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Top Five Cities to Visit in Iran

Iran is one of the most civilized and cultured countries globally, known for centuries for its architectural and cultural masterpieces. Cities reminiscent of the millennia-old history of the Persian Empire, breathtaking mosques, remarkable antiquities, masterpieces of nature, and many other unique factors make Iran an enticing, ideal choice for tourists. Moreover, the fact that Iran is a four-season country makes this magical land an even more appealing destination for those seeking both natural and historical beauties. This article will introduce you to the five most worth seeing cities in Iran and convince you to book your tickets for your next vacation in this enchanting country.

Tehran, the Capital of Iran

With about 11 million inhabitants, Tehran is the most populous city in Iran and the center of cultural, artistic, political, and social activities. You may have heard about the heavy air pollution and traffic jams in Tehran, but do not let that stop you from visiting the unique capital of Iran with its many attractions. There are numerous tourist attractions in Tehran, many of which are referred to as the symbol of Tehran. Shams-ol-Emareh, Shahr Theater, Golestan Palace, Saad Abad Palace, the National Garden, and Tochal Peak entrance are symbols Tehran is known.

    But perhaps the most important landmarks of Tehran are the three attractions Azadi Tower, Milad Tower, and the Nature Bridge. Azadi Tower, which literally means ‘Freedom Tower,’ is one of the most important symbols of Tehran, built before the Islamic Revolution. The Freedom Tower was designed and implemented as a symbol of ‘modern Iran’ with a combination of Achaemenid, Sassanid, and Islamic architecture. Apart from the towers, there are several other spectacular palaces worth visiting. And if you ever feel like you need a breather, there’s a nice, dimly lit cafe on almost every corner.

Tehran ID Card

  • Main Attractions: Milad Tower, Azadi Tower, Golestan Museum Palace, Saadabad Palace, Niavaran Palace, Abgineh Museum, Masoudieh Mansion, Negarestan Museum Garden, Tabiat Bridge.
  • Main Dishes: Ash Reshteh, Loubia Polo, Gheymeh Stew, Ghormeh Sabzi Stew.
  • Recommended Accommodation: Espinas Palace Hotel, Eskan Alvand Hotel, Esteghlal Hotel, Azadi Hotel, Parsian Eng Revolution Hotel, Evin Hotel.
  • Most Famous Restaurants: Orchid Restaurants, Kobaba, Esteghlal Hotel Restaurants, Dizi Saray Qasr, Muslim Restaurant, Moby Digi Restaurant, Mastoran Restaurant, Morshed Restaurant, Shamron Kebab Restaurants, Baruj Restaurant.
  • Special Souvenirs: Grapes and raisins, Doogh Abali (Persian yogurt drink), hand-woven carpets and Jajim, leather handicrafts.
Shiraz, City of Orange Blossom and Poets

As the city of wine, poetry, and flowers, Shiraz is a fascinating city in the southwest of Iran, which is also one of the ancient cities of the land of Persia and has many historical sites and antiquities. The capital of Persian culture and literature, it is the fifth most populous city in Iran and enjoys a temperate climate that allows tourists to visit this charming city at any time of the year.

  The first mention of the city of Shiraz as Tirazich is found on Elamite pottery tablets dating back to 2000 BC. In the thirteenth century, Shiraz became an important center of art and literature thanks to the encouragement of its ruler and the presence of many Persian scholars and artists. This beautiful city was the capital of Iran during the Zand dynasty from 1750 to 1800 and is best known for the two famous Persian poets Hafez and Saadi, who were born and buried in Shiraz. One of the most picturesque gardens of Iran, Eram Garden, is located in this magnificent city of Shiraz. Together with Vakil Bazaar, Karim Khan Zand Citadel, Pasargad, Persepolis and Shahcheragh, it offers its visitors an unforgettable experience with its unique architecture and play of colors.

Shiraz ID Card

  • Main Attractions: Saadieh. Hafezieh, Karim Khan Citadel, Quran Gate, Vakil Bazaar, Eram Garden, Narenjestan Qavam Garden, Delgosha Garden, Takht Jamshid, Nasir-o-l-Molk Mosque.
  • Main Dishes: Kalam Polo (cabbage and rice), Shirazi salad, Do Piaze, Kufte.
  • Recommended accommodation: Shiraz Grand Hotel, Chamran Hotel, Zandieh Hotel, Pars Hotel, Homa Hotel, Arg Hotel, Niayesh Hotel, Sadra Hotel.
  • Most Famous Restaurants: Haft Khan International Restaurant, Sharzeh Traditional Restaurant, Sufi Restaurant, Parhami House Restaurant, Roudaki Restaurant.
  • Special Souvenirs: Yokhe, Masghati, Shirazi cookies, roasted almonds, Faloudeh (frozen noodles), mosaic inlay, Gilim.
Isfahan, City of Turquoise Domes

Named ‘Nesf-e-Jahan’ or ‘Half of the World’, Isfahan is considered as one of the most historical cities of Iran with many striking monuments and sites. Isfahan is known in Iran and the world for its unique combination of Islamic architecture with its mosques, palaces, buildings, and minarets. Khajoo Bridge, Shah Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, and Monar Jonban are a few of the impressive, ancient monuments of Isfahan which can be mentioned as the symbols of this ancient city. Aside from its monuments, what allures tourists to Nesf-e-Jahan is probably its turquoise domes and handicrafts which through playing with colors and patterns enchant every eye.

One can not say the name of Isfahan without mentioning the name of Zayandehrood River, Siyosheh Pol Bridge, and Naghsh Jahan Square. For this reason, the main emblems of Isfahan can be considered Zayandehrood as the largest river in the central plateau of Iran, Siouseh Pol as a masterpiece of Persian architecture, and Naghshe Jahan Square as the second-largest square in the world.

Isfahan ID Card

  • Main Attractions: Chehel Sotun Palace, Naghshe Jahan Square, Si-o-se-pol Bridge, Khaju Bridge, Qeisarieh bazaar, Ali Qapu Palace, Sheikh Lotf-o-laah Mosque, Jameh Mosque, Hasht Behesht Palace,
  • Main Dishes: Beryuni, Khoresht-mast, Halim Bademjan, Kaleh jush Recommended accommodation: Abbasi Hotel, Kosar Hotel, Sepahan Hotel, Aseman Hotel, Ali Qapu Hotel, Tolu Khorshid Traditional Hotel, Tutia Hotel, Safavi Hotel, Melal Hotel
  • Most Famous Restaurants: Shahrzad Restuarant, Hermes Restaurant, Shabneshin Restaurant, Azam Beryuni Restaurant, Aseman Turning Restaurant, Malek Sultan Jarchibashi Traditional Restaurant, Zagros Restaurant
  • Special Souvenirs: Gaz, Nabat, Pulaki, Sohan, Khatam Kari (Inlay craft), Mina Kari (Enamel), Khatam Kari, Turquoise Craft
Yazd, City of Windwards

Yazd, the first raw-clay city and the second living historical city in the world after Venice, is located 270 km southeast of Isfahan. Yazd is one of the most ancient cities in Iran and the world, and for this reason, the whole city has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Yazd enjoys many unique kinds of Iranian architecture an example of which are the windbreaks in this city, making Yazd to be known as the city of windbreaks.

Additionally, Yazd is famous for its numerous Zoroastrian fire temples one of which holds a fire that is claimed to be burning for 1500 years! During your trip to Yazd, you can visit old water reservoirs, aqueducts, and natural coolers and enjoy the famous Yazdi sweets. By the way, the word Yazd means pure and holy and the city of Yazd means the city of God and the holy land.

Yazd ID Card

  • Main Attractions: Fire Temple, Amir Chaqmaq Complex, Dowlat Abad Garden, Six-windbreak Cistern, Lari House, Narin Castle, Tower of Silence, Jameh Mosque.
  • Main Dishes: Plums Ash, Shuli, Pomegranate Ash,
  • Recommended accommodation: Daad Hotel, Mashir-al-mamlek Hotel Garden, Safaaieh Hotel, New Arg Hotel, Laleh Hotel, Fazeli Hotel
  • Most Famous Restaurants: Tormeh And Toranj Restaurant, Fuka Café and Restaurant, Marcopolo Restaurant, Scesar Restaurant, Ashpaz Restaurant
  • Special Souvenirs: Yazdi Cake, Baqlava, Qotab, Reis Bread, Loz, Cashmere, Pottery and Mosaic
Tabriz, City of Crafts and Carpets

Tabriz is without any doubt one of the most beautiful and clean cities in Iran. If you add the good weather in summer to this combination, it turns into one of the ideal destinations for a summer trip both for foreigners and nationals. This marvelous city dates back to the Parthian and Sassanid eras and has seen many ups and downs throughout history. If you are looking for an authentic experience on your next trip to Iran, Tabriz with its many wondrous monuments, magical bazaars, and eye-catching architecture won’t disappoint you. During the reign of the Ravadians, Atabakans, Khwarezmshahis, Ilkhans, Jalairians, Qaraquyunlus, and Aghqoyunlus, Tabriz was the political capital of Iran and even the birthplace of the Qajar crown princes. It goes without saying that Tabriz is considered the longest-serving political capital of Iran.

For this reason, Tabriz is host to many historical tourist attractions among which Elgoli Building, the Municipal Palace, Saat Square (Clock Square), as well as Tabriz World Trade Center are known as the symbols of Tabriz. The latter is a 37-story center also known as the largest commercial, service, and tourism and the first world trade center in Iran.

Tabriz ID Card

  • Main Attractions: Tabriz Bazaar, Qajar Museum, Aeli Goli Garden, Mashruteh House, Kabud Mosque, Shahrdari Museum.
  • Main Dishes: Kufteh,Jogurt Ash, Stone Dizi, Doymaj, Dolmeh, Omaj.
  • Recommended accommodation: Laleh Kandovan Hotel, Pars Ail Goli Hotel, Laleh Park Hotel, Shahriar Hotel, International Hotel, Gostaresh Hotel.
  • Most Famous Restaurants: Hezar Dastan Traditional Restaurant, Delestan Restaurant, Bam Tabriz Restaurant (Tabriz Peak), Jalali Restaurant, Shahriar Traditional Restaurant.
  • Special Souvenirs: Nougha Sweets, Aris Sweets, Gharabieh, Baqlava, Sesame Cookies, Churtmeh, Rose Jam, Cheese.

Travelling to Iran is going to be a very special experience for you as you could see now the wide variety of attractions, food, and souvenirs of the above mentioned cities. Choosing these five cities is of course subjective and must not keep you from exploring other cities and small villages. If any of these introductions has aroused your interest, check out the complete description and guide to each city in its respective section. Then, you can get a better perspective to where to start your journey and where to finish it.