Damavand Ski touring alibabatrek why ski in Iran - Iran ski tour - Iran ski resorts - Iran blog

6 Reasons for Skiing in Iran

Damavand Ski alibabatrek why ski in Iran - Iran ski tour - Iran ski resorts - Iran blog

Damavand Ski Touring

Why Is Iran An Excellent Choice for Skiing?

Many know Iran for its rich culture and fantastic nature. But, other aspects of Iran such as its skiing resorts are not recognized well enough. Having Alborz mountain range in the north and Zagros mountain range in the west, Iran is a mountainous country. You can find many peaks higher than 3000 meters in these mountain ranges (especially in Alborz). Besides, Iran is a country of four seasons and is appropriate for skiing in most months of the year.

Therefore, Iran is an excellent destination for skiers from all around the world. The ski resorts in Iran are the most qualified ski resorts in the Middle East. Also, the prices of Iran tour packages for skiing can be slightly lower than in other countries. Another important aspect of skiing with Iran tours is the possibility of both ski touring and skiing in the ski resorts. Putting all these together, Iran can be a significant place for skiing comparing to other countries.

Here are some points about Iran skiing:

1)     The Costs of Skiing in Iran

Many think of skiing as a luxurious winter sport. The costs of skiing are not just limited to ticket prices. You probably have to think of hiring ski guides, ski gears, lift chair tickets and, the costs of accommodation as well. The expense of hiring a ski guide in the Alps can be up to 500 Euros per day. On the other hand, the cost for a day of ski touring in Iran can be 100-150 Euros.

The cost of tickets of the biggest ski resort in Iran, Dizin ski resort, is 120000 Tomans (almost 10 USD). Also, the costs of hiring gear are 100000 Tomans, practically equivalent to 8 USD. The prices of accommodation in ski resorts such as Dizin and Shemshak are almost 150000 Tomans (12.5 USD) for private rooms. Besides, those skiing in groups (8-10 people) can stay in chalets which are very cheap (almost 6 USD). Considering the differences in prices, Iran has some of the most affordable ski resorts in the world.

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Dizin ski resort

2)     Iran Backcountry Skiing

Besides having qualified ski resorts, many peaks in the central Alborz give the skiers the opportunity of Iran ski touring. Therefore, it is a fantastic opportunity for those seeking new snow and engagements in more attractive activities. Peaks like Damavand, Alamkuh, Gol-e-Zard, Dowbarar and, Dizin are appropriate for such activity. Also, Alamkuh ski tours are very trendy among skiers interested in ski touring. You can rarely find such opportunities of ski touring in mountain ranges such as the Alps. March, April, and May are the best months for ski touring in Iran. Some of the trendiest Iran backcountry skiing mounts are Alamkuh, Damavand, and Zagros mounts.

3)     The Biggest and The Highest Ski Resorts in The Middle East

One of the Tehran ski resorts is Dizin located in the north of this city. This ski resort is the biggest ski resort in the Middle East and the most excellent ski resort in Iran. Also, the World Ski Federation has confirmed this ski resort for holding official tournaments. The height of this piste is 2650- 3600 meters. Besides, it is appropriate for both off-piste and on-piste skiing.

The Tochal ski resort is the highest ski resort in the Middle East. The height of this ski resort in almost 3850 meters. For getting up, you will need to take two telecabins that takes around 45 minutes in total. The distance between the seventh and fifth stations of this ski resort is almost 5500 meters. In addition, Tochal is usable for skiing for eight months per year.

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Tochal ski resort

4)     Risks of Skiing in Iran Comparing to the Alps

One of the most significant points about skiing in Iran is the safety of it. There is no probability for the occurrence of an avalanche in the peaks of Iran such as Damavand peak. Mainly, because skiing is mostly done in the springs, there won’t be any risk of powder snow avalanches. Because at that time of the year the snows are very rigid and very appropriate for skiing. Also, the low slope of these mountains makes skiing on them much more manageable. Besides, there are no ice slots in these peaks. Therefore, the skiers will not need to do any technical climbing or using ropes and ice axes. All these points make the mountains of Iran a safe destination for the skiers comparing to the Alps.

Damavand Ski touring alibabatrek why ski in Iran - Iran ski tour - Iran ski resorts - Iran blog

Damavand Ski Touring

5)     The Best Peaks for Acclimatization

Many of the tourists traveling Iran want to conquer the Damavand summit. You can rarely find peaks as high as mount Damavand in the central Alps. Fortunately, this 5000-meter peak has a low degree of difficulty. But still, conquering such a high peak is not possible without acclimatization. For climbing this tall beauty, you will need to make yourself ready for a few days before climbing it. Luckily, there are 4000-meter peaks that give the skiers the chance of adjusting their bodies with height. Some of the best peaks for acclimatization are Sichal, Kolun Bastak, and Dowbarar. Acclimatizing on these mountains, you can surely have a much more convenient and joyful experience during your Damavand ski tour.

Mount Damavand Ski touring alibabatrek why ski in Iran - Iran ski tour - Iran ski resorts - Iran blogs

Damavand Ski Touring

6)     The Destination between the Base Stations and The Peaks

What makes the experience of mountaineering in Iran unique is the short time you will need for climbing high peaks. As we mentioned before, Iran has mountains higher than 4000 meters in the central Alborz. In these mountains, the base stations (villages) for skiing are located at a high point of the peak. Therefore, it only takes the skiers a short time, like 5-6 hours to get to the height of 4000 meters. The skiers can come back to the base station for having a rest or taking a shower at nights. Then, they can climb the peak again next day. It can be a fantastic opportunity for them to spend 3-4 days in that area and explore different paths and valleys. Mountains such as Shirband, Sahand, and Darbandsar, are among the mountains with the highest base stations in the world.

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Damavand Ski Touring

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10 tips for Iran travel and things to know before taking Iran tour

Iran is one of the most attractive tourist sites for travelers around the world. Recently, Iran travel is being suggested by many travelers. Iran has been wrongly assumed to be a country of terrorism and nuclear weapons. Actually, it is a safe, beautiful four-season country in the heart of the middle-east. Iran is the remaining region of the Great Persian Empire with an old and rich history. It is now an Islamic republic respecting people of all religions.

Iran has the most breathtaking natural landscapes. That includes the most desolate deserts with the highest temperature on earth to the humid, dense, north jungles. Magnificent historical castles and monuments are part of the glory of this magical country. All the above has made Iran travel and Iran tours an increasing trend among worldwide travelers. As a result, Iran tourism is a strongly developing Industry.

Rather than being a great excursion, Iran travel costs a very moderate amount. There are many Iran tours through which you can enjoy Persian group traveling. But, before making the trip you have to know your destination well. So here are some Iran traveling tips for travelers never been to Iran before.

1-Iran travel is safe!

Iran travel and tourism have been affected by the wrong image of western media of Iran. Actually, the crime and terrorism rates in Iran are very low and the people are helpful and friendly. Iran is among the safest countries according to international reports. Also, according to travelers experiencing Iran tours and trips.

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2-You can get a VISA and insurance easily for Iran tours!

You can get a VISA on arrival (VOA) at the airport. Citizens of the US, the UK, Canada, and a few other countries don’t have this option. However, if you’re traveling overland you should take your VISA in advance. The price for the process ranges according to your nationality. Remember you can’t get a VISA without travel insurance. Sadly most travel insurance companies don’t cover trips to Iran. So make sure your insurance covers Iran. Otherwise get one at the airport as well.

 

3-Iran travel is favorably economical!

Trips to Iran are among the most low-budget trips you can have. The official currency in Iran is Rial. It has a very low value compared to other currencies. Hence, however much you spend in Iran would not cost much in your currency. You can easily exchange your money for Rials at exchange offices. Remember Toman is 10 Rials. It is confusing for many foreigners who visit Iran. Since you may commonly hear people giving the prices in Toman during Iran travel. The total daily expense of an individual differs. I depend on how generously he/she wants to travel around.

Remember to assign enough money for buying gifts and souvenirs. Traditional clothes, Persian rug, handicrafts, and local sweets are suggested souvenirs of Persia trip.

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4-Took an Iran Tour, you’ve got to take an Iranian SIM card!

You can get an Iranian SIM card with 4G internet coverage from offices available. You’ll need that for better communication with your local friends. Also, you’ll need it for map availability during Iran travel. Famous SIM card operators are ‘Hamrah Aval’ and ‘Irancell’. Also, make sure to have a proper VPN on your cell phone. Unfortunately, some websites like Facebook are not accessible in Iran.

 

5-Take Iran Tour to learn the definition of hospitality!

Iranians are generally well educated, civilized, modern and hospitable people. Make most of your Iran travel by enjoying these great features. For instance, an Iranian family meets you on the bus or subway. They immediately ask you to stay with them. Just say yes. Persians are so warm that they welcome foreigners taking Iran tour from any country.

Iran is a vast country with different ethnicities including Turkish, Kurdish, Arabs and so on. Therefore, there are different cultures and customs there. Majority of the population of Iran are Muslims. They have Muslim Calendar. Weekend in Iran is Thursday and Friday when the whole family usually gets together. They also have a lot of religious holidays during the year.

 

6-Experience the best middle-eastern non-alcoholic foods in Iran!

Iranian foods and meals are extraordinarily delicious. Each part of the country has its local meals. The common foods served everywhere in Iran are Kebab, Ghormeh Sabzi, and Gheimeh.

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Gheimeh

 

These foods are traditionally cooked on Iranian holidays and occasions. It is so rare that you don’t like Iranian original food’s taste. If so, there are international restaurants on every corner. The only thing you may miss in your Iran tour is alcohol. As an Islamic country, using alcohol in beverages and foods is illegal. All the drinks you find in Iran are non-alcoholic.

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Ghormeh Sabzi

 

7-Don’t miss the historical places during Persia traveling!

Iran has a civilization that goes back to about 3000 years ago. As a result, there are a great number of ancient tourist sites in Iran. It contains castles of former kings to the mosques and temples. Therefore, it is strongly suggested to book Iran tours visiting such places whilst Iran traveling. Examples of these places are Takht-e-Jamshid or Persepolis, Arg-e-Bam, Dome of Soltaniyeh, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Zoroastrian Fire Temple, and many other honorable places.

8-You’ll regret if you don’t see architectural marvels of Iran!

There have always been so many great mathematicians and scientists in Persia. This has led to great architectural pieces located all over the country. The city of Isfahan is surely full of these places. Others are Azadi and Milad Towers in Tehran, Borujerdi House in Kashan and Tabriz Grand Bazaar to name a few. So take time to explore these masterpieces coupled with your Iran tour.

9-Women should wear Hijab in Iran!

In an Islamic country like Iran, women should wear Hijab. That means to cover their body and to wear a headscarf for covering their hair in public. It may, at first, seem tough for western women. However, Former female travelers taking Iran tours claimed they got used to it easily. Besides, colorful Iranian “Roosari” is the loveliest. It is the commonest scarf in Iran. It can be a good souvenir from your trip to Iran, too.
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10-Consider “time’’ for taking an Iran tour to enjoy the best weather!

As a four-season country, during Iran travel you may experience different climates. You may encounter hot summers with a high temperature of 50 centigrade. Also, you may freeze at the low temperature of -20 centigrade in winter. So plan your excursion according to the destination weather. If you are heading to the magical south shores, travel in late winter or spring. The sky of deserts is mind-blowing in fall. The high lands of Azerbaijan are perfect for summer trips. The green north is always fresh and leafy but spring is the best for sure.

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For more information and detail for a memorable trip to the sunshine of middle-east, Iran, Contact us.

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Easing Iran tourists passport, Iran Visa

Passports of tourists visiting Iran will not have to be stamped anymore,

Source: http://irantourismnews.com/ Iran tourists passport, Iran Visa, Iran Tours

Iranian authorities will introduce protectionist measures to support the nation’s tourism industry in the wake of unilateral US sanctions on Iran, Mehr News Agency reported.
Iranian media outlet cited Ali Asghar Mounesan, the Iranian vice president and head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), who announced that Iran tourists passport will not have to be stamped. Proposed legislation for the move has been drafted and approved by the head of ICHTO and main the country’s Ministries.

“While the statistics provided by immigration police of Iran show that the number of foreign tourists visiting Iran has increased by 38 percent in the first four months, the number of European visitors show a slight decline which has affected the functionality of our 4- and 5-star hotels,” Ali Asghar Mounesan was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency.

Mounesan stressed that the move will allow an easing of “tourists’ concerns about visiting Iran because of US sanctions.” the cause of stop stamping Iran tourists passport.

Last year, Russia and Iran signed an agreement on visa-free travel for tourist groups from five to 50 people which means they can come to Iran just by taking their passports. Moscow and Tehran have simplified visa rules in place for their nationals – business people, scientists, educators and several other categories of travelers – that has been in force since February 2016.

Source: http://irantourismnews.com/

ALL ABOUT IRAN VISA
APPLYING for ONLINE IRAN VISA
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Iran negotiating tips / the art of bargaining in Iran

In Iran people call some sellers “Kam Ensaf”, it means they have lacked in fairness, and its why you should know how to bargain for a fairer price especially in touristy areas, but it’s not as much as India or China, you should even bargain with taxi drivers too.
Clearly, there are some things you don’t need to bargain over, such as bus, plane, hotels and metro tickets, or even restaurants bills, because the government set the price and supervise it.
In this post, we tell you some Farsi expressions which can help you to deal with money-related stuff on your Iran tours.

Some general phrases you can use to bargain in Farsi

-How to ask the price.

Qaimat in Chand ast?
قیمت این چند است؟

SELLER: The price is 10000 tomans.
Qaimat in Dah hezar toman ast.
قیمت این ده هزار تومان است.

It is too expensive, give me a discount.
Kheily geraan ast, be man takhfif bede?
خیلی گران است, به من تخفیف بده.

SELLER: Okay for you it is 9000 tomans.
Bashe, baraye shoma Noh hezar toman.
باشه, برای شما نه هزار تومان.

It’s still too much, is it possible for 5000 toman?
Na kheily geran ast, Panj hezar toman chetor ast?
نه خیلی گران است, پنج هزار تومان چطور است؟

-Some more phrases that will come in handy:
Is that your last price?
Qaimate akharesh hamin ast?
قیمت آخرش همین است؟

Can you lower the price?
Kamtar raah daarad?
کمتر راه دارد؟

Is there any discount?
Takhfif daarad?
تخفیف دارد؟

-In addition to talking, you can use other strategies such as walking away to see if they call you.
Usually, they call and they will give you the last price because they know if the next shop is cheaper you will buy it there.

-It’s essential to know the Persian numbers for understanding the prices
Here is how to say and write the numbers:
1 _ Yek – ۱
2 _ Dow – ۲
3 _ Seh – ۳
4 _ Chahar – ۴
5 _ Panj – ۵
6 _ Shish _ ۶
7 _ Haft _ ۷
8 _ Hasht _ ۸
9 _ Noh _ ۹
10 _ Dah _ ۱۰
11 _ Yaazdah _ ۱۱
12 _ Davazdah _ ۱۲
13 _ Sizdah _ ۱۳
14 _ Chaharda _ ۱۴
15 _ Ponzdah _ ۱۵
16 _ Shanzdah _ ۱۶
17 _ Hifda _ ۱۷
18 _ Hizhdah _ ۱۸
19 _ Noozdah _ ۱۹
20 _ Bist _ ۲۰

-If you know from one to twenty, the rest of the Persian numbers are easier to learn.
30 _ Si _ ۳۰
40 _ Chehel _ ۴۰
50 _ Panjah _ ۵۰
60 _ Shast _ ۶۰
70 _ Haftad _ ۷۰
80 _ Hashtad _ ۸۰
90 _ Nawad _ ۹۰
100 _ Sad _ ۱۰۰

-Now you know the Farsi numbers from one to one hundred, to connect the numbers you use the word O. For example, to say 75, you say “Haftad O Panj”, 44 is “Chehel O Chahar”, 89 is “Hashtad O Noh”, and so on.
In the Farsi language, one thousand is “hezar”. Here are a few examples:

Yek Hezar = One thousand (۱۰۰۰)
Dow Hezar = Two thousand (۲۰۰۰)
Dah Hezar = Ten thousand (۱۰۰۰۰)
Beest Hezar = Twenty thousand (۲۰۰۰۰)
Seeh Hezar = Thirty thousand (۳۰۰۰۰)

Now let’s use O to connect the numbers

Seeh O Yek Hezar = Thirty-one thousand (۳۱۰۰۰)
Seeh O Panj Hezar = Thirty-five thousand (۳۵۰۰۰)


-Let’s move to one hundred thousand and above. It is very simple, just like how you say it in English.

Yek Sad Hezar = One hundred thousand (۱۰۰۰۰۰)
Dow Sad Hezar = Two hundred thousand (۲۰۰۰۰۰)

You also need to learn the Persian numbers from a million up. You might be modest and feel it won’t be necessary, but don’t be fooled by the flattering figures, as in Iran one million Rials are just around 15 USD.

Yek Million=One million (۱۰۰۰۰۰۰)
Dow Million=Two million (۲۰۰۰۰۰۰)
Seh Million=Three million (۳۰۰۰۰۰۰)

-Now you are ready to bargain in Farsi, and while you might not be qualified enough to respond to some taarof, by knowing the numbers in Persian, you will still be able to understand and set your own prices.

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10 reasons why you should visit Iran now

Should I or should I not visit Iran? (All about Iran tours)

You’ve been pondering, mulling over, thinking about it, even planning, yet you still haven’t booked your trip to Iran. You don’t even know why, maybe holidays for you are synonymous with a beach so you head to Thailand, maybe you think spices are only available in India, or maybe you think ancient history can only be experienced in Rome.
Whatever has been keeping you from booking that flight, here are ten reasons why you should visit Iran as soon as possible and overcome all of your doubts.

1. Traveling to Iran is safe

Is Iran a safe country to visit? Whether you travel alone or in a group, whether you are a woman or a man, or whether you arrive day or night time, Iran is very safe. The Iranian government devotes plenty of resources to keep their border safe so terrorists and drug dealers from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq don’t threaten Iran’s security. It’s without hesitation that I can say that Iran is the safest country in the tormented region.

2. it’s hitting the headlines all over the world

Let’s face it, now it’s totally Iran moment. Listed by many publications as one of the most popular travel destinations for 2014, after soaking in tourist crowds for two weeks we can only say that this year is the beginning of what will finally be an era of never-ending tourism flow for this west Asian country.
Among the reasons people are flocking in Iran, curiosity is definitely a big draw. If you add the pride of saying you have traveled to the Islamic Republic, saw that things are not as mainstream media say, that you challenged all prejudices and warnings from family and friends, we say, book your ticket now.
If you ask us, one of the reasons why you should travel to Iran soon is to go before the crowd gets too big!

3. Hospitality

Iran is also the country of warm hospitality. According to the experience of one our tourists:
the kind I’ve only seen in Sardinia so far, and not just because “welcome” is possibly the most popular English word there, but because it’s an essential feature of their culture. From Tehran to Tabriz we took the night train, and one of our cabin mates was a woman from Tabriz who, within the first two minutes of the conversation, has managed not only to invite us to her house but also to insist. And if you think this degree of hospitality is reserved for foreigners only, you clearly haven’t come across any taarof moment, which is understandable as this is a very “between-Iranians” prerogative.
I had the chance to come to grips with taarof because I was traveling with an Iranian, and this is really the only reason why after each and every single ride the taxi drivers suggested we didn’t need to pay. I really doubt with foreigners they would try such a stunt, they probably know we would simply thank and leave, albeit pretty startled.
Whatever city or province you go, friendly locals will be a great part of your Iranian journey.

During a picnic in Iran, the best occasion for sharing each other’s food

4. A long history

Hardly in need of any introduction, Persepolis is one of Iran’s most famous ancient sites. From ancient Persia to modern Iran, from the Achaemenid Empire to the Sassanian era, from the Safavid period to the Qajar dynasty, to finally the Pahlavi family and the Islamic Revolution, Iranian history is as stormy as it gets.
With so many historical places to visit in Iran, traveling all around the country you can soak in every period and delve into the nation’s tangled past. After you enjoyed your Persepolis tour, don’t forget to add to the list also other Iran points of interest such as the Golestan Palace in Tehran, Ali Qapu Palace in Isfahan and the Fire Temple in Yazd, just to mention some.

5. Architecture

Be it a mosque, a palace or a bazaar, Iranian buildings are finely decorated and glow with ornamental elegance. Pastel colors gracefully interact with bright hues, tapering minarets and seemingly ubiquitous domes outline the landscape, symbols and traditional calligraphy coexist in a charming interplay.
Whether inside or outside a building, the sophisticated Persian architecture is always something tourists marvel at every time they visit Iran.
Also, the architectural styles and features evoke the dynasty they belong to. For example, Nasir al Mulk mosque in Shiraz is clearly Qajar dynasty with all its pink roses and small images of French churches, while the stunning Yazd Grand Mosque is all about overlapping styles, symbols and eras.
Getting enchanted by mesmerizing decorations, fine carvings, and elaborate paintings is one of the best reasons why you should visit Iran.

6. Handicraft

Each province, each city, each village has their own handicraft. In Yazd, you will certainly buy the beautiful Termeh, handwoven silk and wool fabric (and baklava sweets), in Isfahan tiles and blue chalices and plates to decorate your home or use to offer sweets to your guests with a Persian touch.
Different cities different handicraft. Visit Tabriz (and everywhere else) for their particular carpets of all sizes, colors, and patterns, or their nuts, get to Hamedan for their colorful pottery or spend a day or two in Nishapur for their turquoise stone jewelry.
Wherever you travel in Iran, rest assured that you’ll get back home with the loveliest of gifts and Iranian souvenirs.

7. Food

From pistachio to black tea, from saffron to kebab, from Mirza Ghasemi to Ghormeh Sabzi, the heavy presence of aromatic herbs makes Iranian cuisine appetizing and addictive
While there are national dishes that you can find everywhere, like herb stew Ghormeh Sabzi, there are others that are exclusive, or at least typical of a particular region. Among these are the aforementioned eggplant-based Mirza Ghasemi, typical from Gilan province, or Dizi, too meaty and heavy for me but still a national treat, typical from Ardabil.
If for food you consider also the single ingredients, Iran is famous for its saffron, much cheaper than in Europe in case you are thinking about some Persian gift shopping or their delicious pistachio.

8. Visit Iran because it’s still cheap

Be it for the sanctions or for the dropping of their currency, traveling to Iran right now will turn very cheap. With the cost of public transport ranging from the 8 euro (roughly 10$) of the night train from Tehran to Tabriz to less than 3 euro (4$) of the bus from Ardabil to Lahijan, and the accommodation, usually 4-star hotels, around the price of 30 euro (40$) per night per double room, you can spoil yourself with a royal treat without spending too much, saving enough for your inevitable shopping spree.
It mostly depends on the exchange rate, by since now euros, dollars and pounds are still strong compared to the rail, try to visit Iran as soon as possible before things change too much.

9. You will have a truly authentic experience

Probably due to sanctions that allow little commercial exchange with other countries, especially in the West, Iran can boast its own products on a variety of manufacturing areas, from food to textiles to ceramics. Apart from goods on sale, Iranians are very proud of their culture and traditions. This is why they will never miss the opportunity to illustrate what you might be seeing, eating, drinking, listening to, and so on and so forth.
This will give anyone who decides to visit Iran a great chance for a genuine local experience. This is also what allows you to better delve into the society and understand an ancient culture preserved with pride.
Iran tourism is living its boom season, and all Iranians are taking part in showing off their country that for too long has remained isolated from the travel industry.
Now that travel agencies are literally being created every day, you have a lot of Iran tours and packages to choose from. However, if these are too expensive or you are more into independent travel, locals will make you feel welcome and for sure will add to the value of your trip.

10. You will enjoy a relaxed atmosphere

Contrary to common belief, anyone who decided to visit Iran has talked about the laid-back atmosphere. Contrary to many places at least in Italy, you can take pictures pretty much everywhere. Obviously, when it comes to people it’s always better to ask for their permission, but often they will agree, sometimes they will also show up in front of your camera with a “V” pose even before you have the chance to ask.
Vital to complete the breezy and somehow devil-may-care scene is obviously the Iranian friendly attitude. People will always be up for a chat, seldom if ever worried about timetables, surprisingly happy to be the subject of your next photo, and always willing to have you as guests in their house.

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9 tips on how to plan a perfect trip to Iran

Even though ranking as one of the top travel destinations every year since 2014, many travelers are still unsure on how to plan a perfect trip to Iran. As this is a relatively new vacation spot, holidaymakers still feel unprepared, and a million questions arise even in the minds of more experienced travelers. This is mainly why many prefer to book an organized tour, even though more tourists are already starting to venture independently.

If you want to travel independently, planning a trip to Iran has finally become easy.
Through 1stQuest, the first Iranian agency to accept online payments, you can apply for your visa, book local buses (so handy for traveling around the country) and soon also domestic flights and hotels with your Visa or Mastercard.

At the moment, the best website to check for hotel deals in Iran is still Hotels Combined.
With more and more readers and travelers requiring tips and pieces of advice before traveling to Iran, We thought it was a good idea to gather the main questions in a single post so it can be a useful reference for future travelers to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
This article covers the “before-you-go” planning process, while next post will be devoted to our tips on how to enjoy your trip once you’re actually here.

So, if you are ready to start, here are best tips on how to plan a perfect trip to Iran. 

1. Nowruz might be a good time to visit Iran

As you know Nowruz is the beginning of the New Year in Iran. In many cities, you can see festivals and some people dressing like (Amoo Nowruz) and putting on some show for the people (especially in Shiraz). Although it might be too crowded you can feel the passion of this anniversary.

2. Plan ahead

The prices of flight tickets vary quite a lot, so planning ahead and checking often the flights through the many comparison websites and travel search engines will definitely help you save good cash. There are many airlines flying into Iran international airports.
There are also Iran airlines, such as Iran Air and Mahan Air. The agreements after the Iran deal are still being discussed and signed, so keep an eye on the news as both of them are resuming their direct flights to Tehran and other Iran airports from the main European capitals right in these days.
Iran is no easy destination, if you don’t feel confident enough to organize your trip by yourself you can rely on our experienced guide or book our 11-day Exclusive Culture of Persia tour to visit all the must-see places if you are traveling to Iran for the first time such as TehranShirazIsfahan, and Yazd. Highly recommended.

3. Check the visa requirements

In October 2015, Iran has granted visa upon arrival to 58 nations, and it’s recent news that they are starting to issue 30-day visas to 180 nationalities, so you are likely to be fine, but just to make sure you don’t have unpleasant surprises, get in touch with the Iranian embassy in your country to check their visa requirements. We have devoted a post to the process of getting Iran visa, the different requirements depending on your nationality and what papers you need should you apply at the embassy in your country or at the airport upon arrival.
If you want to travel with the visa already glued on your passport even if you are not joining an organized tour, there is the travel agency 1st Quest that offers the visa service. You will need to fill in an online form and they will send you the authorization code that you need to take to the embassy or consulate alongside the other documents mentioned above.
To apply for an Iran visa, you must submit also travel insurance. With World Nomads, you can buy, extend and claim your travel insurance online also after you left home and are already traveling.

4. Get a tour guide for your Iran tours

This needs a bit of an explanation. You can travel independently around Iran, especially in the most popular cities as they are increasingly tourist-friendly, and it’s very safe, also for solo female travelers. This being said, we think a tour guide would be useful if you want to travel to less popular provinces such as Khuzestan, and of course if you don’t speak a word of Persian.
We would add that, with Iran being a very diverse and complicated country, traveling with a local will be more insightful if you want to delve a little deeper into its society instead of just visiting the historical buildings and main attractions. Obviously, if you have a friend there, that would work even better than booking a guide.

5. To book a room, call hotels directly

Especially due to the sanctions that are not entirely lifted yet, it’s still hard to book hotels online. It’s only recent news, in fact, that Booking.com has included two Tehran hotels on their website, but as for now the easiest way to book (if you are not on a tour package) is to call directly the hotel. Also, if you are going to apply for the visa on arrival, you will need confirmation of hotel booking, while if you are with an organized tour, the tour leader will have made the invitation letter for you so you will travel with your visa already glued to your passport.
To plan a perfect trip to Iran, you can find hotels in Tehran and other cities quite easily online or just checking your favorite guidebooks. The same Lonely Planet has compiled a list of accommodations in Iran from where you can just call them up and make your reservation.
Hopefully, Iranian banks will soon be reconnected to the international banking system and it will be easy to book hotels via the most popular travel sites like you do for most countries. For now, Hotels Combined can be your go-to resource to check deals and reviews of hotels in Iran.
Whatever place you visit, we would recommend you choose a hotel in the City Centre, or at least close to a metro station if in Tehran so that it’s easy to move around.

6. What to pack for a trip to Iran

A list of the main tips on how to plan a perfect trip to Iran couldn’t elude some packing guidance. In Iran, you can find pretty much everything, so in case you forget to pack something, there’s nothing to be worried about. The main news can be for clothing, especially with regards to the female dress code in Iran, as women need to pack some longer tunic or dress to wear with a pair of trousers, jeans, leggings or whatever you are used to. Most of all, don’t forget to carry a scarf in your hand luggage as you will need to wear it when you are getting off the plane. If you are going in winter, do pack some pretty warm clothes, especially if you are going to provinces such as Hamedan and Lorestan, or even Tehran.
If you take medicines, you should bring them with you. In Iran you find pretty much everything and by law, you need to have an insurance in order to get a visa, but in case what you are looking for is not available, you are better off arriving well equipped.

7. Money

Iran’s local currency is the Rial. To plan a perfect trip to Iran, what we suggest (and what people usually do) is to try to roughly guess how much money you will need considering the unavoidable travel expenses such as hotels, food, transport and entrance fees for the main Iran tourist attractions, and then add some more in case of some emergency or personal shopping you might want to do such as souvenir and traditional handicraft.

8. If you are married, some proof of your marriage won’t harm

Granted, this is a general rule and it mainly applies to Iranians only (even if you are an Iranian-born and living abroad, you are still an Iranian and subject to controls). For foreigners, it’s pretty loose and they are hardly asked about marriage proof when renting a flat or booking the same hotel room. However, this is still the Islamic Republic of Iran.

9. Join the Facebook page Alibabatrek

The Facebook page Alibabatrek and Tripadvisor is a great resource if you need any tip from locals on how to plan a perfect trip to Iran. As a matter of fact, this post has been concocted also keeping in mind the questions and issues raised by the members of the group as they asked locals for information about tourism in Iran and how to get by in their country. In the group, you can ask both Iranians and foreigners who have already traveled to the Islamic Republic for help on different issues such as visa inquiries, best restaurants, hotels and whatever you can think of.
As you might know, Facebook in Iran is blocked by government filters, so to access it you need a VPN.