Iran is a country of ancient history, diverse nature, and rich culture. Iran has something to offer all tastes! From ancient ruins as old as 7,000 years to mosques of artistic intricacy; from cold snowy mountains to hot sandy deserts; and from deep literature to adorable customs and festivals. What makes Iran even more unique is its people. With a diversity of costumes, traditions, lifestyles, and an unparalleled hospitality that’s rooted in the culture, Iranian people are probably the main attraction of the country.
The metropolitan capital, Tehran, with a 8.69-million population, is blessed with the country’s top museums. The three other main tourist cities which form the Golden Triangle – Shiraz, Isfahan and Yazd – enjoy a concentration of attractions. Shiraz, the city of poets, is known for garden mansions, historical complexes and the renowned ancient sites of Persepolis, Pasargadae and Necropolis. Isfahan attracts many thanks to the intricacy of its masterpieces of Islamic architecture. The historical city of Yazd highlights a unique desert architecture as well as relics of the ancient Persian religion, Zoroastrianism. Kashan, a magnetic town near Isfahan, showcases elegant elements of Persian architecture in impressive historical mansions.
Venture off the usual tourist trail in western Iran and you will find a unique Kurdish lifestyle, mystical music, terraced villages and spectacular mountains. The eastern region features endless flat deserts and spiritual music and dance. In the south, you’ll discover geological wonders, scenic beaches and local culture; while the north is covered in dense jungle. The southwest showcases 7,000 year-old treasures. In the southeast, the desert meets the ocean. In the northwest, experience mountains and priceless historical mementos. And finally, in the northeast you can meet the famous Turkmen horses of Iran.
Generally, you can visit all year round, but the perfect time is spring and fall, especially early in spring. However, if you like to go off the beaten path, be aware that winters are cold and even snowy in some areas (like the west and northwest) and summers can be very hot in certain parts (like deserts and southern Iran). For skiing and winter sports, Iran is a great destination in winter. And if you particularly like to visit the hotter regions, winter is of course the best option.
Iran has a diversity of climates, creating cold snowy mountains, hot deserts, dense jungles, biodiverse islands and impressive valleys. So, there is a radical difference of temperature between the coldest and warmest regions of Iran at a given time during the year.
There are four seasons in Iran: Spring is from late March to late June, summer from late June to late September, fall is from late September to late December, and winter from late December to late March. Generally, July is the hottest month, and January the coldest. And December is the wettest month of the year.
For women, a scarf is mandatory. Also do not forget your personal medications. Also, bring along a piece of warm clothing (like a sweatshirt) because of the climate variety in Iran.
A VPN is useful to access some blocked websites and platforms in Iran. The climate in Iran varies considerably from region to region. So check the weather for the area you will be visiting and bring the necessary clothing. Wearing a headscarf is a MUST for all women. Both men and women should dress modestly – no shorts or vests in public. For women, shirts that cover your arms and trousers of skirts that reach the ankles are recommended.
The Persians’ love of arts is as deep-rooted as the Persian civilisation. Persian arts, handicrafts, and architecture have thrived throughout the ages and have been influenced by other countries and civilisations. A variety of precious artefacts, intricate arts and architectural masterpieces have been discovered from different historical eras. They reflect the Iranian’s fascination with nature, geometric patterns, imaginative designs and spirituality.
Persian music is a clear mirror that best reflects all the ups and downs of Iran’s history and the familiar feelings of love, joy and sorrow that Iranians have felt in their hearts. Documents and treasures as old as pre-history show an elaborate musical culture in Iran. Today, Persian traditional music and Persian folk/local music are the main reflectors of this rich culture. In Persian traditional music, you can trace Persian mysticism and spirituality, as well as the unique sound of Persian instruments. In each region, you can also discover a one-of-a-kind musical tradition.
- Do ask permission before taking a photo of a local
- Do respect the local culture
- Do take off your shoes before entering into an Iranian house
- Do wear modest clothing
- Do behave respectfully in religious places
- Do not offer to shake hands with the opposite gender unless they offer their hands first
- Do not ask for alcohol as this is forbidden in Iran
- Do not openly criticise the Iranian government or its politics
Just like its diverse nature, Iran enjoys a rainbow of ethnic groups and Nomadic tribes. Each features its own unique costumes, music, dance, dishes, lifestyle, traditions and even sometimes architectural styles! They include:
Turks – who mainly live in the northwest)
Kurds – who live in the western mountains
Lors – mainly living in Lorestan, Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiri Provinces
Fars – spread around Iran
Arabs – mainly in the southwest
Baloch – mainly in the southeast
Talysh – mostly in the west of the Caspian Sea
The religion of the majority of Iranians is Islam. But minorities who believe in Christianity, Judaism, and Zoroastrianism also exist in different cities. The historical city of Yazd is now the center of Zoroastrianism.
Persian literature is the heart and soul of Persian culture! With poets Rumi, Khayyam, Hafez, Saadi, and Ferdowsi as the pillars and guardians of the ancient civilization and culture, Iran boasts of a rich literature that manifests itself in many ways. Mainly spiritual, moral, and humanistic, the works of these poets reflect themselves in Persian traditional music, art and culture.