So you are about to travel to Iran and visit this wonderful yet unknown destination for the first time? Since Iran is a misunderstood country and its reality has been affected because of the political news and propaganda, you probably have many questions about this country. From safety tips to rules and customs, there are some facts and points that you should know before traveling to Iran, in order to have a more wonderful time in this ancient destination.
Alcohol rules in Iran
One of the most important things you need to know before traveling to Iran is the fact that manufacturing and drinking alcohol is against the law in all the cities of Iran, and even as a foreign traveler you are not allowed to drink any type of alcoholic beverage whether in private or public. Also we highly recommend that you do not accept any offer of drinking or buying alcohol illegally (from the black market), as it may threaten your health and in case of getting caught, you will be deported from Iran immediately. Some of alternative drinks to alcoholic beverages that you can enjoy in Iran are tea, Sharbat or sherbet (cool and sweet herbal drink), Doogh (sour and salty yogurt drink), or non-alcoholic beer.
Non-alcoholic beverages in Iran
Hijab rules in Iran
Another significant point that you should know about Iran is the Hijab rule in Iran, which is mandatory in this country since the 1979 Islamic revolution. According to this law all females (above 12-13) are required to cover their hair and body in public, and men are required to consider their outfit and avoid wearing shorts. There is no need to say that this law includes foreign travelers as well as the locals and they should bring required clothes. For covering your hair, you’ll need a scarf or a shawl and for covering the upper body trench coats, long sleeve shomiz, cardigans, etc. are good choices. Also, it is good to know that this Hijab rule is not very strict and frightening as it seems at first and it doesn’t mean that here in Iran women are wearing Burqa or long black chadors. Once you arrive Iran, you’ll see that despite of this rule women are wearing colourful and trendy outfits. As a female traveler, remember to have a scarf in your carry bag to use upon arrival in Iran while you pack to Iran.
Female travelers in Iran
Weekend Holidays in Iran
In Iran, the weekend holiday is on Friday and the offices, banks, and schools are open on Saturdays and Sundays. The weekend in Iran starts from Thursday afternoon to Saturday morning. So, consider this if you are going to plan on going to places like the Police of Foreign Affairs Office for tasks like extending Iran visa, or meeting a doctor in Iran. However international or tourism related businesses like historical attractions, hotels or travel agencies in Iran are available online during on Fridays, too and you won’t face any issue contacting them during weekends. Also the embassies are open on Fridays and they work according to the international schedule.
Weekend holiday in Iran
Before traveling to Iran and communicating with its people it is good to get familiar with and Iranian etiquette named Ta’arof (Taarof). Taarof is a moral tradition which shows politeness and friendliness between Iranians however in some cases it may cause misconceptions for foreign people who are not familiar with this social concept. For example, a taxi driver or a shop keeper might refuse to receive money from a customer at first to show politeness, but the customer doesn’t get that this offer was actually a Taarof and leaves without paying! In general getting acquainted with this Iranian etiquette is an interesting experience.
Travelers and locals in Iran
Money in Iran
First thing you should know about money in Iran is that you should bring your money in cash (preferably EURO, USD, Pound) because credit cards and debit cards do not work in Iran because of sanctions against this country and foreign travelers have to pay everything in cash. However, today in some souvenir shops like big carpet shops you can do your transaction with your credit cards. Also, the official currency is Iranian Rials (IR), however in daily life and unofficial transactions Iranians use another currency named Toman. One Toman equals 10 Rials, so you need to be cautious about this while you are paying for something and make sure to ask whether the given price is in Toman or Rial. For exchanging your money in Iran you can find plenty of authorized exchange shops (Sarrafi) in all of the cities of Iran especially around the main touristic attractions.
Money in Iran
Many travelers think that Iran is vast and dry desert with very hot and sunny climate throughout the year, while Iran is actually a four-season country where you can experience different climates and activates like skiing in Dizin ski resort and sunbathing by the Persian Gulf during one single day by taking a domestic flight. So, while planning your Iran tour itinerary, the four-season climate of the country lets you choose different activities and make the best of your Iran tour. Here you can read more about different activities you can experience in Iran in a year.
Four-season Iran nature
VPN and Internet
While traveling in Iran, you can access internet by buying a sim card at the airport with a 4G internet package. Also most of the hotels and restaurants provide free WiFi. In Iran, some websites and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, are filtered by the government and for using them, you will need VPN. We suggest that you download your VPN on your device before arriving as some of the VPN providing websites are filtered, too.
VPN and Internet in Iran
Safety in Iran
Last but not least, Iran is safe and it has been a while since travelers and bloggers are showing the real face of Iran on their blogs and social media platform after spending a wonderful time in this country. Today more and more people are finding out that most of the propaganda and western news about Iran were not true and Iran is one of the safest travel destinations (even safer than many European destinations) with hospitable and friendly people and very rare records of violence against tourists.
Travelers in Iran