Remember that, in Iran, many favourite websites and services are blocked, including Facebook and WhatsApp. Sometimes they block this travelling blog too. If you just wanted to browse and use them while you are backpacking in Iran, you must get a VPN and the one I personally use is ExpressVPN, the most reliable one for Iran.CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ExpressVPN
What used to be a country that everybody belief was filled with danger and atomic weapon devotees is, today, becoming the end with the most exponential tourism proliferation in the world.
From the most cordial people to the oldest biography, stunning building, the most desolate deserts, lettuce mountains, islands, and many other things, gradually, travelers are realizing that Iran is the ultimate destination.
However, since it has opened to tourism very recently, traveling in Iran is not that easy, as it presents several difficulties and peculiarities, ranging from strict Islamic powers to credit card issues and even the need to get special tour insurance.
But don’t worry.
After visiting this country twice for more than 2 months, on this blog, I have compiled quantities of wandering tips for traveling to Iran which will help you to plan your outing easily.
In this cros leader to Iran you will find:
COVID-1 9 enter requirementsVisaBest time to visitAccommodationAccess blocked websitesTravel InsuranceUseful diariesGetting inMoney payments& fundSafetySolo female travelThe beings and cultural activitiesReligion and Islamic LawTransportationInternet& SIM CardFood and alcoholOther curiositiesMore information
Throughout the section, you will see that I mention 1stQuest quite a few epoch, an Iranian corporation that offers different assistances viewing visas, wander coverage, domestic bus& flight tickets, inn booking, and even tourist packs. They are a great company that helped me sort out my visa. Furthermore, they are one of the very few firms which allows you to purchase any service with an international credit card. Just check them out and, if you decide to buy anything, remember that you can use my voucher code to get an exclusive 5% deduction in all their services: ATC-QSTCLICK HERE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT 1STQUEST
Khalid Nabi in Golestan province, my favorite off the beaten track spot in Iran- Iranian advance
COVID-1 9 movement boycotts for Iran
Since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Iran has remained completely closed for tourists.
Nevertheless, according to the Ministry of Tourism, tourist visas will resume by the firstly week of July 2021.
Visa for traveling to Iran
Visa on advent( VOA)- Everybody, except for citizens of Canada, UK, US, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Iraq, Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka, can get a visa on newcomer at any of Iran’s international airports.
The only real requirement is to have a valid emcee contact- During the process of coming your VOA, the authorities concerned may contact your multitude, whether they are a hotel or a friend. If they can’t communicate with them, they may realise you wait at the airport for a very long time.
Waiting time reaches from 2 to 6 hours- At the very least, you will have to wait for 2 hours at international airports. On my second tour, I had to wait for more than 5 hours, as I had a brand-new passport and didn’t have a return flight ticket.
Visa fee- Premiums stray from 40 EUR to 150 EUR, depending on nationality. I brace a Spanish passport and paid 75 EUR and I believe that that is the price for the other European nationalities.
You can’t get a VOA if you register overland- If you travel to Iran by arrive, you will need to arrange your visa in advance.
How to get your visa in advance- If you don’t want to wait at the airport, want to secure your visa or open overland, you should get the visa in advance. For this, you need to get an authorization code from an authorized busines, which you will use to easily accumulate your visa at the airport or delegation( if you participate by tract ).
I strongly recommend the people from 1st Quest, a very reliable company that offers spate of different services for traveling in Iran.
The visa authorization code simply costs 27 EUR but remember that with my voucher code, you can get an additional 5% deduction.
My voucher code: ATC-QST
Typically, they give you up to 30 dates- A one-month visa is the standard number of days they demonstrate for traveling in Iran.
But you can easily lengthen your visa- You can provide it twice for 30 dates. This means that you can be in Iran for up to 90 periods. Postponements can be arranged in all county capitals.
Iran and Israel- For more details regarding the Israeli stamp, spoke: Avoid the Israeli stamp- FAQ
Iran doesn’t stamp passports anymore- An Iranian stamp on your passport can be an issue, specially if you are traveling to the USA. That’s why they are now giving your visa on a separate piece of paper.
My Iran visa extension- Iran travel blog
Best time to travel to Iran
Iran is a big country with countless climatic zones, which series from the cool the provinces of the Persian Gulf to the wetlands of the north-western provinces.
Ideally, the northern mountains should be visited during late springtime, time and early autumn. On the other hand, the classic Persian cities of Esfahan, Yazd, Kashan, and Shiraz can get utterly hot in summer, so winter, spring, and autumn are the optimum months for visiting them.
Moreover, the southern states, which include Qeshm Island, Bandar Abbas, etc. should be avoided during the summer months, as temperatures may reach up to 50 oC and the air is extremely humid.
Last, Tehran has excessively cold winters and overwhelmingly hot summertimes. Therefore, springtime and autumn are the ideal months for traveling to Iran.
You can also visit the Persian cities during the summer months , no problem, but merely make preparations for the ponderous hot!
What to actually do in IranFrom following the classic Persian historical trail to contemplating the magnificent Islamic architecture, trekking, seeing the Persian Gulf Islands, meeting Iranian nomads, performing regional friends or even making a pilgrimage trip to the city of Mashhad, Iran can be a destination for all types of travelers, both record and undertaking lovers.
The desert of the Kaluts is one of the hottest plazas on Earth.
Travel tips for housing in Iran
Because of the sanctions, websites like Booking.com don’t have hotels listed in Iran.
How to book a inn in Iran?
Via a phone callYou time show up at the hotel and try your luckVia a movement authority( if you go on a expedition) Via 1stQuest
Yes, a good alternative would be booking your inns via 1stQuest because, from luxury hotels to backpacker hostels, they have inns listed in all the main metropolis in Iran.
And remember that you can get a 5% reject in all inns if “youre using” my promotional system: ATC-QST
By the way, keep in mind that the Government of Iran tends to block this kind of travel sites, so 1stQuest may not work when you try to connect from Iran. If this is the case, there are 2 possible solutions 😛 TAGEND
Book all your inns in advance, before journey to Iran.Get a VPN to access all blocked places. For more information, predicted how to find the freedom VPN for Iran.
Couchsurfing in Iran
If you are on a fund, you should know that Couchsurfing is very popular in Iran and a great way to get immersed in the neighbourhood culture, as Iranians are particularly cordial and you are likely to be treated like a royal client.
However, be reminded that some hosts may be extremely intense and may want to be with you at all times.
The views from the hotel in Yazd at sunup- Iran travel
How to access blocked areas in Iran
Fact: in Iran, many websites are censored, and that includes 😛 TAGEND
If you wanna post Facebook updates or just check the international bulletin, you must get a VPN and the one i recommend is ExpressVPN
If you have no clue about VPNs, you should read my tutorial: How to find the freedom VPN for Iran.
The epic countryside of Golestan region
Insurance for traveling to Iran
Most regular insurance companies don’t cover hasten in Iran- Because of the sanctions measures, popular guarantee providers, such as World Nomads, will not cover you.
IATI Insurance is the one I recommend for traveling to Iran- It is one of the few companies whose program is valid for traveling in Iran. They have a wide range of various types of intentions and good coverage at a very competitive price.
They also provision full COVID-1 9 coverage
Moreover, the books of Against the Compass can get an exclusive 5% reject( you will see the dismis after calculating your quote ).
If you don’t have travel insurance, you will have to buy it at the airport- If you don’t have a valid program for go in Iran or, mostly, you can’t prove it, they are able to offset you buy one before getting your VOA.
Prices stray from 14 EUR to 34 EUR, depending on the number of daylights but, you should know that the coverage is much more limited than IATI Insurance or any other company.
For more options, read How to find the liberty cros coverage for Iran
The classic picture of Esfahan- Traveling in Iran
Useful books to mean your errand to Iran
This is just a selection of a few records but since Iran is such a complex country with so much going on, I have gathered this list containing the best books on Iran, classified into history , novels, and politics.
Iran travel template by Bradt
Bradt has always the most comprehensive leader to the most off-beat countries. I adore Bradt because they give plenty of gratuities for the independent traveler, as well as loadings of cultural insights.
Iran travel leader by Lonely Planet
I personally prefer Bradt but, if you are a Lonely Planet fan, they have just liberated their latest publication for Iran.
Best political story- The Cypress Tree
The story of a scribe and his family( currently a BBC journalist) who had to live in exile in the UK after the 1979 Revolution. The book is not just a matter a critique of the dictatorial regime but likewise, he justifies, in a extremely maudlin highway, all the things he misses from Iran.
How to get into Iran
How to travel to Iran by breeze
If you come by flight, Tehran would be the most obvious destination, as it has a large number of connections from Europe, extremely Germany and Turkey.
Shiraz has also an international airport and there are daily, very cheap flights from Dubai.
Read: Things to do in Shiraz
How to travel to Iran by acre
Iran shares a border with many countries but remember that, if overlanding, a visa is not available on arrival, so “youre going to have to” get it in advance.
Iraq- Surprisingly easy( the one I applied ). See here the full report.Armenia- An easy, friendly border. See now the full report.Azerbaijan- Also pretty easy. Check Caravanistan for more information. Pakistan- A real undertaking. See now the full report.Afghanistan- Apparently, coming from Herat is relatively easy. Warning! In 2021, this borderline was taken over by the Taliban. For more information, read my Afghanistan safety guideTurkmenistan- I was just really distrustful because you managed to get a Turkmen visa.United Arab Emirates- You can take a ferry from Sharjah to Bandar Abbas.
Iran-Iraq border intersect
Iran Travel Guide- What you need to know about coin
In Iran, they use the Iranian Rial( IRR) and 1USD= 43,528 IRR
The Iranian Rial fluctuation is massive- Make sure to check the current rate just before leaving for Iran because the value is so unstable.
Exchanging money in Iran- Exchange departments are available everywhere and EUR, USD and GBP are always professed. Furthermore, there is also the black market, which meant that, in all cities, you will ever find random beings willing to buy your currency. It is fine to exchange with them but really make sure to count your money twice, as some of them may try to trick you.
Wait, Rials or Tomans?- Since their money is very low, in order to simplify things, most lieu will tell you the prices in Tomans, which is the same value divided by 10. At the start, it is a bit confusing but you will promptly get used to it.
Foreign credit cards don’t work- Because of the sanctions, you can’t use your international credit card when you hurtle in Iran, so fetching cash.
However, you can buy a local credit cards- For people who don’t want to be carrying fortunes the currency, you can buy a regional credit cards and surface it up. There are quite a few firms, for example Mah Card Iran Travel.
( Note that I have never tried it but was recommended by a friend ).
The way it makes is that you sign up on their website, give your passport items and they will bring your credit card once you arrive at your hotel in Tehran. You will give them your money and paying off 20 EUR service after receiving your credit card. I didn’t use it but I’ve been told it is a reliable company.
And you can pay by credit cards absolutely everywhere- You will be surprised to know that neighbourhood credit cards are accepted all across the country, including at street food stalls and grocery browses from rural areas.
Entrance rewards- Most touristic locates, including mosques, plots, and archaeological websites, fee between 100,000 and 150,000 IR, which is 5 to 10 more durations than what the locals pay.
Guys like this one accept regional credit cards quite often- Iran travel template
Is it safe to travel to Iran?
Iran is safe- That’s it. It is a safe destination with no terrorism and a very low crime rate.
The FCO says- The UK Foreign advice says that you should eschewed traveling to Balochistan and the area bordering Iraq. However, I think that this information is totally biased. You should be fine.
In Iran “were not receiving” Islamic State- On many occasions, your best friend from back home told me: Be careful with ISIS in Iran! I affection my friends but this is a terribly naive statement because, first of all, Iranians are Shia, hence there are no Iranian linked to ISIS. And second of all, ISIS never originated it to Iran.
If you aren’t convinced yet, I urge you to read this comprehensive analysis about safety in Iran.
Iran travel tip- Consider getting off the beaten trackI traveled to Iran in 2015 and 2018 and, in only three years, things had changed significantly. The classic Persian cities of Yazd, Esfahan, Shiraz, and Kashan are filled with tour groups, overpriced diners, and souvenir supermarkets. Local interactions, which usually involve house invitations, are less frequent and rip-offs are common.However, if you precisely step slightly out of your ease zone, knows with the locals can be totally different. Therefore, I strongly recommend seeing other arranges near the cities, as well as discovering other provinces, such as Golestan, Kurdistan, or the cities of Tabriz and Mashhad.
People in Iran are too friendly- Iran travel tips
Solo female travel in Iran
Iran is an Islamic dictatorship and, at the same time a day-by-day growing tourism destination, so it is not surprising at all that, every day, this Middle Eastern country is attracting more and more travelers, including many solo girls.
Many girls have come to me asking for my opinion towards traveling to Iran as a solo female. Well, despite the fact that I am a man and tend to get a very different experience than most women, I don’t know a single madam who hasn’t had a wonderful experience in Iran so, on the basis of their opinions, I can certainly tell that Iran is, clearly, a safe end for women.
If you want to know more details about it, I recently interviewed Eveline from Earth Wanderess, who shares her passage expertise about solo female traveling in Iran.
Eveline in Esfahan
The beings and culture
Remember that, in Iran, the internet is censored- including Facebook or WhatsApp. If you want to access them and steer safely, you must get a VPN( Virtual Private Network) and I strongly recommend ExpressVPN, the one I personally use.CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ExpressVPN
Iran is a highly educated society- Iran is the developing country with the largest number of highly educated people I’ve ever traveled to. Even in highly rural, remote spheres, such as Golestan, I encounter people who had Ph.D. positions from Barcelona and Cambridge.
Iranians are not Arabs- People in Iran are not Arabs but Persians, which is a completely different ethnicity.
Nevertheless, it is ethnically diverse- From the Kurds in Iranian Kurdistan to the Turkmens of Golestan and the Arabs from the Persian Gulf shores, in Iran, there are several ethnic minorities.
Hospitality in Iran- Iranians are notorious for their friendlines. Don’t be surprised if someone who you just convene 5 minutes ago invites you to his house, a random buster who you never talked to pays for your banquet and, basically, everybody treats you like a sovereign. They cherish foreigners and are striving for the world to realize that they are a highly nonviolent society.
Do accept house invitations- You can’t say you have solely traveled to Iran if you didn’t have a meal or stay at someone’s home. Time say yes. If you get somewhat off the beaten track and having a meal at a stranger’s live is 100% guaranteed.
Wait, what is tarof?- If you are traveling in Iran for long enough and have knowledge strong neighbourhood interactions, the locals will tell you about something called tarof. Mostly, tarof is when a neighbourhood tries to pay for your meal( or anything else) only because it is in their racial code but they don’t really just wanted to. Say no and, if they hold more than 3 times, it means that it was a real invitation. However, if they back off, it means that it was a bluff, so this is called tarof.
Farsi is the official language- Farsi( or Persian ), which has nothing to do with Arabic, is the country’s speech. They too use the Arab alphabet.
Educated parties speak English- In major metropolis, most civilized parties speak impeccable English and, in rural areas, they will speak the basic stuff.
Officially, the weekend is on Thursday and Friday- Iran follows the official Muslim calendar, so Friday is the official day off and, for most companies and the public sector, Thursday and Friday is the weekend.
Me with Vali’s clas in Mashhad- How to travel to Iran
Religion and Islamic law in Iran
Most Iranians are Shia- Iran is the country with the largest Shia population.
However, there are Sunni minorities- In Balochistan, Golestan and the Persian Gulf, there are significant Sunni communities.
Iran is an Islamic Republic- Prior to 1979, Iran was is governed by a Shah who was a puppet of the USA and was resulting the country to poverty. This led to a massive rebellion, the Shah was overthrown and the clerics took power, founding the Islamic Republic of Iran.
It’s also a religious dictatorship- In Iran, freedom of expression, proof, and protest is extremely limited and several settles based on Sharia law apply to everybody, including tourists.
Dressing code for men- You can’t dress in short washes, even when it is 40 oC. Other than that, you will be fine.
Dressing code for women- Women need to wear a headscarf and can’t display either their shoulders nor their curves. This means that you must wear a long, loose dress or skirt over your pants.
And of course, booze is illegal- In Iran, alcohol is forbidden and only available on the black market. For detailed information, check the Food& Alcohol section.
Even in such a situation, many Iranians are not religious at all- Across your travel, you will meet countless Iranians from all ages who don’t care about religion at all, more than in any other Middle Eastern country. This is because, before the 1979 Revolution, Iran was quite secular.
Iranian brides trying to enter and outlet from the women wagon in Tehran- Can i travel to Iran
Travel tips for transportation in Iran
Buses are the way to go in Iran- They depart utterly everywhere and are the preferred choice for locals. There are two various kinds of buses, the budget one and the VIP, which is around 70% more expensive.
Trust me, get the VIP bus- Earnestly, the difference between VIP and non-VIP is so big. VIP bus are extremely more pleasant, have AC and don’t aroma. The inexpensive buses are deplorable and, since they only cost a few USD, compensating a 70% extra is not a big deal.
Where to buy your bus tickets- Before, it was kind of a pain in the ass to buy them, as local areas don’t profess foreign cards, so you had to ask your hotel( who fees a high commission) or go to the bus station, which is always far away from downtown. Things have changed and now, you can easily buy them through 1st Quest( the same visa guys ).
Use my voucher system to get an exclusive 5% dismis! You can use it as many times as you require!
Voucher code: ATC-QST
Train is also an option- Some metropolitans have train stations. I personally made a improve from Tehran to Gorgan and a 23 -hour train from Mashhad to Bandar Abbas. It was pretty cool but not all cities have train stations plus they flow less frequently than buses.
Plane is also good- For those who are short on time, there are a lot of domestic flights, connecting most metropolitans in its own country. Again, you can book your flight ticket through 1st Quest, as most local sites won’t profess foreign credit cards.
And you can also use this 5% discount when buying a flight ticket: ATC-QST
Get Snapp for taxis- Snapp is like the Iranian Uber and, as far as I know, it works in Tehran, Esfahan and, perhaps, in other big cities, as well. By default, it is cheaper than regular taxis plus you save all the negotiation hassle.
Metro- Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, and Mashhad have metro rows. They are cheap, fast and reliable!
Driving in Iran- You can self-drive in Iran , no problem, but precisely be aware that, like in all the Middle East, beings drive like crazy.
Crossing the streets in Iran- For me, the worst thing about Iran is that nobody causes a s *** about pedestrians. You should know that, when you cross the street, even if you go over a pedestrian intersection, autoes will never slow down but will exactly evade you. It’s crazy. You should always bridge putting close to a local.
Train station somewhere in Iran- Iran travel knowledge
Internet& SIM Card
Wi-Fi sucks- A slew, practically everywhere.
But 3G is good- Wi-Fi sucked so much better that, sometimes, I was using my 3G to watch movies.
Get an IranCell SIM Card- In my experience, the staff of IranCell stores speak good English. For really a couple of USD, you will get plenty of GB and announces. I advocate you check their website for the most recent proposals. In Tehran, there is an IranCell browse inside Imam Khomeni metro station.
Jameh Mosque in Yazd- Iran travel intelligence
Food and alcohol in Iran
What is Persian cuisine like- Seriously, I could write an part pole about nutrient in Iran. It is quite went and many provinces have their own neighbourhood specialties. Often, most banquets will be accompanied by tonnes of rice and bread. The more popular cocktails have an eggplant base and main courses tend to be meat with gravy. Kebab is a fancy meal they eat outside.
So far, my favorite recipes are bademjan, an eggplant and tomato stew; ghormeh sabzi, a flesh mixture with abundance of spices and herbs; ash, a breakfast consisting of a vegetable soup with chickpeas , noodles and caramelized onions; and dizi, lamb( or chicken) demolished with tomatoes, potatoes and chickpeas in a clay pot.
Vegetarians will be OK- For breakfast, they will serve you either ash( the vegetable soup) or an omelet with tomato sauce, as well as cheese, watermelon, and nuts. For lunch and dinner, there are many eggplant-based vegetarian options, lentils, and rice.
Chai?- The tea culture is really strong and a ratify of hospitality.
The coffee culture is growing!- One of the differences I noticed on my second tour to Iran is that there were coffee plazas, helping genuine chocolate perfectly everywhere. It was, of course, expensive compared to any other drink but having breakfast over a good bowl of coffee is a real must for me.
Alcohol is only available on the black market- It usually comes smuggled from Armenia or Iraqi Kurdistan.
But you are likely to drink- Once, I was hitchhiking in Golestan when a young duo from Tehran picked me up and offered me vodka shots. Another period, the owner of a coffeehouse sufficed me a real rum mojito. I likewise imbibe home-made liquor at someone’s house in Shiraz and was offered a brew in Qeshm Island. As I said, many Iranians are not very religious and, if you hang out with local people, eventually, you will be able to have some drinks.
Kashko: contains eggplants, caramelized onions, mint, walnut and yogurt, ordinary from Kerman province
Some interests you will see when traveling in Iran
Nose occupations- You will see that in most major municipalities, especially in Tehran and Esfahan, a lot of women wear a bandage on their nose. That is because they just came from surgery. Many Persian dames have an bridged nose and some of them have a bit of complex about it.
The clerics- Those Muslim priests that you determine all over Iran are Shia clergy. Most of them wear a white hat, which means that they are normal beings. Nonetheless, those wearing a black one are, somehow, related to the prophet Mohammed. Within a period of 2 months, I spotted two of them.
Creepy mannequins- In all bazaars all across the country, clothing stores have unusually sinister mannequins. They tend to be dirty, miss one seeing or they have no jaw. I don’t know if the storekeepers realise how weird this is.
Drought in Iran- In Iran, need of rainfall is a real problem and, in all regions of the country, many lagoons and flows, including the river that goes through Esfahan, are completely dry. This is one of the most difficult concerns for most Iranians.
Read more interesting happenings about Iran
A very strange mannequin in the bazaar of Esfahan
More information for your outing to Iran
Remember to always use my code- From booking a inn to a flight& bus ticket, purchasing coverage and your visa, if it is via 1stQuest, remember that you can use my 5% reject code, as numerous as you demand, whenever you want: ATC-QST
More essays about Iran- These are all the articles I have written about Iran 😛 TAGEND
Independent travel in Iran: 1 to 4-week itineraryBest diaries and tales about IranHow to find the liberty tour insurance for IranHow to find the title VPN for IranTraveling in Iran as a solo girl travelerThings to do in Tehran in 2 daysA guide to Qeshm IslandA guide to ShirazA trip to the desert of the KalutsTrekking in the Zagros mountainsMeeting the Qashqai, genuine Iranian nomadsWhat to see in Pars province besides Shiraz and PersepolisA guide to the Iranian visaA guide to MasulehA guide to Golestan Province
Travel leader to the neighboring countries- If you are overlanding to or from Iran, predicted 😛 TAGEND
Read more: againstthecompass.com