Iran, in all its paradoxical glory, is sure to surprise international visitors. By some measures, Iran is still a developing country, yet it is also the world’s oldest civilization. One thing is for sure, with thousands of years of continuous history comes sophisticated culture and opulence.
Do you want to:
- stay in 5-star hotels?
- have a private chauffeur?
- enjoy saffron and caviar with your meals?
- buy silk carpets?
- dowse yourself in gems and gold?
This can be your reality in Iran. An upscale vacation in Iran is totally possible because your money goes a lot further than many other comparable destinations.
So here it is, we have researched and complied the 2019 guide to luxury travel in Iran.
Is Luxury Travel in Iran Possible?
100% yes. And it is affordable. 2018 was a difficult year for the Iranian economy but the good news for travelers is that luxury travel in Iran is affordable like never before.
Travel in the best season
Iran has a vast climate so the best season to travel depends on your destination.
The most popular destinations for first-time travelers are Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, and Yazd. These places are located in central Iran and are enjoyable all year round, but summers do get hot (35 degrees C as a ballpark).
The southern parts of Iran, close to the Persian Gulf, are best visited between October and April. Unless you’re really keen, I strongly recommend avoiding these places in summer as temperatures can reach into the 50s!
Travel stress free
All incoming tourists to Iran will need to obtain a tourist visa and travel insurance for the duration of their trip. Usually granted for a period of 30 days, visas and insurance are issued on arrival at some Iranian airports (such at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport) or visitors can apply in advance through a provider such as 1stQuest.
Applying in advance reduces your risk of visa rejection and eliminates the stress of paperwork and long waits upon your arrival. 1stQuest can handle your visa and insurance application for you. For more information, check out this page: Iran visa
Travel in style
Iran is a large country and traveling between cities and tourist destination requires some planning. Booking domestic flights are quite inexpensive (starting from 15 EUR) so air travel is an easy option.
Hiring a driver for the duration of your trip is a great way to see everything you want to see, at your own pace. Private drivers start from 35 EUR per day and you can choose what make and model vehicle you want to be chauffeured in. The support team at 1stQuest can connect you with a driver who speaks your language.
Stay in boutique hotels
These days, Iran is largely disconnected from international trading due to sanctions meaning international hotel chains are not common.
Apart from the Novotel hotel at Tehran’s international airport, I know of no other international hotel chains. For luxury travelers, this is actually a positive. Iran has more than its fair share of luxurious five-star hotels and you don’t pay the usual price for the experience.
Most five star hotels in Iran will have pools, saunas, steam rooms, massage parlors, 24/7 room service, free mini bar, on-site cafes and restaurants, valet services, complimentary buffet breakfasts and billiard halls. Expect palatial lobbies and professional staff.
We’ve written plenty about luxury hotels across the country, so check out:
- Find the Best Boutique Hotels in Iran
- The 10 best hotels in Tehran for a luxury travel
- The Top 6 Luxury Hotels in Kish for an Unforgettable Stay
Hire a guide
All travelers want to avoid getting lost, frustrated and ripped off. In Iran, you can afford to hire a private guide to take you wherever you want to go.
From just 35 EUR per day, you can have your own personal tour guide who speaks your language. Contact 1stQuest and allow us to make the arrangements for you.
Eat well, eat Persian
If I had one word to describe Iranian cuisine it would be luxurious. As someone before me has said, “how many cuisines count rosewater, cardamom, pistachios, rose petals, dried mint and saffron as staple pantry provisions?”
Persian food is something between Indian and Lebanese food, but with definite French and Russian influences. Most main dishes typically contain rice and meat. Due to its position on the Silk Road, eastern spices are also regular additions. The quality of Iranian grown fruit such as pomegranates, peaches, cherries, figs, plums, and citrus is unrivaled worldwide.
Last week I went to one of Tehran’s well-renowned restaurants, Alborz on Sohrevardi Street. Specializing in barbecue meats, Alborz provides a luxury experience with top quality food, tuxedo-clad waiters and sparkling chandeliers. This ambiance was topped off by the pianist asking us for requests. For less than 15 EUR I had a Persian olive tapenade for starter, Caspian grilled trout with rice and vegetables for a main, virgin mojito and an apple pie and ice cream for dessert.
Alborz is rivaled by a heap of top quality restaurants all across the country. Other lux restaurants in Tehran are Divan and Boomi, both serving Persian/ Persian fusion foods in beautiful settings. With a different restaurant on each floor and chic modern design, you’ll feel like a star dining at Haftkhan in Shiraz. Arc a Restaurant in Jolfa, Isfahan is an al fresco delight serving spectacular steaks and duck dishes. Khan Gostar in Isfahan and Pesaran Karim in Mashhad are also favorites.
Having starters, several (non-alcoholic) drinks, dessert and/or tea with your main meal is expected. And when everything is so yummy and cheap, why not?
Shop ‘til you drop
Shopping in Iran has never been better. The Iranian Rial plummeted against the Euro in 2018 so international tourists need not look far to find a bargain.
Persian carpets are the ultimate luxury souvenir when traveling the Middle East. Each region of Iran has its own unique carpet style, with varying colors, patterns, and textures. Buying a carpet is an experience in and of itself. Your rug merchant will try his best to woo you with complimentary tea, cookies and a history lesson in Iranian carpets. Available in silk or wool, prices for Persian carpets start from around 10 EUR and go up into the tens of thousands.
Saffron is endemic to Iran and buying these precious threads won’t burn a hole in your budget. Sold by the gram, saffron is the perfect souvenir to gift to friends and family.
Another popular luxury souvenir is backgammon and chess boards. Khatem is an ancient Iranian wood inlaying technique using camel bones, wood and copper. A handmade khatem chess board is an absolute treasure.
Bazaars across the country are the main shopping destinations for handicrafts and souvenirs. Each region has its own souvenir. For example, rosewater for Kashan, caviar for the Caspian Sea, Khatam for Shiraz, turquoise for Khorasan and silver for Zanjan.
For more about shopping in Iran, read: Do not leave Iran without Persian Souvenirs.
Book a package deal
Want to save even more money? You can book a package deal via 1stQuest. From as little as 1895 EUR per person, 1stQuest will arrange for you:
- 7 nights in 5-star hotels, 2 nights in 4-star traditional hotels and 3 nights in 3-star traditional houses
- All your transportation: domestic flights, airport transfers and private transportation
- An English speaking guide
- Meals: All breakfasts and5 dinners
- Your visa authorization letter
For more information see https://untour.1stquest.com/Iran-tour-package-luxury.
You can also customize your own tour with 1stQuest.