How to get there and how to move around Iran

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Iran is an ancient land, rich in history and culture, a country that hosts well 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Despite the strict rules to be respected on clothing and behavior, especially between men and women, which perhaps at the beginning could make you start with prejudices, Farsi culture is a hospitable and cheerful culture, which is worth knowing.

Unfortunately, the country is currently not among the safest, so it is important to organize everything down to the smallest detail, leaving nothing to chance. The best thing is to rely on organized tours or agencies, especially to organize arrivals and travel between the various areas.
Here is ours guide on how to get there and how to move around Iran.



Index

  1. Where it is
  2. Security, visa and necessary documents
  3. Main geographical areas or tourist areas Iran
  4. Useful Tips
  5. User questions and comments

Where it is

Iran, the th largest state in the world, is located in the Middle East, near the Arabian Peninsula. It borders Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey to the north-west, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to the north-east, Pakistan to the south-east and Iraq to the west. Furthermore, it is bathed to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the south-east by the waters of the Gulf of Oman and to the south by those of the Persian Gulf.

Security, visa and necessary documents

Entry requirements

  • Passport with residual validity of at least 6 months;
  • The tourist visa for up to 30 days can be requested upon arrival at one of the airports of Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz and Mashad, at a cost of € 75,00 by presenting: passport, return ticket, hotel reservations and health insurance taken out before departure;
  • No vaccination required.

Restrictions:

  • Visa is not granted on passports with Israeli stamps;
  • Adapt to Islamic rules of conduct;
  • For clothing, women must wear opaque clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and long trousers and skirts, as well as a scarf that covers the head and neck;
  • For clothing, men are not allowed to wear short shorts and even short-sleeved shirts in places of worship;
  • Pay attention to the relationships and interactions between a man and a woman (for example, in public you cannot greet a woman by shaking her hand).

Security:

  • Continued growth of common crime, so cases such as muggings and thefts, even against foreigners, pay the utmost attention;
  • Constant growth also of the activism of terrorist organizations and anti-system forces;
  • Avoid travel to the border areas with Iraq / Iraqi Kurdistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan and in the south-eastern part of the country;
  • It is recommended to maintain a prudent and very careful attitude throughout the trip, even in large cities and in the most tourist attractions, to avoid events, gatherings and places that are too crowded;
  • Before leaving, consult the Farnesina website in the Iran section.

Precautions:

Maintain a cautious and alert attitude for the entire duration of the trip; do not go alone to outlying areas or disreputable, for travel always prefer an organized tour or a local guide; adopt a behavior and appropriate clothing and appropriate to local customs, especially religious ones e adapt to Islamic rules of conduct.



Main geographical areas or tourist areas Iran

Since there are many unsafe areas, such as the border areas with Iraq / Iraqi Kurdistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan and the whole south-eastern part of the country, tourist routes mainly focus on the following cities and surroundings (which are also the main airports of Iran):

  1. Tehran, in the northern part of the country, near the Caspian Sea;
  2. Esfahan, a city located in the heart of Iran at 1.500 meters high;
  3. Shiraz, in the southern part of the country, up to the coasts overlooking the Persian Gulf.

The classic route in fact, the one that most of the tours offer, focuses on these three major cities and also includes Yazd.
But let's see specifically how to get to each area:

1 - Tehran and Northern Iran

The airport to be taken as a reference point is theTehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, the country's largest.
Here it is Tehran, the capital of Iran: don't miss the Grand Bazaar, the Goelstan Palace and the Milad Tower.

Other places to visit in this area are the city of Kashan, the more than 1.500 year old village of Abyaneh, the city of Rasht overlooking the Caspian Sea and all this part of the coast. If you can go as far as visiting the two large parks of the Khar Turan National Park and Golestan National Park.

The northern part of the country is characterized by a Continental climate, with strong excursions between winter and summer.
The best months are those of April and October, that is the intermediate seasons, when the temperatures are neither too low nor too high. In winter, in fact, they reach 0 and can even go below, bringing possible snowfalls, while in July it also reaches a maximum of 37 °.



How to get to Tehran

From Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport at present, there is a direct flight from Italy only from Milan Malpensa, carried out by the companies Iran Air and Mahan Air and which lasts about 5 hours. The cost of the ticket ranges from € 600,00 to € 800,00. Alternatively, there are several companies that fly from different Italian cities with at least one stopover.
The airport is about 40 kilometers from the center of the city and to reach it you can choose between various options:

  • Metro, yellow line;
  • a taxi right outside the arrivals terminal, available day and night;
  • rent a car.

How to move in Tehran

A good way to get around the city is to use the metro, really very cheap! A one-way ticket costs only IRR 1.000 (almost € 0,25). Otherwise you can move on foot or use the numerous taxis.

Taxis are widely used by tourists, as it allows you to move quickly and is not even expensive: the average starting rate is 15.000 IRR (about € 0,41) to which an average of 12.631,50 IRR (about € 0,34) must be added for each kilometer path.

To move around the area, our advice is to rely on guides, such as renting a car with driver included, who will take you around in total safety, even knowing the area already, or to organized tours, whose prices vary according to the duration of the tour and the activities included, but which start from around € 50,00 per person and up.



  • Reference airport: Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport
  • Recommended means of getting around: subway, taxi, car rental with driver

2 - Esfahan

For this central area the airport to be taken as a reference point is theShahid Beheshti International Airport.

Esfahan is probably the most tourist destination in Iran, the pearl of this country, a romantic city of a thousand and one nights. Here do not miss the Imam Square, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as being the second largest square in the world, the Chehel Sotoun Palace and the Armenian quarter.
300 kilometers to the east is Yazd, one of the oldest cities in the world, located between two deserts.

This area is located on the plateau and is characterized by a Continental climate, with strong excursions between winter and summer.
Therefore, i best months are always those of April and Octoberwhen temperatures are mild enough. In fact, in winter in Esfahan, lows of -2 in January and highs of 36 ° in July are reached.

How to get to Esfahan

From Shahid Beheshti International Airport, the reference one, there are no direct flights from Italy. So to reach this destination you will necessarily have to make one or more stopovers. The following airlines arrive at this airport from Italy: Turkish Airlines (stopover in Istanbul), Emirates (stopover in Dubai), Iran Air (stopover in Tehran), Mahan Air (stopover in Tehran) and Austrian Airlines (stopover in Vienna).

Flights cost from € 500,00 to € 800,00 and have a variable duration, also based on the number of stopovers to be made.
The airport is 24 kilometers away northwest of the city center and the best way to get there is definitely taking a taxi which you will find at the exit of the arrivals terminals, or by informing yourself if a transfer service is available at the hotel where you will be staying.

How to get around in Esfahan

You can easily visit the city and Yazd move on foot, or rely on numerous taxis that you will find in the cities. The prices remain about the same: the average starting rate is 15.000 IRR (about € 0,41) to which an average of 12.631,50 IRR (about € 0,34) must be added for each kilometer traveled.

To move around the surrounding area, our advice is to rely on guides, such as renting a car with driver included, who will take you around in total safety, even knowing the area already, or to organized tours.

  • Reference airport: Shahid Beheshti International Airport
  • Recommended means of getting around: taxi, car rental with driver

3 - Shiraz and Southern Iran

The reference airport for the southern part of the country is theShiraz International Airport.
Second largest city of Iran, this is it considered the cradle of Persian culture. Here you cannot absolutely miss the Arg-e Karim Khan fortress, which dominates the entire historic center, characterized by a bohemian style. Also, this is a university city, so you will see many young people on its streets.
This city is also perfect as a base for discovering the whole area, such as Persepolis and the necropolis of Naqsh-e-Rostam, two of the most important Iranian archaeological sites, which are about an hour and a half from the city.

Although Shiraz is located at an altitude equal to that of Tehran and Esfahan, here the temperatures are milder in winter, while they remain the same during the summer.
The best time is the months of May and October, with more bearable temperatures and a few days of rain (on average only one per month).

How to get there and how to get around

The reference Shiraz International Airport it has no direct connections with Italy, therefore to reach this destination you will necessarily have to make one or more stopovers. Flights cost from € 500,00 to € 800,00 and have a variable duration, also based on the number of stopovers to be made.
The airport is 10 kilometers away south of the city center and the best way to get there is definitely taking one of the taxis which you will find at the exit of the arrivals terminals, or by informing yourself if a transfer service is available at the hotel where you will be staying.

To visit the city of Shiraz you can safely move on foot, or do take one of the numerous taxis that you will find on the streets. To move around the surrounding area, and above all to visit Persepolis and the necropolis of Naqsh-e-Rostam, our advice is not to go alone, but to rely on guides, such as renting a car with driver included, who will take you around in total safety, even knowing the area already, or to organized tours, Which leave numerous every day from the city.

  • Reference airport: Shiraz International Airport
  • Recommended means of getting around: taxi, car rental with driver

Useful Tips

Not being a particularly safe country, our advice is to always rely on taxis, car rental with private driver or taking part in organized tours.

  1. make sure there is a meter in the taxis, otherwise bargain the price before getting on
  2. always ask the hotel where you are staying for advice, regarding the areas to visit and how to reach them (also how much the taxi route should cost, thus avoiding paying too much)
  3. to visit particular areas outside the city, always rely on specialized guides and organized tours, do not go alone

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 79.000.000
  • Capital: Tehran
  • Languages: modern Persian (Farsi)
  • Local currency: Iranian rial (IRR) / € 1,00 = IRR 36.930,35
  • Weather: varies according to the area; mild and humid on the coast of the Caspian Sea; arid continental climate in the plateau; cold climate in the high mountains; desert climate on the southern coasts and in the south-east of the country; in general, Iran is arid with a sunny summer everywhere; finally, north and west are wetter than east and south
  • Time zone: + 2 hours and 30 minutes compared to Italy
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.


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