Magic Carpet Ride
A Journey along the Trans-Iranian Railway
All aboard the Trans-Iranian Railway! Beginning in Sari, near the shores of the Caspian Sea, travel all the way to Bandar Imam Khomeni on the Persian Gulf. We start our trip in Mashhad, assisting a local family with the saffron harvest and a visit to the spectacular Imam Reza holy shrine. On this train tour of Iran we will visit the towns of Neyshabur and Damghan, with an opportunity to visit the strange calcium terraces of Badab Soort along the way. Taking a break from the train in the capital Tehran we will visit the so-called ‘Den of Espionage’ and the spectacular Golestan Palace before re-joining the train to the small city of Qom and onto the remote towns of Arak, Ahvaz and IMA, where we will visit an ancient Ziggurat. At the end of our rail journey, we will travel to Shiraz to visit the ‘pink mosque’ and Shapouri Pavilion.
This trip stays in unique accommodation such as eco-lodges and guest houses as well as some locally owned and operated traditional hotels. Marvel at the spectacular scenery out your window as it goes by, with the majority of this trip on the tracks, and savour traditional treats and a slower pace with stops at unique restaurants, coffee shops and for local snacks while sightseeing.
- Ride the rails of the Trans-Iranian Railway, traversing the ancient lands of Persia from the edge of the Caspian Sea all the way to the shining shores of the Persian Gulf
- Take a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mashhad to visit the spectacular Imam Reza shrine, one of Islam’s holiest sites outside Saudi Arabia
- Marvel at an ancient Persian Ziggurat near Andimeshk, visit the Zoroastrian cliff village of Pir-e Sabz and wander the streets of the Silk Road town of Neyshabur
- Discover the darker side of Tehran with a look at the anti-US propaganda that litters the city, as well as a visit to the former US Embassy now known as the ‘Den of Espionage’
- Stay in locally run guest houses, eco-lodges and hotels, and spend a night in motion on the train tracks
Trip style: Unique
Max group size: 15
MASHHAD – SHIRAZ
Departure date: 5 November 2023
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Trip code: MRMS *from
Duration: 20 Days
Trip style: Unique
Group size: Minimum 6 / Maximum 15
Trip code: MRMS
Cost: $8325.00 AUD twin share
Single supplement: $1588.00 AUD
- 19-nights in locally owned traditional hotels, eco-lodges, guest houses and on the train
- All train tickets and transport as specified in the itinerary
- Visa invitation letter for Iran
- Meals as specified in itinerary (B = Breakfast / L = Lunch / D = Dinner)
- Services of your Inverted Atlas trip leader and local guides
Trip price does not include
- International and domestic airfares
- Arrival and departure transfers
- Visa for Iran
- Meals not included as per trip itinerary including drinks and mini bar
- Additional accommodation before or after the tour
- Items of a personal nature including but not limited to laundry, souvenirs, porterage etc.
- Travel insurance – please note comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas
Journey Rating – Quest
This trip travels to Iran, a country not used to travellers but whose inhabitants are welcoming and accommodating. However, many places on this trip are remote and may have very little in the way of tourist infrastructure. There are a few very long travel days where we will be getting up early and arriving at our accommodation quite late, sometimes this accommodation will be an eco-lodge or guest house with basic facilities. We will mostly travel by train on the trans-Iranian railway, including one overnight sleeper carriage with a 4-berth bunk configuration.
This trip involves a strict dress code for women, who should come prepared with either floor length dresses with long sleeves or long trousers with kaftans that reach the knees, along with head scarves. The dress code is not optional, and it is illegal for women to keep their hair uncovered while in Iran. Men are advised to wear long trousers.
Good quality hospitals, pharmacies and other public amenities will be limited to large cities like Tehran, Shiraz and Mashhad and you should be prepared for eastern-style squat toilets in public places.
We recommend that travellers on gluten free, vegetarian and vegan diets bring some supplemental snack food from home as it might be difficult to meet these dietary requirements while in remote parts of Iran.
A note about fitness
This Iran train tour requires a moderate level of physical fitness. You should be able to walk up to 2km, over at times uneven surfaces during sightseeing. In addition, you should be able to use an eastern-style squat toilet if necessary (beware if you have knee issues).
You will need to be able to carry your own luggage to and from the coach and on and off the trains. (Due to OH&S regulations our trip leaders are not able to assist with luggage.) On the sleeper train, you must be able to climb into a top bunk via the use of a ladder, as bottom bunks cannot be guaranteed.
In addition, you should be in good health, with no major chronic conditions requiring frequent medical attention. This trip often travels through remote locations where the availability of a hospital or even phone reception to call an ambulance is limited. While all our trip leaders are required to have a valid first aid certificate, they are far from doctors and any assistance they are able to provide will be limited to basic first aid. For more information please see our booking conditions.
Traveling by yourself? No problem, we love single travellers and don’t believe in penalising them by charging half the trip price again for our single supplement. With us you are only paying the actual cost to have a room all to yourself. If you’re up for making a new friend, you can elect to share with another single traveller of the same sex and only pay the twin-share price. The choice is yours!
Please note on this trip, that the single supplement does not include the nights on the train where you will be sharing with your travel companions or possibly some local travelers.
Trip leader description
Accompanying you along your journey will be your Inverted Atlas trip leader. Your trip leader is a logistics extraordinaire, keeps the trip running smoothly and ensures you have the best time possible on your trip. It is important to know that while your trip leader has the best job in the world, they aren’t actually on holidays, but rather they are there to make sure you have the best time while you are on your holiday! Your trip leader may at times need some time out so that they can complete back of house tasks that ensure everyone continues to enjoy the trip. It is also your trip leaders’ job to handle any issues (heaven forbid!) that come up while you’re on your trip like:
- If you lose your passport or other travel documents
- If there is a problem with your room at the booked accommodation – seriously please tell your trip leader don’t wait until you leave
- If you become unwell and need to find a pharmacy
- Assisting with restaurant recommendations or additional sightseeing during free time
- Questions regarding the itinerary
Your trip leader will have some good local knowledge about the destination in which you are traveling, however they are not a ‘local guide’. You’re welcome to ask your trip leader anything about the trip and if they don’t know they will find out and get back to you. Other people you will meet along the way are ‘local guides’ who are generally available to the group in specific towns or at specific sites like national parks, temples or archaeological sites. These people are the local experts and will be able to answer any questions you may have about the history and culture of a specific site.
This itinerary for this Iran train tour is correct at the time of upload to our website and we have composed it in good faith. From time to time we may elect to make changes before departure, if we are making a big change we will of course notify you, however if it is a small change this will be reflected in the final trip notes. So, make sure you download these prior to departure. Small changes prior to departure are usually made with the groups best interests in mind and come about due to liaising with our best resources – our past travelers and of course our trip leaders! The ability to change and evolve depending on what our travelers enjoy is what makes us such a great trip operator.
While we strive to operate our trips exactly to the letter of the itinerary, sometimes we may need to make changes on the ground while the group is on the road. This is all part of the adventure of traveling and we would ask that you come on your trip with an open mind and a good sense of humour because as much as we want it to, everything doesn’t always go to plan. In fact, these impromptu situations often make the best stories that you can have a laugh with your friends about later.
Minimum Age: 18 years
Due to the nature of this trip and the region in which it travels children are not permitted for their own safety.
There is no upper age limit for this trip, but you should consider the above fitness requirements prior to booking. If you are 65 years or over, you will be asked to complete our Health Check Form and have your medical practitioner sign it to confirm you are in good health and able to participate safely on this trip.
Please note that comprehensive travel insurance is a condition of travel with Inverted Atlas. Insurance must include provision for medical situations, emergency medical repatriation to your home country and personal liability at a minimum. Proof of valid travel insurance will be requested by your trip leader on arrival at the pre-departure meeting. Please have this paperwork available for them. If you are unable to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance, you may not be allowed to join the trip and no refund will be payable.