Your Iran Itinerary

Iran Itinerary


Iran Map

** Tehran-old and new including the UNESCO Golestan Palace and State History Museum
** legendary Persepolis & Pasargadae ancient sites (both UNESCO)
** Fabulous colorful bazaars
** the Yazd UNESCO old city with the Towers of Silence
** the great city of Esfahan (2 UNESCO sites)
** Shiraz with its magnificent gardens and the Pink Mosque
** Qom and Mashad...Iran's holiest cities with the UNESCO Imam Reza shrine
** the Red Village of Abyaneh (UNESCO)
** Bam (UNESCO) the world's largest ancient fortress/city
** The UNESCO Caravanserai of Meybod
** the Tombs of Esther and Mordecai
** the cave reliefs of Bisotun and Tagh Bostan( both UNESCO)
** experience the Kaluts in the Lut Desert (UNESCO natural site)
** the UNESCO 3200 year old Ziggurat, the Chigha Zanbil Babylonian Temple Tower
** experience the genuine warmth and hospitality of the Iranian people
** no less than 14 UNESCO listed sites and MUCH MUCH MORE !!!

Day 1 Tehran
Our activities today will include a visit to the Treasury of National Jewels, the beautifully tiled Zadeh Saleh Shrine and adjacent Tahriz Bazaar, the former US Embassy now a museum called "the Den of Espionage" and the iconic Azadi Tower.

Day 2 Tehran
Our Tehran city tour will include the UNESCO Golestan Palace and the National Museum of Iran. The Golestan Palace was built under the Qajar Dynasty in the late 17th century. The magnificent palace and gardens are considered the crowning achievement of the Qajar era. Our guide will take us to a local restaurant for lunch and dinner where we will be able to experience the daily Iranian lifestyle in the capital city. After dinner we will go to the Tehran Natural Bridge where young Iranians spend time together. O/N Tehran

tour leader Jeff  Garrett UNESCO Golestan Palace-Tehran

September 2019 group with JMG -Azadi Tower in Tehran

Today we drive a bit westward to Hamadan. Our sightseeing stops include the ruins of the Hegmatane Palace (6th cent BC), the unique Alavian Mosque (Seljuk period-12th Cent), The Avicenna tomb (he was a Persian physician and Philosopher), the Tomb of Baba Taher set in a beautiful park ( Taher was a most respected Dervish poet ), and finally the Ganjnameh inscriptions, from the Darius the Great period (5th Cent BC). they are engraved into the mountainside. Overnight Hamadan

Before heading a little further west we visit the most important tombs of Esther and Mordecai, a most important pilgrimage site for the Jewish faith, but revered by Muslims also.. Esther was the Queen of Shoosh (the wife of Xerxes of Iran and Mordecai was her uncle.) These tombs were constructed 11 centuries ago. On our drive to Kermanshah we stop at the Temple of Anahita and last but not least, the magnificent relief carvings of Bisotun (UNESCO). Overnight Kermanshah

Naqsh-e-Rostam-ancient tombs of Darius the Great and Xerses-near Shiraz

17th century Royal Hammam in Kashan

Today we start with the Archaeological site of Tagh-Boston.(UNESCO TENTATIVE SITE). This extensive impressive site consists of Bas-relief carvings from the Sassanid Dynasty. They are centered around the glories and victories of the Sassanid Kings, Another great hi-lite of the day is the great Kermanshah Bazaar where we rub elbows with the local Kermanshah townfolk After having our fill of local color we drive to Shushtar. Overnight Shushtar

The Fashionable

Shushtar is popular for waterfalls and mills, the old water reserve system of Persia. You will see the UNESCO registered Historical Hydraulic System and a traditional house.. Another great hi-lite of the day is our visit to the magnificent 3200 year old Chigha Zanbil Temple, which belongs to the Elam period. It is one of the very few extant Ziggurats, and it is considered to be the BEST preserved example in the world !! In 1979 it became Iran's 1st UNESCO site. In Short a Ziggurat is a Babylonian temple tower. Afterwards we'll visit the Tomb of Daniel and take a short drive to Ahvaz. Overnight Ahvaz

Iranian Selfie with JMG travelers

We first visit the ancient site of Bishapour and then we fly to Shiraz... Upon arrival we have an orientation drive and tour around the city. Shiraz is famous for its gardens. We'll visit the Eram garden, and then the garden Tomb of Hafez. Hafez was one of the great poets of Persian literature in the 14th century. Overnight Shiraz
JMG group at Tomb of Hafez-8th century poet-Shiraz City

Today we have a full day in Shiraz. We start at the beautiful Nasir-al-Mulk (Pink Mosque) it took 12 years to complete, finally done in 1888. it is a magnificent structure inside and out with it's stunning colors. Nearby is the Vakil bazaar, where we have another opportunity to mix with the locals. Rounding out our colorful day is a tour of the Karim Khan citadel from the Zand Dynasty (18th cent.) and the Narenjestan Gardens (19th century). Overnight Shiraz

 UNESCO gardens in Shiraz

 UNESCO gardens in Shiraz

Today is a day of great ancient history, starting out with the legendary City of Persepolis (UNESCO), the former capital of Darius the Great. Persepolis was founded in the 5th Cent BC and it is truly stunning.. The reliefs look as if they were carved yesterday. Alexander the Great entered the city in 330 BC, and destroyed much of the city, but still, what remains is unforgettable. From here we take a short drive to Naqsh-e-Rustam. This is the necropolis where Darius and his successors were buried. The tombs are carved into the side of a cliff, reminding us of Petra in Jordan. This site is truly extraordinary. Next on tap is Pasargadae (UNESCO) which is the site of the tomb of Cyrus the Great, and the former capital of Achaemenid Empire. Overnight Shiraz


We have a morning flight to Kerman, where more adventure awaits us. Our morning in Kerman city we visit the beautiful Kerman Jame Mosque and the Ganjali Khan complex which consists of school, mosque, bazaar, and an old style bath house. After lunch we will have a truly unique experience as we drive to Shahdad at the edge of the Lut desert (UNESCO NATURAL SITE), where we will wander about the "Kaluts" , which are the wonderful sandy shaped earthen structures formed by wind and water erosion.. These formations are unique to the world. Overnight Kerman

Small Village Shrine and Mosque

Today is another day that will never be forgotten. We vist the Citadel of Rayen and then the Citadel of Bam (UNESCO). Bam is the largest mud brick fortress/city in the world. It is truly an amazing site. These sites date back over 1000 years. These 2 sites will easily fill our day. Overnight BAM

Ancient Citadel- Bam(UNESCO)

We have a relatively long drive today, our final destination being Yazd. But we have several stops along the way, which will break up the drive nicely. Our 1st stop is the town of Mahan where we visit the Shahzadeh gardens, which will show us the contrast between the green and the harsh desert backround. We will meet Sufis, who have come a long way to pay homage to their master, Shah Nematollah Vali in his shrine. Further on the way to Yazd we will visit the Zein-Al-Din Caravanserai in Mehriz. It is a masterpiece of the Safavid era, restored to its original glory. It is also UNESCO recognized. Overnight Yazd

Amir Chakhmaq Square YAZD City

April 2022 group in Shiraz

Day 13 YAZD
Yazd is one of the most continually inhabited cities in Iran and UNESCO considers it one of the most historical cities of the world !!! It is also the center of Iran's Zorastrian community, and this is where we will begin our day at the Towers of Silence. Here we will learn about the traditions of this pre-Islamic religion. Also at the still active Zorastrian Fire Temple, you'll see the flame that has been burning for the past 1500 years. We will also visit Amir Chakhmag Square where we will see the very impressive Hussainiya, a congregation hall for Shi'a ceremonies. Its facade is one of the city's most photographed landmarks. Overnight Yazd


Day 14 YAZD
Being that Yazd is one of the most historical cities in the world, we spend another full day here to truly absorb its atmosphere. We will visit historic beautiful old homes and also the Dowlat Abad garden, standing by a long reflecting pool, shaded by ancient cypress trees. We have time to wander the maze like streets of the extraordinary ancient city. Overnight YAZD

It's one wonderful day after another as our next "port of call" is Isfahan, where 2 more UNESCO sites await us. But on the way we 1st stop at Meybod (UNESCO TENTATIVE SITE). Meybod was set along an ancient trade route, where we will see several fascinating sites including another ancient Caravanserai. The ancient inn has some 100 rooms, some of which are used as artisan workshops. We stop at a local icehouse and learn the ancient traditions of food storage, many centuries before refridgeration was invented. We also stop in the small town of Na'in, an ancient community which dates back to the 8th century. In a private residence of the Safavid era, we'll learn about the region's cultural traditions. We arrive in Isfahan and check into our hotel for the next 3 nights. Overnight Isfahan

Imam Square and Masjed-e-Jame Mosque

As the capital of the Safavid Empire, Isfahan was one of the world's greatest cities. It was a wealthy city beyond imagination and it was politically powerful with Europeans, Ottomans, Indians and Chinese coming to its court.. Its grandeur inspired the proverb "Isfahan nesf-jahan" - "Isfahan is half the world." We 1st visit the UNESCO Masjed-e-Jame, from the 9th century, a masterpiece of Iranian architecture, covering nearly 5 acres in the heart of the city. Next is Imam Square (UNESCO) from the 17th century and it is one of the largest public squares of the world. Here in the square we'll visit the 17th century Shah Mosque. The hits just keep on coming as we visit the Ali Qapa Palace and the fascinating Qeisarich bazaar. Overnight Isfahan

Copper corner- Kermanshah city bazaar

Today we will visit Chehel Sotun, magnificent pavillions built by Shah Abbas set in a landscaped and forested park. We will also visit the Armenian quarter and the 17th century Vank Cathedral with its lavishly decorated interior with its unique blend of Islamic and European architectural elements. Not to be missed are the famous bridges on the Zayandeh River. We will also have time to return to Imam square for continued exploring and possible shopping. Overnight Isfahan

Women of Yazd City

Weaver in Meybod town

On our drive to Kashan we first stop at the classic mountain village of Abyaneh.(UNESCO TENTATIVE SITE) It will be another unique experience in Iran. In this ancient village, all the houses are in old world syle built from red clay. We'll enjoy wandering the narrow lanes and mingling with the local people. A little further north we arrive at our destination, Kashan city. It's another "wow" a little known gem of Iran. It has some of the most beautifully tiled shrines in Iran (notably that of Imamzadeh Hilal Ibn Ali) as well as the UNESCO Fin garden. We'll also visit the bazaar area, filled with Hamams (traditonal bath houses) and colorful mosques. It will be another day we will never forget. Overnight Kashan

Red village of Abyaneh

A short drive north from Kashan, we arrive at Qom, one of the 2 holiest cities in Iran. It is actually the 8th largest city in Iran, but our interest is in the magnificent Mosques and Shrines in the city center. Their architectural splendor is a sight to behold. It is the site of the shrine of Fatema Mae'sume, sister of Ali Ibn Musa Rida. If we don't remember the names, we can just admire the architectural beauty. The richly decorated facades and golden domes make it one of the area's most striking landmarks. Qom is the largest center for Shi'a scholarship in the world. The city and the shrines are considered the most sacred to the Shi'a. Regardless of one's faith, one can't help but to be moved by the piety of the pilgrims. We finally drive the last 60 miles back to Tehran.

Holy Shrine- Qom City

We have a morning flight to the city of Mashad, which along with Qom, is the other holy city of Iran. Purportedly Mashad is the final resting place of Islam's eighth Imam, after he was poisoned in 817. The mosques, mausoleums, and shrines are simply breathtaking. The Imam Reza Shrine (UNESCO TENTATIVE SITE) is a massive complex and pilgrims flock here from all over the world to pay their respects. We will take a guided tour of the compound for a better understanding of its rich History. Overnight Mashad

Shrine Courtyard-Mashad Holy City

We finish our sightseeing of Mashad with a visit to the Mausoleum of Omar Khayyam and the Tomb of Fredowsi. Afterwards we fly back to Tehran. Overnight Tehran

Our wonderful guide Mahdie and trusty driver Shahi

Our guide will transfer us back to Tehran's airport for our flight home or elsewhere.