Iran is on the radar of those travelers who are in the know, and it is only going to get more popular as more stories of the friendliness of the locals, the beauty of the cities, and the tastiness of the cuisine start to be reiterated around the world.
Iran is incredibly safe and is probably one of the safest countries in the world for females to travel. The country is diverse, cultural and welcoming — not to mention romantic and friendly.
From some of the oldest mosques in the world to the sweetest treats, here are four essential experiences for you to have in Iran.
1. Explore the mosques of Isfahan.
Isfahan is Iran’s most popular tourist destination, and within a few minutes of being there, it will be easy for you to see why the country’s third-largest city is so beloved. There is no better way to describe it than to say that Isfahan is beautiful and is mainly known for its stunning Persian architecture.
In Isfahan, visitors can explore Imam Square (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Shah Mosque, the Bazaar of Isfahan, and Jameh Mosque (the oldest mosque in the city).
For the ideal experience in Iran, plan to go in spring or fall, as the summer is incredibly hot and winters can be freezing.
2. Indulge in Iranian cuisine.
For most people, one of the most exciting parts of travel is the opportunity to taste different foods from around the world. For foodies, Iran is an exceptional place to visit as the cuisine is unrivaled in originality. In Iran, the basics of the cuisine include lamb, chicken, lentils, yoghurt, rice, dates and pita bread.
Generally, for breakfast, you will be presented with a vegetarian meal that is comprised of feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, pita bread, yoghurt and watermelon.
Most meals are accompanied by tea (chai) which is the most common drink there and is served without milk.
Iranian sweets are also a must-try. The most famous Iranian dessert around the world is Baqlava, a mixture of chopped almonds, pistachios, and walnuts soaked in honey-flavored rose water. Additionally, you must try Sohan, a classic Iranian saffron brittle toffee.
3. Staying in a traditional house.
During your trip to Iran, you certainly want to spend time in the cities such as Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz, but you should also include a few days in the countryside in your itinerary. Staying in a traditional house in Iran is one of the best ways to experience the country like a local.
Some of the offerings of traditional houses in Iran include a 150-year old home that is decorated with traditional Iranian decor and offering a pleasant stay for guests. Another potential option is a traditional home that is reminiscent of ancient times in the desert — visitors can stay in adobe homes.
These are just two examples of the vast array of unique traditional houses in Iran that you can opt to stay in to make your visit a little more special.
4. Trek in the Alborz Mountains.
Iran is an incredibly diverse country, which is something that many people don’t realize. For the ultimate non-touristic Iranian experience, look to trek in the Alborz Mountains where you will encounter untouched villages in the middle of stunning mountains. You will have to stay in communities, eat organic produce from your home stays, and wake up each morning surrounded by some of Iran’s most beautiful scenery and nature.
This experience is undoubtedly off the beaten path, but finding yourself high in the Alborz Mountains overlooking the Caspian Sea in Iran can make for one of the most rewarding trips of your life. And, you can guarantee that not too many other people have done it (yet!).
In the winter, the Alborz Mountains are also home to excellent skiing. The season is usually from December to May.
Have you ever considered traveling to Iran? Are you intrigued about any of these experiences? Let us know in the comments below!
Raheleh Rasouli is a content creator 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. Raheleh is a veteran journalist with an aptitude for precision and a passion for new media.