Around Iran Aboard the Persian Express

On this rail adventure around Iran, travelers glide from the capital, Tehran, north through the Alborz Mountains to the Caspian Sea shore, and then on a circular route that encompasses seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Board the comfortable Persian Express private train in Tehran and explore some of Iran’s most celebrated places, experiencing such incredible UNESCO Sites as the ancient mud-walled city of Bam and the 6th century BC tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae.

If you would instead prefer to travel by luxury private train on a largely similar route around Iran, we recommend the Heart of Persia rail journey aboard the Golden Eagle.

12 Day Trip

  • Rail Journey
    No minimum number of travelers
  • Travels to:
    Iran
  • Rail Journey by Private Train:
    Around and About Iran

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Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Survey the complex Persian architecture of beautiful Isfahan
    Survey the complex Persian architecture of Isfahan’s gracefully proportioned UNESCO-listed Imam Square, decorated with cobalt, turquoise and lapis lazuli mosaic tiles....
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  • Explore Persepolis, ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings
    Awaken to ancient history as you stand in the shadow of the colossal marble pillars of Persepolis, ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings and a celebrated...
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  • Smell the roses of Shiraz
    Discover the inspiration for Iran’s greatest lyric poet, Hafez – the gardens of Shiraz....
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  • Admire UNESCO-listed Gulestan Palace in Iran’s capital, Tehran
    Gulestan Palace is the oldest of Tehran’s historic monuments, begun in the 16th century as a fortress by the Safavid dynasty, and encompassing several palatial buildings around a cool green garden....
    Read More
See trips that also visit:

Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 15 years of Iran travel experience
  • Educational and alumni travel programs from the U.S., New Zealand and beyond have chosen MIR to guide them to Iran
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-2: Tehran, Sari, Caspian Sea

Board the Persian Express in Tehran and set off over the Alborz Mountains toward the Caspian Sea. In Sari, visit the tomb tower of Imamzadeh Yahya bin Zayd, built in the 15th century in honor of the 18-year-old martyr, born in 750 AD.

Highlights

  • Scenic Alborz Mountains and lush Caspian coast
  • Sari, an important regional capital in the 1st millennium AD
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Days 3-5: Mashad, Kerman, Mahan, Rayen

Disembark in Mashad, site of one of the holiest Shi'ite shrines in Iran, the tomb of Imam Reza. Visit the mausoleum of Ferdowsi, a great Persian poet credited with reviving and modernizing the Persian language. Explore Kerman's Grand Bazaar, an enormous area of beautiful courtyards, caravanserais, shops and bathhouses. After overnighting in a five star Kerman hotel, continue to Mahan, famed for its luxurious UNESCO-listed Prince Garden, and the ancient mud-brick fortress of Rayen.

Highlights

  • Outer courts and museum of Imam Reza’s shrine, the places permitted to non-Muslims
  • Kerman's Grand Bazaar, selling everything from traditional carpets and spices to modern jewelry, watches and luxury goods
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Days 6-8: Yazd, Isfahan

Survey the highlights of Yazd, including the Zoroastrian Fire Temple and Towers of Silence, the wonderful Friday Mosque and the Water Museum, where you learn about the ancient Persian gravity-fed water system. Continue to beautiful Isfahan and check in to a hotel for a two-night stay. Wander UNESCO-listed Imam Square. Shah Abbas the Great built the graceful ensemble in the early 17th century. Enjoy a demonstration at a zoorkhaneh, a traditional Persian gymnasium where men practice and perform special exercises and routines.

Highlights

  • 5th century Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd
  • Towers of Silence
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Days 9-10: Pasargadae, Persepolis, Shiraz

Re-board the train and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pasargadae, founded in the 6th century BC by Cyrus the Great. Set apart from the other ruins is the imposing limestone mausoleum of Cyrus himself. Hop a coach for the drive to Persepolis, one of the most important sites of the ancient world and the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings. Continue to the monumental rock carvings at Naghsh-e Rostam, thought to be the tombs of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes. Spend a night in Shiraz, one of the most important cities of the Islamic medieval period, and enjoy the beautifully tended Eram Garden, a UNESCO-listed 19th century Persian garden surrounding a stately home. Visit the Tomb of Hafez, Iran’s favorite poet, a place of pilgrimage and reverence.

Highlights

  • The archaeological site of Pasargadae, with the majestic limestone tomb of Cyrus the Great
  • UNESCO-listed Persepolis, one of the most important sites of the ancient world
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Days 11-12: Tehran

Get to know Tehran, visiting UNESCO-listed Golestan Palace, the prestigious National Museum of Iran and the glittering State Jewels Museum, safeguarding the Darya-ye-Nur, the world's largest uncut diamond.

Highlights

  • Golestan Palace, with the Marble Throne, created from 65 pieces of yellow Yazd marble
  • Crown Jewels at the Central Bank

See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 12 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person

2018 Dates

  • April 12-23
  • October 18-29
  • Call for Pricing
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Special Offer Savings!

  • Book Now and Save $100Book any 2018 rail journey by private train before December 31, 2017 and save $100 (more info).
  • More Special OffersSee all of MIR’s current special offers (more info).

Contact our dedicated travel specialists for more details on any tour you’re interested in.

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Accommodation aboard the Persian Express private train.
  • 6 nights shared hotel accommodation per the itinerary.
  • Meals per the itinerary.
  • Arrival/departure transfers, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates and in the tour start/end cities.
  • All guided off-train tours per itinerary.
  • The services of an experienced Train Tour Manager, with local guides for scheduled off-train touring.
  • Complimentary tea, coffee and mineral water round the clock from your car attendant while on board the train.
  • Baggage handling.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Visas

Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

More Info

Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in the South Caucasus or Central Asia before or after your tour. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of our private travel suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This trip is moderately active, and is rated moderate to rigorous touring due to the daily walking involved and the overall shortcomings of the tourism infrastructure. To reap the full rewards of this adventure, travelers must be able to walk at least a mile a day, keeping up with fellow travelers.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

Read our Travel Journals

MIR's Travel Journals offer first hand accounts of MIR's fascinating destinations.

  • Ancient Persia, Modern Iran: An Enigmatic Exploration

    Ancient Persia, Modern Iran: An Enigmatic Exploration

    Follow along with MIR Corporation Tour Specialist Meaghan Samuels as she explores beautiful and enigmatic Iran on MIR's Ancient Persia, Modern Iran small group tour.... Read More

  • Jewels of Persia: Iran by Private Train

    Jewels of Persia: Iran by Private Train

    Douglas Grimes and Annie Lucas, MIR's President and Vice President, had the privilege of being aboard the inaugural journey of the first western private train allowed into Iran. A round trip journey from Budapest to Tehran and back aboard the Golden Eagle Danube Express private train, this was a first-of-its-kind itinerary and an historic undertaking.... Read More

See All Journals
MIR in the News
  • In It For the Long Haul

    August 16, 2017

    If you need to get away from it all, and you’ve got a little extra time on your hands, take a peek at Luxury Travel Magazine’s recent round-up 10 extended vacations sure to relax and recharge your spirit. Two of MIR’s o... Read More

  • Go Big on the Silk Route

    August 10, 2017

    A recent article on the GoBanking Rates blog featured MIR’s Silk Route by Private Train luxury rail journey in its round-up of “The Most Amazing Luxury Travel Experiences You Can Buy.” The epic 21-day rail journey allow... Read More

See All Press & Awards
From the Blog
See All Blog Posts

Persian Express

Orient Silk Road Express.

The perfect combination of remote destinations and comfortable accommodations, rail journey by private trains open a world of discover to adventurous travelers who want to discover the world as it unrolls past their train windows.

Exclusive private trains furnish the dream of Old World rail travel with modern comforts and amenities that make the journey as pleasant as the destinations.

The comfortable Persian Express offers a restful and satisfying way to experience a legendary rail route.

Train & Hotel Accommodations

Relax and enjoy the panorama rolling past your private window and disembark for guided off-train touring in fascinating towns and cities along the way. Each car on the Persian Express has its own attendants who keep an eye on everything while guests are away from the train.

Three styles of accommodation are available aboard the Persian Express for the journey around Iran:

  • Kalif Class (en suite)
  • Aladdin Class (shower at one end; WC at both ends of each car)
  • Ali Baba Class (WC at both ends of each car, but no shower)
  • Kalif Class

    Kalif Class

    Kalif cabins are the most comfortable option available on the Persian Express private train. There are six cabins to a car, and each is outfitted with a shower stall, WC and washbasin. Cabins are equipped with convertible upper and lower berths, a window-table, wardrobe and power outlets for 110/220 volts.

    Additional Information

  • Aladdin Class

    Aladdin Class

    Aladdin cabins offer comfortable accommodation with twin-berth compartments featuring two lower berths. Beds convert to comfortable sofas for daytime travel and there is storage space under the berths and above the door in each cabin. A WC is found at each end of the car, and each car has a shower compartment at one end as well.

    Additional Information

  • Ali Baba Class

    Ali Baba Class

    Ali Baba cabins are the best-value cabin option. They are slightly smaller than the Aladdin cabins, with the same amenities and a WC at each end of the car, but no shower.

    Additional Information

  • Hotel Accommodations

    Hotel Accommodations

    Six hotel nights in upscale properties are interspersed throughout the journey. Hotel nights include two in Tehran, one in Kerman, two in Isfahan and one in Shiraz.

Life Aboard the Train
Orient Silk Road Express.

The Persian Express train is a comfortable, though
 not luxurious, private train, which can accommodate up to 140 passengers. Average group sizes can range from 100-120 passengers, and off-train excursion groups top out at a maximum of 26 passengers per coach. The pleasant dining car transforms to a friendly lounge after meals.

The Persian Express private train provides everything you need for a pleasurable journey. Join travelers from around the world to enjoy the relaxed and casual environment onboard, with no need to wear formal attire on excursions or while dining.

Please note that a variety of cabins styles are in use aboard the various trains. Décor and layout of dining, bar and sleeping cars on your journey may differ from the sample images depicted in our brochures/websites.

  • Dining Car

    Dining Car

    The dining car features freshly prepared regional dishes and operates as a lounge after dinner. Water, tea and coffee are included with your meals. A selection of soft drinks is available for purchase.

  • Off-Train Tours

    Off-Train Tours

    Rail journeys feature an extensive line-up of educational city tours at the various stops on the routes. Private coaches and local guides whisk you away from your private train for fascinating half- or full-day forays into the principal towns and cities, sometimes including an in-city dining opportunity. Read through this tour’s itinerary for more information (found on the Itinerary & Map tab of this page).