Complete guide: 3 weeks in Iran itinerary. Everything you need to know about visiting Iran: Itinerary, highlights, visa, transport and budget.
We came to realize that in just 3 weeks we’ve seen so much cool stuff: Beautiful mosque’s, a castle of Assassins, bazaars full of delicious food and wonderful people, sunsets in deserts, an underground city, the hottest place on earth and an island completely made out of salt.
Below you can find our complete 3-week trip like we did it in November, 2019. In the timeline section you can see all the stops and the mode of transport we used!
Complete guide: 3 weeks in Iran itinerary
Usually we don’t plan our trip but we do use a simple excel sheet as a sort of an agenda. To keep track of our trip and puzzle all the things we want to see. Especially in this case since we had a fixed date we had to catch the ferry to Dubai.
Below you can download our little travel tool for Iran, in an Excel sheet. You can easily modify it to fit your plans!
Click for download: Dustybackpacks travel tool – 3 week Iran itinerary
How many days to spend in each city?
This is always the main question. Below is an overview of our trip including some links to our travel stories. So you can read what we did and hopefully we’ll inspire you for your trip!
- Mashhad: 1 day
- Tehran: 3 days
- Qazvin: 1 day
- Kashan: 2 days
- Isfahan: 2 days
- Yazd: 1 day
- Kerman: 2 days
- Shiraz: 3 days
- Hormuz Island: 2 days
We wrote several posts containing our travel stories of stops in Iran. Hopefully, they will give you more insight on what to do in each place and why you should go there.
- From Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) to Mashhad (Iran).
- 3 days in Tehran, the capital of Iran.
- The Castle of Assassins in the Alamut Valley.
- 2 days in Kashan.
- 2 days in Isfahan: half the world.
- Visiting the desert cities Yazd and Kerman.
- 3 days in Shiraz and a day trip to Persepolis.
- 2 days on Hormuz Island.
- Crossing the Persian gulf from Iran to Dubai, by boat.
Basically the whole 3 weeks in Iran was one big highlight. People are extremely friendly, lots of good food, great culture and beautiful nature. Below you can find our top 3. The places that we liked the most during our visit to Iran.
1. The Kaluts Desert
2. Hormuz Island.
Of course, there is much more to see in Iran. We haven’t even talked about Persepolis, which is a must-see as well!
Money & Budget:
Budget is something you have to think about before coming to Iran. Since ATMs don’t take foreign cards, you will have to bring your entire budget in cash (US Dollars preferably). Make sure to check the black market exchange rate Euro/Dollar -> Rial. Since the black market rate is way different than the official one.
During our visit in November 2019 the official rate was: €1 to Rial 47.000,-. While the black market rate was €1 to 113.000,- Rial. Quite a big difference, ask the locals to make sure you get the right rate.
It can be a bit weird to carry around all of your cash on you or in your backpack for a whole month traveling. We never felt unsafe having the cash on us. Use common sense and don’t have all of your cash in one place.
We had heard that many people use the Mah Card instead of carrying cash around. We did not use it, but in case you want to check it out – click here – it’s an interesting alternative.
Travel budget Iran:
Some numbers of our spending’s in Iran, we traveled in Iran for 23 days.
Total: €1384,91 (23 days)
Per day: €60,21 (2 people)
Per day: €30,11 (1 person)
This is including visa fees (€210,-), all transport (including a ferry ride to Dubai (€140,-), food, accommodation and souvenirs. We also did quite some tours: Castle of Assassins, Maranjab desert tour, the Kaluts desert tour and tour to Persepolis.
We mainly slept in hostel dorms and went out for food most of the time since it was so delicious and cheap. Keep in mind also, that alcohol is illegal in Iran, therefore we spent no money on drinks – only on coffee and chai.
For the numbers people we have specified the complete budget:
Note: All of this is based on our recent trip to Iran in November 2019. As the economic situation in Iran is not very stable, exchange rates and prices may fluctuate heavily.
Since we were gonna cross the land border from Turkmenistan we decided to go for the E-visa. First we had to apply for the Grant notice. Since we were in a bit of time need so we decided to use the services of Key2Persia. We used their services through Caravanistan. We can highly recommend them, they were super helpful and quick. Click here to go to their page. Within 3 days we had our Grant notice. You can do this yourself through the official Iranian website, but the system is notorious for being slow and applications getting stuck.
After receiving the Grant Notice (which is not the visa). We went to the Iranian embassy in Tashkent (Uzbekistan). Filled in a few forms, the friendly officer took our fingerprints and gave us a visa fee payment paper. We then went to the local back and paid the visa fee. Took our payment receipt back to the embassy where they issued our E-visa.
Not the most modern system, but it works easily enough.
Transport & Accommodation:
Since tourism is picking up in Iran, booking accommodation is very easy trough the common channels: Booking, Hostelworld & Airbnb. People are extremely friendly and hospitable. Therefore staying with some locals through Couchsurfing is something we highly recommend. Our first night in Iran we stayed with a lovely family, which was so nice. This was a great introduction to a new country.
Transport is super easy in Iran. We mainly used VIP buses to travel around. We have a theory that they are old team buses from big sports teams, many of them had sports logos still on them. As they are suited for top athletes, they are super comfortable and cheap! Because they are so comfortable, using them as night buses is great. Since Iran is such a big country, using these buses is a great way to sleep and travel – therefore having more time to explore. Tickets can be bought on the spot or at the bus station beforehand. There are plenty of travel agencies, that can book buses in advance for you in case that’s what you want.
We hope this complete guide helps you in planning your trip to Iran. Missing anything? Drop us a message or leave a comment below! We will be happy to add more useful information.