Iran has turned into one of the world’s top three tourist hubs in recent years, and is a serious rival to countries such as Egypt and Turkey in the Middle East and other countries around the world.
Scenic beauty, historical monuments, Iranian food, handicrafts and Iranians’ hospitality are among the attractions which draw tourists to Iran. What you are going to read below is a compilation of tourists’ accounts of their trips to Iran, as reported in a Farsi report by Sarzamin-e Man (literally My Land) magazine:
Why Travel to Iran?
Angela Corrias, a tourist, travelled to Iran in 2014. She writes for the website chasingtheunexpected.com. Angela mentions 10 reasons for her trip to Iran. According to her, if one is travelling to Iran to buy spices or visit its architecture, he or she may give it a second thought as they could buy spices in India or visit historical monuments in Rome as well. But, as she writes, only in Iran can you experience them all together: A mixture of ancient history, tasty food, colourful spices and mud-brick village houses. She urges travellers to book their plane tickets to Iran as soon as possible and not miss the opportunity to experience the wonderful journey. She describes Iran as a country with the hottest deserts in the world, snowfall-prone mountain slopes, towering skyscrapers in the capital, a wildlife refuge for the Iranian cheetah, pristine shores and mountains which are home to goats.
Iran is Safe to Travel to
According to Corrias, the first reason why tourists visit Iran is that it is a safe country. She writes the pre-requisite to tourism is safety. She believes Iran is one of the best destinations for female tourists travelling alone. She also says there are more educated women in Iran than in Mediterranean and North African countries.
“If you ask why you should travel to Iran the first chance you get, I would say you’d better go to Iran before large crowds of tourists flock to the country. Iran was the destination of many tourists in 2014, and according to tourism officials, the country is turning into one of the most popular tourist spots in the world. In a few years’ time, the country will be brimming with tourists. Another reason for travelling to Iran is its ancient history. Add to it the Iranian architecture and handicrafts. Each city, region or village in Iran has its own handicrafts. When you return home from Iran, you can take with you a load of interesting souvenirs.”
Iran’s Culinary Delights
The Iranian cuisine alone can be a motivation for travellers to visit Iran. Jennifer Clinique, another tourist, came to Iran to get familiar with the Iranian cuisine. Later, she wrote a book about Iranian foods. She began her tour with the city of Yazd and then tried different kinds of food in different Iranian cities. She also got familiar with the ingredients and instructions to cook different kinds of food. She says Iranian foods are not as well-known as Chinese, Indian and Italian ones, but they are extraordinary and extremely delicious foods. What makes the Iranian cuisine unique are tasty herbs and vegetables, aromatic spices such as saffron and cinnamon, and fresh or dried fruit like the pomegranate and dried apricots, according to her.
She recommends tourists try gourmet Iranian food while staying in the country, foods such as kebab, different types of stew, kofta and broth as well as different kinds of dessert, drinks and sweet.
According to Corrias, another key reason behind tourists’ enthusiasm to visit Iran is the hospitality of Iranians. She says local residents and local tour guides welcome you with open arms and take you on a tour of picturesque spots.
A CNN journalist who travelled to Iran says among other factors which draw visitors to Iran is the country’s cuisine, ancient history, architecture and art. According to the journalist, Iran is one of the most ancient countries in the world which has been home to different ethnic groups since 4,000 years ago, and is one of the first countries where urbanism took shape. The journalist says those who haven’t travelled to Iran long to see the Persepolis.
According to CNN, these are the top five tourist attractions in Iran: The historical Bekhradi house in Isfahan, the Soltaniyeh Dome in Zanjan, the Laleh-Kandowan Hotel carved into rock, the Toghrol Tower, and the Naderi café where drinking a cup of coffee can bring back memories of Old Tehran. The café was the rendezvous for Iranian authors and intellectuals for several decades. Of course, the beauties of Iran are not limited to its major cities. Many tourists speak of the scenic beauty and attractions of small towns as well.
Adventurism in the Capital
The CNN correspondent believes even touring the congested streets of Tehran on a motorcycle, or smoking the hubble-bubble, is among the most fantastic experiences that one can have in Iran. The journalist has experienced riding pillion in Tehran and describes it as very exciting as motorcyclists go through narrow alleys very fast, which gives one an adrenaline rush.