Fitness Level: Easy-Moderate: For the most part, this Iranian adventure is not super physically demanding. We do have a couple days trekking in the Zagros mountains which does require a basic fitness level. The better fitness you have, the more you will enjoy yourself during our time in the mountains.
Who should apply?
The perfect candidate:
Why do I need to book a Tour? Can I visit Iran on my own?
If you’re an independent American / British or Canadian traveler, we will help you get what you need to sort the visa, which is much more expensive and full of bureaucratic headaches if you tackle it on your own. These nationalities need a special visa with an established itinerary already pre-determined and require an Iranian licensed guide 24/7 which EBT will provide.
So why book a trip with EBT? We handle logistics, provide you with unique connections, and allow you to see the best of the country in a relatively short time-frame. We also believe in paying our staff competitive wages and investing in local community projects and we strive to make a positive impact on local communities every time we run a tour.
Is Iran safe?
Contrary to what 99% of the world thinks, Iran is generally a very safe place to travel to. If you ever read an honest travel blog about Iran, you will probably see things like "Iran is the safest country I’ve ever been to” or “much safer than traveling in USA or Europe”. Violent crimes against foreigners/tourists as well as kidnapping and terror related crimes are VERY rare in Iran. In reality, most travelers find a great sense of hospitality and friendly people eager to hang out or invite you to join them for a meal or tea. Knowing this, it is best to come to Iran with an open mind and leave prior judgements and misconceptions at home.
What is the food like in Iran?
Food traditions in Iran are almost as old as time itself. Culinary masterpieces go back almost 4000 years when recipes were being recorded in a cuneiform script on clay tablets. Iran’s amazing gastronomy is one of the highlights of the trip that you (and your belly) will remember for the rest of your life. The cuisine reflects the soul of the country. From the fertile provinces in the north where rice fields mark the landscape and it’s veggie dishes, to camel kebab and dates from the desert, to fish from Persian Gulf; Iranian cuisine has something for everyone.
Obviously, as is typical from this region of the globe there’s a huge selection of kebabs (meat barbecue) of goat, sheep, and cow, etc, but we will be also be able to find a big selection of different vegetarian dishes too; the goal is to try as many delicious things as possible. Persian bread is served with everything, rice is a tasty staple, and...sorry guys... alcohol is strictly forbidden.
In Iran, normally it’s easy to order a big variety of food options and then share dishes for a big table family style.
Note: The food in Iran is NOT spicy. It has of course a big selection of spices – as the Iranian Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice that we will be able to find in many dishes and tea. Please, let us know early on if you have any diet restrictions/preferences.
What should I wear?
Women will need to wear hejab (head scarf) most if not all of the time whilst in Iran. This means covering hair/arms and legs. Many local women opt to wear a long coat/tunic/manteau also to disguise the body shape, but this is not necessary for foreign women, who do have some flexibility in the way they can dress.
Men should wear pants and t-shirts. Shorts and tank tops are not appropriate. When entering mosques, men or women with tattoos should cover them up.
Bear in mind however some rules are not observed strictly, especially for tourists and foreigners in the same way as they are for local Iranians. The clothing rules will be much more relaxed when we are trekking out in the mountains (at times). There’s definitely no restriction in color with regards to the clothing standard.
Open toe shoes and sandals are just fine for both men and women, especially in summer. Painted nails on your fingers or your toes, is also fine. Hair should be covered but it does not mean you must have a tight scarf around your head. It is very common that some hair remains out of the scarf.
Will there be sweet, sweet WiFi on our trip?
There will be WiFi in big cities like Tehran, Esfahan or Shiraz, especially in the guesthouse’s & small hotels. But non-existent for the 3 days in the Zagros Mountains and probably weak signal in the village of Varzaneh.
We recommend using your time in Iran to take a digital detox and spend your time soaking in the exciting new environment instead of scrolling through Instagram.
What kind of guides will we have?
Our guide, Pedro Ricardo Dias is assisted by local Iranian crew consisting of an official Iranian guide and a driver (whenever we will need). For the Zagros Mountain trip, Mohamed who was Qashghai shepherd in his teenage years will join us for 3 days.
Check out our meet the team page here.
What is the Accommodation like in Iran?
Prices are based on the sharing of rooms and single (same sex) members of the group will typically be put together. We will be using guesthouses & small hotels that offer comfortable, clean, but simple, facilities. Sometimes rooms might be without air conditioning (although normally they are equipped with air-con, especially in summer time).
Whilst in the Zagros Mountains, we will share tents while living with the nomad families; the tents are clean, comfortable, and a great way for us all to hang out. Note: hot water will not be available when we are in the mountains for a couple of days.
Single supplement: If you wish to have a private hotel room to yourself, we can arrange this - the single supplement cost is €250; Please note that even if you do opt for a single room, this will only be possible in Tehran / Varzaneh / Esfahan & Shiraz. For the 2 nights in the Zagros Mountains, accommodation is all shared (unless you bring your own tent).
Where do I need to apply for my visa?
Citizens of over 180 countries are eligible to use the Iran electronic visa system.
Applicants should start by researching the procedure online or by reaching out to the Iranian consulate in your country of residence. For these 180 countries, the procedure is to submit your application for the evisa online, wait 10 days or so for the approval, and after it’s been approved you’ll need to bring the passport to the consulate nearest to your home and get the the visa places into your passport.
If you are American, British or Canadian citizen we will supply you with additional documents as needed, as the visa process requires some extra bureaucratic steps and documents to navigate.
The visa process for the above mentioned nationalities can take a bit of time, depending on the diplomatic situation is between the countries. EBT recommends that guests begin the visa application process 2/3 months before the start of the trip.
Visas need to be arranged in the country where your passport has been issued if, so for example, if you have a French passport you must sort your visa in France. If you are out of your home country, we recommend posting your passport back home and getting a friend or family member to do it. It is possible to get a visa outside of your native country if you have a residency visa there. Also, It may be possible to apply for a visa from a third party country (a country where you hold neither residence or nationality), but this is extra complicated and you risk the visa getting rejected or delayed for a long period of time.
Does EBT sort out my Iranian Visa?
No. You will need to arrange your visa yourself before you arrive in the country. Upon booking, guests will be given resources and advice regarding how to tackle the visa application process.
What sort of equipment do I need to come on this trip?
We will provide a full kit-list months ahead of the start of the tour. You will not need to spend a fortune on expensive gear but decent multi-purpose hiking shoes, proper clothing, sun protection (hat), and a decent jacket are a must.
Is Insurance included in the tour?
No it is not. To travel on this tour, you must have travel insurance because it’s one of the items mandatory to ask the Iranian Visa. We will provide recommendations closer to the time. If you don’t buy travel insurance, you will not be allowed to come on the tour.
WIll the trip run exactly as the itinerary is planned?
That's the goal, and our team is already hard at work to ensure that the itinerary goes according to plan. Keep in mind that the above itinerary and activities are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances like weather, road closures, natural disaster, ministry approval, etc. Travel almost always involves unexpected situations so things might need to be re-arranged at times. However, it is important to remember that travel is all about the journey, and so even the unexpected situations we may face should be treated as part of the overall experience. If we encounter issues we will get them sorted to the best of our ability.
Where will I need to fly into to start the tour? Why will I need to fly out of?
You need to fly into Tehran and be at the guesthouse by the morning of day 1. Ideally you will arrive a day early to rest and gear up for the start of our adventure. You will be picked up from the airport by a member of our team providing you arrive within 24 hours of midday on day 1. If you arrive outside of the 24 hour period leading up to the start of the tour, you’ll need to pay for your own transfer – advice will be provided.
The tour finishes in Shiraz, so you will need to book your return flight home from Shiraz.
Will I be able to communicate with locals?
In most of the places we visit, the locals speak English. Many young people are actually teaching themselves or having private tutor’s lessons outside of official school requirements. Locals also love to practice their English with visiting foreigners.
Do credit cards work there?
No. You will have to carry cash with you whilst traveling in Iran. EBT will recommended a "personal budget" needed for things not included in the trip price (souvenirs, meals during free time, extra snacks, tipping, etc). There’s no Visa/Mastercard or American Express in use in Iran. The banking system is basically cut off from the rest of the world. Also Western Union and other big-name money transfer companies don’t work in Iran.
Is pre-tour/post tour accommodation provided?
No it is not. You are not covered for accommodation for the days leading up to the start of the tour or the days after the tour has ended. Day 1 is the first day accommodation is included. If you need an affordable place to stay before or after the tour starts/ends, we can provide recommendations.
Do I need to sign a release waiver?
All tour participants will be required to sign an industry-standard waiver releasing Epic Backpacker Tours from any liability related to any aspect of this Iran trip
We want adventurers…
This is an adventure… things may not always go as planned and if they don't, we will be there to solve problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. You will get out of this trip what you put into it; a positive attitude, willingness to get to know the locals, and enthusiasm are all important.
While the tour itself is not super strenuous physically, please note that it can involve the following: somewhat long days, a good amount of walking and a few days of trekking, being in the sun in potentially hot temperatures, a few long journeys by bus, early morning wake-ups, and other similarly challenging scenarios.
Epic Backpacker Tours staff are there to lead you into the mountains and provide you with an amazing experience through our unique contacts – we are not there to be your servants. We are there to guide you through Iran in a mode of utmost professionalism, laugh with you, enjoy tasty food with you, trek with you, and overall have an awesome time bonding as a group.