- Tour Plan
- Additional Info
- Domestic Airfare
- English-Speaking Guide
- Entrance Fees
- Meals - Full Board
- Visa Authorization
- Airfare- International
- Optional Activities
- Personal Expenses
- Trip Insurance
- Visa Services
- Day 1
- Day 2
- Day 3
- Day 4
- Day 5
- Day 6
- Day 7
- Day 8
- Day 9
- Day 10
- Day 11
- Day 12
- Day 13
- Day 14
- Day 15
Arrival in Tehran, meet and transfer to hotel and overnight (O/N) stay.
After breakfast we will depart for a half day visit to some of Tehran’s major museums to include Iran’s National Museum , displaying an authenticated collection of pre-historic and ancient artifacts with pottery dating back to 6-7 millennium B.C.; and the Abguineh (Glass & Ceramics) Museum, a valuable collection of pre-Islamic and Islamic glass and ceramics, beautifully displayed and located in an elegant early 20th-century mansion; and the Carpet Museum, with an extensive collection of old and new Persian carpets and rugs from the major carpet-weaving centers of Iran. We will have a late afternoon transfer to the airport for our flight to Ahwaz, as available. Dinner and overnight in Ahwaz.
AHWAZ/EXCURSION TO CHOGHA ZANBIL, SUSA & SHUSHTAR
Today we will have a full-day excursion to Chogha-Zanbil, to visit the ziggurat built by Untash Gal, King of Elam, about 1250 B.C.. The massive man-made mound was the focal point of his city of Dur Untashi, and was dedicated to the great god Inshushinak, ‘Lord of Susa’ symbolized by the form of a bull. Continue and visit Haft-Tappeh, or Seven Mounds (Elamite Necropolis), whose discovery in the 1960’s has filled one of the less well-documented periods in Elamite history. Next is Susa, the site of one of the oldest civilizations in Western Asia, dating back to 5,000 B.C. and the remains of Achaemenian palaces, plus the nearby Tomb of Biblical Prophet Daniel. After lunch, and time-permitting, we will drive to Shushtar, a small town perched on limestone cliffs above the Karun River, whose past can be traced through a remarkable series of interconnecting channels, dams, bridges and irrigation works. Overnight stay at our hotel in Ahwaz.
After berakfast we drive to Shiraz, en-route visit Bishapur, remains of the Sassanian city built by Shapur 1st (241-273 A.D.), the second Sassanian king. The building complex includes a central chamber, a large courtyard which had been covered with impressive mosaics, plus the remains of a temple dedicated to Anahita, the goddess of water and fertility. On either side of a narrow gorge, there are also six Sassanian rock/reliefs at Tang-e-Chogan, commemorating Shapur’s victories over the Romans and other adversaries. Continue to Shiraz for dinner and overnight.
Today we will enjoy a full day city tour of Shiraz to visit some of the famous gardens of this city of “roses and nightingales”, including the Eram Garden, the tomb of Iran’s greatest lyric poets, Hafez and Sa'adi. We will also visit the pink tiled 19th-century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, the Arg-e-Karim Khan (18th-century citadel), the Madrassa Khan (Theological School) to have interaction with teachers and students, the Qajar-period Narenjestan Garden/House, the Vakil Bazaar of Shiraz (Bazaar is closed on Fridays), and the Holy Shrine of Shah-e-Cheragh (not open to non-Moslems and can only be seen from outside). Overnight in Shiraz.
SHIRAZ/EXCURSION TO PERSEPOLIS, NAGHSH-E-ROSTAM & PASARGADAE
After breakfast depart for a full day excursion to Persepolis, one of the most important sites of the Ancient World, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings with remains of the palaces of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and its famous bas-reliefs, depicting kings and courtiers and gift-bearing representatives of tributary nations of the Persian Empire. Also visit Naghsh-e-Rostam to see Ka’be-Zardosht (fire temple/sanctuary), and Royal Tombs (also Achaemenid), plus seven magnificent Sassanian rock-reliefs (including Shapur the First’s famous victory over Roman Emperor Valerian). Afterwards drive a further 70 Km to Pasargadae, pre-dating Persepolis, site of the simple, but impressive, tomb of Cyrus the Great, the Founder of the Persian Empire, and remains of his several palaces, all located in the vast plain of Dasht-e-Morghab. Return to Shiraz for overnight.
Drive to Kerman, en-route visit the remains of the Sassanian Palace at Sarvestan. This fifth century A.D. building is thought by many to be a hunting lodge or small palace built by Bahram V (420-440 A.D.). On this day you will pass along salt lakes, spectacular mountains, outstanding fig and almond orchards planted on the steep slopes of the mountains. Overnight in Kerman.
KERMAN/EXCURSION TO RAYEN & MAHAN
Full day excursion to the village of Rayen to visit the Arg, or Citadel, of Rayen, a miniature version of the Arg-e-Bam, with all the architectural features of a desert citadel, now on the map as a result of the tragic earthquake in Bam which destroyed the town and its magnificent citadel (still under reconstruction and restorations), on the return drive stop at Mahan, to visit the blue-tiled Mausoleum of Shah Nematollah-e-Vali, the great 14th century Sufi Leader, and the Shahzadeh Garden (late 19th century Qajar-period garden/house); return to Kerman for overnight stay at hotel.
Half day visits in Kerman to see Ganj-Ali-Khan Complex (17th century Safavid period bathhouse, bazaar, and caravanserai), the Hammam-e-Vakil; another 18th century bathhouse turned into a traditional teahouse/restaurant, and the 14th century Friday Mosque. In the afternoon drive to Yazd, en-route visit Zein-ed-Din Caravanserai, dating from the Safavid period. Overnight in Yazd.
Full day visits in Yazd, the center for Iran’s small Zoroastrian community, to include one of the two Zoroastrian abandoned Towers of Silence (Dakhma), dating back to the 17th century, where until some 40-50 years ago the dead were carried and left to decompose and be devoured by birds, and the active Zoroastrian Fire Temple, the fire of which has been burning for about 1500 years. Among Yazd’s Islamic sites is the Friday Mosque (1324 A.D.) with the highest portal and minarets in Iran. Other notable Islamic monuments in the old Fahadan quarter of Yazd are the Seljuk shrine dedicated to the Twelve Shi’ite Imams; and Ziaieyeh Theological School, known as Zendan-e-Eskander or Alexander’s Prison. There are, also, many beautiful old houses in Yazd, among them the Dowlat-Abad Garden, with an 18th century feudal hexagonal house. Overnight in Yazd.
Drive to Isfahan, en-route visit Na’in, a charming desert town, half way between Yazd and Isfahan, to visit the 10th century Friday Mosque, and the 17th century Pirnia House/Ethnographic Museum. Enjoy a walk through the old part of the town, then continue the drive to Isfahan for overnight.
Full day tour of the beautiful city of Isfahan, the 17th century capital of the Safavids, referred to as Nesf-e-Jahan (Half of the World) in Safavid sources. We will to visit the famous bridges of Shahrestan/Khajou/Sio-se-pol and the Armenian Quarter with several churches, including the important Cathedral of Vank. In the afternoon visit one of the world’s grandest squares, the Maidan-e-Naghsh-e-Jahan, with several sites (the Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo games, and two of Islamic world’s greatest mosques – the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Imam – with magnificent architecture and tilework), finishing with a visit to the Qeisarieh Bazaar with hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous. Overnight in Isfahan.
Further visits in Isfahan to include the magnificent Friday Mosque, with the famous Uljaitu Mihrab (Prayer Niche) of the Il-Khanid period. The Friday Mosque is considered a museum of a thousand years of Persian religious architecture and is truly one of the world’s greatest mosques. From here drive to the Chehel Sotun Palace, built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century. Its twenty wooden columns are reflected in the surface of the pool, giving rise to its name ‘The Palace of Forty Columns’. Final stop of the day is at the Hasht Behesht pavilion built in 1670 by Shah Solayman and known as the Pavilion of Eight Paradises or the Palace of Nightingales. The small but intricate building is set among tree-lined alleys, a reflecting pool and water rills. Overnight in Isfahan.
Morning drive to Tehran, en-route stop over at the charming town of Natanz to visit a beautiful Islamic Complex (Friday Mosque/Monastery/Tomb of Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani), then on to Kashan to visit the historical garden of Fin which was first planted during the Safavid period and kept alive with water from the nearby Sulaimanieh Spring. This beautiful garden was expanded by the Zand and Qajar monarchs, with many open pavilions added. You will also visit a fine example of a 19th century merchant residence known as Taba-Tabai House with its beautiful stucco dome and inlaid mirror work, with some of the best examples of existing “badgirs” (wind-catchers). Continue to Tehran and drive by the Mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, then transfer to hotel for overnight stay.
Transfer to IKA airport for departure flight.
More about Iran
More about this tour
The visa authorization process can take up to 2 months to complete. If you have any questions about the process, please call our office: 206-545-7300.
Included in Tour Price:
- Visa authorization
- Full-board accommodation in 3-5 star (best available in each city) hotels, breakfast at hotels, lunch and dinner at best available local restaurants, or hotels
- All land transportation in air conditioned bus/minivan
- All transfers to/from airport, from/to hotel
- All portages and entrance fees for main sites and excursions
- Highly-qualified English-speaking national guide and local guides in Shiraz and Isfahan
- Domestic flight Tehran to Ahwaz
- International air - please note that if you book your own air, arrange it so you arrive in the evening of day 1. If you arrive early you will be charged for an extra night at the hotel. Please ask Caravan-Serai for any assistance you may need in booking your flights.
- Visa and processing fee ($200)
- Personal expenses such as internet access, room service, telephone/fax calls, laundry, dry cleaning, etc.
- Optional tours or entrance fees not shown on the itinerary
- Refreshments, snacks, etc., en route or during meals, caviar at any meals
- Fuel surcharges, if any
- Tips for guides ($20), drivers ($10), and drivers’ assistant ($4-5) – amounts are only suggestions and are per person, per day
- Trip insurance
Please Note: When traveling to Iran, Caravan-Serai Tours and our partner in Iran are responsible for your actions while you are in Iran. In order to obtain the visas for our travelers, it is under condition that you will adhere to all the rules and laws pertaining to foreigners, particularly Americans, traveling in Iran. You are required to stay with the group/guide at all times. Transfers by our coordinator in Iran to and from the airport are required – no taxis are allowed. If you have any questions about this please call us. Thank you for your understanding.