Wonders of Persia

One of the most cultured nations on earth, Iran is full of surprises. Its people are warm and welcoming and its monuments dazzling.

Journey Overview

One of the most cultured nations on earth, Iran is full of surprises. Its people are warm and welcoming and its monuments dazzling. With 5,000 years of history, the country has seen empires and conquerors come and go. Ancient civilisations have left their mark with ruined cities like Persepolis and Pasargadae that today’s travellers have the unique opportunity of exploring. The cities are vibrant with atmospheric teahouses, bustling bazaars, a rich textile heritage and a flavoursome cuisine. It’s a destination full of surprises.

Journey Highlights

• Experience the life of a local on a walk through the Tajrish Bazaar selecting spices for an exclusive cooking demonstration held by a local chef in her home
• Marvel at the elaborate, priceless and historic crown jewels of Iran at the Treasury of National Jewels
• Soak up the delights of Iran’s most beautiful city in Isfahan 
• Witness a unique and traditional Sufi practice at a local Zurkhaneh, house of strength
• Savour a home-cooked meal as the guest of a local family in Shiraz
• Uncover Iran’s best UNESCO World Heritage sites including Persepolis, Pasargadae, Golestan Palace and the Eram Garden

Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Tehran

Welcome to the Iranian capital where you have fast track arrival services before transferring to your hotel.
Espinas International Hotel (Standard Room)

Day 2: Tehran

Appreciate some of Iran’s most prized treasures today when you set foot in the National Museum which boasts an impressive collection spanning 30,000 years, including pottery, coins, and the recent addition of a 7,000-year-old woman’s skeleton. Visit the sumptuous Golestan Palace, one of the city’s oldest monuments, comprising a group of royal buildings that once served as the seat of government during the Qajar era. It exemplifies a fusion of Persian and Western design, with immaculate archways, mirrored halls and ceilings, and decorative tiles all placed within the confines of a lavish Persian garden with magnificent pools.
Nearby is Tehran’s Grand Bazaar, wind your way through the maze of covered alleys and stalls selling everything imaginable, from jewellery and rugs to gold and spices. You will also have time to admire Iran's imperial crown jewels. Housed in the vaults of the Central Bank, this magnificent display includes several elaborate crowns and a vast quantity of precious gems. 
Finish the day like a local as you take a ride on the metro which carries more than a million people every day and reserves the first and last carriages for female travelers only.
Espinas International Hotel (Standard Room) | Meals: BL

Day 3: Tehran

Exercise your taste buds this morning on a guided culinary walk through Tajrish Bazaar. Less chaotic than the Grand Bazaar this is the go-to locale for fresh and hard-to-find produce. Be introduced to the fragrant spices and ingredients used in traditional Iranian cooking before meeting a local chef who will put them all to use in her kitchen. Sit round the table and enjoy a Persian feast with plenty of engaging conversation and local insight. After lunch, an intriguing look at the lifestyle of the shahs on a visit to the Sa’ad Abad Palace & Museum Complex. Built by the Qajar and Pahlavi monarchs, this was the residence of the former Royal Family of Iran and comprises the extravagant 54-room White Palace dating from the 1930s and the more classical Green Palace built by Reza Shah – Pahlavi I. Your final stop is the Reza Abbasi Museum which showcases Iranian art from ancient times and the Safavid-era paintings of Abbasi. 
Espinas International Hotel (Standard Room) | Meals: BL

Day 4: Tehran – Isfahan

Leaving the capital behind, the road takes you by way of the oasis city of Kashan, situated along the edge of the central desert. Discover the old quarter with its historic houses providing a remarkable insight into Iran’s wealthy merchant class, and stroll through the Safavid period Garden of Fin with its traditional open pavilions. 

Continue your drive to Abyaneh, a 1,500-year-old village, and one of the most picturesque in the country where the women typically wear the traditional long white floral headscarves and make their living selling dried apples, mint, chamomile and other fragrant herbs. Next stop is Natanz which is world famous for its saffron cultivation. Taste some saffron tea and perhaps purchase some of the world-famous spice before journeying on to Isfahan. 
Hotel Abbasi (Standard Room) | Meals: BL

Day 5: Isfahan

Considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the Islamic world, you’ll have two days to explore Isfahan’s splendid mosques, cathedrals, public squares, bridges, palaces and bazaars. Start off with a stroll around two of the world’s greatest mosques – the Sheikh Lotfollah and the Imam – before visiting the Ali-Qapu Palace with its enchanting music rooms and balcony overlooking the Maidan, from where the Safavid Kings watched polo matches. This afternoon, explore the Qeisarieh Bazaar on foot. Wander past hundreds of shops displaying the arts and handicrafts for which Isfahan is world-famous. In this city of bridges, finish the day watching the sun go down at the Khajou and Sio-se-pol bridges.
Hotel Abbasi (Standard Room) | Meals: BL

Day 6: Isfahan

More astonishing sights in store today. Visit the magnificent Friday Mosque with its famous prayer niche and the Chehel Sotun Palace, built by Shah Abbas II in the 17th century. Head to the Armenian Jolfa quarter to admire the Vank Cathedral. In the early 17th century, hundreds of thousands of Christian Armenians from northwest Iran were resettled in Isfahan by Shah Abbas – Vank Cathedral is the most impressive of their subsequently constructed places of worship. The outside of the cathedral is plain. By contrast, the inside boasts elaborate and colourful frescoes, containing some disturbing depictions of the terrors of hell. Nearby a small private Music Museum, established and funded by local musicians, showcases more than 300 instruments from around Iran. These instruments include the kamancheh, thought to be the ancestor of the modern violin and the tar, supposedly the precursor of the guitar. There is also a variety of animal-skin drums, reed flutes (ney), nomadic camel bells and a majestic harp, all in beautifully lit glass cabinets on crisp white walls, with descriptions in English.  Your visit culminates in a small, intimate performance, where traditional love songs and Persian poetry are played by modern masters. 
Hotel Abbasi (Standard Room) | Meals: B

Day 7: Isfahan

The day is yours to explore with a driver and guide at your disposal. Perhaps a visit to the old Safavid-era bathhouse which has been turned into an ethnographic museum displaying the traditions and rituals of public bathhouses; Or the Eight Paradise Pavilion built by Shah Solayman in 1670; this small but intricate building is set amongst tree-lined alleys, a reflecting pool and water rills, and a popular park. Or a spot of shopping at the Abbasi Arcade where handicraft and jewellery shops abound. 
This evening, discover a unique and ancient practice steeped in Shiíte mysticism, with a visit to a Zurkhaneh or house of strength. Witness this exclusively male event as a series of esoteric movements are performed by the participants standing in a circular pit and swinging heavy clubs. Simultaneously, Sufi chants are recited and drums are rhythmically beaten. The routine demonstrates a compelling blend of rhythm, endurance, and creative flourish. 
Hotel Abbasi (Standard Room) | Meals: B

Day 8: Isfahan – Shiraz

A day of discovery today beginning with the ancient city of Pasgardae, the capital of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire. The earliest known example of Achaemenid architecture, the city was built in the 6th century BC and remains a stunning testimony to the art and architecture of the early Persian civilisation. Home to the tomb of Cyrus the Great, this regal World Heritage Site once held sway over an empire that stretched from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Indus River. Continue to the beautiful city of Shiraz, one of the most important sites of the ancient world. 
Grand Shiraz Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 9: Shiraz

Discover why Shiraz is considered the heartland of Persian culture and sophistication when you explore its famous gardens, tombs and mosques. First stop is Eram Garden, one of the most famous in Iran and included as one of Iran’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Stroll through the historic gardens where palm trees, flower beds and fountains have created a wonderful atmosphere; also stroll through Narenjestan-e Ghavam (Qavam House), an old merchant’s house situated in a lovely orange garden originally built between 1879 and 1886. Appreciate the paintings on the low ceilings of the house inspired by Victorian-era Europe. 

Next stop is the splendid pink tiled 19th century Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, one of the country’s most impressive. From the outside it seems like a traditional mosque however the multitude of stained glass windows turn the inside into a riotous wonderland of colour that is quite simply breathtaking. Not to mention the gorgeously painted, intricate arches and niches. Later spend time interacting with teachers and students at the nearby Madrasa Khan, an important theological school originally built in 1615, before heading to Arg-e-Karim Khan, the 18th century citadel. Admire the high walls with its ornamental brickwork punctuated by four attractive 14-metre-high circular towers. Finish the day exploring the Vakil Bazaar, a fine example of Zand-era architecture and one of the best places in Shiraz to buy Persian rugs, spices, handicrafts and antiques. 
This evening you are welcomed into a local home with a cooking demonstration followed by dinner. 
Grand Shiraz Hotel| Meals: BD

Day 10: Shiraz

Prepare to be amazed when you visit Persepolis, where the remains of palaces and tombs of some of the greatest rulers in history. Discover this extraordinary UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, featuring the remains of the palaces of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and the famous bas-reliefs, depicting kings and courtiers and gift-bearers from around the Persian Empire. You also make a stop at Naghsh-e-Rostam, an ancient necropolis with Royal Tombs cut high into the cliff face, before returning to Shiraz with time to relax over a cup of mint tea in the beautiful garden at the Tomb of the celebrated Persian poet Hafez. Great lovers of poetry, Iranians from all walks of life can recite by heart verses from these poems making this a fitting end to your Iranian adventure.
Grand Shiraz Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 11: Depart Shiraz

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
Meals: B

Show Full Itinerary
Accommodation/Partners

Accommodation/Partners

Espinas International Hotel

Wonders of Persia

The Espinas International Hotel is well positioned in the heart of Tehran and offers 202 rooms with views of the city or courtyard. There ... Read more

Hotel Abbasi

Wonders of Persia

The Abbasi Hotel was built on the site of a Safavid caravanserai, dating back 300 years to the time of Sultan Husayn of Safavid, Its hist ... Read more

Grand Shiraz

Wonders of Persia

The Grand Hotel Shiraz is well positioned, located in the heart of the city, close to many local attractions. The hotel welcomes guests ... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

As this Private Journey can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey

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