What You Need To Know About Traveling To Iran (Iran Ultimate Guide)

What You Need To Know About Traveling To Iran

Iran, what used to be a country that everyone thought was full of dangers and nuclear weapons, has today become the most growing destination for tourism in the world.

From the most hospitable people to the oldest history, stunning architecture, the most ruined deserts, green mountains, islands, and many other things, slowly, travelers are realizing that Iran is the ultimate destination.

However, given its recent openness to tourism, traveling to Iran is not that easy, as it presents many difficulties and peculiarities, from strict Islamic rules to credit card problems to the need to obtain private travel insurance.

But do not worry.

This blog will provide you with the necessary tips for travel to Iran that will help you to plan your trip easily.

Visa to travel to Iran
Visa on arrival (VOA) - Everyone, except citizens of Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Iraq, Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sri Lanka, can obtain a visa upon arrival at any of the Iranian international airports.

The only real requirement is that you have a valid host contact - during the VOA acquisition process, authorities may contact your host, whether they are a hotel or a friend. If they can't contact them, they may get you to wait at the airport for too long.

Waiting time ranges from 2 to 6 hours - at least, you must wait two hours at the airport. On my second visit, I had to wait for more than 5 hours, as I had a completely new passport and I didn't have a round trip ticket.

The best time to travel to Iran
Iran is a huge country with many climatic regions, which range from the dry areas of the Persian Gulf to the wetlands of the northwestern provinces.

Ideally, you should visit the northern mountains during late spring, summer and early fall. On the other hand, classic Persian cities like Isfahan, Yazd, Kashan, and Shiraz can become quite hot in summer, so winter, spring, and autumn are the best months to visit.

Moreover, the southern provinces, which include Qeshm Island and Bandar Abbas, etc. should be avoided during the summer months, as temperatures may reach 50 ° C and the air is very humid.

Finally, Tehran has very cold winters and very hot summers. Therefore, spring and autumn are the ideal months to travel to Iran.

You can also visit the Persian cities during the summer months, no problem, but just prepare for extreme heat!

Travel insurance to Iran
Most regular insurance companies do not cover travel in Iran - due to the sanctions, famous insurance providers, such as World Nomads, will not cover you.

IATI insurance is what I recommend to travel to Iran - it is one of the very few companies that apply its policy to travel to Iran. They have a wide range of different plans and good coverage at a very competitive price.
If you do not have travel insurance, you will have to purchase it at the airport - if you do not have a valid travel policy in Iran, or, basically, you cannot prove it, they will make you buy one before getting your VOA. Prices range from 14 € to 34 €, depending on the number of days however, you should know that coverage is much more limited than IATI Insurance or any other company.

Is it safe to travel to Iran?
Iran is safe - that's all. It is a safe destination without terrorism and a very low crime rate.

The British Foreign Office says - The UK's Foreign Advice says that you should avoid traveling to Balochistan and the region bordering Iraq. However, I think this information is completely biased. It should be okay.

In Iran, there is no Islamic state - on many occasions, my friends have told me: be careful with ISIS in Iran! I love my friends, but this is a very naive comment because first and foremost, the Iranians are Shia, and therefore there are no Iranians associated with the Islamic State. Second, the ISIS has not reached Iran.

People and culture

People and culture Iran

Iran is a highly educated community - Iran is the developing country with the largest number of highly educated people I've ever traveled to. Even in very remote and rural areas, such as Golestan, I met people who received Ph.D. Degrees from Barcelona and Cambridge.

Iranians are not Arabs - people in Iran are not Arabs but Persians, and it's a completely different race.

However, it is ethnically diverse - from the Kurds in Iranian Kurdistan to Golestan Turkmen and the Arabs from the shores of the Persian Gulf, in Iran, there are many ethnic minorities.

Hospitality in Iran - Iranians are known for their hospitality. Don't be surprised if someone you just met 5 minutes ago invites you to his house, he's a random guy you've never spoken to for your meal, and basically, everyone treats you like a king. They love foreigners and strive for the world to realize that they are a very peaceful society.

Do not accept house invitations - you cannot say that you have fully traveled to Iran if you do not have a meal or you are at someone's home. Just say yes. If you go a little off the beaten track and eat a meal at a stranger's house 100% guaranteed.

Wait what is the Tarof? If you have been traveling in Iran for a long time and have a strong local experience, the locals will tell you something called Tarof. Basically, Tarof is when a resident tries to pay for your meal (or something else) just because he's in their cultural code but they really don't want it. Say no, and if they insist more than 3 times, it means it was a real invitation. However, if they retreated, then this was a bluff, so this is called Tarof.

Farsi is the official language - Farsi, which has nothing to do with Arabic, is the language of the country. They also use the Arabic alphabet.

Educated People speak English - In big cities, most educated people speak impeccable English, and in rural areas, they will talk about the basic things.

Officially, the weekend is Thursday and Friday - Iran follows the official Islamic calendar, so Friday is the official holiday, and for most companies and the public sector, Thursday and Friday is the weekend.

Must-Visit Attractions in Iran

Once you are the capital of the first Persian Empire and the cradle of the Persian civilization, it is imperative that you visit the city of Persepolis. Indeed, Iran did not see what it did not follow in the footsteps of the ancient kings.

Persepolis Iran

Valley of the Stars
Qeshm offers pure nature and a world of mystery, but if there is one attraction that you can't miss, it's the Valley of the Stars. Marl and sandstone form other mundane rock formations, and with a little imagination, you can see animals, faces and hands among other things.

Valley of the Stars Iran

Chogha Zanbil
The first Iranian site registered with UNESCO, Chogha Zanbil is the 13th century BC ziggurat in Khuzestan province. Baked bricks with cuneiforms are built into the structure, and the fingerprint of a centuries-old child is placed in stone toward the back.

Chogha Zanbil Iran Persian Travel

Babak Castle
Little sport and no fear is required to reach Babak Castle. Once a stronghold of a Khurami leader who fought the Abbasid Caliphate, this fortress, surrounded by deep fjords, was located at an altitude of 2300 - 2,600 meters (7,546-8,530 feet). Those suffering from a severe case of altitude phobia may choose to admire them from afar.

Babak Castle Iran

Nasser Al-Malik Mosque
Walking inside Nasser bin Malik is like walking inside a kaleidoscope. Nicknamed "The Pink Mosque" for its pink tiles, you will love to discover the hidden corners of the most beautiful mosque in Iran, arguably.

Nasser Al-Malik Mosque Iran Travel Tourism

Chalus Road
Do you travel to the north? Then definitely take the famous Chalus Road. The steep roads at the foot of the mountain, tunnels carved into hard rocks, natural springs and water bodies make this one of the most scenic ways in Iran.

Chalus Road Iran

Naqsh Jahan Square

The Naqsh Jahan Square in Isfahan, which was previously a stadium for the Royal Polo, holds the Ali Qabu Palace, the Imam Mosque, the Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque, and the Imperial Bazaar. You will need a better part of the day to properly see it completely.

Naqsh Jahan Square in Isfahan Iran

Kashan Historic Homes
Gorgeous ceilings, magnificent murals, and large courtyards filled with pomegranate trees are what you'll get in one of the picturesque historic homes in the desert town of Kashan. It is best to watch this city in the spring before it warms, while you can watch the Rose Water Festival.

Kashan Historic Homes Iran

Pigeon towers
While people usually see pigeons as just a nuisance, especially for city dwellers, it has been of great value in Iran about five centuries ago, meaning for their droppings. These towers are built as bathroom homes, each of which holds up to 14,000, where waste can be collected and used as fertilizer.

Pigeon towers

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