Trip duration: 19 days (January 12th-January 30th 2015)
Regions visited: 4
Route: Copenhagen - Tehran - Kashan - Abyaneh - Kashan - Esfahan - Yazd - Kharanaq - Chak Chak - Meybod - Yazd - Kerman - Lut Desert - Kerman - Bam - Rayen Castle - Mahan - Kerman - Bandar Abbas - Qeshm Island - Bandar Abbas - Lar - Shiraz - Pasargadae - Necropolis - Persepolis - Shiraz - Tabriz - Kandovan - Tabriz - Tehran - Copenhagen
In the air (1)
Day 1: January 12th 2017 (Copenhagen to Istanbul)
Region 1 (1)
Day 2: January 13th 2017 (Istanbul to Tehran)
Region 2 (2)
Day 3: January 14th 2017 (Tehran to Kashan)
Day 4: January 15th 2017 (Kashan to Abyaneh to Kashan to Esfahan)
Region 5 (5)
Day 5: January 16th 2017 (Esfahan to Yazd)
Day 6: January 17th 2017 (Yazd)
Day 7: January 18th 2017 (Yazd to Kharanaq to Chak Chak to Meybod to Yazd to Kerman)
Day 8: January 19th 2017 (Kerman to Lut Desert to Kerman)
Day 9: January 20th 2017 (Kerman to Bam to Rayen Castle to Mahan to Kerman)
Region 2 (5)
Day 10: January 21st 2017 (Kerman to Bandar Abbas to Qeshm Island)
Day 11: January 22nd 2017 (Qeshm Island to Bandar Abbas to the middle of the highway)
Day 12: January 23rd 2017 (The highway to Lar to Shiraz)
Day 13: January 24th 2017 (Shiraz to Pasargadae to Necropolis to Persepolis to Shiraz)
Day 14: January 25th 2017 (Shiraz to the middle of the highway)
Region 3 (3)
Day 15: January 26th 2017 (The highway to Tabriz)
Day 16: January 27th 2017 (Tabriz to Kandovan to Tabriz)
Day 17: January 28th 2017 (Tabriz)
Region 1 (1)
Day 18: January 29th 2017 (Tabriz to Tehran)
Day 19: January 30th 2017 (Tehran to Athens to Copenhagen)
On January 12th 2017, after my last exam on my 1st semester at uni, I set off on a celebration trip to Iran with my friend Steve. I had wanted to go to Iran for ages, although I'd been advised against it by family and friends. But so many travellers seemed to love it, and that's what sold it for me. When Steve invited me to Iran, and I found out that the flight tickets were actually affordable, I just knew that I had to go. So, there we were, together again, exploring another undiscovered country in one of my favourite parts of the world!
The first part of Iran that we visited was Region 1, but unfortunately, we only had time to explore Tehran, Iran's colourful capital, this time around. Tehran is a BUSY, smoggy and loud city that isn't at all beautiful, but still has some amazing architectural wonders to discover. The journey started and ended in Tehran, but we spend the last day of the journey in the airport, so we only got to explore Tehran for one day, which definitely wasn't enough. When I eventually get myself back to Iran, I want to venture north of Tehran to the breathtaking mountainous Mazandaran Province, also in Region 1.
Region 2 is an enormous area, stretching all the way from Kashan in the North to Qeshm Island in the very South. We spent most of our days in this region, discovering the ancient cities of Kashan, Esfahan and Shiraz, hiking in the red village of Abyaneh, exploring all of Qeshm Island on the Persian Gulf in one day, and spending many hours at Persepolis, one of the wonders of the ancient world. Oh, and we also had our first misadventure in this region, when our bus broke down on a deserted highway between Bandar Abbas and Shiraz in the middle of the night, resulting in a 19-hour journey instead of 7 hours.
Region 5 was one of my favourite areas in Iran. We stayed in the cities of Yazd and Kerman, two beautiful cities in the middle of the desert. From these two cities, we took day trips out to different places of interest, including my favourite place in all of Iran, the 4,000-year-old abandoned mudbrick village of Kharanaq, the spectacular Lut Desert and the ancient citadels of Bam and Rayen. We had a lot of cultural experiences in a few days there, and archaeologically I would have to call it my favourite!
Our last few days in Iran was spent in the very northwestern corner of the country, in Region 3's capital, Tabriz. Tabriz was by far my favourite city in the country! When we got there, they had just had a heavy snowfall, so the city was covered in a beautiful carpet of white. We spent many hours at the city's famous historical bazaar, took a walk in the Shah Goli Park and spent a day discovering the nearby troglodyte village of Kandovan, which was also one of my favourite places in Iran. Going North for the last couple of days was a great decision, as it gave us a taste of how life is in this very different part of the country, where the majority of the inhabitants are Azerbaijani Turks.
Although it was tough at times, travelling through Iran for 19 days was a truly enriching experience. I had been wanting to go to Iran for a while, and although I often felt exhausted from our TIGHT (!!!) schedule and often didn't feel like I was enjoying myself, I've since realized just how much I actually loved Iran. It often happens to me, that I realize how much I love a country, a while after I've been there. That's a real shame, but I think it's because I don't give myself enough time to process it all. Next time I go to Iran, which hopefully won't be in too many years, I'll make sure to spend longer time in each place and to enjoy it and relax way more!