13 Dec

adventurous holidays in Iran

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With the reciprocal reopenings of the Iranian Embassy in London and the British embassy in Tehran, and the Foreign Office no longer advising against travel, adventurous travellers may decide now’s the time to see the country. Here’s a list of some of the trips available; all are guided group tours. Prices exclude flights but include accommodation, transport, some meals and entry fees.

 

 

The sacred shrines in the holy city of Qom, ancient monuments at Persepolis and Isfahan, the gardens of Kashan, poets’ tombs in Shiraz, and the tiled Nasir al-Mulk mosque, considered the pinnacle of Iranian-Islamic art, are among the cultural highlights of this 15-day tour.

• From £1,799, undiscovered-destinations.com

 

Trek the Lut desert

 

The Dasht-e Lut desert, one of the Earth’s hottest and driest places, is a (hardy) trekker’s dream, with incredible rock formations, sand dunes, salt plains and the Valley of Meteorites – imposing landscapes that enchanted Marco Polo and, 700 years later, Wilfred Thesiger. 

• From £2,899 for 13 days, camping and guesthouses, secretcompass.com

 

 

Valley of the Assassins

 

 A walking tour based around the eponymous 1934 travelogue by the explorer Freya Stark, showcasing the greener side of Iran, traditional villages, the castles of the “assassins” and Alborz mountain hikes. The trip includes a stay with the Shahsevan nomadic tribe, a visit to Tabriz’s blue mosque and Unesco world heritage bazaar.

• From £2,595 for 13 nights, wildfrontierstravel.com

Horseriding 

 

A 10-day riding adventure through the central nomadic lands on dareshori Persian horses takes in mountains and lush forests and paddy fields. Camping is in flat arable grasslands. 

• From £1,890, including five nights’ camping and five in guesthouses

 

Backpacking

 

Independent travel isn’t allowed in Iran, Brits must book a group trip, but you can tailor-make one with a minimum of two people with some operators, and on a budget. The guide must accompany travel across country but you can roam freely in each location. The Borders of Adventure website has some sound advice on travel in the country. 

• Iranian tour operator Uppersia offers 15-day trips from £897

 

Iran by train, from Turkey

 

After boarding the train in Ankara, passengers travel to Tehran to explore the archeological sites, before taking a sleeper to Isfahan for its iconic covered bridges and huge Naqhsh-e Jahan Square. The unique desert architecture of Yazd is a short train ride away; the final train trip is to Shiraz, the city of flowers and poetry.

• From £1,450 for nine days, persianvoyages.com

 

Iraq with Iran

 

A 16-day group trip explores the connected Persian and Iraqi cultures. Beginning in Baghdad, it visits Babylon, Kufa and Uruk (ancient Gilgamesh), includes canoeing along the Tigris then tours western Iran, spectacular Persepolis, Shiraz, Isfahan and Tehran. 

• From £1,068, aitotours.com

 

Skiing in Iran 

 

Dizin, with lifts to 3,600 metres and Shemshak, at 3,050 metres, are Iran’s most famous resorts, with chalets, hotels and equipment hire. They are both near Tehran and access is straightforward. Another of the larger resorts is Pooladkaf, 85km from Shiraz in the south, peaking at 3,400 metres and enjoying strong sunshine despite high snow totals.

• Iranskitours.ir has deals from £271pp for three nights at Dizin for groups of 3-6, including transfer from Tehran

 

Festivals 

 

 The festival of Gol-o-Golab (Rose and Rosewater), in Kashan, Iran. Facebook Twitter Pinterest

 The flowers are picked for the festival of Gol-o-Golab (Rose and Rosewater), in Kashan. Photograph: Kaveh Kazemi/Getty Images

Religious and cultural events abound in Iran, reflecting the country’s diverse peoples and historical influences. They range from the Gol-o-Golab (Rose and Rosewater) festival in Kashan in May, to the Chak Chak fire temple festival near Yazd in June, which celebrates the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism. Thetis Travel can organise tailormade tours combined with sightseeing and trips to meet nomadic groups.

• Price to be confirmed, thetistravel.com

 

 

Read 4515 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 January 2016 05:51