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Make your own way
|Price range||From £2795|
|Travel partner||Wild Frontiers|
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Iran: Land of the Peacock Throne
Throughout history Iran, or Persia as it once was called, has loomed large in world history, as indeed it does today. You will work your way slowly south through many of her famous monuments and some of her lesserknown attractions, staying in delightful hotels and rural atmospheric homestays, offering a perfect blend of culture and adventure.
HIGHLIGHTS • Experience the hospitality of nomadic shepherds • Explore the beautiful Zagros Mountains • Visiting the ancient sights of Persepolis • Time to explore, chill out and shop in Esfahan • Seeing the Royal family’s extraordinary crown jewels
- Full services of a Wild Frontiers Tour Leader with local guides and drivers.
- Meal plan as detailed in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner) with mineral water as required.
- All transport as outlined in the itinerary
- All accommodation
- All entrance fees, as per itinerary
- A carbon-offsetting contribution to Carbon Clear (if booking international flights through WF office)
- Visas (if applicable)
- Local airport taxes
- Tips (always optional, but some guidance will be given in the predeparture information pack you’ll receive after booking)
- Beverages & any costs of a personal nature
- International Flights
- Airport transfers (unless booking suggested flights through WF office)
The tour begins at lunchtime today at our hotel. This afternoon we will visit the National Museum, giving us an introduction to this ancient country. We will also have the opportunity to enter the well guarded bank vaults that hold the famous Persian crown jewels – including the glorious Peacock Throne – and possibly visit some more of Tehran’s attractions time permitting. Hotel (L,D)
Day 2: Tehran – Kashan – Abyaneh
This morning we drive south into Iran’s mountainous and desert interior. We stop in Kashan for lunch where we visit the Royal Gardens of Fin, and the Agha Bozorg Mosque, which was built in the 18th century. The mosque is famous for its imposing dome and large sunken Maddrassah, and the large wooden door that guards the entrance is said to have as many studs as there are verses of the Quran. Continue on to Abyaneh, said to be one of the most fascinating villages in the country with some magnificent views of the surrounding red mountains. Guesthouse (B,L,D)
Day 3: Abyaneh – Yazd
After exploring the sleepy village of Abyaneh, we plan to stop for lunch in the small town of Na’in, where we can also visit one of the oldest mosques in Iran. In the afternoon we continue our drive through the desert, hopefully arriving in Yazd in time to watch an eerie sunset from the Towers of Silence, the unique Zoroastrian burial towers. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 4: Yazd
Our first port of call is the Bagh-e-Doulat Abad Gardens, which were once a residence of the former ruler Karim Khan Zand. They consist of small pavilions set in peaceful gardens and the tallest Badgir (wind tower) in town. Then on to visit the magnificent Jameh (Friday) Mosque and the informative Water Museum. We then have time to wander the winding old city streets and bazaar. In the evening we will try and visit a Zurkhaneh (House of Strength), which mixes Sufism, nationalism, music and sport into this ancient spectacular. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 5: Yazd – Bavanat Valley
Today we will pass through Marvest, Tutak and Sarvestan before reaching our village homestay for the night and meeting our host family. Homestay (B,L,D)
Day 6: Bavanat Valley
Today will be spent visiting nomadic families in their summer hand-made tents and exploring the surroundings of the peaceful Bavanat Valley. Homestay (B,L,D)
Day 7: Bavanat Valley – Persepolis – Shiraz
Today we drive over a high mountain pass and through picturesque valleys to reach Pasagade. Here we will visit the six tiered tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the great Persian Empire. We then visit the magnificent Achaemenid tombs at Nagsh e Rostam, cut high in cliffs above the ground, facing respectfully towards Persepolis. We continue on to the highlight of any visit to Iran: Darius the Greats’ fabulous Persepolis. After a few hours exploring the site we finally make our way to our hotel in Shiraz to spend the night. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 8: Shiraz
A morning walking tour includes a visit to the imposing Arg-e Karim Khan fortress, with its 14-metre high circular towers which dominate the city centre. There will also be time to explore the bazaar and some of Shiraz’s famous gardens and teahouses. After a free afternoon we meet up again to soak up the atmosphere at the tomb of the great Persian poet Hafez. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 9: Shiraz – Yasuj
Today we drive north out of Shiraz, visiting the village of Sepidan before stopping for a short walk to the pretty Murgon waterfalls. We then continue to the mountain town of Yasuj with plenty of time for another short walk on the way and the chance of meeting some Qashqai nomads. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 10: Yasuj – Dena Mountains – Yasuj
Today we will drive through Sisakht into the Golkuh Lake region, passing through a wonderful acorn forested area up to an altitude of 2200m. From the nearby Abzardu Spring there is the option to trek to Gulkuh Lake, sitting at 2600m (about an hour’s moderate trek). From the lake we can continue trekking in the shadows of the stunning 4000-metre peaks of the Dena range of the Zagros Mountains (around 5 hours walking in total). Alternatively you can spend the day relaxing by the spring. We return to Yasuj to spend a second night. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 11: Yasuj – Esfahan
We depart Yasuj for Esfahan today. Upon arrival we will check into our hotel, relax and take a leisurely walk to orientate ourselves with this fascinating city. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 12: Esfahan
A full day’s sightseeing today visiting the Chehel Sotun Palace and Museum, and the magnificent Nasqh Jahan Square. Here we will explore some of the world’s most beautiful mosques, the Imam (Shah) Mosque and the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque. We will also visit the magnificent six-storey Ali Qapu Palace, built in the 16th century to serve as a gateway to the royal palaces that are situated in the parklands beyond. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 13: Esfahan
Another day to explore this fascinating city. Visit the Jameh Mosque, the Armenian Quarter and the many bridges that cross the Zayandeh River. Plenty of time to explore and shop in the famous bazaar, or just to chill out and people watch. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 14: Esfahan – Tehran
We depart Esfahan in the morning, giving us a chance for some last minute shopping. We stop for a picnic lunch at the 13th century mosque in the small town of Natanz before continuing back to Tehran for our final night and a farewell dinner. Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 15: Tour ends in Tehran
The tour will finish after breakfast this morning. (B)
Warning! The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) sometimes advises against certain parts of this itinerary. Before choosing to join this trip you should first read the relevant sections of their website (www.fco.gov.uk). If travelling from the UK you will also need insurance that is not FCO sensitive - please see the Insurance section below. For more information or for any questions you might have please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Extensions: Arrive early to adjust to a new time zone or just to get a feel for the country before your tour starts. Explore the country after your tour on a bespoke Wild Extension or just allow a few days to relax afterwards. Maybe choose all of the above and get cheaper flights mid-week?
The Assassins’ Castles: To the north-west of Tehran lie the Alborz Mountains where you’ll find ruined castles and beautiful green mountains. The whole area is very different from the south and provides a great contrast. Allow 3-7 days. Neighbouring Countries: Fly to Mashhad and continue over to Turkmenistan; or cross the Alborz Mountains and continue into Armenia or Azerbaijan. The possibilities are endless! Contact the office for extension specifics.
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