Iran, a country of vast landscapes, delicious cuisine and stunning architecture. Adventure lovers, history buffs and foodies, everyone will find something to do in this beautiful country, as such it isn’t crazy that tourism has been rising in Iran over the last couple of years. Travelers from all over the world come to see the hidden, and not so hidden, sights of Iran and to see the beauty of this country with their own eyes. However, with the size and immensity of Iran it can be hard to figure out what sights you should add to your Iran itinerary and for that reason we have created the ultimate Iran bucket list for you! 70+ Things to do, from the cities to the off the beaten path destinations of Iran, from museums to the most stunning landscapes, from adventure to the most delicious foods to try… find it all out below!
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Things to do in Tehran
Tehran, Iran’s capital, is a city that you cannot leave out of your itinerary, as also the hustle and bustle of the capital is an important part of Iran, and as such understanding Iran. While some might want to leave this concrete jungle straight away, there are actually plenty of things to do in Tehran that will make you want to stay here for a couple of days. So, without further ado, here are the things to do in Tehran that we deemed worthy of being added to our, and perhaps also your, Iran bucket list:
1. Escape the concrete jungle of Tehran and wander around the colorful Golestan Palace to admire some beautiful architecture.
2. Visit the US Den of Espionage, formerly the US Embassy, where the outside walls are marked by anti-Western propaganda.
3. Tehran has a big coffee culture, especially in the weekends, so be sure to head to the cafes on Friday and enjoy a cup of delicious coffee.
4. Awe at the stunning architecture of the Azadi Tower which is both beautiful during the day, and after sunset when lights light up the tower.
5. Get an impeccable view over the city of Tehran from the top of Milad Tower.
6. Visit the Tabiat Bridge and the two parks that are bordering on either side of the bridge. On a clear day it will offer stunning views over the mountains.
7. Learn more about Iran’s rich history and visit the National Museum of Iran.
8. Loving the museums? Consider stopping by the Carpet Museum of Iran to learn more about the history of carpets and carpet making in Iran.
9. Want to escape the hustle and bustle for a day? Take a day trip to Darband to enjoy the mountains and some delicious tea.
10. Planning on visiting Tehran in the winter? Be sure to add skiing near Tehran to your Iran Bucket List of you love the winter sports!
11. And last, but definitely not least, how could a visit to Tehran be complete without a visit to the Grand Bazaar.
Things to do in Kashan
Kashan, a small desert city located between Kashan and Isfahan is the perfect destination for those who seek to escape the bustling cities. Wander around the small alleys, spend a day or a night in the desert and find the most impeccable views over the city, that is just one of the many things to do in Kashan. Keep on reading to find out why you should add Kashan to your Iran itinerary, and what sights should be on your Iran bucket list:
12. Visit Kashan Traditional Houses to see how wealthy merchants used to live during the 19th century.
13. Awe at the Agha Bozorg Mosque, built in the late 18th century. With its location being in the middle of the center it will be hard to miss it.
14. Admire the architecture of the Kashan Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse and be sure to climb to the rooftop for a spectacular view over the city and the mountains.
15. Walk through Kashan’s Fin Garden, a lush garden located just outside of the city centre.
16. Looking to go a bit more off the beaten path? Visit the Aran Va Bidgol Holy Shrine in one of the next towns over!
17. Kashan’s old town is absolutely beautiful. So be sure to go for a walk through the small alleys of the old town and to stop by the Bazaar!
18. Find the best viewpoint over the city of Kashan, also one of the most secret viewpoints, read more on how to get there in our complete guide to Kashan!
19. Leave the city of Kashan behind and go on a desert trip! Either for just a day or spend the night in the desert stargazing.
20. Before heading off to your next destination, for which most people is Isfahan, be sure to stop by the mountain red colored village of Abyaneh, located between Kashan and Isfahan.
Things to do in Isfahan
“Isfahan is half the world” as the saying goes, and for many travelers there half way point through the country. Isfahan is a city for art and architecture lovers, and for foodies as there are many local specialties to try. Nature lovers might want to make a quick stop in this town before exploring the vastness of Iran’s nature again, as after all there are so many things to do in Isfahan that deserve a spot on your Iran bucket list! Find out which ones we considered bucket list worthy here…
21. Awe at the beautiful architecture of the Shah Mosque, both inside and outside, the mosaic details of this mosque is just incredible.
22. Visit the Sheikh Loftollah Mosque and awe at the tile work of the dome as it reflects the light, changing the colors of the dome from cream to light pink depending.
23. Relax at Nagsh-e Jahan Square and watch daily life go by, a perfect spot to take a break from all the sightseeing.
24. Find a different viewpoint over the Nagsh-e Jahan Square from the Ali Qapu Palace.
25. As Isfahan is filled with beautiful mosques it doesn’t end with the mosques bordering the square, be sure to add the Jameh Mosque to your Iran bucket list!
26. No visit to the city is complete without wandering, and getting lost, in the Grand Bazaar of Isfahan to look for the most beautiful souvenirs.
27. Can’g get enough of admiring the architecture? Then don’t forget to visit the Isfahan Bridges with Siosepol being the most popular one, especially after sunset when locals gather here.
28. Walk on the empty river bed of Zayanderud. With almost no rainfall in Iran the river of Zayanderud is almost always dry, meaning you can walk underneath the bridges at many parts of the river.
29. Head to the Armenian Quarter, one of the oldest Armenian Quarters in the world, and visit the Vank Cathedral, a popular touristic sight.
30. Loving the Persian cuisine? Who doesn’t! When is Isfahan don’t forget eating Isfahan Biryani, a local specialty, to your Iran bucket list.
31. Wander around the gardens of Chehel Sotoun and admire the stunning pavilion build in the 17th century by Shah Abbas II.
Things to do in Yazd
Yazd, another desert city, and while some may call it similar to Kashan, it has so many new and different things to offer. Of course there is always some stunning architecture to admire, as anywhere in Iran, but most of all there are sweets to try and history to learn about. If you are interested in learning more about Zoroastrianism, Yazd is the place to be as it is home to the Fire temple, the Towers of Silence and many more locations that were once an important part of Zoroastrianism. So keep on reading to find out what sights and sweets in Yazd you should add to your Iran bucket list:
32. Try the sweets from Yazd, especially the cookies, Yazd is famous for it. Our personal favorite: qottab a walnut/almond flavored cookie that is often spiced with cardamom and cinnamon.
33. Visit the Zoroastrian Fire Temple to learn more about Zoroastrianism one of the world’s oldest religions.
34. Awe at the stunning architecture of the Jameh Mosque.
35. Take a photo at the beautiful Amir Chakhmaq Complex, one of the most beautiful buildings in Yazd (in our opinion).
36. Visit the Water Museum of Yazd to learn more about ancient aqueduct constructions!
37. Take a walk through Fahaadan, the old city of Yazd, but be careful not to get lost in the small alleys.
38. Drink tea at a rooftop cafe like the Yazd Art House to take a break from all the sightseeing and to admire the view over the city.
39. Learn more about Zoroastrianism and visit the Towers of Silence, in these towers the bodies of the deceased were exposed to be eaten by vultures.
40. And last, but definitely not least, go on a day trip to Taft, or perhaps even stay the night at Nartitee Ecolodge and enjoy some tranquility of mountains.
Things to do in Kerman (Province)
Visiting Kerman Province is perfect for those who are looking to get a bit more off the beaten path, add some unique destinations to their Iran itinerary. Visit the 27th largest desert in the world, which is also known to be one of the hottest places on earth and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, or perhaps explore some of the more history related sights. Kerman Province is a dream come true for many travelers who seek some adventure, so keep on reading what bucket list worthy sights there are in Kerman:
41. See the Kaluts, located in the Lut Desert, a unique phenomenon that earned this desert a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
42. While visiting the Kaluts is beautiful, there is nothing as magical as seeing the sun rise or set in the Kaluts so be sure to stay long enough, or be back early the next day for that spectacular sun rise!
43. Wander around the city of Kerman, visit the Bazaar and the beautiful Jameh Mosque of Kerman.
44. Visit the citadel of the beautiful city of Bam, while much of the citadel was destroyed during a Earthquake, they have managed to rebuild large parts of the citadel.
45. Haven’t seen enough beautiful Persian Gardens yet, make a stop at Shazdeh Mahan Garden for a relaxing break and enjoy some tea or coffee.
46. Visit the Rayen Fortress, while Bam got largely destroyed during the earthquake, the beautiful Rayen fortress stayed standing!
47. For the architecture lovers, you might want to make a stop at Shah Nematollah Vali Shrine if you are on your way to Shazdeh Mahan Garden anyway!
Things to do in Shiraz
Shiraz is the last stop for many people who visit Iran and most travelers come here for two reasons: seeing Persepolis and the stunning Pink Mosque. And while these two reasons alone are enough reason to be visiting the city of Shiraz, there are actually plenty of other things to do in Shiraz. Walk around the city, go shopping at the Bazaar or see some of the most beautiful, and most important, holy shrines in the country. This city could keep you busy for days! Find out here which sights in Shiraz you should add to your bucket list:
48. Learn more about Iran’s rich history and visit Persepolis located roughly 60km out of Shiraz.
49. See the light break through the windows of the Nasir Al Mulk Mosque, creating a kaleidoscope of colors.
50. Visit the Tomb of Hafez, one of Iran’s most famous poets.
51. Would a visit to the city be complete without a visit to the Bazaar? Head over to the Vakil Bazaar to admire the rugs, or perhaps even shop for one!
52. While visiting the Vakil Bazaar, be sure to make a stop at the Vakil Mosque.
53. Awe at the Shah E Cheragh Shrine one of Iran’s most important pilgrimage sites.
54. While the sparkling interior of the Shah E Cherargh Shrine is beautiful the Ali Ibn Hamzeh Holy Shrine has a similar sparkling interior, and is much less known to tourists visiting Shiraz.
55. And last, but definitely not least, unwind from all the sightseeing by relaxing in the beautiful Eram Garden.
Things to do on Qeshm Island
Last, but definitely not least on the list of destinations in Iran, is Qeshm Island. Located a ferry ride away from the Persian Gulf city Bandar Abbas you can find one of the most off the beaten path destinations of Iran. While the island isn’t immense in size, you could easily go for days without seeing another foreign tourist here, but be warned, it is becoming more popular with foreign tourists by the day. Qeshm has some of the most out of this world like landscapes we have ever seen, and with the cuisine mainly involving sea food, it is another destination foodies will not want to leave off their itinerary. Visiting Qeshm was one of the highlights of our trip, and we hope it can be yours too. To make the most of your time in Qeshm, be sure to check out our complete Qeshm travel guide…
56. Visit the beautiful and unique Chahkooh Valley a beautiful canyon like gorge where locals had dug wells to be used as water reservoirs.
57. Something you might not expect, but on Qeshm island you can visit the World’s Longest Salt Cave!
58. A lesser known valley, but still incredibly beautiful and a place that looks from out of this world is Shour Valley located close to the Salt Caves.
59. But the busies and well known Star Valley is definitely a place you would want to add to your bucket list!
60. See the most beautiful birds and take a boat tour through the Hara Mangrove Forest.
61. Admire the wildlife of Qeshm: camels, flamingos, stunning birds and dolphins, Qeshm has it all.
62. Visit the over 2000 year old village of Bandar e Laft, also simply known as Laft. Wandering why it is worth your time? Check out our complete Qeshm Island Travel Guide!
63. Last, but definitely not least, stop by a traditional Ship Building Yard to admire some beautiful craftsmanship.
64. Take a day trip to the neighboring island of Hormuz, where the ground is a bright red, creating the most magical landscapes.
Iran Bucket List for Foodies
While we normally don’t write about food and cuisine, the Persian cuisine to us was such an important part of our experience in Iran. We had the most delicious home cooked meals, kebabs and sweets when traveling Iran and therefore wanted to share our most favorite dishes that we believe deserve a special place on the Iran bucket list. So without further ado, here are the eight dishes that you might want to add to give a try…
65. Of course, the number one dish that you will try is Kebab, but don’t be mistaken that if you have tried one kebab that you have had them all. Kebab differs from region to region and comes in many varieties: try some of the classic Kebab Koobideh (made of ground lamb or beef), Joojeh Kebab (chicken) or Kebab Barg (often made of beef fillets).
66. A dish we still dream of is Fesenjoon or Fesenjan, a stew that consists of chicken, ground walnuts and pomegranate sauce. While it might not look as appealing, it certainly does taste amazing!
67. One of the most popular dishes to try is Ghormeh Sabzi, a Iranian Herb Stew. Another meat dish, as many dishes in Iran, that consists of either beef or lamb stewed in the most delicious herbs and spices.
68. A traditional Iranian dish that you might want to add to your bucket list is Khoresh e Gheymeh, or yellow split pea stew. Also this dish is a stew often made with lamb, mutton or beef and a variety of vegetables and herbs such as tomatoes, dried lime, onions and lots more.
69. Faloodeh is the perfect dish for those who have a sweet tooth. A sweet cold dessert that consist of cold vemicelli like noodles, topped with a syrup that consists sugar and rose water. Top it off with some lime juice and pistachios and you got the ultimate cold dessert. You will find the best Faloodeh in Shiraz, as this is where the dessert originates from.
70. Kashk-e Bademjan is a dish for anyone, but definitely one that vegetarians might want to remember as it is often the only vegetarian dish on the menu. A delicious eggplant stew that is often eaten as an appetizer and is mostly, but not always, made vegetarian.
71. And last, but definitely not least, is the delicious dish that is called Dizi. Sometimes also called Abgoosht is a delicious fragrant, and yes another, stew. Dizi is a traditional dish and you should be able to find it in many restaurants in Iran.
The Ultimate Iran Bucket List
And there you have it 70+ things to do in Iran, a list that could easily keep you busy for weeks. Not sure how to fit this all in one itinerary? Check out our 1 – 3 week itinerary guide for some inspiration so you can create your ultimate itinerary. And while you’re at it, maybe these posts can help you out as well with your travel planning for Iran:
- Accommodation in Iran – The best hostels for budget travelers
- Iran travel budget – How much does it cost to travel in Iran?
- 86 Things you must know before traveling to Iran
Don’t forget to check out our ultimate Iran travel guide or perhaps check out our Iran destination page with all our blogposts on Iran! How about you? Have you been to Iran before? Anything we should add to this bucket list? Tell us in the comments down below. And oh, don’t forget to pin it to save it for later…