General Information 

The Iranian people are naturally kind, hospitable and generous. Despite any preconceptions built up by the Western media, Iran is also a very safe country to visit. Tourism is now a well-accepted and welcome industry in Iran and, provided you stick to the local customs and show respect when visiting holy places, you will never be made to feel unwelcome. Although more and more travellers are visiting Iran each year, foreigners are still a novelty: you'll find that the Iranians are surprisingly interested in you. No cause for alarm - it's only because they genuinely want to talk to you, or practice their English on you. In rural areas non-English speakers will still take a hearty interest in you. Fortunately your guide can always interpret, which makes conversation with the locals possible - and sometimes hilarious. Here it's not unusual for locals to invite you into their homes where you'll suddenly find yourself reclining on a Persian carpet with your smiling hosts, drinking tea and sharing fresh fruit and pistachio nuts - to the intense amusement of their children.

Not to be taken lightly are the three absolute rules regarding alcohol, respect in mosques and 'decency'. Namely:

Emphatically don't take any alcohol into the country nor ask for any when you are there.
Don't forget to remove your shoes before entering mosques (and private houses).
Don't take any magazines or books with pictures of scantily clad women, which, even if you judge otherwise, could be considered offensive.

 

 Time 

         From 21 of March to 21 of September GMT +4.5 hours

    From 22 of September to 20 of March GMT +3.5 hours

 

 Time of Travel 

You can visit Iran at any time of the year, but the best times to go are spring and autumn. South Western Iran is always hotter than Central Iran. North West Iran (Azarbaijan province) is about 10 - 15C cooler than the rest of Iran. If you would like to go skiing then you should plan your visit sometime between November and March. If you are planning to take break on the island of Kish then the best time would also be between November and March when the average temperature is 25C. The rose harvest takes place between April and June but if you want to be sure of catching the roses at their best then we suggest you travel during the middle two weeks of May. December - March 10-15C, April 18-25C, May - June 25-30C, July - Sept. 30-45C, Oct. & Nov. 25 -30 C.

 

 Money 

The currency in Iran is Rials. Ten Rials equals one Touman. You cannot obtain Rials outside of Iran so you will have to change your money on arrival at the airport. Although some places will accept a Master Card (subject to an additional 4% charge) we recommend that you use cash during your visit as it is the most convenient and widely accepted form of payment. If you want to obtain a good exchange rate take clean & new US dollar bills and ask your tour guide to change the money for you.

 

 Wear 

 

Men should wear short- or long-sleeved shirts and long trousers. Jeans are fine; shorts are not. For women the aim is not to draw attention to the shape of your body nor to have any flesh showing except your face and hands. A headscarf is compulsory - take lots, the more colorful and cheerful the better. The perfect outfit would be a loose, long-sleeved shirt worn over jeans/cotton trousers or a full skirt with knee-high socks and comfortable shoes or sandals. Alternatively you could wear a thin robe - called a 'roupush' - over the top. (Think maternity wear meets the queen out on a windy day and you've got the general idea.) The whole look is a far cry from haute couture but you'll be surprised at how glamorous many of the Iranian women manage to look within the dress code.

 

 

 Food 

Iranian food is superbly cooked fresh to order for you. The fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables are particularly delicious and much more flavorsome than our pale imitations. Although each province has its local speciality dishes a typical meal might include freshly baked bread, rice served with barbecued lamb, beef or chicken, wonderful fresh yoghurt and bowls of crisp, sweet salad. Dessert might include fresh or dried fruit, nuts, specialty sweets such as sohan - butter, saffron, sugar, wheat sprouts, or gaz - Iranian nougat, and fantastic orange blossom, rose water or cardamom ice cream… If you are a coffee drinker, we suggest you take a jar along with you.

Food in Iran is a fundamental part of Iranian heritage. Their ingredients reflect the geography of Iran, while the savor and colors accent the aesthetic tastes of Iranians. The cuisines are associated with so many social events -births, weddings, funerals; and many other ceremonies and rituals- that culinary traditions are intertwined with a country's history and religion.

Iranian food is a very important and integral part of Iranians' life and culture, so important that its ingredients are very frequently used as metaphors for describing beauty. For example: "Moon-faced beauties have almond-shaped eyes, peachy complexions, pistachio-like mouths, pomegranate colored lips, hazelnut-like noses, red apple cheeks, and lemon-like breasts."