Get in Iran

 

By Plane

All international flights to Tehran land at the new Imam Khomeini International Airport based 37 km southwest of Tehran. Pilgrimage flights to Saudi Arabia still fly from Mehrabad airport. There are 70 smaller regional airports, for example those in Shiraz, Mashhad, and Isfahan, and these have daily flights to many international destinations.

mahan air.steptoiran.comDubai has scheduled flights to many Iranian cities, including Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan, Kerman, Lar, Mashhad, Tabriz, Kish Island, Bandar Abbas, Bushher, Zahedan, Kermanshah, Chah Bahar and is therefore worth considering travelling to Iran from. Flights are operated by Iran Air, Emirates (for Tehran), Iran Aseman Airlines, Mahan Air and other Iranian companies. Fares are relatively cheap on Iranian carriers, ranging from US$100-250 for a return trip depending on your destination and time of booking. IranAir and MahanAir connect Tehran with some of the major European cities as well as destinations in Asia and Middle East. European companies landing in Tehran include BMI, Lufthansa, KLM, Alitalia, Turkish Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Aeroflot and Middle-Eastern airlines: Saudi Arabian Airlines, Emirates, and Etihad. AirAsia also has flights to/from Kuala Lumpur beginning on August 2010 (suspended as of October 2012). So finding a flight to Iran should not be hard.

Connections are also easily available via Manama, Bahrain using Gulf Air (but has stopped recently). Additionally, Qatar airlines offers several flights to Iran and provides non-stop service to Doha from to many US cities.

Low-cost carriers (LCC) also operate flights to Tehran or other cities in Iran.

Pegasus Airlines has flights to Tehran via Istanbul.

Germania Airline has flights to Tehran via Berlin, Dusseldorf and Hamburg and to Mashhad via Hamburg.

Air Arabia has flights to Tehran and Shiraz via Sharjah.

Jazeera Airways has flights to Mashhad via Kuwait.

Air Asia has flights to Tehran via Kuala Lumpur.

Shaheen Air has flights from Mashhad to Lahore in Pakistan.

flytoiran.steptoiran.comNote that if not staying in Tehran and planning to get to any city other than Tehran upon your arrival, you would have to change airports, from Imam Khomeini to Mehrabad, 40km away, to get to your domestic flight. Allow at least 3-4h between the flights. If going to Mashhad, you may be able to avoid the plane change in Iran using Turkish Airlines, Gulf Air, Kuwait Airways, Jazeera Airways, or Qatar Airways. If going to Shiraz, several flights from Persian Gulf States are available. For Tabriz, you can try travelling via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines or via Baku on IranAir. In spite of economic sanctions the majority of Iranian based airlines did not have high level of incidents during recent years. However sanctions resulted in inability to purchase new planes and the fleet of all airlines are old. Among Iranian based airlines Iran Air, Mahan Air and Aseman Airlines have been completely safe with no serious incidents during recent years. Due to safety issues flying with other Iranian based airlines is not recommended. The service and flying skill of Iranian pilots are fairly well known.

Due to sanctions there are no direct flights at present from Canada or the USA, but you could travel via either Europe or Persian Gulf States. Non-stop flights from Dubai via JFK, IAD, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston or Toronto are good bets. Visitors from Australia or New Zealand can consider travelling via Dubai or Abu Dhabi, or can use a combination of Iran Air and Malaysian Airlines to get from any major city in Australia to Tehran, via Kuala Lumpur. Air Asia also has good deals from Australia and New Zealand to Tehran with a stop in Kuala Lumpur.

There are weekly flights from Sulamaniya in Iraqi Kurdistan to Sanandaj and from Arbil to Urmia.

From Damascus in Syria there are charter flights to Tabriz, Tehran, Yazd, Isfahan, Mashhad. There are agencies in Seyyedeh-Zeinab district (a popular place with Iranian pilgrimages) that can sell you empty seats of these charter flights for less than 100$.

Iran is connected to Pakistan via the following air links:

Iran Air connects Tehran to Karachi

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) connects Zahedan to Quetta

Shaheen Air a low cost Pakistani Airline connects Mashhad to Lahore.

 

By Train

Turkey

The Trans-Asia Express service runs weekly from Ankara, includes a ferry over Lake Van, crosses the Iranian border then stops at Tabriz before arriving in Tehran. The journey takes 59h (2 nights travelling), but you should expect up to 10 hours delay. Services leave Ankara Wednesday morning (arriving Friday evening) and Tehran Wednesday evening (arriving Saturday morning). The train includes couchettes and a dining car. This service used to run to and from Istanbul, but now only runs to and from Ankara, due to major engineering works around Istanbul.

The Tabriz-Van service (different from Trans-Asia Express service) is a weekly train between Van and Tabriz.

train to iran.steptoiran.com

Afghanistan

The Mashad-Herat railway which is under construction right now is completed untill the city of Khaf near Afghanistan border. The cheap daily service from Tehran to Khaf near Afghanistan border is about US$5.

Iraq

The Khorramshar-Basra railway will be completed in a few months which will connect Iranian railways to Iraq. There will be specially train routes for Iranians going to pilgrim in Najaf and Karbala. There is another project that will be completed later going through Kermanshah to Khanaqin in Iraq.

Pakistan

The Quetta-Zahedan line connects Pakistan and Iran by rail. A train leaves every 1st and 15th of each month from Quetta and the journey takes 11 hr and costs about €8. In opposite direction the train leaves every 3rd and 17th of each month from Zahedan.

In June 2009 a Bam-Zahedan freight line was completed, which connected Zahedan to rest of Iranian railway network. However there is no passenger train between Bam and Zahedan at present, so you have to take a bus or taxi.

Azerbaijan

The Nakhchivan-Tabriz service connects Nakhchivan_(city) with Tabriz and crosses from the Jolfa border. The route used to be a part of Tehran-Moscow railway line which is closed right now due to Azerbaijan-Armenia conflicts.

There is a railway from Baku to the border city of Astara. From there you can walk through the border to Iran. The railway is going to be joined to Tehran via Rasht and Zanjan.

Turkmenistan

There is a daily service between Mashad and Sarakhs border every day. The train does not go further because of the gauge changes. At the other side of the border there is train to Merv and Ashgabat.

Another railway from Gorgan is currently built up to the Inche Borun border which will continue to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

By Car

This requires a Carnet De Passage unless you wish to pay import tax. A Carnet can be acquired from your local drivers association (such as the RAC in the UK). An international driver’s license is highly recommended with translation into Persian very beneficial.

Some borders (Turkey notably) offer entry with an alternative “transit carnet”, available for 150-euro. This lasts 3 days. A 60-euro fine is levied at the exit border if you overstay these 3 days.

By Bus

Armenia

From Armenia there are daily, modern buses from Yerevan to Tabriz and even further to Teheran. Alternatively you can take a marshrutka from the Kayakan bus terminal in Yerevan to Meghri or all the way to Agarak, which is the border town to Iran. In both directions the Marshrutka leaves quite early in the morning. Kapan and Karajan are more frequently served by marschrutkas but it is a long and mountainous (and therefore expensive) stretch to the border from there. From Meghri it is around 8 km to the border and hitching or a taxi is the only option. On the Iranian side the closest puplic transport can be found around 50km to the west in Jolfa, so a taxi for IRR80,000 (about USD3) is again the only commercial choice. Expect to be asked a lot for all taxi rides, so hard bargaining is essential. Making clear, or at least pretending that you have other choices may assist you to get fairer prices. Locals confirmed, that the taxi ride to Jolfa is 80000 Rial. Sometimes it’s easier to bargain if the taxi drivers know that you know the price.

The border is not busy at all, so when hitching you have to mainly stick with the truck drivers and Russian or Persian helps a lot here. Consider for yourself whether this is a safe option.

Turkey

You can find Seir-o-Safar agencies in Istanbul, Antalya and Ankara to buy cheap bus tickets for Tehran. A one-way ticket between Istanbul or Ankara and Tehran costs USD35.00.

Dogubeyazit/Bazergan This Turkey/Iran border crossing is easily (and fast) done by public transport. Take a bus to Dogubeyazit and a frequent minibus (c. TRY5, 15min) to the border. Cross the border stretch on foot, take the customs taxi (give the driver some IRR1,000 baksheesh) to the next village and take a taxi (USD3-4) to the bus terminal in Bazergan. There could also be buses to Bazergan, but the taxi drivers approaching you at the border are not the right people to ask for that. From there you can easily get buses to major destinations in Iran. Check the security situation in the region, due to the unsolved PKK conflict. Make sure you get a clear idea about exchange rates if you want to change Turkish lira or Iranian rials as the official bank at the border does not exchange these currencies and you have to deal with the plentiful black market.

There are also buses from Van to Urmia crossing from Esendere-Sero border. The buses cost €13 and it takes more than 6h to finish the 300km path. That’s because of poor roads in the Turkish side and also too many check stops at the Turkish side (more than 5) because of security reasons concerning the P.K.K.

You can also take mini buses to the town Yüksekova near the border and ask for taxis to bring you to the border. Cross the border check point on your own since the taxis won’t cross into Iran.

Pakistan

You can also (depending on the political situation) enter from Pakistan via the border crossing between Taftan (on the Pakistani side) and Zahedan (on the Iranian side) as long as you have a valid visa for Iran. You can NOT get a visa at the border. Overnight buses leave from Quetta arriving in Taftan in the early morning, from there you can either hire a taxi to the border or walk a couple of kilometres. Once across the border (which can take some time on the Iranian side, you need to organise transport to Zahedan (the local town) where buses depart for destinations in Eastern Iran such as Bam, Kerman and Yazd. See the Istanbul to New Delhi over land 3.9 Iran-Pakistan border, for more details on the crossing.

This option is particularly dangerous as Pakistani Balochistan is rife with sectarian violence perpetrated by Taliban and Al-Qaida linked militants against the Shia minority as well as a nationalist insurgency demanding independence for Balochistan. Buses coming to and from the Iranian border have been stopped on the outskirts of Quetta and all the Shias have been shot dead. Pakistani travellers returning from Iran have also been shot dead while waiting for connecting buses at bus stations in Turbat.

The train from Zahedan to Quetta is arguably a better option but presents problems of its own. There is also a flight from Zahedan to Quetta via PIA. In either case one must attempt to leave Quetta as soon as possible as there are gangs of sectarian target-killers belonging to Lashkar Jhangvi roaming the streets and assassinating Shias. They have also been known to kidnap westerners for ransom. Videotaped executions of kidnapped westerners have also been made and subsequently been posted onto the internet.

Iraq

There are daily buses from Arbil to Urmia, also there are daily buses from Sanandaj and Kermanshah to Sulaymaniyah. From Tehran, there are also buses to Sulaymaniyah and Arbil.

Afghanistan

There are daily buses between Herat and Mashad. The buses go through Dogharoun Border. The road has been built by Iran and is reported safe.

Turkmenistan

A bus service also runs between Ashgabat and Mashhad.



Kerman Daily Tour
David From  France
I asked for a tailor made travel in order to visit the south part of Iran, Kerman, Kalut desert and fortress of Bam. All the services were according my requests, the guide by car took me where I wanted, that was perfect. l definitely recommend step to Iran for a good travel experience without worries in this amazing country.


Ancient Persia Pakage
Anna From  Italy
We had such a wonderful time in discovering the beauty of Persia. Everything was arranged by step to Iran, visa procedure, accommodation, domestic flights. Many thanks to Ali, reliable and capable guide whose precious explanations we appreciated a lot.


Gem of Persia
Edwin & Diana From  The Netherlands
We had a wonderful holiday in Iran en that was also because of our tour guide Shahram Rafie of Step To Iran. He has a lot of knowledge about the history of Iran and it’s cultural heritage and tells enthusiastically about it. Although we had beforehand an itenary, he organized spontaneous things in between: climbing into ancient desert cities, visiting a carpet shop with explanation by the carpet seller, doing a jeep safari, etc. This was of course always in consultation with us. We also had enough time to do things on our own. Furthermore he arranges everything, like a roomchange or a place in a full (!) restaurant; and knows the best restaurants in every town. Last but not least he is a nice guy, which is important when you travel together for a couple of weeks. So we love to visit Iran again, with Step To Iran.


subscribe

TEL : +989396250511
EMail : info@steptoiran.com
Shiraz-Iran