In front of the Friday Mosque, Kerman

Journey to Persia

16 days
from
£2,799
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Traveller ratings
4.5 / 5 from 21 reviews >
Trip code: 
AXP
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Min age:
18
Group size:
6–18

Visit the fascinating country of Iran and discover its strong cultural traditions

Iran is a country of dramatic contrasts. Its scenery ranges from snow-clad mountains to vast, inhospitable deserts punctuated by attractive oasis towns, and its cities and ancient sites reveal a deep and rich history. Some of the most exquisite examples of Middle Eastern design and architecture are to be found in Iran, including the magnificent ruins of Persepolis, the dazzling Islamic centres at Isfahan and Shiraz, and beautifully-crafted gardens set in desert wastes. The rich bazaars and the ancient tradition of hospitality never fail to impress in a country which sees few tourists.

Highlights

  • Shiraz the city of poets, roses and nightingales and ancient Persian centre
  • Persepolis the heart of the Achaemenian Empire
  • Isfahan, the old capital and the 'Jewel of Islamic Iran'
  • Yazd, home to the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence
  • Kerman and the Rayan Citadel

Key information

  • 15 nights hotel, all en suite
  • Travel by air-conditioned bus
  • Islamic dress code applies
  • A grand journey taking in major Persian centres

What's included

  • All accommodation (see below)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • All breakfasts included
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation
  • Visas or vaccinations

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Fly to Tehran.

    Fly to Tehran, flights normally arrive either late at night or very early the following morning.

  • Day 2

    Start Tehran.

    Those on the group flights arrive very early this morning (or late the previous night) and will be transferred to the hotel. Land only passengers should arrive at the hotel this morning though we do recommend arriving the night before if not on the group flights, (this night is included).

    Tehran is a sprawling metropolis buzzing with people. It is the economic heart of Iran and a modern city with museums, cafes and restaurants.

    We head out into Tehran and visit the Archaeological Museum with its collections of pottery, bronze and valuable pieces from various ages ranging from millenniums BCE to the Islamic era. We also visit the Abguineh Glass and Ceramics Museum, a valuable collection of pre-Islamic, Islamic and European glass and ceramics displayed within an elegant early-20th Century mansion. Finally we visit the Carpet Museum with its extensive collection of old and new Persian carpets and rugs from the country’s major carpet-weaving centres.
    Hotel Mashad or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Visit Kashan en route to the traditional village of Abyaneh.

    As we leave the hustle and bustle of the Iranian capital behind we make our way, through the desert, to Kashan. This oasis town was a favourite of Shah Abbas who was buried here. Visit 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. In Kashan, there are also fine examples of grand 19th Century merchant residences and we will have the chance to visit one these.

    We continue on to Abyaneh, a small village hidden away in the Karkas Mountains and an Iranian Cultural Heritage Site. The village was originally settled by Zoroastrians fleeing the Arab invasion of Persia and is very traditional with winding alleys of red-mud brick houses adorned with lattice woodwork and balconies. The people of Abyaneh have preserved their ancient culture and traditions over the centuries and dress in colourful clothes. (total drive time about 6hrs plus visits)
    Hotel Abyaneh or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Drive to Yazd making stops in Na'in and Mohamadiye en route.

    After touring Abyaneh, drive to Yazd. En route stop in the town of Na’in to visit the early Islamic period Friday Mosque and the Pirnia House /Ethnographic Museum, a beautiful example of a late Safavid period private house with delicate monochrome painted plaster decoration. Continue to the nearby village of Mohammadiye to see the traditional pit workshops weaving the camel cloaks worn by the Muslem clergy in Iran before finally arriving in Yazd. (total drive time about 7hrs plus visits)
    Tourist Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Visit Ateshkade Fire Temple, mausoleum, mosque and bazaars of Yazd.

    A full day sightseeing in historic Yazd, the centre for Iran’s small Zoroastrian community. Visit one of the two Zoroastrian abandoned Towers of Silence (Dakhma). Dating back to the 18th Century, until some 70-odd years ago the bodies of the dead were carried and left here to decompose and be devoured by birds. The next Zoroastrian site is the Fire Temple which houses a flame which is said to have been burning for over 1,500 years. Amongst Yazd’s Islamic sites are the Friday Mosque (1324AD) which boasts the highest portal and minarets in Iran and the Mirchachmagh Maidan and Mosque. Other notable monuments, found in the old Fahadan area of Yazd, are the Saljuk shrine, dedicated to the Twelve Shi’ite Imams; and Ziaieyeh Theological School, also known as Znedan-e-Eskander (Alexander’s Prison). Yazd also has many beautiful old houses such as Dowlat-Abad Garden, an 18th Century feudal hexagonal house.
    Tourist Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Stop in the troglodyte village of Meymand en route to Kerman.

    Leaving Yazd, our first stop is the troglodyte village of Maymand. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site, villagers still live in cave dwellings today. We explore the village and visit some of the cave dwellings which have been transformed as show-houses. As the caves are strewn along a slope with rubble make sure to wear walking shoes or trainers with grip. We continue to desert trading city of Kerman with its blend of Persian and Baluchi people. (total drive time 7.5hrs plus visits)
    Hotel Akhavan or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Day trip of Arg-e-Rayen citadel (a miniature version of Bam), Mahan and Kerman

    Head towards the village of Rayan to visit the Arg (Citadel) of Rayan, a miniature version of the Bam Citadel which was destroyed by an earthquake in 2003. Arg-e-Rayan has all the typical architectural features of a desert citadel with ramparts, towers, covered lanes and spectacular views of the nearby Mt. Hezar, snowcapped most of the year.

    Retruning towards Kerman, stop in the small town of Mahan to visit the blue-tiled Mausoleum of Shah Nematollah-e-Vali, the great 14th century Sufli Leader; and the Shahzadeh Garden (a late 19th century Qajar period house and garden).

    Back in Kerman we visit the Friday Mosque, the Ganj-Ali Khan Complex and Hammam which has been converted into an Ethnographic Museum. We explore the Maidan (square) with its mosque, madrassa and water cistern all dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries and the Vakil Tea House (another covered bathhouse). We will walk through bazaar. Being Friday some shops may be closed but there’s still a great atmosphere.
    Hotel Akhavan or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Drive to Shiraz

    Today is the longest travel day, this is mitigated, however, by the stunning scenery as we cross over the Zagros Mountains and into Iran’s fertile Fars region to the city of gardens and poets which is Shiraz. On the way we visit the remains of the Sassanian Palace at Sarvestan, a fifth century building thought to be a hunting lodge built by Bahram V.(9 hrs plus stops)
    Hotel Park-e-Sa’adi or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Explore Shiraz, its mausoleums and monumental gardens.

    Shiraz, the city of ‘roses and nightingales’ is the centre of Persian culture, known for its poets, gardens and, at one time, wine which was produced in the fertile valley the city is located in. We spend the day exploring Shiraz’s main sites. We visit the expansive Eram Garden; the tomb of Iran’s greatest lyric poet: Hafez, a popular spot for local lovers; the pink tiled 19th century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque with its coloured glass windows; the Arg-e-Karim Khan (an 18th century citadel; the Madrassa Khan where we can interact with students and teachers; the Qajar-period Narenjestan Garden and House; the Vakil Bazaar; and the Holy Shrine of Shah-e-Cheragh (though only from the outside as it is not open to non-Muslims).
    Hotel Park-e-Sa’adi or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Visit the ancient ruins of Persepolis.

    Spend today exploring the heritage of the Achaemenid dynasty in Persepolis and the royal tombs of Naghsh-e-Rostam. Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings with remains of the palaces of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, is famous for its bas-reliefs depicting kings, courtiers and gift-bearing representatives of tributary nations of the Persian Empire ranging from India to Ethiopia.

    We then visit nearby Naghsh-e-Rostam to see Ka’be-Zardosht (a fire temple) and the royal tombs dug into the rock itself. This site also has seven magnificent Sassanian rock-reliefs including Shapur the First’s famous victory over Roman Emperor Valerian.
    Hotel Park-e-Sa’adi or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Drive to Iran's architectural gem, Isfahan visiting Pasargadae en route.

    We head to Iran’s greatest city, Isfahan. En route we visit Pasargadae, the site of the simple, but impressive tomb and remains of the palaces of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire. (total drive time 6-7hrs plus visits)
    Hotel Sheikh-Bahaee or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Explore Iran's greatest jewel, Isfahan

    Isfahan nesf-e jahan, 'Isfahan is half the world', the magnificent capital of Shah Abbas I, architecturally, is one of the most important cities of the world. At its centre is the Maidan-e Imam (Imam Square), one of the finest city squares in the world containing the immense tiled Imam Mosque, Ali Ghapu's Palace and the mosque of Sheikh Lotfollah. The Bazaar Qaisarieh, or Imperial Bazaar, is a labyrinth of domed alleyways, filled with carpets, textiles, sweets and spices, metal work, tile-makers, jewellers and bright clothes which stretches from Imam Square all the way to the 10th century Friday Mosque in the north. It was among bazaars such as these that the revolution of 1978 took root. We will also visit Vank Cathedral within the Armenian sector, Jolfa, as well as the Chehel Sotun (Forty Columns) Palace and the smaller Hasht Behesht Pavilion. Isfahan is a rarity among Iranian cities in that a river, the Zayandeh, passes through it. This contributes to the pleasant climate of the city whilst its bridges, particularly the Si o Se Pol (the Bridge of Thirty-three Arches), and the Khaju Bridge, provide the perfect setting to spend the evening soaking up the atmosphere. We finish with a visit to the Qeisarieh Bazaar with hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world famous.

    Hotel Sheikh-Bahaee or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    A 2nd day exploring Isfahan

    Another full day to explore more Isfahan's amazing sites.
    Hotel Sheikh-Bahaee or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Drive to Tehran stopping in Natanz en route

    Drive to Tehran, en-route stop at the charming desert town of Natanz to visit the beautiful Islamic Complex of Mosque, Monastery and Tomb of Sheikh Abdol-Samad Isfahani, and have a tea-break under the shade of a 500-year old plain tree. (total drive time 6hrs plus visits)
    Hotel Mashad or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Final day in Tehran to take in more sites and do last minute shopping.

    Full day visits including the Golestan Palace Museum Complex, built by Fath-Ali Shah of the Qajar Dynasty and dating from the 18th to the early 20th century. Continue to the Shams-ol-Emareh (Sun) Palace and the Ethnographic Museum, with a walk around the garden to enjoy the beautiful tile-covered walls and buildings. In the afternoon visit the fabulous State’s Jewels Museum, housed in the vaults of the Central Bank of Iran displaying the most dazzling and priceless collection of jewels and gems in the world.
    Hotel Mashad or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Fly to London.

    Those on the group flights will be transferred to the airport in time for their flight. For land only passengers the trip ends after breakfast.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Iran

Nearly all nationalities need a visa for Iran and the whole process can take up to 8 weeks. Before applying for a visa an authorisation number is required (which we will obtain for you through our partners in Iran – we will need a copy of your passport 12 weeks in advance). The visa application process includes having fingerprints taken so everyone applying for a visa needs to go in person to apply. The cost of the visa is GB£150 for UK nationals and generally takes 10 days, it is possible to get an express same-day visa for a cost of GB£225. British, American and Canadian nationals need to obtain a visa before travelling to Iran. Most other nationalities including EU, Australian and New Zealanders can obtain a 30 day visa on arrival at Tehran Airport. We still recommend getting the Authorisation Number in advance as this will save time at the airport. You may also wish to obtain the visa in advance. Some nationalities, including Americans, may be asked to be processed separately at immigration and give finger-prints. This is not a long or complicated process and should not be of concern. It appears that with the Iranian consulate in London now issuing visas it is no longer possible to apply for the visa abroad if you live in the UK. Please note that the visa situation for Iran may be changeable. More information is available on our Iranian Information Sheet (https://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/travelink/Iran.pdf)

Please note that visiting Iran may result in you needing to obtain a visa to visit the Unites States in the future.

Vaccinations

Iran

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

Persian cuisine has always been highly rated, but standards in some restaurants have dropped since the revolution,due to a restricted choice and variety of ingredients. However, the restaurants we use are mostly good. Breakfast usually consists of Iranian flat bread (nan-e-lavash) jam, yoghurt, goat's cheese, eggs, olives and lots of tea or coffee. The usual main meal is rice (excellent quality), served with kebabs, mild curries, fish (particularly Shiraz and in the North), salads and yoghurt. Dessert usually consists of fresh fruit, particularly melon, or ice-cream. Iranian cuisine does not cater for vegetarians particularly well. Most restaurants will do their best to oblige but it will sometimes mean simply having the prepared meal but without the meat.

Weather

Iran has long, extremely hot summers, but the winters are cold. Most departures are in spring and early autumn when the temperature should not be below 5ºC at night and will be between 20 and 30ºC during the day; in June and September these may go up to 35ºC, particularly in the desert. It should be sunny weather most of the time, but there can be some rain at these times of year.

Tehran

Tehran

Is this trip for you?

Iran is an Islamic state and fairly conservative. There is a strict moral and dress code for both men, who should wear long trousers and have their shoulders covered, and, in particular, women who need to cover their hair as well as wear a loose-fitting manteau (long coat or shirt which covers you to the knees and hides your shape. Loose skirt or trousers should be worn covering the legs and closed shoes should be worn. Sandals and no socks are fine. This dress code should be adhered to from the moment you land or you may be refused entry. Iran is a ‘dry’ country and alcohol is strictly prohibited. The trip is moderate spending two or three nights in most places. There are some long distances to cover, in particular between Kerman and Shiraz (about 9hrs) and between Shiraz and Isfahan (about 7hrs) with other drives being about 5 or 6hrs long. These drives are broken up with site-seeing stops, however. The weather can get very hot, though most of our departures are in spring and autumn which avoids the worst of the summer heat.

Accommodation

Hotels

The hotels used on this trip generally have an Iranian 3-4 star rating. They’re all en suite and are clean but may look tired in places, though they are quite comfortable for the most part. Wifi is normally available at all hotels and they generally offer laundry facilities.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed May 2017
    Gwenith Higgins
    Journey to Persia is a wonderful way to experience the sights, sounds and smells of Iran at a comfortable pace. The balance of structured and unstructured time to enjoy the cities and their individual heritage sites, gardens, mosques and museums was perfect for our small group of 7 plus guide and driver. Our guide, Amin, was a foodie which gave us the benefit of going to the best places to eat in each location as well as being able to try lots of regional specialties. We had some long days in the bus: however Amin and our driver, Sayed made sure we had plenty of morning tea and "comfort stops", water and picnic rations to see us through.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The itinerary was excellent: in the first week we visited towns that are not as well known outside of Iran as compared with Shiraz, Persepolis and Esfehan in the second week. Some of the most enjoyable moments were wandering the streets and squares in the early evening and having the locals welcome us to Iran and want to have their photos taken with us and/or practice their English.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Amin, our group leader was excellent. His knowledge of history and politics, ancient and modern, added to our understanding of the significance of the sites and museums we visited and to our ability to remember the names of the different rulers and eras across the centuries. Amin as mentioned above enjoyed his food: this also made for an excellent trip as he knew where the best sour chicken was, the best grilled lamb chops, the best date biscuits, the best pashmek etc,

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go now or as soon as you can as the people are very welcoming and the sites well restored and maintained
  • Reviewed May 2017
    Janet Gibbons
    This was a truly amazing trip with a great group of fellow travellers and a wonderful guide.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Everyday there were inspirational moments. The architecture, the gardens, Towers of Silence as the sun set, Persepolis, and without a shadow of doubt, the friendly welcoming people. I could go on and on!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Golnaz was probably one of the best guides I've encountered. Her passion for, and knowledge of her country was immense. She's a true ambassador for Iran. She also had exceptional organisational skills So everything ran very smoothly. The driver and his assistant were also excellent - driving safely and providing us with water, tea and coffee, and treats along the way!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't listen to what people might say to you about going to Iran. Also clothing is much more relaxed than we thought but I'd certainly say covering elbows, bottom and ankles is important. Take more money than you think you might need! The shopping opportunities are wonderful! There are some long drives but we had a large coach with plenty of room to spread out. And there were stops along the way for refreshments and sights.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would urge anyone to go to this wonderful country. It was the presidential elections while we were there and hopefully the result will mean the country remains open for visitors so many other people can experience the delights Iran has to offer.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Nicola Ward
    I travel a lot but this trip will stay with me for a long time to come. Family and friends were a little concerned I was going but they did not need to worry. This trip is amazing- the warm, confident and friendly people, the scenery, the history and the architecture and a chance to see for myself a fundamentalist country with a troubled past that is changing and modernising.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many inspirational moments but three stand out. Climbing up to the Towers of Silence, sitting on the circular wall and looking out over Yazd and the desert. It was such an awesome experience and the desert and the mountains have a unique timelessness, colour and beauty. The light coming through the glass windows in the beautiful pink mosque in Shiraz. It was breathtaking. A young Iranian tour guide dressed in an army jacket and khaki scarf helping a very elderly tourist to put his shoes back on after visiting a mosque. My favourite photograph.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Sirvash our guide was very good with the added bonus of being a bit of a TV celebrity! His knowledge was excellent and he included more than was on the itinerary. It was also good to hear about life in modern Iran too. He had his hands full as we were an independent group of travelers but he kept us together and he was always good humoured and patient. Our rooms were ready when we arrived, luggage came promptly and we went to some very good places to eat. He also laid on some nice picnics too which we really enjoyed.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Iran has a long history and it is worth doing some reading before you go to get the most out of what you see and what the guide tells you. Take a good camera as there is so much to photograph. The coach is very comfortable, we were looked after very well and the long drives were not a problem with stops along the way. All the hotels differed but had character and were clean and welcoming with kind and attentive staff.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is a very well put together trip and we saw and did a lot in two weeks without feeling exhausted. I had high expectations as I had wanted to go for so long and these expectations were all met. I really enjoyed it so much and will carry on ready and learning some more. It is a country that deserves a better press and I am so pleased I went.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    Jemma Bartholomew
    This really was an excellent trip around Iran, one of the best Exodus trips I have been on. The first week is slightly more 'off the beaten track' and the second week focuses on Shiraz and Isfahan. I reached 'monument overload' on the second-to-last day which was a lot later than I had feared, as the sights, particularly in the first 10 days, were so varied and generally spectacular. Ladies clothing - a loose fitting shirt that covers the elbows and bottom is fine; trousers can be 'ankle-skimmers' but not 3/4 length, and can be slim fit. Comfy shoes are a must and a loose headscarf at all times. If you can, aim for darker clothes as Iranian ladies tend to wear a lot of black and dark colours. Food - I am semi-vegetarian and (unusually) really struggled on this trip. I normally eat chicken but tend to avoid it when travelling - here I ate loads of chicken as the alternative was vegetables boiled until they were virtually inedible, or in a few places pizza. Lunch wasn't always readily available, this was a general cultural issue (most cafe's served only drinks and chocolate cake). The nuts were fantastic and bananas were often available, as were biscuits and crisps. I'd taken 2 x quality protein-rich breakfast bars for each day; I wish I'd taken more.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the citadel that we visited from Kerman, and meeting such wonderful friendly Iranians everywhere we went.
  • Reviewed October 2016
    John Foskett
    An interesting and well organised trip to see Iran past and present, but certainly no 'holiday' with long day's driving and few, if any, opportunities or places to sit back and relax and enjoy - but then that's not what going to Iran is really about. What we did need was more time - 2 weeks or so is not long enough to see enough and spend time getting into life in Iran as it is to-day, with all it's cultural differences and hang-ups.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    . . . . . . . I can't say I was' inspired' by anything. If anything my reaction was that it's not surprising they all want to emigrate to England! The carvings in Persepolise were very impressive and thought provoking, but then that's history, as they say!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very efficient and organised, but perhaps a bit inflexible. The itinerary was all important.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Iran as far as we were concerned was a 'been there, done it, no need to go back' sort of place. Don't go if you are hoping for an enjoyable and relaxing 'holiday'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Only to reiterate more time needed to see what life is like in Iran to-day and talk to local people who are free to talk.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Robert Atkinson
    Absolutely loved this first trip to Iran with Exodus. Wonderful introduction to such a friendly part of the world packed with history, beautiful Islamic architecture and welcoming people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The people. Where else do you go in the world and find people smiling at you, engaging with you and wanting to know here you are from while always welcoming you to their country? And rarely are these people hustling for business. It's a genuine interest in you and your visit to their part of the world. I was really surprised by the warmth of the welcome.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Sia was excellent. Knowledgable, laid back and a rock star in his own country. Never had a tour leader before who is also a TV star with his own fans wherever we go around the country. Added a real extra zing to the trip and promoted many a chat about everyday life.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go now before the tourist numbers increase and the invevitable commerciality kicks in. Learn a few words of Farsi, the Iranians will really love it and it's also worth reading up on your Persian history to make the most of your trip. Iran is cheap so no need to overdo it in taking too much money with you, although seriously consider purchasing a rug or carpet. Quality and choice is exceptional, especially silk rugs. By organised early with your visa. It's not the most simple procedure but patience pays off. And the service you get in London at the consulate bears no relation to the great service you will receive in Iran. Food is really plentiful and fresh and you'll love buying great value pistachios and almonds. Easy to do picnic lunches rather than restaurants so that you don't over do it on the food front and then enjoy your dinner more.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Gregory Tebble
    A Fascinating insight into a surprisingly modern and very friendly country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was the friendliness of the local people and the City of Esfahan, the jewel in the Iranian crown. The famous bridge and the main square were simple amazing. All the other places we visited were well worth the stay too and I loved the pistachio nuts!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Siavosh was extremely knowledgeable and proud of his country. He was patient and well organised and worked very hard to ensure we enjoyed our visit to Iran.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Some of the bus journeys are long but are always broken up with sightseeing and comfort stops. The food is good and ridiculously cheap apart from the obvious tourist spots like Persepolis. It can get very hot so take plenty of sunscreen and a hat and be sure you try some of the local ice cream.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are an awful lot of mosques in Iran and we got to see most of them. Leave your preconceptions at home and enjoy the tour for what it is and if you can afford it, treat yourself to one of the wonderful Persian silk carpets. They come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Pippa Proudfoot
    Having lived in Iran 38 years ago I was excited to return. I knew the country was beautiful, I knew the buildings were breath taking and I knew the people were very hospitable but after a revolution, a war and consistently negative media coverage I had no idea what would be left. It exceeded my expectations on every count; our 16 days in Iran with 15 fellow travellers was fantastic. A well planned and varied itinerary took us from ancient mud villages and caves to the splendours of glorious Isfahan and Shiraz. The phenomenon of desert towns and the importance of water in every place we visited was exactly as I remembered. The stunning mosques, shrines and bazaars in every city and the fabulous mountains that formed a backdrop to the trip were all still there. The cities have grown 10 fold in the 40 odd years and we experienced the present restrictions of Islam grappling with hijabs and non-alcoholic beer in good humour. But it was the welcome that left the biggest impression; from old and young men, chadored women to countless school children we were greeted and treated like honoured guests.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All of the above. But one of the biggest surprises for me was the pleasure of travelling in a group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Golnaz was a wonderful group leader, she had a passion for her country and an extensive knowledge of the history and geography we saw all around us. She was attentive to our needs and worked extremely hard to make the holiday memorable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get there soon before too many holiday companies wake up to this wonderful country.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Mark Dormer
    Great new addition to the Exodus trip. Amazing country, culture and people with an excellent local guide. Thoroughly recommended.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The generosity and sincerity of everyone we met along our way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Great knowledge, amazing fluency and good fun.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take time to speak to everyone who approaches you, they're genuinely interested in you.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Don't believe anything the media and politicians have spun, this is an incredibly safe country with wonderfully friendly and welcoming people.
  • Reviewed May 2016
    Jane Barry
    This was one of the most wonderful trips I've ever made - definitely worth wearing a head-scarf for a fortnight. Iran bombards you with sensations, whether you're staring up at the towering ruins of Persepolis, or delighting in the squinches and glowing tile work of Esfahan's Loftollah mosque, or exploring a bazaar or enjoying the peace of the lake and fountains in Shiraz's flower-filled Eram garden - even on coach drives across the country, there are incredible mountain ranges to marvel at, as impressive in their magnificence as any of the man-made wonders that Persians, through all the many centuries of their history, have built to commemorate dynasties and their own remarkable creativity. And that's not to mention present-day Iranians - not grey, grim people, as our media would have us think, but amazingly welcoming: people who take a pride in their culture, who love colour and fun, who like nothing better than to picnic in one of their very many beautiful public gardens. Often they were keen to talk to us, which greatly added to our visit. Iran is a huge country, so we couldn't possibly see it all. But we did sample its amazing variety. As well as taking in Tehran and the historic cities of Yadz, Kerman, Shiraz and Esfahan, the trip also included a visit to a Zoroastrian mountain village and the troglodyte village of Maymand. Every day was filled with new experiences - a citadel built entirely of adobe, an ornately tiled hamam, a shrine to the poet Hafez, the Towers of Silence, where the Zoroastrians left their dead…Oh, and the bazaars, the bazaars…And all this in the company of a great bunch of like-minded fellow-travellers, whose charm and sense of humour completed the delight.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All of it. The astonishing drummer at Esfahan's Music Museum. The pictures of the Martyrs (casualties of the Iran-Iraq war) that are displayed at the roadside. The flowers planted everywhere - on central reservations, on roudabouts - more pansies than I have ever seen in one place before. The fact that Iranians commemorate their poets as splendidly as their mullahs. Woman's day at the Yazd mosque, where the women seemed more devout in their prayers than the men. Two old women in chadors, chatting and laughing with us although we did not share a language, outside a motorway service station. A tiny bewildered little girl, photgraphed at the Narenjestan house in the costume of an historic princess to the great delight of her proud mother - there was a rack of outfits next to the camera for kids to dress up. I could go on…and on…

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were very fortunate in our group leader, Golnaz Naji. She was amazingly well-informed, enthusiastic, funny and kind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If people say, as they said to me, "We'll be worried about you", pay no attention. Iran is about the safest place there is in the Middle East right now.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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