Iran - Discover Persia
Day 1 Tehran
Travellers will be arriving at various times today, therefore no activities are planned until the group welcome meeting. Please look for a message from your G Adventures CEO located in the hotel lobby or at reception for important information regarding your tour. The CEO will outline the trip formalities, talk about the itinerary and answer any questions you may have. After the meeting you are welcome to join the CEO for an optional group meal at a local restaurant. PLEASE NOTE: Flights often arrive very late at night or early the next morning in Tehran. Keep in mind the evening welcome meeting when booking your international air.
Day 2 Tehran (1B)
Embark on an included guided tour of the Iranian capital, Tehran. All entrances are inlcuded as we visit the Sa’d Abad Palace, Carpet Museum, National Museum, and Golestan Palace. After the tour make sure to visit the local bazaar or have a cup of chai in one of the city's many tea-houses. Travel from Tehran to Yazd by way of overnight train.
Day 3 Yazd (1B)
The ancient desert city of Yazd is unique for its intriguing architecture, perfectly adapted to the harsh weather conditions of the surrounding desert. Wind towers, or badgirs, are a feature of the buildings in the old city - they trap even the gentlest of draughts and direct them into the houses below for cooling. Yazd is a fascinating place to wander around, exhibiting some of the best examples of preserved mud brick old towns in the near East. Included entrance fees to the Amir Chakhmaq Complex, the Jameh Mosque, the Khan-e Lari traditional house incorporating the fascinating Water Musuem, the Zoroastrian fire temple and the 'Towers of Silence'. Yazd is also the heart of the Zoroastrian religion. This religion, which dates back over 4000 years, is one the world's oldest and was Iran's state religion before the arrival of Islam. While in Yazd, why not hire a bicycle to explore the old town? Otherwise you can simply relax, puff on a qalyan or try the local favorite, camel fesenjun, in a shady courtyard. Yazd was a major stop on the caravan routes to Central Asia and India during the Silk Road period - Marco Polo visited Yazd on his way to China - and it retains a rustic feel. Make a visit to one or all of the 12 bazaars dotting the city and it might seem that nothing has changed since those good old days.
Days 4-5 Kerman/Mahan/Rayen (2B)
Travel to one of Iran's oldest cities. Kerman was founded in the early 3rd century the city has historically played an important role on the trans-Asian trade routes.
Day 6 Shiraz (1B)
The very name Shiraz evokes images of ancient Persia: exotic, tranquil gardens, lavish mansions, colorful woolen rugs, art, philosophy, poetry and of course, the famous Shiraz grape. Shiraz is also a renowned center of learning, and boasts many of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. Known as Iran's cultural capital, this city was home to two of Persia's most famous poets in the 13th and 14th centuries, Hafez and Saadi, whose mausoleums are found here. Shiraz has many sights to explore. The center of town is dominated by the Karim Khani fortress and the wonderful Bazar-e Vakil. This bazaar is home to one of the country's most impressive traditional teahouses, the converted bath house of Hamman-e Vakil. There is free time here to explore the city's beautiful Regents mosque, Nasiralmolk mosque and Khan madrasa, the Bagh-e Eram gardens and perhaps even listen to some poetry being recited at the Hafez tombs.
Day 7 Persepolis/Shiraz (1B)
Today enjoy an included visit to the country's premier attraction, Persepolis. In Greek, Persepolis literally means the 'capital of Persia'. Construction begun by Darius the Great in 518 BC for this capital of the mighty Achaemenid Empire. Alexander the Great burnt the city to the ground in 330 BC but many reminders of the city still remain and Persopolis lives on as one of the greatest wonders of the ancient world. Our guided tour will also take in the rock cut tombs at Nasqt-e Rostam, the burial place of Darius the Great and his successors.
Day 8 Isfahan (1B)
Embark on an included visit to Pasargadae, explore the capital and burial site of Cyrus the Great, Si-o-she and Khaju River Bridges. Continue on to Isfahan for the night.
Days 9-10 Isfahan (2B)
Be led through the fascinating history, tree-lined boulevards and atmospheric bazaars of Esfahan, the jewel of ancient Persia. Don't miss the sunset over the fabulous dome of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque - the tiles shimmer from cream to all shades of pink. A 16th century rhyme called it 'half the world' and after spending a few days here, you may agree. There is an abundance of fine Islamic buildings, many covered with the blue mosaic tiles Iran is famous for. There is also an enormous bazaar, perfect for discovering an exquisite Persian carpet, tranquil gardens, picturesque bridges and superb palaces. We start our tour in the world's second biggest square - Iman Square. Our guide will give us an insight into life under Persia's greatest ruler, Shah Abbas, and guide us through the Iman Mosque, Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque, and the Ali Qapu Palace. Iman Square itself, actually built as a royal polo ground, was once home to entertainers, storytellers, preachers and Silk Road caravans. We also explore the atmospheric bazaar with its wonderful scents and spices, musical merchants' cries and, of course, thousands of locals bargaining for their most desired items.
Day 11 Natanz/Abyaneh (1B)
This beautiful mountain village has preserved its traditions, language and dress. Wander the quiet lanes, sample dried fruits and relax in our hotel overlooking the green fields below.
Day 12 Kashan/Maranjab Desert (1B)
Travel to Kashan to visit a traditional merchant's house and one of the country's best gardens. Continue on to Maranjab Desert for an overnight stay in a caravanserai. Caravanserais were built every 40 km in the desert, spaced out based on how long a camel could walk in one day. These were set up as guesthouses and restaurants for people travelling the Silk Road. Today, the caravanerai in the Maranjab Desert is one of teh oldest and there are options to sleep in rooms in the caravanserai or in tents around the hotel in the desert.
Day 13 Tehran (1B)
Tehran is exciting city, noisy and chaotic. Home to 15 million people, this is where the country's true national identity is found. Expect to see religious women wearing a full-length chador competing for space with the young and hip girls in figure-hugging manteau and headscarves. It is not uncommon to be stopped by friendly locals who love nothing more than to chat about anything and everything. Visit the superb Golestan Palace to view some of the excesses of the Qajar rulers, ramble through the enormous bazaar and visit the Imam Khomeini Mosque. View the many political murals that surround the former US Embassy and round off by relaxing as locals do - drinking chai and chewing on dates in a traditional chaikhuneh (teahouse). Why not try some fine Iranian cuisine like dizi (stew you crumble bits of bread into and mash up with a morter and pestle right at the table!) while enjoying traditional music at a local restaurant?
Day 14 Tehran (1B)
Depart Tehran at any time.