- Expert led visits to see spectacular religious architecture and pilgrimage sites.
- Sample Armenia's delicious food, wine and renowned hospitality.
- Cross the border into Iran to visit Persepolis, one of the wonders of the ancient world.
- Experience the colourful romantic city of Shiraz, famous for its poetry, wine and roses.
Armenia and Iran are culturally rich. With intriguing ancient histories, awesome monuments and beautiful landscapes combining them into one trip is irresistible. Not only a fascinating combination for the first-time visitor, this expert led group tour also provides a deeper insight to those returning to the area.
As one of the first countries in the world to formally adopt Christianity, Armenia provides a fascinating contrast to its neighbour Iran, whose Islamic origins are reflected in every aspect of its history and culture. Our new group tour will do much to highlight the differences but also the similarities between the different religions of each country, illustrating how religion has influenced the people, the culture and the architecture of Armenia and Iran. What is immediately obvious is that both countries are very beautiful and the natural hospitality and charm of their people make Armenia and Iran a pleasure to visit.
Most holidays to Armenia start in Yerevan where there is much to see and do. Don’t miss the choreographed singing fountains at night in the main square. Geghard Monastery has occupied its site since the fourth century, and Yerevan's churches, all magnificently carved, date from the 13th century. Journey to Goris, a town that has changed little since it was first planned by a 19th century German architect and an access point for cave dwellings nearby. Visit the largest lake in the Caucasus, Lake Sevan, which is 43 miles long and much admired for its beautiful setting, pure waters and delicious fish. Explore millennia-old monasteries in densely wooded mountain valleys and experience the dark, golden taste and aroma of ‘Ararat’, Armenia’s national brandy.
Armenia - Iran relations
Cordial relations between Armenia and Iran have been sustained for thousands of years, starting with the Median Empire in 700 BC. Up until 1828, Armenia made up part of Iran and so it is little wonder that despite religious and ideological differences there is, to some extent, a shared sense of history and culture. These similarities are of course most notable closer to the border, such as the Armenian monastery of Saint Stephanos located in the Iranian town of Julfa, enroute to Tabriz.
Incorporating the excitement of a border crossing between Armenia and Iran, visit Tabriz with its magnificent Blue Mosque and grand Bazaar, one of the most extensive in Iran. On the way, visit the Troglodyte village of Kandovan, and the town of Kermanshah, not yet a major tourist draw, but with the most incredible backdrop of glowing red-rock mountains and Taq-e Bustan, one of the most peculiar monuments in all of Iran. Included is an excursion to Chogha-Zanbil, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to see the ziggurat built around 1250 B.C. by the Elamite king Untash-Gal. Also, visit Shushar (Susa), one of the oldest cities in the world where the remains of the Achaemenian Palaces are an impressive site.
The tour ends in the beautiful city of Shiraz, a hub of Persian culture synonymous with education, poetry and wine (although don't expect a glass as Iran is of course a dry county!) It was one of the most important cities in the medieval Islamic world and the Iranian capital from AD1747-79.
Although the group tour ends in Shiraz and many will return home, it is here that you can extend your trip in Iran to include a visit to Isfahan, Yazd or Tehran. This can be arranged on a private tour basis. Please discuss the options with our travel consultant.
Why should I join this group tour?
For the expertise of William Taylor as well as the opportunity to travel with like-minded individuals in a beguiling part of the world. William's understanding of Islamic and Christian history through the ages, puts him in a unique position to give insightful interpretation of both countries, pointing out the obvious differences and the subtle similarities.
What is the accommodation like in Armenia and Iran?
Luxury hotels in Armenia are not to the same standard as those of other more developed countries within Europe. The capital city of Yerevan offers a larger selection and therefore a slightly higher standard than accommodation outside of the main city, which is more basic.
Iran hotel options are limited. In the large, main cities the standard is good, however in the smaller towns and villages hotels are basic. We do our best to use the best available in each place.
What is the food like in Armenia and Iran?
There is a huge variety of food in both countries.
Armenian specialities feature a variety of local cheeses, flat lavash bread, sweet lavash made from fruits, khoravats (barbecues), Dolma (stuffed vine leaves), kartofel (raisin and apricot pilaf rice dish) and kyufta (veal meatballs cooked with cognac).
Iranian cuisine includes a wide variety of foods ranging from chelow kabab (rice served with roasted meat: barg, koobideh, joojeh, shishleek, soltani, chenjeh), khoresh (stew that is served with white Iranian rice: ghormeh sabzi, gheimeh, fesenjan, and others), and ash (a thick soup: for example, ash-e anar which fortunately tastes better than it sounds)
What will the weather be like?
Not excessively hot, clear sunny days, but when travelling in the mountainous areas the weather can vary. The best time to travel to Armenia and Iran is generally during the months of May, June and September, as it is neither too hot nor cold.
Do I need to be fit to enjoy this tour?
You do not need to be particularly fit to participate, there are no long walks involved but there will be a certain number of stone steps and uneven surfaces.
Is this group tour suitable for solo travellers?
Our group tours are perfect for solo travellers, as travelling as part of an organised group in faraway places does provide security and peace of mind. We handle all the arrangements for you and there will be a local tour guide on hand throughout to provide advice and help if needed, as well as the expertise of a Tour Lecturer.
If you are willing to share, we will always do our best to match you up with another solo traveller of the same sex so that you do not have to pay for a single room.
If you would prefer the privacy of your own room and would like this guaranteed, then the single room price supplement will apply.
- 8th September 2017
- 7th September 2018
For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.