After 2 weeks spent in Iran, I listed 5 main reasons why you should definitely go to Iran.
1) Iranians are very hospitable people
Just ask anyone who’s been to Iran, you will probably get the same answer: “Iranians are overwhelmingly friendly.”
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of western people who associate the people of Iran with their government. This is like judging a book by its cover! Sure there is still a lot of progress to be made on human rights, gender equality… But trust me, you will feel more welcome in Iran than in any western country.
I think their hospitality dates back to a time when nomadic people roamed the Middle East and Central Asia. It has also clearly intensified in recent years because of so few Western travelers coming to Iran.
2) The cultural wealth
From ancient Persia to modern Iran, from the Achaemenid Empire to the Sasanian era, from the Safavid period to the Qajar dynasty, to finally the Pahlavi family and the Islamic Revolution, Iranian history is amazing. The Persian civilization is one of the oldest civilizations on earth and you will find reminders of that great history all over the country.
19 sites were granted World Heritage status by UNESCO: Meidan Emam (Naqsh-e Jahan Square) in the city of Isfahan, also known as the “Middle Eastern Florence”, the ruins of Persepolis (where Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in 334 BC), Golestan Palace… –> See full list here
3) The amazing landscapes
Iran is the 18th largest country in the world. So wether you like deserts, mountains or dense rain forests, I’m pretty sure you’ll find the landsacpes you’re looking for. I especially recommend Maranjab desert which offers a wide range of landscapes (dunes, salt lakes…) in an area that’s not too vast.
Feel free to contact Ashkan and Mehdi for off-road adventures
4) It’s cheap
Wether you are the couchsurfing or the 4-star hotels kind of person, travelling to Iran will result cheaper than most countries. Here are a few examples of what we spent (prices may vary depending on season etc.):
Flight from Paris to Tehran –> 280 €
Flight from Shiraz to Tehran –> 32 €
Bus ticket from Yazd to Isfahan –> 4 €
One night in a cheap but very well located hotel in Isfahan (with a condo for ourselves) –> 28 € per night (can be divided by up to 4 people)
Meal in a high-end restaurant in Tehran –> 20 €
Fast-food meal –> 3 €
5) It’s not too touristy (not yet at least…)
The good thing about all the prejudice against Iran is that less people go there. It could actually feel like a lonely place if not for the Iranians’ warmth and their inviting nature.