Iran – Land of Kings
Type: Discovery Tour
Duration: 20 Days
Best Time to Travel: May – October
Places you'll discover
Speak to our friendly Travel Experts
Quick Enquiry: Iran – Land of Kings
Iran – Land of Kings - Itinerary
Arrive in Tehran
Meet upon arrival and transfer to the hotel.
A full day of sightseeing begins at the National Archaeological Museum which houses a rich collection of artefacts from many ancient Persian sites including Persepolis and Nagshe Rustam.
Visit the Golestan Palace. The lavish Golestan Palace is a masterpiece of the Qajar era, embodying the successful integration of earlier Persian crafts and architecture with Western influences. The walled Palace, one of the oldest groups of buildings in Teheran, became the seat of government of the Qajar family, which came into power in 1779 and made Teheran the capital of the country. Built around a garden featuring pools as well as planted areas, the Palace’s most characteristic features and rich ornaments date from the 19th century. The palace now contains the Crown Jewels Museum.
Tehran – Ahwaz
In the morning we explore Tehran’s Carpet Museum – the oldest exhibit dates back to the 5th century BC. Later we transfer to the airport for the internal flight to Ahwaz and then on to our hotel.
Today we have a full day excursion to Susa. We leave Ahwaz early as the ancient site offers little protection from the sun. We explore the Acropolis and Apadana and the museum. We also visit the Elamite site of Chogha Zanbil which dates back to 1,250 BC and contains a large complex of temples. Before returning to Ahwaz we stop at Haft Tepe, a large Elamite temple from the 15th century BC as well the shrine to the Prophet Daniel.
Susa is one of the oldest cities in the world. Excavations have uncovered evidence of continual habitation dating back to 4200 BC. Susa was a principal city of the Elamite, Persian and Parthian empires. It was once the winter residence of Persian kings after having been captured by Cyrus the Great. The city was also associated with Daniel’s vision of a ram and a goat in the third year of Belshazzar. According to the book of Esther, Susa or ‘Shushan’ once had a magnificent palace which included a great hall formed from magnificent columns and a highly impressive frontage. According to inscriptions discovered in the ruins, the palace was built by the Persian kings Darius and Artaxerxes.
Ahwaz – Shustar - Kermanshah
An early departure today as we head to Kermanshah over 500km away. En route we break up the journey with a stop at the town of Shustar and its ancient watermills, believed to have been constructed by Roman prisoners of war.
After lunch at a local restaurant we continue on to Kermanshah, arriving in the evening.
We spend today exploring some sites around Kermanshah – namely the rock inscriptions of Darius the Great at Bistoun and the reliefs at Taq-i-Bostan.
The rock inscriptions at Bistoun carry the edicts and list the achievements of Darius the Great and date back to 522 BC. Located on the side of a mountain the dramatic carvings also contain bas reliefs detailing Darius’ rise to power. Taq-i-Bostan is a series of 4th century AD rock reliefs and arches located in the heart of the Zagros Mountains. The carvings, some of the finest and best-preserved examples of Persian sculpture under the Sassanids, include representations of the investitures of Ardashir II and Shapur III.
Kermanshah - Hamadan
We depart for Hamadan (190kms) using a picturesque mountain road traversing the Iranian plateau. En route we stop at the Temple of Artemis at Kangovar. We also have a diversion at the pottery village of Lalejin where over 805 of the population are involved in the ceramics industry.
After lunch at a local restaurant we proceed to Hamadan and check in to our hotel.
We embark on an evening orientation tour of Hamadan including the stone Lion of Hamadan in the main square. Originally one of a pair the lion used to stand guard at the city gates during the Sassanid period.
We have a full day’s exploration of Hamadan. We enter the tomb of Esther and Mordecai located in the town’s Jewish quarter and also visit the tomb of the renowned medieval scientist-physician and philosopher Avicenna. This is followed by Gonbad-i-Alavian, a 12th century Dervish mausoleum and monastery.
According to the biblical book named after her, Esther was a beautiful young Jewish woman who caught the eye of the Persian King Ahasuerus, became queen, and with the assistance of her cousin Mordecai, saved Jews throughout the Persian Empire from annihilation. Every year, on the holiday of Purim, Jews around the world celebrate this miraculous salvation by reading the Book of Esther, dressing in costumes, and eating delicacies. Iranian Jews similarly mark the holiday, but for centuries have also made a pilgrimage–throughout the year, but especially on Purim — to the shrine in Hamadan where, according to tradition, Esther and Mordecai are buried.
In the afternoon we have a short excursion to Ganj Nameh – site of two ancient inscriptions carved in granite on the side of Alvand Mountain. One was ordered by Darius the Great, the other by Xerxes the Great.
Hamadan - Tehran
Today we have a long drive to Tehran (335kms). We will break up the journey with a stop at Qazvin, an ancient Iranian capital of the Safavid Dynasty. Nowadays the city is famed for its calligraphy.
After lunch we carry on to the Iranian capital, Tehran where we check in to our hotel.
Tehran – Shiraz
We transfer to the airport for the flight to Shiraz. After checking in to hotel we have a sightseeing tour of the city including the Eram Gardens, the tombs of the poets Hafiz and Saadi as well as Vakil mosque and the bustling Vakil bazaar. The sightseeing finishes at the beautiful Ghavam-i-Narenjestan house belonging to an aristocratic family and a great example of Iranian architecture.
Today we have a full day’s excursion to Persepolis. Highlights include the site of the Persian Palace, the royal necropolis and the superb Nagshe Rustam bas relief.
Founded by Darius I in 518 BC, Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models.
We have another excursion today – this time to the ancient city of Bishapur. Constructed in the 3rd century AD by Shapur I the city was a combination of Persian and Roman styles. Shapur I inflicted a series of defeats on the Romans and a huge relief can be seen commemorating his triumphs.
Shiraz – Pasargade – Yazd
We have an early departure for Yazd (440kms). En route we stop at Pasagrade, the ancient capital of Cyrus the Great.
Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great, in Pars, homeland of the Persians, in the 6th century BC. Its palaces, gardens and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding examples of the first phase of royal Achaemenid art and architecture and exceptional testimonies of Persian civilization.
Late afternoon we arrive in Yazd.
We explore Yazd – a desert city ringed by mountains. It is a charming city of narrow, winding lanes and wind towers or ‘badgirs’ designed to create natural ventilation in buildings. Originally settled 5,000 years ago, Yazd has an interesting mix of people, 10% of whom are Zoroastrian. An elegant Ateshkadeh or fire temple near the city centre shelters an eternal flame, said to have been burning for over 2,000 years. This morning we visit the Fire Temple and Mir Chakmaq mosque as well as the Dolatabad Gardens. Later we can visit a carpet making workshop followed by viewing the ‘tower of silence’ (no longer in use) just outside the city.
After lunch we visit the Zoroastrian village of Chak Chak where we meet a local family and see a fire temple. Return to Yazd late afternoon.
Yazd – Nain - Isfahan
Depart Yazd for Isfahan (315km). We break up the journey with a visit to the ancient city of Nain. Unique to Nain is one of the most outstanding monuments in all of Iran: the Jame Mosque, one of the first four mosques built in Iran after the Arab invasion. We also get to see a Pirnia traditional house, the Old Bazaar and a Rigareh, an ancient qanat-based watermill. In addition Nain is also famous for high-quality carpets and home-made pastry (copachoo).
We arrive in Isfahan in the late afternoon / early evening.
Isfahan is Iran’s top tourist destination for good reason. Its profusion of tree-lined boulevards, Persian gardens and important Islamic buildings gives it a visual appeal unmatched by any other Iranian city and the many artisans working here underpin its reputation as a living museum of traditional culture. We have a full day’s sightseeing of Isfahan and highlights include the exquisite Jame mosque, the Armenian Vank Church and Hasht Behesht Palace. We also explore Siosepol Bridge (literally the bridge with 33 arches) which dates back to 1599 and Nagshe Jahan or Iman Square containing, Shaikh Lotfullah mosque and Aliqapu Palace.
We cross over the city’s oldest bridge and leave the city to see a fire temple perched on a hilltop overlooking Isfahan.
Free time to relax and enjoy this fascinating city.
Isfahan – Kashan – Tehran
After breakfast we leave Isfahan for the capital Tehran (415kms). En route we have a couple of stops to break up the journey. The irst is at Natanz with its impressive mosque which was originally constructed as a Zoroastrian fire temple. Our second stop is at Kashan, a charming oasis city which in the Seljuk Period of the 11th and 12 centuries was famous for its textiles, pottery and tiles. Today the town is more widely known as a major centre for the production of rose water, which is sold at outlets around the main tourist attractions and at dedicated stores in the bazaar.
Late afternoon we arrive in Tehran.
We explore the Saad Abad Museum Complex. The complex comprises of 18 separate buildings including the extravagant 54 room White Palace built in the 1930s. The more classical-looking Green Palace dates from the end of the Qajar era.
Free time for some souvenir shopping in the capital.
Transfer to IKA International Airport for your onward flight.
- Room accommodation in twin share / double room
- Private transportation by air-conditioned car
- Experienced English speaking Iranian guides
- Drinking water in car
- Daily breakfast and meals as mentioned in itinerary
- Domestic Flights: Tehran – Ahwaz / Tehran - Shiraz
- Entrance and sightseeing fees as mentioned in the itinerary
- Iran Visa Confirmation Code
- Airport arrival and departure transfers
What's Not Included?
- International Flights
- Drinks during meals
- Optional tours
- Iran visas
- Any personal expenses such as laundry, hotel phone etc
- Tips and gratuities
- Tehran –Hotel Espinas
- Ahwaz – Pars Fajr Hotel
- Kermanshah – Hotel Parsian
- Hamadan – Hotel Parsian Azadi
- Shiraz – Hotel Grand Shiraz
- Yazd – Safieh Hotel
- Isfahan – Abbasi Hotel