only work with operators who are committed as we are to putting something back into the communities we visit. This may include giving a percentage of the profits from each tour to a foundation to help street children or local conservation projects. Our local supplier in Iran works closely with the government bodies responsible to help protect the impressive archaeological sites to be found here.
This journey takes us through local markets and villages where people still wear traditional dress. We also pass through Kandovan Village, famous for its troglodyte houses, some of which are over 800 years old and still occupied. We are careful to respect local customs and culture and our groups are briefed on this aspect of Iran. Travellers also have the opportunity to support local communities by purchasing local handicrafts.
We believe tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have a limited number of departures - between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders and to ensure that what we will see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
Our groups average only two clients. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects.
Finally to emphasise our commitment to responsible tourism, all clients will receive a copy of our travellers code of conduct with their travel documents.
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From €960 7 days including domestic flights only
Join us to discover Iran's rich culture and history