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Those who have been following us for a while (and if you don’t, please like our pages on Facebook and on Instagram 😜) know that Iran is one of our top picks. And we don’t write about them just to be controversial to what the big media say. We genuinely love the country. We know we are not alone and, if you are reading this, you are probably one step to fall in love with them too! So here it goes a guide to what to do in Iran, a complete itinerary of all the best cities.

Fernanda pointing to the sign which shows the direction of Pasargad

Going to Pasargad, near Shiraz

*Best time to travel to Iran: During the mild temperatures of autumn (September to December) and spring (March to June).

*Tip 1: The cities are in “relevant/importance” historical, cultural and tourist order. Therefore, if you don’t have much time over there, give preference to the firsts destinations of this list (Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd)

*Tip 2: Despite being a beautiful country with many things to do, the best of this trip is simply to get lost, to walk about and talk to people. Allow yourself to accept all the invitations for picnics, dinners and barbecues and prepare yourself to experience the best hospitality in the world.

Tehran

(we recommend 3 to 4 days)

Golestan Palace in Tehran

The Golestan Palace

Tehran is one of the cities with the largest number of urban parks in the world. The capital of Iran is super interesting, cultural and artistic. Over there, you will have no problems in finding what to do.

What to do in Tehran:

  • Golestan Palace;
  • National Museum;
  • Tower Azadi;
  • Tabiat Bridge: known as Nature Bridge, it was built by a young Iranian woman and is a meeting point for couples and families. Try to visit it in the late afternoon when the place is full and the weather is pleasant 😉 ;
  • Valiasr Street: the longest street in the Middle East and a meeting place for young people at night;
  • Darband: a neighbourhood in the mountains that is full of restaurants and shops. This is also the beginning of a two-day walk that many people like to do (Iranians love nature);
  • Central Bazaar: we are not adept at shopping and therefore we do not find the place anything special. But, if you like this kind of environment, you cannot miss it;
  • Visit many parks: get lost at night and be invited to have a picnic with some of the families that are around there (seriously, just walk through the parks and wait for the invitation);

*Bonus: In the winter, it is possible to ski in Tehran. We did not try (we travelled in midsummer), but we heard that the tracks are good 😉 )

Tabiat Bridge at night with blue colours

The Tabiat Bridge in Tehran: A huge footbridge for people to meet up

Isfahan

(we recommend from 2 to 3 days)

the symbol of the city of Isfahan

The symbol of the city

Isfahan is an open air museum, one of the finest examples of the Persian and the Islamic architecture.

It was the capital of the Persian Empire between 1592 and 1722 and is known as “Half the World“, an allusion for carrying half of all the beauties in the world.

The city has amazing gardens, squares, mosques, bazaars and other buildings to visit.

The si-o-seh pol bridge in Isfahan and the dried river in Iran

The Si-o-seh pol Bridge of Isfahan

What to do in Isfahan:

  • Imam Square;
  • Sheik Lotfollah Mosque;
  • Khaju Bridge;
  • Shah Mosque;
  • Bazaar of Isfahan.
One of the shops in the market of Isfahan

The market in the main square of Isfahan

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Shiraz

(we recommend 3 days)

The sun lights colourfully shining inside the Pink Mosque in Iran

The beautiful Pink Mosque in Shiraz

One of the most important cities in Iran, Shiraz is an important cultural and intellectual spot (not to mention that the Shiraz wine was invented there!😜).

Shiraz is the best starting point to visit the ancient capitals of the Persian Empire: Pasargada and Persepolis! By the way, don’t forget to stop by Necropolis, which is on the way between the two capitals.

* The is a famous poem by a famous writer in Brazil called “Indo embora pra Pasargada” (going away to Pasargada), inspired by the history of this ancient capital.

What to do in Shiraz:

  • Aramgah-e Shar-e Cheragh: a magnificent group of buildings, mausoleums and mosque. They provide a free guide in English. Ah, and women have to wear the shador (that garment that covers everything but the face), but rest assured they’ll get you one at the entrance;
  • Aramgah-e Hzez: the tomb of the great Persian poet Hafez;
  • Mosque Nasir-al-molk: the famous pink mosque;
  • Persepolis;
  • Pasargada.
Details of Persian people sculptured on the walls of Persepolis

Details of the old Persian capital, Persepolis

Yazd

(we recommend 2 to 3 days)

Us, from Monday Feelings, watching the sunset on top of the mountain at the Silent Temple in Yazd

Appreciating the silence on the Silent Temple, Yazd

This town is nearby the desert, so make sure to avoid the hottest seasons (we didn’t and we regret. 😒).

Yazd has one of the largest Zoroastrian population in Iran and is the perfect place for learning more about the world’s first monotheistic religion. The Zoroastrian slogan is “Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Attitudes” (or پندار نیگ گفتار نیک کردار نیک). Cute, right? We like it so much that we decided to tattoo it 🙂

What to do in Yazd:

  •  Attend a presentation by Pahlevani, the Iranian wrestling training
  •  Visit the Zoroastra Atashkadeh Temple: where there is a flame that is said to have been burning for 1500 years. The Zoroastras have the four elements of nature as sacred, for that reason the never-to-cease-fire is inside a temple;
  • Old Town;
  • Jame Mosque;
  • Silent Temple.
Inside the Silent Temple in Yazd, Iran with a muslin woman in the back

Woman wandering about in the Silent Temple, Yazd

Tabriz

Inside one of the temples in Tabriz, Iran in black and white

Inside one of the temples in Tabriz

That is a more Turkish region than Iranian. It is located in the north of the country, near the border of Turkey, and it is a great option for those visiting Armenia or Turkey (but if you are crossing the border to Turkey, check before as it is probably close due to conflicts).

What to do in Tabriz:

  • Visit Kandovan, the Iranian Cappadocia;
  • Kabood Mosque;
  • Visit the center Baazar: once again, if you like shopping.

Abadan

Alright, that is not a must. Buuuuut…… it is the city that surprised us the most and we could not put it in the list! Abadan is a Brazilian town in Iran!

A market stall painted with Brazilian colours and flag in Abadan, Iran

One of the many stalls – which are normally named Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo… – at the streets of Abadan

There isn’t much to do over there, apart from the surreal adoration they have for Brazil. Well, after all, it is worth visiting, because in the end, the best of Iran is the people, and you will definitely see interesting ones in Abadan.

Moreover, the city was destroyed during the Iran-Iraq War (actually, you can see Iraq just a few meters away on the other side of the river). It will be good to understand better this dark chapter of human history.

Anyway, if you are willing to go, there it is a totally off-the-beaten-track destination for you.

Hamadan

Hamadan is a pretty city and very well maintained. There is the main square where many families camp over the weekend. If you have the opportunity, go camping in the square too (after finding a spot 😉 ) and meet other families. Get ready to be invited to picnics!

What to do in Hamadan:

Inside the largest water cave in the world Ali Sadr

Inside Ali Sadr Cave

  • Ali Sadr Cave: The largest water cave in the world. It is 11km large and 5km to be explored by either foot or boat.
  • Visit the park where there are the Ganj Nameh registrations carved on a rock for over 2000 years, during the Persian Empire.

Masuleh

Houses of Masuleh forming stairs with people and shops on top of roofs

Look at the people and the shops on top of the roof!

It is an interesting village with an unique architecture. The houses work like stairs to walk from one side to another. Thus, you have to walk over people’s roof when wandering about over there.

Masuleh is a notorious tourist destination amongst Iranians. It is full of market stalls, coffee shops to smoke shisha and restaurants.

Rudkahn Castle

We, taking a selfie with the Rudkahn Castle at the back

It was worth climbing all the way!

If you make it to Masuleh, don’t miss out on this II century castle. The way up there is nice and there are many corners to be explored, let alone the Iranians you meet around. Many of them are enjoying the nature, reciting a poem or singing traditional local songs. That’s how beautiful Iranians are!

Kish Island

The Kish Island is a paradise at the Persian Golf. The rules at Kish are completely different than in Iran:

  • women can swim in the beach,
  • alcohol is not forbidden and,
  • you don’t need a visa to visit.

We heard from other travellers that the island is one of the best spots for snorkelling and diving in the world.