Are you looking for a complete guide to visit Iran during your next hollidays? Then, this article is tailored for you.
When to Visit Iran
- Spring and autumn are the best time to travel to Iran. Summer months are extremely hot and winters may be too cold. Spring is the time when nature turns green and flowers blossom. In the area of Kashan, in May you can assist at the rose flower picking and the rose water preparation. Spring is also the time when the fruits start to show-up on the vendors’ stalls. In exchange, autumn is the time of the year when fruits abound.
- Traveling during Ramadan could be difficult on western travelers as many restaurants, eating places or shops may be closed or may refuse selling food until the sun sets down. Check here when does Ramadan fall.
- Be aware of Nowruz (20 March), the Iranian New Year when all the nation reshuffles, travels and families reunite for celebrations.
- Week structure is different in Iran. Thursdays in Iran are the equivalent of Saturdays in Western world and Iranian Fridays are the days to relax and wind down (the equivalent of Sundays in Europe). Plan your visits accordingly.
- Many places of interest in Tehran (museums for example) are opened only few days a week and mornings only (the Jewel Museum, the telecabin, the former US embassy etc).
Iranian Visa & Insurance
- Opt for the visa on arrival (VOA) if you plan arriving by plane. This will save you loads of money and time.
- Buy your travel insurance upon arrival (14 euro) at the Tehran international airport.
- You will need the reservation email for your first night’s accommodation in Iran and the hotel/hostel details.
- If you have Iranian friends, have their telephone number handy. The immigration officers may request some contacts.
- Recent governmental rules froze the activity of exchange in all banks and exchange offices leaving tourists to find alternatives. I will list some of them starting with the worse till the most convenient.
- During my travel in May 2018, exchange rates fluctuated a lot (60,000, 70,000, 76,000, 80,000, 74,000 Rials for 1 Euro)
- This is why it was a good practice to exchange 50-100 euros at a time.
- Always leave some small euro banknotes for the end of your journey as you may need some local currency for a last dinner or souvenir and you don’t want to exchange a 50 euro note and stay with loads of Rials/Tomans.
- The worse exchange rate were in the airport and hotels
- The best exchange deals were in carpet shops, jewelry or antique shops, bazaar shops
- Changing money in the street is illegal, but it works in case you are dry of money. Shop around, know your price and bargain well. I would say that this is a solution for more experimented travelers.
- Iranian currency is called Rial. In Iran you will hear prices in Tomans too. Toman is not a currency, it is just a way to call the prices in Rials where you chop off a zero. You will need up to a week to master the Rial-Toman balance. If in doubt, divide the price by 60,000 (the exchange rate for one euro) and if the price will seem ridiculous to you, that is the sign that you are wrong and need to add a zero to get on track with Rials.
- Always pay in Rials/Tomans. Many hotels will convert the price using the “official” exchange rate that is way lower than the one you would get in other places.