Top 10 cities, islands to visit in Iran

November 1, 2020 - 19:51

If you are drawn to destinations where echoes of ancient civilizations resonate down through the ages, Iran could be your thing. Some of history’s biggest names – Cyrus the Great and Darius, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan – all left their footprints here and the regions they conquered or ruled over are now among top travel destinations of the modern country.

Walking around the awesome power and beauty of Persepolis, experiencing the remote power of Susa (Shush), and taking in the wonderfully immense Elamite ziggurat at Choqa Zanbil will carry you all the way back to the glory days of Ancient Persia. Iran is the jewel in Islam’s crown, combining glorious architecture with a warm-hearted welcome. It is a treasure house for some of the most beautiful Islamic architecture on the planet.

No matter which region you go to when you travel to Iran, you can always find something to see and enjoy. That being said, there are cities in the country that are known as Iran's top tourist cities due to the higher concentration of tourist attractions in them, or their unique properties. Some of these top tourist destinations in Iran are Tehran, Isfahan, Kashan, Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz, Tabriz, Semnan, as well as Kish and Qeshm islands

Besides, there are many more cities and archeological sites, some of them off the beaten path, which should not be missed when you travel to the ancient land.  

Tehran

Tehran, as a top tourist destination in Iran, has been a place of settlement for many millenniums. Archeological excavations have led to the discovery of nearly 7000-year-old human skeletons in the region. Tehran has been the capital city of Iran for two centuries.

The many palaces and museums scattered throughout the city are its main tourist attractions. Furthermore, it is home to the tallest mountain in the country, Damavand, which has made it an alluring destination for ski lovers.

Today, it is the most populated city in the country with a population of over 8.5 million people. It is also the biggest industrial and financial center in the country, making it the main destination for business travel to Iran.

Yazd

Yazd is a historical city located in the center of Iran. One of its main attractions is the existence of an old district in the center of the city, which has remained untouched and has retained its original form for many centuries.

This part of the city has been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique properties. The Windcatcher of Dowlat’abad Garden, Jameh Mosque of Yazd, and Amir Chakhmaq Complex are among its other tourist attractions.

Shiraz

Shiraz is one of the most important centers of tourism in Iran. The world-renown Persepolis, the magnificent Vakil Bazaar, Shah Cheraq Mausoleum, and tomb complexes of Sa’di and Hafez, the two great Persian poets, and the spectacular Eram Garden are only a small fraction of the city’s many tourist attractions that should not be missed.

Shiraz, with its many master craftsmen, is also one of the best places to buy a souvenir of Iran. No Iran tour package is complete without a visit to this grand city.

Isfahan

Isfahan is located in the central part of Iran. It was the capital city of the country for more than six centuries. Some of the most exquisite examples of Islamic architecture can be found in the city, including the biggest square in the world, Naqsh-e Jahan.

Among its many other tourist attractions, Si-o-se-pol, the Grand Bazaar, and Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque are the most noteworthy. For more information about these and Isfahan’s many other attractions, refer to the Isfahan travel guide provided by your Iran travel guide.

Kerman

Due to its central location in Iran, the oasis city of Kerman has always been one of the most important cities of the country, playing the role of a center of commerce, at times, even the seat of government.

Ganjali Khan Complex, Malik Mosque, and Shazdeh Garden are among the most popular tourist attractions in Kerman. A Kerman travel guide can guide you through your visit to the city.

Kish Island

Kish is an island located in the Persian Gulf. Due to its many historical sites, its beautiful beach, and its many shopping and entertainment centers, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iran, hosting over a million visitors each year.

Harireh—an 800-year-old city—and a 2500-year-old Qanat are among the island’s most visited sites.

Tabriz

Tabriz has been the capital of Iran in many historical periods. The 700-year-old Arg of Tabriz, Tabriz Bazaar Complex, the Masoleum of Poets, as well as the many museums and gardens throughout the city, are among its main tourist attractions.

You can find a Tabriz travel guide in most shops in the city to help you navigate through its many places of interest. Without doubt, Tabriz is also another top tourist destination in Iran.

Qeshm

Qeshm is the biggest island of Iran. It is located in the Persian Gulf and is the biggest land mass of the gulf as well. Stars Valley, the Portuguese Fort, and the Qeshm Geopark are its most important tourist attractions.

The remarkable natural diversity of the island, together with its many historical sites, has made it one of the most popular tourist destinations in recent years.

Kashan

Kashan is a historical city near Isfahan in the central part of Iran. Its history dates back to over ten thousand years ago, and it is home to some of the most beautiful buildings featuring Islamic architecture.

The annual Golab-giri (rosewater distillation) ceremony of Kashan attracts huge crowds to the city every year.  Some of the most ancient traces of civilization have been discovered near Kashan, at the Sialk archeological site.

Semnan

Located on the northeastern part of Iran, Semnan is among the most important centers of tourism in the country. Jameh Mosque of Semnan, Ahovan Stone Caravanserai, and Semnan Bazaar are some of the most important tourist attractions in the city. Semnan is one of the must-see destinations when you travel Iran.

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