WOMEN ONLY TOUR TO IRAN
Iran at a glance
A fascinating mix of desert living, ancient history and ornate architecture, Iran is bound to impress you with its otherworldly landscapes. You’ll see places you never knew existed, taste food combinations like never before and gain newfound respect for this deeply historical and religious land.
While still largely off the radar for most tourists, Iran is rapidly gaining the world’s attention as a must-see destination. Those who’ve visited tell tales of ornate mosques, dreamy landscapes lost to the desert and atmospheric calls to prayer drifting above adobe rooftops. This is a trip for the curious traveler, the one seriously interested in uncovering and understanding the world around them. It’s one that will leave you with stories for many years to come.
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Because of the lengthy visa process and local laws that are important to follow, this trip has important notes to read before booking.
Proof of travel insurance is required before joining day 1 of any Meetup Tour. International flights are not included. All SoFe Travelers are required to prove that they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 OR produce a negative test taken at least 72 hours before the start of the Meetup Tour.
Meet your new BFF.
A SoFe Travel leader joins groups larger than 5, maximizing your adventure and ensuring you’re well taken care of.
No math on vacay.
From driver to guide to included experiences, tips are included, so you only need take out your wallet for those extra bamieh
Get your beauty sleep.
Enjoy our hand-picked, premium accommodation combining the best of design, location and comfort.
Welcome to Tehran!
Welcome to Iran! Backdropped by the snowcapped Alborz Mountains and socially divided from north to south, Tehran is Iran’s most liberal metropolis. It’s a clear example of a modern Iran. Art galleries and contemporary cafes coexist alongside traditional teahouses, grand architecture and ornately detailed palaces. We’ll collect you from the airport and advise an arrival time of no later than 3pm. Meet your fellow travelers and guide for a welcome meeting, and then it’s off to your first delicious meal in Iran – dinner at a restaurant chosen by our local guide. Meals: dinner
Visit the Golestan Palace, Iran National Museum, and Grand Bazaar
We start our exploration of the city with a visit to the majestic Golestan Palace ornately decorated with beautiful handpainted tiles. Built during the Qajar dynasty and surrounded by elegant gardens, this UNESCO world heritage listed ‘Palace of Flowers’ is set amidst an elegant garden. We meander through the nearby Grand Bazaar, a bustling maze of stores lining more than 10km of alleyways. Our female guide will lead us on a shopping experience, teaching us all the ways to wear scarves and serving up street food gems. We see the Iran National Museum which houses archaeological artefacts as examples of architecture and Iranian art. Meals: breakfast
Tehran to Yazd
Train trip & Yazd city walking tour
Hop on board the mid-morning train for about 5 hours to the ancient tan and pale blue city of Yazd, a major stop on the Silk Road. Don’t worry, the train is air-conditioned and very comfortable. It’s a perfect opportunity to rest (that is, if you can keep your eyes off the stunning landscapes!) Often called the ‘City of the Holy’, Yazd was a sanctuary for communities seeking peace and is one of the few remaining strongholds of the Zoroastrian faith – (arguably) the first monotheistic religion in the world. Arid conditions and extreme heat melded the city’s unique design – as seen with wind towers, shaped to catch currents of cooler air, and domed rooftops. Our walking tour takes us through the old sections of the city, with narrow streets, mud houses, and stunning mosques. Perhaps stop for some sweets, because Yazd is known for its rosewater, nuts, and flakey pastry. Meals: breakfast
Visit famous Yazd attractions, join a Zoroastrian family for lunch & solo afternoon
Otherworldly Yazd has treasures in store for us today from the enigmatic sky burial site, the Tower of Silence, to the Behram Fire which has been burning continuously since 470 AD! We walk through Dolat Gardens, see the exquisite Jameh Mosque and stop by Haj Khalifeh, the centenarian-old confectionary store selling Yazd’s most famous sweets. For lunch, travel to the outskirts of the city where we join a Zoroastrian family for a cooking demonstration using ingredients and flavours typical to their heritage. It’s a special opportunity to speak to your hosts about their religion, culture, and customs while learning how they prepare a traditional meal. The rest of our day is free – relax and enjoy the late afternoon views overlooking the old city. Meals: breakfast, lunch
YAZD TO KHARANAQ
Visit Kharanaq, short hike to the Fire Temple & feature stay in a caravanserai
This morning we set off for the deserted city of Kharanaq, just an hour’s drive from Yzad. This crumbling town dates back 4000 years, and is made of mud brick. We explore the historic Citadel, and then made our way to the Zoroastrian fire temple of Chak Chak – believed to be the last refuge of the princess Yazdegerd, after the Arab invasion. It is a beautiful climb and the views are breathtaking. Tonight we stay in a mystical caravanserai. Dating back to the 16th Century, this was a place to rest for the camel trains moving between trade cities. You will feel like a Zoroastrian princess sipping tea on ornately woven rugs and plush pillows pondering the mysteries of centuries past. Meals: breakfast, dinner | Drive time: 2.5 hours
YAZD TO SHIRAZ
Persepolis UNESCO Heritage site & Nadsh-e Rostam
Leaving the caravanserai for the city of Shiraz we stretch our legs at the ancient city of Persepolis, a UNESCO Heritage site and once the capital city of the Achaemenid Empire. Considered one of the most important cities of the ancient world, the ruins sit on the terraced foot of Kuh-e Rahmat, the Mountain of Mercy. There are few structures left standing, but your guide will bring history to life with stories of the past while wandering underneath towering, freestanding sculptures dating back to as early as 515 BC. Today we visit the royal rock tombs of Naqsh-e Rostam, carved with impeccable motifs and columns. We will arrive to Shiraz in the late afternoon in time for a short walk with your guide or some down time in our beautiful hotel. Meals: breakfast | Drive time: 6 hours
Eram Gardens, Vakil bazaar, and a women only salon
We get to know Shiraz today and the women who live here. Home to poets, literature, and pomegranate trees, it’s considered the ‘City of Gardens’ because of many lush landscapes seen throughout the city, such as the historic Persian Eram Gardens, our first stop of the day. Wander the gardens and stop to smell the flowers before a visit to the ornately decorated Tomb of Hafez. By this time, you have surely worked up an appetite, so we will visit visit Vakil Bazaar, a perfect spot to sip some orange blossom team and grab something for lunch. We are then off to a women only salon where the hijab comes off, the conversation is lively, and the music is blaring. Treat yourself to a manicure, or perhaps a wash and blow wave in what is the most popular oasis for women. In post-revolution Iran, opening a beauty salon was one of the most conventional ways for Iranian women to have financial independence. For dinner we join a local family for a feast in their home. Meals: breakfast, dinner
SHIRAZ TO TANG-E CHOGAN
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Bishapur, and Qashqai nomad village
Rise early this morning to catch the first rays of the sun as it seeps in through the stained glass of the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, also known as the Pink Mosque due to the cascade of rose-hued tiles and stained glass windows filling interiors with a kaleidoscope of colour. We drive to the picturesque valley of Tang-e Chogan, and after a delicious picnic packed by our eco lodge hosts, venture into the Roman-built city of Bishapur. Later we’ll visit the Qashqai people for a glimpse into nomadic life. Of Turkish descent, the tribal group migrated with their livestock across the Zagros mountains that separate the plains of Mesopotamia from Western Iran. Many are still nomadic today, and while English is limited (your guide will help you translate) the hospitality of these pastoralists powers through the language barrier. You’ll likely be invited for tea and homemade yoghurt. Tonight is another feature stay at an eco lodge. Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner | Drive time: 2.5 hours
TANG-E CHOGAN TO ESFAHAN
Zargos Mountains & Si-o-se-pol Bridge
Crossing the Zargos mountains, we’re rewarded by views of deep gorges and scenes of jagged peaks towering over 14 000 ft in the air. We arrive at the breathtaking 977 feet long bridge of Si-o-se-pol, meaning the ‘bridge of 33 spans’. These 33 arches are an architectural wonder, mirrored in the water below and lit up at night to glow a warm orange. Our drive today is about 6.5 hours with plenty of breaks for views and sustenance. We will arrive in Esfahan in the late afternoon where you can relax in our stunning hotel. Meals: breakfast | Drive time: 6.30 hours
Walking tour and lunch with local family
Once the dazzling capital of Persia and proudly known as ‘Half the World’, Esfahan is a glittering city covered in intricate, brightly colored tiles. We see Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and Meidan Eman square, an outstanding example of Iranian and Islamic architecture, Vank Cathedral, as well as Ali Qapu palace which was the official residence of the Persian Emporer and served as the entrance to the royal harem. This afternoon, explore the bazaar with its wonderful scents and spices, musical merchants’ cries and, of course, thousands of locals bargaining for their goods. Walk the covered lanes and browse for fabrics, spices, jewelry and other treasures. After chatting about life in Esfahan over lunch with a local family, we have the option of attending a traditional hammam (bathhouse) used for relaxation and wellness, especially by women. Meals: breakfast, lunch
Esfahan to Kashan
Kashan bazaar and farewell dinner
Today is a relaxed day for you to take in your last glimpses of Iran, taste more of Iran’s incredible cuisine, and linger for some shopping. We will drive to Kashan today (about 2.5 hours) and visit the historical Tabatabai House and garden, built around 1880. We will bargain some more and taste some last sweets at the Kashan bazaar before our farewell dinner – a tasty end to our journey. Meals: breakfast, dinner | Drive time: 2.5 hours
FAREWELL FOR NOW
As your tour comes to a close, ask your guide to help arrange transportation to the airport which is an approximate 2 -2.5 hours drive away from the hotel. Enjoy breakfast, and if you’re like us, start dreaming about your next adventure! Meals: breakfast
We have scheduled some of our Iran Meetup Tour departures to allow you to add Turkey or Lebanon back to back with Iran. Check out our calendar page to see dates for combined tour options or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Grand Hotel, Tehran
Dripping with Persian elegance, our hotel in Tehran provides all the modern amenities you need in a prime location. With plenty of common space to meet your fellow travelers, it’s a perfect hotel to begin your adventure in Iran.
Morshedi House, Kashan
Local charm, free flowing orange blossom tea, and that Persian flair, this is a 250 year old historical home turned into a beautiful, yet simple guesthouse. Relax on the roof terrace and enjoy traditional Persian cuisine with a view.
Keryas Traditional Hotel, Esfahan
A stone’s throw from the bazaar, we love this boutique hotel for so many reasons – the spaciousness, amazing food, stained glass windows, and friendly staff. Sit in the communal center of the hotel sipping sweet tea basking in the sun.
Arrival: Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA)
- We will will have an airport transfer waiting for you when arrive on day 1. The transfer will take you from the airport to our group hotel in Tehran.
- If you arrive a day or two early, the airport transfer is not included. Please email us directly if you book flights outside this window so we can assist with arranging a transfer and an early night in the hotel.
- It is very important that you be at the welcome meeting on day 1 at 6pm, so please try to arrive before 3pm.
Departure: Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) You can leave anytime on the last day. Check out is at 10am, but plan for a 2.5 hour drive to the airport to account for traffic.
- International airfares
- Visa fees
- Travel insurance (mandatory). Not all travel insurances cover Iran, but once you book, we will send you some insurance options that do.
- Airport drop off
- A $500 deposit is required to hold your spot. This is only refundable if you are refused a visa to Iran.
- Final payment is due 90 days before departure.
- Pay as much as often as you like until the due date.
- If you cancel your spot earlier than 90 days before departure, you can apply your payment to any trip within the next year.
It is very important that you adhere to a strict dress code even in warm weather. All women must have their heads covered upon entering Iran and in all public spaces. Arms and legs must also stay covered.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to confirm preferred hotels due to limited four-star options in the region. While we will always look to the next suitable alternative, in some cases these may not be centrally located. It’s important to note that local star ratings may not match those you are used to. In some locations, the three-star hotels are a better quality (and location) than the four-star hotels and are priced accordingly.
Iran is a big country and you’ll cover a lot in 12 days, which means some long travel days and a busy itinerary. All land travel is air-conditioned buses with regular stops along the way.
US, British and Canadian passport holders will need to book this trip at least three months before departure as this is the length of time it takes to process a visa for these nationalities.
Please keep in mind that under the regulations of the Iranian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, US, British and Canadian passport holders must be accompanied by a local host (our local operator) on all activities. For this reason, your leader may suggest optional activities during this free time that are organised by our operator at your own expense. Alternatively, this free time is the perfect opportunity to relax in your hotel.
In 2022, Ramadan will take place from March 22 to April 21. Traveling during this holy month can be a rewarding cultural experience. However, some regular services may not be available during the daytime, such as restaurants or coffee bars, and occasionally travel can be disrupted by events.
All foreign visitors require a visa to enter Iran except citizens of the following countries: Lebanon (15 days), Azerbaijan (15 days), Georgia (45 days), Bolivia (30 days), Egypt (20 days) and Turkey (90 days) China (23 days)
Please be aware that applying for a visa can be a frustrating process, and can take from 2-4 weeks for most nationalities. UK, US and Canadian passport holders please be aware that your visa process can take much longer due to government regulations. Please check that you will have sufficient time to obtain a visa before departure, you can expect this process to be 10-15 weeks, and we do not recommend booking nonrefundable flights until you have obtained your visa authorisation. The cost of a visa also varies dependent on your nationality, and also changes regularly, making it hard for us to advise of the actual cost. But you should plan for it to cost somewhere around 100-180USD depending if you get a visa before departure or on arrival.
Iranian visas are issued in a two-step process and this will differ according to your nationality.
1. An authorisation code for your visa must be issued by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
2. A visa for your passport must then be obtained at an Iranian Embassy once the authorisation code has been issued, or on arrival (depending on your nationality).
UK, US and Canadian passport holders please be aware that your visa is only obtainable at your nearest Iranian Embassy and only after obtaining the authorisation code, please allow enough time for embassy processing. If you don’t live near an embassy, you will have to mail in your passport and the embassy will return it.
The visa process may seen overwhelming, but we guide you through this from start to finish. We work with guides registered with the Iranian government who manage the process for you. Once you book your spot, you will receive all the forms you need to begin the visa process, and then we will guide you from there.
Please see this guide for more information on the Iran Visa Process.
The itinerary is subject to change due for any reason – weather, unexpected cancellations, impromptu local opportunities, or surprise additions.
All bookings are subject to our terms and conditions.
Comprehensive travel insurance is mandatory or you may be refused to join the tour. See our guide for help choosing a plan.
Please limit your luggage to one suitcase, one backpack, and one handheld bag. We have long drives in Iran and it is best to keep space in our vehicle for your comfort. Please note that you will sometimes be carrying your bags to your hotel room or to the vehicle, so be sure you can manage.