Backpacking in Iran

Backpacking in Iran offers a unique opportunity to explore a country with a rich history and stunning natural landscapes. Iran, known as Persia until 1935, has a history dating back thousands of years and is home to numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Despite being often misunderstood due to political tensions, Iran is increasingly becoming a popular destination for backpackers seeking an authentic and immersive travel experience.

With the lifting of economic sanctions in 2016, Iran witnessed a surge in tourists visiting the country, including backpackers. This newfound interest can be attributed to Iran’s diverse geographical features, including the majestic Alborz Mountains, the vast Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut deserts, and the picturesque Caspian Sea coastline. Backpackers are drawn to adventure activities such as hiking, skiing, and desert trekking, making Iran a paradise for nature enthusiasts.

One compelling statistic is that Iran boasts the highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Middle East, totaling 24 sites. These include renowned attractions like the ancient city of Persepolis, the historical bazaars of Tabriz, and the spectacular Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan. Backpackers can delve into Iran’s remarkable history and architecture while immersing themselves in the vibrant local culture.

Another unique aspect of backpacking in Iran is the warm hospitality of the Iranian people. Iranians are known for their friendliness and sincere eagerness to engage with tourists, making backpackers feel welcome and safe throughout their journey. Moreover, local homestays provide backpackers with an opportunity to experience Iranian culture firsthand and build lasting connections with locals.

Over the years, Iran has developed an extensive network of accommodations, transportation, and tourist services to cater to the increasing number of backpackers. Hostels and budget hotels have mushroomed in major tourist destinations, offering affordable and comfortable lodging options. Public transportation, including buses and trains, connects different parts of the country, making it convenient for backpackers to explore Iran’s diverse regions.

As more backpackers embrace the idea of venturing off the beaten path, Iran emerges as an enticing destination that offers a blend of rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and genuine cultural experiences. Backpacking in Iran is an excellent way to discover the country’s hidden gems and break down cultural barriers, fostering greater understanding and appreciation for this remarkable nation.

Backpacking in Iran

Why is Backpacking in Iran So Popular Among Travelers?

Backpacking in Iran has gained immense popularity among travelers in recent years. This article aims to explore the reasons behind this growing trend and shed light on the advantages of embarking on a backpacking adventure in this captivating country. From its rich historical and cultural heritage to its stunning landscapes and warm hospitality, Iran offers an unforgettable experience for backpackers seeking off-the-beaten-path destinations. Read on to discover the enchanting highlights of backpacking in Iran and delve deeper into the various aspects that make it an appealing choice for intrepid travelers.

Backpacking in Iran: A Unique Adventure

Iran, a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, is becoming an increasingly popular destination for backpackers seeking off-the-beaten-path adventures. With its diverse landscapes, welcoming locals, and affordable travel options, backpacking in Iran offers a truly unique experience. Here are some key aspects to consider when planning your backpacking trip to Iran:

Visa and Travel Restrictions

Before embarking on your backpacking journey to Iran, it’s crucial to understand the visa requirements and travel restrictions. Most nationalities are required to obtain a tourist visa in advance, which can be done through the Iranian embassy or consulate in your home country. Alternatively, some nationalities are eligible for a visa on arrival at specific entry points. However, it is always recommended to check the latest information from official sources, as visa policies can change.

Safety and Security

While safety should be a primary concern for all travelers, it’s important to note that Iran is generally considered a safe destination for backpackers. The country has a low crime rate, and locals are known for their hospitality and friendliness towards foreigners. However, it’s always advisable to take common-sense precautions, such as keeping your belongings secure and staying aware of your surroundings.


Iran has a well-developed transportation network, making it relatively easy for backpackers to get around. Buses and trains connect major cities and towns, providing affordable options for long-distance travel. Additionally, domestic flights are available for those looking to save time or explore more remote areas. Public transportation within cities, such as metros and taxis, is also readily accessible and affordable.


Backpackers in Iran have a range of accommodation options to choose from. Hostels and budget guesthouses can be found in major cities and tourist destinations, offering affordable prices and a chance to meet fellow travelers. For a more immersive experience, consider staying in traditional guesthouses or homestays, which allow you to connect with locals and learn about Iranian culture. Couchsurfing, where locals offer their homes for free accommodation, is also popular in Iran.

Places to Explore

Iran’s diverse landscapes provide endless opportunities for exploration. From the bustling bazaars of Tehran to the ancient ruins of Persepolis, there is something for every backpacker’s taste. Don’t miss the stunning desert landscapes of Dasht-e Lut and Dasht-e Kavir, where you can camp under the stars and witness unforgettable sunsets. The picturesque villages of Masuleh and Abyaneh offer a glimpse into traditional rural life, while the vibrant cities of Isfahan and Shiraz are renowned for their stunning architecture and vibrant art scenes.

Cultural Etiquette

Iran is a culturally rich country with deep-rooted traditions and customs. It’s essential to respect these cultural norms as a backpacker. Dress modestly, especially in more conservative areas, by covering your shoulders and knees. Learn a few basic Persian phrases to interact with the locals and show your interest in their language. It’s also important to adhere to Islamic practices during your stay, such as observing fasting during Ramadan or avoiding public displays of affection.

Final Thoughts

Backpacking in Iran grants you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural wonders. With the country’s warm-hearted people and awe-inspiring sights, it’s no wonder that more adventurers are choosing Iran as their next backpacking destination. So pack your bags, grab your guidebook, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through this captivating country.

Statistic: According to the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization, the number of foreign tourists visiting Iran reached over 7.8 million in 2019.

FAQs for Backpacking in Iran

1. Can foreigners go backpacking in Iran?

Yes, foreigners can go backpacking in Iran. Iran welcomes tourists from all around the world and has a relatively straightforward visa process. However, it’s always essential to check the latest travel advisories and regulations before planning your trip.

2. Is Iran a safe country for backpackers?

Iran is generally a safe country for backpackers. The local people are incredibly hospitable and friendly toward tourists. However, it’s advisable to take basic safety precautions, such as keeping an eye on your belongings, avoiding isolated areas at night, and following local customs and laws.

3. What are the must-visit destinations for backpacking in Iran?

Iran offers a wealth of incredible destinations for backpackers. Some of the must-visit places include Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd, Shiraz, Persepolis, and the enchanting villages of Masuleh and Abyaneh. These cities and attractions offer a glimpse into Iran’s rich history, culture, and stunning landscapes.

4. How can I travel around Iran on a budget?

There are several ways to travel around Iran on a budget. Public transportation, such as buses and trains, offer affordable options for intercity travel. Budget accommodations, such as hostels and guesthouses, are available in major tourist destinations. Additionally, street food and local restaurants serve delicious Iranian cuisine at reasonable prices.

5. What should I pack for backpacking in Iran?

When packing for your backpacking trip to Iran, consider bringing a mix of lightweight and modest clothing suitable for the cultural norms. It’s essential to respect local customs and cover your shoulders and legs when visiting religious sites. Also, don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, comfortable walking shoes, and a travel adapter.

6. How is the internet and communication in Iran?

Internet and communication in Iran can be a bit restricted. While wifi is available in most hotels and guesthouses, the internet speed can be slow in some areas. Social media platforms and certain websites may be restricted or inaccessible. It’s advisable to use a virtual private network (VPN) to bypass these restrictions and stay connected with friends and family.

7. Can I use credit cards in Iran?

Credit cards are not widely accepted in Iran, especially for small purchases or in local markets. It’s advisable to carry enough cash with you, both in the local currency (Iranian Rial) and US dollars or euros. ATMs are available in major cities, but it’s always good to have some cash on hand as a backup.

8. Is it possible to travel independently as a solo backpacker in Iran?

Yes, it is possible to travel independently as a solo backpacker in Iran. Many solo travelers visit Iran each year and have wonderful experiences. However, it’s always a good idea to stay informed about the local customs, dress modestly, and be cautious in unfamiliar areas. Engaging with locals and fellow travelers can enhance your experience and provide additional safety.

9. Are there any cultural etiquette or rules I should be aware of?

Iran has a unique cultural etiquette that travelers should be aware of. For instance, it’s customary to greet with a handshake and be respectful towards elders. Additionally, women should wear a headscarf in public places, while men should avoid wearing shorts. It’s also considered polite to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home or certain establishments.

10. How can I exchange money in Iran?

Exchanging money in Iran is relatively straightforward. It’s recommended to bring cash (US dollars or euros) and exchange them at official exchange offices or banks. These locations offer better rates compared to hotels or unlicensed exchange shops. It’s also important to keep your official exchange receipts as they may be required to convert any remaining Iranian Rials back to foreign currency before leaving the country.


Backpacking in Iran offers a unique and enriching travel experience. From its breathtaking landscapes to its rich cultural heritage, Iran has so much to offer adventurous backpackers. Throughout this article, we have explored the key reasons why Iran should be on every backpacking enthusiast’s bucket list.

Firstly, we delved into Iran’s stunning natural beauty, with its diverse landscapes of deserts, mountains, and pristine coastline. Whether it’s trekking in the Alborz Mountains, exploring the mesmerizing Lut Desert, or relaxing on the Caspian Sea beaches, Iran provides endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts.

Furthermore, we discussed Iran’s rich history and cultural heritage. The country is home to ancient cities like Tehran, Isfahan, and Shiraz, where backpackers can immerse themselves in the grandeur of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, magnificent mosques, and palaces. Additionally, Iran’s warm and welcoming people contribute to the charm of the country. Interacting with locals, indulging in traditional Persian cuisine, and experiencing vibrant bazaars are unforgettable highlights of backpacking in Iran.

In conclusion, backpacking in Iran is an adventure that should not be missed. With its stunning landscapes, rich history, and friendly inhabitants, Iran truly offers a unique and unforgettable backpacking experience. So pack your bags, lace up your boots, and get ready to explore the hidden treasures of this extraordinary country.

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