Here Is What Makes Iran Stand Out! 13 Travelers Tell Us What Distinguishes Iran from the Other Travel Destinations for Them

Being a traveler, the first reason for you to travel to Iran could be the experience of discovering the ancient relics and hearing the whispers of history throughout the swelling flow of time. However, the wonders of the journey would surpass your expectations. In most cases, the first reason to enjoy the trip has not been the history or culture, but the people of this expansive land have bewitched the visitors. The tales of hospitality and geniality of Persian people have for so long circulated around the world. Still, no one buys the stories unless they taste a thimbleful of this magical elixir.

Peter Santenellos memories of Iran min

Iran is different.  One of my top 3 favorite countries.  The combination of culture, architecture, no western feel, and hospitality makes it stand out.

From Peter Santenello

On a one-day road trip crossing Iran, you’ll find yourself observing landscapes that you have barely seen before in a single day. You’ll cross acres of forests, seashores, mountains, pastures, and deserts, as well as dozens of towns and hundreds of villages along the way. The same beauties and qualities of these various sceneries and climates have affected the people of these terrains and led to marvelous phenomena.

Kinging It 2

The Iranian people, hospitality and kindness. We were welcomed with huge smiles wherever we went. Everyone wanted to stop us and talk to us and thank us for coming to their country. You are beautiful people inside and out. Your country is equally as beautiful.

From Craig and Aimee at Kinging-It

Roads of this beautiful country take you to the most beautiful destinations and the most warm-hearted human beings. The intricate Islamic patterns that have adorned the domes of mosques like the Shah Mosque have also found their way into the texture of local life. The same tranquil blue is vivid in a man who kindly invites you to join him for a tea at his store around the Naqsh-e Jahan Square, and the same mystical patterns have coded his nature.

Lost With Purpose 1

To me, two things: the architecture and the people. Iranians are incredible, but I have to give a nod to architecture first—I’ve never encountered more incredible works of art than what I saw in Iran. Persians truly are some of the most artistic people in history. From the glittering mirrored mosaics in shrines, to the immensely intricate hand-painted tiles in mosques, my mouth was constantly agape while traveling the country. I’ve yet to encounter anything more impressive than what I saw there.

As for the people, wow! Iran was my first introduction to the immense hospitality you can find while traveling, particularly in the Islamic world. I’d never before had so many people so willing to invite you to tea or a meal or their home, sometimes only after speaking to you for a few minutes! Coming from a country where people are more closed and suspicious of outsiders, it was incredible, and inspired me to be more hospitable to those I meet on the road.

From Alex Reynolds at Lost With Purpose

A large number of people would not believe the story of an inviting smile on the face of Iranians since all they have heard about this wonderful country summarizes in a dark perspective and includes horrible news and governmental warnings that dissuade traveling to Iran. However, the point is that the courage that takes you to such an unknown place is worth taking as you’ll discover the truth with your own eyes. Without a doubt, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed by kindness and hospitality.

Bohemian Vagabond 2

Despite the political tensions with our 2 countries, people were so incredibly friendly and welcome. I did not encounter one hostile situation. There may be a few graffiti that were anti-American, but as a frequent traveler, and a person who majored in Cultural Anthropology and Philosophy, I am able to see both sides. I can see why people are angry. I can see the damage that the US and UK have done to the Middle-East in the past century alone that has led us to where we are today. Most Americans simply look at themselves as innocent victims, while they may be, the government certainly is not.
The western media paints Iran and the whole middle-east as one cluster of uneducated, savage type population. But Iranians are clearly highly educated people who are graceful. No matter their socio-economic background, both women and men are courteous and polite. Despite the government enforcing an “Islamic-Republic”, the men (in my experience) kept their distance and I did not encounter any catcalls or harassments as I have in Morocco and Turkey.
I also love seeing the cultural blend of the Middle-East and Central Asia that makeup Iran.

From Jacki Ueng at Bohemian Vagabond

Want to learn more about the Iranian Culture and the traditions practiced among Persians? Check out all of our In-depth Cultural Tours.

If you dare to go beyond the boundaries defined by others, wonders ahead would be rewarding. Even in the tiny villages of Iran and in the houses that have no luxury to offer, you’ll encounter people who genuinely wish you to join them for a meal. These simple people are grateful to have you next to them while sitting around a tablecloth. They believe that their down-to-earth manner and unembellished hospitality have a higher value and that act of friendliness will be answered by God’s mercy and his abundant blessings.

Mudancas Constantes min

Iran has one of the richest stories and oldest patrimonies in the world. The architecture, the food and the culture are amazing and it’s a shame the rest of the world doesn’t know/realize that. However, I would have to say the best of Iran are its people. They are truly altruistic, kind, resilient and honest. Despite all they have been through in the past and the adversities that they face every day from the government, international relations and overall press image, Iranians welcome foreigners with open arms and open hearts.

From Ines Amaral at Mudancas Constantes

When it comes to hospitality, Iranians do not care if there’s not enough rice and bread in the house; they go on to offer their best anyway, even if their best is only limited to a cup of tea. In terms of Iranian hospitality, what matters the most is to make a guest comfortable or to create unforgettable memories for him. The most important thing for Iranians is to present you with a big laughter and an imperishable happiness.

Be On The Road.jpg

It has to be their extremely hospitable people who go out of their way to make you feel welcome. Be it inviting you for a cup of tea, offering you a free ride to a place you are headed to, helping you when you are lost, mediating with shopkeepers when you don’t seem to be able to understand the language and even inviting you into their homes for food and stay.

From Sankara at Be On The Road

Join us in the most bright days when Iranians celebrate the turn of a new year and taste a bit of Persian hospitality among these warm-hearted people.

The marvels of your journey to this country are not limited to what you’ll appreciate on the roads, landscapes, and people. The most memorable miracles of this trip will come to you through the delicate knots among the warp and woof of culture. Everywhere you go, you’ll see astonishing instances of culture among Iranians and their lifestyle. From the reputed Nomads of Fars to the local people of Northern Iran, people wear different clothes and cook various dishes. It could turn out to be a spellbinding experience to live with these people and learn about the reasons behind such nuances.

Theo Paul Santana 1

Culture, Iran has so much culture and history that you cannot find anywhere in the world, everywhere you go you have old castles and mosques with wonderful blue colors that you can’t see anywhere in the world… the cities, friendly people and beautiful landscape surrounding by mountains, love all and writing this make me wants to go back to your beautiful country.

From Theo Santana

Learning everything about the culture of a country such as Iran would absolutely be a stimulating experience. However, Taarof is the one single conception that might confuse you in Iran. Hospitality takes on a higher meaning in Iran in the form of Taarof. Through their act of kindness, Iranians insist you to keep their company to the extent that they might put you under pressure. On the contrary, this is only part of their culture to make you feel more comfortable. Encountering such a phenomenon is itself an incredible experience.

Ze Wandering Frogs 1

We traveled extensively in Asia, Central Asia, and in some Middle East countries, and Iran felt like a unique gateway. Home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world, Persian history had an influence on many cultures from Eurasia to the Caucasus, Egypt, to Oman. No wonder Persians feel pride in their heritage!
One definite element we haven’t seen anywhere else and is truly unique to Persian culture is Taarof! If you don’t know about Taarof when visiting Iran, then you haven’t really experienced the country! The art of politeness means that money is not asked for after an exchange of goods or services. It can be confusing as a taxi driver and a tea shop owner might wave you away when you want to pay. But don’t simply wander off. The etiquette requires you to offer to pay about three times. If then you still can’t pay, then you are fine to accept the hospitality or the complimentary food.

From Patricia and Bruno at Ze Wandering Frogs

Learn more about the experiences of travelers in Iran and read their stories in our Iran Diaries collection.

Although dealing with Iranians in such situations can be difficult, this is only a sample of measures they would take to make you feel happy and welcomed. Traveling among the cities of Iran, you’ll see many farms and gardens where you’ll be undoubtedly gifted with many crops and fruits if you take a break by the road.

Karin and Patrick 2

We met so many friendly and hospitable people along our journey! As a tourist you are generally not used to that… we appreciated this very much.

From Karin and Patrick

Traveling to some cities of Iran resembles a journey through the time in which patterns and traces of history, art, and architecture present you with a nation’s identity and untold stories thereupon reveal themselves through the cracks and curves of the stones. Ancient legacies are scattered all along the expanse of this country and the people of Persia have learned, studied, rehearsed, and valued every bit and fragment of these legacies.

The people of Shiraz are said to work to live rather than the other way round

Iran has so much ancient history it’s fascinating, aside from the natural beauty, but the best were the people, really friendly and helpful and so hospitable.

From Florian Kriechbaumer

From the most popular attractions such as Persepolis and Pasargadae to the less known areas such as Tang-e Chogan and Shahpour Cave, there are dozens of historical places in Iran. In many of these lesser known areas, you might find yourself as the only wanderer. Within these situations, you’ll have the opportunity to lend all your thoughts and emotions to the whispering sound of stones, tiles, and bricks that are recounting the tales of history.

Kamischka in Iran

History, architecture, and welcoming people. Many people see Iran only from the current, political perspective but there is so much history, unique culture, and tradition of Persia one might feel overwhelmed with it all. I loved the old architecture of Iran, the monuments were among the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen. And the local people were one of the most friendly and hospitable I’ve ever met.

From Kamila Napora

Everywhere you go, and every story you follow about Iran might start with different subjects: history, art, literature, music, culture, or even nature. However, all of the stories end in one that presents the people of the country.

David Bakker in Iran 2

The people of Iran are the most important reason to visit Iran in my opinion and the ‘Stand out feature’ if you can call it that.

From David Bakker

What dwells in these people’s hearts also flows into their manners and appearances. Despite the negative image of Iranians as underdeveloped people, almost all Iranians are up-to-date and fashionable. Interestingly, the mixture of modernity and the local styles has led to the birth of pleasurable novelties in Iranian lifestyle and customs.

Leave Your Daily Hell 1

The people—how kind they are, in general; and how different they are from what the media leads us to believe about them. Iranians are definitely the friendliest people I’ve met in the world, and are also very open and honestly quite socially liberal. Would you also mind if I say Persians are beautiful people? Wow!

From Robert Schrader at Leave Your Daily Hell

After all, traveling along such a vast country with people of different ethnicities, traditions, and beliefs equals a plethora of unexpected wonders and unimaginably various experiences. Having the chance to meet Kurds, Azaris, Baluchs, Bakhtiaris, and people from every corner of the country, you’ll enjoy observing different shades of culture in practice. Moreover, due to Iranian hospitality and generosity, you can be their guests and taste many different delicious food.

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