When it comes to tourism in Iran, it always seems to be two steps forward, one step back. One minute it’s the hot spot destination, and the next, travelers are too afraid to come. But what we can tell you for sure is quite the contrary to what is depicted in mass media. And it is the remarkable sense of safety that travelers feel when they visit Iran, which ranks as one of the top surprises. Once they pass this hurdle, they’re planning the next trip even before the first one is over! But while matters of safety in Iran rank high, it’s by and large the kindness of locals and legendary Iranian hospitality that are listed most frequently as the top reasons to visit Iran. We’d add vegan Iranian food to that list- reason enough for anyone (especially foodies and culture travelers) to choose Iran as their next destination! But of course, there are many more reasons why you should visit this country at least once in your lifetime. Here’s our case that will convince you to put a visit to Iran in 2020 on your bucket list today!
Rich history and culture
Ancient history and culture are among the top reasons to visit Iran. Once the center of the world’s oldest civilizations, Iran is ranked 9th by UNESCO in terms of having the most world cultural and historical heritage sites. Remnants of the old world spread all across the nation have made Iran a country-sized museum. The art and aesthetic properties of old Persia are well preserved and manifested by the next generation of Persians in the Islamic era of architecture. Iranian culture, on the other hand, is influenced by ancient traditions, as the Iranian way of hospitality, Zoroastrian festivals, Persian cuisine, art, crafts, and many other customs still survive from ancient times.
Another one of our reasons to visit Iran, though lesser-known, is the incredible diversity of ethnicities. Travelers who visit Iran’s classical route of Tehran to Shiraz encounter ethnic Persians, who constitute about half of the nation’s population. But you need to travel beyond this route to meet other ethnic groups such as Azeris, Kurds, Gilakis, Lurs, Turkmen, and Baluch, just to name a few, each with their own language, culture, and customs. It’s remarkable to think that even Iranians get a bit of culture shock while traveling in their country and that all of these ethnicities make up the collective Iranian identity.
How many countries in the world do you know that have hot, arid deserts with high sand dunes, large, lush forests with swamps, long coastlines with mangroves, and high mountain ranges all together? A land where you can relish skiing on a snowy day and sunbathe on a sandy beach, both at the same time of year! Not to mention all the astonishing natural wonders, like mud volcanoes, great waterfalls, wetlands, and more. All this unspoilt diversity has made Iran a wonderful low-budget destination for adventure tours like canyoning, cycling, skiing, rafting, or bird-watching.
Get off the beaten path
While Iran has become an increasingly popular destination in recent years, one of the best things about it is that it’s still not booming with tourists. Iran hasn’t been invaded by the chain restaurants and hotels you see in other countries, but instead what you’ll get is a traditional and authentic experience that’s rare elsewhere. And the biggest advantage of traveling during the offseason? You’re likely to be the only person visiting a site, which makes it seem as if it’s there just for you. Wouldn’t it be incredible to have a piece of history/architecture/nature all to yourself without it being tainted by other tourists?
A world of new flavors
Persian cuisine is a lesser-known culture inherited from ancient times, and there’s a world of unique tastes and flavors just waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, most restaurants in Iran specialize in different types of kebab (which is not originally Persian) and a handful of other traditional dishes. But from mezzes and entrees to desserts and drinks, there’s some world-class cuisine to awaken your taste buds. With our special food service, we won’t limit you to the typical dishes that most travelers come across. You’ll enjoy a deeper travel experience by tasting a wide variety of real, local Persian dishes (some even Iranians haven’t heard about!).
Form your own opinion
While we think all of these reasons make a great case for visiting Iran at least once in your lifetime, perhaps the most important reason is to see it for yourself and form your own opinion. For the past four decades, mass media has been less than kind in its portrayal of Iran and Iranians with inaccurate and biased depictions, to say the least. Social media has played a huge role in somewhat alleviating these misconceptions and giving a more honest account of Iran and life here. As more travelers visit, they continue to spread the good word. And that’s what being a traveler and explorer is all about!