30 Tips for Traveling to Iran & Things to Know Before You Go

Unlike what you can see in the media, Iran is one of the friendliest countries I’ve ever visited. From friendly people, incredible architecture, amazing beaches, to vibrant cities and mystic deserts.

Did you know that Iran hosts nineteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites?

There’s so much to see that even if you spend a month traveling around the country, you won’t see everything that the country has to offer. Because Iran has it all. If you plan to travel to Iran, here are my best tips.

In 2017 I traveled to Iran independently, on my own. It’s a fascinating country, very different from how media portrays it. While I was able to travel around the country on my own due to my EU passport, even if you’re from the UK or US and require to do an organized tour you could hire a guide and create your own itinerary. So not all is lost! 🙂

Many blogs are blocked in Iran, so if your VPN isn’t working for some reason you won’t be able to access the article again. Fortunately, my website isn’t blocked, so you can access my articles when you’re already in Iran as well.

Tips for Traveling to Iran & Things to Know Before You Go
(updated for 2018)


1. Iranians aren’t Arabs

One of the most important things to remember is that Iranians aren’t Arabs, they’re Persian. They speak Farsi (and other dialects), not Arabic, and some people might feel offended if you great them with Arabic words.

Since the Arab invasion of Iran, Farsi has been written in Arabic letters with slight differences.While a lot of Arabic words have made it to the Persian dictionary, it doesn’t mean that an Arab can understand Farsi or the other way around.

2. What’s the best time to travel to Iran?

Iran is a big country, so temperatures differ. For instance, when I was visiting Iran in late March it was freezing cold in Tabriz and Tehran, but very warm in Esfahan.

During the summer, temperatures frequently break into the 40’s (C), so it might not be the best time to visit. Especially since you need to be covered up head to toes.

I’d say that the best time to visit Iran is spring (late February – late May).

The worst time to travel is the 2-week long Iranian New Year holidays called Navroz (for 2018: 21st March – 4th April) . I was actually in Iran during these holidays and it was, in fact, the worst time to visit. You won’t be able to stay with many locals as everyone is visiting families and many places are closed.

3. Iranian don’t hate Americans

One of the biggest myths in the Western Media is that Iranians hate Americans. I only encountered one posted at a mosque in Tehran. But after a few conversations with people around the mosque, I quickly realized that they all agreed that some group of weirdos put it there and noone really thinks that.

I had endless conversations about it with many locals and none of them expressed any hate towards Americans. In fact, American movies were shown on a local bus and people love to drink Coca-Cola.

4. Iran is a great place for backpacking

Many people don’t consider a country like Iran to be good for backpacking. But they’re wrong. Iran is the ultimate backpacking destination. Iran is cheap, it has hostels in major tourist places, cheap hotels and guesthouses in others, comfortable buses, and friendly locals. What more can you want when you backpack…?

I’m usually not a fan of backpacking and hostels. But backpacking in Iran is different than in some other popular places. Travelers were more mature, interested in different cultures, and not just in partying and taking usual selfies in the morning. I might be biased, but when I backpacked in other places I was rarely able to find people who wanted to join me for a trip to the museum. Not in Iran.

Read more about Backpacking in Iran

5. How Much Money Do I Need for Iran?

Iran is a country that offers great value for money, even more so these days. But money is one thing you really need to plan on if you’re going to Iran, as foreign card won’t work in any ATM and you cannot pay by card. Similar to Cuba, Iran is a cash country.

Bring EUROS, not US Dollars. Many websites and travel blogs will tell you to bring only Dollars. Thankfully, I had Euros too. Dollars were very unwanted (I imagine after Trump’s travel ban). While some people still accepted them, it wasn’t easy.

I spent approximately $20-40 per day while traveling solo and with a friend, I met on my first day. It wasn’t an extreme budget trip and we weren’t restricting ourselves. I recommend planning on bringing more, just to be safe. This will allow you to book a double room in a budget hotel, local meals, taxis and taking buses everywhere.

Remember that Iran has beautiful Persian carpets and you might want to buy one. My friend and I both bought carpets, so I was happy that I had some spare cash with me. Prices for a rug range between $100-800 depending on the size.

Click Here for official / street exchange rate history.

NOTE: Iran recently introduced a special pre-paid debit cards for foreign travelers called Mah Card. It’s a great solution for those who don’t want to carry too much cash around. You can sign up online and they’ll meet you at your hotel upon arrival, issue your card and deposit your foreign currency into your Mah Card.

6. Currency in Iran is Very Confusing

Rial is the official currency, but all prices are in Toman. It gets a bit confusing and you’ll most likely get a real hang of it right before you leave.

1 toman = 10 rials

But it’s not just that simple. If someone asks you for 20 it means you need to pay 200 rials, but I also encountered 20 meaning 20,000 as they just don’t want to deal with zeros.

7. You Can Get Iran Visa at the Airport

If you’re worried about the hassle of getting a visa to Iran, fear not! Citizens of many countries are eligible for a visa on arrival for up to 30 days. See rules and documents required in my other post.

If you’re illegible to travel around Iran on your own, you can consider taking the Discover Persia 14-day G Adventures tour, which I’ve heard good things about. The tour doesn’t chaperone you 24/7 and you’ll have some free time, so even if you’re not a group trip person, you’ll be fine. Check here for the latest Discover Persia tour prices and itinerary.

Another option would be Iran tours from Intrepid. They have a few options available, so check the latest dates and prices here.

You won’t be granted a visa without a valid travel insurance. And in case you’re wondering EU insurance cards won’t work, as they do check whether your policy is actually valid for Iran. While you can technically buy an insurance at the airport, you’ll have to stand in another line to do so. This is why I recommend World Nomads Insurance. It’s valid for Iran and it’s reliable.

8. Iran is Safe

Apart from what media portrays Iran is safe. I actually felt safer in Iran than during my last visit in NYC. Also, once you meet some friendly Iranian (read: within 10 minutes of your walk outside of the hotel), they’ll make sure that you as a foreigner have everything you need.

I never encountered people being so helpful anywhere else in the world.

Random strangers will get off the metro with you at the wrong station for them to show you the right way. They’ll escort you to your seat on the bus to make sure that you find everything right and don’t miss it. They’ll guard your stuff too.

I only felt unsafe once, in Esfahan at night, but nothing happened.

READ MORE: Is it Safe to Travel to Iran as a Solo Female?

9. Crossing the Road is Probably the Most Dangerous in Iran

Crossing the road in Iran is terrifying. Seriously, I’d never want to drive in Iran as traffic rules seem to be some sort of general guidelines. If you want to cross the street, whether it’s a crosswalk or elsewhere, you need to just start walking and pray that the cars will stop.

If you’re going to wait till cars stop you might as well be waiting until next year, as they’ll never stop before you’re actually halfway through. Your best bet is to maintain eye contact and look like you know what you’re doing.

10. Be Prepared for Some Crazy Drivers

You might get a heart attack in a taxi, as Iranian drivers are crazy. So don’t even attempt to drive yourself, even if your new friends offer. I mean, just take a look at this photo below proving that it’s totally fine to stop in the middle of a roundaboutut to have a chat…

Two white cars stopped in the middle of a roundabout…

11. Hotels Will Keep Your Passports Until You Check Out

Hotel receptions will keep your passport and give it back to you upon check out. Some people might be afraid of that, but they really keep it safe. Make sure you always have a copy of your passport though!

12. There’s No Good Guidebook for Iran

I’m usually not a fan of traveling with a guidebook. I did it once with Rick Steves’ guide to Slovenia and Croatia and every place mentioned was either overcrowded or overrun by tourist. But I understand that some people prefer to have a guidebook and for a country like Iran, it might come in handy.

While Lonely Planet’s Guide to Iran is still a bestseller, it’s also very outdated. There’s a new one coming out in September 2017. Many restaurants and guesthouses mentioned there closed down and I found that often travel times and bus schedules are wrong. BUT and I thickened and underlined ‘but’ on purpose, the guide is still all right and helpful when traveling to Iran.

I still recommend getting a copy, but taking into consideration that some things might not be up to date and double check.

13. Women Must Wear a Headscarf

Iran is officially the Islamic Republic and both women and men must follow the dress code rules (yes, it’s not just for women). Men shouldn’t wear shorts, and women need to cover up their hair with aheadscarff and their body.

I was quite worried about having my entire scalp covered at first, but I quickly realized how ‘relaxed’ the rules are. Many young women just cover only the top of their hair.

Iranian women are super stylish, so if you’re wearing baggy elephant pants you’ll feel out of place – believe me! Also, bring a short skirt or dress as well, as in private homes women quickly change into tight shirts and skirts. You’ll look ridiculous in your conservative clothes inside and everyone will ask you why don’t you change.

Read More: What to Wear in Iran

hijab iran

14. You Need a VPN to Browse the Internet Freely

While there’s the internet in Iran, similar to China, you’ll need a VPN in order to see certain websites. You’ll need to install a VPN (virtual private network) in order to access a certain website. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are blocked in Iran. Travel blogs who wrote about Israel are also blocked in Iran.

What’s not blocked? You’ll be able to access your Gmail account without any issues. The most popular social network in Iran is Instagram which isn’t blocked. I find it slightly ironic, knowing that Instagram is owned by Facebook that’s blocked in Iran.

Make sure to do your research and check out my other post, as not all VPNs will work in Iran.

Read more about Which VPN is Best for Iran

All you’ll see when you access a forbidden website without a VPN

15. Get an Iranian SIM Card

Iranian SIM is cheap and you might find yourself in sudden need of Google Maps, so I highly recommend it. You can ask at your hotel/hostel where is the nearest Irantel. The basic SIM costs 10 Euros and includes 2 GB of internet.

You might also download the Telegram app if you want to make staying in touch with your new Iranian friends as smooth as possible. Iranian use this app to communicate, instead of texting, as it’s encrypted.

16. Toilets are Everywhere, but…

First things first, don’t ask for a toilet. Ask for a WC, as that’s the word used by Iranian.

Prepare yourself for squat toilets. Even many hotels don’t have western toilets and you can forget about them even in fancy restaurants. Don’t forget to bring a roll of toilet paper with you. It’s rarely provided outside private homes, and even in less expensive hotels, I was lacking a roll in my bathroom quite often.

Read more: What to Pack for Iran?

17. Stay with Iranians if you can

Without a doubt, the most enjoyable part of backpacking Iran is having the opportunity to stay with locals. While Couchsurfing is technically illegal is widely used, so even if you’re not a couchsurfer you might give it a go. YES – it’s safe to interact and stay with locals in Iran. Everyone is extremely hospitable and they’ll invite you to stay multiple nights.

My friend and I were stopped on the street by locals on many occasions who were offering us to stay with them, wanted to buy us lunch, inviting us to birthday parties and weddings. While it obviously doesn’t happen in the Western world and might seem strange at first, it’s Iranian culture. Just say yes. You’ll see a completely different Iran – trust me.

Note that Americans, British, and Canadians citizens are forbidden from entering local homes, leave alone staying with them.

18. Don’t be Afraid of Asking Iranians Some Personal Questions

If you’re curious about something, don’t be afraid to ask Iranians about it. My friend and I met a group of girls in Kurdistan with whom we had some deep conversations about cultural differences, their lives, and our lives. It was really eye-opening and I’ve learned a lot.

19. If You’re Vegetarian, I Hope you Like Eggplants and Lentils

While my opinion can be totally bias and connected to the fact that I visited Iran during national holidays, I was having issues finding some vegetarian dishes in Iran. Leave alone if you’re vegan. Outside of the popular tourist route, vegetarian options were out of questions and even a milk cinnamon soup contains meat.

But if you’re sticking to the tourist route (Tehran – Kashan – Esfahan – Yazd – Shiraz) you’ll be able to find restaurants offering eggplant ragout or eggplant mousse. I also saw lentils on the menu quite often, but double check with the waiter if they contain meat as some portions might.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed with Iranian food at all apart from a few dishes. I blame it on bad timing of Navroz holidays and the fact that I’m not a big meat eater and all salads and yogurts were served with cucumbers that I’m allergic to, so I couldn’t eat them either.

But you might change your might if you attend some home-cooked meals or food tours. I found out about Persian Food Tours from locals, but unfortunately, I already left Tehran when I did. Let me know how is it if you decide to do it!

20. Forget About Alcohol in Iran

If you’re into traveling and getting drunk on the way, Iran might not be a place for you. There is no bars and alcohol can’t be found normally, unless you really know how to look for it (not recommended). If caught drinking alcohol, you could be looking at some jail time or a fine. But don’t worry – water bottles look like flasks of vodka.

Having no alcohol doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to party and have fun. I’ve attended a birthday party and it was great to see how Iranians can entertain themselves without a drop of alcohol. We danced, we talked – it was fun!

You’ll actually often see a beer on the menu, but it means nonalcoholic. It also has different flavors, so you might as well try it.

It’s water!

21. Restrain Yourself from Public Affection as a Couple

As in any other conservative country, PDA is not well seen. While it’s technically not illegal, you shouldn’t be holding hands with your loved one, or kissing in public places.

22. Everyone Will Approach You and Talk to You

While having random strangers approach you isn’t a common practice in other countries, it is in Iran. People often strike up random conversations with foreigners to practice their English.

23. Take Your Shoes Off Everywhere in Iran

No matter if you’re staying at a fancy hotel, guesthouse, hostel or someone’s home, take off your shoes. No one wears shoes inside. At restaurants with traditional seating, you’re required to take your shoes off before jumping on a seat.

24. Shop at Iranian Markets

Bazaars play a huge part in Iran’s day-to-day life and you can find them pretty much in every city and small town. The largest bazaar in the world (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is in Tabriz, where I actually bought my carpet.

If you don’t want to shop, don’t skip the markets as they’re usually beautiful even to wander around. With high ceilings and mosaics, you can walk around for a while admiring the architecture.

Tabriz Bazaar

25. There are men and women sections in the metro and buses

I often compare the situation in Iran to Mexico, where you also have co-ed carriages and women-only carriages. It’s marked special on the platform with a yellow line on the floor.

But that’s just in theory, as during rush hour in Tehran I’ve seen many men entering women-only carriages with their wives and people telling us that it’s ok for our male friend to come with us. Why? I’m not sure.

26. Prepare for Selfies & Celebrity Treatment

Iranian love taking selfies and they’ll often ask you to take one with you too. I probably ended up on over 500 selfies over the course of 2 weeks, so be prepared for it even if you hate them. Iran was probably the only country where selfie sticks are the best item to sell.

As a foreigner, you’ll also be the center of everyone’s attention. In less or almost no-visited places, like Sanandaj, I encountered a woman who literally screamed with excitement ‘OMG tourists are here!’ when she saw my friend and me on the street.

27. Don’t Blow Your Nose in Public

Thankfully, it was a rule I read about before as I’d have totally humiliated myself. Don’t blow your nose in public. It’s considered gross. If you must, do it in the bathroom.

28. Don’t believe that buses don’t stop for toilets and food

Before going to Iran I read many articles telling me that long-distance buses don’t stop for anything unless it’s specifically requested. As someone with a small bladder, I was quite terrified.

It turned out not to be true. Every bus I was on (and I’ve really taken many) has stopped for a toilet break many times and sometimes even for an hour for dinner. Don’t worry about it, but remember that there’s no toilet on the bus!

29. Learn to Drink Tea in an Iranian Way

Forget about the way you drink your tea at home. In Iran, you need to try to drink it with locals, which means that you’ll drink some sweet tea. By that, I don’t mean you put a sugar cube in your teacup. You need to put a sugar cube in your mouth and drink the tea ‘through’ that, holding it in.

30. Iran Has the Creepiest Mannequins in the World

Chucky Doll was an angel comparing to Iranians mannequins. I could seriously create an entire collection of Children of Corn in Iran, and if you’re passing some clothing stalls for kids in the dark beware – you might have some nightmares!shops in Iran


If you like it subscribe to my YouTube channel for weekly travel videos!

Movies about Iran:

A Separation

Under the Shadow – Something slightly different as it’s a horror taking place in Tehran during Iraq-Iran war.

Books about Iran:

A Prisoner of Tehran – A story of a woman surviving in an Iranian prison during the Iranian revolution.

Children of the Jacaranda Tree – A store about a political prisoner who gave birth inside Evin Prison in Tehran in 1983. The book traces the characters to present day, teaching you a lot about Iranian revolution.

Tips for Traveling to Iran

Tips for Traveling to Iran

Any questions? Please post them below! Want to read more about Iran? Check out my ultimate guide to Iran page.


  1. Marta
    Apr 27, 2017 / 1:26 pm

    I visited Iran also in March and what you wrote is completely true! and I agree that Iranians are the nicest and kindest people I have ever met, amazing country

    • Fred Amen
      Oct 21, 2017 / 9:41 am


    • Taty
      May 3, 2018 / 6:37 am

      Thank you very much for sharing an interesting and useful information about Iran!

  2. Apr 27, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    Although there is no travel guide for Iran but I think this post is just a complete mini travel guide for Iran , thanks for sharing tips which will help for first time traveler to Iran

    • Anna
      May 31, 2017 / 11:11 pm

      Thank you, appreciate your comment!

  3. Apr 28, 2017 / 4:51 am

    Great article Anna…. loved they way you have enjoyed the culture. I always want to travel but Being a Pakistani Traveler, i would not be allowed to travel in US or Europe if i have Iranian visa on my Passport. They take this thing suspiciously.

    • Anna
      Apr 28, 2017 / 5:18 am

      Are you sure about that? Everyone who’s traveled to Iran is just ineligible for a visa waiver and has to apply for a visa to the US, but that doesn’t mean they can’t travel to the US.

  4. Apr 28, 2017 / 1:30 pm

    #6 is so funny, about them not wanting to deal with zeroes! Currency around the world is so interesting. This is a really amazing article, lots of great information. I’m curious about the headscarf… I was surprised to see in your photos that it seems to be okay if the top part of your hair is showing. Why is that ok, but it’s not ok to leave your hair uncovered?

    • Anna
      Apr 28, 2017 / 5:43 pm

      Young women are very opposed these regulations, so to them it’s like a mini protest to just cover the back of their hair.

    • Ali
      Mar 27, 2018 / 5:52 pm

      Head scarf is coming from 2500 years ago and it is culture for iranian . peaple who are not moslem also have heascarf

      • anna
        Apr 8, 2018 / 3:25 pm

        its not true !! before islam invasion iranian ppl were free to choose what to wear.and also after iran revolution they force us to wear hijab!! its a rule in here not a believing
        many many women in iran hate hijab and believe in freedom

  5. Anna
    Apr 28, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    Wow, this post is so detailed and informative. I’ve never been to Iran, but would love to go one day. I’m glad I found your blog because I always feel better visiting a new place if I can learn a little bit about their customs beforehand. That way I can be respectful as a guest in a foreign country.

    I’m very impressed by your blog and inspired by your adventures. I definitely need to up my travel game!

    • Anna
      May 31, 2017 / 11:12 pm

      Thanks so much for your kind words!

  6. Leanne
    Apr 30, 2017 / 10:11 pm

    From the two other travel bloggers I’ve read about who have been to Iran they too said it was the most friendly place they’ve been to in the entire world. What did you mean when you said American, British, and Canadian citizens aren’t allowed in local homes? That doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • Anna
      May 1, 2017 / 12:43 am

      American, British and Canadian citizens aren’t allowed to go to Iran unless they go on an organized tour. There are way around it, like hiring a local guide, but that’s the official law. They also aren’t allowed to enter any local homes. Again, I know people who did it, but legally it’s forbidden and if police catches you you’ll be in trouble.

      • Paul
        Feb 21, 2018 / 12:17 am

        Does that apply if you know an Iranian person and they invite you to stay with them? I have a growing friendship through old cars and they are keen for me to go?

        What exactly does an organised tour mean?

        • Anna
          Feb 21, 2018 / 12:35 am

          Yes, officially you cannot enter houses of your Iranian friends. Unofficially I know many Brits and Americans that stayed with locals on a regular basis.

          An organized tour means that you’re required to have a certified Iranian guide that will issue you a voucher. With this voucher, you need to go to the Embassy to get your visa. Again, unofficially I know many people who paid some money for a voucher and never actually took the tour and traveled on their own.

  7. May 11, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    I love this post, but I don’t think as an American I’ll be able to go to Iran anytime soon. :-/ I think the visa application is too crazy, and with Trump in office I feel like it’s just a bad time to go, lol. I’ll have to save it for a few years away. Hey, maybe we’ll have some world peace by then? Okay, probably not, but it’s a nice thought

    • Anna
      May 11, 2017 / 9:50 pm

      Actually, I found out that since the travel ban got revoked visas are still being handles. You just need to go with a tour group but that hasn’t changed 🙂

  8. saeed
    May 22, 2017 / 3:34 pm

    hi, Im from IRAN, Shiraz city, i liked the comments and ur blog, i like to offer our Guesthouse in Shiraz, and also tour package, if its ok you can publish it in tour page,
    I’LL be happy to answer your questions,,,,

    • amir
      Aug 6, 2018 / 10:28 am

      What is the name of your guest house & fare ?

    • Zaif
      Nov 8, 2018 / 11:52 am

      Hi Saeed
      how will it be in tehran in late november ?
      Will it be too cold for us to have a good time and go places ?we also have a 10 month old baby

  9. Aug 11, 2017 / 7:08 am

    AS A Iranian im so happy to see that travelers from all around the world enjoyed their trip to Iran .
    unfortunately still lots of cities ,valleys and monuments still unknown for the most travelers . such as qazvin and valley of assassins.
    we would be more than happy to help anyone need information about these places and help them is this adventure.

    • ScooberDoober
      Nov 16, 2018 / 12:31 pm

      I would be very interested in visiting some “off tourist path” places in Iran and seeing the country through the locals’ eyes, but I am a US passport holder. Can you give me any information about what my options are? I don’t want to insult locals when I visit or get myself in trouble.

  10. Aug 19, 2017 / 8:57 am

    thanks for your post.I hope to see you again in Iran

  11. Joel
    Aug 26, 2017 / 12:48 am

    Thank you so much for the great and useful article, it has answered some of my questions! Good job! However, I still have a few questions I’d like to ask you or anyone else who might read this comment.
    I am planning to visit Iran next year and I have been collecting useful information on what to do / not to do, what to see and so on… Those basic things. The fact that we foreigners can’t pay by card in Iran is really a pain in the ass but we have to deal with it and take enough cash with us (hoping that it will be fine and nobody will steal it). I am curious about transportation around the country. How did you travel around Iran? Did you use just buses or also trains? What is your opinion on the transportation (fares, efficacy, distance, etc.) and how did you purchase the tickets? Did you purchase them in advance or on the very same day? And where did you buy them? Were they sold at the bus stations or did you have to buy them at local travel agencies? I hope you can help me out with some tips. Thank you in advance!

    • Anna
      Aug 26, 2017 / 5:36 am

      I wouldn’t worry about keeping cash too much. It’s safe enough 😉

      I used just buses, no trains. They’re comfortable, cheap and easy. You purchase tickets either at the bus station or through your hotel/hostel (which they basically call for or book on the website and print you a ticket). Same day is totally fine unless there’s a big holiday coming and everyone is traveling.

    • atusa
      Sep 15, 2017 / 9:41 am

      im from iran.. its nice to hear you’re going to visit our country, but if you are worried about paying by card there are some safe agencies which can help you. you can visit this site: https://www.tehranpayment.com/
      its in persian but you can make a phone call or email them(at the end of their webpage you can see the information) hope that would be helpful.. at least on some emergency cases if you need more cash. however iran is not an expensive country. we are waiting on you visiting here 🙂 sure you will enjoy the time.

      • AL
        Feb 5, 2018 / 7:57 pm

        Hi Atusa,

        Greetings from Chicago!
        Could you recommend any guesthouses in Isfahan?
        I am planning to visit your great country early next year.
        Best Wishes,


        • atusa
          Feb 18, 2018 / 11:01 pm

          Hi AL
          Im glad you’re gonna visit our country. There are many guesthouses in Isfahan. I live in Ahvaz, and i will be happy if you come to visit our city too. The ancient city Susa is close to ours. I can provide you a place to stay.

          • Som
            Jun 9, 2018 / 12:18 pm

            Hi. Can you share your contact details in my mail. So i can contact you further. white.canvas81@gmail.com. Regards, som

        • Ali
          Mar 22, 2018 / 9:25 am

          Hi AL. I’m Ali from Iran. If you have decided to come to Iran I will help you in every aspects you need…

  12. Sep 9, 2017 / 8:26 am

    Awesome tips Anna. I’m planning to go to Iran too and your article is very useful especially for a female traveller like me.

    I just want to ask though, is it alright to take random photos of places with people in it or is that a no-no in Iran. I’m fond of taking candid shots of people as well as landscape shots with people in it but I’m wary I might get in trouble for it.

    Also, what camera are you using for your vlog? Did you use any selfie sticks or monopod for it? Your selfie video looked seamless 🙂

    • Anna
      Sep 9, 2017 / 7:55 pm

      Yes, you totally can take photos of people. They actually love it and they’ll most likely pose for you 😉

      I used iPhone 7 Plus with DJI Osmo Gimbal for my video. I usually use a normal camera for photos and phone for videos these days.

  13. Nima A
    Sep 10, 2017 / 3:03 pm

    Great article Anna! Very insightful and up to date. As someone that has lived outside of Iran for the past 30 years I still jump at the opportunity to go back any chance I get. I hope that educated and open minded travellers like yourself open up more borders throughout the world.
    Thank you for visiting Iran… I hope you had a great time!

  14. amir
    Oct 12, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    And one thing . you should know that alamut ( valley of assassins)and qazvin worth to visit !

  15. Fernanda Rivera
    Nov 19, 2017 / 4:23 am

    I am a mexican citizen and I am traveling to Iran next month with my boyfriend but I feel really nervous about the VISA and also have a lot of questions.

    First I am going to Paris and I am doing transit in USA so i don’t know if having Iran visa affect my transit in USA and second I don’t know if I can get the Visa of Iran in the airport or is better to get it in embassy.

    Ill be waiting for your answer.

    Thank you,
    Fernanda Rivera

    • Anna
      Nov 19, 2017 / 9:17 pm

      Hi Fernanda,

      Since you’re a Mexican citizen I assume you have a B1/B2 (tourist) visa for the US, right? A visit to Iran affects only those who normally don’t require a visa for the US and are on a visa waiver program. So that won’t be an issue at all 🙂

      I’d always say that it’s easier to get a visa on arrival.

  16. Nov 22, 2017 / 1:21 pm

    Great tips and advice. I would love to travel to Iran and have never met anyone who has been before so this is super helpful! Thanks.

  17. Rosalinda Vazquez
    Nov 28, 2017 / 4:11 am

    I am a female, I was invited to visit Iran by an Iranian friend. Planning to stay with mamma joon. I have a Mexican and USA passport. Which passport should I use for visa. Is it a long process to get visa? Can I apply for a visa myself or hire a tour company. Any help is appreciated. Visiting Iran would be a dream come true, I truly Love the culture nd it’s people. Thank you

    • Anna
      Nov 28, 2017 / 7:24 pm

      If you’re going to visit your Iranian friend then not the US one as US citizens can’t stay or enter local homes. You can apply for visa on arrival with your Mexican passport – check my article on this issue, it’s super easy to get 🙂

  18. Mostafa
    Dec 4, 2017 / 11:23 am

    Hi Anna,
    Thanks for your nice report about Iran.
    I am an Iranian and there is no problem holding hands with your loved one.
    Please correct it if possible.


    • Anna
      Dec 4, 2017 / 7:50 pm

      Really? That’s not what my Iranian friends told me.

      • Mostafa
        Dec 8, 2017 / 6:27 am

        It is really OK.

      • sajjad
        Dec 15, 2017 / 11:54 pm

        hi anna
        you really make me happy to night thank you for all of these things.
        i think he is right it’s not a problem to get hand that you loved one. i have a girlfriend that we are together for 6 years and i get her hand for all time in streets and we had not any problem these years. its okay trust me😉

  19. Meni
    Dec 4, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    What camera do you use to vlog? 🙂

    • Anna
      Dec 4, 2017 / 7:51 pm

      I usually film with iPhone 7 Plus.

  20. L. Ahmad
    Dec 17, 2017 / 11:15 am

    Traffic in Tehran is a safety hazard as footpaths are taken over by bikes. City is overcrowded and polluted. Not easy to exchange currency and out of Iran it is difficult to exchange Irani Riyal. You can end up with millions of worthless Riyal if you don’t spend them in Iran. Limited variety of food for foreigners. Scarce public conveniences. Metro is very crowded. Taxi drivers triple the cost for foreigners.

    • Aaron Eshmael
      Dec 22, 2017 / 6:55 am

      I agree with you. I went to the independence tower, it looked beautiful from the distance. But inside its walls were dirty, broken tiles, ground lights and litterred with rubbish. You are spot on about the traffic jams in Tehran and I inhaled my fair share of exhaust fumes. Certainly limited choice in food and Irani food is not gourmet food.

  21. Niel Sanderson
    Dec 26, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    What else is there to see in Iran apart from the old palaces, mosques, museums, bazars and gardens.? Not everyone in interested in their history.

    • Anna
      Dec 27, 2017 / 2:17 pm

      Plenty of nature for instance? Deserts, beaches, islands, mountains, pink lakes… There’s great skiing for instance.

  22. Jan 1, 2018 / 7:21 am

    These are awesome tips, and I’m always surprised at how easy and delengo it seems to be to travel in Iran. Such a shame that the visas are so short, I can imagine taking weeks on end to explore everything!

  23. Jan 4, 2018 / 3:37 pm

    Your point #1 is wrong. Iranians are Persian. Persia was once Iran. People from Iran are Iranians.

    • Anna
      Jan 4, 2018 / 8:11 pm

      And your point is different from what I said? Nothing is wrong there. It says exactly what you said and even more.

    • Nick
      May 23, 2018 / 10:11 am

      OK if we are going for detail, it’s the Aryan race, (current Iran, India and German are descended from Aryan race i mean they are mix now) but the north of Iran (Gilan, Mazandaran & golestan) are Aryan, i mean, they’re still speak the Aryan language and Persian is the second language for them.

  24. @ktpgh
    Feb 1, 2018 / 10:11 am

    Hi there Anna!

    I love this post so much, so informative. I was wondering about if there were rules or regulations on taking cameras/camera tripods in mosques or other historical buildings. Thanks so much!

  25. Faraj
    Feb 11, 2018 / 8:48 pm

    Hi Anna:
    Thank you for your good opinion about our country.Your article is an eye opening one.We warmly receive every person from every country.One of the most magnificent monuments to visit is Persepolis( Takhte Jamshid )as it is called by Iranians. Please visit our Instagram moonlight6940 post.

  26. Feb 22, 2018 / 12:18 pm

    Hello I’m Persian, This post is really useful and also true.
    Thank you for this post

  27. Mar 6, 2018 / 3:33 am

    Dear Anna,

    This post was pretty useful for me too as a guide to my trip in Iran. Esfahan is really safe, compared to going really West or East of Iran in the outskirts. Also, it becomes hard to backpack there due to the lack of transport options.

  28. DNN
    Mar 10, 2018 / 12:58 am

    Looks like you had a fun time going to Iran. How often do you do travel blogging? Or is this a side hustle?

  29. Wizard
    Mar 25, 2018 / 10:43 am

    Hello everybody
    I live in Isfahan
    If you have any question about Iran,ask me
    Thanks to dear Anna because of its honest post

  30. Bardia.
    Mar 31, 2018 / 3:47 am

    I Live in iran. It,s All True About iran.but About Alcohol. It,s not hard to find Alcohol. You should just Ask some iranians that you think they are not religious.they will you help in This meander way 🙂

  31. Apr 2, 2018 / 4:28 pm

    Hi ANNA, I loved the way you have enjoyed the culture. Thanks for sharing us such emotional photos.

  32. Isabelle
    Apr 8, 2018 / 5:09 am

    Very happy to find this blog I will go to ispahan in one week with my husband and my 2 daugthers . do you know if the application snap is working in Iran this is the big question of my daughter

    • Anna
      Apr 8, 2018 / 8:24 am

      By Snap you mean Snapchat?

      • Isabelle
        Apr 8, 2018 / 9:17 am

        Yes snapchat

        • Anna
          Apr 8, 2018 / 9:19 am

          She will have to install and set VPN before leaving for Iran. Then, once in Iran, she’ll have to turn on VPN before using Snapchat after connected to wifi. Then, it will work 🙂

  33. Sarah
    Apr 13, 2018 / 1:39 pm

    I’m an Iranian girl , and when I was reading your article I was surprised how small things ( to us ) are considered weird to foreigners . but then I remembered the same thing about myself . first when I noticed ppl don’t actually take off their shoes before interning the home in a movie , I was like whaaaaat? How that can be possible ? Hahaha
    Anyway I liked the article . I mean it was a true one , u know , when u see what media around the world show about Iran , u feel like : am I really like that ? Is Iran actually a unsafe country? These just leave u speechless . but this article shows you have literally been in Iran !!
    ( I apologize for any possible mistake ( grammar or spelling ) in my comment . cuz I’m really not good at English 🙂

    • Anna
      Apr 13, 2018 / 9:16 pm

      It’s funny that you mention shoes, because I was literally reading something yesterday that it’s a very American thing NOT to take them off. I never thought about it, but it’s true. It annoys the crap out of me with my husband haha!
      P.S. Your English is fine dear 🙂

  34. James
    Apr 13, 2018 / 8:50 pm

    It is truly a shame the way a beautiful country like Iran is portrayed all around the word. It is truly an amazing place with a rich and diverse culture.

  35. shadi irani
    Apr 16, 2018 / 11:40 pm

    Hi, I am an Iranian.my name is shadi.meaning happy in english😄.I have read your letter and I was surprised 😮by your intelligence and accuracy😍👌. You know the Iranians, we realized our concern. But I wish that you travel to my city, Hamedan, which is the capital of Iran’s first civilization, but I am very pleased that you are satisfied. We love❤ you and all the people of the( world) I hope to meet you again.🌹have a good life my friend

  36. Apr 29, 2018 / 3:26 am

    Would love to visit Iran one day, thanks for many inspiring stories and tips!

    • Mohammad
      May 10, 2018 / 2:21 pm

      Hello, I’m Mohammad from Iran and I’m very happy that you travel to my country

  37. Nick
    May 22, 2018 / 11:45 pm

    Hi, I’m an Iranian & i am happy that you have shown people for who we really are, in section 21 you said no holding hand . you can hold hands it’s fine, just no kissing and sexual touching :), sorry about that, also if you are here make sure visiting Isfahan & Shiraz, these places have been build by all different race people (Iranian, Indian, Germany, roman, east Asia & …) it was a symbol of peace between all countries.
    (my English is terrible, sorry)

  38. Mohsen
    May 28, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    Hi Anna. My name is Mohsen. I am an Iranian living in Germany. Thank you very much for the information about my country.
    I visit Iran every year, espacially the amazing nature of Iran. There are many beautiful and different sites to see. I am planing with my freinds to offer amazing nature tours. We are going to launch a website. I would be glad to help people who are looking for an exciting trip to Iran.

    Let us travel the world, a way to loose our prejudices about other people…
    The iranian poet named Saadi says:
    All human beings are in truth akin
    All in creation share one origin

  39. Abdul Razzak
    Jun 3, 2018 / 5:13 am

    I am 72 and my wife 70 years old. We plan to visit Iran next month. Kindly inform about special amenities available to senior people in Iran.

    • Anna
      Jun 3, 2018 / 4:24 pm

      What kind of amenities are we talking about? I saw many senior travelers in Iran 🙂

    • Tina
      Jul 2, 2018 / 8:17 am

      I am iranian.
      You can contact me to ve your host during your stay in Iran

  40. London Aidan
    Jun 6, 2018 / 1:59 pm

    Iran is nice country. I found this much useful information, as to what I was exactly searching for Iran information for traveling. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

  41. Janaína Soares
    Jun 14, 2018 / 3:03 pm

    Hi Anna!! Great blog! loving it!
    I am going to Iran in September (and then to Georgia, Armenia and Paris). I was thinking on doing Tehran – Kashan – Abyaneh – Isfahan – Xiraz – Persepoli – Yazd and then back to Tehran. Im coming with my boyfriend. Do you recommend a site where I can search fro trains between the cities in a clear way? Also, do you recommend guides in these cities? Is it better to take euros right now? Thank you very much!!

    • Anna
      Jun 14, 2018 / 4:04 pm

      Definitely better to bring Euros! I used a bus between Tehran and Kashan and then to Isfahan and it was great, any hotel or hostel in each place can book them for you as you go. If you want to take a train, here’s an unofficial website, but it’s being frequently updated: http://www.iranrail.net/index.php

      All these places are rather touristy, so I wouldn’t worry too much about finding a guide upon arrival if you wish. In my case, many people offered to show me around and tell me about these places, which felt more natural than having a guide.

      Btw I’m heading to Armenia in July, so tune in for some tips on Insta Stories 🙂

    • Tina
      Jul 2, 2018 / 8:14 am

      Hi it’s Tina I am Iranian . I live in TehrAn , I am 32 years old and I am married☺️
      My husband a I can be your host I you prefer.you can send me email. We will be happy to be your host, you can stay woth us and we can offer you many fantastic places😊

  42. Jun 19, 2018 / 6:16 am

    Hi Anna,
    Your information about Iran is very helpful for those who wish to visit Iran. Thank you to spend time on introducing my country “Iran” to the travel lovers.
    Wish to meet you in Iran:)

  43. Tina
    Jul 2, 2018 / 8:00 am

    Hi my name is Tina and I am iranian, I live inTehran , and I am free these days, I can speak english and a bit french, I am so approciate to be your host , please dont hesitate to contact me if you have a plan to cisit Iran,I can provide you with all information and etc
    Contact me:msmoghadam19@gmail.com

  44. Piotr Dubiel
    Jul 2, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    Awesome and exhaustive article, thank you!

    I’m a dual citizen (Poland and Canada), and I’m trying to figure out if it would be possible to travel to Iran on my Polish passport, as a Polish citizen, without the restrictions imposed on citizens of Canada. I currently live in Poland and my place of birth is Gdańsk, so there really isn’t anything to identify me as also being a Canadian aside from my obvious North American accent. In theory, I imagine it would be, but it would be good to hear from people who can confirm this.

    • Anna
      Jul 2, 2018 / 7:39 pm

      I know many people who used their EU passport to travel to Iran freely, even though they had a second US passport. You will be fine 🙂

      • ScooberDoober
        Nov 16, 2018 / 1:05 pm

        What recommendations do you have for someone with only a US passport or only a Russian Federation passport? That describes my girlfriend and I. We would love to visit but the very last thing we want is for me to get separated from her by police because I broke a special US restriction and leave her to fend for herself.

        • Anna
          Nov 19, 2018 / 1:35 pm

          To tell you the truth, the police isn’t scary for tourists. In fact, tourists can get away with more than locals do. Many people got a travel authorization from a company and just traveled on their own and didn’t encounter any issues, but they couchsurfed. I’m not sure about checking into hotels because you always need to leave your passport for registration, but I’m guessing if you say you have a tour guide it should be fine.

  45. Amy Day
    Jul 10, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    This is a great post for the people who wants to visit Iran. You answered all the questions on my mind. Thanks for sharing all the information. They are so useful…

  46. farhad
    Sep 2, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    Hi.This post was very beautiful and absolutely honest.I am grateful to you as an Iranian😊👌
    I am farhad and I live in the beautiful city of Hamedan.is a very old city with many places to visit and explore
    The longest blue cave in the world You can go by boat around the cave.
    Visit the city of Laljin, the capital of pottery in the world with abundant handicrafts
    A beautiful waterfall called Ganjname in the mountainous region called Amaday and stonework related to several thousand years ago, writing stones with the Achaemenid sword, under the Alwond Mountain
    Abundant and old tombs,tomb of Esther and Mordecai.
    Tomb of Abu Ali Sina Iranian famous doctor.
    Tomb of Baba Tahir, a poet of Hamedan,and many more

    I started to build a traditional home.Bake a variety of organic and local cuisine!Crafts making.From any country from around the world, with any age and gender,
    I promise you will be amazed!!
    I love this!
    Strangers are our friends whom we have not met yet.and I hope all tourists from all over the world travel to hamadan as a beautiful city with a very old history and very hospitable and friendly people, which will surely be amazed.
    I and the family will be happy to be your host.
    I love guests from all over the world.I hope to see you
    And lastly, I wish that all those who arrived in our city Hamedan left our city as our friends.

  47. Natacha
    Sep 15, 2018 / 4:08 pm

    Thank you for this article!

    I really liked Iran. However as a woman I was asked to better cover my head by some local police. It is true that it was not in Tehran but more in one small city.

    Also, something that could really help although it is quite new it is the mobile app Fairswap. It allows to exchange cash currency in real-time by connecting people and let them meeting with each other at a pre-agreed location. 
    Widely, you can post your need in foreign currency and if there is someone nearby facing the reverse need, then he/she can contact you and you will meet him/her and make the swap. That would have been helpful in my case.

    Could also be a good way to get rid of some leftover after holidays.

    Sep 17, 2018 / 4:12 pm

    Thanks you so much Anna for sharing your beautiful experience in Iran.
    It’s so helpful for Tourists.

    Thanks & Regards

    Javaid Akhtar Khan – Mumbai , India

  49. Belinda
    Oct 13, 2018 / 11:34 pm

    Hi Anna,

    I’m a 22 year female from New Zealand and am incredibly keen to visit Iran. As a solo female traveller did you find that there were a lot of other people travelling by themselves? I’ll be going alone but am hoping to meet people when I first arrive and travel with others from that point onwards. Do you think that’s possible or should I be prepared to be doing a lot solo?

    Also when locals invite you to stay the night at their homes were you paying them or are the Iranian people just that friendly?

    Thanks, you’re blog has been really informative and helpful.

    • Anna
      Oct 14, 2018 / 7:36 pm

      Yes, most people I met were traveling solo. I met a girl in a hostel in Tehran and we decided to team up and travel together for most of our route. Locals won’t accept any money from you, I tried many times.

    • Mehdi Heidari
      Nov 30, 2018 / 6:26 am

      Hi Belinda,
      Don’t hesitate to visit Iran and don’t worry about being as a solo female traveler. I am a independent tour guide that can help you. Please let me know if you need more information. You can contact me at m.heidari@ut.c.ir.

  50. vahid
    Oct 17, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    thank you very much for these useful information, we always welcome everyone here. we have no problem with anyone and any nationality. it’s only politics not people

  51. Tandis
    Oct 23, 2018 / 6:40 am

    Hi Anna
    Thank you for your kind comments about Iranian people and Iran .The information on your blog is absolutely true and very comprehensive. The Media only shows the dark side of Iran which is not related to Persian people. We welcome any people from any country in the world. Come and see real Iran . Iran is amazing and different.

    I live in Tehran and you can contact me if you need any info. or help about Iran .

  52. John
    Oct 29, 2018 / 6:20 am

    Iran is a very unique country, unique in an amazing way. It’s great to visit this culture rich country. Thank you, it helped a lot.

  53. Ghasem
    Nov 12, 2018 / 9:07 pm

    Be sure to bring Shiraz to the city.

  54. Ekin
    Nov 15, 2018 / 5:37 pm

    Hello, I have a book recommendation for you its called Samarkand by Amin Maalouf. It’s my favorite book of all the time. It’s not actually about modern Iran but it is set in Iran. Because of that book I really want to visit this country, I hope I could do it some day 😀

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