naqsh rustam fars province persepolis

Iran: In the Footsteps of Kings and Conquerors

And Persian New Year in Shiraz with Roger Williams


Discover the wonderful people and rich heritage of Iran on our in-depth cultural journey with veteran Trip Leader Roger Williams, one of our most versatile Asia guides since 1986. No matter what your expectations, Iran will surprise you—and in delightful ways. The first is how warmly we are received everywhere we go, from Shiraz and Isfahan, legendary cities of the Persian Empire, to tiny hamlets where traditional ways of life still prevail. Another delight is discovering Iran’s strong ties with classical civilization at places like exquisite Persepolis, built by Darius in the 4th century BC and plundered by Alexander, and Pasargadae, capital of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire. Roger is a veteran traveler to Iran, and on this new journey, we’ll visit 15 of Iran’s 26 marvelous UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from the ancient desert city of Yazd to Tehran’s Golestan Palace, residence of the Qajar rulers who introduced Western culture into Iran. Bring your spirit of wonder and curiosity on this journey deep into the history of this magnificent and ancient land.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3, Mar 6- 8, 2023

In Tehran, Iran’s capital since 1795, our explorations include Golestan Palace, a World Heritage Site and former residence of the Qajar rulers, as well as the Reza Abbasi Museum, with its fine miniatures and illustrated manuscripts, and the famous Crown Jewels Museum, where the stunning jewelry of the Safavid and Qajar monarchs is kept.

Days 4-7, Mar 9-12, 2023
Tabriz / St. Thaddeus Monastery / Kandovan / Qazvin

Flying to Tabriz in Azerbaijan Province, we’ll visit the 15th century Blue Mosque, with its spectacular calligraphy, and explore the traditional covered bazaar. We’ll visit two monastic ensembles here, the St. Thaddeus and St. Stephanos, the most important Christian monuments in Iran. In the ancient village of Kandovan, we’ll visit its tufa-carved troglodyte houses, then head back to Tehran by way of Qazvin, capital of the Persian Empire in the 16th century and known today as the calligraphy capital of Iran.

Days 8-11, Mar 13-16, 2023
Qom / Kashan / Isfahan

After a stop at Qom’s Shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh, we head to Kashan to explore its 19th century mansions and peaceful Fin Gardens, a World Heritage Site of resplendent pools. We’ll have two full days to savor Isfahan, Iran’s art capital, with its blue-tiled architecture, ancient bridges, and tea houses. We’ll visit the enormous central square where Persian kings once watched polo, see the magnificent Masjed-e Shah mosque, built in 1611, and roam the Qeysarie Bazaar to look for fine silk, tribal carpets, and antiques.

Days 12-13, Mar 17-18, 2023
Yadz / Pasargadae

The ancient town of Yazd is a fascinating World Heritage Site where Zoroastrians have practiced their religion since 400 BC, and we’ll discover many Zoroastrian fire temples here. At Pasargadae, we explore the capital of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire, and visit his tomb overlooking the Dasht-e Morghab plain.

Days 14-16, Mar 19-21, 2023
Shiraz / Persepolis / Nowruz (Persian New Year)

From Shiraz, once known as “the city of poets, nightingales, and fine wine,” we make a day trip to Persepolis, site of the temples and palaces of Persia’s great Achaemenid kings. Our walk up its grand staircases gives us a glimpse into life in this ancient city of emperors. We’ll be in Shiraz for Nowruz, Persian New Year, and we’ll join the locals for a late-evening visit to the Tomb of Hafez, the beloved 14th century Persian poet who was born here.

Days 17-21, Mar 22-26, 2023
Mashhad / Neyshabour / Tous / Tehran

We’ll visit Mashhad, Iran’s holiest and second largest city, the old Silk Road city of Neyshabour, and ancient Tous, where we’ll visit the tomb of Ferdowsi, the great poet of Persia. We have a final day in Tehran before flying home on Day 21.



Enjoy Esfahan, the soul of Iran, with its blue-tiled architecture, ancient bridges, tea houses, and traditional restaurant
Explore the gardens of Shiraz, the temples and palaces of Persia’s great Achaemenid kings at Persepolis
Visit the Zoroastrian fire temples and Persian carpet workshops of Yazd
Discover Tabriz, with its troglodyte village, monastic ensembles, and famous covered bazaar


Length: 21 days
Cost From: $8295  
Arrive: Tehran, Iran
Depart: Tehran, Iran
Lodging: 20 nights hotels
Meals: All meals included as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking
Trip Level:

Cultural exploration, easy to moderate walks, some long driving days