How to travel to Iran without breaking a sweat!
So you’ve chosen Iran as the destination of your next trip, or you’re currently researching your options; either way, It’s time to talk about it in detail, and who’s better at explaining this than the four-time “National Model Exporter of Tourism Services” award winner, Gashttour Travel and Tour Agency. Here are the subjects covered by this article:
- Reasons for Travelling to Iran
- Best Time to Visit Iran
- Iran Visa
- Laws and Costumes of Travelling to Iran
- Iran Hotels
- Transportation in Iran
- Places to visit in Iran
- Iran Tour Guides
Reasons for Travelling to Iran
We have talked about the whys of traveling to Iran in length before, and now is the time to talk about the hows, or more specifically, how to travel to Iran without breaking a sweat! But for those who may want a small reminder, here are some of the reasons for traveling to Iran:
- Cheap prices. Compared to other destinations, touring Iran usually ends up cheaper due to the exchange rate of the local currency.
- Exotic diversity. Iran is home to countless different ethnicities, groups, and religions. From Persians, Kurds, Azeris, Arabs, and Lurs to Mazandaranis, Gilaks, Turkmens, Armenians, and many more groups.
- Nature. Iran has a vast, wild nature with magnificent jungles, amazing springs, and majestic mountains, such as Mount Damavand which is the highest peak in Iran and Western Asia, Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests, and Larijan Hot Spring which is one of the main attractions of the Mazandaran province.
- History. Iran continues the legacy of one of the oldest civilizations in the world, with a rich history dating back to 7000 BC. The German philosopher Hegel, who’s one of the founding figures of Modern philosophy, calls the Persians the “first Historical People”.
Best Time to Visit Iran
The two main things to look out for when you’re choosing to travel to Iran are the weather and public holidays. They can cause rises and dips in prices and you probably don’t want to visit the country at its busiest time, unless you enjoy the chaos of foreign and exotic festivities. For more information on Iran’s peak touristic seasons please check out this page.
Beware of traveling to Iran during these Periods
The two main periods that you should watch out for are Nowruz and Ramadan. Nowruz is the Iranian new year that is celebrated at the beginning of spring, and it’s the biggest Iranian national holiday. Nowruz starts around March 20th and lasts about two weeks. This is a very busy and chaotic time, which results in a higher price and many places close down for the celebrations. Ramadan is a holy month in the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar and that means that Ramadan will shift around slightly every year in the Iranian calendar, which is a solar calendar. During Ramadan, it is forbidden to eat or drink anything in the public between sunrise and sunset. You can of course eat and drink in private. After the night falls, be prepared to feast on exotic food and sweets. We have detailed the public holidays in Iran here.
Due to the geographical location of Iran, it goes through vastly different temperatures and four different seasons. July and August are the hottest months, with temperatures reaching into the 40s in many cities. This is more than unpleasant as shorts and tank-tops are forbidden for men, and women must wear hijab which makes it even hotter. Late November, December, January, and February are usually very cold, especially in the mountainous areas in the north and west of the country. In March, April and May, Iran goes through heavenly temperatures, with September and October being also pleasant months weather-wise. Click here for more information on Iran’s climate.
Almost all nationalities require a valid visa to enter Iran. Based on the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regulations, Tourist Visa is for those foreign nationalities interested in traveling to Iran individually or with a group. The purpose of this trip could be whether to visit their friends and relatives or to visit Iran itself. The MoFA issues an Iran Visa for a maximum duration of a 30-day stay, with the option of applying for extensions. For more info on the subject of Iran visas, please our Iran Visa page.
Laws and Costumes of Travelling to Iran
Every country has its local laws and customs, and Iran is no exception to this rule; but because of the Islamic regime and its strict religious Ideals, also known as Sharia, the risk of breaking the law and getting in trouble is higher in Iran than most countries. The major laws that relate to tourists are detailed below. You should also know that all forms of alcoholic drinks and public displays of affection between couples are strictly illegal in Iran, so plan your trip accordingly.
Iran Travel Insurance
As with almost every country, valid travel insurance is required to enter Iran. We suggest you ask your local insurance providers if they cover Iran or not, but you also have the option of buying it in the embassy, the airport, or at the office of an Iranian insurance provider. For more info on this topic, please check out our Iran Travel Insurance Page.
Iran Covid Travel Restrictions
After nearly 20 months of closed borders due to Covid-19 which led to a $330M losses in Iran’s tourism industry, the aerial and land borders of Iran have opened once again to tourists by the order of the current president of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi. The policy has changed a couple of times since re-opening, at the moment these are the requirements of entering Iran in regards to the covid-19 restrictions:
- Either a negative PCR test, no older than 72 hours
- Or the conformation of receiving at least two doses of an approved vaccine.
After a couple of rough years, the pandemic seems under control and many other restrictions are waivered.
Iran Dress Code
Under Islamic Republic Law, women must wear hijab. Hijab is mandatory for every female, including local people, foreigners, and tourists. Women’s clothing must not be sheer and should cover their arms, legs, and hair. There are no restrictions on colors and designs, as long as they adhere to the other rules of the hijab. If you have any trouble finding suitable clothes, you can buy them in Iran, but you need must wear a hijab or veil to enter Iran. It is forbidden in the Islamic Republic for men to wear shorts or tank tops. Be sure to study our Iran Dress Code page before visiting Iran.
Apart from Star Hotels, we have three different kinds of hotels in Iran: Boutique Hotels, Designer Hotels, and Eco-Lodges, and you can read all about them on our Iran Hotels page. As common sense dictates, you should book your hotel room ASAP, especially if it’s at a busy time for hotels. You can use our sister site, Iran hotel. co, for booking your accommodations.
Transportation in Iran
There are many different modes of transportation in Iran, and it all depends on your budget, schedule, and destination. Whether you want to rent a car, hire a driver or just use a taxi, we recommend you to check out our page on transportation.
Country-wide traveling is done in mainly three ways: By automobiles, trains, and planes. Although the country is covered from north and south with large bodies of water (the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf respectively), there aren’t many rivers big enough to handle ships inside the country, therefor seafaring is reserved mostly for trading, and occasional trips to Gulf islands, Like Kish, Hormuz, and Qeshm. Almost every city in Iran has an airport, so you can travel the vast country with ease and speed, but on some trips, it may make more sense to travel by land due to financial reasons or the majestic sights on the way, like the heavenly Golestan Forest on the way to Gorgan or the ancient Necropolis on the way to Shiraz.
Local transportation, meaning inside a city, is done mostly by cars and busses, while some major cities like Tehran and Shiraz have subway systems that can help you escape the hassles of traffic. There are three kinds of taxis in Iran, official ones employed by the government which can be easily identified by their color (Yellow or Green), private ones operated by private citizens, and internet taxis (Snapp, Tapsi, and many others). Due to obvious reasons, official and internet taxis are generally safer and more reliable than private ones if you’re all by your lonesome. You can use the Subway and Bus systems found in Tehran and other cities with a chargeable magnetic card sold in many different stations throughout the city.
If you rather have a car all of your own, you have three choices. If you’re traveling to Iran through a neighboring country like Armenia or Turkey, you can bring your vehicle if it can pass the Iranian limitations and laws. If you want to rent a car in Iran, you could use Euro Car rental companies that can rent you a car with or without an experienced driver.
Places to visit in Iran
Here’s an amazing fact, as of 2021 with the addition of the Trans-Iranian Railway, Iran has 26 properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, with 24 of them being cultural and 2 being natural sites. To give you a bit of perspective on this, %2.2 of all 1154 World Heritage Properties exist in Iran. Compare Iran’s 26 properties to Turkey’s 19, Greece’s 18, Egypt’s 7, and Armenia’s 3, one can deduce that a trip to Iran is filled with fascinating experiences and many historical facts to learn, but it can be hard to see all those amazing sites (and many more properties that are not included on the UNESCO World Heritage List) on limited time slots, and that’s where Gashttour comes in to save the day! With more than 3 decades of experience, we can create a tailor-made itinerary fit for your specific taste and needs. When say that when it comes to Iran and its vast landmass, even 14 full days of sightseeing can fail to meet your expectations if you haven’t done your research before taking your trip. Visiting some cities and sites at certain times can be difficult or outright impossible due to local customs and holidays, so we advise you to contact us at ([email protected]) to help you out with your trip.
Tehran is the capital of Iran, a sprawling metropolis which holds close to 12 million people inside. Shiraz, Isfahan, and Yazd form the essential touristic. Tabriz, Kerman, Hamadan, Kermanshah, and Kashan are also historic cities that are visited every day by tourists. Hormuz, Qeshm, and Kish are three lovely islands located in the Persian Gulf, each one a perfect destination for your travels. Qom and Mashhad are Islamic holy cities. Choosing which cities to visit largely depends on your interests and the time of the year. We highly recommend you read up on Iran cities to help you choose the ones that are right for you.
Iran Tour Guides
Continuing our previous point, you may prefer to obtain the help of an experienced and official tour operator and guide. Before choosing one, you should know that Iran officials are very keen and strict about professional tour guide courses. They train the applicants for at least a year before qualifying for a complete challenging tour guide exam. If you want to visit Iran and are thinking about how to hire the services of a professional tour guide, you should check out our Iran Guides page.