Tips and how to travel to Iran in 2024

By Joan Torres 99 Comments Last updated on April 11, 2024

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What used to be a country that 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.

But don’t worry.

After visiting this country twice for more than 2 months, on this blog, I have compiled loads of travel tips for traveling to Iran which will help you to plan your trip easily.

things to know for traveling to Iran

In this travel guide to Iran you will find:

How to book hotels, flights and tours in Iran

Because of the sanctions, foreign cards or popular sites such as can’t be used in Iran, but now you can thanks to 1stQuest.

1stQuest is a local company that offers services such as visa LOI, hotel booking, tours, domestic flights, and travel insurance for Iran.

5% discount on ALL bookings with voucher code:


Iran off the beaten track
Khalid Nabi in Golestan province, my favorite off the beaten track spot in Iran – Iranian travel

🪪 Visa for traveling to Iran

Visa on arrival (VOA) for Iran

Everybody, except for citizens of Canada, UK, US, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, Iraq, Jordan, Nepal, Pakistan, Somalia and Sri Lanka, can get a visa on arrival at any of Iran’s international airports.

The only real requirement is to have a valid host contact

During the process of getting your VOA, the authorities may contact your host, whether they are a hotel or a friend. If they can’t contact them, they may make you wait at the airport for a very long time.

Waiting time ranges from 2 to 6 hours

At the very least, you will have to wait for 2 hours at the airport.

On my second visit, I had to wait for more than 5 hours, as I had a brand-new passport and didn’t have a return flight ticket.

How much does the tourist visa for Iran costs?

Prices range from 40€ to 150€, depending on nationality.

I hold a Spanish passport and paid 75€ and I believe that that is the price for the other European nationalities.

You can’t get a VOA if you enter Iran overland

If you travel to Iran by land, 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 enter overland, you should get the visa in advance.

For this, you need to get an authorization code from an authorized company, which you will use to easily collect your visa at the airport or embassy (if you enter by land).

I strongly recommend the guys from 1st Quest, a very reliable company that offers plenty of different services for traveling in Iran.

The visa authorization code only costs 29€ but remember that with my voucher code, you can get an additional 5% discount. 

My voucher code: ATC-QST

Typically, they give you up to 30 days

A one-month visa is the standard number of days they give for traveling in Iran.

But you can easily extend your visa

You can extend it twice for 30 days. This means that you can be in Iran for up to 90 days. Extensions can be arranged in all provincial capitals.

Iran and Israel

For more details regarding the Israeli stamp, read: Avoid the Israeli stamp – FAQ

Iran doesn’t stamp passports anymore – An Iranian stamp on your passport can be an issue, especially if you are traveling to the USA. That’s why they are now giving your visa on a separate piece of paper.

Iran visa extension
My Iran visa extension – Iran travel blog

⛅ Best time to travel to Iran

Iran is a massive country with many climatic zones, which range from the dry regions of the Persian Gulf to the wetlands of the north-western provinces.

Ideally, the northern mountains should be visited during late spring, summer 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 provinces, which include Qeshm Island, Bandar Abbas, etc. should be avoided during the summer months, as temperatures may reach up to 50ºC and the air is extremely humid.

Last, Tehran has extremely cold winters and overwhelmingly hot summers. Therefore, spring and autumn are the ideal months for traveling to Iran.

You can also visit the Persian cities during the summer months, no problem, but just be prepared for the heavy heat!

What to actually do in Iran
From following the classic Persian historical trail to contemplating the magnificent Islamic architecture, trekking, visiting the Persian Gulf Islands, meeting Iranian nomads, making local friends or even making a pilgrimage trip to the city of Mashhad, Iran can be a destination for all types of travelers, both history and adventure lovers.

The desert of the Kaluts is one of the hottest places on Earth.

🏨 Travel tips for accommodation in Iran

Because of the sanctions, websites like don’t have hotels listed in Iran.

How to book a hotel in Iran?

  1. Via a phone call
  2. You just show up at the hotel and try your luck
  3. Via a travel agency (if you go on a tour)
  4. Via 1stQuest 

Yes, a good alternative would be booking your hotels via 1stQuest because, from luxury hotels to backpacker hostels, they have hotels listed in all the main cities in Iran. 

You can get a 5% discount in ALL your hotels bookings.

Use my promotional code: 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:

For more options, check: Best areas to stay in Tehran.

Couchsurfing in Iran

If you are on a budget, you should know that Couchsurfing is very popular in Iran and a great way to get immersed in the local culture, as Iranians are particularly hospitable and you are likely to be treated like a royal guest.

However, bear in mind that some hosts may be extremely intense and may want to be with you at all times.

Iran travel guide
The views from the hotel in Yazd at sunrise – Iran travel

🔓 How to access blocked sites in Iran

Fact: in Iran, many websites are censored, and that includes:

If you wanna post Facebook updates or just check the international news, 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 right VPN for Iran.

The epic landscape of Golestan region

🚑 Travel insurance for Iran

Because of the sanctions, few insurance providers cover travel in Iran. The one which does, however, is IATI Insurance.

Moreover, travel insurance is a must requirement for anyone trying to get a visa on arrival at the airport.

I strongly recommend IATI Insurance for these reasons:

  1. They have loads of different plans for all travelers: from families to budget backpackers
  2. Covers for up to 1 year trips
  3. Readers of this blog can get an exclusive 5% discount.

For more options, read How to find the right travel insurance for Iran

traveling in Iran
The classic picture of Esfahan – Traveling in Iran

📚 Useful books to plan your trip to Iran

This is just a selection of a few books but since Iran is such a complex country with so much going on, I have compiled this list containing the best books on Iran, classified into history, novels, and politics.

Iran travel guide by Bradt

Bradt has always the most comprehensive guides to the most off-beat countries. I love Bradt because they give plenty of tips for the independent traveler, as well as loads of cultural insights.

Iran travel guide by Lonely Planet

I personally prefer Bradt but, if you are a Lonely Planet fan, they have just released their latest edition for Iran.

Best political novel – The Cypress Tree

The story of a writer and his family (currently a BBC journalist) who had to live in exile in the UK after the 1979 Revolution. The book is not only a critique of the dictatorial regime but also, he explains, in a very nostalgic way, all the things he misses from Iran.

🛫 How to get in Iran

How to travel to Iran by air

If you come by flight, Tehran would be the most obvious destination, as it has a large number of connections from Europe, especially Germany and Turkey. 

Read: Things to do in Tehran in 2 days

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 land

Iran shares a border with many countries but remember that, if overlanding, a visa is not available on arrival, so you will have to get it in advance.

IraqSurprisingly easy (the one I used). See here the full report.

Turkey – Another surprisingly easy border to cross.

Armenia – An easy, friendly border. See here the full report.

Azerbaijan – Also pretty easy. Check Caravanistan for more information

Pakistan – A real adventure. See here the full report.

Afghanistan – Apparently, coming from Herat is relatively easy. Warning! In 2021, this border was taken over by the Taliban. For more information, read my Afghanistan safety guide

Turkmenistan – I am really jealous because you managed to get a Turkmen visa.

United Arab Emirates – You can take a ferry from Sharjah to Bandar Abbas.

Iran-Iraq border crossing

💰 Iran Travel Guide – What you need to know about money

In Iran, they use the Iranian Rial (IRR) and approximately:

1 USD = 42,350 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 offices are available everywhere and €, USD and GBP are always accepted.

Moreover, there is also the black market, which means that, in all cities, you will always find random people willing to buy your currency.

It is fine to exchange with them but just make sure to count your money twice, as some of them may try to trick you.

Wait, Rials or Tomans?

Since their currency is extremely low, in order to simplify things, most places will tell you the prices in Tomans, which is the same value divided by 10.

In the beginning, it is a bit confusing but you will quickly get used to it.

Foreign credit cards don’t work

Because of the sanctions, you can’t use your international credit card when you travel in Iran, so bring cash.

However, you can buy a local credit card

For people who don’t want to be carrying lots the cash, you can buy a local credit card and top it up. There are quite a few companies, for example, Mah Card Iran Travel.

(Note that I have never tried it but was recommended by a friend). 

The way it works is that you sign up on their website, give your passport details and they will bring your credit card once you arrive at your hotel in Tehran.

You will give them your cash and pay the 20€ service after receiving your card. I didn’t use it but I’ve been told it is a reliable company.

And you can pay by credit card absolutely everywhere

You will be surprised to know that local credit cards are accepted all across the country, including at street food stalls and grocery shops from rural areas.

Entrance fees

Most touristic sites, including mosques, gardens, and archaeological sites, charge between 100,000 and 150,000IR, which is 5 to 10 more times than what the locals pay.

Iran travel
Guys like this one accept local credit cards quite often – Iran travel guide

⚠️ Is it safe to travel to Iran?

Iran is it safe to visit Iran?

That’s it. It is a safe destination with no terrorism and a very low crime rate.

The UK Foreign advice says that you should avoid traveling to Balochistan and the area bordering Iraq. However, I think that this information is totally biased. You should be fine.

In Iran there is no Islamic State

On many occasions, my friends from back home told me: Be careful with ISIS in Iran! I love my friends but this is a very naive comment because, first of all, Iranians are Shia, hence there are no Iranian linked to ISIS. And second of all, ISIS never made 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 track
I traveled to Iran in 2015 and 2018 and, in only 3 years, things had changed significantly. The classic Persian cities of Yazd, Esfahan, Shiraz, and Kashan are filled with tour groups, overpriced restaurants, and souvenir shops. Local interactions, which usually involve house invitations, are less frequent and rip-offs are common.
However, if you just step slightly out of your comfort zone, experiences with the locals can be totally different. Therefore, I strongly recommend visiting other places near the cities, as well as discovering other provinces, such as Golestan, Kurdistan, or the cities of Tabriz and Mashhad.

Travel to Iran
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 females. 

Many women 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 lady who hasn’t had a wonderful experience in Iran so, based on their opinions, I can certainly tell that Iran is, definitely, a safe destination for women. 

If you want to know more details about it, I recently interviewed Eveline from Earth Wanderess, who shares her travel expertise about solo female travel in Iran

Eveline in Esfahan

🕌 The people and culture

Remember that, in Iran, the internet is censored – including Facebook or WhatsApp. If you want to access them and navigate safely, you must get a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and I strongly recommend ExpressVPN, the one I personally use.

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 very rural, remote areas, such as Golestan, I met people who had Ph.D. degrees 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 famous for their hospitality.

Don’t be surprised if someone who you just met 5 minutes ago invites you to his house, a random dude who you never talked to pays for your meal and, basically, everybody treats you like a king.

They love foreigners and are striving for the world to realize that they are a very peaceful society.

Do accept house invitations

You can’t say you have entirely traveled to Iran if you didn’t have a meal or stay at someone’s home.

Just say yes. If you get slightly off the beaten track and having a meal at a stranger’s house is 100% guaranteed.

Wait, what is tarof?

If you are traveling in Iran for long enough and have experienced strong local interactions, the locals will tell you about something called tarof.

Basically, tarof is when a local tries to pay for your meal (or anything else) just because it is in their cultural code but they don’t really want to.

Say no and, if they insist 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 language.

They also use the Arab alphabet.

Educated people speak English

In major cities, most educated people 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.

Read: Things you need to know before traveling to Kyrgyzstan

Travel blog Iran
Me with Vali’s family 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 ruled by a Shah who was a puppet of the USA and was leading the country to poverty. This led to a massive revolution, the Shah was overthrown and the clerics came to power, founding the Islamic Republic of Iran.

It’s also a religious dictatorship

In Iran, freedom of speech, demonstration, and protest is extremely limited and several rules based on Sharia law apply to everybody, including tourists.

Dressing code for men

You can’t dress in short pants, even when it is 40ºC. Other than that, you will be fine.

Dressing code for women

Women need to wear a headscarf and can’t show either their shoulders nor their curves. This means that you must wear a long, loose dress or skirt over your pants.

And of course, alcohol is illegal

In Iran, alcohol is forbidden and only available on the black market.

For more details, check the Food & Alcohol section.

Even in this situation, many Iranians are not religious at all

Across your journey, you will meet many 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.

Religion in Iran
Iranian women trying to enter and exit from the women wagon in Tehran – Can i travel to Iran

🛺 Travel tips for transportation in Iran

Traveling around Iran by public transportation

They go absolutely everywhere and are the preferred choice for locals.

There are two kinds of buses, the budget one and the VIP, which is around 70% more expensive.

Trust me, get the VIP bus

Seriously, the difference between VIP and non-VIP is so huge. VIP buses are extremely more comfortable, have AC and don’t smell. The cheap buses are horrible and, since they only cost a few USD, paying a 70% extra is not a big deal.

Where to buy your bus tickets

It was kind of a pain in the ass to buy them, as local sites don’t accept foreign cards, so you had to ask your hotel (who charges a high commission) or go to the bus station, which is always far away from downtown.

Because of the sanctions, in Iran, most booking sites don’t accept international foreign cards. Before you could book them via 1stQuest but they are not offering this particular service anymore. However, you may still use 1stQuest for visa services, hotels, flights, travel insurance and tours. 

Traveling around Iran by domestic flight

For those who are short on time, there are a lot of domestic flights, connecting most cities in the country.

You can check flight schedules and book your tickets through 1stQuest, and you can get a 5% discount on ALL flights:

With voucher code: ATC-QST

Train is also an option

Some cities have train stations. I personally took a train 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 run less frequently than buses.

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.


Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, and Mashhad have metro lines. They are cheap, fast and reliable!

Driving in Iran

You can self-drive in Iran, no problem, but just be aware that, like in all the Middle East, people drive like crazy.

Crossing the streets in Iran

For me, the worst thing about Iran is that nobody gives a s*** about pedestrians.

You should know that, when you cross the street, even if you go over a pedestrian crossing, cars will never slow down but will just dodge you. It’s crazy. You should always cross sticking close to a local.

Iran travels
Train station somewhere in Iran – Iran travel experience

💻 Internet & SIM Card

Wi-Fi sucks

A lot, practically everywhere.

But internet data is good

Wi-Fi sucked so much that, sometimes, I was using my 3G to watch movies.

Get an IranCell SIM Card

In my experience, the staff of IranCell shops speak good English. For just a couple of USD, you will get plenty of GB and calls. I suggest you check their website for the latest plans.

In Tehran, there is an IranCell shop inside Imam Khomeni metro station.

Travel Iran
Jameh Mosque in Yazd – Iran travel information

🍲 Food and alcohol in Iran

What is Persian cuisine like

Seriously, I could write an entire post about food in Iran. It is quite varied and many provinces have their own local specialties. Usually, most meals will be accompanied by tonnes of rice and bread.

The most popular appetizers 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 dishes are bademjan, an eggplant and tomato stew; ghormeh sabzi, a meat stew with plenty of spices and herbs; ash, a breakfast consisting of a vegetable soup with chickpeas, noodles and caramelized onions; and dizi, lamb (or chicken) smashed 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.


The tea culture is really strong and a sign of hospitality.

The coffee culture is growing!

One of the differences I noticed on my second trip to Iran is that there were coffee places, serving authentic coffee absolutely everywhere.

It was, of course, pricey compared to any other drink but having breakfast over a good cup 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 couple from Tehran picked me up and offered me vodka shots. Another day, the owner of a café served me a real rum mojito.

I also drank home-made liquor at someone’s house in Shiraz and was offered a beer 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.

food in Iran
Kashko: contains eggplants, caramelized onions, mint, walnut and yogurt, typical from Kerman province

Some curiosities you will see when traveling in Iran

Nose jobs

You will see that in most major cities, 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 women have an arched nose and some of them have a bit of complex about it.

The clerics

Those Muslim priests that you see all over Iran are Shia clergy. Most of them wear a white hat, which means that they are normal people.

However, 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 shops have extremely creepy mannequins. They tend to be dirty, miss one eye or they have no jaw. I don’t know if the shopkeepers realize how weird this is. 

Drought in Iran

In Iran, lack of rain is a real problem and, across the country, many lakes and rivers, including the river that goes through Esfahan, are completely dry. This is one of the biggest concerns for most Iranians. 

Read more interesting facts about Iran

mannequins in Iran
A very strange mannequin in the bazaar of Esfahan

❗ More information for your trip to Iran

📢 In my Travel Resources Page you can find the list of all the sites and services I use to book hotels, tours, travel insurance and more.

Remember to always use my code – From booking a hotel to visa services, hotels, flights, travel insurance and tours, if it is via 1stQuest, remember that you can use my 5% discount code, as many as you want, whenever you want: ATC-QST

All guides and articles for traveling in Iran destination

Travel guides to other countries in the Middle East

You might also like our Pakistan Travel Guide or Azerbaijan Travel Guide.

You will also be interested in: Where in the Middle East is safe? and The most beautiful places in the Middle East.

traveling to iran


Hey Buddy, you wrote a great helpful article! almost covered all the tips. Btw , I would like to introduce our hostel in tehran to readers of your blog if its possible, HI Tehran Hostel offers excellent value budget accommodation in a convenient location of Tehran, stay with us and see what a difference a stay makes..

Im so happy to see that you wrote a excellent article about my country and specially my city and its beautiful valley(alamut).
i would be more than happy to help any travelers in this adventure
AS WE ALWAYS SAY (Taste Iran with locals)

I have just spent a goo hour reading your articles, they are very well and intelligently written! And also more informative than other sites. I am planning a trip to Iran in September too! Safe travels and keep writing awesome articles!

I get what you mean about the heat and humidity in the southern provinces Joan. We house sat during the cool, rainier season in Doha, Qatar last year, across the Persian Gulf from Iran. The homeowners noted temps to 50 C PLUS humidity. Meaning sometimes it feels like 140 F LOL! Insane. Rocking post bro.


Thank you for all this interesting information, accurate and recent on top of it!
On that subject, something that could also help although quite new it is the mobile app Fairswap. It allows to exchange cash currency in real-time by meeting with each other at a pre-agreed location. 
Widely, people post their need in foreign currency and if there is someone nearby facing the reverse need, then they can get in touch each other and if both agree, they will meet and make the swap.

By chance, this could be a pleasant way to facilitate connections with locals and get unexpected additional tips.

I’ve also been in Iran recently the people were very hospitable. It’s good to know that there’s a better way instead of carrying cash which caused lots of stress, Daricpay is a credit card for tourists that is acceptable all around the country.

HI, i’m going to Iran in mid April. I have small DJI drone, but i’m not sure if i should take it.
I saw you had drone in Iran. How is the law about drones there?

It is risky. If you get caught they will definitely confiscate it, so be careful. When I travel, I check in the main body and then I put the battery in my hand luggage. This way, they never find it.

Hello from Poland, I am planning to visit Iran this summer (unfortunatelly I only have the summers off so I am bracing for the heat). My question is about the windmills of Nashtifan. I haven’t found any info on them here on the blog. (If there is though, please direct me to it). Have you been there? Do you know what’s the best way to get there? Is that area safe since it’s so close the the Afgan border? I would appreciate any info on the matter.

Hey Igor, haven’t been there, unfortunately, but maybe you should first go to Mashhad? If so, stay at Vali’s and I am sure he will know all the details about getting there

Hey Igor, I’m sarah from Iran,Nashtifan is a city in the Central District, Khaf County,Razavi Khorasan Province,in my country and it’s very beautiful and totally safe and it’s famous because the ancient windmills.

Hello. dear friend,wind mills of nashtifan is in khorasan razavi province. If you want to go there, you have to go to mashhad and then get a bus to khaf. There are taxis that take you to nashtifan. But nashtifan is hot in the summer, the degree is about 50selcius. So I recommend you to go there in spring or atumn.

Also you can arrive ther from islam qaleh- dogharoon border crossing and then get a taxi to nashtifan.

Hi There, how about traveling to Iran while pandemic?is it easy or any term and condition to apply?

You are very welcome to Iran in advance 
I am SHADI a licensed tourist guide in Iran. I can speak English and Turkish fluently and live in Kashan.
I can show you my city, Kashan and its around and many hidden spots in this area and even all around Iran. I can arrange your whole trip in Iran like accommodations, driver guide / tourist guide to make your trip more enjoyable here in Iran. If you like to know better about me and need more information, please feel free to contact me.
It will be my pleasure to meet you in Kashan or even all around Iran and be part of your enjoyable trip in Iran.
Best regards

Hi Joan,

I came across your blog since we are both members of the “Nomadic Matt’s Superstarblogging Blogging Business Course.

I loved reading your blog posts about Iran and found them very helpful. I will be heading to Iran on September 4 and I cannot wait to see Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd, Persepolis, Kashan, Tehran and a few other places. Before leaving on this trip, I would like to publish a collaboration post “Travel bloggers tips for Iran” and I would be very happy if you contribute and write 150 to 200 words plus send me one photo (preferably in landscape format). I would love to get your impression and what you liked most. Since I am blogging bilingually in English and in German and have so far published every blog post in both languages I would love to translate the post also into German (by myself not automatically by Google Translate).

I have published similar posts before my trips to Uzbekistan, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and before my trip to the Maldives. If you are interested I could send you the links to those posts.

My email address is

I would like to publish the blog post before I leave for Iran on September 4, therefore, I would be happy if you could send me your piece till August 30.

I would be happy if you contribute. Thank you so much in advance.


Hey joan , I’m sarah from Iran ,i would like to say thank you for your beautiful blog, you have almost mentioned everything,next time when you went to Iran go to Guilan province,Rasht city it’s my hometown I’m sure you will love it♥️♥️

I suggest you to visit Damavand mountain which is highest volcano in Asia.
And if you heard about Iranian legends and Myths you would realize that Zahak who is Villain is perisond in Damavand.

thanks so much for your tips, and I want to add that Iran has some of the best dishes in the world. The Persian cuisine consists of a delicious array of stews and different rice among many other dishes. And of course Persian bread.

Would love to visit but I just can’t bring myself to go to a country where gay men (like myself) have the death penalty.


As an Iranian and also someone who is pro-equality for the members of LGBTQ I wish the situation was different, and that you didn’t have to worry about things such as sexual orientation. It’s true that Iranian government doesn’t have a shining reputation in their treatment of members of LGBTQ community, some of what’s being reported is often exaggeration. It’s not easy to condemn anyone of “sodomy” without compelling evidence, like actual witnesses! (Not that this should be an issue to begin with) What I’m trying to get at is that officials often look the other way, unless there is a case of rape, which was reported by the western media a few months ago, but it was really misrepresented, in that case someone who happened to be gay had raped a boy, that case is not representative of members of LGBTQ community, but a criminal that was proven to be guilty of rape. In either case, I’m not defending the current Iranian government treatment of LGBTQ, and I’m entirely in favor of equal rights for them.

Finally, regarding your point about your sexual orientation, no one will know your sexual orientation unless you bring it up yourself, I for example as a heterosexual male will not demonstrate anything outside of social norms just because I’m heterosexual, for example if I’m in a county whose general female population happen to be my type, I’m not going to approach them in every single instance or be aggressive, you have to gauge the person’s interest before taking a step towards the next step in your relationship. All I’m trying to get at is that there are many, many gays in Iran whether the Iranian government likes it or not, and you may come across them.

Sorry for the long post.

It seams that entrance fees to many tourist places are highly increased from October 23.
Can you tell me more?
Thanks Norberto

Hi, I live in Tehran and the increasing is not highly. for example the most expensive ticket is less than 2 dollars, visiting Azadi tower.

yes the entrance Fee is increased but it is not to that value that become impossible for tourists to pay that. It is currently about less than 2.5 EUR at an average.

Hello, how are you?
First I want to congratulate you on the excellent blog.
My wife and I are going to Iran in March 2020.
I’m sure your blog will greatly help us.

Hello, Transasia Express has started it’s operations once again between Ankara – Tehran. 60 hours long train journey is a beautiful alternative to flights.

Hi Joan
Hope You are fine. I want to introduce some more topics about Iran gradually that may be interesting for you and other followers of your fantastic blog! Now I want to talk about the nature of Fars Province and its touristic potential. In Fars Province there exists different mountain peaks that are fantastic for mountaineering. Dena is the highest one and also more, like Ghashmastaan, Delo, Ronj, Bel ans more. It is really worth having experience about that. If these exist interest, I can give more detailed information about them.

Hi I’m Aria ,as an iranian, your blog was so interesting for me but I noticed the wrong information in this topic :Iran is an Islamic Republic. You have written about shah and you said he was puppet and leading country to poverty!
Sorry but you are totally wrong , everything , really everything that you see even our culture is because of shah .
I wonder to know who gave you this misleading information about shah.

I’ve got a big question
You said almost everywhere accepts local credit card like you were really interesed… You mean thats… surprisng or something?

Yes, it was definitely surprising. Paying by credit card for a bunch of oranges from a street food stall is something I have never seen before, especially in a developing country, and when I say food stall I mean a local man sitting on the floor with a box

Hi Joan! Amazing blog full of very useful information! Just reading about it is giving me the itch to pack my back and hop on the first plane to Tehran! 🙂 I was just wondering, how is it with wild camping around Iran? Is it legal? Is it safe? Would it be a good idea to do it in May-June-July? Also by any chance, would you know what is the covid situation at the moment?
Thanks so much!! And keep safe 🙂

Hi Aneta! About COVID, all I can tell you is that Iran is not issuing tourist visas at the moment, unfortunately.
About camping, is definitely safe, not sure if it 100% legal but many travelers have done that. May to June is great time weather-wise, all across the country, The souther shores might be a bit hot though.

Hello Joan
thanks so much for this post!
I wanted to ask if you’ve taken Iran Air airlines from or to Azerbaijan? I will be flying to Tehran from Baku and all I can find on Western websites are very long non-direct flights… However, if I visit websites selling Iranian airlines they have direct flights but the calendar is different and I do not understand anything. Any tips on this, please?
Also, I saw your last post from January saying Iran does not issue tourist visas. Does that mean I cannot get one in the airport upon arrival?
kind regards,

Hi Dre, probably there aren’t any flights because the country is not open for tourism yet.
No, as of today, you can’t get in Iran as a tourist. Only business and medical visas.

Hello. I’m an Iranian person. l went to Balochistan province in the southeast of iran in 2019. l didn’t have any safety problem. It’s an amazing province. In north and center of province, there are mountains and desserts, but in the south, tropical fruits are grown. The best season for north and center is spring, and for south is September or july. If you go there, visit maki mosque in zahedan, taftan volcano in khash, remin and beris and gowatr fishing ports in chabahar, kahir and tang gelfeshan in konarak(gelfeshan is a big hill that throws out muds) and tropical gardens in sarbaz and zarabad. If you be smart, you won’t have any safety problem there. Thanks.

Hello, I lived in Iran in the 70s, in Esfahan. I made several Iranian friends. If I get a visa, and a tour guide, may I see these friends when I get there? I have their address, I haven’t heard from them in almost 40+++ years. I haven’t seen them either. Will I he able to visit them? Please let me know.

Well I’ve heard I must have a tour guide and that I’ll be watched. I mean can I go to their house without the guide? Do I have to go on a tour. I’ve already seen everything. Thank you for responding.

Hi Katie, some nationalities like Canadians, USA or UK do need to hire a guide but this isn’t like North Korea, and the guide doesn’t need to be with you at all times.

Hello, which Iranian provinces have you traveled to, have you gone to Lorestan ??? Lorestan is one of the most famous and beautiful provinces of Iran, which is one of the best provinces of Iran for tourism. It has very tasty kebabs and food, and kind and hospitable people, I suggest you come.

I took out €400 for my Iran trip. This will create a lot of rials. Will this last enough for my time in Iran, which is 10 days?

Hi! I bought tickets to IRAN (before checking if I can get TOURIST VISA). The flight is tomorrow :((. Do you know if country is open for tourism yet and if I can get a tourist visa at the arrival?

Thank you in advance.

Hello Joan
I’m tourist guide and thank u so much for your useful information, beside, I would like to note that WhatsApp is not blocked in Iran but Telegram, Facebook and YouTube are blocked that can be unblocked easily by VPN.
best regards
from Iran

Thanks for this article– very helpful. I will be in Kurdistan Iraq and will have a couple of days to cross over to Iran, do you recommend what places to see that are relatively close to the border as I don’t have much time? Also, I’ll arrange for my visa at the embassy in Iraq since I’m crossing the border by land, but can I hire a driver from Iraq for my entire trip or will I have to change at the border? Thank you!

Mariwan and Sanandaj are nice places, both within Iranian Kurdistan
Iraqis need a visa to enter Iran. It’s easy for them, but they need to apply, so I think it could be hard to find a driver who takes you across the border

Thank you for replying and good to know. Will I need a visa into Iran if I am only visiting the Kurd religion of Iran as a USA passport holder? I will only have the visa from the Kurd region of Iraq.

Hey, so Iran Kurdistan is just part of Iran and don’t have special visa requirements. For going there, you just need an Iranian visa. Unfortunately, USA passport holders can only get it through a travel agency.

Hello Joan,
Short question. I am planning to travel to Iran in 2022. Does it still hold that
”Iran doesn’t stamp passports anymore”? I am planning also to travel to the USA this year as well through an ESTA visa application (they are not enthusiastic about Iran, as you know).
Thank you!

Hello Joan: This is an amazing post. My wife and I are planning our trip to Iran. We are really keen on visiting Tabriz, Shiraz, and Tehran. If we were to buy carpets in Iran and try to bring them back to the US – I mean are tourists harassed at the Tehran Airport? In our past trips we had them delivered home but not sure how it will work in Iran. Any guidance is appreciated. Thank you.

Hello people
I’m ali and I’m from Iran
Iran is safe in 2022, but if you’re a woman, you have to be careful about your hijab, because it is important in Iran.
If you are a man, never take your wife or girlfriend in street. Because police will come and…
So, WhatsApp is not blocked in Iran,
But YouTube, Facebook, Telegram, BBC, twitter and porn sites are blocked. And when you want to use of them you have to connect to VPN
I myself use of windscribe
Oh I forgot…! PubG is blocked too
And about internet…
It is too expensive and it is never free

But with all this, Iran is a very beautiful country. You can see different cultures in this country. In different parts of Iran, you will see very good and beautiful cultures. You can also find historical monuments from thousands of years ago
In Iran, you can have a lot of entertainment, such as a zoo, a game city, etc., and most importantly, its wonderful restaurants. You can eat local Iranian food that is amazing.You will be amazed at any city or province you visit. The climate in Iran is wonderful. It is humid and rainy in the north and hot in the south. Never miss agriculture in the south of the country.I want to introduce several cities that if you come to Iran, be sure to visit them
Bandar abad


Thanks for your interesting post about Iran. have you any Instagram page? and have you had any post on Instagram about Iran?

Thanks, Joan! This a great guide for Iran. How easy it is to get accommodation for a solo female traveler? Are there any restrictions?

Hola Joan,
In a couple of weeks we will be traveling to Iran. We have heard that it is difficult to get diesel/petrol as a foreigner in a petrol station and that a local fuel-card is required when refuelling. Do you have any information about the situation right now?

Mil gracias por el blog! es magnífico 👏

Iranian citizens’ fuel card is used for paying for “subsidized price”. But anyone who doesn’t have fuel card, still can pay for unsubsidized price. However, you need an Iranian Bank card (something like credit card) to pay the price in gas station. In fact, you need such a card to pay everywhere. I don’t know how foreigners solve this problem. Maybe other travelers’ can help you.

Hi Joan, I just love your blog! You have so many interesting and useful information. I have wanted to go to Iran since a long time but I will probably have vacation in December. Will it make sense to go during this month or the weather will be a problem? Many thanks

Hello Valentina, thanks for your message.
December is great for going to Iran. While the north of the country will be cold, the south will be great. Personally, I’d prefer to travel to Iran in December than anytime between June and early september-.

Hi Joan, Two weeks ago I checked the search engine for flights and buses form 1stquest and it was pretty useful, but now the links are not working and the website seems to have changed. They don’t offer this service anymore?

Hi Riccardo, you are right, they removed those 2 services because they need to fix a few things on their end but they are currently working on it, even though they didn’t say a specific date

Hi Joan,

Thank you for your amazing and helpful blog!
We would like to come to Iraq Kurdistan and Iran in October this year.
Do you know if land boarders from Kurdistan to Iran are open for tourists at the moment?
Thank you!!

Hi Riccardo,
Thanks for this wonderful article!
In the section : How to get in Iran – by land, you don’t mention Turkey. Is it on purpose?
Be safe,

Hotels and hostels in Iran advice against getting your visa at the airport, because of high rejecting rates. There is an pre-authorisation code that one apply for through an official goverment website. The form is easy and clear. But apparently it can take up to a few weeks to be approved. So apply early!
The information on the 1stQuest website is useful, BUT I CANNOT recommend their pre-authorisation application. The form on their website is truely the worst website I have seen in years. It is not even possible to fill in one’s home address or email normally. And it can take hours, even days, for anyone from 1stQuest to reply to questions about the form – and then some of the answers I received were wrong!

Hello and thanks for the great article.
What about currently going to Iran? When were you last there? Have you heard from any travellers? My concern is the random arrests that the foreign offices of several EU countries are warning about. What’s your take on it?

Fantastic article. This is one of the best travel blogs I have come across.

I have a specific question and I wonder if you would be able to provide any information by any chance. So, I hold an Indian passport and plan to go to Iran next (I am into travel vlogging), now while trying to get some pre-trip information, I came across some sources suggesting that if I visit Iran, it would be impossible for me to travel to the us in the future.

I did some more research and there is conflicting information with come people having a hard time getting visas to the us (post Iran trip) and some people are like they faced no issues at all. I am also aware that Iran does not stamp passports anymore and also, I will probably club my Iran trip with another border country so I can cross a land border and skip being on flight records to Iran too …, however. … Indian passport is a nightmare to have as it is due to obvious reasons but people like me suffer greatly… now I don’t want any risks because a US visa will open access for me in future to a lot of countries, especially south America…. What do you suggest?

Much appreciated.

Hi Josh

I am not sure what is the policy for Indian citizens for Europeans, if you want to travel to the USA, you have to fill out a form and get a simple pre-authorization where they ask questions like: have you ever committed a felony, and stuff like that.

One of the questions is: Have you ever been in any of the following countries since 2011? and Iran is on that list. If you say yes, your entry will be denied, and you’ll have to get the visa via the embassy, but everyone gets it anyways, it’s just a slower process.

As an Indian citizen, you have to go to the embassy anyways, so I can’t tell whether they will be any additional requirements.

Hi Joan, thanks for the excellent, in-depth information in this article.
Do you think wi-fi is completely unreliable throughout Iran, including hotels in bigger cities (e.g. Tabriz, Tehran)? I work remotely and don’t need much data for work. Am I just better off buying a SIM card and working with hotspot?

Hi Joan,
Thankyou for the fantastic article. I am looking at travelling from Pakistan via the land border crossing into Iran and eventually through to Turkey.
As this route passes through Balochistan and near to Afghanistan, are you aware if it will be safe to undertake in 2023?

Hi Sam, as far as I know, if using that border, you’ll be escorted right from the border to the city of Quetta (for free). Independent travel not allowed there due to security concerns but since you’ll be escorted there’s nothing to worry about

You note that the Visa On Arrival program does not work for US citiizens (like me) and others of problematic passport. Do you have special instructions for us? I understand we can only get a visa by booking a tour through a licensed operator. Last I checked, there were none organized and I cannot afford one on my own.

If an formal tour is still necessary, I’d like to join up with an already-organized one, especially with like-minded travelers (i.e., curious, frugal, ‘backpacker’ types, more interested in culture/life experience than product/service consumption, etc.)–but I’m willing to be flexible.

Know of any?

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