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Iran: Behind the Veil

Iran, Africa, Middle East

from $6,625* per person 17 Days April, September
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: Travcoa 24 people max
  • Tehran, iran
  • Active & Adventure trips
Journey to the heart of Persia as you enjoy the luxury of traveling with a small group and gaining privileged access to this little-visited land. Begin in Tehran where local guides will introduce you to the history and culture of Iran at museums, palaces and the country’s national bank, which houses the incredible crown jewels. Then travel west to Hamadan and enjoy privately guided visits to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In the north of the country, Tabriz is one of the friendliest cities in Iran. Stay in a unique cave hotel in the fairytale land of Kandovan, whose inhabitants live in houses carved out of compressed volcanic ash. Travel south to the city of poets, Shiraz, and then venture into the past on a privately guided tour of the ancient city of Persepolis. Enjoy Isfahan, the cultural capital of Iran, and relish its iconic bridges, massive mosques and fabulous palaces.

Locations visited/nearby

Iran, Africa, Middle East

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Itinerary

DAYS 1 – 3

Tehran, Iran

Arrive in Tehran and embark on a city tour with your private guide. In the Central Bank, see the crown jewels, including a 182-carat diamond and a globe covered with nearly 51,000 gemstones. Visit the Rose Garden Palace, which houses a museum dedicated to Iranian life in the various provinces of the country; the National Archaeological Museum; and a carpet exhibition where you will learn about the various styles and designs of Persia’s most famous export.

Espinas International Hotel, Tehran

DAYS 4 & 5

Hamadan

Fly to the western part of the country and visit the archaeological sites of Taq-e-Bostan with its spectacular 6th century bas reliefs; the 5th century B.C. site of Bisotun, which is located along an ancient trading road and features magnificent rock carvings; and the Achaemenian Rock inscriptions near a waterfall in the Alvand Mountains. After immersing yourself in ancient history including the tombs of Bab Taher, and Esther and Mordecai.

Parsian Azadi Hotel, Hamadan

DAY 6

Tabriz

Depart for Tabriz, situated north of the beautiful Mt. Sahand on a plain surrounded on three sides by mountains. En route stop at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Takht-e Suleiman (Throne of Solomon), one of Iran’s most important ancient holy sites and rumored to be the birthplace of the ancient prophet Zoroaster. Then explore Tabriz, Iran’s most welcoming city, with visits to the ancient Blue Mosque and one of the oldest and largest bazaars in the Middle East.

Pars Hotel, Tabriz

DAYS 7 & 8

Kandovan

Drive to the mysterious 13th-century village of Kandovan. What makes Kandovan so unique is that many of its homes have been carved into cone-shaped, naturally formed compressed volcanic ash formations. Take a day trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Church of St. Thaddeus, one of the earliest Armenian Christian churches. Back in Kandovan, enjoy the evenings in your luxury hotel that has been carved from the rock itself.

Kandovan Laleh Rocky Hotel, Kandovan

DAYS 9 & 10

Yazd

Return to Tehran, stopping at the residence of the Ayatollah Khomeini before catching your flight for Yazd, located in the heart of the country. The ancient religion of Zoroastrianism is still strong in this area and in the evening light you may see the famous Towers of Silence in the distance on the hilltops outside of Yazd. Set between two great deserts, Yazd maintains much of its culture and feels untouched by modernity. You’ll visit medieval mosques, traditional wind towers and beautiful architecture in this fascinating and remote outpost.

Safaieh Hotel, Yazd

DAYS 11 – 13

Pasargadae, Shiraz & Persepolis

Drive to Shiraz via Cyrus the Great’s capital of Pasargadae where you will visit Cyrus’ austere tomb, his opulent palace and the ruins of this once-great city. Then enter Shiraz, the city of poets, roses and nightingales, which was the cradle of royal civilization in Persia. The city offers a multitude of delights, including the great university; delightful parks; the mausoleum of one of Persia’s greatest poets, Hafiz; and the incredible bazaar, which occupies acres of land and includes innumerable shops, bathhouses and artisans’ workshops. Then spend a day exploring the ruins of Persepolis, pride of the Achaemenian kings until it was ransacked and destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 B.C. Impressive for its size alone, the complex also holds astounding examples of intricate sculpture and graceful architecture. That evening, fly to Isfahan.

Homa Hotel, Shiraz & Abbasi Hotel, Isfahan

DAYS 14 & 15

Isfahan

Travel to Isfahan, one of the most beautiful cities in Iran and the 17th-century capital of the Safavid Dynasty. You’ll see the Chehel Sotune Palace and garden; the Armenian Vank Church; the incredible blue domes of the Imam mosque and the Sheikh Lotfollah mosque; the ancient Friday mosque; the city’s several ornate bridges; and the extensive Isfahan Bazaar with its hundreds of shops offering everything under the sun.

Abbasi Hotel, Isfahan

DAYS 16 & 17

Abyaneh, Tehran & Depart for Home

After breakfast, depart Isfahan for Abyaneh, a beautiful remote mountain village that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built on a mountainside, houses cluster together and sit atop one another. Twisting lanes wind up and down the hills and the pace of life here feels hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. Continue to Kashan, which flourished during the Safavid Dynasty, to visit the unique Boroujerdi Residence and beautiful Find Garden. Then return to Tehran for a festive farewell dinner before departing the next morning.

Espinas International Hotel, Tehran

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