Want to see the best of Pakistan? Our upcoming August trip has it all! Read about it here.

Step into Persia

Iran Off the Beaten Path

2021 Dates: September 5th – 16th

Group Size: 12           Price: £1,600

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

TOTAL DISTANCE: 1200 km

MAX ALTITUDE: 1800 meters

TOUR DURATION: 12 days

LODGING: Mix of local, camp, hotels

GROUP SIZE: 12 people

Epic Backpacker tours map of Iran
Map of the Step into Persia Tour Route

Overview

Gorgeous mosques. Mouth watering food. Trekking to remote nomadic villages. Persian culture. City highlights. Artisan markets. Authentic homestays. This is the side of Iran that we want to show you.

Come with us to trek in the Zagros Mountains, stay in remote mountain villages with local Qasqhai nomadic families, explore the culture in Iranian cities, and become a member of a fun-loving team of adventurous travelers.

We’ve been traveling in Iran for the last several years and we have formed many lasting relationships here. Our unique connections allow us to show you a side of one of the most fascinating countries on the planet. 

Who This Trip is For

Iran is for you if you enjoy…

  • NATURE: Iran is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the Middle East.
  • TREKKING: We embark on a multi day trek through nomadic settlements, trekking between villages in the Zagros mountains.
  • WILDLIFE: Iran is bursting with unique wildlife species. Who knows, maybe we shall see the legendary Asiatic cheetah!
  • LOCAL CUISINE: Because we travel to different regions in Iran you have the opportunity to taste a variety of mouth-watering food. Seriously, it’s the best.
  • HISTORY: The Persian Empire formed one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever seen. If you love history, there is something to learn around every corner.
  • OFF THE BEATEN PATH ADVENTURE: We visit places solo travelers can’t go. The trip is for travelers who truly want to connect to places, local people, landscapes, and food without being rushed in the process. 

Upcoming Dates

Worried about booking an adventure trip in times of Covid-19?

We have updated our refund policy to give our clients the maximum peace of mind when booking an adventure with us. Read more about our policy here.

Dates

Status

Price

Make Payment

Sept 5th - 16thAvailable£1,600

Save 5% by booking in full using code: Epictravel2021

Highlights of the Tour

  • Discover the highlights of Tehran and Shiraz
  • Embark on a multi-day trek between off the beaten path nomadic villages
  • Experience genuine Iranian hospitality
  • Marvel at the ruins of Persepolis
  • Haggle in the bazaars of Esfahan
  • Devour delicious Persian food 
  • Learn about Qasqhai nomadic culture
  • Explore ancient mosques, markets, and architecture
  • Meet with local artisans
  • Sleep in comfortable hostels and homestays

Itinerary

Arrive into Tehran airport where you will be met by the EBT team (if you are arriving within 24 hours of the start of the tour); we’ll ferry you to HQ where you can relax and freshen up. Note: accommodation pre-tour is not included.

Once back at our beautiful boutique hostel, you can freshen up until we head out into the fabled city of Tehran, an ancient city of proud traditions, bustling markets and friendly people. In the afternoon we hop on the metro and go north to Tajrish to explore a photogenic local bazaar. We’ll also visit Imamzadeh Saleh, one of Tehran’s most attractive shrines and a beautiful spot to people watch at sunset. In the evening, we celebrate our first days adventuring in Iran with our first group meal together at one of our favourite restaurants in all of Tehran…

Today, we take to the streets to properly explore this massive city of +10 millions inhabitants.

Tehran is very different across neighborhoods and there is a strong contrast between the North and the South. Today, we’ll spend time in both areas which will give us a well rounded look at the cities dynamic. First up is the Grand Bazaar – a maze of bustling alleys that stretches for more than 10 km. Later on, we move to Golestan Palace, where we can explore the opulence and excesses of the Qajar Dinasty.

As we head North, you’ll notice the difference in the vibe between the conservative south and the more modern north of Tehran. We’ll stop to visit the old US Embassy – focal point of the 79 revolution, where 52 diplomatic staff were held hostage for 444 days. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Tabiat Park – a happening hipster hub for the young and beautiful folks of Tehran! We’ll round off the day with another tasty feast of traditional Iranian cuisine!

Today, we hit the road and drive for six hours to reach Varzaneh. We travel by comfortable private minibus. In Varzaneh, we stay in a traditional guesthouse run by a local family. Varzaneh is a fascinating village surrounded by epic desert dunes, a colourful salt lake, thriving wetlands and ancient Caravanserais – the telltale sign of an important hub along the Silk Road.

In the morning we head along an old branch of the ancient Silk Road to watch sunrise whilst enjoying an epic picnic breakfast on top of the roof of a particularly stunning abandoned Caravanserai. Caravanserai’s are inns for camel trains and merchants traveling along the silk road and offer an insightful glimpse into the hustle and bustle of goods moving from East to West along these ancient trading routes. After breakfast, we hike up an epic black mountain volcano where we are greeted with striking views over the Gavkhooni wetlands.

Epic camel rides can be arranged (at additional cost).

In the afternoon, we visit some Zoroastrian temples and learn more about this ancient Persian religion that may have originated as early as 4000 years ago and is arguably the very first monotheistic faith.

We will then head to the salt lake and finish off the day by climbing the dunes to watch the sunset. We may be able to arrange sand boarding, for an extra cost, if you’re keen to ride some sand waves! If the weather is playing ball, we will have a tasty dinner on the dunes, star gaze, and watch as the milky way fills the desert sky overhead.

Esfahan, the legendary city of incredible Islamic architecture, bustling bazaars and opulent bridges crisscrossing the many rivers along which the city has grown… Esfahan is truly unmatched by any other city in Iran (and perhaps the world) so ready your cameras and prepare to be wowed, Esfahan is an absolute delight. This magical city is a living monument to traditional Persia and you can still see many artisans and traditional craftsmen practicing arts handed down over generations.

The main bazaar has an incredible atmosphere – you feel it as soon as you wander it’s twisting, pulsating, lively lanes – if you want a Persian carpet, a camel skin lamp or a shiny dagger, this is the place to bring out your haggle game! The UNESCO protected square is one of the most beautiful squares found anywhere in the world and one could spend hours people watching here.

The buildings in Esfahan are a delight to architectural buffs (and photographers) and we’ll learn more about traditional Persian architecture throughout the day. We will visit the most famous monuments in the city including Masjed e-Shah, Masjed Lotfollah, and the lively bridges famous for the performers, musicians and artists who entertain the many locals walking across the bridges on their daily commutes.

One afternoon in Esfahan, we will join the locals on the main square for a picnic and learn more about life in this ancient city from the locals point of view. For another perspective and vibe of the city, we’ll head to the Armenian Quarter. Time permitting, we will check out the Music Museum – one of the best private museums in Iran where daily live music shows are a  beautiful experience!

Today, we travel South on our way to Shiraz to check out two major historical sites: Nasqh-e Rostam, where the tombs of the great Persian Kings from the Achaemenid Dynasty have stood carved deep into a high cliff for more than 2500 years.

The other site is the legendary Persepolis, one of the great wonders of the Ancient World. Conceived by Darius the Great, sacked by Alexander the Great, Persepolis is a wonderful place to stroll for a couple of hours and lose yourself amongst this truly ancient city… Afterwards we head to our accommodation in Shiraz for sunset where we’ll enjoy dinner in one of the cities most iconic restaurants.

Today, we step off the beaten track and begin an epic adventure… We’ll be joined by Mohamed, our local guide and a good friend, and he will lead us deep into the mountains. Mohamed will be our leader in the Zagros for the next three days. Born to a Qasqhai nomad family, he had been a shepherd until his mid 20’s whilst developing his skills as a guide, he knows the region like the back of his hand and is one of our closest friends in Iran. He will be able to provide a unique insight into life within nomadic communities, as well as the history and traditions of these groups, in Iran.

We’ll drive west from Shiraz through the Zagros mountains for about three hours until we reach Bosharjan village nestled in the foothills. We’ll trek for four hours (12km) towards the mighty Dera mountain in the distance where we will spend a night with a nomadic family, perched atop the mountain, at an elevation of 1600 meters. We’ll feast on local nomadic cuisine and hear tales of life amongst the mountains from our hosts…

In the morning after breakfast we will trek down to the other side of the mountains (about 4hr/ 10 km trekking) and spend the night with another nomad’s family. Fresh mountain produce, super cool locals, and mind-blowing natural landscapes await us as we continue to soak in the vibes of the Zagros Mountains.

Our trek continues down to the Safarbag nomadic village ( about 2hr / 6 km trekking), our final destination. From here we drive to Chogan Valley and visit some beautiful ancient reliefs from the Sassanid-era.

We will have lunch at Bishapur traditional house, before driving back to Shiraz in the afternoon.

We spend the night in a traditional guesthouse in the heart of the historical center of Shiraz. From here, we’ll head to one the most impressive sights in all of Iran – The multicoloured Nasir Al Molk Mosque, which is just around the corner from our comfy accomodation. This is one of the most colorful mosques in the world and a true delight for any photographers in the group. Afterwards, we move to Bagh Narajestan to have a glimpse of the spectacular Persian garden area before exploring its traditional bazaar.

In the afternoon, we have several options depending on time depending amd the interests of the crew. Bazaar shopping, cafe chilling, and strolling the streets for photo opportunities will wrap up our activities. We will have our final meal together (and plenty of laughs and hugs) and EBT staff will be making preparations for tomorrows departure. Special beverages may be on the menu…

*Note: it may be possible to visit the famous Pink Lake, depending on group interest and time (3 hours from Shiraz).

Sadly our adventure comes to an end…

EBT staff will arrange for transfers to the airport for those who are flying out over the next 24 hours. Check out of the hotel is around 11 am on Day 12. You can choose to stay on at the same hotel if you are not flying home right away, though any additional nights at the hotel are not covered by EBT.

What the Trip Includes

  • All accommodation during the tour
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner for all tour days, except for 1 or 2 meals (when guests may have free time).
  • All transportation whilst on tour
  • All on-the-ground logistics and planning
  • Tehran Airport pick up and Shiraz drop off (if arriving/departing within 24 hours of the start/end of the tour)
  • Western and local guides
  • ​Authorization Code/Supporting Documents for Visa (if needed)
  • Entrance fees to historical sites
  • Water
  • Some group snacks on hikes
  • Lots of laughs and epic moments
  • Life-changing experiences
  • Bonus surprises along the way

What the Trip Does NOT Include

  • Flights to Iran
  • Visa application fees
  • Any pre-tour or post-tour accommodation
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips for staff
  • Porters for your personal belongings (when available)
  • Personal snacks and drinks
  • 1-2 meals when the group has free time

Have a question?

Try reading our extensive Iran FAQ page first where we break down the tour in more detail. 

If your question still isn’t is answered, feel free to get in touch with us using the contact page!

Chat with us now!