11 Places You Just Can't Skip if You're Visiting Iran

Bagh-e-Eram | © dynamosquito/Flickr
Sahar Esfandiari

Iran is a big country, and you certainly have a lot of ground to cover whilst visiting, but there are some places that are essential sights for anyone to see. From stunning architectural delights and diverse natural landscapes to historical palaces, here are 11 places you just cannot skip if you’re visiting Iran.

Tehran Grand Bazaar

The bazaars in Iran are said to be the heart of Persian culture and commerce, and the Grand Bazaar in Tehran is no exception. You will find anything and everything you could possibly want here, from carpets and fabrics to everyday homewares and jewellery. If you’re looking for souvenirs to take back home to friends and family then the bazaar is great for finding bargains on Iranian-made handicrafts.

Tehran Grand Bazaar, Panzdah-e-Khordad Street, Tehran, Tehran Province, Iran

Tehran Bazaar

Situated at the centre of the city of Isfahan, Nash-e-Jahan is a UNESCO World Heritage site that was constructed between 1598 and 1629. The square is 160 metres wide by 560 metres long and is surrounded by buildings from the Safavid era. Some places of note located in and around the square include the Ali Qapu Palace, the Sheikh Lotf Allah Mosque, the Imam Mosque and the Isfahan Grand Bazaar.

Naqsh-e-Jahan, Isfahan, Isfahan Province, Iran

Naqshe-Jahan, Isfahan

Vank Cathedral

The 17th-century Vank Cathedral is located in the Armenian quarter of the city of Isfahan. It’s a grand example of religious diversity in the country, as well as a show of some truly remarkable architecture. The cathedral was built for the hundreds of thousands of Armenians offered refuge by Shah Abbas I during the Ottoman War of 1603-1618.

Vank Cathedral, Vank Church Alley, Isfahan, Isfahan Province, Iran, +98 31 3624 3471

Vank Cathedral

Nasir ol Molk Mosque

Located in Shiraz, the Nasir ol Molk is famous for its mesmerising stained glass windows that project colourful kaleidoscopic shapes when the light passes through them. Built in the Qajar era, it is also widely called the ‘Pink Mosque’ due to the use of pink tiles inside.

Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque‌, Fars Province, Shiraz, Lotf Ali Khan Zand St, Iran, +98 71 3224 1661

Nasirolmolk mosque, Shiraz, Iran


Another beautiful location also located in Shiraz is the garden of Eram. Here you can stroll through luscious, meticulously kept gardens and admire the array of different flowers and trees. Bagh-e-Eram translates as the garden of paradise. B0th the garden and the palace within it are thought to have been built in the mid-13th century.

Eram Garden, Fars Province, Shiraz, District 1, خیابان ارم، Iran, +98 71 3227 2538

Bagh-e-Eram, Shiraz


Known as ‘Takht-e-Jamshid’ in Persian, Persepolis was once the capital city if the Achaemenid empire. The earliest remains of Persepolis are from 515 BCE, and it was believed to have been a great capital under the rule of Darius I. Prior to the Iranian revolution of 1979, Shah Pahlavi held an extravagant party here for heads of state and royalty from across the globe, while the people of Iran struggled to make ends meet. It is thought that this was one of the factors that caused people to turn against him.

Persepolis, Fars Province, Iran

Xeres gateway, Persepolis

Nasqsh-e Rostam

Naqsh-e Rostam is an ancient necropolis located 12 km outside Persepolis. These tombs belonged to four different Achaemenid kings, and are carved out of the rock face. One of the tombs is of Darius I, the others are thought to be Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I and Darius II.

Naqsh-e Rostam, Fars Province, Iran, +98 81 6720 9275

Naqshe Rustam


Located in eastern Azerbaijan province, Kandovan is an enchanting region. For more than 700 years people have been building their homes into the mountains and surrounding stone formations. It is located just a short distance from Tabriz, and would work nicely as a day trip from the city. Here, the rock acts as an energy efficient material, keeping the insides of the houses cool in summer and warm in winter.

Kandovan, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran


Mount Damavand

Mount Damavand is the highest volcano in Asia and popular with hikers and mountain climbers. Mount Damavand features in Persian literature and folklore, and is said to have magic powers in Ferdowsi’s The Shahnameh.

Damavand, Tehran Province, Iran

Mount Damavand

Golestan Palace

The Golestan Palace is an architectural masterpiece in Tehran. It was built by the Qajars when Tehran was made the capital of the country after they came into power in 1779, making it one of the oldest buildings in Tehran.

Golestan Palace, Tehran Province, Tehran, District 12, ark sqr, Panzdah-e-Khordad St, Iran, +98 21 3311 3335

Golestan Palace, Tehran


Yazd is thought to be Iran’s oldest continuously inhabited city, and is famous for being the centre of Iran’s Zoroastrian community. Here you can visit the Zoroastrian towers of silence and Zendan-e-Eskander, an ancient domed structure that, according to legend, was built by Alexander the Great to hold prisoners during his conquest of Persia.

Yazd, Yazd Province, Iran

Yazd, Iran
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article