Venture through a lesser known side of Iran as you explore Lar National Park on foot. This protected area of natural beauty is home to a spread of wildflowers and array of wildlife.
Local nomads who still retain their time old traditions call this stunning region home as Mt Damavand towers overhead. Enjoy camping with nomads as you learn how they live off the land before taking a step from natural Iran into ancient Persia.
Explore the cradle of Persian civilisation, Shiraz, as you follow the path through Persia’s history through Yazd, Esfahan and Kashan. This gentle tour is suitable for all nature lovers who are looking to embrace the great outdoors as well as learn and understand about Persia’s fascinating history turquoise domes and welcoming people.
Welcome to Tehran! You will be met upon arrival and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure.
Tehran is quite often smoggy and manic. Many travellers do not spend much time here at all. Although it is a concrete jungle, there is a fascinating side to this hectic city. Expect bold fashion statements, a range of ethnic and international restaurants, chic cafes and plenty of museums and art galleries.
What Tehran lacks in history, it makes up for it with impressive museums. (D)
Overnight at Escan Alvand Hotel or similar
This morning following breakfast, depart Tehran at 8am and head to Eera. The drive is approx 2 hours.
Changing vehicles in the village, before venturing up into the hills, once reaching our starting point, it is time to then start walking tour down the hill and alongside the flowing river. Lunch today is a barbecue of kebabs which will fuel you as you continue our walk through the lush fields of this protected area of outstanding natural beauty.
This national park is an important ecosystem of lakes, mountains and grasslands. Due to its diverse ecology, many species of birds, mammals including brown bears, reptiles, amphibians and fish call Lar National Park home. For centuries local people who have adopted a nomadic way of life have explored the riches of the land and its seasonal offerings.
Later afternoon, you will arrive to your first camp site where you will mingle with the nomads and taste their cuisine and learn their traditional baking skills.(B,L,D)
2 nights camping
An early start this morning as you observe the start of the daily life of the nomads and the movement of their cattle. Feel free to join in and help as they herd and shuffle their animals along.
Following an early breakfast, it is time to continue your walk. Walking for around 4 hours before stopping for lunch, later this afternoon we will reach our next camp site which is not too far from the beautiful Lar Lake.
Heavy rainfall and snowfall in the area result in pure natural fresh water which forms permanent springs, streams and river to this lake. This area is well known in for its natural poppy fields which cover a vast area around the lake in the spring and also for its exclusive red dotted trout fish. If the weather is warm, feel free to take a swim. (B,L,D)
At dawn and after breakfast, walk along the lake to reach Div Asiab before returning to Tehran after lunch. This evening, transfer to the airport for your flight to Shiraz. Upon arrival, we will be met and transferred to our hotel. (B,L,D)
2 nights at Elysee Hotel or similar
It is time to explore Shiraz – the heart of Fars province, the cradle of Persian civilisation. You will visit Persepolis, which is probably the most impressive pre-Islamic monument in Iran, with its astonishing columns, ceremonial staircases, chambers and stunning reliefs celebrating the triumphs of the Achaemenids. You will also visit the necropolis of Naqsh-e Rostam near, the burial place of Achaemenids emperors. You will then drive back to Shiraz for a stroll through the Bazaar and a visit to the tomb of the great Iranian poet, Hafiz. (B,L,D)
This morning, following breakfast, you will be transferred to stay with a nomad tribe in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad province. This area is famous for its natural beauty of thick oak, Persian turpentine and maple forests, and is home to various nomadic tribes. This province has come to be known as the ‘Nature Capital’ of Iran because of its lush vegetation, fertile soil and scenic waterfalls. It is also a wonderful place to witness wildlife and there are many eco tourism projects now starting in this area to help protect it.
Enjoy visiting the nomads of this region. You have the opportunity to experience their daily life, taste the traditional food such as Nan-e Baleat, a dark brown traditional bread made from acorn flour, Sholeh Massi, a soup made with dough (Persian yogurt drink), rice, pennyroyal and caramelised onion, served with fresh local butter and perhaps Ash-e Kardeh, a soup made with a local herb named Kardin (Biarum bovei) that is marinated in lime juice and cooked with rice and wheat. (B,L,D)
Overnight Nomad Camp
Depart this morning for a full day drive to Yazd, (385 km), during which you will pass through the Zagros mountains which offer breathtaking landscapes. En-route, you will visit Abarkuh, a small town which has some fine examples of the early Islamic architecture and is home to the Abarkuh Cypress, a magnificent centuries old tree. Yazd itself is a spectacular desert town. With its quaint winding alley ways and traditional mud-brick houses, it is sure to be one of your highlights. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Moshir Garden Hotel or similar
Yazd has been the centre of Zoroastrian culture so your day covers the Fire Temple and towers of silence. In the afternoon, stroll through the old town visiting its historical sites: the stunning Friday Mosque, Amir Chachmaq
square and pavilion and the magnificent Dolat Abad garden with its unique wind tower. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Moshir Garden Hotel or similar
Another early morning start for the 322 km drive to Esfahan. Travel through some stark yet mysterious deserts with surprise hamlets of civilisation scattered through this almost desolate region. Enjoy a break in the journey at Narin Castle, the caravansary complex in Meybod, about 55 km outside Yazd. Your next stop is the small town of Nain, the town which gave its name to one of the finest carpets. Nain is home to one of the earliest and most beautiful mosques. Continuing onwards to Esfahan, you will arrive in the early evening.
Esfahan’s profusion of tree-lined boulevards, Persian gardens and important Islamic buildings gives it a visual appeal unmatched by any other Iranian city, and the many artisans working here underpin its reputation as a living museum of traditional culture. Walking through the historic bazaar, over the picturesque bridges and across the Unesco-listed central square are sure to be highlights of your holiday. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Bekhradi Hotel or similar
Enjoy an unrushed two days of strolling in Esfahan. Visit Nesf-e Jahan (half the world) which is full of architectural jewels and also a great centre for trade and handicrafts. During our two-day stay in Esfahan you will visit the highlights of the city with time to explore the bazaar and shop in the many boutiques of the great square. The great Naqsh-e Jahan Square (Maidan-e Imam) is surrounded by the 16th and 17th C Mosques, a magnificent palace and arcades and the entrance to the 17th century bazaar, full of life and things to buy and an architectural gem in its own right. You will visit the Jame Mosque – a magnificent complex, built from the 10th to the 17th C – a miracle of space and decoration. Continue on to Julfa, the historic Armenian neighbourhood with churches displaying a disorienting mix of Christian symbols and liturgy with a distinct Iranian architectural style.
On day 10, you will go and sit under the Khajou bridge, where locals practice their singing. Your guide will purchase some local sweets and you will enjoy spending several hours listening to local music scene and chatting with the younger generation about art, music and life in Iran.
On the evening of day 11, in the afternoon, drink tea at the gorgeous Azadegan tea house. After drinking tea, you will go to the house of an Esfahani lady where you will learn to cook local dishes with her before dining together and really embracing local hospitality. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Bekhradi Hotel or similar
Another early morning drive to Tehran (just over 450 km). En route you will visit the ancient city of Kashan where you will go to Fin Garden, a 16th to 19th classic Persian walled garden, full of flowing water and little pavilions. Enjoy lunch in Kashan followed by visits to one or two traditional palazzos. Arrive in Tehran late in the evening for a relaxing dinner and a well deserved night’s rest.
Overnight Ibis Airport Hotel
Following breakfast, the day is yours at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward flight. (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 2 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.