A Trip to Iran: A Complete Guide

How to plan an Iran trip

Farzad Hosseinpour Aug 5, 2019 8 min read
Trip to Iran
Planning the perfect trip to Iran

Let’s assume that you have already selected Iran as your next vacation destination. So far, so good. The country is a wonderful place to visit with lots of attractions. A trip to Iran is definitely an exciting one, the memory of which will stay with you for years. The hospitality you will experience there will amaze you and you might consider next trips. But before setting off on the journey, there are some tips that can help you plan the perfect trip to Iran. So if you want to learn about the best time to visit Iran or how you can get an Iran visa, just continue reading.

When to visit Iran

The experiences you get out of your Iran trip are highly dependent on the time of the year you visit the country. You can go on a dream trip to Iran all year round if you are not looking for a particular event or experience.

Iran trip
When to visit Iran

A vast country like Iran offers varied climates and beautiful attractions at any given time. In winter, northern and northwestern parts get their fair share of freezing weather and snowfall. But at the same time you can enjoy sunshine and pleasant temperatures in southern parts of Iran.

In general, western and northwestern parts go through harsh weather conditions during winter while central and southern regions witness scorching hot temperatures in summer. Therefore, you can usually get the best of mild weather in Iranian during spring and autumn. You can find a month-by-month travel guide to Iran here.

How safe is Iran?

Before finalizing your decision, you might also want to know how safe Iran is. The short answer is the country is a very safe destination in the Middle East. In fact, statistics suggest the country is as safe as the UK.

Terrorist attacks and violent crimes are extremely rare, and practically nonexistent when it comes to foreigners and travelers. The best part about traveling to Iran is that the majority of the population are very warm and friendly towards foreigners and tourists. So, they will go out of their way to make sure you are safe and having a good time.

How to get there

Iran is strategically located between the Caspian Sea to the north and the Persian Gulf to the south. The ancient land is also planked by Pakistan and Afghanistan to its east and borders Iraq and Turkey to the west.

The country has over 6000 kilometers of land border with its neighbors and almost 5000 kilometers of maritime boundary. Therefore, you can get to Iran by air, land and sea.

Iran trip - Airplane
How to get to Iran

The main point of entry for incoming tourists is Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. Therefore, finding tickets to Tehran is one of the first things to do when you are planning a trip to Iran. There are direct flights to Tehran from many major cities around the world. You can also fly to Tehran via connecting flights from any other city.

Passports and Visas

Many tourists need a visa to enter Iran. There are, however, a number of exceptions. If you are a national of certain countries you can visit Iran and stay in the country without a visa for a specified period of time. You can check the list of visa-exempt countries here. You will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after the declare end of your Iran trip.

There are different types of Iranian visa. But a tourist visa is the easiest to apply for and obtain. You can get an Iran tourist visa through HelloPersia. You will receive the visa quickly in case you have the required documents. Some also qualify for a Visa on Arrival.

Travel Insurance

When it comes to Iran, having a travel insurance policy is a must. Under Iran’s visa regulations, the insurance policy must clearly state that it covers your travel to Iran. You can buy the travel insurance at the airport or apply for it on HelloPersia at a lower price.

Where to go

Now let’s get down to what is arguably the hardest decision you need to make which is choosing the places you would like to see. For many of us it is a very difficult task but there is no way around it. What will help you in taking this decision is to think about what fascinates you most about Iran. If you have made up your mind about that then the task becomes much simpler. Some of the most popular places to visit in Iran are listed below.

Major cities:

Isfahan – a popular destination known for awe-inspiring architecture, historical attractions, handicrafts
Shiraz – one of the most-visited cities known for its beautiful mosques, Persian gardens, nearby ancient ruins (Persepolis, Pasargadae)
Yazd – an old city famous for traditional architecture, gardens, nearby deserts, and souvenirs
Tehran – The capital of Iran known for historical sights and cultural attractions
Tabriz – a top destination in northwest Iran, with a wide range of museums, historical monuments, and of course delicious food options
Kashan – a popular destination near the capital known for traditional houses, rose water festival
Kerman– another top destination known for architecture, enchanting deserts, food
Mashhad – a mainly religious destination in northeastern Iran, hosting the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza

As a rule of thumb, for a 3-4 day trip choose one destination. If you have a week to 10 days then you will have enough time for up to 3 cities. For a 2 week trip you could cover 4-5 destinations.

Recommended tours

If you are traveling to Iran for the very first time then we recommend you book one of the tours offered by HelloPersia. Here we go over just three of them:

  • Explore Iran during a 2-week trip by visiting the country’s current and previous capitals. A tour from Alborz Mountains to Lut Desert and from archaeological ancient hills to historical museums. Persian gardens, traditional bazaars and Persian houses are all among the attractions awaiting your visit.
  • An exciting 7-day tour of Kish Island in the beautiful Persian Gulf. This is a special offer for the citizens of the UK, US, and Canada as well as those who want to avoid the hassle of getting an Iran visa.
  • Visit major attractions in Iran during a 10-day budget tour. On this tour you will enjoy staying at top-rated budget hotels and moving between major Iranian cities by comfortable VIP coaches as part of an unbeatable deal.

Accommodation in Iran

While planning your trip, you should spend some time considering your accommodation options in Iran. There are several options, ranging from inexpensive dormitory rooms at hostels to luxurious suites at 5-star hotels. The decision is largely dependent on your taste, preferences, and needs.

Iran trip -Hotel
Iran accommodation options

We have made a list of cheap hotels in Tehran which you might find helpful. You can also see our list of top hotels in Isfahan or Shiraz.

How to get around Iran

Iran is a vast country dotted with spectacular attractions. This means you will have to travel around the country a lot to get the most of your visit to the ancient land. For many of us the real joy of travel lies as much in getting to a destination as it does in the destination itself. Depending on your itinerary and personal preferences, you will always have several transportation options to choose from in order to move around in Iran.

Generally, quality transportation in Iran is easy to find and often much cheaper than other parts of the world. Domestic flights, intercity shuttle coaches, trains, taxis and cars are all available and each has its own upsides and downsides.

Domestic Flights

Iran boasts an extensive network of domestic flights. There are more than a dozen airlines in Iran operating numerous flights each day between many Iranian cities.

Using our domestic flight booking service, you can easily find and compare domestic flights in Iran and land the best deal which is suitable for you. You can learn about how you can book a flight on HelloPersia here.

Money and Currency

Iranian banks are not connected to the international banking system due to restrictions. Therefore, your credit/debit cards are not an option in Iran and carrying your travel money to Iran could become an issue.

Therefore, you will need to either carry enough cash with yourself to pay your travel costs or order a travel card. You can get the travel card upon your arrival at the airport to avoid carrying a large sum of money everywhere you go. It is generally safer and more convenient than using cash. These tourist travel cards are connected to Iran’s domestic banking system which operates a nation-wide network of ATMs.

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