Iran might not seem like your usual tourist destination, and it’s certainly true that theocratic juntas, a fervor for all things nuclear, and tales of autocratic shahs from decades gone by don’t make for the most enticing of travel cocktails. But Iran isn’t like most Middle Eastern countries.
Millennia of rising and falling civilizations – the Persians, the Parthians, the Safavids – have all gone before the modern nation, and their glory and richness have done something to instill today’s country with a pride and stability that’s the envy of many neighbors (even if they won’t admit it). Today, that means Iran is hurtling headlong into the future whilst still clinging steadfastly to its dazzling past – it’s a curious dichotomy that really informs the whole place.
You can flit between boho coffee shops and avant-garde art galleries in Tehran, or seek out majestic madrassahs in cities like Esfahan and Yazd. You can carve the pistes at Dizin or trace the footsteps of Xerxes and Darius at Persepolis.
Lets explore the best places to visit in Iran:
Gilded with the riches of more kings and sultans and Muslim caliphs than you can shake a cobalt-blue ceramic pot from a Zagros Mountain village at, the glorious city of Esfahan is unquestionably one of the most beautiful in all of Iran.
Its heart is dominated by the colossal Naqsh-e Jahan Square; a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s ringed by ceramic-fronted mosques and gorgeous Safavid palaces.
Elsewhere and babbling fountains give way to tree-dotted avenues, legendary madrassahs pop up on the streets, and arabesque souks burst with multi-coloured stacks of spices and tassel-fringed carpets from the east.
In short: Esfahan is the Iran you really have to see.