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.
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)
2 nights Escan Alvand Hotel or similar
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)
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
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
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
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)
2 nights at Shiraz Grand Hotel or similar
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)
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
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)
2 nights Qasr Monshi Hotel or similar
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)
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
Using the hotels airport shuttle, you will transfer to the airport for your onward flight to your next destination. (B)
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**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.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.