Things to Know Before Traveling to Iran
Long history, outstanding architecture, elegant gardens, delicious foods, hospitable people, astonishing landscapes, and remarkable wildlife all represent Iran as a great destination to explore. Then, if you wish to travel with the purpose of making friends, seeing amazing beaches, enjoying magnificent architecture, feeling the mystery of deserts, and tasting delicious foods, one of the best options for you is traveling to Iran.
Contrary to the image of Iran on media displays, Iran is one of the best destinations to visit and even a month is not enough to travel around Iran and enjoy all its cultural and natural attractions. The top tips for traveling to Iran and things to know are represented here to help you get started making the best plan to travel to Iran, the country of intact nature and ancient culture.
1. Iran is Safe to travel
Iran is a very safe place to travel. It is one of the safest countries in the region and many travelers declare that travelling in Iran is much safer than travelling in Europe. Hostility toward foreigners is rare and local people usually welcome the tourists with warm smiles and open arms. Iran is safe for solo travelers and women only travelers as well; however, they are advised not to go to remote places by themselves or to avoid walking around late at night.
2. Iranians are friendly and hospitable
Iranians honor guests. They believe that tourists are their guests and they should host them in the best way. When you arrive in Iran, you will be welcomed by warm smiles. Some people would offer you good information about Iran and its traditions, some may ask you to have a tea together, or even they would host you at their homes and with their delicious Persian foods. Though media displays a hostile face of Iranians as people who hate the westerners and other nationalities, Iranians are very friendly and hospitable.
3. Iranians aren’t Arabs
Iranians are Persians not Arabs. Since Iranians use the Arabic alphabet, some may think that Iranians are Arabs or they understand the Arabic language, but Iranians are not Arabs and they speak Persian language or Farsi. However, Arabs as part of the population of Iran live in some parts of the country.
4. Iran is a perfect place for backpacking
Many people know Iran as a cultural destination that boasts having many tourist attractions with roots in ancient civilizations. It is also a perfect place for backpacking and tourists can add some adventurous activities to its cultural aspect. Iran has great wildlife, wonderful deserts, deep canyons, and tall waterfalls. Iran is the ultimate backpacking destination and it is among the cheap destinations for travel; therefore, you have the chance to find hostels and guesthouses in the main tourist places and get some help from its kind locals.
5. Traveling to Iran with babies/children
If you wish to travel to Iran with your babies/children, do not worry. The nature, food, architecture, people, and other aspects important in travel will be amazing for children as well. Moreover, there are not strict Iran dress codes for children and they can freely wear shorts or sleeveless shirts (for girls it is for the ones under the age of 9). There are also public baby changing rooms and you will not be stressed for finding somewhere to change the baby’s diaper. Anyhow, if your child requires stroller or anything else that you will find necessary while traveling, make sure that they are accessible because some hotels or guesthouses might miss what you really need
6. Currency in Iran
Since you cannot use your credit cards in Iran, you need to bring enough cash with yourself and change it into rials (IRR) when you reach Iran. Currency in Iran is confusing. Though rial is the official currency, prices are usually mentioned in toman. 10 rials equal 1 toman. Just be aware of the difference, but do not worry, people will help you understand what they mean when they express the price of something. Iran is a cheap destination but do not forget to bring enough money so that you could enjoy visiting more tourist attractions, take part in more adventurous activities, eat the most delicious foods and drinks, and buy great souvenirs such as saffron and Persian rugs for your dear ones.
7. Mobile SIM card and Network in Iran
None of the SIM cards from other countries work in Iran, but you are offered Iranian SIM cards that let you contact your family and friends abroad and provide you network to get connected and find access to the information you search for. Then, you will have no problem for the network; however, network speed differs from one place to another and sometimes you need to be patient with its slow speed.
8. Cost of Transportation in Iran
Transportation costs in Iran are low for foreign travelers. It is easy, cheap, and comfortable to travel around Iran and enjoy its scenic sceneries and historical treasures. You can travel hundreds of kilometers between major cities of Iran in air-conditioned buses only by paying a few dollars. Rail network is also spread across the country. Tehran to Gorgan railway is one of the most beautiful railways of Iran and it will amaze you with the beauty of nature you would observe through the train windows. Flights can also shuttle you from one location to another one with low prices. Within the cities, you can also take advantage of different transport options such as taxis, buses, minibuses, bicycles, and subways- in some major cities.
9. The best time to travel to Iran
Iran embraces a vast area and it has resulted in various climate conditions. That is why Iran is known as the four-season country. It means that the time it is freezing in the north of Iran, there is a pleasant climate condition in the south of Iran, or when some people enjoy skiing in the Alborz Mountains, some may enjoy sand boarding in deserts of Iran. Therefore, you need to determine why you want to travel to Iran and what activities are the priorities for your trip. Anyhow, if you want to make the most out of your travel to Iran, the best time is in spring, from March to late May, and in autumn, from late September to late October. During these months, it is neither too hot nor too cold and you would have the chance to take advantage of both cultural activities and adventurous programs such as trekking, mountain-climbing, and sand boarding. Be aware of Nowruz holidays, however. During Nowruz, many of the tourist attractions are crowded and finding accommodation is a bit difficult, so you need to do the reservation before your travel not to get in trouble.
10. Visit bazaars in Iran
In Iran’s everyday life, bazaars have a crucial role. You can find bazaars in every small city and town. Go to Iran bazaars and admire their architecture, go to bazaars and enjoy buying souvenirs.
11. Taste delicious Iranian foods
Iran is diverse in culinary. Persian foods are a mixture of most nutritious ingredients including meat, rice, vegetables, beans, and spices. Kebabs, stews, and different kinds of rice (Chelow and Polo) are among the most famous Persian dishes. In your travel to Iran, taste traditional Persian foods at restaurants or in the locals’ homes.
12. Say yes to Iranian toilets
You can find western toilets in some hotels and restaurants, but the majority of places do not have western toilets. Then, get prepared for squat toilets in Iran that you can find easily everywhere.
13. Know what men and women should wear in Iran
Iran is an Islamic country; then men and women are supposed to wear clothes regarding Islamic rules. One of the questions is ”what should women wear in Iran?” Women are supposed to wear headscarves and loose tunics that are usually long enough to cover their thighs and have long sleeves as well. It is also better not to wear tight trousers. Men are also supposed to avoid wearing shorts. Fortunately, the Iran dress codes are not strict and you can soon get used to them.
14. Forget about drinking Alcohol in Iran
Drinking alcohol in Iran is forbidden. You can think positively about it. Sip some other drinks in Iran such as Sharbat e Ablimoo (Lemon Syrup), Sharbat e Khakshir, and Sharbat e Sekanjabin Khiyar. You can experience a great time with your Iranian friends who can make parties and have fun without a drop of alcohol.
15. Iranian police officers do not hassle the tourists
Police officers respect tourists. If you break rules unintentionally, they will inform you of the rules and ask you to be more careful. You might think that there are many strict rules in Iran, but the truth is that apart from dress codes for men and especially for women, as well as the forbiddance of drinking alcohol, other rules or restrictions are not strange for the foreign travelers. You could also have different hairstyles or smoke in some determined places.
16. Get Iran Visa at the Airport
Getting visa is the most difficult part of getting prepared for travel. Fortunately, Iran has made it easy for travel lovers. Visitors from approximately 180 countries have the chance to get Iran Visa on Arrival (VOA). It refers to a special class of tourist visa that you can apply for at some major airports in Iran including international airports of Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashhad, and Kish Island. The visa process gets longer for tourists from US, UK, Canada, and some other countries that are not allowed to get a visa on arrival. Anyhow, it is possible for them as well to travel to Iran and discover its many beauties.
17. Things to See When Travelling in Iran
Since Iran covers a vast area and has had a long history and ancient civilization, it embraces many natural landscapes and cultural attractions simultaneously. Therefore, it has the most inspiring places for both culture lovers and adventure travelers from around the world to come to Iran and discover its beauties. Iran has 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites two of which are natural attractions. Apart from the wonderful UNESCO Sites in Iran such as Persepolis in Shiraz or Naqsh-e- Jahan square in Isfahan, there are some top tourist attractions such as Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Museum of Contemporary Art in Tehran or Moghadam Museum in Tehran that you would love to visit. As an adventure lover, do not miss off-the-beaten-path activates as well. Bird watching, mountain biking, canyoneering, safari expedition, and sand boarding are among the exhilarating activities you might love to experience. Regarding the diversity of enjoyments and activities you can experience in Iran, it is better to make a list of your priorities before traveling in order to manage your time and money.
Now that you know tips for traveling to Iran and things to know before traveling, do not hesitate anymore. Add Iran to your travel bucket list of 2020 and get ready for your travel to Iran.