A First-Timer's Tourism
Guide to Iran
Everything you need to know about going on a visit to
Considered the jewel in Islam’s crown, few countries rival the rich ancient history of Iran. Storied
ruins and exquisite historical architecture echo the glory days of Ancient Persia.
For travelers seeking something off the beaten track, Iran brings with it unmissable, yet-to-be-discovered
uniqueness. With tourism in Iran still slowly building, now is the time to explore the country’s many great
|The country of Iran, seen on the lower right above, is one of the oldest cultures in
rich in history that dates back to the Ancient Persia.
Start exploring Iran with our first-timer’s tourism guide.
Getting a visa
Like most other travel destinations, you will need a visa to enter this historic country.
Certain countries such as Egypt, Georgia, Lebanon, and Turkey can visit Iran without a visa. For those requiring
a visa, Iran provides most nationalities with a visa on arrival process.
The nationalities comprise of 65 nations, including many European countries, Central Asian countries, Australia,
China, and South Korea. Those issued with an Iranian tourist visa on arrival are given 30 days to visit the country.
Be forewarned, British, Canadian, and American travelers cannot get a visa on arrival and must secure a visa
prior to travel. To gain entry into the country, holders of these passports must obtain a visa in advance,
through an organized, guided tour.
When to visit
Similar to other countries in the Middle East, travelers can best enjoy Iran during spring and
autumn. Traveling during these seasons affords travelers escape from Iran’s blistering summer heat and
bitter winter cold.
The best months to go are March to May and September and October. As these are the best times to visit, these
are Iran’s high season, meaning prices will rise and crowds get bigger.
|If you travel to Isfahan, on your visit to Iran, you will encounter one of the
of Persian architecture in the Islamic era, the Shah Mosque, also known as Royal Mosque.
Top sights in Iran
With its exotic landscapes, beautiful architecture, and rich culture, travelers are spoiled for choice when it
comes to sightseeing. Unless you plan an extended holiday to Iran, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to see
everything Iran has to offer.
To get the most out of your first trip, we highlight three must-visit locales below.
This will be the first destination most travelers visit.
As most travelers will land at Tehran Airport, visitors often traverse through Iran’s capital to other popular destinations.
But, if you stay at the capital for a while, you’ll discover sociable locals, a contemporary art scene, and
an exhilarating pace unmatched in any other city.
If ancient ruins tug at your heartstrings, Persepolis is unmissable. The capital of ancient Persia,
Persepolis boasts historical sites dating back over 7,000 years. The architecture in Persepolis is grand,
imposing, and indicative of the former capital’s supremacy.
Sights of note in Persepolis include Tachara Palace and the Apadana Staircase.
A picturesque desert city, Yazd is a “must-visit” destination for any itinerary. Wedged between northern Dasht-e
Kavir and southern Dasht-e Lut, Yazd features atmospheric alleyways, well-preserved mud-brick houses, and a forest
of badgirs (wind towers).
Visitors to Yazd will be enchanted by the city’s magnificent tilework and the history of old Persia.
|Located in Fars Province of Iran, the ancient ruins of Persepolis are more than
7 millenniums old and represent one of the greatest wonders of the ancient world.
For those with a passion for active pursuits, Iran’s vast landscapes offer travelers a tempting invitation to
trek, ski, dive, and numerous other activities. From Alamut Valley and the Alborz Mountains to desert oases like
Kavir-e Lut and Dasht-e Kavir, many active pursuits are possible.
Travelers looking to explore off the beaten track should make it a point to hire a tour guide when exploring
isolated areas as such environments are not suitable for independent travel.
Other things to consider
As Iran continues to open its doors to more and more visitors, certain rules and regulations must be
considered before travel. Despite travel warnings, Iran is a relatively safe country to visit.
Don't forget to visit bazaar while in Iran, to explore local
However, do keep in mind that certain local customs exist that you may be unaware of. For example, it’s
suggested that travelers dress modestly during their stay in the country. Other considerations are included
There also two currencies to consider; Rial and Toman. While the official currency of the country is Rial, most locals and stores
trade in Toman. The currency exchange is 1 Toman = 10 Rial.
You’ll also need to withdraw enough money for the extent of your trip as you cannot withdraw
money from local ATMs or use your Visa and Mastercard in local
Iranian banks. Exchange agencies are located in most tourist areas of Iran, and often offer better rates than
exchanges at the airport’s bank.
In major cities like Tehran, travelers can use public transport to get around the city. The Tehran Metro
is a great way to get around the city. Minibuses and VIP buses service roads that link larger cities to surrounding
Other forms of transport include city taxis, private taxis, and car rentals. Note that Uber is not available in
Iran; however, applications such as Snapp provide the same type of service for reasonable prices.
|Altought one of the oldest cultures in the world, Iran is also a modern country,
people, where it's relatively easy to get around the capital city with taxis or public
Accomodations in Iran can cater to any price and budget. The country offers budget hotels, five-star
accommodations, guesthouses, and the option to stay in traditional houses.
Iran is a great place to take a (in)voluntary “digital detox.” Having limited internet access can be
a welcome break, but if you do need to stay connected, consider buying a prepaid SIM card with data.
A local SIM card along with a VPN (virtual private network) will allow you to connect and browse your favorite
social media channels and websites.
Ready to go?
There are many reasons one should visit Iran, but none more so than the Iranian people. Iranians redefine
hospitality. They are some of the warmest and friendliest people in the world, and undoubtedly, a hidden gem of the
country. You may just find an unforgettable experience waiting for you.
Hamid Habibollah is Head of Content and Social Media at Snapptrip, a
full-service travel booking company based in Tehran, Iran with a mission to empower customers' choices in booking
their whole travel online. Hamid is an experienced content marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the
internet industry and a passion for new media.