Backpacking in Iran on a Gap Year

Countries  »  Iran

Whether you’re interested in buzzing, welcoming towns and cities, jaw-dropping landscapes varying between mountains and desert, or the historical sites of ancient civilisations echoing through the centuries, backpacking in Iran will offer something to keep you captivated.

While there are still areas of Iran unsafe for visitors, the majority of the country is a treasure trove for willing visitors. You might visit the countless colourful, impossibly intricate mosques found up and down the country, be welcomed into the homes of local families to take tea, wonder the bustling bazaars or gawp at the incredible architecture of towns and cities steeped in history, or spend time in capital city to Tehran to see how the country is looking forward.

We recommend reading government advice before backpacking in Iran to ensure that you stay safe and have an amazing time.

Top Things to Do in Iran

Naqsh-e Jahan Square

One of the largest squares in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Naqsh-e Jahan can be found at the centre of Isfahan city in central Iran. A sprawling square containing fountains and gardens is hemmed in by relentlessly beautiful architecture, including mosques and the Ali Qapu Palace. Built between 1598-1629, the square has hardly changed in centuries.

Persepolis

The former capital of the Achaemid empire offers some of the most spectacular historical ruins anywhere in the world, representing another of Iran’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can take a guided tour of the site to learn more about its long history, or simply explore at your own pace.

Tehran’s Grand Bazaar

Capital city Tehran can sometimes feel a little too relentlessly concrete, but scratch the surface and you’ll find plenty of personality and tradition. The Grand Bazaar, found at Arg Square in the south of the city, offers seemingly endless corridors of market stalls and shops, selling everything from clothes to tech, from food to rugs. Get ready to exercise your bartering skills.