The Magic of Persia
Iran is one of the most fascinating countries in the world. 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Ancient Persepolis, architectural marvels, stunning gardens, desert beauty, fantastic cuisine, outstanding travel photography, clean, safe, and some of the warmest and most hospitable people on the planet.
Note from Meaningful Trips founder, Joe Staiano:
“I’ve always dreamed of visiting Iran after hearing that the people of Iran are some of the most friendly and hospitable on earth. Well, I’ve explored there twice now and, my god is that an understatement! I am an 87-country explorer, and Iran is easily one of the most magical and fascinating places I’ve ever visited.”
*Private Departures only*
Recommended Months: May, Early June, September, October
Land Cost: From $3,495 (airfare extra)
Group Size: 6-8 (Private)
Minimum Age: 16
Walking / Light hiking
Day 1: Tehran
Day 2: Fly to Kerman
Day 3: Shadad Desert, Kernman
Day 4: Zeinodin Caravanserai
Day 5: Yazd
Day 6: Yazd
Day 7: Shiraz
Day 8: Persepolis, Shiraz
Day 9: Shiraz
Day 10: Isfahan
Day 11: Isfahan
Day 13: return
Day 1 - Tehran
Arrival at Imam Khomeini airport in the early morning. You will be met and transfer to the hotel. After rest, have a half-day city tour of Tehran. Enjoy walking in Park-e Shahr, one of the largest and oldest parks in Tehran; and, if open, visit National Jewels Museum.
Day 2 – Fly to Kerman
After breakfast, fly to Kerman, our stay for two nights. Our afternoon highlights include Ganjali Khan complex, a water reservoir, a mint house, a mosque, and a bazaar. This complex was built during the Safavid era (1499 - 1723 AD). Visit Shazdeh Garden (Shahzadeh Mahan Garden), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The cascading steps of fountains and pools are an engineering masterpiece. Enjoy an open-air dinner in Mahan. (Dinner included)
Day 3 – Shadad Desert, Kerman
After breakfast, quick visits to Yakhdan-e-Moayedi (a traditional refrigerator) and an old library. Then, we go to the medieval mudbrick Rayen Citadel (Arg e Rayen). This is one of the last remaining intact mud-city-fortresses as Bam city was destroyed in an earthquake in December 2003. The citadel is fascinating and yours to explore. It dates back to the Sassanid era (224-651 CE). Take a picnic lunch beside Rayen Water Fall. In the afternoon drive toward Shahdad City and the Lut Desert. Shahadad has settled 6000 years ago. Notice the many date gardens that surround the city. Visit Shafi Abad Castle. Heading toward the Lut Desert, notice the interesting landforms called Nebkas (flower pots of the desert). The Lut Desert is the 25th largest desert in the world and one of the world’s driest places. Hike through the sands and amazing wind-carved structures called Kalout. What a
backdrop for an unforgettable sunset. Overnight in Kerman.
Day 4 – Zein-o-din Caravanserai
After a relaxing morning and lunch, we head to Zein-o-din Caravanserai. The Caravanserai Zein-o-din dates back to the 16th century and was an overnight stop for traders traveling along the Silk Route. You’ll feel like Marco Polo as you enjoy the rooftop terrace and dine on mouth-watering Persian cuisine.
Day 5 - Yazd
Short 1-hour drive brings us to Yazd, our home for two nights. Yazd is a UNESCO city and is known as the City of Wind Towers and offers many things to see and do. In the morning visit the Tower of Silence (Dakhmeh), a circular hilltop structure used by Zoroastrians to lay out the dead and allow access to scavenging birds. Zoroastrians have practiced their religion since 400 BC. Visit the Eternal Flame inside the Fire Temple, founded by Yazdi and Indian-based Zoroastrians. In the evening visit Congregational Mosque and walk through the old part of Yazd.
Day 6 - Yazd
In the morning visit one of the tallest Wind Towers in the world in Dolat Abaad Garden, built about 1750. Visit Amir Chakhmagh Complex, including a spacious square ringed by dancing fountains. Ever been to a ‘Water Museum’? Enjoy the impressive Yazd Water Museum, famous for its qanats (underground aqueducts). In the evening we’ll all go clubbing. It’s NOT what you think! We visit Saheb A Zaman Club Zurkhaneh. Zurkhaneh means ‘house-of-strength’. Visitors are permitted to watch this particular brand of Iranian bodybuilding. The men exercise using heavy wooden clubs and other apparatus while rhythmic drumming and music are played.
Day 7 - Shiraz
Long drive to Shiraz (over 225 miles, 5 hours) with a nice picnic lunch along the way. Shiraz is known as the City of Gardens or City of Flowers and is one of many trip highlights, we will stay here three nights. Enjoy some downtime. Before dinner visit Hafez Tomb. Hafiz was one of the greatest poets in all of Iran and famed all throughout the world. The Hafiz Mausoleum is located in a beautiful garden and is a great setting to interact with locals and families. You’re in for a treat tonight for dinner as we dine at the stunningly beautiful Shapouri House.. one of the most impressive mansions in all Iran.
(Lunch & Dinner included)
Day 8 - Persepolis
Spend the day exploring two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Persepolis and Naqsh-e Rostam. Ancient Persepolis dates back to 515 BC. Truly one of the most remarkable archeological sites in all the world. Walk on lands that were walked upon by Cyrus the Great (founder of the Achaemenid Empire), Alexander the Great, King Darius, and King Xerxes. Persepolis was built under Darius. Try to wrap your head around the massive scale of the Persian Empire. At its peak, it encompassed: all of the former Assyrian Empire (Mesopotamia, the Levant, Cyprus, and Egypt); All of Anatolia (Turkey), Armenia, the Southern Caucasus, parts of the North Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, all of Bulgaria, Paeonia, Thrace (Greece) and Macedonia, most of the Black Sea coastal regions, parts of Central Asia, the Hindu Kush and the western Indus basin (Afghanistan and Pakistan), parts of northern Arabia, northern Libya, Oman and even parts of China. After Persepolis visit Naqsh-e Rostam which is a burial place of four Achaemenid rulers. Return to Shiraz to rest and freshen up. By now you’ve been enjoying all the delicious Persian food. Well tonight, you will make your own! Enjoy a cooking class w a local Persian family and try your hand at making some typical dishes.
Day 9 - Shiraz
Still more treasures to see. In the morning, visit Nasil Al Molk Mosque, known as the pink
mosque and famous for its pink tile works and stain glass windows. Then visit Zand Complex which includes Vakil Traditional Bath, Vakil Mosque, and traditional bazaar. After lunch visit Eram Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The garden traces its history back to the Seljuk period (1040 – 1196). Again, a great opportunity to interact with friendly locals and families. We’ll allow additional time for shopping at the bazaar. Good chances to shop for a unique gift to bring home. (Dinner included)
Day 10 - Isfahan
Another 5-hour driving morning to Isfahan. In the evening visit, historical bridges of Isfahan such as Si-o-Se Pole (33 bridges) and Khajoo are two of the eleven bridges of Esfahan. Si o Se Pol means, 33 Bridge, it is the place that almost every visitor of Isfahan had seen, or walked over it, this historical bridge was built in about 1600 and can show you the best example of Safavid Bridge Design. Have dinner in one of the oldest hotels in Iran which has been a Caravanserai during Safavid Era. Overnight in Isfahan.
Day 11 - Isfahan
Full day city tour of Isfahan including, Naghsh-e Jahaan Square, one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. The square is surrounded by buildings from Safavid era (1501-1739), such as Imam and Sheikh Lotfo-Al-Lah Mosques, Ali Qapu, and traditional Bazaar. Get your shopping on at a traditional Ali Qapu Bazaar. Look for souvenirs such as engravings, woodwork, filigree work, Persian Carpets, and miniatures. Try local sweets, especially gaz, which is popular all throughout Iran. In the afternoon visit Vank Cathedral in the Jolfa district. This church was established by Armenian deportees.
Day 12 - Kashan
A 2-hour drive takes us to Kashan, an ancient city along the desert’s edge. Visit stunning Fin Garden, one of the nine classic gardens of Persia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit Historical Houses of Kashan, such as Boroujerdi ha and Tabatabaie ha houses, which are the beautiful examples of 19th-century houses of merchants in Iran. Travel photographers will love the Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse (hammam). This 500-year-old traditional bath is a superb example of an Iranian hammam and from its roof, you will have a nice panorama of the town. Enjoy a final dinner together and have a difficult task of trying to recount your favorite highlights.
Day 13 - Transfer to Tehran Airport
End of the tour with a morning transfer back to Tehran Airport.
Note on Itinerary:
Although we do our best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
Please be sure to scroll through website tabs for information on:
- What’s Included
- General Information
- How to Reserve
Your Meaningful Trip awaits. Space is limited. Click to reserve today.
Price: $3,495 land price.
International airfare is NOT included. (Rates quoted are per person, based on double occupancy).
Single Supplement: $350
Only for 11 nights total. (the one night in Caravan Serai is shared accommodations). Solo accommodations are limited and based on availability.
Payment Schedule and Cancellation Policy:
Deposit of $500 due at time of reservation. Final balance due 90 days prior to trip departure.
Any deposits made in 2020 for tours in 2021 can be cancelled for any reason and receive a full refund. As of Jan 01, 2021, if you cancel prior to departure (we need written notice), cancellation fees are:
91 or more days… $0
61 to 90 days… $500
31 to 60 days… 50% of Trip Cost
0 to 30 days… 100% of Trip Cost
- Visa Authorization
- Airport transfers on first and last day
- Local flight from Tehran to Kerman
- Expert local guides
- Accommodations, meals, sights, entrance fees as noted in itinerary
- Ground transportation
- In-country support team
- Contribute to Feeding America and toward carbon off-set
- International Airfare
- Travel Insurance
- Cost of obtaining a passport
- Cost of tourist visa
- Medical Immunizations
- Excess baggage charges; airport taxes
- Meals not noted on the itinerary
- Items of a personal nature (sodas, alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.)
- Guide and camp staff gratuity
Iran trip is offered on a Private-basis only, for any family or groups of friends of 6 – 8 persons.
If visiting Iran, it is critical to plan months ahead. The pre-approval process typically takes six to eight weeks.
Visa and passport
Getting a visa for Iran for U.S. citizens is a 2-step process.
- Step 1: is to get pre-approval and a Visa Authorization Number from the Iranian government
- Step 2: Send Passport, and Authorization Number and Visa Form to participating embassy in Washington DC. Meaningful Trips will secure this authorization for you through our local office in Iran.
*Important note: the government of Iran will deny visas for any applicants with professions they consider to be “sensitive.” This includes past or current journalists, past or present U.S. government officials, and past or current U.S. military personnel. Applicants will also be denied
a visa if there is passport evidence of history or planned travel to Israel. Because of the possibility of permission to enter being dismissed for these reasons, Meaningful Trips recommends that you do not purchase non-refundable international airline tickets.
Meaningful Trips require the purchase of travel insurance. Our preferred travel insurance provider is World Nomads. Their ‘Standard’ policy starts at $69 and covers medical, trip cancellation, baggage, and emergency evacuation. Links can be found on our Deposit, Sign-up, and ‘Travel Travel Resources’ pages.
At Meaningful Trips, safety is our top priority. We ask that all passengers read and familiarize themselves with traveling to Iran guidelines listed in the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov. If, at any time, it is determined to be unsafe to go to Iran, we will cancel our departures. We have answered many other questions in our FAQ Section.
International airfare is not included. This trip starts in Tehran and ends in Shiraz. Before purchasing your airline tickets, please check with us to verify your arrival and departure schedule to ensure your trip has the necessary requirements. Contact your local travel agent, airline, or preferred on-line booking service for airfare needs. We recommend Turkish Airlines as one possible carrier.
The spring and fall are the two best times to visit Iran because of sunny days and little rainfall. In the spring (April, May), daytime temperatures are in the high 70’s to 80’s and evenings in the high-50’s. In the fall (September, October), days are typically sunny and bright temperatures in the high 70’s and nighttime temperatures in around 60’s.
Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
Fit travelers with a sense of adventure are welcome. Travel at a relaxed pace—activity: easy walking and light hiking from 2 – 5 hours, at low elevation. Travel to Iran requires a certain flexibility and sense of adventure.
Minimim Age: 15
Ages 15 – 20 must be accompanied by an adult
Our Guide is Tiam! She was born in the garden-city of Shiraz and has a master’s in archeology. Tiam has worked in tourism for 8 years as an ecotourism guide and office manager. She loves guiding as it allows her to meet people from all over the world. She is passionate about history and archeology and is working on a thesis about Persian Carpets.
Food in Iran
Arab, Persian, and Turkish cuisine make up Iranian food. Some dishes include eggs, fresh bread, cheeses, yogurt, and olive oil. Tasty salads are popular at lunch.
If you specifically request individual accommodations, you will be asked to pay the full “single supplement” noted above. If you wish to share accommodations, we will assign you a same-gender roommate if one is available. If a roommate cannot be found, you will be asked to pay a single reduced fee, half of the full “single supplement.” There are only a limited number of single rooms available on most departures. There are no requested single accommodations in Zein-o-Din Caravanserai.
Additional Trip Information
Prior to reserving your tour, please carefully review our ‘Pricing’, ‘How to Reserve’ and ‘FAQ’ sections for helpful information on topics such as cancellation penalties, inclusions, food, water, and more.
A no-risk $500 deposit reserves your spot and is 100% fully refundable if you change your mind for any reason, more than 90-days out! Call or click today. Reserve your spot. Then leave the rest to us.
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the Meaningful Trips Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully. Additional pre-departure information including a Packing List, Medical Form, and Liability Release Form is emailed upon sign-up.
Your Meaningful Trip awaits. Space is limited. Click to reserve today.
Some answers to common questions. Upon Sign-up, travelers receive a Packing List, Pre-Departure Info and Important Forms
Is Iran safe?
Yes. At Meaningful Trips, safety is our top priority. We follow the guidance of the US State Department. If, at any time, it is determined to be unsafe to travel to Iran, we will cancel our departures.
Is Iran safe for women?
Yes, Iran is safe for women. Actually, violent crime is extremely low. Women are asked to adhere to a dress code that follows social norms.
What are the people like?
While governments may have their differences, the people of Iran renowned worldwide for their warm, welcoming hospitality. Anytime you are at a park or garden or tourist site, you will meet families and young couples and kids. They will greet you warmly.
Do I need a Visa for Iran?
Yes, you need a valid passport and a visa. Getting a permit for Iran for US citizens is a two-step process.
- Step 1: is to get pre-approval and a Visa Authorization Number from the Iranian government.
- Step 2: Send Passport, authorization number, and visa form to a visa service or participating embassy in Washington DC. Meaningful Trips will secure this authorization for you through our local office in Iran.
*NOTE: The pre-approval process may take six to eight weeks. Please refer to the ‘Trip Information’ tab for additional information.
What might prevent me from getting a visa?
If your passport contains an Israeli stamp, you must apply for a second passport. Current or past employment by the US government or military or work as a journalist.
Do women need to cover their heads?
Yes, women do need to wear a headscarf, and clothes that cover their entire bodies such as long sleeves and knee-length dress over long pants or leggings.
What is the weather in Iran?
Iran’s climate is hot and dry. The two best seasons to visit are spring and fall. Daytime temps in April are 70 degrees, May (82), September (85), October (75).
What are the accommodations like in Iran?
Our group will stay in comfortable 3 and 4-star hotels. We can not guarantee access to the internet or WiFi.
What is the food like in Iran?
Persian food is fresh, healthy, and mouth-watering. Typical plates have a base of either plain rice or rice infused with saffron, raisins, and herbs. This is topped with sauces and vegetables. Lamb, chicken, and beef kabobs are quite popular. Rice, veggies, and salads are options for vegetarians.
Can I drink alcohol?
No. Purchase or consumption of alcohol is strictly forbidden.
STEP 1 – Click ‘Book Now’ and Complete Reservation Form to Hold Your Space(s)
STEP 2 – Mail $500 Deposit via Check.
Reservation is guaranteed upon receipt of a $500 deposit per person. Deposits are held in Trust Account. Deposits are fully refundable for any reason if you cancel before Dec 31, 2020. After Jan 01, 2021, regular cancellation policy applies. Final Payment is due 90-days prior to departure and payable by Check, Zelle, Stripe, ApplePay, Visa, Mastercard.
Mail Check Deposit to:
1416 NW 46th St
Seattle, WA 98107
Upon reserving a trip and submitting a deposit, each traveler will receive:
- A Confirmation email
- Pre-departure Information
- Trip Application with Liability Release and Assumption of Risk
- Travel Insurance Information
- Packing List
- Medical Form
Terms & Conditions and Liability Release
At the time of Deposit, participants must read and agree to Meaningful Trips Terms and Conditions and Liability Release Form. Please read this information carefully.
Your Meaningful Trip awaits. Space is limited. Click to reserve today.