“Overall this trip was amazing, you have a lifetime customer, and Iran has a lifetime advocate (I am telling everyone how great of a place it is to travel to). I knew people in the Middle East are very welcoming and friendly to all, this was over the top, I always felt welcome and cared for by the people of Iran.
Experience Iran for yourself in 2012. This tour in April is the first of 3 we have schedule. The second will be in May, and the third will be in October. See for yourself!
Iran: Kerman to Tabriz
April 9 – 24, 2012
Apr 9: Upon our late evening arrival at IKA airport in Tehran, we will be met and transferred to our hotel for overnight.
Apr 10: Tehran We will have a full day of sightseeing in Tehran to visit several museums and monuments in the city. We may visit the former residence of the last Shah of Iran at Sa’ad-Abad Palace and Museum Complex, and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Niavaran Palace, and the Tehran Bazaar. Complete your visit of Tehran with a visit to the National Jewels Museum. On display is an impressive collection of some of the most famous and spectacular jewels in the world including many priceless pieces. Many pieces have disappeared over the years but the remaining collection of gemstones, jewelry, royal emblems, ornamental guns and jewel-encrusted furniture is still impressive. The majority of the items on display were given to Safavid kings as gifts but many pieces taken by Nader Shah on his conquest of India are also exhibited. These include the Darya-e Nur diamond, The Peacock Throne and the Jeweled Globe. Other pieces include the crowns of the Qajar and Pahlavi Kings. (Please note that the order of museum visits may vary due to different hours of operation and other scheduling issues) Dinner and overnight in Tehran.
Apr 11: Tehran-Kerman After breakfast, we will depart for another city tour of Tehran, Iran’s capital to see museums and sites not visited the day before. In the late afternoon we transfer to the airport for our flight to Kerman. On arrival in Kerman we will transfer to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Apr 12: Kerman/Excursion to Rayen & Mahan Today we will have a 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. Arg e Rayen is now gaining prominence as a result of the tragic earthquake in Bam which destroyed the town and its magnificent citadel. On the return journey we will 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). We will return to Kerman to have a city tour. We will see the Ganj-Ali-Khan Complex that is comprised of a 17th century Safavid period bathhouse, caravanserai, and bazaar, plus the Friday Mosque. Dinner and overnight in Kerman.
Apr 13: Kerman – Yazd After breakfast we will have one last look around the city of Kerman to see anything we missed the day before, then depart for Yazd. On arrival in Yazd we will check in to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Apr 14: Yazd After breakfast depart for a full day of sightseeing in Yazd, the center for Iran’s small Zoroastrian community. Seeking refuge from the invading Arabs the Zoroastrians found a safe haven within Yazd’s fortified walls. We will see 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 Yazd are the Seljuk shrine dedicated to the Twelve Shi’ite Imams, and the 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 hexagonal house. Dinner and overnight in Yazd.
Apr 15: Yazd-Shiraz This morning we depart for Shiraz. Along the way we will stop at Abarkuh and Pasargadae for a visit. Pasargadae is the site of the simple, but impressive, tomb of Cyrus the Great (founder of the Persian Empire), and the remains of his palaces. Continue on to Shiraz for dinner and overnight.
Apr 16: Shiraz/Excursion to Persepolis-Isfahan After breakfast we depart for a half day excursion to Persepolis, the extensive remains of the palaces of the Achaemenid kings Darius I, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, with magnificent bas-reliefs. After that we visit Naghsh-e-Rostam, site of an Achaemenid-period fire-temple and sanctuary, four Royal Tombs and eight Sassanian rock-reliefs including the impressive victory scene of Shapur I over Roman Emperor Valerian. After visiting the site return to Shiraz the city of “roses and nightingales”. In the afternoon we return to Shiraz for a city tour. Some of the sights we may see include the Tomb of Iran’s greatest lyric poet, Hafez, Narenjestan (a reception/residential house/garden), the pink-tiled Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, the Eram Garden, and the very interesting nomads’ bazaar of Shiraz. In the evening we transfer to the airport for our flight to Isfahan. On arrival we transfer to the hotel for overnight.
Apr 17: Isfahan After breakfast we depart for a tour of the beautiful city of Isfahan, the 17th century capital of the Safavids, referred to as Nesf-e-Jahan (Half of the World). Our tour will include a visit to the famous bridges of Shahrestan, Khajou, and Sio-se-pol, and the Armenian Quarter to visit the Cathedral of Vank. In the afternoon we visit one of the world’s grandest squares – the Maidan-e-Naghsh-e-Jahan. The Maidan is the location of the Ali-Qapu Palace with its magnificent architecture and tile-work. The palace has enchanting music rooms and a balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo games. Also on the square are two of the Islamic world’s greatest mosques: the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and the Shah Mosque. Finish with a visit to the Qeisarieh Bazaar with hundreds of shops displaying the art and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous. Dinner and overnight in Isfahan.
Apr 18: Isfahan We will have another full day of sightseeing in Isfahan, including a visit to the magnificent Friday Mosque, with the famous Uljaitu Mihrab (Prayer Niche) of the Il-Khanid period, the Harun-e-Velayat Shrine and the Ali Minaret. We will also visit Chehel-Sotun (Forty Columns) Palace and Hasht-Behesht (Eight Paradise) Palace (from outside), both set in beautiful gardens/parks. Afterwards we will return to the Maidan and shops for another visit and shopping before returning to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Apr 19: Isfahan-Tehran This morning we will depart very early to drive to Tehran. En-route we will have a brief stop over at the charming town of Natanz to visit a beautiful Islamic Complex which includes a Friday Mosque, Monastery, and the Tomb of Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani. Continue to Kashan for a short visit to 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. Continue on to Tehran. Upon our arrival in Tehran we will check in to the Laleh Hotel for dinner and overnight.
Apr 20: Tehran-Tabriz This morning we fly to Tabriz. Once there we will have a full-day city tour of Tabriz which will include a visit to the Blue Mosque, completed in 1465 by Nimatullah ibn Mohammad Bavvab. Also visit the Azarbaijan Museum and the Shah-Goli Pavilion. End our day at the bazaar. Overnight in Tabriz.
Apr 21: Tabriz/Excursion Kandovan Today after breakfast we will have a full day excursion to the volcanic city of Kandovan. Kandovan village is located 50 km to the south of Tabriz, Osku, on the northern slopes of a valley at the foothills of Mount Sahand. The landscape is similar to Cappadocia in Turkey. The rock cones created by thousands of years or erosion have been carved out and made into dwellings. Return to Tabriz for overnight.
Apr 22: Tabriz-Anzali This morning we will drive to Bandar-é-Anzali via Ardabil to visit the Sheikh Safi-eddin Ardabili Mausoleum and Museum. Ardabil is best known as the birthplace of the eminent religious leader Sheik Safi-eddin (1251-1334) from whom the Safavid dynasty was descended. Continue to Bandar-é-Anzali for dinner and overnight.
Apr 23: Anzali-Tehran This morning we will drive to Tehran, with a stop at the village of Masulé. This is picturesque mountain village where the homes and buildings seem to cling to the side of the mountain. Homes are built practically on top of one another. Enjoy sightseeing in the village then continue on to Tehran for dinner and overnight.
Apr 24: Early morning transfer to the airport for departure.
End of services.
Full-board accommodation in 3-5 star hotels, breakfast at hotels, lunch and dinner at best available local restaurants, or hotels
All land transportations in air conditioned minivan
All group transfers to/from airports, from/to hotels
All portages and entrance fees for main sites and excursions
Highly-qualified English-speaking national guide and local guides in Shiraz and Isfahan
Domestic flights: Tehran-Kerman, Shiraz-Isfahan, Tehran-Tabriz
Personal expenses such as 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 ($8), drivers ($4), and drivers’ assistant ($2) – amounts are only suggestions and are per person, per day