Travelling in the ancient land of Persia, this unique journey takes in destinations that have been off the tourist map for many years and therefore have rarely been experienced by the Western visitor, which makes it all the more special.
|Tour Duration||:||14 days|
|Min. Tour Size||:||N/A|
|Max. Tour Size||:||N/A|
|Includes international air|
|Tour Price (from)||:||US$|
Day 01: Arrive Tehran
Arrivals day in Tehran where you will be met and transferred to the five-star Espinas Hotel (or similar). We will enjoy a welcome reception dinner, whilst you meet your fellow travellers on this highly anticipated journey.
Day 02: Tehran
The highlight of our stay in Tehran is undoubtedly the visit to the breath-taking Crown Jewels Museum in the Central Bank of Iran Building, with its vast array of crown jewels used by the Qajar and Pahlavid royalty. We will also take the opportunity to explore the city’s Grand Bazaar, situated in the southern heart of Tehran, it is a historical market with a seemingly never-ending maze of bustling alleyways.
Day 03: Tehran
After a morning at leisure to explore, late afternoon on Day 3 we transfer to Tehran railway station with its huge portraits of Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Kamenei at the entrance to board the Danube Express, our home for the next ten nights. Settle in to your cabin and later enjoy dinner as the train heads overnight to Sari.
Day 04: Sari
Enjoy the spectacular scenery today as our train climbs from the coastal plane to the Iranian Plateau. Sari is a former capital of Iran well known for its traditional architecture and a cluster of three 15th century tomb towers; the Imamzadeh Yahya, the Imamzadeh Abba and the Borj-e Soltan Zein-al Abedin. Sari is located in the north of the country, between the northern slopes of the Elborz Mountains and southern coast of the Caspian Sea. The afternoon will be spent onboard enjoying the ever-changing dramatic mountain scenery and impressive viaducts on this beautiful section of the line.
Day 05: Mashhad
An early morning arrival provides us with the whole day to explore the city of Mashhad, which is home to the Imam Reza Holy Shrine, the largest mosque in the world in terms of its dimension, followed by a tour of the Nader Shah Museum. After lunch in the city, we will visit the Tomb of Ferdowsi, the father of Persian Literature who lived over 1,000 years ago. Dinner on the train as we head south.
Day 06: Kerman
This morning we arrive in the desert trading city of Kerman. The city has a mud-brick core centered around the historic and very lively bazaar, where we will have free time. We’ll also visit a 19th century old teahouse and the Hamam Ganj Ali Khan, now restored and transformed into a museum. Wonderful frescoes adorn the walls and wax dummies illustrate the workings of a traditional bathhouse.
Day 07: Rayen/Mahan
After breakfast we alight in Rayen. The 20,000 square metre Rayen castle is situated beneath the snow capped Mt Hezar in the Province of Kerman. A huge medieval mud brick citadel, it was considered second only to Bam before the 2003 earthquake. Rayen displays all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel (it was inhabited until 150 years ago) and is extremely well preserved. It is considered one of the most interesting sites in Iran. We continue by road to Mayan where we visit the 19th century Royal building, Prince Garden and tomb. We later visit the sanctuary and tomb of the famous, Soufi, Shah Nematollah Vali, dating back to the Mongol Era. We rejoin the train at dusk in time for dinner as we depart for Yazd.
Day 08: Yazd
Yazd is thought to be one of the oldest cities in the world, dating back over 3,000 years, and we spend the day here. Our tour takes in the Zoroastrian Fire Temple and Silent Towers, Amir Chakhmagh Square and the Friday Mosque, home to one of Persia’s finest mosaics (both 14th century) and finally the water museum. Lunch will be served in the Moshir Garden Hotel, which features a lovely Pomegranate Garden (Yazd is famous for pomegranates). We return to the train late afternoon.
Day 09: Isfahan
This enchanting city, which served as Persia’s capital from 1598 to 1722, is 2,500 years old and one of the oldest in Iran. As a crossroad of international trade and diplomacy, Isfahan has a rich mix of languages, religions and customs. The city is famous for its silver filigree and metal work, array of great historical monuments, and the Life-Giving River, the Zayandeh-Rood, which has given the city its beauty. Isfahan is packed with some of Iran’s best sights and today we spend a whole day in the city, visiting the Vank Church in the Armenian Quarter. Following a traditional Iranian lunch we move on to Naghshe Jahan Square, a World Heritage Site and the second largest man-made square in the world, where the Ali Qapou Palace and Shah and Sheikh Lutfullah Mosques can be found. Here, the time is yours to enjoy the huge square and pick up a bargain at the handicraft Bazaar of Qaisarieh.
Day 10: Persepolis/Shiraz
Following breakfast onboard we arrive in Sadat Shaha, for the nearby ruins of Persepolis, another World Heritage Site. Perhaps Iran’s most important archaeological site, this ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire dates back to the 6th century. Even now, the ruins are extremely impressive. Our final visit today is to the Necropolis at nearby Naghsh-e Rustam. After lunch we continue by road to Shiraz.
Shiraz is Persia’s cultural Capital. Dating back over 4,000 years it is also known as the city of poets, literature, wine and flowers. A visit to the Quran Gate, Hafez Tomb and the Vakil Citadel are the highlights of our afternoon tour.
Day 11: Kashan
Morning finds us in the ancient city of Kashan where we visit the Fin garden, Iran’s oldest garden dating from 1590 (a World Heritage Site), and nearby Sialk Hills archaeological site, dating back almost 8,000 years and Brojerdi and Taba Tabaei - 19th century historical houses. After lunch in a first class local restaurant we can visit the impressive and ancient bazaar before returning to our train mid-afternoon. Kerman is the most important centre for Persian carpets. As dinner is served we pass through Qom and arrive at Dorud, in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains around midnight.
Day 12: Shustar/Choghazanbil/Susa
Just before dawn our train will ease its way out of Dorud and start a spectacular journey through the mountains before arriving in Shushtar after an early lunch.
We first visit the Hydraulic system that dates back to 590 BC and still provides water to the town of Shushtar. We move on to the Choghazanbil site dating back to 1250 BC and then tour the ancient city of Susa before rejoining the train for dinner and a final night’s party as we head north towards Tehran and the end of our journey on the Danube Express.
Day 13: Tehran
This morning we visit the Golestan Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its renovated Versailles-inspired mirror-encrusted Marble Throne Hall used for the coronation of the last Shah. Most of the remaining brick and tile buildings date back to the 19th century Qajar dynasty. In the afternoon there is free time before our Farewell Gala Dinner and an overnight at the Espinas International Hotel.
Day 14: Tehran/Depart
Following breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your departing flights.
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
English Speaking Departures (Please contact us for information on French, German, Italian and Spanish speaking departures).
This is a suggested program for private tours. Please contact us for details.
|Departure(s)||Per Person on Twin Sharing||Single Room Supplement|
|2018||This is a suggested program for private tours. Please contact us for details.|
As far as possible our tours are all inclusive with no hidden extras. What follows are those elements, which are included in the tour price. The only extra items you may need to budget for include personal expenses such as visa costs, insurance, spa treatments, hairdressing and occasional optional off-train excursions.
Estimated International Airfare
(International airfare is NOT included in this tour)
Please note that this is NOT part of our small group tours.
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
You may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-604-264-7378. Residents of U.S.A./Canada may call us toll free at 1-800-663-0844.