Long off the tourist trail, Iran is now open to backpackers, thanks to restored air links to Europe and United States. Backpackers will discover a mysterious and colourful country, one as enchanting and traditional as its tiled monuments. 

History lovers will love its beautiful archaeological sites (including the ancient city of Persepolis), while traditional Persian architecture make it a fascinating place to visit. 


Image by Paul (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Adventure backpackers with a tour guide can go skiing in the Alborz mountains and trekking in the Lut desert. If you prefer a more leisurely holiday, then food and drink lovers can enjoy the succulent joys of Iranian cuisine (grilled kebabs and stews) every night of the week.

With an abundance of culture and gorgeous food available, here’s a list of things you can see and do in Iran.

Cultural highlights

Iran desert

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Iran has a treasure trove of historical attractions worth visiting. These include ancient Persian landmarks, world-class museums and art galleries in Tehran, and the gorgeous Safavid gardens in Esfahan that surround one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. 

Nasir al-Mulk

Image by zaccho (Flickr/Creative Commons)

The magnificent tiled Nasir al-Mulk mosque (The Pink Mosque) in Shiraz is considered the pinnacle of Iranian-Islamic art. The stained glass windows inside the mosque are simply breathtaking and many visitors say it's like stepping inside a kaleidoscope. 

Ancient markets


Image by petalouda62 (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Visiting one of Iran’s atmospheric bazaars is like going on a mini-adventure. Tabriz has the most famous and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back 1,000 years. The labryith style maze is home to ornate timchehs (halls) that are like stepping inside a time machine back to the Middle Ages.

Adventure travel in Iran

Dasht-e Lut

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The Dasht-e Lut desert is perfect if you to go trekking with its Mars style rock formations and sand dunes. For a more pastoral affair, the Valley of the Assassins showcases the greener and more romantic side of Iran. 

Visa information 

Backpackers must book a group trip to travel inside Iran and you can get one for two people with some operators.

All backpackers must be accompanied by a guide, but you can roam freely in all tourist attractions. The Borders of Adventure website has some great advice on visa applications and how to apply for your next trip. 

Where to stay in Iran

Discover the best hostels in Iran and find a safe, clean and attactive place on your travels. HostelsClub has excellent availablity across the region and we can help ensure your stay in Iran is a comfortable experience.

*Header image by David Stanley (Flickr/Creative Commons)