Treasures of Ancient Persia Tour

Iran Tour – Treasures of Ancient Persia – a 15 day Small Group Tour

Enough has been written about Iran to fill library shelves and overheat most Kindles. Much is far from complimentary. However, Iran’s educated and worldly population is not reflected by TV footage of chanting crowds. While extremist ideologies in other regions have instigated the wholesale destruction of important and irreplaceable cultural heritage, Iran conserves its own pre-Islamic sites as valuable chapters in the historic record of Persian civilisation.

Ancient capitals reflect the sophistication of their inhabitants who constructed cities of palaces, fountains and gardens, beloved of Sufi poets such as Hafez.

From Tehran to Shiraz, this tour explores an exceptional ancient history, along the way facilitating cultural exchange with contemporary Iranians, a surprising people who deserve to have their voices heard.

Uncover the mysteries of one of the world’s most enigmatic and misunderstood countries on a trip that will astound you. This small group Iran tour will visit the spectacular Silk Road cities of Shiraz and Isfahan, home to some of the most stunning Islamic architecture around, as well as the desert city of Yazd, a centre of the ancient Zoroastrian faith.

This two week tour delves into the almost mystical heart of this spectacular country. We visit the stunning city of Shiraz with its beautiful shrines and gardens and visit Persepolis and other ancient sites dating back to before the time of Christ.

We explore the desert city of Yazd with its unique architecture and stay in a carefully restored caravanserai, oozing with the history of the ancient trade routes. We also visit the lovely old town of Kerman and the Bagh-e Shahzade in Mahan, before taking in the truly breath-taking sights of Isfahan – surely one of the most stunning cities to be found anywhere.

Experience traditional Iranian hospitality and spend the night in a carefully restored caravanserai. This Iran tour is a truly awe-inspiring trip, and deserves the attention of every serious traveller.  A breathtaking journey through a spellbinding land.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace


Tour style


Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.


Your Iran tour starts when you arrive in Tehran and transfer to hotel accommodation. Depending upon flight arrival schedules there may be time to explore the city. Overnight Hoveyzeh Hotel or similar.

Today there’s a guided city tour of Tehran. Highlights include Golestan Palace, the city’s main bazaar, the Treasury of National Jewels, known for the Darya-e-Nur, the world’s largest pink diamond. Overnight Hoveyzeh Hotel or similar. (BL)

This morning we drive to the holy city of Qom, home to the 17th century shrine of Fatima and other sacred monuments. Afterwards we drive to Kashan and visit Bagh-e Fin Persian Gardens and Khaneh Borujerdiyah, a much photographed 19th century house once belonging a local merchant. Our Iran tour then continues to the mountain village of Abyaneh, one of the oldest settlements in Iran, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight Hotel Abyaneh or similar. (BD)

Leaving Abyaneh behind, we drive to Yazd, stopping on the way at the shrine of Imamzadeh Abdolsamaad in Natanz, a significant example of traditional Persian architecture. Later we visit Na’in and explore the Jame Mosque and the nearby ethnological museum. Overnight Fahadan Hotel or similar. (BL)

Today we explore the desert city of Yazd, for centuries a stronghold for Zoroastrianism. We visit the Zoroastrian fire temple, the eerie ‘Towers of Silence’, the Jame Mosque, and the city’s remarkable wind towers, examples of ancient refrigeration technology. Overnight Fahadan Hotel or similar. (BL)

After the morning in Yazd we drive to Zeinodin and check-in to a beautifully restored 16th to 18th century the Safavid-era caravanserai. Overnight Zeinodin Caravanserai. (BD) 

Please note: The caravanserai’s sleeping areas are separated solely by curtains. Traditional Iranian style mattresses on a platform are employed rather than western-style beds. Bathroom facilities are shared.

Leaving Zeinodin, we drive through the surreal UNESCO World Heritage landscapes of the Lut Desert, considered to be the world’s hottest. Among towering sand dunes and sculpted rock formations, known as kalouts, this is a land devoid of life. We cross the 2,600m Sirch mountains en route to Sirch village, home to a 1000-year-old cypress tree. In Shahdad we explore the impressive Haj Mohammad Taghi cistern and its wind towers, as well as a nearby Sassanid-era adobe fortress. Afterwards we continue to Shafiabad for lunch at a traditional guesthouse, later visiting the village’s underground qanat water channels. After lunch we drive to some fascinating nearby sand formations, taking a walk in the surreal, sculptural landscape. Overnight local guesthouse in Shahdad. (BLD) 

Please note: Guesthouse rooms have traditional Iranian-style mattresses on platforms rather than western-style beds. Bathroom facilities are shared.

Today’s journey takes us to Mahan where we explore Bagh-e Shahzade, one of the country’s most beautiful Persian-style gardens, replete with fountains and terraces. Afterwards we visit the mausoleum of Sufi poet-saint, Shah Nematollah. Later we drive to Rayen, set among the desert and surrounded by mountains. The town was recorded by Marco Polo during his epic travels in the Middle Ages, and its well-preserved citadel, possibly dating from the 3rd to 7th century, Sassanid-era, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Leaving Rayen, we drive to Kerman and explore the 17th – 18th century, Safavid-era Ganajalikhan complex. Overnight Tourist Inn or similar. (BLD)

Today there’s a long drive to Shiraz, stopping at the impressive 5th century Sassanid-era archaeological site of Sarvestan Palace. From there we continue to Shiraz, a highlight of any Iran tour and a city known for the shrines to its famous poets and its pretty gardens. Overnight Arg Hotel or similar. (B Picnic Lunch D)

This morning we drive to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Persepolis, one of the ancient world’s greatest cities. Built from 515 BC by Darius the Great, fourth Persian King of Kings, Persepolis was capital of the Achaemenid Empire. History suggests that around 330 BC the city was set ablaze by Alexander the Great following his invasion of Achaemenid Persia. We spend time exploring the magnificent site before heading to the nerby  breathtaking necropolis of Naqsh-e Rustam and the impressive carved reliefs of Naqsh-e Rajab, archaeological sites dating from the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods. Overnight Arg Hotel. (BL)

After breakfast we spend a full day touring the sights of Shiraz itself. Highlights include the tombs of famous Persian poets Hafiz and Sa’di, the well-preserved Naranjestan – a traditional and well-preserved Persian house, Nasir al Mulk mosque, and the Khan Madrassa. Overnight Arg Hotel or similar. (B)

Today we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pasargadae, first capital of the Achaemenid Empire during the 6th century BC, under Cyrus the Great. The site includes the tomb of Cyrus the Great, the fortress of Toll-e Takht as well as palaces and gardens. Afterwards we drive to Isfahan. Overnight Piroozi Hotel or similar. (BL)

Isfahan is perhaps the most beautiful of all Iran’s cities, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of noted for its abundance of Perso-Islamic architecture, ancient mosques, minarets, shrines and palaces. Ascendant from the 11th century, at the confluence trade routes, Isfahan became the Safavid capital of Persia from the 16th and 17th centuries. For a city proverbially known as ‘Half the World’ the two full days we have to explore may seem not nearly enough. Overnight at Piroozi Hotel or similar. (Day 13 – BD, Day 14 – B)

Your Iran tour ends today after breakfast when airport transfers depart to meet onward flights. (B)

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

Single Supplement from £525.

Return flights from London to Tehran start from £450. Please contact us for a quotation.

Airport transfers are included. If you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation then transfers for those dates will be at an additional cost.

If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you can do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.

Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please get in touch with us so that we can tailor your perfect tour of Iran.

Mapped itinerary.

Want to see details of your itinerary on a map?

Download PDF.

Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

Iran - Treasures of Ancient Persia Tour Map

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers. If you are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation then transfers for those dates will be at an additional cost.
  • Transport throughout
  • All accommodation
  • Services of English speaking guide / tour leader
  • Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks

As ever I am amazed by the trips arranged by Undiscovered Destinations. In the Treasures of Ancient Persia you visit sites which were as old as recorded time. I have to make special mention of the local people who were some of the most friendly I have ever encountered. The driver was exceptional and should be commended for his driving style and his constant vigilance. Still do not know how you do it for the price. Worth taking this trip and sooner rather than later- do it before it either gets too busy or events stop you trying.



Stephen Nolan, France