Iran has some incredibly unique places to visit for every type of traveler. My interest in Iran was sparked from having made some Iranian friends in the city where I live, Kuala Lumpur. It always intrigued me as a destination since I had heard so many wonderful things about Iranian culture.
But it wasn’t until my last trip to India where I made a close Iranian friend that I decided to visit. My first impressions of Iran were the total opposite of what I had imagined. I’ve been to around 29 countries and I can safely say that Iranians are the friendliest people in the world.
Iran has a long history and a proud culture with strong family traditions. People in Iran are very hospitable and friendly as they like to make friends with you even when there are language barriers.
I got the chance to meet some locals through chance events such as taxi rides. One time a taxi driver brought me to his house to have a party with his family and friends. It’s very common to get invited for tea in Iran.
Top 5 Incredible Places to Visit in Iran
My trip to Iran was a memorable one and was definitely my most epic trip of the year. I went on the north to south route in a span of 16 days visiting Tehran, Kashan, Isfahan, Varzaneh, Yazd and Shiraz. Along the way, I visited some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Below I would like to share some of my favourites places to visit in Iran:
1) Shah Mosque, Isfahan: Shah Mosque in Isfahan was the most beautiful mosque I saw in Iran. The huge front gate with two minarets amazed me a lot and it’s such a peaceful place to be in the morning.
However, that’s not the only thing it offers. The interior is built in a typical hypostyle way and you can appreciate the beauty of this architecture all day long. It’s easy to spend at least 3 hours in this place.
2) Rooftop of Yazd Rain House, Yazd: Yazd Rain House was a special place for me because it was a family guesthouse where they sell art, crafts, cafe food and the most amazing thing was the rooftop. It’s such a beautiful place to hang out and see Yazd.
Located in the heart of the old city of Yazd, you can see the Jameh Mosque and Alexander’s Prison from the rooftop. I spent every sunrise and sunset on this wonderful rooftop with the family who were very hospitable and made fresh bread on the spot with tea and sweets!
3) Varzaneh Desert, Isfahan: I haven’t visited a lot of desert in my life but what makes Varzaneh so special is the height of the sand dunes which range from 5-62 metres high.
Therefore it can be difficult to hike due to its steepness and sandiness. However, the desert is easily accessible from Varzaneh town (15km away) and Isfahan (105km away), which makes for a great day trip from either of these places.
4) Si-o-Se Pol Bridge, Isfahan: Si-o-Se Pol means the bridge of 33 arches. It’s one of the most chilled out spots (especially in the evening) in Isfahan. It was built back in 1602 to serve as a bridge and dam. When the sun sets, the rays light up the bridge and since it’s a pedestrian bridge – many locals come to hangout at this spot.
5) Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque, Shiraz: The famous Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque aka the Pink Mosque is gaining in popularity because of the beautiful light that shines through the colorful windows of the mosque. It quickly became a photography hotspot.
This mosque is rather small but if you want to enjoy the atmosphere at a peaceful time, do come here as soon as it opens (even though some photographers would be there). The sunlight does not really shine in until 8am but there are a lot of crowds after this time.
It’s still one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve seen in Iran.
Sharing Memories and Meals with the People of Iran
One of my best memories in Iran was during my stay in Yazd. I was in a guest-house owned by a small family of 3. Mr. Abbas, wife and kid. I was the only guest as there wasn’t many people who knew about this place.
Every morning for breakfast, Mr. Abbas’s brother would make fresh bread from scratch. Most of the time they would ask me to join them for dinner and meet and talk with other family members. Staying with them made me feel like I was at home because of their unbelievable hospitality.
That’s the thing about Iran. If you open your heart and talk to people they will reply in kind. It’s very easy to communicate with Iranians (despite language barriers) and they are normally happy to help or even invite you to their house unexpectedly. The best is when you get to share a traditional meal with the locals.
The best unique local Iranian food I tried was Ghormeh Sabzi which is a type of Persian herb stew, the popular Dolmeh (grape leaves stuffed with meat and herbs) and Dizi – a delicious meat broth. Abgoosht is the traditional name for Dizi as the traditional stoneware crocks are called Dizi.
Is Iran a Safe Place to Visit?
Iran is just like other countries I’ve visited which are safe. I never felt any danger at all. Just avoid being alone late at night. My main tip for visiting Iran would be to do some research beforehand. For example: they don’t accept international credit cards which requires you to bring cash.
Women also have to cover their heads in Iran and men aren’t allowed to wear shorts in certain public places. Also check the currency exchange rate for Iranian Rial as it is extremely unstable at the moment and the use of two currencies of Rials and Toman can be quite confusing.
Thanks for reading my article on beautiful places to visit in Iran! To learn more about my travels around the world do follow along on Instagram. Also feel free to check out my music transcription service which provides me with work while I travel to amazing destinations such as Iran.