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Kerman, Iran

How much does it cost to travel in Iran? Our budget and tips

Iran is one of those countries where you start off as a millionaire but your millions run out very fast:) And with so many zeros and unclear prices it can be quite a challenge to keep track of your budget. Somehow we managed and it turns out we spent a total of 1565 euros over 28 days of stay. So that makes it 28 euros per day per person.

Let’s see where all the euros went 🙂

Where did we go?

Our journey through Iran started like many others in the capital- Tehran. Afterwards we continued south passing through Kashan, Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman and many more until we ended our trip on the Qeshm Island in the Persian Gulf.

How did we travel?

With very low prices of petrol and unclear, inefficient public transport, taxis are quite a great mean of transportation in most of the cities. Obviously we always bargained fiercely but in final end a ride would cost just 1 maybe 2 euros depending on the distance. In Tehran except for taxis we used the metro which was even cheaper (2 cards plus many rides that we did cost us a bit above 2 euros). Metro also included a lot of no- mercy -pushing, huge crowds and quite little air…

Between the cities we used very comfortable and spacious buses. To give you an example a bus from Shiraz to Kerman was 800 000 rials for both of us so around 20 euros. For that price we not only enjoyed the stunning view of desert and mountains from our comfy chairs but we also got some snacks and juice to enjoy it even more 🙂

To get from Bandar Abbas to Qeshm island we took a very pleasant ferry that took around an hour and costed 140 000 rials for both of us (around 3.5 euros).

Transport all together came to 196 euros.

Where did we stay?

Accommodation turned out to be more expensive than we thought. Even in low season and bargaining we spend 565 euros so on average 20 euros. It might not seem that much but if you saw the quality of some of those places you would think otherwise. In places like Tehran or Isfahan there was almost no other choice then to go for the cheapest, the shabbiest hostels ever where toilet paper was not included or the only common space was a tent outside (with around 0 degrees). On the positive side everywhere except for Tehran we stayed in private rooms and many times they were as expensive as two beds in a dorm. For a couple that is great news in a country where no affection can be shown in public and where women have to follow a dress code even in common areas of most of the hotels. As finding accommodation online is quite difficult and finding out their prices is almost impossible we post a full list of the places we stayed in:

  • Tehran- Seven Hostel – quite shabby, very basic accommodation with very limited internet. Price of this doubtful entertainment is 10 dollars per bed. In high season the price goes up to 15 dollars per night. On the positive side you can book it online which is very handy as you need your first address and contact number to get a visa on arrival. It also has free tea all the time which helps to warm up in the only common space available which is a cold tent outside.
  • Isfahan- Amir Kabir – to say that toilet paper is not included in the price says enough. But well it’s by far the cheapest option and for little more money you don’t really get much more service… And here a private room is the same price as two beds in the dorm so 20 dollars (per room) which was tempting enough for us.
  • Kashan- Noghli hotel – definitely our favorite place of them all. For passionately bargained 1 000 000 rials (around 25 euros) we got a big double room with lots of light, private bathroom and a delicious, varied breakfast which offered bread, eggs, beans, halva, veg and much more. Except for sleeping we actually enjoyed hanging out on their stunning courtyard sipping free black tea with cardamom. A place we would definitely recommend.
  • Yazd- Dalan e Behesht- it’s a historical house with quite a nice courtyard with very, very friendly staff. There we got an ok private room with shared bathroom for 20 dollars a night. The only problem is that the hostel is in serious need of cleaning. The toilets make you just nauseous and the carpets haven’t seen a vacuum cleaner in a very long time.
  • Shiraz- Golshan Hotel- probably our second favorite although the most expensive of them all -35 dollars a night for a double room with private bathroom. But it was worth the price. Except for stunning, bright, traditional courtyard with comfy Iranian sitting areas and good breakfast we got a very friendly staff that was ready to answer all of our questions. Although some of them didn’t speak any English and would say yes to every single thing we asked 😀 on the negative side our room was quite small and dark and tea was not included in the price
  • Qeshm- Assad’s homestay- we seriously heard legends about this homestay as being epic, amazing, super friendly. We enjoyed it although there was no doubt that for Assad it’s very much a business now. Keeping in mind that food and accommodation were both very basic and there wasn’t much variety we would say 13 euro per person per night was not such a bargain after all. Also being there we were in the middle of nowhere and as much as we thought we would be close to nice beaches and nature it wasn’t really true. On the positive side Assad is really a nice guy and he can organize tours and transport at very attractive prices.
  • Qeshm- Diplomat hotel- situated in Qeshm City it’s close to all the life of the island. We were hesitant to go there as we couldn’t find any pics online but once we got there we actually saw that the rooms were quite ok, spacious, with more or less working air-co and tv. Not to mention that wifi was the fastest in Iran and there was no limit on it. All of that for a bargain of 800 000 rials a night (around 20 euros).


Except for these we spend two nights in the buses and one night on an excursion in the Kalut desert which is not included in the accommodation part of our budget.

What did we eat?

On food and eating out we spent a combined 228 euros. We didn’t have a kitchen for the whole time and so we were forced to eat out. Breakfasts were included practically everywhere, for lunches we mostly bought some flat bread, fruit, and cream cheese. When it comes to dinners we went either for a 1-2 euro falafel or for a very nice, Persian meal for around 5-6 euros. We loved that every time we ate we got really enough vegetables, herbs, spices and in most of the places the food was really tasty and packed with flavor.

How expensive are museums, tours etc?

Tourism turned out to be surprisingly expensive and overpriced in many cases. So many of the sight cost 200 000 rials per person (around 5 euro) which is quite pricy considering that most are quite small and you won’t spend more than an hour in there. Thankfully that’s also the price of Persepolis where you can wander around stunned for a whole day:) Unfortunately Iran is no Paris where you can just walk around the streets for days and be absolutely fascinated. The streets don’t offer much to the eyes and so no wonder we ended up spending 533 euros on tickets, tours etc. The most expensive tour was the one visiting the Kalut desert. It was 150 euros for two days and one night of very basic accommodation. Honestly we felt it was overpriced but we couldn’t find anything cheaper than 120 euros and we really wanted to see this absolutely stunning desert. So why did we choose the one for 150 euros if we could just go there for 120? Well the guys that offered us 120 euros either didn’t really speak good English or they didn’t really seem professional.

Where did the rest of our rials go?

Quite minor 42 euros went for variety of things like internet (250 000 rials for the card and 3gb mobile internet so around 6 euros) which turned out to be very handy in a country where internet is very limited. We also spend some money on postcards and laundry.

Our tips to save money in Iran

  1. Bargain, bargain, bargain!! Especially accommodation, tours and taxis are way cheaper if you bargain. So forget about booking a room on the phone, just go to a few places, check out the standard and bargain. The prices are getting even more attractive if you decide to stay for more than 1 night. We traveled through Iran during low season which definitely helped with many of the prices. Bargaining in rials instead of dollars can be very beneficial.
  2. In front of the bus terminals there are guys screaming destinations that bring you to the desk… They don’t do it out of kindness of their hearts. They charge commission. So just pass them without saying where you’re going.
  3. Exchange money in exchange offices not in banks. They will give you a better exchange rate, better than google. You can expect around 1 euro= 40 000-42 000 rials.
  4. Don’t forget to take all the money you need. There is no option of withdrawing money once there and we heard that sending money via carpet sellers is very expensive.
  5. Volunteer! Although we didn’t try it we met quite a few people volunteering on Qeshm island via Workaway. It doesn’t seem like there are much opportunities at the moment but it’s definitely a growing branch.
  6. Check, check, double check! Many times while paying for food we discovered “mistakes” in our bills…
  7. Make sure about the prices!! With so many zeros and big confusion about the rials and tomans it’s easy to get confused and ending up paying way too much. Make sure you know how many zeros the final price has and if it’s in toman or rials (1 toman= 10 rials).
  8. Share! Costs or taxis and tours are often calculated per car so if you’re with more people it’s way cheaper.
  9. Take overnight buses:) they are comfy, cheap and well it will save you accommodation costs.

P.S. Exchange rate used for the overal budget 1 EURO = 40 100 RIALS

Hopefully this post will help you prepare for your trip to Iran:) If you have any questions: don’t hesitate to ask:)

14 of our favorite ceilings in Iran

Architecture in Iran is truly something special. The history, the colors, the geometry, everything is thought out to perfection. But what impressed us the most were the ceilings. Every single one of them was a unique masterpiece. And every single one has its stories. We heard that mirrored ceilings, that are a huge part of the art in Iran, were invented by the Persians when mirrors were brought from Europe and they were broken in transportation. Iranians still decided to use the pieces for the ceilings which created a one of a kind effect. Especially with a bit of light.
But we'll let the art speak for itself. Here are our favorite ceilings 🙂

  1. Triple ceiling in the Pink Mosque, Shiraz

  2. Geometric beauty in Borujerdi house, Kashan

  3. Glass mirrors in Golestan Palace, Tehran

  4. Playful colors in a random street, Shiraz

  5. Infinity repetition in Grand Bazaar, Tehran

  6. Adobe finesse in Abbasiyan house, Kashan

  7. Open ceiling in Tabatabaie house, Kashan

  8. Gold splendor in Holy Shrine, Qom

  9. Green mirrors of The Holy Shrine, Aran va Bidgol

  10. Repetition like no other in Ali Qapu Palace, Isfahan

  11. Contrast of colors in Sheikh Lotfollah mosque, Isfahan

  12. Staircase ceiling on the entrance to the Bazaar, Tehran

  13. Blue poetry on Hafez tomb, Shiraz

  14. Double ceiling of the Shah mosque, Isfahan

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Tehran, Iran

9 experiences you just can’t miss in Tehran

  1. Dive into the chaos of the Grand Bazaar

You just can’t come to Iran and skip the bazaar experience. We absolutely loved the chaos, the carriages coming from everywhere, the smell of fresh tea and spices. Not to mention the architecture which is just stunning. We also went into some antique shops to take a closer look at their ceilings and staircases. Some were absolutely breathtaking. The bazaar is huge so make sure you take your time to get lost and explore it. Remember it’s closed during lunch time.


  1. Enjoy the colors and glamour of the Golestan Palace

Golestan Palace was once a royal residence and there is absolutely no doubt about it. The splendor of the place is just immense. There are ceilings made of small glass mirrors, stunning gardens, fountains and walls with colorful tiles. There is plenty to see but get prepared because it’s actually not that easy. First you have to decide what you want to see. You buy a ticket to each part of the complex. If you want to buy them all it’s 940 000 rials (around 24 euro). If not the admission is 150 000 rials (around 4 euro) which allows you to wonder around the garden. Then there are 8 parts for 80 000 each (around 2 euros) and one, the most spectacular is 150 000 rials (so around 4 euro) and it includes the Hall of Ivory, Hall of Mirror and other incredible halls. Unfortunately, in most of the places you can’t take pictures.

  1. See how the last Shah lived at Niavaran Palace

Niavaran was the last residence of the Shah before he was forced to leave the country. Also here you have to decide what you want to see. There is the main house which is the most important part. Next to it there are few museums and a library. In the main house you get an impression of the luxury of the 70s. There is a convertible roof that lets the fresh air and light in, private rooms of the kids and more than one collection of clothes of the Shah and his wife. We paid 150 000 rials admission and 150 000 rials the entrance to the main house (together around 8 euros).

  1. Calm shopping at the Tajrish bazaar

There is no chaos here, you don’t have to jump out of the way to avoid crazy men with their carriages. Here it’s where you can just enjoy the world of spices, food, carpets and whatever you want undisturbed. We were especially amazed by mountains of saffron that are available in so many shops here. In Europe one gram is very expensive, here we are talking about mountains of practically gold. Saffron next to rose seems to be the most important ingredient in local cuisine. When you’re done with saffron there is still tea waiting as well as many, many jewelry shops.

  1. Enjoy winter wonderland going up the Darband mountain

We were in Tehran during winter so we absolutely loved seeing all the snow, barbecues on the side of the road and numerous shops and restaurants. It all seemed so Christmas-like, even though Christmas is not really celebrated here. Not to mention the experience of absolute, beautiful, white winter in a country that we mostly pictured as omnipresent desert.

  1. Watch the sunset next to the Azadi Tower

Azadi Tower is one of the most prominent symbols of Tehran and it was built in 1971 for the commemoration of 2500 years of the Persian Empire. First it was called Shahyad in honor of the Shah but obviously after the revolution it had to be changed and now it’s Freedom Tower. The tower is surrounded by fountains and underneath it has a museum. When we were there, there was maintenance work going on so we could only appreciate the tower itself. We couldn’t complain as first we saw it in full splendor during day light and as the sun went down we saw it illuminated.

  1. Enjoy the panoramic view of the city from Milad Tower

Milad Tower is a kind of thing you would expect in Dubai, glamourous, modern, full of stylish detail with a local touch. There are shops there, restaurants and a stunning terrace to enjoy the views of the city. Honestly we have seen many viewpoints but never have we seen anything like it. In the evening this great metropolis is like a painting of lights. Colorful, vibrant and very lively. The only drawback is that you enjoy the views through a metal fence which makes taking pictures nearly impossible. We almost forgot to mention that it’s the 6th tallest tower in the world. Entrance to the terrace was only 120 000 rials (around 3 euro) and the views were priceless.

  1. Enjoy the power of technology on Tabiat bridge

This brand new bridge maybe doesn’t make it on many “must see” lists but for us it was one of the biggest surprises in Tehran. It’s the most extraordinary pedestrian bridges we have ever seen. Imagine two floors, with little gardens everywhere, views of the city, benches to sit on and also a few restaurants and a really nice café where you can read some books (not only in Farsi). Not to mention that as soon as the sun goes down the bridge lights up with intense green color.

  1. Former American embassy

That’s probably the sight everybody imagines. Murals with anti-american art, passing by ladies in chador, posters of Obama looking like an Islam teacher. It was overtaken in 1979 because of the religious revolution. Later on 52 American citizens were held hostage for 444 days which makes it the longest hostage crisis ever. Although it’s incredible to see where it all started, make sure it’s not the only thing you see.