Backpacking in Iran is safe
That might come as a surprise, but backpacking in Iran was one of the safest experiences I have ever had. Of course if you respect locals, don’t go looking for a trouble and obey the trinity rule (under no circumstances discuss religion, politics and money), which applies to nearly every country in the world in any case.
People are some of the most welcoming I have ever met, so no matter what, you will be taken care of – in Esfahan we asked for directions and a family drove us to the location, walked with us, bought us tea and brought us back, while they had to rush through closing shops, which was the reason they came there in the first place.
There are few tourists
You will meet foreigners, but really few, which means that some infrastructure for foreigners is already there, like leaflets with places to see and contacts of a driver who can take you there, but it is not persistent yet, it still feels somewhat improvised and the driver most likely will not speak any English. The only touristy place we encountered while backpacking in Iran is Esfahan, there vendors will approach you inviting to visit their shops, others will offer changing money etc.
You can actually touch history
Mesopotamia, Persia, Silk Road, – all of these have Iran in common, thus it is no surprise that backpacking in Iran definitely includes great places to see. Some places have been turned into museums with ticket counters, guards and fences limiting your exploration, many places have none of that. Khanaraq village is a great example, you can enter ancient houses, walk on the rooftops and get lost in this ancient maze, and if you are lucky, all of this without meeting a soul.
Backpacking in Iran is cheap
Prices in Iran vary depending on youe location, but on average a good meal should cost you around 6-10 euros, which, you can split between two people, as portions are quite serious. Accommodation varies a lot, getting more expensive in the big cities, yet a decent private room for two goes for around 20-50 USD per night. Transport is cheap, like a ride from Tehran to Yazd (600km) in a VIP bus costs 10 USD per person and a taxi for a whole day is around 25 USD. So price wise, backpacking in Iran is quite easy.
It is delicious
Vegans and vegetarians will have a hard time in Iran, depending on the season and region they might not have many vegetables, however Iranian bread is absolutely delicious, the way they prepare rice with saffron, will completely change your perception of rice (frankly, what we call rice back home is an insult to the rice in Iran), while meat eaters will have a feast every day – chicken, lamb, camel meat, all a must try! If you end up in Esfahan, make sure to try byriani, while in Yazd they do know how to make a proper dizzi (both meat dishes).
Interested to learn more?
Check out Iran in 10 days: Tehran to Yazd and back !