From the exotic colors of buildings in Shiraz to the greeneries wide open to the face of clouds in Rasht, from the isolated patches of sand dunes in the central desert to the captivating beauty of the coast of the Persian Gulf, there are countless wonders spilled over the vast expanse of Iran. It is not just about the pieces of history and civilization that you might find in the historical sites or the stories of culture and traditions that you’ll learn through people. This country has much more to grant to a wanderer. In this blog, you’ll read about the highlights of the travelers who once ventured for the unknown thrills and mysterious narratives awaiting them in Iran.
To start with, the people living in a place embody not only the tempers of the environment or climate but also the knots among the weft and woof of a nation’s culture. Watching the locals as they submit to the most delicate and unwritten conventions in a new geographic region might turn out to be an interesting observation.
As for favorite attractions I’m not sure I’ve got one already. Just sitting on a local Square and meeting local people I think it’s a favorite of attraction if you call it that. Or just renting a car and driving around, that was great fun.From David Bakker
Part of these people and their identity is, to some extent, what they owe to their system of belief: what actually impacted their life for over a thousand years. The way they express their adherence to religion in their thoughts and behavior is another fascinating aspect of their everyday life to look at.
My favorite destination was Qom because it was our first city and we just book a car and drive all the way there, so when I arrive there and see the Mosques and how people from Iran are into religion I was shocked, we went inside of the mosques and did private tours to understand about the religion and we were interested in that, especially the gold and colors that place brings, but for cultural sights Shiraz is one of my top of the list, I love to walk inside of the old market and try different foods, smell and taste! We drove all the way there from Tehran to Shiraz so the entire trip was amazing also the countryside.From Theo Santana
However, when it comes to the cities, Shiraz, the city whose reputation for blooming flowers, aromatic smell of blossoms, and the melodic songs of nightingales has excelled every other city, comes to mind. With many alluring gardens all over the town, Shiraz has always been popular with travelers. Among the top sites in Shiraz is Nasir al Molk Mosque, which embodies the most beautiful performance of lights and colors as they mingle and harmonize.
The Pink Mosque in Shiraz definitely lived up to the hype, although if you want a good selfie, make sure to go right at opening time!From Robert Schrader at Leave Your Daily Hell
There are many sites in this city that showcase the incredible history beyond the changes brought by time. Persia’s great kings once ruled over the country on their thrones in Shiraz. The remnants of their palace and residence have been for years one of the most attractive UNESCO World Heritages in Iran. And the visual narratives carved on its giant stones have enchanted all the visitors so far.
Persepolis for me, it was just mind-boggling to stand amongst these massive cubes of stone and think how they managed to build this 2500 years ago, makes you feel rather humble and in complete awe.From Florian Kriechbaumer
Right above Shiraz, on the map of Iran, nestles another city full of historical tales and cultural gems. You’d have to travel all the way to this city in order to actually realize why it has been called “Half of the World.” The expression does not only chronicle the twists and turns in the aesthetic patterns over the walls or mosaics in “Naqsh-e Jahan Square”, but it also narrates the tales of winding Zayandeh Rud river, the simple tree-lined streets, and the people who cross these streets every single day in Isfahan.
Our favorites are definitely Esfahan and Shiraz. Both cities are very green and offer amazing buildings to visit.From Karin and Patrick
In comparison with the amazements and resources of the great cities, the villages of Iran are very underrated. Taking you to off-the-beaten tracks of the country, these destinations introduce you to the unspeakably gracious accordance of human life with Mother Nature. Meymand, Kandovan, Abyaneh, and Kharanagh are only a few of these beautiful must-see villages.
I absolutely loved the tiny hamlet of Abyaneh with its pretty little apple and pear orchards and its colorful Zoroastrian culture all under the embrace of stunning snowcapped mountains. I also enjoyed the rolling sand dunes of Verzaneh, the abandoned mud village of Kharanaq, the riverside of Isfahan, the pink mosque (Nasir ‘ol Molk Mosque) of Shiraz and the beautiful houses of Kashan.From Sankara at Be On The Road
The peaceful air and the absolute serenity embracing Kashan is probably a gift from the desert to the city. Located on the edge of Dasht-e Kavir, Kashan’s sand-colored buildings are magnificent delights to the eyes of the visitors. However, it is the bewitching odor of Rosewater that takes you everywhere around the city: From the Fin Garden to the traditional Bazaar. Kashan’s architecture has its own tale of artistry; in traditional houses such as Saraye Ameriha Boutique Hotel, you can witness the mind-blowing elegance and nobility built by the most talented Iranian architects.
While everyone is raving about Isfahan or Shiraz I actually liked smaller places more. My favorite one was Kashan – I just loved the beautiful historical houses and the covered bazaar. It was my last stop in Iran and I could compare it with all the other places I visited. I enjoyed every place I’ve been to (although some were slightly disappointing) but Kashan was my absolute number one.From Kamila Napora
Stunning sunset over the golden sand dunes or the sparkling crystals of white paving the surface of the earth is what the nature belonging to the center of Iran can grant you. Either after surfing on the sand powder in Varsaneh or hiking up the huge sand castles in Kalut Shahdad, you’ll finally find yourself overwhelmed by the endless beauty of the desert. As the earth eats out the sun, you’ll see another face of the desert lit by the moonlight. Over the night in the central desert of Iran, the dark expanse of the sky shows off its power and charm.
I would have to say visiting the Kaluts. Driving through the dunes and the incredible sand formations was absolutely amazing. We even got to see an oasis and an abandoned village made of terracotta. That’s something I will never forget.From Ines Amaral at Mudancas Constantes
Life has taken form in the middle of Iran’s central desert and has created people whose nature is as warm as the desert sun and whose houses are as cool as the desert nights. Taking steps down the winding alleys among the traditional neighborhoods of Yazd feels like walking in a movie made decades ago in some part of this country. When it comes to Yazd, it feels enough to wander around and observe the old structure of the buildings with their curious wind catchers soaring up into the air. However, Yazd also has many historical places to invite visitors to. Being the home to the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism, Yazd has enfolded stunning attractions such as the Fire Temple or the Tower of Silence.
Yazd was probably my favorite from the last trip.From Peter Santenello
However, nature has not painted all over this country with the color of sand; northern and western Iran are colored in emerald green. Rasht, Mazandaran, and Golestan are the greenest of all. Taking the road to these cities will award you with picturesque views over the heights and the ocean of clouds over the mountains, and you’ll end up in destinations where you’d be able to see a glimpse of Iran’s wildlife. You’ll smell and taste the Iranian Chai, breathe in the scent of rice as you move along the road, and experience the incredible dishes of northern Iran cuisine.
I equally loved Yazd as I did with Rasht and Massouleh in the North. I like areas that are less crowded and busy. I liked visiting the Zoroastrian sites like the Fire Temple and Tower of Silence because it was going beyond Iran 2000 years ago into a culture and religion that existed before the Arab & Muslim conquest. It really makes you think about evolution and change through time.
I also loved how the north of Iran seemed more liberal due to its proximity to the international port. I liked access to more seafood and the wide array of dishes offered in Rasht. Massouleh, a preserved mountainous town, was absolutely adorable to visit, to walk around, taste street food and shop.From Jacki Ueng at Bohemian Vagabond
When it comes to Tehran, modernity steps forward, and tradition is somehow blurred in the background. With its hectic traffic and seemingly chaotic atmosphere, Tehran is the country’s beating heart. It enfolds exciting adventures and experiences: from surfing on the white-powdered slopes of the mountains to vising the royal complexes of Golestan, Niavaran, or Sa’adat Abad. Wandering in the art galleries of Tehran and visiting the Carpet Museum as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art are among the activities that you should not miss.
Golestan Palace was stunning. We also enjoyed the hike up to Alamut Castle.From Craig and Aimee at Kinging-It
On the ranges of the Zagros Mountains, off-the-beaten tracks will take you to cities and villages whose people are as green as the lush trees surrounding their homes. Kurdistan province is one of the provinces attracting many travelers with its enticing nature and culture. The unbelievably kind people of this region are the most valuable treasure of this province with their ethnic customs and language. The sound of streams echoes among the mountains of this land, and the ground is filled with flowers. With their unique step-like architecture in house building, Uraman Takht and Palangan villages are two of the destinations worth visiting.
Iranian Kurdistan was stunning! I could’ve spent months there. The lush green hills covered with red poppies, the simple stepped villages blending into the mountainsides, the friendliness of the Kurdish people there… it was dreamy. I highly recommend the region to anyone looking to get off the beaten track in Iran.From Alex Reynolds at Lost With Purpose
The stunning beauties of the southern coast of Iran as well as the islands gathering in the heart of the Persian Gulf dissolve every single soul into the sacredness of its nature. Take Hormuz Island for an example. The very red soil of this island mixing with the translucent blue surrounding it is a natural attraction, not to mention the colorful rainbows covering the surface of the island’s hills. Seeing the picturesque landscapes, you might wonder, ‘Mather Nature has painted its most unique masterpieces on this land.’
Since we stayed two months in Iran, and traveled from Mashhad to the Persian Gulf, and up to Tabriz, defining one favorite destination is almost impossible. As outdoor aficionados, we enjoyed the Lut Desert around Kerman and exploring the islands of Hormuz and Qeshm. On the cultural side, the busy streets and stunning architecture of Isfahan, and of course, the ancient ruins of Persepolis are two must-see while in Iran.From Patricia and Bruno at Ze Wandering Frogs