Travel to Iran

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Population and People

Iran’s population is currently nearly seventy million. More than fifty percent of the population is under twenty years old. So, it is a youthful, vibrant and dynamic country strongly rooted in its cultural traditions yet fascinated by the modern world of globalisation and technology. Just about half of the Iranian population is ethnic Persian and the rest is made up of a fascinating range of ethnic minorities which include Gilak, Mazandarani, Azeri, Kurd, Lur, Baluch, Arab, Turkmen and other small groups. Each of these speaks their own native language or dialect. However, the official language of Iran is Farsi.

Of course, having an experienced Farsi-speaking guide can open up the country and its diverse culture in a way most tourists cannot begin to comprehend. Recommended if you wish to get the most from your trip!

Time Zone: Tehran time is GMT +3.5

Social Conventions

Handshaking is customary, but not with the opposite sex. (Do not forget that intimate relations between non-Muslim men and Muslim women are illegal.).

A visit to Iran during Ramadan is perfectly feasible and Iranian towns when the daily fast ends are especially lively. However, during Ramadan, smoking, eating and drinking in public are prohibited between sunrise and sunset. However, the eating prohibition does not apply to travelers and restaurant facilities are always discreetly available in hotels, bus stations etc.

Tipping: In large hotels, a 10 to 15 per cent service charge is added to the bill. In restaurants (chelokababi) it is usual to leave some small change. Tipping is not expected in tea-houses.

It is useful to note that it is not polite to blow your nose in company. Sometimes overseas visitors don’t realise this!

Iranian Hospitality

Foreign visitors who really know Iran well will tell you that Iranians are among the most friendly, hospitable people in the world and simply love to entertain visitors.

It is also customary to be offered tea. Accept the offer graciously. Tea helps many a happy encounter in Iran run smoothly! When you are out and about almost always someone will be kind and help you on your way if you are lost or need help and advice.

People just love to talk to tourists and sometimes invite them to have dinner or lunch with them. You will often find yourself being invited to their homes. This open-hearted generosity is one of the greatest pleasures of travel in Iran

It is not unusual to invite strangers home. This is one of the pillars of Persian hospitality and people are happy to share what they have with you. It is considered polite to decline the offer of hospitality a few times. However if the local person persists it is fine to accept this natural hospitality.

Food and Drink

Iranian cuisine is based on rice, bread, meat, fish, fresh vegetables and fruit. Iranian breads are tasty and you can always find fresh ones.

The main dish in Iran is the kebab; this is served in most eating-shops. There are different kinds like: beef, chicken, liver, etc. When served with rice it is called Chelo kabab.

Fesenjan: a delicious stew of duck, chicken or beef made with ground walnuts and sour pomegranate juice. Sometimes it is cooked with sugar and it is sweet.

Ghorme Sabzi: a stew with lamb or veal with different kinds of herbs, beans and dried lemons.

Dizi (Abgusht): a rich “soup” with lamb, beans and potatoes served in a special container. The soup is poured out into a bowl and the reminder will be pounded with a pestle. It is usually eaten with bread as a main course.

Tea, drunk without milk, could be said to be the national drink.

Doogh (a yoghurt drink usually served with meals) makes a pleasant change from other soft drinks, while non-alcoholic beer is usually available.

*Alcohol is strictly forbidden.

Money and Currency

** Bring all your money in cash.

The Rial is Iran’s currency. Tourists can exchange their money in banks or bureaux de change. The easiest type of money to change is the Euro and the American Dollar. Travellers’ cheque cannot be changed in Iran so bring your money in cash.

Credit cards are not normally accepted in Iran. However, just some major hotels and shops selling items like carpets, handicrafts, jewellery, do accept credit cards.

Dress and what to wear

Before visiting Iran make sure you have got appropriate clothing, which comply with the prevailing cultural norms of Iran.


Due to the Islamic rules, all Iranian & foreign females over the age of 9 appearing in public should cover their hair & wear a dress that covers the body.

Women should wear non-transparent, loose garments covering all their bodies except for the hands and face.

Most Iranian women wear a Manteau and headscarf; some still use the chador.
Foreign women visitors mostly wear a Manteau or loose knee-length jacket and headscarf.

Color is a free choice, but red, orange, pink or similar colors are not put on during national or private sad occasions.

Trousers must be up to ankle and putting on socks is free and up to you.


Men should put on non-transparent garments too. They may wear short or long sleeve shirts. Short trousers are strictly prohibited.

*Both sexes should dress more conservatively if visiting mosques and religious buildings.

Our Guide Hassan

Let me introduce myself. My name is Hassan Mohit and I am 33 years old. I speak fluent English having studied translation at university to degree level. I am Iranian and I love to introduce overseas visitors to the sights, history, local people and rich culture of this beautiful and fascinating country. To me providing this service to the highest standard is a vocation rather than a job. This is what I like to do and I enjoy it.

Please regard me as your friend in Iran. I am here to help and advise you in any way I can.

4 Comments to “Travel to Iran”:
  1. Musashi says:


    blue star Isfahan, Iran (Iran)
    The mosques, palaces and cafes of the city square are the quitessential expression of Persian mystique and oriental culture. Isfahan may be the most beautiful city in the world.
    WorldGuide: Iran

    I LOVED Iran! The sights, the people, the food and the shopping! I encountered no difficulties at all. It was just like being in any other amazing place but with a headscarf. By the way, you can show fringe and the women are very fashionable dressed otherwise (heels, tight clothes, lots of leopard print!) I hired guides from Gashttours, so that might have cut down on difficulties. I wouldn’t recommend traveling without a local, it makes it so much more interesting and easy! Feel free to contact me about anything else about Iran. mbaranja


    You are in for the most exciting time of your life. I was in Iran this time last year for 3 weeks and I still think about Iran. You will have to hire a guide, but don’t make that a negative thing. Your guide will take you places and show you things you never would have found in any guide book, much less by yourself. My guide was like the little brother I never had.
    Esfahan is a beautiful city and you must definetly visit Shiraz. I also hit Kerman, Yazd, Kashan and Hamadan and of course Tehran. Tehran is gigantic and I would not spend too much time in that city if you don’t have to.
    I loved the bread in Iran. It’s paper-thin in Tehran and seems to get a bit thicker the farther south you go.
    The Iranian people are the kindest people I have ever met and you will meet a lot of them. They are extremely hospitable and they love to meet foreign traverlers.
    The hard part is getting a tourist visa. I’m American and I had to jump through all kinds of hoops to get a visa, but it was all worth it. I used…it’s a one-man operation run by a youg man named Hamid in Tehran.

    So Mel, get your ass to Iran! You will not regret it.

  2. Παναγιώτης says:

    Mike τα βρήκα τα Racor στον Πειραιά. Για το cruiser έχει 2 τύπους μεγάλο και μικρό ανάλογα με το διαθέσιμο χώρο. Όσο και αν ακούγεται περίεργο θα δυσκολευτώ να χωρέσω κάπου το μικρό (το κομπρεσέρ του ARB έχει καταλάβει τον τελευταίο διαθέσιμο χώρο) …Θα δούμε από Δευτέρα…τιμές πολύ λογικές…


  3. Mike Miskis says:

    Να το πούμε από τώρα, για να μην δημιουργήσει θέμα:
    Ξεχνάμε τον όρο “Περσία” σε γραπτά κείμενα και επίσημες διατυπώσεις, ενοχλεί γιατί θεωρείται μονοδιάστατη ταύτιση με το μη-ισλαμικό παρελθόν.

  4. Musashi says:


    Tourists: Silvia and Enrico

    Country: Italy


    Date: 1st – 18th Aug. 2006


    When we decided to visit Iran in June 2006 we were at the same time fascinated by Persian culture and a little worried for what we had heard about Iran from western media. When we got there, we saw from the very first moment how stupid all our concerns were! Persian people are so friendly and you will be stopped and asked all about your country every ten steps!
    Hassan has been so precious in getting us to know and understand Persian culture and people uses and habits. He picked us up from Shiraz airport and we spent almost three weeks traveling all around the country with his car. We had the time of our life during this journey. We had many really good laughs together and we came back home with some Persian singers’ cd (and also with more than 800 pictures)!
    Hassan is an excellent guide and a very nice and honest guy. When we visit the Northern part of Iran (where he lives), we stayed by his house and we really felt like part of the family.
    What else to say… just go to Iran and you will enjoy all of it!!
    Tourist:   Bengt  Hellstrom
    Country: Sweden
    Date:      1st -25th Oct. 2006

    Hassan was my guide in Iran for 24 days when we traveled around with my car to almost the whole of Iran. He’s a superb guide and tells you a lot of info of Iran and many sights. He is also very flexible and like me he enjoys traveling in small roads!!! Also Hassan is an excellent and safe driver so I even fall asleep when he drove which I normally never do when other people drive my car! Highlights of the trip were Masuleh and the mountain road there, Yazd and the cave at Hamadan(Ali Sadr). I highly can recommend Hassan as a guide to Iran!!! Everybody who can cope with me for 3weeks in the car must be admired as I am an individualist with a lot of black humor and difficult music taste, but Hassan survived!!! Hope you will meet many nice people in the future and good luck with your work!!He also found the stickers of Iran for my car.
    Tourist:         Ian Nicholson
    Country:       UK
    Date:            23rd – 26th Oct. 2005

    “I visited Iran in October 2005 and chose Hassan as my guide to Gilan, the Caspian region. What an excellent choice! He provided very helpful information by email ahead of my trip. A typically warm welcome awaited me when I arrived from Tabriz. Hassan  made me feel like one of the family.
    Wonderful Iranian food was served in between sightseeing excursions. Iran has a great deal to offer the traveler and I strongly recommend Hassan’s services to get the most out of your visit. His English is fluent. He is an excellent, safe driver and he will tailor your trip to your individual interests and budget and gives a first-class service. Enjoy!”

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