Poets and Mystics, Sacred Shrines, Serene Gardens, and Desert Citadels with Roger Williams


Discover the welcoming people and rich heritage of Iran on this cultural odyssey with our expert Trip Leader Roger Williams, who has a great affection for Iran’s people and rich heritage. 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 Isfahan, with its visual feast of turquoise-tiled domes, to the mud-brick homes and winding lanes of Yazd.  Another joy 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. Our itinerary includes many of Iran’s World Heritage Sites, from Shiraz’s verdant Bagh-e Eram Garden—where on the March departure we’ll have the chance to celebrate Nowruz (Persian New Year) with the locals—to the great desert citadel at Bam. Bring your spirit of adventure and curiosity on this journey deep into an intriguing and ancient land.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3, Nov 8-10, 2018
Tehran, Iran

In the capital, our visits include the Golestan Palace, residence of the former Qajar rulers and now a World Heritage Site, the elegant Reza Abassi Museum, with its miniatures and illuminated manuscripts, and the Saadabad Palace, built by the Pahlavi dynasty.

Days 4-6, Nov 11-13, 2018
Shiraz / Pasargardae / Persepolis

In the “city of poets,” we enjoy the serene realm of the Bagh-e Eram Garden, a World Heritage Site, the incredible ornate facades of the Vakil Mosque, and the lanes of the Vakil Bazaar. One of our days in Shiraz is devoted to Pasargardae, capital of Cyrus the Great, and majestic Persepolis, where a walk up the grand staircase gives us a glimpse into this former haunt of Persia's great Achaemenid kings. On the March departure, we’ll join in the celebration of Noruz, Persian New Year!

Days 7-10, Nov 14-17, 2018
Kerman / Bam / Yazd

From Kerman, an ancient desert trading city in the Dast-i-Kavir Desert, we journey out to remote Bam, an enormous mud-brick citadel that was once a major Silk Road outpost with a population of 9,000. We'll also visit Rayen, with its spectacular desert fortress, and Mahan, home to the shrine of a famed 15th century Persian poet. Yazd, one of the oldest towns in the world, is the center of the Zoroastrian faith, and we'll visit the picturesque old quarter.

Days 11-12, Nov 18-19, 2018

In charming Isfahan, the soul of Iran, we discover a fine place for strolling, meeting people, and relaxing in beautiful gardens. We'll visit the palaces and gardens of Chechel Sotun and soak up the elegance of Isfahan's enormous central square, the Maidan-e-Nagsh-e Jahan. Iran's magnificent, twin-domed Masjed-e Shah Mosque, built in 1611, is set on this square. Just off the square is the Qeisarieh Bazaar, full of fine silks, tribal carpets, and antiques.

Days 13-15, Nov 20-22, 2018
Mashhad / Neishabour / Tous

In Mashhad, Iran's holiest city, we walk in the courtyards of the grand tomb of Imam Reza, Shi'a Islam's eighth Imam. Heading out to the Silk Road city of Neishabour, we visit the local bazaar and a turquoise workshop. In Tous, we'll see the impressive marble mausoleum of Ferdowsi, the great poet of Persia.

Days 16-19, Nov 23-26, 2018
Tabriz / St. Thaddeus Monastery / Church of St. Stephanos / Tehran

Tabriz's Blue Mosque is famed for its spectacular calligraphy, and we also explore the city’s traditional covered bazaar, a World Heritage Site and the largest covered bazaar in the world. Heading deeper in Azerbaijan Province to the city of Maku, we visit St. Thaddeus Monastery, the oldest and most important Christian monument in Iran, and the Church of St. Stephanos, a World Heritage Site, in Julfa. On Day 18, we fly to Tehran and depart on Day 19.



Insider experiences that bring you close to the traditonal culture
Isfahan's blue-tiled architecture, tea houses, and local cafes
Shiraz, with its serene gardens, and Persepolis, site of the temples and palaces of Persia’s great Achaemenid kings
The famed covered bazaar of Tabriz
Zoroastrian fire temples and mud-brick homes of Yazd
Mashhad, Iran's ancient holy city
Celebrate Nowruz in Shiraz on the March departure!


Length: 19 days
Cost From: $8695  
Arrive: Tehran, Iran
Depart: Tehran, Iran
Lodging: 18 nights hotel
Meals: All meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Archaeology
Trip Level:

Overland travel with walking tours, cultural explorations

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