Highlights

Follow the ancient Silk Road in true style staying in Iran's most prestigious and unique accommodation from traditional adobe structured mansions to restored caravanserai as you delve deep into the fascinating history of ancient Persia. Understand life as a merchant on the Silk Road, through to life today in modern day Iran. Learn of Iran's minority religion of the Zoroastrian's and embrace local life as you spend the night with a nomadic family. This experience is true cultural immersion into their time frozen lifestyle. Dine on the rooftop of UNESCO listed mudbrick structures in the old town of Yazd - your meal lit by the blanket of stars above you. Picnic by waterfalls, and dine exclusively in the perfectly manicured Persian gardens. Eat your way through the tangle of Iran's bazaars. The ultimate luxury journey for cultural purists and those who enjoy savouring their tastebuds as they travel.

Day 1 - Arrival in Tehran

Welcome to Iran! Upon arrival in Tehran, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Take some time to freshen up before you delve into the chaos of the city. This afternoon, you will jump straight into the local culture as you shopping with a local lady, known fondly as ‘Mama’ through the bustling Tajrish Bazaar of Tehran. Shop with her for spices and produce for this evenings meal. You will then return to her kitchen, where you be hands on in learning and preparing how to create an Iranian feast of local dishes. Enjoy dining with her and learning of local life in the city of Tehran. (D)

Overnight Escan Alvand Hotel or similar

Day 2 - Tehran

Start your day with a visit to the world-class National Museum showcasing the art and artefacts of ancient Iran and an astounding collection of treasures of Islamic Iran. This provides you with a great base and insight into all you will learn throughout your visit through ancient Persia. You will also visit the Glassware and Ceramic Museum, the vast 18th- and 19th-century Golestan Palace complex, and Tehran’s impressive Bazaar. Overnight Tehran. (B,L,D)

Overnight Escan Alvand Hotel or similar

Day 3 - Tehran to Kashan

Departing early this morning, you will drive approx 254km to Kashan, an ancient oasis city. Explore the lively bazaar and visit the beautiful Fin Garden, a 16th- to 19th century classic Persian walled garden with channels of flowing water and pretty pavilions. There is also an old hammam here. You will visit a traditional Persian ‘palazzo’ townhouse with its many courtyards, pomegranate trees and learn of the fascinating way in which these traditional houses were cooled with their impressive wind towers. This evening dinner is a serene experience as you dine in one of the impressive Persian gardens, listening to the sound of flowing water and dining on mouthwatering local cuisine. (B,L,D)

Overnight Khaneh Irani Hotel or similar

Day 4 - Kashan to Yazd

Drive approx 391km  through the starkly beautiful desert dotted with crumbling caravanserai, monuments and settlements towards Yazd. Stop at the small town of Ardestan which is famed for its beautiful mosque and also Nain with is famous carpets and is also home to one of Iran’s earliest and most beautiful mosques. Pause at Narin Castle, the caravanserai complex in Meybod offering expansive views over the oasis town. This evening you will arrive into the beautiful city of Yazd. Venture into the UNESCO listed old town where you enjoy an exclusive roof top dinner, overlooking the adobe clad buildings and incredible wind towers. (B,L,D)

Overnight Moshir Garden Hotel or similar

Day 5 - Yazd

Yazd is the historic centre of Zoroastrian culture, a unique and minority religion still found in Iran. Visit the famous Atash Behram ‘fire temple’ and the ancient ‘towers of silence’ and learn of their unique sky burial rituals. Stroll through the old town visiting the cities main monuments and historical sites including the stunning Friday Mosque, Amir Chachmaq Square and pavilion (which has an incredible local sweet store nearby!) and the magnificent Dolat Abad Garden with its unique and extremely beautiful wind tower. It is then time to leave the city and delve into the times of ancient traders and merchants as you drive out of Yazd to spend a night a restored caravanserai. Dating back to the 16th century, this caravanserai is one of 999 ‘inns’ that were built during the reign of Shah Abbas I to provide facilities to travellers and their animals as they traversed the Silk Road. Slip back in time and spend some time outside star gazing into the clear desert night sky. (B,L,D)

Overnight Zeinodin Caravanserai or similar

Day 6 - Yazd to Shiraz

Today is an early start as you have a long drive (441km) to Shiraz. The drive is beautiful as you pass through the breathtaking landscapes of the rugged Zagros Mountains. You will pause at Abarkuh, a small town boasting fine examples of early Islamic architecture and home to the incredible Abarkuh Cypress, which, at 4000-plus years old, is believed to be among the world’s oldest tree. You will also visit the towns ancient Yakhchal (ice house) which is how ice was stored from winter through to summer for the locals to survive the immense heat. En route, you will also visit Pasargadae, the first Achaemenid capital and the tomb of Cyrus the Great. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Shiraz Grand Hotel or similar

Day 7 - Shiraz

This mornings visit is set to be one your highlights. The ancient city of Persepolis, Iran’s most impressive pre-Islamic monument with its majestic columns, ceremonial staircases, chambers and stunning base reliefs celebrating the triumphs of the Achaemenid Empire. After exploring this incredible ruins, continue to the necropolis of Naqsh-e Rostam, the burial place of Achaemenid emperors.These burial chambers are perched off the ground and are carved into the cliff face. You will the return to Shiraz where you will visit famed monuments including the Vakil Mosque and bath complex as well as visit the tombs of Hafiz and Saadi (the great Iranian poets). This afternoon, you will enjoy a foodie tasting through as you weave through the city’s famous covered Bazaar – here you guide will explain the local delicacies, their ingredients, uses and most importantly, you will get to taste the dried fruits, sweets, faloodeh Shirazi, a local refreshment etc as your guide introduces you to the regions specialities. (B,L,D)

Overnight at Shiraz Grand Hotel or similar

Day 8 - Yasuj - Nomadic Camp

This morning, visit the beautiful 19th-century Nasir al-molk Mosque with its stunning tile work and beautiful stain glass windows. A morning visit is the best time to visit as the sun beams through the tinted glass creating incredible colours filtering through in the prayer hall.

It is now time to farewell civilisation for one night as you head towards Yasuj and veer into the mountains to experience a night at a nomad’s camp. This is not a luxury stay but certainly a rare luxury experience.

Enroute, you will stop next to the Margoon waterfall for a picnic for lunch. This is one of the largest and most beautiful waterfalls in Iran surrounding by a stunning mountainous backdrop.

Be warmly welcomed as you arrive into the nomads village where you will witness their time frozen practices, traditional methods of making butter and bread. You will sleep in traditional tents and be embraced by the nomadic warmth, hospitality and the flavoursome nomadic food is definitely sure to impress. (B,L,D)

Overnight Nomad Camp

Day 9 - Nomad Camp to Esfahan

After a wonderful breakfast with your nomad host families of yogurt, raw honey, freshly baked bread, carrot jams, walnuts and other local specialities, bid your new family farewell as you depart for Esfahan (approx 338km). After checking into your hotel, stretch your legs with a short walk to the famous Naqsh-e Jahan Square (or Maidan-e Imam). This is the second largest public square in the world after Tiananmen Square in China.  Framed by mosques and the maze of a bazaar at one end, this is the heart and soul of this vibrant city. (B,L,D)

Overnight Qasr Monshi Hotel or similar

Day 10 - Esfahan

One of Iran’s great destinations, Esfahan is sometimes known as Nesf-e Jahan (meaning ‘half the world’) and is graced with some of the country’s finest and most celebrated architecture. Today you will head back to the main square and explore the ensemble of domed mosques and delicate palaces which frame it. The nearby 17th-century bazaar is a masterpiece of urban design and still thronged with locals and small, almost boutique like shops. Visit Julfa, the historic Armenian neighbourhood whose churches display a distinctive mix of Christian symbols and liturgy with an Iranian architectural style.

This evening, if you feel like a stroll, walk to the two historical bridges of Esfahan. Although the river is now dry due to an ongoing drought, these beautiful bridges are a hive of activity in the evening with locals sitting beneath them practising their singing. A great place to sit and chat whilst embracing some local culture. (B,L,D)

Overnight Qasr Monshi Hotel or similar

Day 11 - Esfahan to Tehran

You will have the day in Esfahan to take in the last of the cities sights to do some last minute shopping before you transfer to the airport for your evening flight to Tehran. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel and check into your airport hotel. (B,L,D)

Overnight Novotel Airport Hotel or similar

Day 12 - Departure

Using the hotels airport shuttle, you will transfer to the airport for your onward flight to your next destination. (B)

What's Included

  • Return airport transfers
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners
  • Domestic flight Tehran to Esfahan in economy class (20kg luggage allowance)
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Service of an English speaking local guide
  • Private transportation in an air conditioned vehicle
  • Bottle water
  • Visa permit/invitation letter
  • Bellboy and restaurant tips

Exclusions

  • International flights
  • Drinks unless otherwise mentioned
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips
  • Inoculations
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Sleeping bag for nomad camp

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 4 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.

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