Iran Itinerary 10 days
Iran is a massive country. It will take months to fully discover this Asian jewel.
Travelling in Iran for 10 days is pretty standard if you are visiting Iran for the first time.
This 10 days in Iran itinerary can be a sample itinerary for you if you like. Feel free to change the itinerary to suit your own duration of stay.
PS: I am really really glad that you might be going to Iran!
10 days in Iran - 14 days in Iran
10 days in Iran is simply not enough.
Depending on how much time you’ve got, I have some extra days that you could do if you have more time in Iran!
This Itinerary in Iran for 10 days can be modifiable as you wish.
Arrival: You need to do a few things while you are still at the airport. Claim your luggage and head to the currency exchange located on the first floor of the airport – the departure hall. Exchange just enough money for you to take a taxi to the city centre (1.5 hours away). It will cost 700,000 rial – 800,000 rials (17.50 USD – 20.00 USD). If you are not ready to pay this, share a taxi with other travellers who are going in the same direction.
Alternatively, you can grab a taxi to Shahed University metro station and it will cost around 400,000 rials (10.00 USD). Take the metro (which costs 3000 rials to 7000 rials depending on your journey) to the closest metro station that your accommodation is located.
Remember: Only take an official taxi to the city centre! There’ll be a lot of Iranians offering you a ride to the city but at a higher rate.
Check-in and rest: Depending on what time you arrive, you might or might not have enough time or energy to explore the city.
I couchsurfed in Tehran because the prices of the hotel are sky high. There are guesthouses as well but the ones that are centrally located were fully booked when I was there. Couchsurfing is a great way to make friends with Iranians and you should totally try it out! Moreover, it’s free!
Golestan Palace: If you have time and energy, visit the Golestan Palace. This place is easily accessible by metro at Panzdah Khordad metro station.
Golestan is a majestic palace complex with different palaces and museums. Bear in mind that entry to each palace/museum has a different entrance fee. You need to select the hall(s) you want see when you are at the ticket counter which is located at the main entrance of the palace complex.
If you wanna see everything, it costs 940,000 rials (23.50 USD) and you need a full day for that. If you don’t have money or time for that, just go to the most beautiful hall – Talar e Brelian. The craftsmanship of this beautiful mirror hall will blow your mind.
Grand Bazaar: Grand Bazaar is next to Golestan Palace. Visit a souk/market/bazaar is one of my favourite activities while overseas as I can have a closer look at the daily life of a local. Before going into the bazaar, there will be a lot of people asking if you want to change your USD into Rials. Although the rate that they offer may be better than official currency exchange places, it’s still better to change at a proper establishment as these people don’t provide any receipt. And you don’t know where these money come from.
After visiting Grand Bazaar, have some tahchin at Moslem Restaurant. Tahchin is a really traditional dish in which the rice is cooked until it’s crusty on the side. It’s served with chicken with saffron and the rice is amazingly crispy. The serving is huge and it can be shared among 2 people.
Milad Tower: Milad tower is best visited during sunset. Check what time is the sun setting when you are in Tehran as it’s a city with distinct four seasons. Stay till the night to earn yourself a startling, quetzal’s eye view of this expansive capital of Iran.
Pray that you get a clear day. If not, it’s not worth going at all as you can’t see anything. Tehran is smoggy almost all the time as it’s nestled in a valley surrounded by great mountains. You need a taxi to get here. Ticket price is 120,000 rials (3 USD) for the open observatory deck.
Tochal: I highly recommend a day trip to Tochal if you have the time. Located at the Alborz mountain range, Tochal offers a great view of the city. The real deal is actually Station 7, which is normally covered by snow and frequented by ski connoisseurs. The snow is so fluffy because it’s really cold up there (it was -19 degree Celsius when I was there last time).
There are a few ways to come to Tochal from the city centre and I have elaborated them here (which bus to take, which metro to take or how to use the Snapp app)!
Tajrish Market: If you haven’t had enough of an Iranian bazaar, you can go to Tajrish Market which is a lot less crowded. They sell more fresh produce in Tajrish Market as compared to the Grand Bazaar. You can kindly ask if you can try the fruits or the nuts and I think they are more than happy to let you do so. Things you can get includes:
- Try their fresh pomegranate or fresh pomegranate juice. A must-try when as Iranian pomegranate is unbelievably juicy and sweet.
- A lot of nuts for a cheap price which you can binge on
- Some spices if you want to get some home
Emamzadeh Saleh Mosque: This mosque is located in the centre of Tajrish Market. The architecture of this mosque is impressively majestic. Enter the mosque to admire the interior design of the mosque, which is predominantly made out of glass and mirror. I am not a Muslim and I entered without a problem. Most of the Iranians don’t mind you being in the mosque. Females entering any Iranian mosque will require a “chador”, which is a big piece of sarong-like clothing covering from head to toe. There will be a place just outside the mosque for you to borrow a “chador” for free. Avoid going at prayer time as it’s really, really crowded.
On the 3rd day of your 10 days in Iran, visit a new town!
The bus ride from Tehran to Kashan: There are four bus terminals in Tehran so make sure you are going to the right one. The bus terminal for the bus leaving for Kashan is Terminal-e Jonub, which is easily accessible by taking a “Snapp” car or the metro. Terminal-e Jonub Metro Station is a station located on Tehran Metro Line 1.
Make sure you get a direct bus from Tehran to Kashan (not to Isfahan). If not, you will be dumped beside the highway which is very far from the centre of Kashan.
Don’t book your tickets online as they are very expensive compared to what you can get when you are at the terminal. There will be a lot of operators stopping you and ask if you’ve gotten any ticket. Avoid those touts and just go straight into the terminal to check for the next bus leaving for Kashan. Take a VIP bus as it’s not much more expensive and the seats are very comfortable. The bus journey takes at least 3 hours depending on traffic.
Check-in: There are not a lot of hotel establishments in Kashan. We stayed in a guesthouse for a super reasonable price as we had the whole house to ourselves.
Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse: Most of the guesthouses in Iran offer tour services. If you are joining a tour, check if the price includes the entrance tickets to the attraction. If you don’t want any tour, you can just ask them to arrange a taxi for you to go to the bathhouse (remember, Snapp only works in Tehran). You can buy a ticket at the entrance of the bathhouse which costs 300,000 rials (7.50 USD).
Tabatabaei House: This residence belongs to a wealthy merchant and is now open to public. The courtyards and the rooms are luxuriously decorated with mirrors, carvings and gardens. I highly recommend going to Tabatabaei House with a tour guide. Entrance to Tabatabaei House costs 300,000 rials (7.50 USD).
If not: The tickets for both attractions are a little bit steep but I think it’s really worth it. If you are really low on budget, you can go to Kashan bazaar or Aqa Bozorq mosque instead. Just bear in mind that you don’t want to bore yourself out with too many mosques and bazaars in different cities. If you happen to be in Kashan in spring, visit one of the many rose gardens and be amazed by how Iranians make roses survive in this desert town.
Abyanneh: Abyanneh is located 1.5 hours away from the centre of Kashan. It is a thousand-year-old red village surrounded by the mountains. There are only around 300 people living in this town, making it nearly a ghost town/village. Go to Abyanneh in the morning. You will need 2 hours or more to fully explore this village.
Take a small hike up the hill (10 minutes walk from the village) and you can admire the whole village with the mountains as background. The altitude is so high – you are actually in the midst of clouds.
If you have more time, you can even visit the ancient Persian castle and fortress on the hill on the way back home. Pack lunch as lunch options are very limited there.
Dinner at Negin Traditional Hotel: Dining in a majestic restaurant is definitely a truly Persian experience. It definitely should be an attraction itself! Surprisingly, the price of the food is not expensive (like 4 USD for a main) as the portion is huge. I had camel meat stew here and it was fantastic!
The bus ride from Kashan to Isfahan: Kashan bus terminal is located on the northern edge of the city. The ticket price for a VIP bus is around 120,000 rials (3 USD) whereas the ticket for a normal bus is priced around 80,000 rials (2 USD). Sometimes, the bus picks up people halfway so there might be a little bit of a delay.
Check-in: Isfahan has a lot of accommodation options. As public transport in Iran is definitely not the easiest to use, just stay in the centre of the city and walk as much as you can.
33 Bridge (Si-o-Seh Pol): Hopefully when you are there, there’s going to be water in the river. Take a lazy stroll at the surrounding parks.
After going to Si-o-seh pol, you can explore the shops nearby and have dinner there. Have a faloodeh – traditional Iranian ice-cream which comes with some tiny little, rod-like stuff infused with saffron. It’s amazing.
Naqshe Jahan Square: Go to Naqshe Jahan Square in the morning. This is the second largest public square in the world (after Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China) and it contains a bazaar, a palace and two mosques. Visit some of the shops if you have time as they sell really special handmade goods there! You will probably spend the whole morning here.
Chehelsotoun Palace: After Naqshe Jahan Square, go to Chehelsotoun Palace. The entrance ticket (with audio guide) is 550,000 rials (13.75 USD). This palace is so beautiful that people from the past have said, “you’ve seen half of the world if you’ve seen Chehelsotoun Palace”.
Abbasid Hotel: This is an attraction and a restaurant. The food here is glorious and the architecture and the gardens are even better!
Check-in: Varzaneh is a small desert town with only a few guesthouses for you to choose from. We stayed at Yasna traditional guesthouse and it was not as great. I recommend going to Chapaker traditional guesthouse instead as the owner of the guesthouse is a lot nicer and less money-minded.
Sand dunes: Most of the people come to Varzaneh to visit the sand dunes. At the sand dunes, there are a lot of activities that you can do. Just ask for the owner of the guesthouse to arrange it for you. You can sandboard, ride an ATV, enjoy camel riding during sunset when you are at the sand dunes. You can easily spend the whole afternoon/evening here doing these activities. Bear in mind that they have separate prices so just haggle the price down until you are comfortable paying.
Gavkhouni Wetland: Yes, there’s a wetland in this untrammelled span of desert. And it’s fun to visit it too. Going to Gavkhouni wetland can show you the daily struggles that the deserts nomad have to deal with. You can even see fish! Yes, fish in the middle of a desert!
Black Mountain: Black Mountain is not too far from the wetland. Hike up the mountain (takes 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on your fitness level) and you will be rewarded with an amazing view of the sand dunes and the desert.
Camel Mill: On the way back to the town centre, go to the camel mill and watch how Iranians train their camel to grind beans into powder. The camel moves only when the owner starts singing. If the owner is sick, the camel doesn’t work at all because it won’t listen to other people singing!
Stargazing: If the weather is not too cold, stargaze in the middle of a desert! Even if it’s cold, do it still! This is such an amazing experience that you will never forget!
Salt Lake: Imagine a blue sky with a pure white flat of salt, that is Varzaneh Salt Lake. It covers an area more than 15km² and stretches to the wetlands. Take a tour with your guesthouse as you will need a car to come here. The road is not tarred and can be quite bumpy. If you get motion sickness really easily, take a pill before you go.
Citadel: There’s an ancient citadel located on the outskirt of the town centre. Take a trip there and see how ancient Iranians build houses thousands of years ago. Their wisdom will blow your mind.
Dovecote: Never seen a dovecote before? I mean I don’t even know what’s a dovecote before visiting this one here in Varzaneh. There’s a dovecote near to the citadel. They collect the droppings of the doves to make fertiliser. The way they manage a dovecote is so amazing. Just leave some tips for the owner when you’re about to leave.
*If you are running short on time, head straight from Varzaneh to Shiraz and fly out of Shiraz as it has an international airport as well! This will complete you Iran itinerary 10 days trip!
Bus ride from Varzaneh to Yazd
Check-in: Yazd is one of the twelve UNESCO heritage sites. If you want to experience the most of Yazd, stay in the old town of Yazd where you can walk to most of the attractions. The old town is a maze (like Venice), so make sure that you have a map (even if you have a map, you might still get lost).
Amir Chakhmakh Complex: This is the icon of Yazd. If you are lucky, you can climb up to the top although it’s not always possible. There are a lot of shops selling handmade souvenirs near by for cheap so make sure you check them out.
Explore the city: Yazd is a charming city where almost everywhere is walkable (if the weather is pleasant). From Amir Chakhmakh complex, you can go to Khan Bazaar and visit the mosques.
Tower of Silence: It’s like a mortuary of the people of Zoroastrian belief. Back in the days, when a person was very ill or dying, they would be moved out of the town area to Tower of Silence so that the citizens wouldn’t catch the disease. Hence, the tower of silence is located out of the city. There are a few houses at its surrounding for these people to live in until they die. When they were dead, their bodies will be carried up to the Dakhmeh (the tower) for the vultures to eat. It’s no longer used anymore and is open to the public. Climb up the small hill to get a great view of the city!
Masjid e-Jame: This is the most significant mosque in Yazd. It’s located in the heart of Yazd and all the museums are walkable. Visit the water museum and you can see how the people back in the days ensured that they have clean water supply all year round despite living in the desert.
If you are not a fan of museum, you can go and explore the chic cafes and the restaurants. There are a lot of sweet/dessert shop there. Take a seat and watch the world goes by!
Bus ride from Yazd to Shiraz: I recommend taking a night bus from Yazd to Shiraz. The one we took was 11:55 pm, and we reached Shiraz at 6:00 am. Take the VIP bus so that you can sleep on the bus. Reclining seats are really a godsend when you are taking a night bus.
Eram Garden: Rest up if you didn’t have enough sleep. If you are well-rested, take a taxi and visit Eram Garden. The admission ticket for foreigners is priced at 200,000 rials (5 USD). Eram Garden is best visited in spring as the flowers will be blooming like crazy. Even if you are not visiting in spring, Eram Garden will still be amazing with the super tall trees. There are some jewellery and gem collections in the building and you can check them out for free.
Shahcheragh Holy Shrine: Have some food near Eram Garden. If not, take a taxi to Shahcheragh Holy Shrine and you can have some food near there (although there are fewer options). A visit to this holy shrine requires a tour guide, which can be arranged for free when you arrive at the entrance of the shrine. They will provide a chador for the females to cover themselves prior to entering the holy site. The tour guide will give you a brief tour of the site for free. After that, you can just stay as long as you want.
This site is really underrated. It’s not a tourist destination and it’s so beautiful! First, you can visit it for free and secondly, it’s so grandiose and the place is so peaceful. The square is so huge and everyone is just chilling there and chit-chatting. I highly recommend visiting this shrine.
Persepolis and Necropolis: People visit Shiraz for 3 reasons: Persepolis, Necropolis and finding out if the name of the wine Shiraz actually acquired its name because of this city.
There are three different ways (cheap, moderate, expensive) to go to Persepolis and Necropolis from the city centre of Shiraz. I have dedicated a detailed post about here.
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque: Come to this mosque as early as you can to avoid tourists. There are a lot of sources for the opening hours. I went there at 8 am in January and there are already a lot of people there. I then realised that it opens at 7:30 am. Another reason to go early is that the morning sun will complement the coloured glasses in the most dazzling way.
Vekil Bazaar: Vekil Bazaar is a lot smaller than most bazaars in other Iranian cities. However, we found a lot of goodies which are small and easy to bring home as souvenirs. Do check it out if you are after something small as gifts to friends and family as your Iranian adventure is also approaching an end.
Explore the city: I love Shiraz a lot. Make sure you check out the city as much as you can. There are a lot of cafes and bakeries. Check out the dessert shops and have some authentic Iranian sweets. Have some Iranian ice-cream. Or just sit down with some locals and have some Iranian tea. Visit an Iranian teahouse in the evening and be amazed by how much respect Iranians have for their tea!
Flight home: Shiraz has an international airport so just check if any airline serves the route from Shiraz to your next destination.
If not, you can just book a flight from Shiraz to Tehran, and fly out from Tehran. I flew with Mahan Air and I thought the service was pretty good. There was 30 minutes delay but we were well informed about it when we were at the airport and all the staff are helpful.
I hope that this 2-week in Iran itinerary helped you in planning you travels to Iran!
If you are looking for information about how much things are gonna cost, check out my latest guide about my budget breakdown and expenditure while in Iran.
If you need more inspiration to travel to Iran, read more about why I chose to travel to Iran with my mum!
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