Iran Doostan Tours Co. has the honor of being a pioneer in operating cultural tours in Iran. We were one of the first few travel agencies that started operating incoming tours to Iran. Through 30 years of experience, we managed to expand our service to cover more diverse package tours to Iran. Today, we offer nearly all sorts of Incoming tours to Iran, any type of tour our dear clients request ranging from cultural to adventure, MICE, medical and tailor-made tours.
No matter you are looking for tours to Iran from India, tours to Iran from USA, Cheap Iran tour or luxury tour,
Iran 7-day tour or 14-day tour, we are ready to offer you the best travel experience you could ever have in the ancient land of Persia. Iran’s land tour and escort tour are also among our experiences you can count on.
All sorts of tours at any price and quality range, from any country, would be managed by our professional experts at Iran Doostan. Having handled a variety of situations and operating a diversity of tours to Iran, our staff are quite reliable for consultation and operating incoming tours to Iran.
Covering all travel services tourists might need including itineraries, visas, tour guides, transportation, accommodation would be provided by Iran Doostan tours Co.
If you have any concerns regarding Iran visa, it should be noted that the procedure is quite fast and convenient and the tourists can apply for a visa online. Iran e-visa has been launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make it easier to apply for an Iran tourist visa online. However, If you still happen to have any problem with the process, our professional colleagues are ready to help you.
Have you made up your mind for a holiday in Iran? Get in touch with us via info@idt.com. We will be at your service.

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7 Best documentaries to watch before travelling to Iran

Keen to learn a little more about Iran before you visit? Thankfully, a bunch of insightful documentaries has been made about this little-known great country, covering everything from politics, to history, and gastronomy on the run. we’ve compiled a list of great documentaries for those who are interested in the real Iranian lifestyle.

The taste of Iran

The former head of BBC Persian, Sadegh Saba has made a visual journey around Iran, named “A taste of Iran” which starts from his hometown Rasht and ends to the Persian Gulf during 4 episodes. These very informative and useful documentaries are highly recommended to discover the reality of Iran and the Iranian lifestyle before your travel. The documentary presents the culture, ethnicity, history, music, and beauties of nature and people of different cities from north to south of Iran, including Rasht, Shiraz, Isfahan, Yazd, and Hormoz Island. Saba explains his purpose in an interview: “I felt that the image of the Iranian people around the world was distorted and no trace of their rich culture and civilization could be seen in the midst of western television images of centrifuges and missiles. I decided to present a picture of Iranian cultural, ethnic, music and food diversity to a global audience.”

Persian carpet collection

The Persian carpet is the title of a collection including 15 masterpieces of best Iranian directors, proceeding different aspects of carpet weaving in Iran, among which exist a 32-min documentary of Abbas Kiarostami, the famous director in Iranian New Wave cinema. From animated to fantasy and surreal, realistic dramas to the comedies, all and all exist in this collection to present truly the Iranian carpet’s position in the Iranian lifestyle.

persisian carpet

Persian carpet collection

Iran documentary series

The almost new masterpiece of Hamid Mojtahedi and Farhad Tohidi is different from other tourism and historical documentaries shown in the past in the method of filming, directing and camera view for documentaries. Iran documentary series, with 11 seasons including 4 episodes each, is the longest and the most general documentary about Iran and presents not only historical and cultural aspects of big touristic cities but also smaller towns such as Hamedan and Ghazvin. Producing this collection has started in2004 and continues until now.

Grass, a nation’s battle for life

Produced in 1925, “The grass” documentary is the recorded story of Merian Cooper, following Bakhtiyari nomads in hillsides of Zagros mountains shows the big endless search of fresh grass for the herds. Merian Cooper traveled with Bakhtiari people for forty-six days to make this seventy-min silent film about the Haidar Khan family. Although the movie has been admired in both Iran and Hollywood at the time and is still the best documentary about Iranian nomads, watching a black and white silent movie might not be enjoyable for some people.

“The grass” documentary

Alone through Iran

The “alone through Iran” or ” 1144miles of trust” is the story of a Swedish woman, named Kristina Paltén who starts an alone running trip in Iran, in 2015. Kristina chose Iran as a destination Iran running project has not been only the Sportif challenge for Kristina, but also personal combat against Islamophobia and Iranophobia which is extended to the western world by mass media negative advertising. Explains Kristina herself before the trip: “Today I feel like “Muslim” has become synonymous with “terrorist” or “fundamentalist”. There are around 1,5 billion Muslims around the world today, and I’m guessing most of them are really nice. With this run, I want to question my own prejudices, learn more about a culture I know little about and meet a lot of people. I hope my run will contribute to more openness, trust, and tolerance both within myself but also in the world, says Kristina.” Christina’s trip to Iran lasted a total of fifty-eight days, the filmmaker accompanying her for eight days and the rest of it was solo travel.

Alone through Iran

“Today I feel like “Muslim” has become synonymous with “terrorist” or “fundamentalist”

The crossroad of civilization

The crossroad of civilization actually takes you on a journey of three thousand years in Iranian history. This seven-part documentary series produced less than 40 years ago by David Frost, which is been very less seen for some reason, provides the audience with an accurate picture of the Persian Empire. This documentary reconstructs historical events with the help of several archaeologists. From Cyrus to Alexander, from Ardashir to the Arab invasion, from the destruction of the Mongols to half the world, from the discovery of black gold to the modernity of Reza Shah. I warn you that after watching this documentary you might not have lots of questions to ask your leader in Iran as much as you paid for!

crossroad of civilization

A seven-part documentary series

The lover’s wind

The lover’s wind or “Bad_E Saba” in Persian is a French-language documentary depicting Iran from the sky with helicopters. The music of the film is the traditional works of Iranian musicians Hossein Dehlavi and Abolhassan Saba. The film was commissioned by the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Art which presents Iran’s history, art, and cultures. It should be mentioned that Albert Lamorisse, the filmmaker Lost his life in a helicopter crash during filming near the Karaj Dam around Tehran due to a technical malfunction. But his son and his widowed wife completed his unfinished project. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Documentary. About 85 percent of the film was filmed on a helicopter.

The most unusual foods in Iran you should not miss

Enjoying local food has always been the best part of any traveler’s trips. Every country offers its own cuisine which is normally influenced by many factors such as geographical location, climatic condition, and culture. Traveling to Iran, an ancient vast land with a diverse climate in every corner of the country, you will find various delicious foods, some may sound strange to you at first but they are totally worth trying. Stay with us here in this article to know some of the most unusual foods in Iran.

Kale Pache

Strolling in the streets of Iran early in the morning, you will see Iranians go to special restaurants for a special Persian breakfast. Kale pache is honestly considered among the most unusual Iranian foods, however, we recommend you not to miss at least trying a bit of this energetic Iranian breakfast!

Kale pache means the head and hooves of sheep (including the coveted eyes, tongue, and brain) served with sour lemon beside it.

Do not worry! The heads and hooves have been completely cleaned and are cooked with cinnamon and some herbal leaves for more flavor and a pleasant aroma. This thick soup is served mostly in restaurants since cooking it is a totally time-consuming process (it takes at least 8 hours to be prepared).

unusual foods in Iran

unusual foods in Iran: Kale pache

Haleem

Halim is Asian food, however, it is cooked differently in various parts of Asia. The Iranian version is prepared with Wheat and meat (either lamb or turkey). The highlight of Iranian Haleem is the long time it takes to be prepared to let the meat get as tender as possible, and let you make the most of it. Haleem is often served as breakfast in Iran, a nutritious breakfast keeping you full all day! And is usually served with some butter, cinnamon powder and sugar on it.

The long hours this food demands to be prepared, has caused it to be available more in restaurants than homes. However, there are Iranian ladies who cook this appetizing Iranian food at home.

unusual foods in Iran - Haleem

The Iranian version of Haleem, served as an energetic breakfast.

Ab Doogh Khiar

Persian cuisine is not only delicious but also therapeutic! Ab Doogh khiar is among the most unusual Iranian foods that help you survive in hot summer days! It used to be specially served in cities in the central part of Iran which are surrounded by deserts; however, it became popular all around the country later. Doogh is a kind of traditional Iranian drink made of sour yogurt, and khiar is actually cucumber, a mixture of these two with some dried mint, some walnuts and raisins make a simple yet tasty combination which is served by special kind of local bread.

If you have a call to travel to Iran during the summer, you should not be missing this amazing food at least once.

Traditional Iranian food: Ab Doogh khiar

Ab Doogh khiar is among the most unusual foods in Iran that help you survive in hot summer days

Dizi or Abgoosht

Dizi is an amazingly tasty traditional Persian food dating back to hundreds of years ago. Dizi is actually the name of a special little pot made of stone in which the food is cooked and served, the food is also called Abgoosht, meaning meat broth, by Iranians. You can still find this kind of container used to serve Abgoosht in traditional restaurants in Iran.

Abgoosht is a high-calorie food, made of lamb and chickpea; so, it is a good source of protein mostly preferred in winter. Although in various cities of Iran, the locals may also add other ingredients such as potato or tomato, the food is served and eaten the same way all over the country. The broth is consumed after adding small pieces of bread dipped into it and stirring, the remaining ingredients are mashed and consumed with traditional bread. Pickles, onion, fresh vegetables, and Doogh (as a drink) are usually served beside this traditional food.

Persian Food: Dizi

Dizi: An amazingly tasty traditional Persian food dating back to hundreds of years ago

Eshkene

Eshkene is actually a kind of classic onion soup in Iran. The food is prepared fast and is mostly served in winter among Iranian families. Frying chopped onions in oil and adding some dried mint and crushed walnuts, water will be poured on it. When the water is boiled and thicken enough, some eggs would be added.

Eshkene may not be among the most unusual foods in Iran, but the way it is served and consumed may seem somehow strange to people from other countries; much same way as Abgoosht, it is eaten with pieces of bread dipped into the soup and fresh vegetables beside it.

Unusual foods in Iran: Eshkene

Eshkene is actually a kind of classic onion soup in Iran.

Sirabi

Sirabi is a traditional Iranian food made of lamb’s tripe, chickpeas, onion, garlic, and saffron. Tripe is actually the stomach of a cow or sheep. This food is time-consuming to be prepared, it will take at least 12 hours for the tripe to become tender. It may not be originally from Iran since the food is served in some Eastern European countries, but the way it is cooked and the spices used, make it particularly Iranian and unique.

Iranian food: Sirabi

The most unusual foods in Iran: Sirabi

Iranian Macaroni

Macaroni is the Persian style spaghetti prepared in a different way from the Italian one. It may be interesting to know that Iranians treat pasta like rice, it means the pasta will be steamed for about an hour and then it is ready to be served. The sauce recipes is a mixture of a chopped onion being fried with grind meat and some spices, mushroom and tomato paste. The recipes are similar for all kinds of pasta cooked in Iran.

After boiling the pasta in water, it is rinsed and then steamed in a pot with this special sauce and also slices of potatoes at the bottom of the pot. Waiting for an hour or less, Iranian Macaroni is ready to be served with crispy potatoes.

Unusual Iranian foods: Macaroni

Macaroni is the Persian style spaghetti prepared in a different way from the Italian one.

Hot-Springs-in-Iran

Most relaxing mineral hot springs in Iran

Iran enjoys a diversity of hot springs scattered all around the country, each region offers its own features. Hot springs in Iran are quite attractive to tourists and they offer a variety of curative aspects. Soaking in hot springs in Iran is not only relaxing but also beneficial to one’s health. Local people have believed in the medical features of these waters for years and have treated many illnesses in these hot springs which are scientifically proved today and have brought about many people traveling for the health benefits of these springs.

hot springs in Iran

Most hot springs in Iran are attractive destinations for health tourism due to their healing features.

Sarein hot springs

52 kilometers from Ardabil, you will reach to Sarein where it is well-known for hot springs in Iran. The area attracts many tourists, especially during summer, to its thermal springs with curative features.

It is widely believed that the existence of the minerals in these waters with various temperatures coming from the volcanic Sabalan mountains, soothe joint pain and rheumatism and also is good for relieving nerve pains. The area also offers many volcanic swimming pools with massage therapists and the region is equipped with modern facilities including hotels.

Reine hot springs

Driving to the amazing Haraz road in Marazandaran, you will find Reine hot springs that are a fascinating place for having some fun among the dense forests of the north of Iran. There are both private and public baths available. If traveling in a group, you can conveniently rent a house and enjoy bathing in the thermal waters of Reine. The advantage of being close to Tehran, attracts many visitors to the area annually.

Shahr-e Kohne

There are abundant hot springs in Khorasan Razavi province, in the northeast of Iran; Shahr-e Kohne Hot Spring in Qouchan county is also famous for being close to ancient historical sites, dating back to 250 BC. These hot springs attract many tourists who appreciate soaking in warm waters every year to the region.

Kariz hot spring

Kariz is another hot spring located in Khorasan province near Kashmar which is of great medical value compared to other hot spring in Iran, according to what the experts believe. The most outstanding feature about Kariz spring is being rich in mineral and chemical elements which is healing for skin disease. It is interesting to know that due to being located 1400 meters above the sea level, this village has a mountainous climate, with extremely cold winter and mild cool summer with a wild river roaming through. Kriz village is one of the most ancient villages of Kashmar city. “Shah Band”, one of the registered national monuments, located near the village well indicates the dating of Kariz village.

Ferdows hot spring

Located 20 km north of Ferdows city in Southern Khorasan province, there is a hot mineral spring dating back to 200 years ago. The mineral spring of Ferdows is located on the top of the mountain where the spa flows and there are traces of an ancient tower representing the historical age of the Ferdows mineral spa. It is interesting to know that after the Ferdows spa was cut off 47 years due to an earthquake happened and then it the flow again as an effect of the aftershocks that made local people happy, especially the inhabitants of Beroun and Mehran Koushak villages in the vicinity of Ferdows spa.

Falakdeh hot spring

Right in the middle of Do-Hezar forests in the north of Iran, somewhere off-the-beaten-path, there is an amazing hot spring which does not really attract a lot of people since it is not easy to access. So, this place is strongly recommended to adventurers looking for an unexplored place to relax in nature. Topographically, this hot spa has many low and high lands adding to its beauty and diversity. The most significant feature of this hot water is the absence of sulfur in it. The Falkade area has a cool and foothill climate which is very pleasant particularly during warm seasons.

Qale Kandy Hot Spring

On the road from Ardabil to Parsabad close to the eye-catching forests of Arasbaran and Aras river, you will arrive to a gorgeous touristic region with a famous hot spring, named “Qale Kandy” attracting many tourists. Qale Kandy hot spring is particularly healing in the treatment of Rheumatism. The water temperature of Qale Kandy spa in the main fountain reaches 75 to 80 degrees Centigrade and in the pools 65 to 70 degrees Centigrade; that is why most orthopedic specialists recommend this spa to their patients.

Chaldoran Hot Spring

There are 46 hot springs in West Azarbaijan province in the northwest of Iran, so, the province is a well-known destination for those looking for warm waters to relax or cure special disease. Out of these 46 spas, some are in the vicinity of valuable monuments. Chaldoran hot spring is a natural attraction in the province that attracts many tourists. Ahmadabad is another hot spring locating near Takht Suleiman geo-tourism site in Takab.

The silk carpet of Qom

A practical guide of purchasing Persian carpets

  Iran is among the most professional oriental rug producer countries known as “rug belt”. The most famous and oldest carpet of the world, Pazyryk, woven on 400 BC in Persia, proves the brilliant background of the Iranian art of carpet weaving. The world’s largest handwoven carpet has been knotted in Tabriz by 230 weavers in 2019 which has been a new Guinness record for Iranian artists.  The highest quality wool and handwoven silk rugs are still produced in traditional Iranian carpet weaving workshops in Qom, Kashan, and Tabriz. As differentiating the various qualities of carpets for novices can be somehow confusing It would be wise to get familiar with the vast variety of Persian hand-woven textiles before choosing one to buy.

Pazyryk rug

Pazyryk rug, the oldest rug of the world, remained in ice from 400BC.

Different types of Persian carpet

  • Tabriz carpets: Raw materials used in Tabriz carpets are usually wool and silk. Tabriz carpet has been known for its huge diversity of designs (medallion, Herati/Mahi, to figural, pictorial and so on) in addition to preserving the highest technical standards. This type of Persian carpet is usually woven in large sizes with Turkish knot.
Tabriz_Wool

Tabriz woolen rug, with all those gorgeous designs.

  • Naein carpets:
    Are woven in hundred villages around Naein. Traditional Naein carpets reminds of nomadic textiles, while the modern versions have more Very fine and precise designs due to the high quality of the workshops in the area. Most Naein carpets are having a knot density of between 300 to 700 knots per inch of Persian knot. The foundation of Naein carpet is usually cotton with a very soft wool or wool & silk pile, dyed with natural colors.
Naein carpet

Traditional Naein carpets remind of nomadic textiles

  • Qom carpets: ً There is no wonder that the “Fine” word is always coming after the “Qom carpet” this exquisite carpet, called silk flower is woven by fine silk yarns with precise patterns. Qom carpet is the most colorful Persian carpet for sure. Despite the short history of Qom carpet, it can be called without exaggeration the most elegant and exquisite Iranian carpet.

    The silk carpet of Qom

    The most elegant and exquisite Iranian carpet

  • Qashqai carpets: Tribal rugs of Qashqai are the touchable mental pictures of nomad women. These wool rugs owe their spontaneity and aliveness to being imaginary woven, without any pattern. the Qashqai weavers dissamble the simple story of their lives, mostly nature and animal pictures in their textiles.

 

qashqaei carpet

carpet without any pattern

Pricing factors

  1. knot density
    There are many factors to measure the quality of a carpet, the most important among all is knot density. That is to say, the number of knots per unit of the surface area determines the quality. The most common units of knot density in Iran are KPSC(Knot Per Square Centimeter) KPSI(Knot Per Square Inch) KPSM(Knot Per Square meter), the higher density of knots is in proportional to the price. As a clarification, the poor quality Persian carpets are woven with less than 120 KPSI and the high-quality one is woven with a density of higher than 330 KPSI.
  2. Material
    The finest Persian carpet material consists of the golden, silver and silk fibers. The gold and silver are used only in very special cases suchlike royal carpets, but the more comment material, the silk fiber allows more knots per square and makes the pattern look more precise. Although silk gives a beautiful appearance to the carpet, it cant be compared with the wool in terms of the strengthen.
  3. Size
    Oriental rugs usually come in relatively standard sizes. Carpets with more than 6-meter square sizes are called ” Ghali” in Persian. Ghali comes in a rectangular shape and particular sizes, most products are 3*4 sqm/ 2*3 sqm and the less common size is 5*7 sqm. no need to say the bigger the carpet size is, the higher the price would be.
Saffron

The most luxurious souvenirs to buy in Iran

Traveling to Iran and not bringing back souvenirs with you, is like being in Santa’s house, but not taking your present. Each region in Iran has particular handicrafts and souvenirs, but some are among the most special ones. As they are almost expensive, there might be some fake simples in stores. Stick with us to know how to recognize the originals!

1. Turquoise

The turquoise stone is extracted almost around the world, but the most famous turquoise made jewelry belongs to the range by the quality: Iran, Tibet, and the USA. Iran has remained the most important source of turquoise for at least 2000 years. The finest turquoise in Iran extracts from Neyshabur mines. the original Neyshabur turquoise has some qualities which are not found in other types. Here are some points to differentiate valuable turquoise stone from the fake ones.  The turquoise is categorized in different groups based on its color, the veins and the mines it’s extracted from.

Iranian Turquoise

the original Neyshabur turquoise has some qualities which are not found in other types

Types of turquoise:

  • Based on color:
    Turquoise has a very wide color spectrum. From the pale to the greenish-blue.  The stronger the blue shade is, the more valuable that’ll be.
  • Based on the mine which is extracted from:
    Respectively the mines of Neyshabur, Damghan, and Kerman produce the finest turquoise in Iran. To make sure that the turquoise you’re buying is original ask for identifications or check precisely the veins and color.
  • Based on veins:
    Some turquoises have veins, while others are perfectly homochromatic and blue with no streaks or fractures on their surface. Although neither of the mentioned types has superiority over another in terms of stone quality, the golden veins turquoises also called spider turquoises are usually more popular.


How to make sure the turquoise is original?

To differentiate the original Iranian turquoise from the fakes is totally difficult even for professionals. But there are some easy tips for shoppers to identify the counterfeit stone.

  • Turquoise stone generally turns Blue, chrome or vanadium green or in the range of pale blue to greenish-blue as well as yellowish-green, because of the existence of copper and iron in its Chemical Formula.
  • The original turquoise color should somehow be opaque. The exaggerated glossy stone arouses suspicion.
  • The High-quality turquoise is almost blue sky. Even though the original turquoise of Neyshabur might have some black veins or spots on it.
  • You can heat a needle or key on the lighter and then put it on the stone. If it smells like resin or plastic and leaves a deep trace on the turquoise, it absolutely is fake.
  • Scrape slightly the surface of turquoise with a sharp needle-shaped object. The original turquoise doesn’t get scratched this way and it can also scratch the glace no matter what its shape is.

How to take care of turquoise jewelry?

Being scratched, exposure to hot water, chemicals, and household detergents are the main hazards for the fine turquoise. Follow the instructions to take good care of your turquoise:

  • The turquoise should not be in contact with lotions, body oils or perfumes. Otherwise, it changes color.
  • Remove the turquoise jewelry while washing your hands. Detergents and chlorine-containing water damages turquoise.
  • Avoid polishing or contacting turquoise stone with greasy substances.

The most reliable way to buy turquoise is to buy it from Mashhad (Reza Bazar) and Neyshabur.

2. Caviar

The southern coast of the Caspian Sea, part of Iran, is a natural habitat for sturgeon species that has provided clean water, abundant nutrition, and an ideal environment for the growth of these species. About 90% of the natural caviar marketed in the world comes from the Caspian Sea. These fish, having a cartilaginous structure from prehistoric times, have remained the same, as many biologists call this fish a living fossil. There are 27 species of “sturgeon” in the world, 5 of them are found in the Caspian Sea :

  • The Beluga sturgeon
  • The Starry sturgeon
  • The  Russian sturgeon
  • The Persian sturgeon
  • The golden sturgeon
Iranian Caviar

the Caspian Sea, part of Iran, is a natural habitat for sturgeon species

As we all know the Sturgeons are endangered and rare and it takes that Sturgeons a long time to develop roe. That’s why caviar has always been rare and expensive.  Despite being expensive, the Caviar has always been demanded because of its numerous properties. This makes the fraudsters think of producing artificial caviar. Read the following tips and be precise while buying this luxury souvenir:

  • The fake caviar beads are black and exaggerated translucent, while the real caviar beads are somehow grayish and opaque.
  • The real caviar beads are not perfectly round and have no adhesion, actually, they are more oval-shaped. But the fake caviar has a smooth, round and sticky surface. The raw material of such a product is paraffin which is not nutritionally valuable and is even detrimental to health. The paraffin made beads melt and stick together in case of being kept in a warmer place.
  • Counterfeit black caviar is usually dyed artificially and repels if left for a while.
  • Lower prices and large volumes of packages and amateur colorful package designs are the most obvious signs of a fake product.
  • The color of caviar is mostly in black, gray, white and gold, in Iran.
  • Note that if you buy a product in Iran and the package has Russian or Turkish notes on it, it is likely to be fake.

The most reliable Caviar brands in Iran are Raibod caviar, Talesh caviar, Mira’s caviar, and culture group. All mentioned companies have the possibility of online shopping.

3. Saffron

Almost 90 percent of the world’s saffron is produced in Iran, for 3000 years. This magic spice, with the enchanting odor, is called  “the red gold” in Iran. The best quality of the spice of joy grows in the northeast of Iran, Khorasan province. It is not so easy to differentiate the real and fake saffron, but keeping the followings in mind can give you a clue :

Iranian saffron

The best quality of the spice of joy grows in the northeast of Iran, Khorasan province

  • Slide a small amount of the saffron, in a paper, if the oil is extracted from the saffron it’s fake, but being powdered with no trace of oil indicates the pureness of saffron.
  • Original saffron has a lower coloring speed than counterfeit saffron. Put some saffron in boiling water, and wait for 5 minutes if the color of the silks didn’t turn white, it’s original. If the silks turn white within 5 minutes, it absolutely is fake.
  • The normal silk of saffron shouldn’t be too glossy, being too glossy means it’s not pure.
  • The taste and odor of saffron is a sort of constant indicator itself. The taste of the original saffron is a bit bitter but it has a pleasant aroma.

The most reliable and famous saffron in Iran belongs to these companies: Keshmoon group, Bahraman Saffron and Saharkhiz.

15 Do’s and Don’ts for Tourists in Iran

If your travel plans hold Iran on the horizon, Planning and making reservations aside, getting informed about special rules comes first! Respecting these rules requires modesty of course, but as they are derived from Iran’s cultural norms, it means a lot to your hosta society.

-Definite Laws:

1-Dress codes

Your concern as a tourist, about Islamic clothing, is understandable. You might have pictured women in Iran in black Chadors, and men in white Dishdasha, but the reality is totally different:
For men: Although there is no strict law about men’s clothing, wearing shorts and sleeveless vests would be somehow improper in Iran. Do you want my opinion? Pants and T-shirts would be the best choice!

For women: There is no confusing rule about women’s clothing. Women supposed to hide body shapes and hair, that’s all! The way Iranian women dress can give you a clue. Of course, manteaux and jeans are the most popular style in Iran. Manteau is a long-sleeved blouse that covers the bottom and pants or skirts must cover the legs up to the ankle. By the way, don’t forget to pick a scarf while packing, its necessary to put on in public. In brief, it doesn’t really matter what you wear as long as your clothes are not too short or too tight!

Iran dress code

There is no strict rule about Hijab in Iran, that will be okay as long as your dress is not too short or too tight.

Click for more information about Iran dress code.

2-The ban on alcoholic drinks

According to the Islamic rules, drinking or even carrying alcoholic drinks is illegal all over the country, which means there is no night club or bar in Iran. Be aware that consuming alcohol even in private, can put you in serious trouble.

3-Tricky Visa Process

Receiving Iran visa is not that complex for citizens of many countries. Most tourists can receive the visa on arrival with ease. Among all 10 nationalities are the exceptions and require it in advance including Colombia, Somali, England, Canada, USA, Bangladesh, Jordon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
Canada, England and USA citizens do not have the possibility of receiving a visa in person and must apply through valid travel agencies.
Keep in mind that visa on arrival is only available at the airports.

Iran Visa

Receiving Iran visa is not that complex for citizens of many countries.

Do you want to know how to apply for Iran visa?

4-Israel issue

Unfortunately, Citizens of Israel are totally barred from entry to Iran and the visa request of travelers with any evidence of visiting Israel will surely be rejected.

5-Import and export rules

As all the luggage will be checked with X-ray, you should be careful about carrying the following objects:
– Alcoholic Drinks, Weapons, and drugs are illegal to both import and export
– there are no limits for entering currency to the country, up to 10000 dollars.
– Animals and pets are isolated on arrival.
– only personal health care medicine is allowed, with the prescription which determines the dose.

Export limitations

– Pistachio and other nuts: up to 10 kg
– Saffron up to 100g
– Carpets: up to 20 meters per person.
– The ancient and valued object which is counted as cultural heritage.

6-Hotel rules

– Sharing a hotel room for unmarried Non-Muslims couples will be Ok. the marriage certificate would be required for muslim couples.
– Hotels are usually keeping your passport until you check out.

7-During Ramadan

30 days in a year Muslims do fast, which includes abstaining from eating and drinking from the dawn to the sunset. And then they break the fast with a particular evening meal, named “Iftar”. During these 30 days, even non-Muslims prevent eating and drinking or even smoking in public before sunset. As a sign of respect, most restaurants are closed during Ramadan but buying food and eating in privacy is totally ok.

Travelers can Eat and drink in privacy during Ramadan.

8-The authorization code

The law enforcement force of the Islamic Republic of Iran is the organization that is in charge of protecting tourists during their stay in Iran. In order to this protection, this organization gives out a personal serial number to every single person entering the country. The tourists should have their travel itinerary on the entrance to receive that serial number and maintain it until departure.

9-Gender segregation

Pay attention to where and beside whom you sit in Iran! There is a sex-separation in some entertainment centers such as swimming pools and seashores, mosques and religious sites, and public transportation. Look for “men only” and “women only” signs which determine specific sections in mentioned places. It is ok for women to enter men’s sections sometimes but seems too weird if a man enters the women’s section.

10-Social media limitation

During your stay in Iran, you might need to use VPNs to access Facebook, Couchsurfing, YouTube and maybe a few other applications. In order to faster and easier access to social media, choose applications with no bans on instead; like Instagram, What’s app and Skype.

11-Credit and debit cards

Unfortunately, there is no network Iran for using international cards, but there is a new travel card name “Mah Card”. You can instantly fund your card in any preferred currency and that will be converted to Iranian Rials.

-Not legally forced, but would be wise to follow:

Rules are over, but bearing in mind some tiny tips, shows your cultural respect and will stop you from getting into trouble.

12-Social Taboos

– Showing Displays of affection to the public: Kissing and hugging people from the opposite sex is not accepted in Iran, especially for unmarried couples.
– Blowing nose in public: you can do that in WC if necessary, but not in front of people!
– Wearing shoes indoor: No need to ask! You should take off your shoes in almost every house in Iran!
– Taking photos from people without their permission.
– Handshaking with people from the opposite sex in public.

13-Visiting religious sites

– Women should be wearing their Islamic hijab (wearing Chador it is obligatory in mosques) and men with shorts are not allowed to enter religious places.
– Dancing, singing, shouting and similar behaviors are consumed as disrespect.

14-Talking politic

You might be curious about different things taking place in Iran and how people feel about it. Even if you start to talk about political issues people are not going to stop you or they might start the conversation themselves, but keep in mind that any kind of criticize can easily offend their strong nationalism inside! I recommend to keep the trip cool and avoid talking politics.

15-Do not trust on Crosswalk and traffic light!

Not as a proud, but Iranian drivers are not really into following international traffic regulations. The crosswalk here is not really your safe zone as a pedestrian. And sometimes the red light is not able to stop hasty drivers. The only way to rescue from crossing the street is to watch carefully the cars and guess the speed.

Travel Risk Map 2020

Travel Risk Map 2020: Iran is a safe destination to travel

Have a call for traveling to Iran in 2020 and feel uncertain? Well, if you are looking for some clue, 2020 Travel Risk Map seems a reliable source. According to International SOS, Iran is a safe destination, just as safe as Turkey with a record of more than 39.5 million foreign visitors in 2018!

Launched by global risk experts International SOS in collaboration with Control Risks, the Travel Risk Map 2020 indicates the danger level of different territories and countries based on factors threatening travelers such as violent and petty crime, political violence (politically motivated war and unrest, insurgency, terrorism) and social unrest (sectarian, communal and ethnic violence). More factors such as the effectiveness of the security and emergency services, the country’s susceptibility to natural disasters, and the robustness of the transport infrastructure are also taken into consideration to represent more detailed information.

The map categorizes countries based on five levels of risk: insignificant, low, medium, high and extreme. Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Iceland, and Greenland are the few countries in Europe to fall in the category of insignificant risk ones. The majority of European countries as well as the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are considered low risk. While there are courtiers such as Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen rated as “Extreme” risk in the Middle East, Iran has been recognized as a medium risk destination along with Russia, Turkey, and India.

Travel risk map 2020 indicates that in spite of the imposed sanctions on Iran, and also what is covered in media about this country, the world admits Iran as a safe country to travel. Our experience of FITUR 2020, held on 22-26 January has also been amazing so far and we are waiting for more tourist arrivals and stronger partnerships in the future.

Iran is a fascinating destination to explore; its long history and geographically diverse land have provided remarkable cultural and natural attractions such as outstanding architecture, elegant gardens, remarkable wildlife, scenic scenery, delicious cuisine, awesome waterfalls, deep canyons, vast deserts, high mountains, and more importantly friendly people.

You are warmly welcomed here to experience a life-long memorable trip.

Ukraine-plane-crash-in-Iran

Seriously, what is happening in Iran?

The crash of the Ukrainian Boeing 737 in Iran, took-off from Tehran on 8 January, has raised a lot of concerns over safety issues of traveling to Iran. Unfortunately, the Ukrainian plane crash caused the death of 176 passengers and crew aboard, which has raised intranational tensions on media against Iran. Are you among those who have been frightened by the incident? Then, let’s see what is really happening in Iran these days?
No doubt the disaster has touched us and has aroused our deepest sympathy; many Iranian authorities have called for the trial of all those accused of shutting down the passenger plane in error. Still, public anger erupted and there have been commemoration ceremonies all around the world for these victims.
Aviation incidents like the Ukrainian plane crash hardly happen in the world, but when they happen, they would deeply affect the public’s emotions for some time. A heartbroken one occurred many years ago when the Iranian Airbus was shot down by US warship mistakenly above the Persian Gulf and caused all 300 passengers to die in 1988. Another one was a plane of Indian airline on the way from Toronto to Delhi which was exploded by a bomb and caused the death of 329 passengers, the police could never find the guilty person in charge of the bombing. However, the fact is that over the last two decades, aviation deaths around the world have been falling and its safety has improved. According to ICAO, The number of aviation accidents has been declined from 139 accidents in 2008 to 98 accidents in 2019, and fatalities have also dramatically dropped off over the last decade.
Talking about traveling and tourism, the industry is quite sensitive and could be influenced by any breaking news ranging from aviation incidents, political changes, social unrests, and epidemic natural disasters. These circumstances can intimidate potential visitors and significantly impact the flow of tourists to any destination.
As a potential tourist who needs to know exactly what is going on here and then decide about traveling to Iran, you should know that after a week, everything has gone back to normal. In spite of our struggling with the profound grief for all those passengers, life is going on, we go to work or university every day and there is nothing to threaten Iranians and also tourists here. If you have a call for traveling to Iran in 2020, you should know that we are still welcoming our dear guests from all over the world and hope the tourism industry to be flourished again in the region. Do not panic, Iran is safe!

Tehran taxi

Public transportation in Tehran

Tehran is one of the biggest megapolises around the world, with about 15 million residents are living in it. Fortunately, there is an efficient public transportation system, of which backbone constitutes Tehran Urban & Suburban Railway – or simply Tehran Subway. As of December 2019, this network is 230 km, 7 lines and some 125 urban and hinterland stations are in constant development. Obviously this is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way for traveling, with names of stations and maps written also in English, strategically connects 2 airports, 4 intercity bus terminals, and railway stations. Apart from local specificity – a couple of women-only wagons, usually the first and the last wagons of a train – everything else is the same as in every metro system worldwide. There are women-only wagons, as the name says are prohibited for men, and the rest of the train is for everyone.
Please search online for the most recent version of the metro map before using the metro in Tehran, since the new stations are opening (and stations’ names are often changed).

There are vast areas of the capital which do not have access to the subway yet, so, you can use the public bus network. In fact, there is a double bus network in Tehran – normal buses often stuck in traffic, but connect many areas of the capital and BRT, bus rapid transit system, which is a very long double bus, connecting several large, important avenues. The most important BRT lines are the one transporting through west/east Tehran in about half an hour from Azadi Tower Square (Western Bus Terminal) to Eastern Bus Terminal on the opposite side; and the other one linking northern metro Tajrish with South Bus Terminal area. These lines are quite easy to use for travelers, with easy maps and English marked stops.

public transportation in Tehran

public transportation in Tehran: BRT

However, Different story goes with standard buses; unfortunately, it will be hard to use them without knowing Persian or having someone as your translator. The only information you will find in English is the line’s number plus the first and the last station. Usually, these places are absolutely unknown to a foreigner, there is no map of their route. However, if you have some spare time, taking a random bus line for a short “visual trip” of the city would be a good idea.
Even if you stay a few days, the best way is to buy rechargeable Tehran transport card, offered in any subway station ticket kiosk (it also works for buses), charge it (like the actual value of 1 $ or 1 euro in free exchange), you can now use it for several trips. Do not forget to touch sensors when leaving the subway station (as Iranians do), so you pay the real, not maximum, fare.
On BRT buses you pay while entering the station (there is a staff) and in ordinary buses touch sensor when leaving the bus (in these buses it is also possible to pay in cash). By the way, on the buses, there are also “women only” sections.
Of course, Tehran is full of taxis – as in every other metropolitan. There will be some risk to meet those trying to cheat, often playing with the Iranian double system of saying price – Toman /Rial. You should know that the price is always said in Toman in spoken language. Try to fix the price with the driver before you get in and specify that you agree on it in Toman. Do not forget to find out the details about Iran’s currency before your trip.

Tehran taxi

Tehran is full of taxis.

However, the best way to travel “taxi –style” – at least to try – is to use the “Snapp” app, a local version of Uber.
First, you should ideally purchase a local sim card (with internet), then install Snapp”. The app works fully in English, when you choose the start and destination points, the price will be shown, always in Rial – so, if you agree with this price touch order bottom, a Snapp driver will find you and there will be no further money discussions. However, it is good to know at least 1-10 Persian numbers, so you will be able to recognize “your” cab quickly when the car registration number and driver’s photo will appear on your screen. It is a really good alternative to public transportation particularly during rush hours in Tehran.

everything about Iran

Expectations vs Reality about Iran

“The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are” – Samuel Johnson
We all know expectations and reality are two different things, especially when we travel. And there’s pleasure in seeing how the two differ, to satisfy that need of discovery, to touch the world with your own hands. But as we build our hopes and expectations, sometimes, we feel some tricky instincts. What is reasonably safe to expect about Iran?
I almost missed seeing Iran because of this. And oh, what a loss it would have been! To be honest, while I am writing this, I just can’t wipe a funny smirk off my face because things are so different from what I imagined that I actually forgot what I expected! Funny that no?
I don’t want anyone to miss any good travel opportunity, so I set out calling my friends back home, back in Europe and asked them what they would expect Iran to be like. And in this article, for you, I am going to disprove or confirm the most common assumptions Westerners have of Iran.

Unfriendly people

Some of my friends mentioned the idea that due to the recent diplomatic tensions that Iran has been involved in, they would expect Iranians to be bitter and angry at Westerners.
Nonsense!

everything about Iran

You will never experience hospitality until you travel to Iran!

Iranians have a huge heart and an impressive hospitality culture! As one of my French friends cycling through Iran puts it: “If I didn’t refuse some of the invitations, I would have to stay in every small village for a month”.
I myself have been cuddled and taken care of by these kind-hearted hosts at every step. In many cases just casually explaining that I had a problem prompted huge chain reactions: somebody would call a friend that would call his friends that would call others still until a solution to my problem would finally be found. Nuclear generosity! Lame pun intended…

Verdict: False expectation

No English

Most of my friends back in Italy tell me they would not expect the locals to speak any English.
This is entirely wrong! While of course, not everybody here speaks English, I could always find people that speak enough of it, or even some French, in a matter of less than a minute when I need it. Even street signs are in English, so I never got lost. As a matter of fact, this had troubled me a lot in Turkey, where meeting anyone speaking some English was like finding a needle in a haystack. Phew!
Oh, and expect some great conversations!
Verdict: False expectation

travel to Iran

You will hardly have any problem with language when you travel to Iran.

Not enough tourist services

Since Iran is not often mentioned in the tourist forums and is not generally talked of as a travel destination in the Western world, many assume that the country is not prepared to offer basic services that travelers might need.
I remember reading that the international banking circuits do not work here, and my Mastercard would be useless. The idea of entering the country with hard cash on me was worrying, and not just a little. I relaxed as soon as I entered the country, though. I got myself a prepaid card that can be used in just about every shop, and I’m virtually safe from any theft. This is the only true annoyance for a traveler in Iran.
I had also heard that you cannot do online reservations because of the banking circuits, but the solutions to this are also being offered.
As for the rest, both the Iranian government and private investors have been consistently looking in these past years to attract more tourists. The benefits of this effort are already being reaped: Internet services can take care of your visa application; new hostels, traditional houses, and eco-lodges are being constantly opened, apps are now being used for transportation, you can find tours and activities for just about anything, and you can find tourist police in some cities. In just a few words, tourist services are aplenty and solutions are offered for any hard-cored inconveniences.
Verdict: False expectation

about Iran: tourists' services

Iranian restaurants are the best!

Dirty and polluted

I have never seen any dirt on the streets, and cities are very (!!!) clean. Walking the streets at any hour of day or night, you will find someone sweeping the roads. To be fair, though, I have been informed that in some remote and sparsely inhabited areas there are not efficient methods of waste disposal. This is, unfortunately, a problem I have encountered in many developing countries.
As for pollution, while other cities are within the norms, Tehran suffers from bad air quality. The reasons are to be found in the number of old cars and the sub-standard gasoline that is now being used in the country because of the international sanctions. This combines with the constant urbanization and influx of people migrating into the city, as is usually the case with capitals of big countries. The battle is not lost though, as the government is constantly devising new methods of fighting pollution as the city grows.
All in all, I have seen dirty cities and comparable pollution in south-eastern Europe, and have nothing to be surprised of.
Verdict: Partially true expectation

Iran's attractions: Tabatabae'i house

Iran is truly one of the cleanest countries you can travel to!

Religious law

The hint is in the name. “Islamic Republic of Iran”. It is the first country I visited with “Islamic” in its name, and before I arrived I was scared witless!
What if I was arrested for something I did not know? Is this Sharia? As with all other fears I had, I relaxed as soon as I entered the country. First of all, the Iranian legal system incorporates some elements of religious law. Granted, some rules might sound uncomfortable for Europeans, used to the most liberal legal systems in the world, but the truth is every country has its laws and adapting to these is the compromise every good citizen of the world makes when traveling. Among these rules, there is a dress code, no blasphemy, no alcohol, no drugs and no intimate touching in public. It is also useful to know that it is not a good idea to criticize the Iranian government or to take pictures of military premises and personnel. These are easy enough rules to follow, and after the first few days, you will be doing that unconsciously.
Also, remember that I said that the government is trying to expand the tourism sector? Well, unofficially speaking, local police is encouraged to offer some leniency to tourists, so you are more likely to get a warning than real trouble. Just be responsible about it.
After you get these rules straight, you are free to enjoy the marvels of this land and its friendly people.
Verdict: True expectation
-Religious intolerance
The religiously inspired legal system does not mean there is any worrying level of religious intolerance. Iran is home to the very old Zoroastrian religion, which still lives here, and Shia Islam is simply the last of the many waves of religions that this land has experienced in its rich history. I found various active temples of fire and churches and mosques. More importantly, I found out quite happily that the contacts between these religions have resulted in some Iranians being self-educated about different faiths’ doctrines.
That being said, in some poor areas of the country, there are religious tensions between Sunnis and Shias.
There is a law prohibiting the conversion of Muslims to non-muslim faiths, so don’t go around spreading the Gospel.
Verdict: False expectation

Vank cathedral

All religions are respected in Iran.

Desert, ruins, and AK47

It is the literal answer of one of my European friends to the question “What does Iran make you think of?”.
I left this as the last point in my article as it is the most ludicrous and funny answer I had been given, although I must say many expressed similar opinions when I called from this cozy office in Tehran.
I and my Iranian colleagues laughed for a few good minutes when I told them.
Iran’s last war ended more than 30 years ago, the military’s rifle of choice is not the Kalashnikov, and the deserts in Iran is like nothing you might expect. It is important not to mix up countries just because of proximity. Iran is not Afghanistan, Iranians are not Arabs, and for God’s sake, Iran is not Iraq!
Iran is Persia, an ancient cradle of civilization, a multicultural country with a rich, diverse history, stunning landscapes, friendly people, good food and hidden treasures!
Expect the unexpected.

Iran deserts
Verdict: Go see the Iran deserts!