We are travelling in Iran and going to cover the must-see places such as Esfahan, Siraz, Yazd, Kerman, etc. But we are also intersted in less touristic, off-beaten paths. Is the North Western part of Iran worth visiting (Ardebil, Rasht and some nature places there)? Has anyone travelled there and could share their experience?
Near Yazd, don’t miss stopping in Meybod for the vernacular architecture (pigeon house, ice house, old postal courier building, fortress) and if possible the fortress at Saryazd
- Kashan is also worth staying at rather than just making a stop en route to Tehran from Isfahan. In addition to the standard sights of the merchant houses, hamam and Bagh-e-Fin, there are lovely mosques, the fascinating underground city in nearby Nooshabad (Ouyi) as well as the archaeological site of Tepe Sialk dating from 8000 years ago.
If you have time to go to the northwest, in addition to standard sights in Tabriz, Jolfa area (St. Stephanos church) and Ardabil, there’s an epic drive along the Azeri and Armenian border with jawdropping scenery and villages that rarely see tourists. To give justice to this, I’d suggest starting off in Jolfa in the morning, and then travel via Hadishahr along the Aras river border till you finally turn south - you can spend the night in Kaleybar rather than pushing on to Ardabil which will avoid you being on a foggy mountain pass after dark.
Yes, we have travelled in Iran and enjoyed it a lot. We were mainly using Public transport (buses are very new and comfortable, travel merely to any destination) and by shared taxis which are cheap enough. We were in Iran during the hottest time (July), so our plans got adjusted due to the weather - we went a bit more to the North. We visited Masuleh village (a bit touristic, visited a lot bg locals, but still nice), Ardabil city which has a lot of colorful mosques in addition to UNESCO site. Then we visited the Kurdish part: Sanandaj and Kermansah cities, Palangan village which had no other tourists and was very very beautiful. Then we went to the famous cities: Esfahan, Yazd, Shiraz (including Persepolis), small town Nayin, Kashan. Finally, we reached Teheran, but I would not spend long time there, as it is big, polluted and expensive, hard to move around - interesting just to have a feeling of what it is, we were there mainly for getting other visas (and that was a very positive experience). North of Teheran should be cooler, green and very beautiful, we were just close to the mount Damavan, but didn't have time to explore the surroundings. All in all, it was only a positive experience. The people are so friendly, helpful, want to communicate with tourists a lot, ask for pictures together. If there is a dispute, police is on the tourist side generally. We felt we are taken care of on the streets, people were always helping. Very safe, I would say it is the safest country not only in the Middle East. I feel we owe to spread a good word about Iran after visiting it Many foreigners stay at couchsurfers, which is not so legal in Iran (for locals), but local people even compete for hosting tourists, because it is their only chance to encounter a different culture, as they can hardly go abroad. Internet is very slow and nearly not working, but with a local SIM card it is good on the mobile phone, make sure you install a vpn before you go to Iran, as many sites are blocked. English is spoken only in bigger cities and mainly among young people, learning simple phrases in the local language may be good