Imagine you are travelling on smooth highways, and then get tempted by a dusty turn-off signed Adventure. Well, that turn-off is Iran. From the magnificent mountain vistas, majestic ancient ruins, beautiful mosques, lovely cafes and an indomitable, hospitable people. It is a destination that should be marked on every traveller’s bucket list!
Little known to most of the world, Iran is one of the safest places in the Middle East and is not associated with the problems that persist in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan. Also known as “the jewel in Islam’s crown”, it combines glorious architecture with a warm-hearted welcome.
Nature lovers could lose themselves on long hikes past plunging waterfalls, proud hills and tiny villages; or by trying their luck on the ski trails in Shemshak. But the best thing about Iran is that almost nobody else bothers to take this turn-off – meaning you’ll likely have the country to yourself. Welcome to Iran!
It is located on the Asian continent, bordered by Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Turkey, with a total population of approximately 80.28 million people. Iran ought to be one of the world’s most treasured travel destinations, but the past tough domestic regime that happens a few years back creates an international tension. However, it is good to know that things have changed and the Iranians are ever ready to welcome its visitors.
Iran is a bustling microcosm peacefully shared by cultures from all corners of the world. This diversity expresses itself in the culinary landscape, fashion, music and performance. Although rooted in Islamic tradition, this is an open society where it’s easy for newcomers and visitors to connect with myriad experiences: be it eating like a local, imbibing a little shisha culture, shopping for local art or riding a camel in the desert. Iran is certainly a fertile environment conducive to breaking down cultural barriers and preconceptions.
Snow cave in Iran | photo credit:chicagocave
A sense of the past
Steeped in myth, coveted by every conqueror with an eye for a prize, Iran tumultuous and multilayered past has left ancient riches strewn across this country. Some of the history’s biggest names – Cyrus and Darius, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan – all left their mark here and the cities they conquered or over which they ruled are among the finest in a region rich with such storied ruins. While strolling the cities you can spot the preserved architectural beauty of the Persepolis. Iran may welcome you to flop out on the beach, but dig into the past here and you’ll unearth the entire history of the Ancient Persia.
photo credit|travelguide to iran
Iran is first and foremost an outdoor destination. Local people favour active holidays, and you’ll be invited – even expected – to join them. The list of activities on offer is quite endless, with the most popular pursuits skiing, diving and hiking in the mountains, and increasingly, cycling.
Don’t forget to take a trip to Persepolis, where you will be offered an array of magnificent architectural beauty, and there are ample chances to try out more niche activities like horseback riding, ballooning, caving and canyoning. For the adrenaline junkies, hit the ski trails of 3,550 meters high at Shemshak or take cable ride to the top of the Sofe Mountain or you can opt to spend the night beneath the stars in Varzaneh desert. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
More, more and more adventures…
Whether you go slow or fast, choose coast or country, Iran is one of Middle East best place of adventures. Hike through the lush, silent interior to the twilight of Tadvan Cave. Walk the Nature Bridge as the sun goes down or feel like royalty in the lavish Golestan Palace. Don’t forget to join the quest of crossing the Esfan Bridge or go undercover at the US Den of Espionage, where diplomats were once held hostage for over a year as depicted in the movie Argo.
History buffs can opt to visit the stunning traditional houses in Kashan or explore the alleyways in the old town while you stroll, snack and chat with the friendly locals on the go. If all this sounds a bit much, you can always decamp to the coast of Qeshm Island where you have an opportunity to get close to virgin coral and marine life. It is so divine, you might just forget to leave.
Qesham Island coast
The “two” unmissable destinations
Iran should be on everyone’s travel list – it may not have many big-ticket attractions, but the warmth of its welcome and the friendliness of the Iranian people is unique and virtually same in all the cities. Where else in the world can you find friendly locals that are always eager to invite you over to share a meal.
Tehran is Iran’s most secular and capital city. Spend time here – as you should – and you’ll soon realise that the city is so much more than you think. Exploring this intriguing city will transport you on a journey through more than 250 years of Iranian history – from the adjacent Grand Bazaar and beautiful Azadi Tower to the contemporary cafes, beautiful mosques, traditional teahouses and on the hiking trails in the mountains, you can relax and enjoy all that’s good about Tehran.
Before you book your tickets, a word of warning: once in Yazd, there is a very good chance you won’t ever want to leave. It is by far Iran’s most picturesque city that warrants a lazy approach to the country. From rambling around the piles of historic lanes to popping into random teahouses, it is entirely a different world from the bustle of Tehran. For a mindblowing experience, rent a 4WD and explore the wilds or take a stroll through the lush forest. Wherever your interests lie, you’ll find it hard not to leave utterly captivated.
- Find cheap flights to Iran here
sunrise fog in yazd
If you are a fashionista looking for the next trendy wear, shopping in Iran is perfect for you. Shop ’til you drop at an affordable price! Some of the stores look like an Italian palazzo or a Persian palace and it keeps luring visitors with lovely wares. Bater with a smile for the best Persian rugs in the world while you take the Iranian tea in a local style or visit the other Bazaars for spices, hennas, natural perfumes and jewellery. The traditional souqs, too, are beehives of activity humming with timeless bargaining banter. Iran is bound to give you a 360-degree overview of shopping possibilities.
A Culinary Feast
Chelo Kebabs is a delicious way to acquaint yourself with the local cuisine. Tantalise your taste buds with a feast of small dishes ranging from the creamy yoghurt to kebabs and Kofta(minced meat formed into meatballs) to everything in between. The food is heavily influenced by Persian and Middle Eastern food cultures. Don’t forget to try the homemade yoghurts with mineral water or delicious coffee in one of the cosy cafes. Iran is definitely a gastronomy destination!
Nigerians can get a visa on arrival for 30days
Best time to visit
Iran is a year-round destination. The climate is warm throughout the year which makes it the perfect holiday escape.
The easiest way to get to Iran is by flying. However, note there might be stops, depending on the airline you are travelling with. The airport code is IKA. Book with Travelstart now.
Duration: 7 hours, 15 minutes(non stops)
nature bridge|photo credit: pinterest
Are you ready to leave behind the hustle of daily life and get lost in your own quest for adventure? Start preparing now and take the turnoff on the dusty road yourself! Book for a cheap flight on Travelstart, pack your bags and discover a new world of your own.