Accompanied by expert guidance and local insight, join us as we set out on a journey spanning 12 days and many millennia. On the overland route from Tehran to Shiraz, we’ll experience some of the oldest sites of civilization, tap into local secrets, and explore the myriad influences that have shaped Iran into one of the most friendly and fascinating nations on the planet. Our time together will include an incredible array of historical sites and contemporary neighborhoods, woven together with great deserts and mountains. We’ll slowly soak in Iran’s most celebrated destinations, but we’ll also wander off the trodden path to investigate lesser-known marvels. While home to some of the world’s greatest bygone empires, Iran remains somewhat unknown to many travelers; however, you’ll soon feel at home in what is surely one of the most awe-inspiring regions in the world.
(And yes, most Americans can currently get visas—details below.)
Please note that the U.S. Department of State currently has a “Level 4” travel advisory in place for Iran which warns of the risk of arbitrary detention, particularly for U.S.-Iranian dual nationals. The advisory goes on to list types of travelers who have been detained, namely “students, journalists, business travelers, and academics.” While we feel it’s important that anyone considering the trip be informed about the advisory, and that each traveler must make their own decision about whether they’re comfortable joining, we feel very confident offering the trip. By working with trusted, experienced trip leaders, and receiving regular updates from expert third-party security advisors, we’re prepared to update plans for the trip in the unlikely event that becomes necessary. That said, the Iranian government openly welcomes and encourages American tourists, and most visitors are struck by the exceptionally warm welcome they receive from the people they meet in Iran. While we can’t predict with certainty how the political situation might change between now and the time of the trip, we expect to be able to proceed with it—and expect it to be a fun and fascinating experience!
All international flights land at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA). We recommend you arrive by 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 12, and depart anytime in the morning on Thursday, April 23. While the group itinerary ends in Shiraz, you’ll likely get the best value by booking roundtrip flights in and out of Tehran, and allowing our local contacts to book your domestic flight from Shiraz to Tehran. There are many daily flights from Shiraz to Tehran, and if booked locally, the cost is typically about $125.
If you decide to extend your stay before or after the tour dates, we are happy to book extra hotel nights for you; however, your full trip dates must be finalized before applying for your Visa Grant Notice. Please keep in mind that citizens from the U.S., U.K., and Canada will need to arrange a private guide if staying beyond the 24-hour arrival/departure window.
Travelers should be reasonably fit and feel comfortable walking three to six miles each day, and remaining on their feet for long periods of time. We’ll be spending a good amount of time outside and in rural areas, walking up and down stairs, and on dirt paths.
As part of your trip, we will obtain your Iranian “Visa Grant Notice” (commonly known as a “Letter of Invitation”) and assist you with the visa application process.
As a rough timeline, the process will begin 4-6 months prior to departure, and U.S. citizens can expect to receive their visas about one month prior to the trip start; U.K. and Canadian citizens about two months prior; and all other nationalities generally within one week of application, though the process may be slowed since we apply as a group. Wherever you’re coming from, you should receive your visa within plenty of time.
However, based on changing factors outside our control, there is always the small chance that visas may not be approved. We require that you purchase travel insurance as early as possible to protect the cost of your trip and any travel-related expenses in the unlikely case that any issues arise.
Additionally, please note that your Iranian visa application will be denied if you have an Israeli stamp in your passport. People with a high public profile, applicants who have backgrounds in media or politics, or who have been employed by the government, may also receive additional scrutiny during the visa process. If you have any questions or concerns about the visa process, please don't hesitate to contact us.