Iran has quickly emerged as a must-visit travel destination; since the lifting of economic sanctions earlier this year and the eased travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the UK, the country has seen a dramatic increase in tourism demand. Here are our top 10 reasons why Persia should be at the top of your travel bucket list:
1. Iran is a friendly, welcoming and hospitable country
As Iran is fairly new to tourism, Westerners are virtually walking into the land of the unknown. One of the most surprising things that tourists discover when visiting Iran is what a friendly and welcoming nation they are. Lonely Planet describes it perfectly: “If travel is most rewarding when it surprises, then Iran might just be the most rewarding destination on Earth”. Experiencing something not many people have had the opportunity to enjoy creates a buzz of excitement and exclusivity around this fascinating country.
2. It just became a lot easier to get there
International connections are constantly improving, for example London and Paris have recently re-introduced direct flights to Tehran. British Airways and Air France both fly to Iran’s capital from as little as £350 return. The Iranian Embassy re-opened earlier this year in London, also making the visa application for British citizens a more straightforward affair.
3. History lovers will be spoiled for choice
Iran is home to numerous impeccably preserved archaeological sites; in fact, there are 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites to be discovered. From the Masjed-e Shah, Isfahan, the oldest preserved building of its type in Iran and the standard by which subsequent mosques have been designed throughout Central Asia to the ancient ruins of Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire, dating back to the 6th Century and still an incredible, breath-taking sight to behold. There is also the stunning Golestan Palace, with its renovated Versailles-inspired mirror-encrusted Marble Throne Hall, used for the coronation of the last Shah. Most of its remaining brick and tile buildings date back to the 19th century Qajar dynasty.
4. All travel queries/concerns laid to rest
Travelling in Iran often raises questions around the rules and restrictions of the country; what is allowed and what isn’t. To help make things straightforward, we came up with a specific Iran-only FAQ’s page, answering queries around the dress code, personal safety and alcohol consumption. This gem of useful information can be found on our website: http://ow.ly/qxoC304Gfhf
5. Unleash your inner adventurer
Each of our journeys are designed to fully maximise the sightseeing opportunities available at each destination, with a fully inclusive touring programme to enjoy and an experienced tour guide leading the way. You will never be short of monuments to visit and leisurely walks to embark upon.
6. Golden Eagle were pioneers of train travel in Iran
In 2014, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains became the first private train operator to launch a touring programme of Iran. Our ‘Jewels of Persia’ journey began in Budapest and culminated in Tehran, marking the first occasion a European private train had been permitted to enter Iranian territory. We have been operating train journeys to and from Tehran ever since and have consistently received wonderful feedback from passengers.
7. Michael Portillo joins us on board in April 2018
Journalist and broadcaster, Michael Portillo, will be hosting a series of guest lectures on board the Golden Eagle in 2018, as part of a rail adventure through the heart of Iran, offered exclusively by Steppes Travel and Telegraph Tours. Find out more about this once in a lifetime adventure here: http://ow.ly/7zrf304Gfv0
8. Spring is the perfect time of year to visit
Our April 2017 departure is the perfect opportunity to discover Iran. Spring time is the optimum time for travel in Iran, avoiding the cooler temperatures of winter and the scorching mid-30s of summer. The scenery is spectacular and there are plenty of walking tours to undertake, so moderate, cooler temperatures become almost a necessity.
9. Be wowed by Tehran
Taking up residence on the lower slopes of the Alborz Mountains, Tehran is Iran’s most modernised and liberal city. The metropolitan capital city is home to some striking architecture, as well as several art galleries and museums. The northern districts are more affluent and modern, but the southern area is still charming and your best chance to purchase a great bargain. There are some wonderful cafes and tea-houses to enjoy and unique, scenic walking trails to partake in.
10. It’s home to some of the world’s most beautiful Mosques
Iran is home to thousands of Mosques, some of which are among the most beautiful and unique in the world. From the kaleidoscope of patterns of the Nasir ol Molk Mosque (Pink Mosque) in Shiraz to the complex and intricate ceiling detailing of the Seyyed Mosque in Isfahan, these breath taking masterpieces are a sight to behold.
“Think of a country, largely cut off from the outside world, with a lovely dry climate, sophisticated and charming people, superb archaeological monuments, mountains, deserts…Iran is, quite simply, the most charming country I know.” John Simpson, BBC World Affairs Editor.
The Golden Eagle departs on its Heart of Persia voyage 6th April 2017. For more information on how you can be a part of this truly unique adventure of a lifetime, visit our website here.