42 Most Beautiful Places In Iran + 1 to 3-Week Itinerary – The Globetrotting Detective

The Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, also known as the Pink Mosque, in Shiraz is one of the most beautiful places in Iran.

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DAY 17 – 20: SHIRAZ – THE CITY WITH THE MOST FAMOUS IRANIAN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

From Hormozgan Province, we are traveling to the Province of Fars, to Shiraz which is the most beautiful city in Iran and one of the most beautiful cities in the Middle East.

I recommend at least 48 hours in Shiraz and an extra day for a day trip to Persepolis. The region just like everywhere, it’s full of historic places and there is a lot to learn. So, take it slow.

Get ready, Shiraz is the living definition of what beauty is. Shiraz is one of the best places to experience the beauty of Iran.

The major highlights of Shiraz are pinned on this map: Map of Shiraz highlights

33. NASIR OL MOLK MOSQUE, SHIRAZ

The Nasir Ol Mosque is one of the beautiful traditional mosques in the world and the most popular tourist attraction in Iran.

This stunning mosque, which is also one of the seven wonders of Iran, was built by the Qajar Dynasty in the second half of the 19th century similar to tons of other architectural masterpieces in Iran. It’s also called the Pink Mosque of Shiraz, Rainbow Mosque, Kaleidoscope Mosque, or the Mosque of colors. Soon, you’ll understand why.

The mosque is very well-known for its usage of a high number of pink-colored tiles for both the interior design of the mosque itself and the tilework of its courtyard.

The mosque inside has multicolored stain-glass windows and several traditional elements such as the five concaves which create a spectacular effect of the interior as if you are standing in a kaleidoscope.

When the sunlight hits the stained glass, the entire hall of the mosque is flooded by a sparkling rainbow of colors. This is exactly what makes it one of the most beautiful places in Iran.

The most magical time to experience this colorful mosque is when the sun rises. As the sun rises, the mosque comes to life and the colors start to dance as if hundreds of colorful butterflies would be flying around in the mosque.

At this time, the Persian carpets in the mosque are also illuminated as the sun reflects the stained glass patterns on them. Make sure you get there before the doors open for visitors so that you can be among the first ones to experience this magic.

The Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, also known as the Pink Mosque, in Shiraz is one of the most beautiful places in Iran.

Early morning inside in the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran

The walls of Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Beautifully ornamented muqarnas of Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran

Beautifully dressed in the beautiful Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz

A plethora of colored tiles blanketing the walls of the Pink Mosque of Shiraz. #iran #irantravel #travel

Matching my headscarf to the tileworks of Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz

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Opening times: 07:30 – 19:00
Entrance fee: 200,000 IRR (~1.20 € / ~ 1.30 USD)
How to get there: It’s a walking distance from the Shah Cheragh Mosque, Vakil Bazar, Naranjestan Garden and Qavam House.

34. NARANJESTAN GARDEN & QAVAM HOUSE

The Naranjestan Garden and Qavam House were built in the Qajar Era (19th century)and together make up a gorgeous mansion.

The Naranjestan Garden is a lovely Persian garden with gorgeous pathways, streams, fountains and ponds surrounded by beautiful flowers and trees such as date palms and sour orange trees.

The name Naranjestan was given to this gorgeous place because it’s full of orange trees.

When you enter the garden, the picturesque Narenjasten Monument, also called the Qavam House, will immediately catch your eyes. The monument’s walls both inside and outside are embellished with magnificent Persian paintings, stucco, tile work, mirror work, mosaics, stone and wood carvings.

This traditional and historic building is also known as Qavam House because it was built and resided by the Qavam family.

Inside the Qavam House in the Naranjestan Garden in Shiraz, Iran

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Opening times: 8:00 – 12:00 & 14:00 – 17:00
Entrance fee: 200,000 IRR (~1.20 € / ~ 1.30 USD)
How to get there: It’s a 5-minute walk from the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque.

35. SHAH CHERAGH SHRINE, SHIRAZ

The Shah Cheragh Mosque is, in my opinion, the most beautiful and majestic mosque in Iran. In fact, it’s not only a mosque or mausoleum, but it’s a big complex housing a huge courtyard, a mosque and tombs of important Muslim figures.

Shah-e Cheragh means King of the Lights in Persian. Why did they call the mosque the King of Lights? There are in fact a lot of stories and narratives about the namesake. According to one of the stories, an ayatollah in Shiraz discovered an illuminated grave which turned out to be an important historical figure’s tomb.

To pay respect to him,  he made a monument built around its tomb. Later, in the 14th century, they also built a beautiful mosque there. Thus, the location became a popular pilgrimage destination for Shia Muslims.

Inside Shah Cheragh, the glass hall and the female sections are the most dazzling. Their glamorously shining walls and ceilings covered with astonishing mirrorworks are overwhelmingly impressive.

The beautiful facade of Shah Cheragh in Shiraz, Iran

The beautiful facade from the other side

A close look at the muqarnas of the facade of Shah Cheragh

The main entrance of the Shah Cheragh Mosque from the courtyard

Exquisite tilework on the wall of the Shah Cheragh Mosque featuring Arabic calligraphy

In the shrine, the female visitors must cover the body and head with a chador. If you can get a chador with arms. The regular ones are not so comfortable.

Normally, you cannot hang out on your own there as a non-Muslim visitor and you are supposed to join a group.

For the second time, when I visited the place, it was not so crowded and it was ok to walk around on my own.

There are guides in the mosque whose job is to explain about the mosque. It’s free. In the female section of the mosque inside there are also guards who told me to let them know if I had any questions.

This is how it is to wear the chador over headscarf

Photography in headscarf and chador in the Shah Cheragh Mosque, Shiraz

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Opening hours: 9:00 – 22:00
Admission fee: free of charge
How to get there: It’s a 20-minute walk from the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque.

37. VAKIL MOSQUE

You can find the Vakil Mosque right next to the western entrance of the historical Vakil Bazaar which has beautiful courtyards, old shops, and bathhouses.

The Vakil Mosque, one of the seven wonders of Iran,  was built by the Zand dynasty in the 18th century and it was later restored y the Qajar dynasty in the 19th century. What makes this mosque unique is its 48 pillars carved in spirals and the acanthus leaves that decorate the pillars.

Woman in veil passing through the praying hall (Shabestan) of Vakil Mosque in Shiraz

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Opening hours: 8:00 – 20:00
Entrance fee: 200,000 rials (~ 1.20 € / ~ 1.30 USD)
How to get there: It’s a 20-minute walk from the Shah Cheragh Shrine.

38. SAYYED ALAEDDIN HOSSEIN SHRINE, SHIRAZ

The shrine of Sayyed Alaeddin Hossein built during the Safavid era (1501 – 1736) might look like an ordinary Iranian mosque from the outside but its incredibly spectacular interior will definitely blow your mind.

Inside the mosque, the arches, walls and bulbous dome covered with mosaics of mirror and colorful glass are sparkling and shimmering in different shades and hues of blue, yellow, green and white colors which create a unique combination of light and aesthetic.

Similar to other shrines in Iran, ladies will have to wear the chador.

Intricate and colorful tilework of the mirrored mausoleum of Sayyed Alaeddin Hossein in Shiraz, Iran

38.ERAM GARDEN

Eram Garden is one of the most famous and beautiful Persian gardens in Iran and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The first layout of this Persian paradise garden was most probably made in the 11th century by the Seljuk dynasty. The garden since then has been renovated and modified by different dynasties such as the Zand, Safavid and Qajar dynasties.

Eram means heaven in Persian language. Yes, indeed, the place indeed a little piece of heaven. That is also why it’s officially one of the seven wonders of Iran.

In the Eram Garden, you will find a gorgeous pond in the center of the garden, a stunning palace and loads of beautiful flowers and trees surrounding the pond and the palace.

There are super tall majestic cedar trees in the garden, as well as orange, pine, cypress and persimmon trees. The flowers in the garden, such as Jasmine, peach flowers, Japanese blossoms or peacock flowers and the different species of roses are even more fascinating.

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Admission fee: Free of charge
How to get there: It’s a 10-minute walk from the Shah Cheragh Shrine.

Entering the charming Eram Garden in Shiraz

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Opening hours: Tuesday – Sundays: 8:00 – 20:30 / Mondays: 9:00 – 20:30
Entrance fee: 200,000 rials (~ 1.20 € / ~ 1.30 USD)
How to get there: It’s about 8 – 10 minutes by taxi. You can also take the metro to the Namazi Station.

40. TOMB OF HAFEZ

Visiting the Tomb of Hafez is one of the top things to do in Shiraz.

Inside the gorgeous Persian garden of Mossalla located in the northern part of Shiraz, lies a beautiful open pavilion and in the center of it a memorial structure honoring the most famous and celebrated Persian poet and writer, Hafez (1315 – 1390).

The mausoleum dedicated to Hafez has 8 pillars that symbolize the century when he lived and created his masterpieces. The 8 pillars are crowned by a majestic dome. When you are under the dome, look up and you can admire the dome’s colorful and detailed mosaic tiles.

Iranians adore and love the poetry and writings of Hafez a lot. They consider him the prophet of love and the embodiment of beauty.

During important celebrations and feasts of Persian culture, such as Nowrouz and Yalda night, families gather and read poems from Hafiz.

Thr Tomb of Hafez (Aramgah-e Hafez) in Shiraz, Iran

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Opening hours: Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays: 8:30 – 10:00 / Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays: 8:30 – 23:30
Entrance fee: 500,000 rials (~ 2.90 € / 3.10 USD)
How to get there: It’s 8 – 10 minutes by car from the Vakil Mosque.

WHERE TO EAT IN SHIRAZ

اقامتگاه و کافه رستوران سلطنت بانو: I don’t know the name of the place, but it’s written like this in Persian. It’s the closest restaurant to the Pink Mosque. It has an awesome ambiance and they serve super tasty traditional Persian dishes.

Here, I had Estamboli Polow, Persian Tomato Rice. The main ingredients are rice, beef, tomato paste, and potatoes. It was served with Mast Khiar(yogurt and cucumber dip) and some veggie sauces.

The Estamboli Polow has also another popular version called  Loobia Polow. This one is made with green beans instead of potatoes.

Somewhere in Shiraz when I was with my friends from the road, we tried these meals. All of them are traditional meals and super tasty. Wherever you eat in Shiraz, you can surely opt for these super delicious meals.

Zereshk Polo ba Morgh: It’s Saffron Rice with Chicken.

Tahchin: The square thing is crispy rice made with saffron, yogurt, and eggs.

Mahiche Polo: It’s lamb shank. You can also order Baghala Polo ba Mahiche which is lamb shank with rice and broad beans.

We got pickles, fresh salad, and Iranian yogurt as side dishes.

A mixture of Persian dishes – Iran Travel Tips

41. PERSEPOLIS

Taking a day trip from Shiraz to Persepolis is one of the top things to do in Iran.

Persepolis is undoubtedly the most famous historic site in Iran. It was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire in around 550 – 330 BC. Due to its historical significance, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven wonders of Iran.

Persepolis is believed to have been built during the rule of Darius the Great in about 530 BC. The construction was continued for another 120 years during the rule of other Achaemenid kings. However, it has never been completed, and it was eventually invaded and destroyed by Alexander the Great, the king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon, in 330 BC.

Today, in Persepolis, you will find the ruins of several ancients palaces: the Persepolis Palace, the Glory of Persia, the Apadana Palace, and Hadish Palace. It takes around two hours to walk around Persepolis.

If you have time, you can also visit the most magnificent necropolis, of ancient Persia, Naqsh-e Rustam, “The City of Dead”. It’s only a short distance (12 km / 7.5 mi) from the glorious Persepolis and you will need around one hour to look around there. This stunning ancient site is home to four huge tombs carved into a huge rock face.

Ancient Persepolis is one of the most beautiful places in Iran.

Sculptures of griffins in ancient Persepolis

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Entrance fees: 500,000 rials (~ 2.90 € / 3.10 USD)
How to get there: Persepolis is situated about 60 km (37 mi) from Shiraz. Getting there independently is possible but it takes too much time and hassle. You can take a taxi as well. But, I would personally recommend visiting Persepolis with a tour agency. Driving there by taxi or a tour operator takes 1 hour.

42. MAHARLOO LAKE, SHIRAZ

Maharloo Lake is one of the most beautiful natural wonders of Iran. It’s an incredibly stunning seasonal salt lake.

You might be wondering … Why is Maharloo Lake Pink? The lake is rich in different kinds of salts. By mid-summer due to high evaporation rates and salt concentrations, the algae in the lake proliferate and that makes the lake water turns pinkish-red. This phenomenon is called red tide.

If you want to see the lake so pink as in the picture below, you have to travel there in the dry season, between July and September. As for the rest of the year, Maharloo Lake is less pink.

Maharloo Lake in Shiraz is one of the most beautiful places in Iran.

The Maharloo Lake of Iran in August

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How to get there: You can get there by taxi. It should cost around 2 million rials (~ 12 € /~ 13 USD).

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TOURS FROM SHIRAZ

Persepolis Tour

1stQuest offers a tour to Persepolis including not only Persepolis but Rustam Naqsh-e Rajab and Pasargadae. So, you’ll definitely get a lot of bang for your buck.

Check it out, here.

Live with Nomads

If you haven’t yet ventured off the beaten tracks in Iran or you haven’t stayed with the nomad in the Zagros Mountains, it’s high time to do so. Spending time with nomads in Iran is a unique opportunity for you to see what’s like to live without electricity, and you can cook and eat traditional food in a natural setting.

Book a tour, here.

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HOW TO GET TO SHIRAZ

From Hormuz Island to Shiraz
1.) Ferry from Hormuz to Bandar Abbas (Shahid Haqani Passenger Port)

Departure times: 7:00, 10:00, 13:30, 15:30, 19:00
Distance: ~ 30 km (~ 19 miles)
Single Ticket Price: 150,000 rials (~ 0.90 € / ~ 1 USD)

or From Qeshm Island to Bandar Abbas

Departure times: Between 6:00 – 22:00, every 30 minutes from the Shahis Zakeri Port on Qeshm Island
Distance: ~ 30 km (~ 19 miles)
Single ticket price: 200,000 rials (~ 1.20 € /~ 1.30 USD)
The tickets for the ferries are to be purchased on the spot.

2.) Bus or flight from Bandar Abbas to Shiraz

Distance: 590 km (366 miles)

Bus prices:
Normal bus at the station: 350,000 to 400,000 IRR (~ 2.30 € /~ 2.90 USD)
VIP bus at the station: 650,000 IRR (~ 4.30 € / ~ 5.20 USD)
VIP bus from 1stQuest: 6.50 €/ ~ 7.90 USD)

Flights to Shiraz:
As for the bus or flights, you can make a reservation here. The tickets are really cheap for Shiraz.

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PRICES IN SHIRAZ

Prices indicated in my blog about Tehran give you a rough estimation of prices in general in Iran.
I’ve collected the prices of a few things also in Shiraz. The prices are from 2019 December.

Streetfood
corn: 100,000 IRR  (~ 0.60 € / ~ 0.70 USD)
chickpeas: 50,000 IRR (~ 0.30 € / USD)
mini pizza: 50,000 IRR (~ 0.30 € / USD)

Market Prices

date juice: 60,000 IRR (~ 0.40 € / ~ 0.50 USD)
100 g walnuts: 200,000 IRR (~ 1.20 € / ~ 1.30 USD)
5 lemons: 30,000 IRR (~ 0.20 € / USD)
3 pomegranates: 50,000 IRR (~ 0.30 € / USD)
300 g honey: 300,000 IRR (~ 1.70 € / ~ 1.80 USD)

Author: Arthur Campbell