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Last month the British embassy in Tehran, and the Foreign Office announced that they no longer advising against travel, adventurous travellers may decide now’s the time to see the country. Here’s a list of some of the trips available; all are guided group tours. Prices exclude flights but include accommodation, transport, some meals and entry fees.

Architecture and culture

culture

The sacred shrines in the holy city of Qom, ancient monuments at Persepolis and Isfahan, the gardens of Kashan, poets’ tombs in Shiraz, and the tiled Nasir al-Mulk mosque, considered the pinnacle of Iranian-Islamic art, are among the cultural highlights of this 15-day tour.


Treking the Lut desert

Treking

This is where real adventure starts. The Dasht-e Lut desert, one of the Earth’s hottest and driest places, is a (hardy) trekker’s dream, with incredible rock formations, sand dunes, salt plains and the Valley of Meteorites – imposing landscapes that enchanted Marco Polo and, 700 years later, Wilfred Thesiger.


Valley of the Assassins

Valley

A walking tour based around the eponymous 1934 travelogue by the explorer Freya Stark, showcasing the greener side of Iran, traditional villages, the castles of the “assassins” and Alborz mountain hikes. The trip includes a stay with the Shahsevan nomadic tribe, a visit to Tabriz’s blue mosque and Unesco world heritage bazaar.


Backpacking in Iran

Whilst Independent travel isn’t allowed in Iran, it is advisable to book a group trip, but you can tailor-make one with a minimum of two people with some operators, and on a budget. The guide must accompany travel across country but you can roam freely in each location. The Borders of Adventure website has some sound advice on travel in the country.

  • Iranian tour operator Uppersia offers 15-day trips from £897

Iran by train, from Turkey

Turkey

It is exciting to board the train from Ankara, passengers travel to Tehran to explore the archeological sites, before taking a sleeper to Isfahan for its iconic covered bridges and huge Naqhsh-e Jahan Square. The unique desert architecture of Yazd is a short train ride away; the final train trip is to Shiraz, the city of flowers and poetry.


Telegraph Tours Persian Odyssey

Telegraph

With a cultural and historical legacy dating back millennia, these ancient lands have witnessed the rise and fall of many notable kingdoms and this insightful trip takes us on a journey through the heartland of these empires and ‘behind the veil’ of this much misunderstood republic. From the capital we’ll travel via the picturesque ‘red’ village of Abyaneh to the town of Yazd, with its well-preserved traditional houses and Zoroastrian burial towers. From here we’ll head for the beautiful gardens and shrines of Shiraz and the ancient ruins of Persepolis and finally on to one of the Middle East’s most spectacular destinations – Isfahan - home to some of the region’s finest Islamic architecture.

  • Duration: 13 Days

Land only price from: £3,150, Wild frontier travel


Climb Mount Damavand

Mount

This goes beyond skiing in Alborz mountains and it takes four days to reach the summit of the country’s highest mountain, a 5,671-metre volcano. Base camp is two hours from Tehran, making Damavand one of the most accessible 5,000-metre-plus mountains in the world. If all goes to plan, this seven-day trip includes two days’ recovery in Larijan’s thermal spring and Tehran.


Horseriding

Horseriding

A 10-day riding adventure through the central nomadic lands on dareshoriPersian horses takes in mountains and lush forests and paddy fields. Camping is in flat arable grasslands.

  • From £1,890, including five nights’ camping and five in guesthouses,persianvoyages.com

Skiing in Iran

Skiing

Dizin, with lifts to 3,600 metres and Shemshak, at 3,050 metres, are Iran’s most famous resorts, with chalets, hotels and equipment hire. They are both near Tehran and access is straightforward. Another of the larger resorts is Pooladkaf, 85km from Shiraz in the south, peaking at 3,400 metres and enjoying strong sunshine despite high snow totals.

  • Iranskitours.ir has deals from £271pp for three nights at Dizin for groups of 3-6, including transfer from Tehran

Festivals of Iran

Festivals

Religious and cultural events abound in Iran, reflecting the country’s diverse peoples and historical influences. They range from the Gol-o-Golab (Rose and Rosewater) festival in Kashan in May, to the Chak Chak fire temple festival near Yazd in June, which celebrates the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism. Thetis Travel can organise tailormade tours combined with sightseeing and trips to meet nomadic groups.


Adventure and activity trips

Adventure

Adventure Iran has a range of activity trips, such as eight days’ biking from Alamut through mountains to the Caspian, or a 4WD off-road tour of the Dasht-e Kavir and Lut deserts. Ten days’ biking the Central Desert and Yazd includes a Silk Route desert stretch of 240km

If you are really intrested in finding Advanture in Iran and want to find tour operators and want to talk to them, visit the Middle East Section in the World Travel Market in London on 2nd-5th of November 2015 http://www.wtmlondon.com/

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