Iran or officially the Islamic Republic of Iran is a state in south-eastern Asia. The territory of the country is washed by the Caspian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, and the Persian Gulf. The capital city is Tehran.
The climate in the country is sharply continental. The best time for visiting Iran is from April to June and from September to November.
The official language is Farsi. The predominant religion is Islam.
The tourists choose Iran to relax on a beach and swim in the sea. The best places for beach holidays are Bandar Abbas, the Siri and Kish islands, Ramsar and Rasht district where there is all you need for diving, windsurfing, snorkelling, yachting, and water skiing.
Those who like climbing and trekking should go to the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province or Omidiyeh. Ardabil, East Azerbaijan, Ilam, and Sanandaj with their hot springs are the destination for a wellness tourism. Quad bike and jeep tours to the desert are arranged in Tabas.
The travellers can take excursions and see the monuments in Bushehr, Khuzestan province, Isfahan, and Yazd. Anyone can visit the sites of memory in Quazvin, Kerman and Kermanshah, Lorestan region and Mazandaran province, Mashhad, Naeini, and Pasargadae. The tourists will see the sights in Sistan and Baluchestan province, Tabriz and Fars province, Hamadan province, Razavi Khorasan province and Hormozgan province, Golestan province, and Shiraz.
Business tourism is well-developed in industrial and oil centres on the Lavan island and Kharg island and in Arak. Ecological tourists prefer to enjoy nature on the Abu Musa island, Behbahan, Birjand, and the Urma lake. The shoppers choose the market in Zahedan and those who want to learn more about the everyday life of the local people should visit the Haneh village.
Aeroflot and Iran Air offer direct flights from Russia. Azerbaijan Airlines offers a transit flight with a transfer in Baku. The tourists from Ukraine can choose the route Kiev – Tehran offered by UIA and UM Air. Belavia has the flights to Iran from Belarus. Turkish Airlines and Etihad offer direct flights from CIS countries. Tourists from certain CIS countries will have to fly with a stop in Turkey or European countries.
The tourists from the European Union can fly to Tehran with Iran Air, Germania, Austrian, and Alitalia.
There is a train running between Istanbul and Tehran. There are also railway routes with neighbouring countries such as Syria, Pakistan, and Azerbaijan.
A ferry from Sharjah, Dubai, Manama, and Baku arrives and the port in Bandar Abbas,
Iran has land border crossings allowing cars and buses travel to the country with Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
To travel to Iran, the CIS and EU tourists must obtain a visa at the Embassy of Iran or at a Consulate. A visa can also be issued at the Imam Khomeini International Airport. However, be aware that it will take you more time to obtain the visa at the airport than to receive it at the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Normally, a visa is issued within 4 working days. The visa is valid for 28 days.
There are no restrictions concerning the import of foreign currency, but it is not allowed to bring in more than 500.000 rials without a special permission. All the money disregard the amount must be declared.
The tourists can bring in the following things duty-free:
- some alcohol and tobacco;
- perfume for personal use;
- audio and video gadgets, musical instruments (the customer officers will mention them in a passport);
- gifts and souvenirs (the total cost should not exceed 80 US dollars).
It is strictly prohibited to import:
- any printed products in Hebrew;
- soil, seedlings, seeds, berries, plant roots, and fruits;
- game, animals and products from their skin and feathers.
- psychotropic medications.
It is prohibited to export from Iran:
- coins, pictures and manuscripts (older than 50 years old);
- more than 2 handmade Persian Rugs or the rugs the total area of which is over 12 m2.
We strongly recommend you against bringing in products with Israeli symbols to avoid any problems at the Customs.
The Iranian cuisine dates back to the beginning of the 6th century B.C. and it is believed to be the founding father of the world cuisine. The staple food in Iran is bread and its many variates such as Barbari, Lavash, Sangak, and Naan. The basic products here are vegetables, poultry, meat, rice, and beans.
The tourists should definitely try Shish Kebab from lamb, meat rolls Koofteh gasht, pepper Dolma-felfel stuffed with rice and meat and a mutton stew. If you want to try something more exotic, we recommend meat balls Koofteh Tabrizi with turmeric, peas, and nuts; sheep’s haslet or lamb hearts with nuts.
For the first course, you can order a cold soup Mast-o-Khiar with kefir, mint, raisins, and cucumbers; a thick barley and chicken soup Ash-e-jow and meat broth Abgasht.
Rice dishes are extremely popular in Iran starting from simple boiled rice Kateh to traditional pilaf with greens Sabzi Polo, pilaf with oranges and almonds Polo Chirin, lentils, figs and meat pilaf Adas Polo or cherry and poultry pilaf Albaloo Polo.
The holidays in Iran will be an unforgettable experience for those who have a sweet tooth. They should try traditional halvah Shir Berenj with nuts and rose water, milk and almond halvah Baklava with cardamom, ice-cream Faloude and various sorbets, fruits jams, and nougat.
The meal in Iran is usually served with hot tea, juices, yogurt Mast, and alcohol-free fruit beer.
The official currency is the Iranian Rial which is equivalent to 0.1 tomane. In circulation are the banknotes from 100 to 10.000 rials and 5 to 250 rial coins. To avoid confusion, always make it clear whether the price is shown in rials or tomanes.
The tourists can exchange the currency at some banks, in exchange offices, and hotels. The private citizens offer a better exchange rate. Be aware that private currency exchange is illegal, but there is not much control over it.
On larger resorts and in touristic areas, you can pay with the local currency, Euro, US dollars and sterling pounds.
Credit cards and traveller’s checks are accepted only at banks and in the hotels in the capital city and in some places on the Kish island. You may face some difficulties with European and American credit cards and checks, so it is better to have a touristic card Parsian bank. Outside the cities and towns cashless payments are not accepted.
Details of interest
Sightseeing in Iran
Iran is a real Mecca for people who love sightseeing. In Iran, there are 17 UNESCO sites and 52 unique monuments which are the UNESCO candidates.
The tourists can visit the Chogha Zanbil Ancient Elamite complex and Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System in Khuzestan and ancient Persian settlements Persepolis and Pasargadae in the Fars province. The travellers will see the Imam square, the Jameh mosque, and the Persian Garden in Isfahan; the Takht-e Soleyman Archaeological site, the Bisotun in Kermanshah and the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran on the territory of East Azerbaijan.
A must-see for all the tourist who came to Iran is the Bam and its Cultural Landscape in Kerman, Soltaniyeh in Zanjan, and the Sheikh Safi al-Din Mausoleum in Ardabil. You should not miss a unique Tabriz Historic Bazaar, Gonbad-e Quabus in Golestan, the Shahri Sokhta Archaeological site in Sistan and Baluchestan, and the Golestan Palace.
The lovers of sightseeing will be able to see 52 UNESCO candidate monuments. The most popular among the tourists are the Qasr-e-Shirin, Taq-i Bustan, and Historical Ensemble of Qasr-e Shirin. Do not miss a chance to see the Firuzabad Ensemble, Susa, and Naqsh-e Rajab as well as the Historic Monument of Kangavar. Anyone can visit the Historical City of Maybod and take a picture of the Cultural and historical landscapes of Isfahan province and Historical Structure of Yazd.
The tourists should definitely visit the National Museum of Iran, the Glass and Ceramics Museum, and the Iran Bastan Museum. Very interesting collections offer the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, the Military Museum, the Tehran Museum of Music, and the Museum of Islamic Period. Curious tourists should also visit the National Jewelry Museum, the Iran National Museum of Water, the Carpet Museum of Iran, and the Sa’d Abad Museum Complex.
In Iran, the tourists usually buy the following gifts and souvenirs:
- oriental sweets;
- herbs, spices, and Iranian henna;
- textile, traditional clothes, hijabs, and jewellery;
- vases and tableware with a traditional ornament;
- Persian handmade carpets;
- wooden carved jewellery boxes and other things for the interior;
- swords and daggers.