Iran Culture and History escorted small group tour for seniors.
Odyssey Travellers are currently suspended because of the Covid-19 pandemic. As at May 2020 whilst the will not depart, we do expect to offer to senior travellers tours 2021 for those seeking to join a small . Our dates 2021 are published on this page.
Discover the fascinating history and culture this has to offer on our Iran small for seniors. This escorted educational is perfect for mature and senior travellers with an active mind, seeking to learn about one of the world's oldest civilisations, a with many an to explore as you learn about . We regard this as one of the best for the senior traveller.
on escorted Iran with us on a seventeen-day . Odyssey's Iran is a that introduces the traveller to a of Iranian culture, focusing on the west of Iran, taking in ten key destinations and must see places . This Iran small for seniors introduces several key of to the traveller with a knowledgable available at each location for Odyssey's Travellers to gain an appreciation of the history of Iran and .
Iran is located in southwestern Asia or the , once home to one of the world’s oldest civilisations. Iran in was the centre of a great empire for many centuries. At its height, 's imperial territory stretched from the modern-day Balkan Peninsula in Europe, to the Indus River Valley in northwest India, and south to Egypt .
A country with a dramatic and colourful centuries-old history is bound to have incredible places to visit, ranging from the of the to persian architecure of merit . Iran is definitely no exception. Odyssey's Iran has been refined over a number of years to provide the traveller with an insightful for an Iran . Odyssey offers muliple Iran tours each year for senior traveller interested in a small group Iran .
Our begins and ends in , the modern capital of this ancient land. The for this has the leave with a to to nine destinations in and Western Iran. including two nights in Hamadan, three in , two in Yazd and two in Shiraz. Along the way, we take in many of Iran’s (s). The lavish Golestan , home of the Qajars and originally built in the Safavid era, exhibits the accumulated power of the , the wealth and extravagance of the Persian monarchy. The of the is noted for its incorporation of Persian and Western design. Another monument that is considered a masterpiece of and a treasure of Islamic architecture is the 16 th century Shah (also known as Imam or the Royal ) located on the Naghsh-i Jahan Square (“Image of the World”, also known as Imam Square) in . The Imam Square and the grand are products of the massive urban planning undertaken in 1598, when Shah Abbas I moved the capital of from Qazvin to in an effort to avoid assaults by the Ottomans and to control the .
Within this is also included the Pasargadae, where Cyrus the Great, founder of the dynasty, is entombed. A highlight of any is the visit to the listed Persepolis , founded by Darius I in 518 BCE. Persepolis , the capital built by the kings, is located about 60 kilometres northeast of Shiraz. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace. The importance and quality of the monumental ruins make it a unique archaeological site where your is often effusive about the history and place of Persepolis in the history of .
On this Iran small for seniors we also enjoy a of Takht-e Soleiman, the Soltaniyeh Dome, Bisotun, the Fire Temple and the Towers of Silence.
In addition, we visit several examples of that great addition to world horticulture - the . Water plays a central role in the of Iran, and it is reflected in the chahar bagh (“fourfold garden”), a model of garden philosophy and design used as a blueprint for landscaping throughout the Arab world and former Moorish territories in Asia and Europe.
The chahar bagh has its roots in the 6 th Century gardens of the Empire. The gardens of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae share the same layout: they have a source of water in the centre (such as a fountain) that flows into four narrow canals, running at right angles and dividing the garden into four beds. The gardens are also marked with a walled enclosure, providing shade and a respite from the hot weather.
Iran City , Ancient Civilisation, Rural Life
Led by our local guide and accompanied by an Odyssey program leader, our takes in the great cities of Iran : , , and Shiraz . In , the program includes a to the National Museum, to see its archaeological treasures including glassware, ceramics, sculptures and mosaics from the . In the city of we walk with the wacross 's beautiful bridges, and explore the Armenian quarter, as well as the major sights surrounding the main square.
However, we don't just study the major cities. Travellers also have the opportunity to study the country’s ancient Persian civilisations, as well as its Islamic present. Our small group affords travellers the opportunity to experience rural life as wellas a enjoying a diet of as part of the offered to on this . We visit the ancient village of Masuleh, set on a steep slope of the Alborz Mountains, and Abyaneh, whose inhabitants still speak a dialect sprinkled with words from Middle Persian. There are also visits to historic sites, mosques , gardens, bazaars, and tea houses. Together, we will experience life in a country that has an incredible history and is undergoing significant changes.
Odyssey's affordable and educational . Odyssey Traveller has a minimum of two departures of the Iran Culture and History Escorted small group tours each year. We offer the to a maximum of 15 people each time. Additionally, Odyssey program leaders are aware of and trained to assist you with local etiquette and customs to ensure that you enjoy your vacation experience whilst on one of our tours for mature and senior travelers . This information will form part of your pre- departure pack. Our , is a combination of day (s) and overnight trips, is suitable for mature travellers, either couples or singles. has been running for over 10 years. Should you choose to on this you draw from our years of experience as an independent offering a to explore and learn about and
Here is the testimony of one Odyssey traveller from our 2019 tour:
Of our many travels, our trip to Iran was among the most memorable. The people, the country, the scenery were all wonderful, we felt very safe at all times. The people welcomed us to their country and wanted to engage in discussion every day. They were very friendly. Our guide and driver were excellent, so much history to absorb. Well worth the experience. - Kate and Kevin J. April 2019
If you want to learn more about Iran, read our country profile. We also prepared educative articles for our senior travellers for example on the Safavids in Persia, the history of Persian carpets, and you can browse all of our articles on Iran.
For more details about this tour, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
- Group size limited to 15.
- Itineraries may change if flight schedules, site availability, and other inclusions have to be amended prior to departure.
Overview: Odyssey Travellers small group escorted to Iran commences in . Your leader provides a short introduction to Iran and followed by a welcome dinner of this evening.
Transfers to the hotel are included for those travelling on Odyssey’s designated flight following arrival at Tehran’s international airport (see details below). For those arriving on a different flight, transfers are not included. If time permits, we will have a short visit to the Sa’ad Abad Museum complex, otherwise it will be included on the following day or at the end of the tour.
Accommodation: 2 nights at the Grand II 4 Star Hotel or similar accommodation.
Overview: Today we explore the sights of Tehran including the National Museum, the Carpet Museum to learn about the history of the Persian carpet, and the Carpet & Glassware Museum.
Accommodation: Overnight at the Grand II 4 Star Hotel or similar accommodation.
Overview: Today this small group travels North with your via Rasht to Bandar-e Anzali (Anzali Port), on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. Owing to its position and climate, the surrounding districts are characterised by green fields and forests. En route we visit the village of Masuleh, built into the steep slope of the . Here, the roof of one house is the yard of the house above and also the pavement in the village!
Accommodation: 1 night at the Sefid Kenar Hotel, or similar accommodation.
Overview: The group starts the day with a short walk along Anzali’s waterfront, then drive to the province of Zanjan. Zanjan is located northwest of Iran, and its geographical conditions, abundant water sources, and fertile soil have made the province suitable for farming and animal husbandry. Most villages of the province are of ancient origin. Here we visit the listed Soltaniyeh Dome, which lies on a plain between two mountains. The capital in during the time of the Ilkhanid Mongols from 1302, the mausoleum of Soltaniyeh has the world’s third largest brick dome. It was described by historian Michael Axworthy (2007) as “one of the grandest monuments of .”
Accommodation: 1 night at the Zanjan Bozorg Hotel or similar accommodation.
Overview: As part of this our today takes this to the great Sassanian religious site of Takht-e Soleiman (the ‘Throne of Solomon”) en route to Takab. The listed religious site of Takht-e Soleiman dates back to 800 BCE. The water filled crater and fire temple located here were of great symbolic significance to the and are associated with the volcanic history of the area. We spend the night in Takab, a hilly market town.
Accommodation: 1 night at the Ranji Hotel or similar accommodation.
Overview: Day 6 of this for seniors travels to Hamadan via the Alisadr Cave, the largest cave in the world containing water. We explore the caves by paddle boat, and have lunch at the site. We then continue to Hamadan, known to classicists as Ecbatana, and the capital of under the Achaemenids. It is situated in the desert on the Royal Road built by Darius the Great between the Mesopotamia and the Plateau in central Iran.
Accommodation: 2 nights at the Baba Taher Hotel, or similar accommodation.
Overview: Your leads this today southwest to Kermanshah. En route we visit the Temple of Anahita in Kangavar, and the Sassanian bas-reliefs at Taq-e Bostan. After lunch we visit the of Bisotun to see its bas-reliefs and cuneiform inscriptions of the .
Accommodation: Overnight at the Baba Taher Hotel, Hamadan, or similar accommodation.
Overview: Today the drive is through some of in the southeast that leads to , the first of the large oasis towns along the Qom-Kerman road which runs along the edge of the Dasht-e Kevir . Here we enjoy the restful shade of cupola-covered houses and the coolness of a pleasant with water fountains. We visit the acclaimed Persian garden called the Fin Garden, designed for Shah Abbas I, as well as Khan-e Tabatabi and Khan-e Borujerdi, merchant houses built in the late 1800s. The greenery and lively atmosphere of this well-tended oasis stands out against the the parched immensities of the surrounding .The merchant houses are a popular for travellers. Tonight we stay at a beautiful Kashani traditional house.
Accommodation: 1 night at the Negin Traditional House, or similar accommodation.
This continues to south, visiting Abyaneh village on the way to . A common saying during the Safavid (1502-1722) period was that “ was half the world.” Today the city is still Iran’s most beautiful city. The wonderful buildings may be attributed to Shah Abbas who made the town his capital in 1598. These have added to the considerable wealth of history already preserved in buildings from earlier periods. On arrival we enjoy a of the Vank Cathedral and the old Armenian quarter of the city.
In the evening we enjoy a of the Khaju Bridge, built under Shah Abbas II. The bridge doubles as a dam, and has always been as much a meeting place as a bearer of traffic. The bridge features two levels of terraced arcades, the lower containing locks to regulate the water flow. One can still see original paintings, tiles, and the remains of stone seats built for Shah Abbas II to sit on and admire the views. A pavilion was built in the centre exclusively for his pleasure. We also visit Sio She Pol (33 arches) Bridge before checking in to our hotel.
Accommodation: 2 nights at the Piroozy Hotel, or similar accommodation.
Overview: The provides for a full days of with our . The begins with visits to Naqsh-e Jahan Square, and home to the Ali Qapu, Imam and Sheikh Lotfollah (s) as well as the Gheisarieh Bazaar. After lunch, we will visit Chehel Sotoun (Forty Pillars reception hall and pleasure pavilion) and have some free time before dinner to explore the bazaar, exploring an opportunity to learn about the history of the P.
Accommodation: Overnight at the Piroozy Hotel, or similar accommodation.
Today we continue travelling south to Yazd, one of the strongholds of , famous for its fire temples. En route we stop at Meybod to visit the Narein Castle.
The ancient Iranians venerated holy fires, and in Yazd, one such sanctuary has survived through the ages, although the building itself is pretty recent. However the fire has been been burning in Yazd for at least seven centuries.
If time permits, we’ll visit to the Towers of Silence on the outskirts of Yazd, before checking into our hotel (if not, we will visit them the following day). The towers were used by the to dispose of the dead to avoid contaminating the soil with a body. Until this custom was forbidden in 1970, the expose their dead to the birds in “towers of silence” (dakhmeh). There are two towers near Yazd, built in the nineteenth century according to a design from India, where many live. At the terrace at the top, the dead were exposed, and devoured by birds. In this way, neither the earth nor the sacred fire were soiled.
Accommodation: Two nights at the Safaiieeh 4 Star Hotel, or similar accommodation.
Out in the and off the beaten path of the travellers is a fascinating and worthy of a visit on any . Yazd with its adobe buildings, the windy narrow street plans, wind towers, and the qanat water supply system are a wonderful reflection of and ingenuity as a response to the local hot environment.
The old city of Yazd is where with your this small of Iran for seniors has a full planned. Yazd was a branch leading to India of the Silk road, and was visited by the Venetian Marco Polo. Its ancient city centre and facilitated status. The lanes of the bazaar twist and turn and eventually lead to the Friday , regarded as one of the finest in Iran. The tall façade, the shallow dome and the interior of the sanctuary hall all sparkle with glazed tile. Most of the tilework dates to the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when the art was at its height and the city rich; no cost was spared in assembling thousands of precisely cut pieces of colored tile into large mosaics of geometric or floral design. In return for a small tip, the custodian unlocks the steps to the roof, and may even allow one to climb a minaret. In the old days, a muezzin would scale this five times a day to call his community to prayer; his modern successor understandably prefers to issue the summons from below, with the aid of records and a loudspeaker. Its a long trudge up a tight spiral staircase to the narrow balcony, apparently you hug the wall while admiring the view. The city sprawls below, dun-colored like the and is simply fascinating!
We also visit the Bagh-e Dolat Garden and Yazd’s Ateshkadeh ( Fire Temple) where the fire has burned continously for seven centuries.
Accommodation: Overnight at the Safaiieeh 4 Star Hotel, or similar accommodation.
Overview: Today we continue on through the of the to Shiraz. The has our stop en route to visit the ancient Abarqu Cypress tree, and the of Pasargadae, where Cyrus the Great, founder of the dynasty is entombed.
We arrive in Shiraz, city of poets, late in the afternoon. Shiraz has a rich and turbulent history and is considered to be an important part of the history of . It was spared destruction by Genghis Khan’s forces as well as the forces of Timur who followed 160 years later. Several earthquakes and Afghan raids destroyed the area, however it was resurrected as the capital in the mid 18th century during the Zand dynasty.
Accommodation: 3 nights at the Chamran New 5 Star Hotel, or similar accommodation.
Today this . arrives at an considered to be a highlight for any and for the leading a of . Out in the of the , our has the group spend time on a with a guide of Persepolis. This is one of key highlights of the and of for many travellers. A , Persepolis was founded by Darius I in 518 BCE. Persepolis, the capital of the Empire, is located about 60 kilometres northeast of Shiraz. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace. The importance and quality of the monumental ruins which where preserved under the sand for centuries make Persepolis a unique archaeological site in and
Late in the afternoon, our escorts the group around the Royal Necropolis (Naghsh-e-Rostam), before driving back to Shiraz. In Shiraz in the cooler part of the day the has a of the reffered to as the Eram Garden (Paradise Garden), followed by Nasir-o-Molk (Pink ) and the Narenjestan-e Ghavam (Narenjestan ). We also visit the Zand citadel, the Arg-e Karim Khan, as well as the tombs of Hafez, a 14th century poet, and Sa’di, a 13th century poet.
Accommodation: Overnight at the Chamran New 5 Start Hotel, or similar accommodation.
On day 15, this small group takes a scenic drive west of Shiraz to take a of the ancient city of Bishapur (Shapur’s City), the capital under the Sassanian king Shapur I. Shapur’s armies defeated the Romans three times. Shapur had this city built by Roman soldiers who had been captured after the defeat of the Roman emperor Valerian in 260. It was here that the Roman General Valerian spent his final days in captivity.
What is fascinating is that many aspects of Bishapur’s architecture look Roman and do not belong to building traditions or refelect typical of the period. This city is full of strong Hellenistic-Roman and Persian influences in the architecture of its temple, audience hall, and defence structures. And the layout of the city is what specialists call the “Hippodamian Plan“, which means that the city looks like a gridiron, while the cities of were usually were circular in design. The core of the city was the old castle, situated on a steep rock, which is in itself one of the most interesting geological features of the southern Zagros.
Accommodation: Overnight at the Chamran New 5 Start Hotel, or similar accommodation.
Overview: This morning we will complete our to Shiraz. Your will take the short flight to in the afternoon.
Accommodation: 1 night at the Grand II 4 Star Hotel, or similar accommodation.
Overview: This morning we visit the National Jewel Museum. Our tour will end with a transfer to the airport for those booked on the evening flight (as advised by Odyssey). For those departing on a different flight, transfers are not included.
What’s included in our Iranian Tour
- 16 nights of hotel accommodation.
- 16 breakfasts, 16 lunches, and 16 dinners.
- 1 internal flight in economy class and taxes.
- Transport in comfortable and modern coaches.
- All lectures, excursions, entrance fees, and local guides.
- Gratuities and necessary tips.
- Services of tour leader for the duration of tour.
- Visa Reference Number and supporting documents, required to apply for the Visa.
What’s not included in our Iranian Tour
- International airfares and departure taxes.
- Comprehensive travel insurance.
- Airport transfers if not on selected flights (as advised).
- Items of a personal nature such as telephone calls and laundry.
- Visa fee.
- Visa service (Odyssey offer Visa Service at additional cost).