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Step into Persia

Iran Off the Beaten Path

DIFFICULTY: Moderate

TOTAL DISTANCE: 1200 km

MAX ALTITUDE: 3100 meters

TOUR DURATION: 12 days

TOTAL HIKING DAYS: 3 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 camps. Persian culture. City highlights. Artisan markets. Massive sand dunes. This is the side of Iran that we want to show you.

Come with us to trek in the Zagros Mountains, stay in remote Qasqhai nomad camps, 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. 

Nobody does Iran like Epic – we guarantee it. 

Who This Trip is For

Iran is for you if you enjoy…

  • NATURE: Iran is home to some of the most stunning desert and mountain landscapes in the Middle East.
  • TREKKING: We embark on a multi day trek through nomadic settlements, trekking between camps in the Zagros mountains.
  • 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. 
  • LOCAL HANDICRAFTS: We visit some of the most authentic bazaars and handy craft shops in the country. 

Upcoming Dates

Dates

Spots

Deposit

Full

September 18th - 29th (2022) Limited$600$2400
October 1st - 12th (2022)SOLD OUT$600$2400
May 8th - 19th (2023)Available$600$2400

REFUNDS RELATED TO COVID-19 :  Clients are entitled to have FULL TRIP BALANCE moved to a future trip (credit) OR request a FULL REFUND if we cancel the tour due to complications related to Covid-19

  • GENERAL REFUND POLICY :
    Cancellation Less than 90 days until the start of the tour: NO REFUND – Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 
  • Cancellation with more than 90 days before the start of the tour: 50% of the trip balance payment (less the deposit amount). Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 
  • Cancellation with more than 160 days before the start of the tour: Full refund minus the trip deposit. Trip deposit can be used as credit towards a future trip. 

 Read our full refund policy here.

Have a question or ready to book?

Whether you’re just curious about this trip or are ready to make a deposit, we’re here for you. 

To submit an inquiry or make payment for a trip, please fill out and submit the form below. If you’re making a payment, please indicate which set of dates you are interested in.

    Highlights of our Iran Tour

    • Discover the highlights of Tehran, Esfahan and Shiraz
    • Embark on a multi-day trek between off the beaten path nomadic camps
    • Experience genuine Iranian hospitality
    • Marvel at the ruins of Persepolis
    • Take in the stunning architecture in Esfahan
    • Devour delicious Persian food 
    • Learn about Qasqhai nomadic culture
    • Explore ancient mosques, markets, and important historical sites
    • Visit the former USA Embassy in Tehran
    • Meet with local artisans
    • Sleep in comfortable hotels and guesthouses 

    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 hotel, 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 will go north to Tajrish to explore a photogenic local bazaar. We’ll also visit Imamzadeh Saleh Mausoleum, one of Tehran’s most attractive shrines and a beautiful spot to people watch at sunset.

    We wrap up the days’ activities with a visit to Tabiat Bridge – an iconic green park with nice city views of Tehran.

    In the evening, we celebrate our first days’ adventuring in Iran with our first group meal together. Lots of tasty traditional Iranian food will be on the menu!

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

    Tehran is very different across neighborhoods and there is a strong contrast between the North and the South.

    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 Dynasty.

    After lunch, we’ll stop to visit the old US Embassy – focal point of the 79′ revolution, where 52 USA diplomatic staff were held hostage for 444 days. These days the US Embassy is a museum with lots of the original embassy and CIA communication equipment still in the building. 

    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 our comfortable private vehicle.

    We stop to have lunch at the house of a local family en route. 

    In Varzaneh, we stay in a traditional guesthouse run by a local family and our friend Mohamed.

    Varzaneh is a fascinating village surrounded by epic desert dunes, a colorful 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. 

    Caravanserais were the inns for camel trains and merchants traveling along the silk road and offer an insightful glimpse into the lives of merchants moving 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.

    After some hours of rest and free time, we will then head to the famous salt lake and finish off the day by climbing the dunes to watch the sunset. We can arrange sand boarding if you’re keen to ride some sand waves! If the weather is good and there is no sand storm or rain, 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 days have have in Esfahan will be a mix of visiting historical sites as a group and plenty of free time on your own to discover the city.  

    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 do all of your shopping and especially to buy an authentic Persian carpet.

    The buildings in Esfahan are a delight to architectural buffs (and photographers) and we’ll learn more about traditional Persian architecture throughout our time here.

    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.

    On the 2nd day in the city, we head to the Armenian Quarter for a coffee/tea in one of the many hip cafes lining an old cobblestone street. There is an option to visit the Vank Cathedral – one of the few opportunities to visit a church in Iran. 

    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 where we’ll enjoy dinner and rest up. 

    Today, we step off the beaten track and begin a proper Epic-style adventure: trekking in the Zagros Mountains.

    We’ll be joined by Mr. 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.

    The exact itinerary of our trek will depend on the time of year. The nomad families have two primary camps for the year: summer camp and winter camp. 

    For a day by day breakdown of the two different trekking itineraries, check out the trekking information section below. 

    In both itinerary scenarios, when we finish the trek, we spend the night in a modern hotel in the center of Shiraz. Learn More

    This morning, we’ll head to one the most impressive sights in all of Iran – The multicolored Nasir Al Molk Mosque, which is just around the corner from our comfy accommodation. 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, the group has free time to explore the bazaar, do some final shopping, chill at a local cafe , or stroll the streets for photo opportunities. Lunch is on your own today.

    We will have our final group meal together (and plenty of laughs and hugs) and EBT staff will be making preparations for tomorrows departure. 

    Sadly our Iranian expedition has come to an end!

    Today is departure day with no scheduled activities planned. 

    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 and breakfast is included. 

    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.

    Please note that for Americans, Canadians, and UK nationalities, you can not stay in Iran on your own without prior arrangements and without paying for a guide for each day you remain in the country. 

    Trekking Information Details

    trekking in iran

    FAQ

    Contrary to what 99% of the world thinks, Iran is generally a very safe place to travel to. Violent crimes against foreigners/tourists as well as kidnapping and terror related crimes are VERY rare in Iran in general.

    American, UK, and European tourists can 100% visit Iran. We help you sort out the visa paperwork so you can focus on your trip. Never have we had any of our clients be denied entry or a visa – regardless of nationality.

    We will be using guesthouses & small hotels that offer comfortable, clean, but simple, facilities. Whilst in the Zagros Mountains, we will share tents while staying with the nomad families.

    The cuisine reflects the soul of the country. From the fertile provinces in the north where rice fields mark the landscape and it’s veggie dishes, to camel kebab and dates from the desert, to fish from Persian Gulf; Iranian cuisine has something for everyone. It’s delicious!

    Didn’t find the answer you working for? Try reading our extensive Iran FAQ page first where we break down the tour in more detail or feel free to get in touch with us using the contact page!

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