36 Most Beautiful Places in Iran: The Perfect 2-Week Iran Itinerary

A Girl Sitting Inside the Pink Mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Iran is an incredibly underrated country with an immense history, the friendliest people, and the most breathtaking architecture. Having spent 2 weeks there, I truly believe it should be on every traveler’s bucket list. However, the beauty of this country is rarely shown in the media; it’s sadly always buried underneath scary footages that only reflect the world of politics.

This guide on the most beautiful places in Iran aims to show you the side of Iran that rarely — if ever — gets represented in the news: the beauty of its landscapes, the details of its stunning architecture, the hospitality of its locals, the unique villages that still hold on to their centuries-old traditions, and so much more.

You’ll also find a detailed 2-week Iran itinerary with lots of information on what to see in Iran, what to do in Iran, how to dress in this country, and other helpful insider tips.

If you’re an American, Canadian, or UK citizen, there’s a whole section in this guide dedicated to how you can enter and explore Iran ⁠— it’s easier than you may think! I hope what you read will inspire you to visit this remarkable Middle Eastern country as well. It truly deserves more positive spotlight.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can learn more about this in my disclosure policy.

Planning Your Trip to Beautiful Iran

Is Iran Beautiful? (Why You Should Visit Iran)

There are so many reasons why Iran will steal your heart. First of all, the architecture in this country is absolutely mind-blowing. You’re looking at some of the finest Persian mosques and palaces in the world that have stood for centuries through multiple kingdoms and dynasties. You’ll learn about the incredible history behind these attractions and will get an insightful glimpse into life during the Persian Empire. History fans, this is your place!

Even if you’re not a big history buff, you can still spend hours admiring the intricate tilework on the buildings. It’s truly a marvelous sight. Iran is also filled with breathtaking nature, stylish traditional houses, and charming gardens. Even the restaurants and accommodations in the country are gloriously decorated with colorful stained-glass windows.

A trip to Iran is so much more than just a visually pleasing experience though; it’s just as culturally rich as well. The local cuisine is a must-try, the welcoming locals are more than eager to have a conversation with you, and you’ll most likely get invited to have a meal or two in their homes too.

Where to Stay in Iran

The first thing to know about accommodations in Iran is that many websites including Booking.com don’t have hotels in Iran listed, so booking hotels may be a bit trickier than usual. However, there are some great options on Hostelworld, which is where I found and booked all my accommodations.

You will find some absolutely gorgeous places to stay in; stylish, traditional, and cozy at the same time. Here are some hotels and hostels I highly recommend:

Find more accommodations in Iran

The Best Places to Visit in Iran: A Quick Overview

Day 1: Tehran
Day 2 – 3: Shiraz
Day 4: Day trip to Persepolis
Day 5 – 6: Kerman
Day 7 – 8: Yazd
Day 9 – 11: Isfahan
Day 12 – 13: Kashan
Day 14: Day trip / half day trip to Abyaneh

36 Most Beautiful Places in Iran to See in 2 Weeks

Day 1: Tehran

You’ll most likely be flying into the bustling capital city of Tehran, and it’s worth spending at least a day here as it’s home to one of the most historical places in Iran.

1. Golestan Palace, Tehran

One of the top things to do in Tehran is visiting the most magnificent historical monument in town ⁠— the UNESCO site of Golestan Palace. This majestic complex was the official residence of the Qajar dynasty (which ruled Iran between 1789 and 1925) and displays a remarkable mixture of ancient Persian and contemporary European architectural styles, which characterized much of Iranian art in the 19th and 20th centuries.

You can easily spend half a day admiring the 17 structures that make up Golestan Palace, including lots of spectacular halls, chambers, museums, and gardens. All of them were built during the rule of the Qajar kings.

Golestan Palace is absolutely huge, and it can be overwhelming to figure out where you should start your visit. A few of the key sites you won’t want to miss are the stunning Karim Khani Nook, which was the former residence of the founder of the Zand dynasty (1751 to 1779) and the brilliant Mirror Hall, which was used for royal weddings and coronations.

Be sure to also not miss the Edifice of the Sun, a palace that offered a panoramic view of the city for the Shahs, and Brilliant Hall, which is known for its incredible display of mirror work done by Iranian artisans.

It will likely take you 2 to 3 hours to explore the whole of Golestan Palace. You can relax by the gorgeous pond in the main garden after all the walking around. Next to the palace, you’ll also see the bustling Tehran Grand Bazaar, which is a great place to get a glimpse of local life.

Opening hours: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm daily (spring & summer) / 9 am to 6:30 pm daily (fall & winter)
Entrance fees: 500k rials (~$4 USD) general fee + 1.1m rials (~$8 USD) for the Gallery Museum
How to get there: It's a 5-min walk from Panzdah-e Khordad Station on Metro Line 1

2. Azadi Tower, Tehran

The unique Azadi Tower is the most iconic landmark of Tehran and is definitely worth a visit during your time in the capital. Completed in 1971, it was designed by an architecture student as a tribute to the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire.

This tower has a very distinct style that merges traditional Persian architecture with modern influences ⁠— you can see this quite clearly by its big iwan arch that’s covered with 8,000 pieces of white marble. Azadi Square, where the tower sits, is very symbolic too: a lot of protests happened there during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and it’s still a popular site for demonstrations today.

You can climb Azadi Tower using the elevator or stairs to get a nice view of the city from the top. At the base of the tower, you’ll also find some galleries and a cafe.

The Azadi Tower in Tehran, Iran
Opening hours: Sundays to Thursdays: 9 am - 5 pm / Fridays: 10 am - 5 pm
Entrance fees: 150,000 rials (~$1 USD)
How to get there: It's a 5-min walk from Meydan-e Azadi station on Metro Line 4

3. Imamzadeh Saleh, Tehran

If you have extra time in Tehran, consider visiting the beautiful Imamzadeh Saleh, also known as Tajrish Mosque. This site is where Saleh, the son of Musa al-Kadhim (the seventh Shia Imam) rests.

You’ll witness some truly stunning tilework on the mosque’s minarets and dome, and the interior is decorated with brilliant mirror work, something that’s quite common in Iranian shrines. You can also stop by the colorful Tajrish Bazaar nearby for some souvenirs and more glimpses of local life.

🙏🏼 Top tip: Make sure to check local prayer times before you visit this mosque because foreigners are usually only allowed entrance outside of prayer times.

Imamzadeh Saleh Mosque in Tehran, Iran
Opening hours: Fridays to Wednesdays: 5 am - 12 am / Thursdays: 5 am - 12:30 am
Entrance fees: None
How to get there: It's a 5-min walk from Tajrish Metro Station on Metro Line 1

Day 2 – 3: Shiraz — One of the Best Places in Iran

A very comfortable overnight bus from Tehran will get you into Shiraz in the morning (you can also take a short flight instead). Shiraz is often referred to as the city of poets and gardens. Spend 2 days discovering this artistic historical city.

4. Nasir Ol Molk Mosque, Shiraz

Shiraz is filled with gorgeous mosques, but the one that takes the prize is hands down the spectacular Nasir Ol Molk Mosque (also commonly known as the Pink Mosque). Completed in 1888 during the Qajar dynasty, this mosque is famous for its multi-colored stained-glass windows which allow the morning sun to play a glorious light show on the floor.

For this reason, Nasir Ol Molk Mosque is very popular among photographers and is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Iran. You simply cannot visit Iran without seeing the rainbow colors and magical light reflections at this mosque! It’s something truly unique and really feels as though you’re stepping inside a kaleidoscope.

Nasir Ol Molk Mosque is stunning from the outside too. It has a marvelous courtyard with a pond, and its vibrant tilework is a symbol of western influences on Iranian architecture in the 19th century. In fact, a lot of the tiles used to build this mosque (and many other Qajar-era buildings) were imported from France, Germany, and the UK.

Depicted on these tiles are typical European art elements such as images of landscape, women, and European architecture. You can easily spend hours admiring the details of the tilework both on the interior and exterior of this mosque!

🌈 Top tip: Visit this mosque early in the morning, as soon as the doors open, to grab the best spot to shoot the colorful reflections of the stained glass windows. Tour buses stop here quite early so the mosque tends to fill up quickly, and you don’t want to be blocked by large crowds. The rainbow reflections are only visible in the morning when the sun is still low.

Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays: 7 am - 5 pm / Closed on Mondays
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD)
How to get there: I recommend staying nearby to be able to get here early with ease; this mosque is also close to other attractions

5. Shah Cheragh Shrine, Shiraz

Not too far from Nasir Ol Molk Mosque is one of the holiest places in Shiraz ⁠— the sacred Shah Cheragh Shrine, whose name translates to “King of the Light”.

There’s an interesting story behind this name: in roughly 900 AD, a traveler followed a mysterious light he saw from a distance and ended up stumbling upon an illuminated grave. The body of an important Muslim figure was found inside, and a tomb was subsequently built to house that grave.

As time went on, the site expanded and went on to become an important pilgrimage destination for Shia Muslims.

Today, after many rounds of renovations, the Shah Cheragh Shrine is a structure admired by tourists from all over the world. The interior of the shrine is even more spectacular than the exterior facade; as you step inside, you’ll be overwhelmed by the incredibly intricate mirror work covering the walls and ceilings, sparkling and shimmering like diamonds. It’s truly a priceless sight.

📸 Please note: DSLR cameras are not allowed in the complex; you’ll have to store yours in an assigned locker nearby, but can take pictures with your phone. Non-Muslim visitors will be paired with an English-speaking guide at the entrance (it’s a requirement in order to enter), and women are required to wear a chador (a large piece of cloth that covers your entire body) ⁠— also given at the entrance.

Opening hours: 24/7
Entrance fees: None
How to get there: It's a 15-min walk from Nasir Ol Molk Mosque

6. Sayyed Alaeddin Hossein Shrine, Shiraz 

About a 10-minute walk from the famous Shah Cheragh Shrine is a much lesser-known shrine: the Sayyed Alaeddin Hossein Shrine. Built during the Safavid dynasty (which ruled Iran from 1501 to 1736), this site is truly a hidden gem; a place without the tourist crowds of Shah Cheragh Shrine, but equally splendid and impressive.

While it may look like just another mosque from the outside, the interior of Sayyed Alaeddin Hossein Shrine is filled with millions of sparkling glass shards of all different colors, and you can admire the intricacy of the mirror work in peace and quiet ⁠— an authentic and less touristy experience than the previous shrine.

📸 Please note: Just like in Shah Cheragh Shrine, you’ll be paired with an English-speaking tour guide at the entrance and women will be given a chador to wear. If you want to use a DSLR or a tripod in this shrine, please ask your tour guide for permission first. They allow it on a case-by-case basis.

Entrance fees: None
How to get there: It's a 10-min walk from Shah Cheragh Shrine

7. Eram Garden, Shiraz

Shiraz isn’t just filled with stunning mosques and shrines, it’s also home to one of the most beautiful Persian gardens in Iran ⁠— the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Eram Garden. In the Quran, ‘Eram’ refers to a paradise for the blessed, and strolling through this garden, that feeling becomes increasingly palpable.

In fact, you’ll be surrounded by over 45 species of plants, 200 species of roses, and countless fruit trees, including a famous 3,000-year-old cypress tree. With the sound of birds chirping and the smell of blossoms all around you, it’s hard to not feel at peace in this enchanting place.

No one knows when exactly Eram Garden was built, but it’s said to have been completed in the 13th century during the Seljuk dynasty. It was then passed down and restored multiple times before being handed to the University of Shiraz, which owns the garden today. On the majestic palace in front of the pool, you can also spot tiles inscribed with poems by the famous Persian poet Hafez.

Eram Garden in Shiraz, Iran
Opening hours: Tuesdays to Sundays: 8 am - 8:30 pm / Mondays: 9 am - 8:30 pm
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD)
How to get there: The nearest metro station is Namazi Station

8. Vakil Mosque, Shiraz

A trip to Shiraz would not be complete without visiting the magnificent Vakil Mosque, a place that photographers and architecture fans would especially enjoy. Completed in 1773 during the Zand dynasty, this mosque has a distinct feature of 48 spiral pillars that create a very unique aesthetic; you won’t find many mosques in Iran that look like this!

Vakil Mosque is also a lot quieter than other tourist attractions in Shiraz; there’s a really peaceful vibe inside. I highly recommend visiting in the early morning right when it opens as you’re likely to be the only one there ⁠— a truly magical experience.

📸 Photography Tip: Bring a wide-angle lens to capture the grandeur of this mosque ⁠— it’s a bit too majestic for standard lenses to take in! I use the Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8 and can highly recommend it.

Opening hours: 8:30 am - 8:30 pm daily
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD)
How to get there: It's a 20-min walk from the Shah Cheragh Shrine area

9. Tomb of Hafez, Shiraz

Nestled inside Musalla Gardens in northern Shiraz is the tranquil Tomb of Hafez, a place filled with poetic vibes and of great importance to the locals.

Born in Shiraz, Hafez (1315 – 1390) is considered to be one of the most notable and beloved Persian poets of all time. He’s essentially the Shakespeare of Iran ⁠— a national hero and a prophet to Iranians. A collection of his work can be found inside the famous Dīvān, and it’s widely read by Iranians of all ages. In fact, pretty much every household in Iran has a copy of this book.

Today, the Tomb of Hafez lies inside an open pavilion underneath a gorgeous dome ornate with intricate mosaic tiles. The surrounding garden provides the perfect relaxing atmosphere to soak in the significance of this place and if you’re in the mood for it ⁠— to read some of Hafez’s poems. You’ll also see locals gathering around the tomb to pay respects to this great poet, especially on October 12th ⁠— the National Day of Hafez.

Opening hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays: 8:30 am – 10 pm / Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays: 8:30 am – 11:30 pm
Entrance fees: 500,000 rials (~$4 USD)
How to get there: It's an enjoyable 30-min stroll from Vakil Mosque

10. Maharloo Lake, Shiraz

Don’t leave Shiraz without visiting the stunning Maharloo Lake, also known as the Pink Lake due to the amount of red tide in its salty water. This fascinating natural wonder is just a one-hour drive from Shiraz and totally worth the excursion if you want to witness the beautiful landscapes surrounding the city.

The best time to visit this salt lake is between the months of July and September, when the water from the lake is more likely to evaporate, making the pink hues more intense. For the same reasons, the lake is likely to be less pink during the rainy season (April to June). Don’t forget your camera, as this is definitely one of the most beautiful places in Iran.

Maharloo Lake in Shiraz, Iran
Cost of trip: A roundtrip with a taxi should cost you around 2,000,000 rials (~$15 USD)
How to get there: It's a 1-hour drive from Shiraz; either hire a taxi or a tour agency to take you there

Day 4: Day Trip to Persepolis

A visit to Iran would be incomplete without seeing the ruins of Persepolis, the ancient capital of the Achaemenid Empire (550 – 330 BC). From Shiraz, hire a taxi or a tour agency to explore this place on an easy day trip ⁠— it’s only 1 hour away by car.

11. Persepolis — One of the Most Famous Places in Iran

Located around 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Shiraz is a place of incredible historic value: the UNESCO site of Persepolis, the glorious ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (550 – 330 BC) and a great source of pride for Iranians.

Taking a day trip to explore the ancient ruins of this city is one of the top things to do in Iran. Walking among the pillars, arches, and remains of what used to be majestic palaces, you’re likely to feel incredibly small and humbled by the vast history of ancient Persia.

Persepolis was believed to have been built by Darius I in around 518 BC and construction took around 120 years. Darius I was known to be a very kind king who regularly paid the construction workers and treated them very well, which was unusual for kings at the time.

The Ancient Ruins of Persepolis in Iran

To this day, the primary function of Persepolis remains a mystery, although it’s speculated to have been a large ceremonial complex that was only occupied seasonally.

Unfortunately, Alexander the Great invaded Achaemenid Persia in 330 BC and destroyed Persepolis as a drunken act of revenge. After burning down the city, he used 5,000 camels and 20,000 mules to carry all the gold and silver he found there. Persepolis was eventually excavated in the 1930s by a French archeologist.

🚗 Good to know: To get here from Shiraz, it’s around $20 USD for a half-day trip or $50 USD for a whole day trip with a shared taxi (you can arrange this with your hotel). A tour agency would charge you a lot more, but the advantage of that is having a tour guide who can help you learn more about this place.

Opening hours: 8 am - 6 pm in the winter / 8 am - 8 pm in the summer
Entrance fees: 500,000 rials (~$4 USD)
How to get there: Hire a taxi or go with a tour agency (1 hour drive)

12. Naqsh-e Rostam

Only a 10-minute drive from Persepolis is Naqsh-e Rostam, the royal necropolis of the Achaemenid Empire. Being so close to Persepolis, your taxi driver or tour guide would usually include this place in your day trip itinerary, and it’s definitely worth stopping here to admire the four majestic rock-cut tombs of ancient Persian kings.

Historians are still debating about which kings were buried inside the tombs; they’re only sure that one of them is the king who built Persepolis ⁠— Darius I, but the other three are speculated to be Darius II, Artaxerxes I, and Xerxes I. Cut into the cliff faces above each tomb are carvings depicting the kings as god-like figures.

There are also other carvings that portray battles won by the Achaemenid Empire. Perhaps the most interesting one of them all, though, is a carving so ancient that it seems to suggest this site was used even before Achaemenid Persia existed.

Opening hours: 8 am - 6 pm in the winter / 7:30 am - 8 pm in the summer
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD)
Transportation fees: It's usually included in your trip to Persepolis and you won't have to pay extra to stop at this place
How to get there: It's a 10-minute drive from Persepolis

Day 5 – 6: Kerman

From Shiraz, take a comfortable night bus to Kerman to explore the incredible desert landscapes there. A VIP night bus ticket costs around 1,400,000 rials (~$10 USD) and the journey is approximately 8.5 hours.

13. Rayen Castle

Start your journey in Kerman by visiting the second-largest adobe castle in the world ⁠— the magnificent Rayen Castle. Built in the Sassanid era (224 – 651 AD), this majestic structure rising gloriously out of the desert will take your breath away and leave you in absolute awe. It’s a must-see during your time in Iran!

The castle is also really well-preserved despite the natural disasters it had to endure. It’s said that around 5,000 people lived in this citadel up until roughly 150 years ago, and the current structure you see has been built over the ruins of an older fortress.

Rayen Castle in Kerman, Iran

Rayen Castle was divided into three parts: a section for the kings, a section for the lords and the wealthy, and a section for the ordinary people. Walls and towers separated each of these areas.

The castle was well-situated on a major trade route and was therefore a popular hub for caravans and merchants. There were also a lot of workshops here with people making guns, knives, and swords. Today, you can still see some of them by the entrance.

Opening hours: Saturdays to Wednesdays: 8 am - 5 pm / Thursdays & Fridays: 8 am - 1 pm
Entrance fees: 300,000 rials (~$2.50 USD)
How to get there: It's a 1.5-hour drive from Kerman; grab a shared taxi (cheapest option) or hire a tour agency that can take you there on the way to Dasht-e Lut Desert (more below)

14. The Kaluts (Dasht-e Lut Desert)

The gem of the Kerman province is undoubtedly the breathtaking Dasht-e Lut, a UNESCO salt desert home to some truly ethereal clay-rock formations known as Kaluts. I highly recommend camping overnight here to fully soak in the magic of this place, especially if you enjoy stargazing.

The best way to do that is to hire a tour agency (Visit Kalouts is a great option) that’ll take you here with a 4×4 (you will need it in order to really venture into the desert). Your tour can easily stop at Rayen Castle before moving onwards to the desert (roughly a 3-hour drive). You can arrive just in time to spend the night here and catch an unforgettable sunrise from the Kaluts.

The unique and incredible shapes of the Kaluts were formed by erosion due to strong wind and water. Some of these rock structures are easily climbable, and you can get a fantastic view of the desert from the top.

The Kaluts Desert in Kerman, Iran

🏜 Top Tip: Dasht-e Lut is one of the hottest places on earth ⁠— its highest registered temperature is 70° C (158° F)! For that reason, it’s best to visit in the spring or autumn. If you go in the summer, try to be there in the early morning or evening when temperatures are cooler.

How to get there: Hire a tour agency to take you to Rayen Castle before getting you to this desert, which is roughly a 3-hour drive from there
Tour fees: Typically, a private 2-day tour that includes Rayen Castle, the Kaluts, and other surrounding sites costs around $100 - $150 USD per person (with accommodation included)

Day 7 – 8: Yazd, One of the Best Places to See in Iran

The next stop on your Iran itinerary is Yazd, a must-see historical desert city. There are buses leaving throughout the day in Kerman for Yazd; the journey is roughly 5.5 hours and a bus ticket costs around 750,000 rials (~$5.5 USD). I recommend leaving in the early morning so you have more time in Yazd.

15. Yazd Old Town

The UNESCO town of Yazd is one of the most ancient cities on earth, and it’s definitely worth spending at least two days discovering its unique charms. Wandering around the historical Old Town is the perfect way to start exploring this city. You’ll be immediately drawn in by its quiet and laid-back atmosphere, and will also feel as though you’re traveling back in time.

The Old Town is filled with mudbrick walls, adobe houses, hidden courtyards, splendid mosques, rooftops with views, and tons of wind towers (Yazd is actually nicknamed “City of Windcatchers”). It’s quite easy to get lost in the Old Town; the countless narrow alleys will make you feel as though you’re walking inside a maze, but it’s honestly a maze you wouldn’t want to leave!

16. Amir Chakhmaq Complex, Yazd

The stunning Amir Chakhmaq Complex is one of the biggest gems in the Old Town of Yazd. This square houses a majestic mosque, a bathhouse, a mausoleum, and several cafes and restaurants. There’s also a bazaar behind the square where you can try some jigar, the local liver kebabs.

You’ll immediately love the relaxing atmosphere of the square, and it’s a great place to sit down on a bench, people-watch, and admire the captivating Amir Chakhmaq mosque.

Completed in 1438 during the Timurid era, Amir Chakhmaq mosque is the star of the square and a symbol of Yazd. From the outside, this 3-storied structure looks very different from other mosques in Iran; its facade consists of several symmetrical sunken alcoves — a truly unique sight.

Amir Chakhmaq Complex in Yazd, Iran

🌙 Top Tip: Visit this square both during the day and night because after sunset, the entire building lights up, and the alcoves of the mosque emit beautiful orange light. Photographers will especially love seeing this structure gorgeously glowing in the dark!

Opening hours: 24/7
Entrance fees: 300,000 rials (~$2.50 USD) for the mosque
How to get there: It's located inside the small Old Town of Yazd; I recommend staying in this area for easy access to most major attractions

17. Bagh-e Dolat Abad, Yazd

Bagh-e Dolat Abad is a charming pavilion inside a UNESCO garden, and it’s one of the most serene places in Yazd. Built in 1750, it was once the residence of the founder of the Zand dynasty, Karim Khan Zand.

The interior of the pavilion is simply mesmerizing. You’ll be greeted with large colorful stained-glass windows of all kinds of patterns and designs. You’ll see a lot of local tourists taking photos there! The garden itself is also an amazing place to go for a relaxing stroll; it has a long pool surrounded by trees, and the vibe there is super peaceful.

Opening hours: 7 am - 11 pm daily 
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD)
How to get there: It's a 30-min walk or a 10-min drive from the Old Town

18. Sar Yazd Castle

One of the best places to visit in Iran is Sar Yazd Castle, an adobe castle rising out of the desert about 50 km (31 miles) outside of Yazd. It takes around 50 mins by car to reach from Yazd Old Town, but it’s worth every minute of the trip.

Exploring this ancient fortress is an incredibly raw and authentic experience as there are barely any other tourists around. You’ll feel like a true explorer discovering quiet alleys, hidden entrances, and abandoned chambers that will take you back in time.

Built in the 7th century, Sar Yazd Castle was used to protect Yazd from attacks and invasions. A lot of food, grains, gold, and other valuables were also stored there. The premise has 3 floors and 450 chambers, and it’s very easy to get lost wandering around.

In fact, wandering around the castle will feel as though you’re inside a maze. This is because the castle was purposely built to make it difficult for intruders to enter and navigate. Most of the alleys inside are also only made to fit one person at a time, and it’s truly a special experience to squeeze your way through them.

🧗🏼‍♀️ Top Tip #1: Make sure to climb to the top of the castle’s tallest tower. You’ll be greeted with an incredible view of the surrounding desert and mountains, including Shirkuh, which, at 4055 meters (13,300 ft) high, is the tallest peak in Yazd.

🏜️ Top Tip #2: It’s a good idea to get a guide before visiting this castle because it can be very difficult to navigate this maze-like fortress on your own; you may never be able to find a lot of the hidden chambers and entrances. Our taxi driver was kind enough to guide us around himself and made sure we didn’t fall into any pits on the ground (there are many of them!).

Opening hours: 8 am - 6 pm daily
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD)
How to get there: It's a 50-min drive from Yazd Old Town; either grab a taxi or hire a tour guide

19. Jameh Mosque, Yazd

One of the most unmissable sights of Yazd is Jameh Mosque, a spectacular 12th-century structure that’s still in use today. Its beautiful entrance portal is truly impressive, but that’s not the only thing that will amaze you about this mosque.

This building is crowned by two minarets, which at 52 meters (170 ft), are the highest ones in Iran. Its ceiling is also adorned with some incredible artwork, and the mihrab inside showcases even more stunning mosaic tiles.

Essentially, this mosque is an architectural masterpiece and a paradise for those who love looking at intricate tilework. It’s no wonder that this excellent structure is also featured on the front side of the 200-rial Iranian banknote!

Opening hours: Sundays to Thursdays: 8 am - 9 pm / Saturdays: 8:15 am - 8 pm / Fridays: closed
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD)
How to get there: It's located at the heart of Yazd Old Town; I recommend staying in this area for easy access to the city's main attractions

20. Zoroastrian Towers of Silence, Yazd

About 11 km (6.8 miles) away from the mosques and adobe houses of Yazd Old Town lies another site filled with history and tradition. The Towers of Silence (also known as dakhmas) were where Zoroastrians performed their sky burial rituals up until 40 years ago.

Zoroastrians believed that when people die, their bodies could be contaminated by demons and made impure. So in their tradition, they’d purify the corpses by laying them in 3 concentric circles on top of the Towers of Silence. The bodies will then slowly decompose while being picked apart by desert vultures. The bones were moved into ossuaries inside the towers.

This tradition dates back to the early 9th century AD, but in the 1970s, the use of these towers was banned in Iran, so Zoroastrians started using other burial methods.

The Zoroastrian Towers of Silence in Yazd, Iran

Today, you can walk up to these towers, which are located on top of small hills. It’s an absolutely incredible place to get to know the traditions of the Zoroastrian community.

One thing I learned there that really struck me was that around the towers, there are buildings that used to be inhabited by nesasalars — the people who were in charge of funeral services. Because they spent so much time around corpses, they were not allowed to enter the village at all due to fear of spreading infectious diseases, which many corpses carried.

Standing in this place surrounded by so much history and tradition, I felt incredibly humbled and in awe at the different cultures that grace our world, and at how much there is to learn.

Opening hours: 8 am - 6 pm daily
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD)
How to get there: It's a 35-min drive from Sar Yazd Castle; grab a taxi and ask the driver to take you here after the castle, or hire a tour guide

Day 9 – 11: Isfahan — One of Iran’s Famous Places

From Yazd, take a bus to Isfahan — the next stop on your Iran itinerary. The journey is around 5 hours and a bus ticket typically costs 750,000 rials (~$5.5 USD). You can leave in the early afternoon of day 9 if you want to spend more time in Yazd — it should still give you enough time in Isfahan.

Isfahan was once called ‘Isfahan nasf-e jahan’, which means ‘Isfahan is half the world’. This city has been ruled by 14 empires, has 162 mosques, and is one of the most fantastic and historically rich cities in Iran. It’s no doubt that it will be a highlight of any trip to Iran!

21. Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan

The best way to start exploring Isfahan is by spending some time in the magnificent Naqsh-e Jahan Square, the heart and jewel of the city. This UNESCO square totally encapsulates the beauty of Isfahan. Built in 1602 during the Safavid era, it’s one of the largest squares in the world and hasn’t changed much for the last 400 years.

The atmosphere inside the square is simply incredible; the fountains and gardens in the middle exude calmness and serenity, yet the bazaars on the side are filled with movement and activity. They’re also the perfect place to have a friendly chat with the locals!

Finally, the mosques and palaces surrounding the square will take your breath away. It’s no doubt that Naqsh-e Jahan Square is one of the most beautiful places in Iran, and you can easily spend an entire day here.

Naqshe Jahan Square in Isfahan, Iran

☀️ Top Tip: For an extra peaceful experience, get to this square early in the morning, as soon as the sun rises. You can even go for an early morning jog around the gardens and fountains! Why? You’ll get to have one of the biggest and most magnificent historical squares in the world almost all to yourself, with only the sound of birds chirping in the distance. It’s truly an enchanting experience.

Opening hours: 24/7
Entrance fees: None
How to get there: I highly recommend staying within walking distance of this square as it's a good base for seeing most of Isfahan's attractions

22. Shah Mosque, Isfahan — The Best of Iran’s Tourist Places

Perhaps the biggest gem inside Naqsh-e Jahan Square is the breathtaking Shah Mosque (also known as Imam Mosque), whose intricate multi-colored mosaic tiles will leave you absolutely speechless. Completed in 1629, this UNESCO mosque is considered the epitome of Persian architecture from the Islamic era, and one of the greatest masterpieces of the Safavid dynasty (1501 – 1736). As soon as you see this mosque, you’ll understand why.

One can easily spend hours simply admiring the tilework details on the entrance gate itself. Once you step inside, more stunning patterns and calligraphy will greet your eyes. It’s truly one of the most jaw-dropping things you’ll see.

Underneath the central dome of the mosque, there’s a stone on the ground that marks a key acoustic point in the building. From there, the sound echoes loudly through the rest of the mosque, meaning the imam can speak more quietly while still being heard by everyone inside the structure.

When we were there, there were visitors testing this out themselves by singing in that spot and listening to the sound of their own echoes. It was truly a unique experience!

Opening hours: 9 am - 5 pm daily
Entrance fees: 500,000 rials (~$3.50 USD)
How to get there: It's located inside Naqsh-e Jahan Square, on the southern side

23. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Isfahan

Another astonishing place to visit inside Naqsh-e Jahan Square is Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, also a masterpiece from the Safavid era. Completed in 1619, this mosque took 25 years to build and is said to have exceeded anything ever created in Iran before in terms of beauty and quality.

This mosque used to be reserved for royal use only — in fact, it was closed off to the public for centuries. This is also why it’s a lot smaller and showcases even more splendid tilework than Shah Mosque, which was used by the public. If you were blown away by Shah Mosque’s remarkable mosaic tiles, just wait until you visit Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque!

It’s also said that Shah Abbas (the ruler at the time) had the architect build a tunnel from Ali Qapu Palace (his residence) to this mosque so that the women in his harem could get here without being seen in public.

When we visited, a local man told us that the first-ever foreigner to visit modern-day Iran would come back to the country again and again for the sole purpose of visiting this mosque. He’d stay in this mosque for hours on end each time, and when asked why, he just said, “you see the entire world here.” Despite only being here twice, I wholeheartedly agree.

Opening hours: 9 am - 12:30 pm / 2 pm - 6 pm daily
Entrance fees: 500,000 rials (~$3.50 USD)
How to get there: It's located inside Naqsh-e Jahan Square, on the eastern side

24. Ali Qapu Palace, Isfahan

Directly opposite of Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is Ali Qapu Palace, an incredible UNESCO site which served as the official residence of the Safavid emperors. Opened in 1597, this palace is 6-stories tall and each floor is connected by a spiral staircase.

Inside, you’ll get an interesting glimpse into the life of the imperial families back in the days, and will also see lots of fantastic floral artwork and paintings. The highlights of the place, though, are the elegant stucco decorations of the Music Hall on the top floor. Many singers and ensembles used to perform there, and its ceiling is stenciled with shapes of vases to enhance sound. It’s truly a brilliant example of secular Persian art!

Ali Qapu Palace in Isfahan, Iran

You can also get a really cool view of Naqsh-e Jahan Square and Shah Mosque from the terrace of the palace and marvel at the fact that around 400 years ago, that’s where the Safavid emperors used to watch horse racing and Chowgan, a traditional Iranian horseback team game!

Opening hours: Mondays to Saturdays: 9 am - 6 pm / Sundays: 9 am - 5 pm
Entrance fees: 500,000 rials (~$3.50 USD)
How to get there: It's located inside Naqsh-e Jahan Square, on the western side

25. Khaju Bridge, Isfahan

One of the most relaxing things to do in Isfahan is to visit the beautiful Khaju Bridge in the evening. This historical bridge lights up splendidly in the dark, exuding an incredibly magical and peaceful vibe. It’s also the perfect place for photography and a glimpse into local life in Iran, as it’s a popular gathering spot for families and teenagers.

The bridge is also decorated with gorgeous tilework and paintings, and there’s a pavilion in the middle where Shah Abbas II (the 7th Safavid king) used to hang out and admire the beauty of the Zayanderud River beneath.

The main reason this place is worth visiting, though, is that in the evenings, you can find local singers underneath the bridge performing amazing Persian music. The atmosphere there is unforgettable, and it’s truly an unmissable experience if you’re interested in Iranian culture!

Khaju Bridge Lit Up At Night in Isfahan, Iran
Opening hours: 24/7
Entrance fees: None
How to get there: It's an 8-minute taxi ride from Naqsh-e Jahan Square, or a 45-minute stroll

26. Mollabashi House, Isfahan

One place you absolutely have to visit during your time in Isfahan is the spectacular Mollabashi House (also known as Motamedi House), the most breathtaking historical mansion I’ve ever stepped foot in. This house gives you a really good idea of how the wealthy in Iran used to live during the Zand (1751 – 1779) and Qajar (1789 – 1925) eras.

Mollabashi was the famous 19th-century astronomer of the Shah and used to live in this house, but much of what you see today is thanks to the Motamedi family, who acquired this place in 2000 and spent 7 years restoring it.

You can easily spend hours admiring the gorgeous details and patterns that decorate the rooms and courtyards of this historical house. Make sure to visit the fantastic guest room during the day to see the unbelievable colors and lights radiating from the stained-glass windows — one of the most beautiful sights you can witness in Iran!

Exploring this house can also feel like an escape room experience as there are tons of stylish rooms hidden behind a chain of doors, and you can try each door to see which ones open (some are locked).

Visiting this historical house is honestly such a unique experience, and the best part about it is that most tourists don’t visit this place, meaning you get to have the mirrored walls, stucco decorations, and elegant ceilings almost all to yourself!

Opening hours: 9 am - 8 pm daily
Entrance fees: 150,000 rials (~$1 USD)
How to get there: It's a 20-minute walk from Naqsh-e Jahan Square

27. Vank Cathedral, Isfahan

The stunning Vank Cathedral is a great place to learn about another side of Isfahan’s past.

At the beginning of the 17th century, Shah Abbas ordered 150,000 Armenian artisans and entrepreneurs to leave their country to work for the Persian Empire. He created an Armenian quarter in Isfahan called New Julfa, and soon after, Vank Cathedral was built there for the Armenian community.

From the outside, the cathedral may look like just another ordinary Islamic building, but the interior is absolutely breathtaking; you’ll see a unique mixture of rich frescoes, gilded carvings, and intricate tilework. These elements represent a mesmerizing blend of Islamic and Armenian architectural styles, and it’s truly a remarkable sight.

The Tiles And Paintings Inside Vank Cathedral in Isfahan, Iran

In the courtyard of the cathedral, there’s a memorial for the Armenian Genocide of 1914 – 1923 in Turkey, a library containing 700 handwritten books, and a museum where you can learn more about the history of the Armenian community in Isfahan.

Head over to the charming Jolfa Square after visiting Vank Cathedral — it’s only a 5-minute walk away and you’ll find several restaurants, cafes, and local boutiques there!

Opening hours: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm daily
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD)
How to get there: It's roughly 20 minutes by taxi from Naqsh-e Jahan Square

28. Chehel Sotoun, Isfahan

The elegant Chehel Sotoun is a 17th-century palace located at the end of a long pool inside the UNESCO-registered Chehel Sotoun Garden. It was built by Shah Abbas II as a place for entertainment, reception, and ceremonies (such as coronations).

This palace is not only a great place to travel back in time and learn about the history of the Safavid dynasty in Iran, but also a haven for architecture and photography fanatics. Moreover, the surrounding garden is a great place to go for a peaceful and relaxing stroll.

The interior of the Chehel Sotoun palace is ornate with absolutely stunning paintings and frescoes, some of which depict battles won by the Safavid shahs to showcase how powerful they were. The ceilings also display incredibly beautiful geometrical patterns and artwork.

Chehel Sotoun Palace in Isfahan, Iran

The exterior of this palace is just as interesting. The structure is supported by 20 wooden pillars which reflect in the long pool in front of the building — giving the illusion that there are actually 40 pillars in place. In fact, ‘Chehel Sotoun’ means ‘40 columns’.

Opening hours: Saturdays to Wednesdays: 9:30 am - 3:45 pm / Thursdays & Fridays: closed
Entrance fees: 500,000 rials (~$3.50 USD)
How to get there: It's a pleasant 10-minute stroll from Naqsh-e Jahan Square 

29. Jameh Mosque, Isfahan

Isfahan is also home to the oldest Friday Mosque in Iran — the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jameh Mosque. No one knows for sure when this mosque was built, although it most likely dates back to the 8th century and started off as a place of worship for Zoroastrians.

Jameh Mosque started off as a mere adobe structure, and today, it’s ornate with glazed tilework and muqarnas, largely thanks to the decorative additions of the Safavid era.

The cool thing about this mosque is that walking around, you’ll see rooms showcasing many different architectural styles. In fact, this mosque has evolved a lot over 12 centuries, with a series of remodelings and renovations by different dynasties.

Jameh Mosque in Isfahan, Iran

Wandering around the complex, you can learn a lot about the evolution of Iranian architecture in the course of history. You’ll also get to see countless decorative elements that demonstrate how Islamic art evolved over the last 1,000+ years! If you’re a big fan of art, history, and architecture, then make sure this mosque is on your Isfahan to-see-list.

Opening hours: 6 am - 8 pm daily
Entrance fees: 500,000 rials (~$3.50 USD)
How to get there: It's a 25-minute walk from Naqsh-e Jahan Square, or less than 10 minutes by car

Day 12 – 13: Kashan, One of the Top Iran Destinations

From Isfahan, take a bus to Kashan on the evening of day 11 so that you can have two full days to enjoy the beauty of this city — my personal favorite in Iran. Kashan truly stands out for its unique architecture, laid-back vibes, and the friendliest locals. The bus ride from Isfahan takes 3 hours and a ticket costs around 750,000 rials (~$5.5 USD).

30. Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, Kashan

Start your visit to Kashan by exploring one of the most spectacular bathhouses in the country. The 16th-century Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse is an exemplary ancient Persian spa and gives you an insightful glimpse into what local life was like back in the days.

Bathing was a long and important process for Iranians; it wasn’t just a quick wash. Bathhouses were where people gathered to relax together, socialize, gossip, and even pray. It was a big part of social life in Iran and still is today.

Walking inside Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, you’ll be mesmerized by the exquisite decorations on the walls and ceilings. You’ll see tons of colorful mosaics, intricate gold and turquoise tiles, and brilliant paintings all around you.

The exterior of the bathhouse is perhaps even more intriguing. You can walk on the roof, which is made of numerous domes with convex glasses that bring light into the bathhouse.

What I liked most about this place is its calm and soothing atmosphere. Once you wait for the occasional tour group to leave, the bathhouse gets almost completely quiet, leaving you alone with one of the best architectural masterpieces of ancient Persia.

Opening hours: 8 am - 8:30 pm daily
Entrance fees: 200,000 rials (~$1.50 USD) / 900,000 rials (~$6.50 USD) for a combined ticket to this bathhouse, Abbasi House, and Tabatabaei House
How to get there: It's located in the heart of the city; I highly recommend staying nearby as it's very close to lots of other attractions in Kashan

31. Kashan Bazaar

The magnificent Kashan Bazaar is not only a great place to shop for souvenirs, but also one of the most stunning cultural and architectural sites in Iran. Its main caravanserai is topped with a domed roof that showcases some incredible kaleidoscopic patterns and decorations — it’s truly a remarkable sight.

Underneath the dome, there are plenty of places to sit down, people-watch, and have a friendly chat with a local. The relaxing atmosphere only makes it more enticing, and there’s even a local teashop in the corner if you want to try some Persian tea.

The bazaar has been a trading hub in Kashan for almost 800 years and houses several small mosques, madrasahs (Islamic schools), and bathhouses amid its rows of busy stores. You can find everything from handicrafts to spices and fruits in the shops.

The Unique Tilework of Kashan Bazaar in Iran

🥘 Top Tip: Be sure to check out some of the fantastic local restaurants around — especially the unique Hammam-e Khan Teahouse. This cozy family-owned restaurant used to be a traditional bathhouse. Today, they give you the authentic experience of sitting on a cushion on the floor while enjoying some very tasty local dishes.

Opening hours: Saturdays to Thursdays: 9:30 am - 12 pm & 5 pm - 8:30 pm / Closed on Fridays
How to get there: It's located in the heart of the city — stay in this area for easy access to almost all of the attractions in Kashan

32. Agha Bozorg Mosque, Kashan

The 18th-century Agha Bozorg Mosque is a lot more simple and modest in appearance than most other famous mosques in Iran. It may not be as ornate or embellished as the Shah Mosque in Isfahan or the Pink Mosque in Shiraz, but that’s exactly what drew me to it the most.

This mosque was actually my favorite place in Iran, mostly because of its humble facade, the pleasant symmetry of its architecture, and the incredibly peaceful vibes it exudes. We also didn’t see as many tourists here as most of the other famous mosques in Iran, which enhanced the experience even more.

This mosque houses a madrasah as well, and you can see many student rooms around the stunning sunken courtyard. Many local families visit this place, creating a great laid-back and vibrant atmosphere.

🌅 Top tip: Get here right before sunset to see the mosque both in the daylight and in the dark. It’s particularly peaceful during that time, and you can simply sit down and listen to the soothing call to prayers while watching the mosque slowly light up in different colors as the sky dims. It’s an absolutely mesmerizing experience that’s impossible to put into words — you simply have to see it for yourself.

Opening hours: 9:30 am - 6 pm daily
Entrance fees: 300,000 rials (~$2.50 USD)
How to get there: It's located in the heart of the city; I recommend staying in this area for easy access to most attractions in Kashan

33. Fin Garden, Kashan

The historical Fin Garden is an absolutely gorgeous place to go for a relaxing stroll. Built in 1590, it’s one of the oldest gardens in the country and used to be where the shahs hung out to rest. It also has a slightly eerie past; a former chancellor of Iran was murdered by the Shah at the Fin Bath inside this garden in 1852. You can visit that exact spot today.

Today, Fin Garden is home to lots of fruit trees, pools, fountains, blossoms, canals, and as with most attractions in Iran — remarkable architecture. In fact, there’s a stunning blend of Safavid, Zand, and Qajar era architectural styles inside the complex, and the pavilion in the middle has a magnificent dome ornate with colorful patterns — it’s truly the highlight of the garden!

So grab your camera and make sure to not miss out on this place, especially if you enjoy a mix of serene nature and splendid architecture.

Opening hours: 9 am - 4:30 pm daily
Entrance fees: 500,000 rials (~$4 USD)
How to get there: It's around a 20-minute taxi ride from the Agha Bozorg Mosque area (where all the other Kashan attractions are)

34. The Historical Houses of Kashan

Kashan is famous for its elegant 18th and 19th-century traditional houses, which offer an interesting insight into how wealthy families used to live back in the days. A visit to this city would be incomplete without spending at least a couple of hours exploring some of the most impressive historical houses: Tabatabaei House, Abbasi House, Borujerdi House, and Ameriha House.

All of these houses have an internal section reserved for family members and an external section for guests. They each have several courtyards, gardens, and some houses even have 40 to 80 rooms! You will see some absolutely remarkable decorations inside these houses, including intricate glasswork, mirror work, frescoes, stucco, and tons of colorful stained-glass windows.

If you don’t have enough time to visit all four houses, I’d recommend seeing Tabatabaei House and Borujerdi House. The best stained-glass window chambers are found inside Tabatabaei House, and Borujerdi House has a very unique interior ornate with kaleidoscopic patterns and stunning paintings — it’s a sight you won’t want to miss!

🥘 Food Tip: Even if you don’t have time to see Abbasi House, definitely grab a meal at the traditional Abbasi Teahouse & Restaurant. Just do it. This restaurant took my breath away the second I walked in; I’ve couldn’t even believe my eyes. The stunning interior decorations there are truly out of this world, not to mention the incredible ambiance, the traditional seating arrangement, and the tasty authentic food. Hands down the best restaurant I’ve been to in Iran!

Opening hours: Abbasi House: 7:15 am - 12 am daily / Tabatabaei House: 8:30 am - 8 pm daily / Borujerdi House: 9 am - 5 pm daily / Ameriha House: 9 am - 7 pm daily
Entrance fees: 900,000 rials (~$6.50 USD) for a combined ticket to Tabatabaei House, Abbasi House, and Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse / 300,000 rials (~$2.50 USD) for Borujerdi House / 150,000 rials (~$1 USD) for Ameriha House
How to get there: All of these houses are located next to each other in the heart of the city; I recommend staying in this area

35. Mohammed Helal Shrine, Aran va Bidgol

Just a 20-minute drive from the heart of Kashan lies Mohammed Helal Shrine (also known as Shrine of Hilal ibn Ali), an absolutely breathtaking hidden gem that most visitors don’t know about.

The amazing thing about this place is that you’re likely to be the only tourist around in one of the most beautiful places in Iran, which is quite rare given that most attractions in this country are quite crowded. The people working at this shrine are also very friendly and will offer to help guide you around.

This shrine displays some true gems of Islamic architecture, including intricate mosaic tiles, a large blue-tiled dome, and glittering minarets. Once you’re inside, it’s basically completely quiet and you’ll likely find a few locals praying. The atmosphere is incredibly peaceful, and you can simply sit in silence while admiring the stunning decorations all around you.

🙏🏼 Please note: This place is obviously very sacred and mostly only frequented by locals, so please be mindful of that when you’re there. In order to enter, women have to wear a chador — a large piece of cloth that covers the entire body. You can rent one for free at the entrance.

How to get there: It's only a 20-minute taxi ride from the center of Kashan

Day 14: Day Trip / Half Day Trip to Abyaneh

If you have strictly 2 weeks in Iran, then you most likely have to head back home via Tehran on day 14 (hire a taxi from Kashan directly to Tehran’s airport, which should take roughly 2 hours and cost around 1.1m rials / ~$8 USD). However, if you can allocate an extra day or at least half a day before flying off, it’s definitely worth doing so for a chance to see the unique red village of Abyaneh.

36. Abyaneh Village

The final stop on this 2-week Iran itinerary is a special one. Abyaneh is one of the most ancient villages in Iran. It dates back to 2,500 years ago and is also known as the ‘Red Village’ thanks to its picturesque cluster of red clay buildings.

This village is registered by UNESCO for its very well-preserved local culture, language, architecture, and costumes, which stood the test of several centuries and dynasties. In fact, the locals here speak a special dialect of Farsi that is specific to this village only, and some of the words they use date all the way back to the 3rd century BC!

The Abyaneh Red Village At The Foot Of A Mountain in Iran

One of the top things to do in Abyaneh is to simply get lost inside the alleys of the village. You’ll find the best hidden gems that way, and almost every corner is photogenic. Some of the red houses have rooftops you can access via stairs, and once you’re up there, you’ll be greeted with an epic view of the Karkas Mountains.

There’s a very authentic vibe as you’re wandering around Abyaneh; you’ll see locals living their everyday life without many tourists around, and local women wearing traditional floral headscarves. If you want to get closer to Iranian culture, then definitely don’t miss out on this unique village!

Entrance fees: 100,000 rials (~$0.75 USD)
How to get there: It's a 1-hour drive from Kashan; hire a taxi or a tour guide

More Unique Things to do in Iran

Those were 36 of Iran’s beautiful places, but they definitely don’t cover all of the amazing experiences you can have in this country. Here are some more incredible things to do and see in Iran if you have more time:

Where to Eat: the Best Restaurants in Iran

One cannot travel to Iran without tasting the exquisite local cuisine, which is meat-heavy but also offers a lot of delicious vegetarian options! Here are the top restaurants I recommend for your Iran itinerary — I marked the ones that offer *vegetarian options with an asterisk.

Can Americans Travel to Iran?

Yes, if you’re an American citizen, you can definitely travel to Iran. There is a mandatory requirement though: you must be accompanied by a tour guide during the entire trip. The same rule applies to UK and Canadian citizens.

The tour agency I recommend is Intrepid Travel ⁠— they provide a variety of amazing Iran tours that cover the best attractions in the country as well as enriching cultural experiences. Their wonderful local guides provide some truly unique and unexpected experiences, such as dining with a Zoroastrian family or playing board games with the local youth.

If you want to enjoy complete cultural immersion as you explore Iran, then consider some of Intrepid Travel’s awesome Iran holiday packages:

  • Iran Adventure: a 14-day experience covering almost all the spectacular historical sites and beautiful attractions detailed in this article
  • Iran Express: a unique 9-day trip in the winter packed with fun cultural experiences (such as mingling with the local youth at a board games cafe!)

See more incredible tours of Iran

Is Iran Safe to Travel to?

The short answer is yes, absolutely — Iran is extremely safe to visit. Although I went there with another female friend, I often walked around alone as a solo female and can honestly say I felt safer in Iran than all the 40+ Western countries I’ve been to.

Unlike living in London, where I’m constantly clutching my phone in fear of people on mopeds snatching it, or being wary of the infamous pickpockets in Europe, I never had to worry about anything of the sort in Iran. Never once did I feel threatened or uncomfortable during my time there.

Though the crime rate in Iran is very low, I do suggest getting familiar with some essential Iran travel & safety tips before you go.

The media has sadly portrayed Iran to be a dangerous country that hates Americans, but this honestly couldn’t be further from the truth. What many Iranians actually hate is being associated with the politics of their country — in fact, Iranians are genuinely some of the friendliest and most hospitable people I’ve met. They go out of their way to make you feel welcomed.

During our time there, we got tons of invitations by locals to have tea or dinner in their homes, and it’s something that happens very often for foreigners (yes, Americans included!). So in short, Iran is one of the safest and friendliest countries to travel to. Go and see for yourself! 🙂

Essential Tips for Visiting Iran’s Best Places

  • How to dress: According to the law, women have to wear a headscarf at all times in public. Women should also wear loose long sleeves and long pants that hide their curves and cover their wrists and ankles. Men should wear long sleeves and long pants.
  • (For women) Bring a headscarf with you on the plane — you’ll be required to have your head covered the minute you step onto Iranian soil, meaning you’ll have to cover your head right before stepping off the plane.
  • VPNs: Many western sites (including Facebook and Twitter) are banned in Iran. I highly recommend getting a VPN in order to access them ⁠— I tested many VPNs and ExpressVPN is hands down the fastest and most reliable one!
  • Booking intercity bus tickets: The easiest way is to have your hotel book them for you once you arrive. You can also buy them directly at the bus stations or book them online on 1stQuest.
  • Taxis inside cities: Download Snapp and Tap30 — the Ubers of Iran. They’re cheaper than taxis and very easy to use.
  • Visas: While citizens of many countries are eligible for a visa on arrival, the safest option is to get your visa for Iran with 1stQuest. The process is very simple and it’ll spare you hours of waiting at the airport.
  • ATMs/credit cards: No Western card is accepted in Iran, so you’ll either need to bring lots of cash or get an Iranian debit card like Mah Card.
  • Photography tip: Bring a wide-angle lens to capture the majestic architecture in this country! I use Tokina AF 16-28mm f/2.8 and am very pleased with the results.

My Travel Photography Gear

This is the gear I used to capture the beauty of Iran. You can also see my recommendations for the best cameras for bloggers for more options other than the ones listed below.

I hope this guide on the most beautiful places in Iran has inspired you!

If you’re interested in other less-visited destinations, discover:
🇺🇿 The Ultimate 10-Day Uzbekistan Itinerary
🇦🇿 27 Best Places to Visit in Baku, Azerbaijan
🇵🇰 11 Best Places to Visit in Lahore, Pakistan
🇸🇰 24 Incredible Places to Visit in Slovakia
🇴🇲 A 10-Day Oman Road Trip Itinerary
🇫🇯 Top 12 Things to do in Nadi, Fiji

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61 thoughts on “36 Most Beautiful Places in Iran: The Perfect 2-Week Iran Itinerary”

  1. These pictures are stunning! Iran is definitely on my bucket list. I was always concerned about safety for Western female travellers but this post is reassuring! Thanks for sharing

  2. Your pictures are stunning!! Iran honestly wasn’t on my bucket list, but I added it now along with all of these beautiful sights! Thank you for sharing!!

  3. What a wonderful and comprehensive guide! Iran has always intrigued me but hearing the stories on the news definitely doesn’t help. It looks like such a beautiful country and I hope to visit all of these places one day! Pinned for later 🙂

  4. What a beautiful place. I’d love to visit Iran. Great guide and amazing photos. Good to know a bit about food irons including veggie food too

  5. Iran is so high on my list of places to go next!! And your photos are stunning!! Definitely saving this! Thank you for the amazing post! 🙂

  6. Wow what a detailed guide! 😍 These photos are beautiful and so unique. I really hope I can get to Iran one day! Thanks for this 🙂

  7. What an incredibly beautiful country! Your pictures of the palaces and mosques are stunning. Really useful to know how to book accommodation in Iran. Would love to see it some day!

  8. To be honest with you I’ve never thought about visiting Iran before I read about your experiences but now I’m totally convinced! The whole country looks so gorgeous and I love how you talk about the people. It totally made it to the top of my bucket list and I really hope I will be able to visit next year. Thank you for opening my eyes! 🙂

  9. Oh these pictures again 😍 and such a full detailed guide as always! Iran has made its way to my bucketlist already, and this post just convinced me even more. Saving it for later!!

  10. Holy moly, these photos are just stunning!!! Iran is definitely on my list now! I will save this post for when I go, so much useful information. Thanks for sharing this, I feel like too many people have the absolute wrong image of Iran. Posts like this help to change that! 🙂

  11. Such stunning pictures. It’s indeed strange in the media Iran is portrayed as a country you wouldn’t want to come too, but on every travel blog you read great experiences.

  12. Thanks so much for sharing these photos ❤️
    As a local I just wanted to add this: the best time for visiting Iran is between September to May.
    Since other times weather is too hot, you’re not be able to enjoy your trip completely.
    Have a great time in Iran 🙂

  13. These photos are pretty much unreal! Thanks for highlighting this country so beautifully. I have a blog about Mexico & I know the struggle about having to make sure everyone know it’s safe country & the media has just misrepresented it.

  14. This is an incredibly detailed article with some beautiful photos and really useful pieces of information. Iran has been on my list for a while and this is one of the most helpful posts I’ve read to date 🙂

  15. Iran is one of my favorite countries! I didn’t make it to all of these places but after reading your post and seeing your photos I can’t wait for it to be possible to go back!

  16. Every time I see the photos of Iran, it’s just so beautiful! I’d really love to visit! Can you give some more info on the visa? As I know it can be a bit complicated to get from what I heard and that you have to do it a certain way!

    • Yes — I’ll be writing a whole new blog post about practical things like how to get a visa and other things to know before going! 🙂

  17. I would love to visit Iran. It looks like such a beautiful country. The Mohammed Helal Shrine and the Shah Cheragh Shrine look like places I would visit.

  18. Iran has been on my bucket list for soooooo long now and I really hope to visit soon, especially after seeing all these stunning photos. If the borders open and the situation gets better anytime soon, I’m definitely down for crossing the land border from Pakistan.

  19. Now I definitely want to explore Iran! I agree, never punish the people for their politics. I bet the hospitality was amazing and it just looks beautiful. Thank you for the helpful tips!

  20. Your pictures never cease to amaze me. They’re breathtaking! I also had no idea there was so much beauty in Iran. It was honestly never on my bucket list, but I’ve just added it thanks to this post! 🙂

  21. These are some absolutely amazing places! Thank you so much for sharing! I never knew such amazing locations were hidden within Iran!

  22. Wow 😍😍 I am always so amazed when I read about Iran and see the color and intricacies of their sites and architecture. It’s like art at every turn! I have never been but I’m 100% adding it to my bucketlist.

  23. Oh my goodness!! Iran looks so incredibly beautiful. Wow!! Your photos are just incredible. Adding Iran to my bucket list now!! Thanks for sharing your amazing photos!! What great inspo!

  24. My god these photos are absolutely exquisite. Iran has been a dream of mine for so long. Unfortunately it’s much trickier for Americans to enter – we have to have a tour guide who is with us the entire time. I have an Iranian friend but it doesn’t matter if her family sponsored me or anything, I would still need the registered guide. Frustrating but I might do it anyways once the world is a bit safer, pandemic wise…

  25. Your post has left me breathless. Absolutely exquisite!! Pinned !!! The Mosques are gorgeous, the tile work, stain glass and all. I would LOVE to go to Persepolis. I hope to go, but have been reluctant because I wasn’t sure it was safe. You inspired me!!

  26. I was an Art History major in college, and studied Islamic Art. I’ve visited the Middle East, but not yet Iran. Sadly it’s a challenge for Americans to visit right now. I’m hopeful the political strife will calm down because Iran is high on my bucket list. Thank you for the beautiful tour, and the opportunity to evaluate these incredible works of art and architecture given my academic background! I hope I get to visit soon…

    • Hi heather. I’m from Iran and wanted to ask what challenges are you referring to when it comes to going to Iran? I go back in forth between Connecticut and Iran and Iv never had a single problem. I take my American friends with me occasions and they never had a single problem. Iran is nothing like people make it seem. They love Americans. They treat everyone equally if not they treat American tourists better than Iranians. I’m sure if you happen to have friends that have Iranian friends can they Can agree with me.

  27. I saw in your blog Incredibly beautiful and mysterious Iran. A two week trip is very cool. I have not been to this part of the world yet, I hope to be there.

  28. I myself as a local person could not introduce my country as you did, thank you for amazing pictures, I visited Shiraz and Isfahan but I never been in Yazd, Abyaneh, Kashan or Kerman, In Tehran you could visit the #Bazar_e_bozorg and the rugs alleys in bazar, Nord and Nord-west is as beautiful as central Iran that you visited, one need at least a month to see every valuable historical place in the country such as Shushtar water hydrolic in south (BC) or Sasanian dynasty monuments in north-west in Hamadan, Kermanshah and the Anahita Palace in Kangavar.
    North of Iran is amazing next to Caspian Sea, the mesmerizing view and the the unforgettable taste of food.

  29. Thank you for posting an article about my country maam! I’d love to also see travelers here in Nothern Iran, especially Gilan and Western Mazandaran provinces. There are beautiful beaches of South of Caspian Sea, cities like Rasht, Ramsar and Anzali Free Zone, and vast green mountains, dense forests and large rivers. I also recommend visiting Southern parts of Iran bordering Persian Gulf, like Boushehr, Hormozgan and Khuzestan provinces. It’s a lof of fun just cruising in the Gulf with speed boats or ships, or just walking along golden beaches. There are even more nice places in Iran to visit, most of them being completely safe, but ignore Afghanistan, Iraq and Armenia/Azerbaijan border lines.

  30. Az an iranian young girl, i’m realllyyy happy to read the comments about my country. i was always sad about some advertising that i’v heard about iran and never understood why some media try to show my country as a dangerous country .thanks,thanks,thanks so much for sharing this informations.

  31. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful Iran places, Iran is such a fabulous place to visit. I still remembered my first trip in 2018, it was an amazing experience for me.

  32. Thank you so much for sharing these stunning pictures of my beautiful country, IRAN.
    I advise everyone to visit Iran. Do not forget to visit the most beautiful sea, PERSIAN GULF, and Kish Island.

  33. Hi im from iran your guide is very helpful but when you go to iran you should visit chabahar beautiful beaches and geshm island and kish kish islands and other island’s in Persian Gulf

  34. Hi. Thank you very much for guiding my country’s guests to some of its beautiful places.

    All of us Iranians are waiting for your arrival, dear tourists from all over the world.
    Welcome in advance 🌹

  35. Superb blog post! This blog clearly explains the concept and the information are very useful. Thanks for sharing nice information.

  36. Dear Jiayi,
    These pictures and your guide was amazing and thorough. as an Iranian girl I should thank you for showing these beautiful images of my beautiful country to the world while what foreigners hear from Iran is always bad news.

  37. Hi, this guide was so detailed and I loved that, Im an iranian guy, and also recommend you visit Imam reza shrine in mashhad city, most famous and biggest shrine in Iran(maybe middle east). And i also suggest you to consider northwest of iran(Tabriz, ardabil). For their great historical and natural places.

  38. Hi everyone,
    This is Alireza from Tehran, Iran.
    This article was absolutely comprehensive and informative. I especially was amused by the unique photography.
    Here is a list of some other cities and sites that are worth paying at least a visit :
    1. City of Tabriz : ( Best seasons to visit : Spring & Summer )
    1_1 : Grand Bazzar of Tabriz (One of the biggest bazzars in Iran)
    1_2 : Il goli (One of the most beautiful parks of Tabriz located to the south east direction of the city center)
    1_3 : Jameh mosque of Tabriz (The biggest mosque in the city and of course the most beautiful one)
    1_4 : Church of Saint Mary (One of the most iconic christian sites in the city)
    The most delicious dish : Kufteh (A kind of meatballs)
    2. City of Qazvin : ( Best seasons to visit : Spring & Summer )
    2_1 : Qazvin old Bazzar (Full of small stores that sell local handicrafts)
    2_2 : Chel sotoun Palace (A beautiful palace with an even more beautiful garden located in the downtown of Qazvin)
    2_3 : Qajar Bathhouse (A former bathhouse now turned into a small museum)
    2_4 : Cantor church (A Russian orthodox church which is one of the smallest churches in the world)
    The most delicious dish : Qeyme Nessar (I can’t find any English equivalent for this one…)
    3. City of Ardabil : ( Best seasons to visit : Spring & Summer )
    3_1 : The tomb of Shiekh Sa’fi (The city is largely known for this beautiful site)
    3_2 : Shoorabil lake (There are lots of recreational sites surrounding the lake. There are also a hotel and a shopping mall nearby.)
    3_3 : Historical house of Sadeghi (A small but breathtaking historical site in the city)
    The most delicious dish : Kebab ( Literally the best Kebab you can ever find in the country… (I personally recommend Erame-no Restaurant) )
    Hope you guys find this useful… 🙂
    -See ya

  39. Hello and thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures 📸
    I hope everyone who comes to our country enjoys it’s everything 🙏

  40. I was lucky to come across your blog, very informative! Great content, thank you very much for sharing your experience and tips.

  41. Jiayi
    Thank you very very much from Dhaka, Bangladesh for your nice photographs regarding the beautiful, popular and famous places of great Iran. There is no doubt about it that you have worked hard for this lovely presentation. I will try to visit Iran. Hope your guide line would be a great help for my future travel. Bye !

  42. I’ve been wanting to visit Iran for such a long time. I just worry about my health and safety as a solo female traveler in the time of COVID. I hope I get there one day. Btw, your photos are stunningly gorgeous.

    • Erin,
      It’s almost as safest as other countries. It’s better to avoid places that are not crowded at night. During the day, cities are crowded and you can visit where ever you want, and at night, you can visit tourist streets, some gardens, or looking for street foods.
      Hope you enjoy your trip


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