Iran is fast emerging as the must-visit destination for 2016. Find out why it is back on travellers’ radars and uncover its true beauty first-hand on board the Golden Eagle.
Iran has not always been a place synonymous with vacationing, even now one of the most frequently asked questions is whether or not it is safe to travel there. Golden Eagle Luxury Trains has been fulfilling tours to Iran since 2014 and has received nothing but positive feedback, most travellers are pleasantly surprised at what an incredibly welcoming and friendly nation it is.
The lifting of economic sanctions earlier this year and the eased travel advice from Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK has resulted in a further increase in tourism demand, which has already seen numbers rise by 12% each year since 2014. To accommodate this surge in popularity, the government is investing millions into the development of 125 new luxury hotels and the modernisation of its passenger aircraft fleet, in a bid to cement its place as an accessible holiday destination.
Several major airlines are supporting this boost in tourism by re-introducing direct flights to Tehran: British Airways, Air France and KLM will all resume their flights in 2016.
The areas in which our trains travel, and the remaining majority of Iran, has been declared safe by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In the US, The Department of State advises its citizens to “carefully consider the risks of travel” to the country; despite this our passengers from the US have all been able to obtain travel insurance to cover their trip. We advise you to speak with your insurer for further advice before confirming your travel arrangements.
To help you prepare for your trip, we have compiled a list of all the things you need to know before travelling to Iran, including dress codes for both men and women, details of their no alcohol policy and cash-only requirements. Read our need to know guide here: Iran Travel Advice.
Iran is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered; it has 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Golestan Palace, The Persian Garden and Susa. It is a country famous for its Persian Carpets, Textiles, beautiful mosaic covered architecture and thousands of years of cultural history. It’s easy to see why National Geographic placed Iran at number one on its ‘Cool List’ for 2016.
We celebrate our third year of touring the country with a pioneering new adventure from Moscow to Tehran, on board our five-star hotel-on-wheels, the Golden Eagle. The Persian Odyssey journey is available in both directions and also from Tashkent to Tehran as a shorter alternative. Guests will discover Isfahan’s phenomenal Islamic architecture, including the Masjed-e Imam mosque, before encountering the UNESCO honoured cities of Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand, where a wonderful evening drinks reception on Registan Square awaits.
On the westbound journey from Tehran to Moscow, there is also the chance to visit the infamous Darvaza gas crater in the middle of the Kara Kum desert, Turkmenistan. Known by locals as the ‘Door to Hell’ the 70-metre-wide crater has been burning for over 40 years. We visit at night to really feel the full effect of this truly breath taking site. For further information regarding the Persian Odyssey journeys, please find our tour itineraries here.
The Heart of Persia tour is a 14-day Iran-only tour, exploring the enchanting sites of Persia from the comfort of our luxury private train, the Golden Eagle. Beginning in Tehran, guests are treated to a private viewing of the Crown Jewels Museum, located in the Central Bank of Iran Building, showcasing one of the most expensive collections of jewels in the world, many of which were used by the Qajar and Pahlavid royalty. There is also the opportunity to explore the city of Mashhad, Iran’s holiest city and home to the world’s oldest religious shrine. The itinerary also includes a visit to the ancient ruins of Persepolis, another World Heritage Site and the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire, dating back to the 6th century BCE. For more information about the Heart of Persia tour, please feel free to download our brochure here.
Each of our journeys are designed to fully maximise the sightseeing opportunities available at each destination, with a fully inclusive touring programme and opportunities to explore independently. With several exciting journeys obtainable to those keen to make Persia their next adventure, book now and see for yourself why Iran is the most eagerly anticipated destination of 2016.