Islands of the Persian Gulf

11-Day/10 Night Tour of Iran

February 29 – March 10, 2024

Featuring Qeshm, the largest island in the Persian Gulf, and Hormuz, the Red Island

Day 01 (Thu. 29 Feb, 2024): Pre-booking

Pre-booked hotel rooms in Shiraz for immediate check-in.

Day 02 (Fri. March 1): Arrival Shiraz

Early morning arrival in Shiraz, meet and transfer to hotel. After late breakfast, visits in Shiraz to include Eram Garden,  Arg-e-Karim Khan, a fortress building in the now town centre, which was the seat of government of Zand Rulers, and has been extensively restored in recent years; Vakil Mosque, and Narenjestan Garden/Pavilion, also dating from the Qajar period, and the family home of the wealthy Qavam Family of Shiraz; O/N stay at hotel. B-L-D

Shiraz  Homa/Grand Shiraz *****

Day 03 (Sat. March 2): Shiraz-Exc. Firuzabad

Full-day excursion to Firuzabad, built by Sassanian King Ardashir in 220 A.D., as his royal residence. The place known today as Firuzabad was originally called Ardashir-Khurra, meaning the “Glory of Ardashir,” it was a walled city, circular in shape, with four gates at each cardinal point. A square minaret of rubble stone rose to almost one hundred feet in the center of the city, remains of which is all that survives. Nearby stands the enormous palace of Ardashir, built on the plain with a view over a small natural lake. There are also some bas-reliefs in the valley’s opening where Ardashir built his city, depicting Ardashir defeating the Parthian king Artabanus. Firuzabad is also a main center of the Qashqai nomads, so you may have a chance to see the people of this tribe in their village Overnight O/N hotel. B-L-D

Shiraz   Homa/Grand Shiraz *****

Day 04 (Sun. 03 March): Shiraz-Ahwaz

Drive to Ahwaz, and en-route visit Bishapur, the remains of the Sassanian city built by Shapur 1st (241-273 A.D.), the second Sassanian king. The building complex includes a central chamber, a large courtyard which had been covered with impressive mosaics, plus the remains of a temple dedicated to Anahita, the goddess of water and fertility; on either side of a narrow gorge, there are also six Sassanian rock/reliefs at Tang-e-Chogan, commemorating Shapur’s victories over the Romans and other adversaries; O/N hotel. B-L-D

Ahwaz    Pars (Fajr) ****

Day 05 (Mon. 04 March): Ahwaz-Exc. Susa

Full-day excursion to Chogha-Zanbil to visit the ziggurat built about 1250 B.C. by the Elamite king Untash-Gal. Also visit Haft-Tappeh (Elamite Necropolis) and Susa, the site of one of the oldest civilizations in Western Asia, dating back to 5,000 B.C., and the remains of the Achaemenian palaces; also visit Shushtar, a small town perched on limestone cliffs above the Karun River, whose past can be traced through a remarkable series of interconnecting channels, dams, bridges and irrigation works; and the Friday Mosque of Shushtar; return to Ahwaz, O/N. B-L-D

Ahwaz    Pars (Fajr) ****

Day 06 (Tue. 05 March): Ahwaz-Bandar Abbas

Flight to Bandar Abbas, either directly or via Tehran, a general city tour of Bandar Abbas Port, O/N at hotel. B-L-D

Bandar Abbas    Hormoz  *****

Day 07 (Wed. 06 March): Bandar Abbas-Qeshm

Transfer to Qeshm Island by sea bus or boat—full-day visits of Qeshm Island. Qeshm is the most mysterious but also the largest island in the Persian Gulf, over twice the size of Bahrain. Visits to the natural and historical sites of Qeshm include the ancient village of Loft and its 18th-century Naderi Fort, with the interesting Talla (Golden) Wells, the 5600 hectares Mangrove “Harra” Forrest, which completely disappears at high tide, and re-appears at low tide. A boat ride in the forest offers an opportunity to see the indigenous flora and fauna, the Kharbas Caves, the Barkh Mosque, with distinctive south-Iran architecture, the village of Kusheh, the Peydasht dams, with its reservoirs and opening gate going back to the Sassanian period, and remains of the 15th-century Portuguese Fort, etc.; O/N at hotel. B-L-D

Qeshm    Irman Boutique/Eram *****

Day 08 (Thu. March 7): Qeshm-Exc. Hormoz Island

Excursion to the small but extremely beautiful Hormoz Island, with the red color of the clay, striking visitors immediately. The most important Portuguese Fort in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean is located on this island. Return to Qeshm Island and visit colorful bazaars on the Island, O/N at the hotel. B-L-D

Qeshm    Irman Boutique/Eram *****

Day 09 (Fri. March 8): Qeshm-Bandar Abbas

Complete visits of Qeshm Island and transfer to Bandar Abbas Port for an overnight stay. B-L-D

Bandar Abbas    Hormoz  *****

Day 10 (Sat. March 9): Bandar Abbas-Tehran

Morning flight to Tehran, as available, visits in Tehran to include National Museum: the Archaeological, displaying an authenticated collection of pre-historic and ancient artifacts with pottery dating back to 6-7 millennium B.C.; and the Islamic with a unique collection of artifacts, manuscripts, silver and bronze objects and tiles from different post-Islamic periods in Iran, displayed on two floors; O/N. B-L-D

Espinas/Azadi *****

Day 11 (Sun. March 10): Tehran-Departure

Morning transfer to the airport for departure flight.