The 7 Best Cultural Tours in Iran

Imam Square, Esfahan | © Ninara / Flickr
Imam Square, Esfahan | © Ninara / Flickr
Photo of Pontia Fallahi
11 January 2018

Every corner of Iran is so full of beautiful nature, exquisite architecture, and ancient history that you may have a hard time deciding where to start. Tours are a great way to discover the country from those who know it best, and we’ve got the best cultural tours to offer you a one-of-a-kind sense of Iran.

Iran Food Adventure Tour

One of the best ways to discover a country is to eat your way through it, and this irresistible tour offers your palate the perfect opportunity to do just that. The gastronomic experience of Iran goes well beyond the succulent kebab to include exotic spices, fresh herbs, and flavorful stews simmered to perfection. See and taste both the cultural and culinary highlights in Esfahan, Yazd, and Shiraz, and even partake in a cooking class in Tehran in this 10-day tour that will delight all of your senses.

Spinach and plums stew | © Hamed Fazllollahi / WikiCommons

Iran Cycling Holiday

Get your culture and adventure on while making a difference with this cycling tour of Iran. While you hit the best sites in Tehran, Qom, Kashan, Abyaneh, Esfahan, Yazuj, Shiraz, and Persepolis on two wheels, this 913-kilometer (567-mile) journey also offers its adventurers the chance to learn from various NGOs and speak to locals along the way to get a better grip on social and community issues as well as Islam in the country, thereby providing a unique understanding of Iran.

Biking through Iran | © Ninara / Flickr

Silk Road Safari

Travel in the footsteps of the original explorers of the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that connected the East to the West. On this tour, you’ll visit centuries-old caravanserais (the rest stops of the past), mud-brick desert fortresses, and carpet workshops before experiencing the beauty and serenity of the Maranjab Desert, where you can engage in some dune bashing or snap some unforgettable photos.

The Maranjab Desert | © Hamed Saber / Flickr

Nomadic Escape Tour

In this 13-day tour, you’ll get a double dose of culture by not only visiting some of Iran’s most majestic sites and natural wonders but also spending time with two of its major nomadic tribes, the Bakhtiari and the Qashqai. It’s a prime opportunity to become acquainted with their centuries-old traditions such as carpet weaving, try on their colorful traditional dress, and taste their dishes.

A visit with the nomads | © Ninara / Flickr

Journey Through Capitals

Tehran may currently enjoy its status as the capital, but given that Iran is one of the world’s oldest nations, this wasn’t always the case. In this 12-day tour, you’ll become a witness to Iranian history by journeying in the past and exploring the ancient capitals of Hamadan, Susa, Shiraz, and Esfahan while knocking a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites off of your list along the way. This excursion is arguably one of the most complete tours for newbies to Iran.

Chogha Zambil, cows between 32 century old buildings

Harvesting Saffron in Natanz

Iran is one of the leaders in saffron cultivation, an activity that dates back as far as 3,000 years ago. The scarcity and special conditions under which it must be grown render it the most expensive spice in the world. The desert climate of Natanz provides an ideal atmosphere for this “red gold” to grow in abundance in the fall, and on this day-long tour, you can partake in the harvest yourself. Learn about the saffron crocus and enjoy some saffron-infused tea before exploring the town’s shrine, the tomb of Abd al Samad, and pottery workshop.

Saffron harvest | © Safa.daneshvar / WikiCommons


Iran boasts 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and with this tour, you can scratch a few of them off of your list. You’ll start your journey in Shiraz before moving on to Esfahan, Yazd, and Kashan where you’ll uncover the splendor of the outstanding architectural masterpieces, ancient historical wonders, and romantic Persian gardens that make up Iran. Best of all? You can tailor this trip to suit your interests.

Imam Mosque, Esfahan | © Diego Delso,, License CC-BY-SA / WikiCommons

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