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Cycle Iran


Cycle Iran

Start: Tehran
End: Tehran

Unlock the secrets of Iran on an epic two-wheeled adventure

Duration16 days
Start / EndTehran / Tehran
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel


Cycle Iran

16 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Tehran
End: Tehran


Embark on a cycling adventure across the hidden world of Iran. Brimming with mystery and intrigue, this is a country of refined Islamic cities, colourful bazaars, ancient Persian ruins, fascinating nomads and shimmering deserts. Visit the lively bazaars of Tehran, the immaculate gardens in Kashan, the deep red mudbrick town of Abyaneh, the incredible bridges and mosques of Esfahan, the great ru...

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Day 1Tehran
Salaam! Welcome to Iran. Frequently misunderstood, Iran is a country of amazing diversity in both scenery and people, something you will discover cycling through this fascinating country over the next 16 days. Your adventure begins in the bustling capital city Tehran. You will be met on arrival at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport and transferred to your hotel. Take some time to relax before the Welcome Meeting at 6pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception staff where it will take place. We'll be checking your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have this with you. After the meeting, venture out into the chaotic streets of Tehran with your leader. Expect to see women wearing full-length chador competing for space with young and hip girls in figure-hugging manteau and headscarves. Also expect to be stopped by friendly locals who love nothing more than to chat with you about anything and everything. Get to know your fellow cyclists over an included dinner at a traditional teahouse, where you will have the chance to feast on a delicious local meal of Dizi (a traditional broth based stew). Cycling distance: None
Day 2Qom
Fill up on a traditional Iranian breakfast of boiled eggs, bread and vegetables before taking the subway to the Tajrish area of Tehran. After a short orientation walk guided by your leader there will be some free time to explore the bazaar, visit the Imamzadeh Saleh Mosque, or relax with a glass of doogh (a minty yogurt drink). Depart for the traditional city of Qom after lunch. The only way from Tehran to Qom is by freeway, so we’ll travel this section by vehicle (approx. 2 hrs) and arrive late in the afternoon. After checking into our hotel, you’ll be fitted to your bike to make sure you're ready for tomorrow's ride. Later, head out for an included dinner and orientation walk of this fascinating city. Qom is the second most religious and conservative city in the country. Hazrat-e Masumeh Shrine (the holy shrine of Fatima Masouma) is a must-see and, if you wish to enter, your leader can arrange a local guide to escort you. Your leader will also discuss appropriate dress while in Qom. Women will need to wear a chador, however it is possible to collect one at the gates. Cycling distance: None
Day 3Kashan
Get ready for your first day on the bike! Straight after breakfast, jump in the support vehicle and transfer out of Qom. Today’s ride will take you away from the highway and into the barren mountainous countryside of the Markazi Province. Along the way you will pass through a number of tiny villages, giving you a glimpse into local life. While the overall ride is only 32km, it will be a challenging day in the saddle thanks to the rocky terrain. From Kermjgan, pedal uphill on a gravel road for 12kms as we cycle up to 2850 metres above sea level. Be rewarded with incredible views of this remote region on the 20km downhill stretch to the small town of Bijegan. From here we re-join the highway and drive on to Kashan, where the aim is to arrive before 5pm. Kashan is a beautiful oasis city with a very long history – human settlement in the area dates back to the 4th millennium BC. It’s also a merchant town known for its high quality ceramics, silks, carpets, and some of the finest traditional houses in Iran. Enjoy a free evening in this city. Cycling distance: Approx. 32km/20miles, with around 70% done on gravel roads. First 12km uphill (approx. 785m/2575ft elevation gain) followed by 20kms downhill (-885m/-2900ft).
Day 4Kashan
This morning, take the support vehicle to the oasis that is Fin Gardens. It's perfectly symmetrical design, elaborate water features and intricate details make it one of the most beautiful gardens in the Middle East, and it has recently been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. On a guided tour you will uncover the fascinating history of this 16th century paradise. In the afternoon, enjoy some free time to explore Kashan at your leisure. There are many optional activities on offer. Maybe wander through the historic houses area (Ehsan, Abbasian, Tabatabaei, Borujerdi), visit the Aqa Bozorg Mosque, check out Kashan Bazaar or stop in at the Hammam-e Sultan Mir Ahmad (ancient bath house). Meet your leader this evening for an included dinner. Cycling distance: None
Day 5Abyaneh
Drive out of Kashan and off the main highway to a small town where we will begin today’s ride. The 20km ride will be another climb, starting at approximately 1400m and finishing at around 2200m. Along the way we will pass through tiny villages where there may be the opportunity to interact with some of the local villagers. Transfer the remaining distance in the support vehicle and arrive into Abyaneh. The historic town is well known for its rich red, mud brick walls giving the town an incredible warmth. Retire to your hotel this evening after an included dinner. Cycling distance: Approx. 20km/12 miles, mostly uphill with 770m/2530ft of elevation gain.
Day 6Esfahan
Leaving evocative Abyaneh behind you cycle downhill from Abyaneh all the way to Natanz (approx. 28km/17 miles). Depending on time, there may be the option to ride further. Continue the journey to Esfahan by vehicle. The plan today is to arrive by 5 pm, after which you can explore this beautiful city at your leisure. Cycling distance: Approx. 28km/17 miles, mostly downhill, with 647m/2120ft of elevation gain.
Day 7Esfahan
Enjoy a free day to explore the beautiful city of Esfahan today. Perhaps join your leader for a short orientation walk to the main square and then take a wander at your own pace. Be sure to visit the Shah Mosque, regarded as one of the great masterpieces of Iranian architecture, and walk around Naqsh-e Jahan (Image of the World) Square, a great spot to people-watch. Between palaces, mosques, museums and the bazaar you’re spoilt for ways to fill your day in Esfahan, so just ask your leader if you need any recommendations. Meet the group back at the hotel in the evening before heading out for dinner. Along the way there will be the chance to check out the Khaju Bridge which, with over 23 arches and length of 130 metres, is one of the finest such structures in Iran, dating back to Persian times. Further up the river is the stunning Si-o-seh pol (Farsi for the number 33) bridge, a 300m long bridge with 33 arches that has stood since 1599. Evening is the best time to view these architectural works of art as they are beautifully illuminated. Cycling distance: None
Day 8Izad Khast
Transit out of Esfahan to Shahreza (approx. 1hr) and fuel up for your ride with a morning coffee. From here, jump on your bike and cycle approximately 58km/36 miles to the small town of Izad Khast. The ride is along the highway, however there is a nice big shoulder to cycle on and the traffic is light. Izad Khast is a beautiful town and, thanks to its remote location, visitors are rare. Explore the ancient ruins of Izad Khast castle before dinner, where you’ll enjoy a fresh kebab at a traditional local house. Cycling distance: Approx. 58km/36 miles, with 420m/1400ft of elevation gain.
Day 9Pasargad
Bid farewell to Izad Khast and take the support vehicle for the highway portion of today’s journey to Pasargad. Stretch your legs by cycling the final 44km along quiet back roads before reaching Pasargadae, a UNESCO World Heritage site and once the capital of the sprawling Achaemenid Empire. Take some time to walk around these fascinating ruins and check out the well-preserved tomb of Cyrus the Great. This evening we will stay in a modest local home in Pasargad. Cycling distance: approx. 44km/27 miles, with 330m/1085ft of elevation gain.
Day 10Persepolis
From Pasargad, we’ll cycle the entire way from our local home to the hotel in Persepolis, via Naqsh-e Rajab, an ancient archaeological site. It’s a reasonable cycle day today by the foot of the mountains so we’ll take the evening to enjoy a well earned rest, saving the big Iranian attractions for the following day. Cycling distance: Approx. 80km/50 miles, with 350m/1150ft of elevation gain.
Day 11Shiraz
Cycle the short distance from the hotel to the ancient ruins of Persepolis, the former centre of the Persian Empire and Iran’s premier attraction. Persepolis was constructed in the reign of Darius I and took an astonishing 150 years to complete. Meet your local guide and take a tour of this fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site, learning about the rich history of the city. After a few hours here, continue your journey by cycling to Shiraz. It’s not an easy ride, but there is a nice 18-kilometre downhill section at the end to look forward to. It is also the last day of cycling on this trip, so don’t hold back! Along the way stop off at Naqsh-e Rustam, an ancient necropolis cut into a cliff face which dates back to 500 BC. In the evening, take a guided tour of Shahcheragh – a beautiful mausoleum for one of Imam Reza's brothers. Enjoy dinner with the group then stop by Karim Khan Citadel on the way back to the hotel. The complex is closed in the evening, however the glow of the lights make for a spectacular photograph. Cycling distance: 29km/18 miles, mostly flat with approx. 90m/290ft of elevation gain.
Day 12Shiraz
Shiraz is considered the Pearl of Persia and its very name evokes images of ancient times: tranquil gardens, lavish mansions, colourful woollen rugs, art, philosophy, poetry and of course, the famous Shiraz red wine (although it's no longer found here). Shiraz is also a renowned centre of learning and boasts many of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country. Today is a free day, but you might like to join your leader on a walk to the Nasir-ol-Molk Mosque (also known as the 'Pink Mosque' thanks to its beautifully stained glass windows and light) to get your bearings. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. You might like to visit Hafez Tomb, Shiraz Bazaar or head back to the Shahcheragh Holy Shrine to take a peak inside. Cycling distance: None
Day 13Yazd
After breakfast, settle in for the long 440km/273 mile drive to Yazd. Along the way, stop for lunch and visit the Cypress of Abarkuh, an ancient cedar tree believed to be approximately 4500–5000 years old (and even featured in the writings of Marco Polo). You'll arrive at our traditional hotel in Yazd in the late afternoon and have the rest of the evening to relax and explore the local area. This ancient desert city was once a major stop on the caravan route to Central Asia during the Silk Road period. Yazd is also the heart of the Zoroastrian religion. Cycling distance: None
Day 14Yazd
Take a guided walking tour through Yazd's Old Town with your Leader this morning. Wander the narrow, cobblestone streets and mud-brick walls and learn about Yazd’s rich history. The afternoon is free for you to explore - a good option is to visit the Jameh Mosque of Yazd, or perhaps the Amir Chakhmaq Complex and take a walk around the buzzing bazaar. Meet up with your group later this evening and head out for an included local meal. Cycling distance: None
Day 15Tehran
Today we make the 7 hour journey back to Tehran in the support vehicle. It is a long day in the van, but a great opportunity to take a rest and reflect after a busy 2 weeks. Join your leader and fellow riders tonight for an included farewell dinner and celebrate your cycling successes. Cycling distance: None
Day 16Tehran
Your adventure comes to an end after breakfast today. Please note that, due to visa restrictions, you are only permitted to extend your stay by 1 night in Iran (all nationalities) and additional accommodation must be booked with Intrepid. Additionally, as travellers from the UK, USA and Canada must be accompanied at all times by a guide it is essential that you pre-arrange any extra sightseeing and a departure transfer. See below for a list of optional activities we recommend and contact your booking agent if you would like to reserve a place.

More info

Trip title

Cycle Iran

Trip code



Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019


Embark on a cycling adventure across the hidden world of Iran. Brimming with mystery and intrigue, this is a country of refined Islamic cities, colourful bazaars, ancient Persian ruins, fascinating nomads and shimmering deserts. Visit the lively bazaars of Tehran, the immaculate gardens in Kashan, the deep red mudbrick town of Abyaneh, the incredible bridges and mosques of Esfahan, the great ruins... Read more




Active Adventures,Cycling


Bicycle,Support vehicle (Minivan van and/or car)

Physical Rating


Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the heat and terrain adding to the physical effort. It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do fo... Read more

Joining point

Golestan Hotel

Joining point description

Golestan Hotel is located in the centre of Tehran, nearby the old market, Golestan Palace, Iranian National Museum and Hassan Abad Metro station. This simple but comfortable 2 star, 21 room hotel is equipped with wifi, a terrace, bar, restaurant and 24 hour front desk. Luggage storage and laundry service can also be arranged. Rooms include en suite facilities and breakfast at the hotel is simple, ... Read more

Joining point instructions

Iman Khomeni International Airport is located 40km south of central Tehran. On arrival you may be asked to fill out a standard customs declaration form, which you show to the customs officer, who stamps it. It’s best that you keep this form until you leave Iran. A complimentary arrival transfer is included in this tour. Please ensure you provide your flight details to your booking agent at least ... Read more

Finish point

Golestan Hotel

Finish point instructions

We highly recommend that you pre-book your departure transfer through Intrepid for safety reasons. Please ask your booking agent if you would like to add this service and provide your flight details at least 14 days prior to the start of your tour. Alternatively, the hotel reception will be able to assist you with arranging a taxi. UK, USA & CANADIAN PASSPORT HOLDERS Please note that if you are ... Read more

Important information

1. This trip involves long periods of time in a vehicle transiting between destinations. 2. Approved bike helmets are hard to source in Iran so it is essential to bring your own from home. 3. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (... Read more

Group leader

This trip has 2 leaders – a group leader and a cycling leader. GROUP LEADER Your group leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places vi... Read more


We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you w... Read more


PASSPORT As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with y... Read more

Why we love it

Discover an Iran beyond the media portrayals of a repressive and dour regime – this is a country full of warm, lively and friendly people

Is this trip right for you

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed). Where the vehicle cannot travel directly with the cyclists (e.g. a cyclists-only path) your leader will assign a person from the group to act as a bac... Read more


All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/o... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

Your group leader or representative will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. Please notify your booking consultant of any dietary requirements at the ti... Read more

Money matters

When it comes to money matters on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities, tipping and laundry. It’s always better to bring a little more than you think you’ll need. Also make sure you’ve read your trip details thoroughly so you kno... Read more

What to take

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to pur... Read more

Climate and seasonal

Due to the sheer size of Iran temperatures can vary greatly depending on where in Iran you are. Days can be very hot between May and October, particularly in the desert and Gulf Coast regions, while the mountains in the north become freezing over winter (Nov to Feb). In April to September (when we ride) temperatures range from the mid teens (high 50's/low 60's F) at night to the mid/high 20's C (... Read more

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more


After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential nega... Read more

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

ACCOMMODATION Accommodation on this trip is on a twin-share basis unless stated otherwise. If you require a double bed please request this with your booking agent. Double beds are subject to availability and can not always be guaranteed. HEATING AND AIR-CONDITIONING: As a desert region, this part of the world has extremes of weather. Winter months (approx December to March) can be very cold. ... Read more

Transport notes

There are some long travel days and some rough travelling in areas away from main tourist routes. Windy roads, rough surfaces and cramped conditions make for some challenging travel experiences. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. If you experience travel sickness we recommend you consider medication to help ease the disco... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weat... Read more


Hotel (13 nights),Local home (2 nights)
€3,665per person
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Seats left: 15
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