by Lauren on 20 Feb 2017
With over 7000 years of history, beautiful architectural masterpieces and natural wonders ranging from sweeping desert landscapes to snowcapped peaks - it's no wonder Iran is topping top destination lists around the world.
Poised to become a tourist hot spot, discover this rewarding travel destination before it becomes overrun with crowds. If you need some inspiration to spark your wanderlust, here are 25 top Iran destinations to visit in 2017!
Shiraz is celebrated as the heart of Persian culture and one of the top Iran destinations. For more than 2000 years this city was one of the most important cities in the medieval Islamic world and became known for its poets, literature, wine and flowers.
Top Destinations To Visit in Shiraz, Iran
Situated about 70 km northeast of Shiraz, lies one of the most famous places in Iran - the remnants of the ceremonial city of the Achaemenid Empire. Once the richest city on Earth, today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site that gives travellers a glimpse into the glory days of Persepolis.
2. Eram Garden
Eram Garden or Garden of Paradise is one of the most famous gardens in Iran. This beautiful oasis is listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site and is home to a tree that is said to be 3000 years old.
3. Tombs of Hafez and Sa'adi
In the south-west of Iran lie the tombs of Iran's finest poets Sa'adi and Hafez. Their final resting place is not only an ode to beautiful Iranian architecture, but it's also a chance to immerse yourself into their writings and reflect on the universal themes that connect us all.
4. Nasir al-Mulk Mosque
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque is one of the most photographed mosques in southern Iran. Built in the 19th century, it is a kaleidoscope of colour with its beautiful stained glass windows that turns the inside of the mosque into something out of a fairytale.
Located about 50 km from Persepolis lies Pasargadae. It was the first great multicultural Empire in Western Asia and is considered the first empire to respect the cultural diversity of its people. Although it is not as well preserved as Persepolis, it's palaces, gardens and the Tomb of Cyrus will capture the heart of any history buff.
Once one of the largest cities in the world, Isfahan has been capturing the hearts of travellers for centuries. It's been the capital of the Persian empire twice and is home to more than 40 tourist attractions.
Top Destinations To Visit in Isfahan, Iran
6. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque
The Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque is considered a Safavid Iranian architectural masterpiece. Taking almost 20 years to complete, the mosque is renowned for its beautiful symmetry and some of the best mosaics from that era.
7. Imam Square (Naqsh-e Jahan Square)
Imam Square is one of the largest squares in the world and one of most beautiful places in Iran. Not only is it one of many UNESCO Heritage Sites in the city, but at 512m x 163m, it's the second largest square on earth.
8. Soffeh Park
Just outside of Isfahan lies Mount Soffeh. The mountain and its surrounding hills have been converted into a beautiful park that spans over 100 hectares. The park offers hikers stunning panoramic views of the metropolitan city below and is one of the best spots to watch the sun go down.
9. Vank Cathedral
At the beginning of the 17th century, construction on the most important architectural and artistic treasure of the Armenian Christians in Isfahan began. Art History lovers will be in awe of the fine frescos and vibrant tile work that depict the Biblical story of the creation of the world.
10. Chehel Sotoun Palace
The Chehel Sotoun Palace is one of the few survivors of the Safavid Palace compound. Its name means "Forty Columns" and was inspired by the twenty columns supporting the entrance pavilion, which when reflected into the waters of the fountain appeared to be forty.
At the foot of the Alborz Mountains lies the capital city of Tehran. Considered the political, economic and intellectual heart of Iran, this bustling metropolis is home to 14 million people and is one of the youngest Iranian cities.
Top Destinations To Visit in Tehran, Iran
11. Golestan Palace
The lavish Golestan Palace is one of the oldest historical places in Iran and was built during the Safavid dynasty in the walled city. It's considered a masterpiece of the Qajar era and remains a source of inspiration for Iranian artists and architects to this day, making it one of top places to visit in Tehran.
12. Tehran Grand Bazaar
For travellers looking to do some shopping while in Iran, the Tehran Grand Bazaar cannot be missed. Its bustling maze of alleys and bazaris have been enticing shoppers for nearly 1000 years and stocks everything from clothes to spices and the famous Iranian carpets.
13. Saad Abad Palace and Museum Complex
In the north of Tehran lies the Saad Abad Palace and Museum Complex. This 105-hectare estate consists of eighteen small and large palaces and was used as the summer residence of the royal family during the Qajar dynasty.
14. Museum of Contemporary Art
The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the largest museums in Iran. Its collection boasts more than 3000 pieces from 19th and 20th century European and American artists as well as one of the greatest collections of modern and contemporary Iranian art.
15. Niavaran Palace and Museum Complex
The Niavaran Palace Complex sprawls across an impressive 9000 square meters in northern Tehran. It is comprised of five museums and other cultural, historical and natural attractions such as the Blue Hall, Jahan Nama Gallery and Niavaran Garden.
In the middle of Iran, lies the Yazd - the Bride of Desert. It is one of the country's oldest places and is made out of clay and adobe. The city's numerous historical sites and natural beauty make it one of the top Iran destinations.
Top Destinations to Visit in Yazd, Iran
16. Zoroastrian Towers of Silence
In the south of Yazd on two barren hilltops lie the Zoroastrian Towers of Silence. In centuries past, the Zoroastrians used this site as a Sky burial where the bodies of their deceased relatives were laid in rows and feasted upon my birds of prey.
17. Dowlat Abad Garden
Built in 1750, the beautiful Dowlat Abad Garden was once the residence of Karim Khan Zand. Today, it is a UNESCO Heritage Site, stretching across eight hectares with elegant halls, stained glass windows and a lush, flourishing garden.
18. Dasht-e Kavir
The Dasht-e Kavir also known as the Great Salt Desert is part of the protected ecological zone the Kavir National Park. The desert is in the middle of the Iranian plateau and is known for its large salt plates that form a mosaic-like shape.
19. Yazd Jame Mosque
Dominating the old city of Yazd, the Jame Mosque is considered one of the most valuable artistic-historical treasures of Islamic architecture in Iran. It is adorned with an inscription that dates back to the 15th century and the exquisite mosaics on the dome and grandeur style attract visitors from near and far.
20. Yazd Traditional Bazaar
The Yazd Bazaar is one of the oldest sites in the city's centre. It is whitewashed corridors are cool and airy, lined with shops that crafts that visitors will find endlessly fascinating. Watch a baker show off their fresh stone bread, a smith at this forge and all the activity that goes around Yazd's famous textile industry.
Kashan is home to one of the oldest civilisations in the world. It is renowned for its remarkable Iranian art achievements, and today it is a major centre for textiles, rugs and rosewater.
Top Destinations to Visit in Kashan, Iran
Abyaneh is an ancient village that lies at the foot of Mt Karkas. It is famous for its red earth that gives its buildings fiery tones. Besides its unique architecture, traditional costumes and earthen pottery, Abyaneh is the only place in Iran where people still speak the ancient Middle Persian language.
22. Fin Garden
The Royal Garden of Fin ranks among the finest traditional Persian gardens. It is known for its numerous Cyprus trees, ornate tiled pool and architectural features from the Qajar, Zand and Safavid periods.
23. Aqa Bozorg Mosque
The Aqa Bozorg Mosque is one of the most impressive Iranian buildings from the 2nd half of the 19th century, a period in the world marked by decadence and decay. Despite the numerous repairs that have taken place over the years, the structure has changed very little and still has its wooden doors and windows.
24. Kashan Grand Bazaar
Since the 13th century, Kashan's Grand Bazaar has been one of the most fascinating parts of the city. There are more than 120 shops along the main alley and is noted for it is decorative architecture, high vaults and lanterns.
25. Borujerdi House
Built during the 19th century, the Borujerdi House is a famous piece of Iranian architecture. It is believed that 150 masons, plaster cavers, mirror cutters and other artisans worked on its construction. Two of Iran's most prominent artists at the time, Sani-al-Mulk and Kamal-al-Mulk painted the buildings frescoes.
Did we miss something? What are your top Iran destinations for travellers in 2017? Share with us by commenting.