What used to be a country which everybody believed was filled with danger and nuclear weapon lovers is, today, becoming the destination with the most exponential tourism growth in the world.
From the most hospitable people to the oldest history, stunning architecture, the most desolate deserts, green mountains, islands, and many other things, slowly, 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 rules to credit card issues and even the need to get special travel insurance.
For all the practical information, read my 80 Useful tips for traveling to Iran
Capital – Tehran
Population – 81 million (18th)
Official language – Persian (Farsi)
Visa for Iran – Most nationalities can get a visa on arrival but there are quite a few cases when you should apply for it in advance. For more information, read my Iranian visa guide.
When to go – Spring and autumn would be the best months. In summer, the classic Persian cities will be quite hot but not unbearable. The south of Iran, including the islands, should be avoided in summer, late spring and early autumn. In winter, the north of Iran is mostly covered by snow.
Safety – Iran is, perhaps, safer than your home country and, in order to understand why you should read: Is Iran safe?
Things to do in Iran – Iran is a huge country with endless awesome sites to see. If you only have 2 weeks, I recommend you visit Tehran, Kashan, Esfahan, Yazd, the Kaluts, and Shiraz. I traveled in Iran for more than 2 months, so if you want to see all the places I visited, read my 1 to 4-week itinerary for the independent traveler.
You will see that I mention 1stQuest quite a few times, an Iranian company that offers different services regarding visas, travel insurance, domestic bus & flight tickets, hotel booking, and even tourist packages. They are a great company which helped me sort out my visa. Moreover, they are one of the very few companies 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% discount: ATC-QST – Click here to learn more about 1stQuest
Transportation in Iran – Moving around Iran is very easy. There is a big network of extremely comfortable buses that go everywhere in the country. Alternatively, you can also travel by train but not all cities have train stations. Last, for those short in time, domestic flights are also quite efficient. You can buy both bus tickets and flight tickets through 1stQuest, the first local website that finally accepts international credit cards. Moreover, the readers of this blog can use my personal discount code to get an exclusive 5% discount on all their purchases: ATC-QST
Dress code in Iran – Women need to have both their head and shoulders covered and can’t show their curves, meaning that they must wear a long dress or skirt over their pants. The only rule for men is that they can’t wear short pants.
Travel insurance for Iran – You should know that many regular travel insurance providers, including World Nomads, don’t cover travel in Iran. Moreover, travel insurance is a must requirement for anyone trying to get a visa on arrival at the airport. If you don’t have insurance, they will make you buy it at the airport before issuing your visa. For more information, read how to find the right travel insurance for Iran.
Blocked websites – Many popular websites such as Facebook and YouTube are blocked in Iran. If you want to access them, you will need a Virtual Private Network (VPN). For more information, read how to choose the right VPN for Iran.
How much does it cost – Iran is really cheap and the IR is constantly devaluing. Meals cost 100,000-300,000IR. Budget accommodation costs 300,000-500,000IR. Entering most touristic sites costs 100,000-200,000IR. Remember that international credit cards are not accepted in Iran, so you must bring cash.
Women in Iran – All women I know have had an amazing time in Iran. For more information read solo female traveling in Iran.
Where to stay in Iran – There are many hotels and guest houses in Iran, especially in the main cities. Most international hotel search engine sites don’t work though, including Booking.com. Therefore, for booking hotels, I also recommend the guys from 1stQuest, as they have a wide range of listed hotels in all the main cities in Iran. Once again, you can use my 5% discount code across on all your bookings: ATC-QST