Visit the Amazing Highlights of Isfahan
Visit the Amazing Highlights of Isfahan
Visit the Splendid Persian architecture masterpieces of Isfahan
Visit the Splendid Persian architecture masterpieces of Isfahan
Feel the heaven on the earth in Isfahan
Feel the heaven on the earth in Isfahan
Enjoy the Peaceful Desert Landscapes of Isfahan Suburbs
Enjoy the Peaceful Desert Landscapes of Isfahan Suburbs

Isfahan, Iran Travel Guide

Isfahan History

Isfahan is one of the oldest cities in Iran, which is the third largest city in Iran after Tehran and Mashhad. The main thing about the Isfahan, Iran is that this city was built on the alluvium of the Zayandeh River. Zayandeh Rood (River) was one of the reasons that led to the settlement around it and forming of the city. Most historians and archaeologists believe that the origin of Isfahan dates back to the time of Tahmurt, the third king of the Pishdad dynasty.

In the war that Cyrus made with the Babylonians, he freed many Jews from the Babylonian king’s prison. Some Jews returned to Palestine and settled there, and part of them came to Iran and settled in Dar al-Yehudieh. Historians believe that the reason for choosing this area by the Jews is the similarity of its climate to Jerusalem. 

After the arrival of Islam in this region, the main neighborhoods of Isfahan, namely, Jey and Yehudiyeh, were merged, and the city of Isfahan was born with this new name. Historical monuments left from the past in the city of Isfahan show the antiquity of this city.

During the Safavid era, the city of Isfahan had an exceptional Location. Shah Abbas Safavi moved the capital of his government from Qazvin to Isfahan. The first reason for changing capital is that Shah Abbas was a nature lover and spent much of his leisure time exploring the plains and deserts. Isfahan also had a beautiful and unique nature, and for this reason, it was the focus of Shah Abbas.

It was Isfahan’s best period of prosperity from the reign of Shah Abbas II until the end of the reign of Shah Abbas II. So that during this period, Isfahan became the best and most beautiful city in the Middle East. During the Safavid era, Isfahan had four central districts: Jolfa, Gabr Abad, Isfahan, and Abbas Abad. Many historians believe that in this era, the view of Isfahan was better and more significant than that of Constantinople.

The Armenians of Jolfa of Isfahan entered Isfahan with the permission of Shah Abbas and settled in an area known as Jolfa. They showed the pinnacle of Iranian architecture in Isfahan. Creative and tasteful people left buildings in memory during this era, and until today these works and structures are among the most magnificent old Iranian works.

Mohammad Reza and Ali Akbar Isfahani were creative architects and artists who were critical in creating works left over from the Safavid era. Their art has been preserved in history. One of this period’s architectural characteristics is that color and light are used in addition to strength and beauty. Shining tiles, sashes and light in the built buildings multiplied its charm.

Isfahan History

Best Time to Visit Isfahan Iran

The best time for travel to Isfahan is from the end of March to the end of May and from the end of September to the end of October. In this period, you will experience the most favourable weather conditions, and the temperature in these periods is around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. At the beginning of the warm season, in the years of low rainfall, the Zayandehroud river becomes dry and makes the air of Isfahan hot and sour. In general, due to the desert location of this city, the weather in Isfahan is not suitable for travel from mid-June to mid-September.

Spring in Isfahan

(Apr-Jun)

April and May is the best choice to travel to this Isfahan Iran. The city becomes a bit quiet in June but the weather conditions are still ideal. If you intend to visit Isfahan, it’s one of the best times.

Summer in Isfahan

(Jul-Sep)

During the summer and desert heat, Isfahan becomes more secluded. The hot summer days are the quietest time for tourists. You can still enjoy your trip at this time if you have the tolerance for the hot summers.

Fall in Isfahan

(Oct-Dec)

In the autumn, Isfahan city becomes  live again. The weather gets closer to being mild and pleasant again and many tourists travel to see Isfahan’s beauties.  Along with spring, It’s one of the high seasons of Iran tours.

Winter in Isfahan

(Jan-Mar)

Isfahan has cold winters with the possibility of rain and snowfall during the shorter days of winter. Similar to summer, it’s the off-peak season, making it an ideal choice for a budget-friendly trip.

Here’s a pro tip: 

Late April brings a serene calmness to the city as the domestic travel season winds down after Nowruz. This means you can explore the attractions at your own pace, soaking in the rich history and culture without the hustle and bustle. So, if you’re aiming for the perfect Isfahan experience, mark your calendar for April and May – the sweet spot for a tranquil and unforgettable adventure. Ready to make memories in the city known as Half of the World with its stunning architectural wonders?

Isfahan Transportation

A large number of domestic and foreign tourists visit Isfahan every year. Fortunately, Isfahan’s public transportation system has relatively good quality. In Isfahan, in addition to taxis, buses, subways and express buses (BRT), you can also use bicycles.

Public-Transportation

Let the Experience Begin

Isfahan Best Tours

Experience the timeless charm of Isfahan: a city of ancient wonders, bustling bazaars, and exquisite Islamic architecture. Let its beauty captivate you as you wonder its historic streets and embrace its rich cultural heritage. Visit Isfahan and unlock a world of enchantment.

9 Days Iran Mysterious Island Tour

Isfahan Souvenirs & Handicrafts

Isfahan souvenirs and crafts include a large set of foods and handicrafts. We can say that the city of Isfahan has more handicrafts and food known as Isfahan and is not similar to Iran elsewhere than any other city in Iran. If you have ever travelled to Isfahan in important city markets, especially near tourist attractions, you have seen souvenirs of Isfahan. Many of these products are sold not only as a gift but as the goods they need.

Souvenirs

Gaz Isfahan

Gaz Isfahan is one of the famous souvenirs of this city, and we suggest you try it at least once. Gaz is made from egg white and sweeteners such as sugar, rose water and cardamom. Gaz has a history of 450 years; traditionally, Isfahan Gaz was prepared as an expensive food for the rich and courtiers and sometimes exported to other cities for the consumption of these people.

Isfahan Pulaki

Isfahan Pulaki is one of the famous souvenirs, and people who like tea will surely like some Isfahan pulaki. In the traditional Bazaar of Isfahan, you can get all kinds of pulaki. Common types include taste with sweet, ginger, sesame, lemon, poppy, and some that are coloured and flavoured with essential oils.

Minakari

Minakari (A type of artistic enamelware) is one of the most important souvenirs of Isfahan. If you plan to get a very exquisite gift or souvenir from Isfahan, handmade Minakari is a good choice. Minakari dishes or objects are executed on copper or pottery, each of which has its beauty, but for the souvenirs you buy to have a longer life, you can choose those applied on copper dishes.

Miniature Painting

Isfahan’s miniature paintings are a testament to the city’s rich artistic heritage. These paintings typically depict intricate scenes from Persian literature, mythology, or daily life, characterized by detailed brushwork and vibrant colors. Miniature painters often use natural pigments and gold leaf to create stunning visual narratives on small-scale canvases.

Ghalam Zani

Ghalam Zani is the art of engraving on metal vessels such as silver or bronze. Pen painting is one of the valuable handicrafts of Isfahan. The price of illustrations and writing utensils is high because, as we said, they are made of silver or bronze.

Isfahan Carpet
Isfahan is renowned for its exquisite Persian carpets, which are considered among the finest in the world. These carpets are handwoven with meticulous attention to detail using high-quality materials like wool, silk, or a combination of both. Isfahan carpets are famous for their intricate designs, often featuring intricate floral motifs, geometric patterns, and ornate medallions, all executed with precision and artistry. They are cherished for their beauty, craftsmanship, and cultural significance, making them a must-have souvenir for visitors to Isfahan.

Ghalam Kari or Chit Sazi

Ghalam Kari or Chit sazi (A patterning on fabric) is one of the most beautiful souvenirs of Isfahan. The date of calligraphy has been estimated to be the Ghaznavid period. According to the interest of the Safavid to Ghalam Kari, this art reached its perfection during their rule. During the Safavid era, Ghalam Kari was also used for clothes, and you can still see kalamkari clothes in the traditional markets of Isfahan. Many people use Ghalam Kari tables as table tops, window coverings, and even curtains to give a nostalgic atmosphere to their home environment.

Copperware
Isfahan’s Copperware is renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship and intricate designs. Skilled artisans in the city have been practicing the art of copper craftsmanship for centuries, passing down their techniques from generation to generation. The copperware of Isfahan is highly prized for its beauty, craftsmanship, and cultural significance, making it a popular choice for both locals and visitors seeking unique and authentic souvenirs. These pieces not only serve as decorative items but also as a reflection of Isfahan’s rich artistic heritage and tradition of fine craftsmanship.

Turquoise Jewelry
Isfahan is known for its exquisite turquoise jewelry, featuring the vibrant blue-green gemstone set in intricate silver or gold settings. These pieces often showcase traditional Persian motifs and craftsmanship

Khatam Kari (Inlay Work)
Artisans in Isfahan create intricate patterns by inlaying different types of wood, metal, and bone into wooden surfaces, producing decorative boxes, frames, and furniture with stunning geometric designs

Pottery and Ceramics

Isfahan has a long and esteemed tradition of pottery and ceramics, dating back centuries. Artisans in the city create a diverse range of pottery and ceramic items, including decorative tiles, plates, vases, and bowls, using techniques passed down through generations. Isfahan’s pottery and ceramics are known for their vibrant colors, intricate designs, and attention to detail. Artisans draw inspiration from Persian motifs, geometric patterns, and floral designs, which are intricately painted or glazed onto the surfaces of their creations.

Handicrafts

Isfahan Highlights; Top 10 Must-Sees

Experience the magic of Isfahan, a city where ancient traditions and modern life harmonize effortlessly. Wander through centuries-old ruins, explore bustling markets filled with local crafts, and indulge in the exquisite flavors of Persian cuisine. Isfahan warmly welcomes you, inviting you to discover its blend of timeless charm and contemporary allure. Whether strolling through picturesque gardens or uncovering hidden gems in the winding streets, Isfahan promises an enchanting adventure for every traveler.

Must-Taste Cuisine in Isfahan Iran

Biryani or Beryuni

Beryuni is one of the most delicious and famous traditional foods of Isfahan. When you walk in the alleys and streets of Isfahan, you will smell the aroma of Beryoni from all the restaurants in the city. Maybe you can find a few people who leave Isfahan without trying this dish. To cook this delicious dish, sheep’s neck meat and white liver are used along with onions, special spices and saffron. These ingredients are fried in special pans in the shape of hamburgers and served in fresh Sangak (A type of Iranian whole wheat bread), along with aromatic vegetables.

Yogurt Stew

This stew is often served after the main meal and as a dessert at official parties in Isfahan. To prepare this stew, the sheep’s neck must be cooked and then pounded with onions, and finally yogurt and some sugar and saffron are added to it. After combining these ingredients, you should put the yogurt stew in the refrigerator for a few hours and then decorate it with barberry, almond slices, pistachio slices and cinnamon powder and enjoy its unique aroma and taste.

Ghaymeh Rizeh Nokhodchi (Minced chickpea)

It can be said that almost all Isfahan people are fans of ghee and consider it one of the most delicious traditional foods of Isfahan. To cook this delicious dish, Isfahan people knead minced meat, chickpeas, special spices, pepper, salt, and turmeric, make them into small balls, and cook them in a sauce of hot onion, water, and tomato paste.

Doogh (buttermilk) and Goshfil

It is perhaps one of the strangest traditional dishes of Isfahan. We suggest that you try Isfahan buttermilk and Goshfil. The combination of salty buttermilk with sweet Goshfil may seem strange or even tasteless, but be sure you won’t regret trying it in Isfahan.

Eshkeneh

You may have tasted Eshkeneh’s traditional food in different cities of Iran, but it is interesting to know that Eshkeneh is one of the traditional dishes of Isfahan. Eshkeneh is a hearty food served with bread and has a simple recipe. Eshkeneh is usually cooked in the cold seasons of the year in Isfahan. If you want to try this healthy and delicious food, you should fry the onion with spices, salt, pepper, and paste, eat the potato like a gem and add it, and finally, water and a few eggs; Wait for a while until the mixture thickens a little. Your dish is ready to serve. It is better to eat it with fresh bread and aromatic vegetables.

Isfahan stands as one of Iran’s prominent historical cities, celebrated for its rich cultural heritage and literary contributions. Alongside its illustrious history, Isfahan boasts a delectable array of traditional cuisines that are not to be missed. The city offers a wide variety of local dishes, each bursting with unique flavors and ingredients. To fully savor the culinary delights of Isfahan, we recommend acquainting yourself with these foods and ingredients before embarking on your journey to this historic destination. Join ToIranTour as we unveil the top must-try foods in Isfahan. As you explore Isfahan’s culinary scene, it’s important to note that rice plays a central role in Iranian cuisine. Iranian rice is typically prepared using these five methods: Slow Cooking, Grilling, Stewing, Tandoor Baking and Rice Cooking which often infused with aromatic spices like saffron. In Persian cuisine, cooked rice is referred to as Polo. Throughout this guide, you’ll encounter a plethora of dishes crafted with various types of rice (Polo).

Where to Stay in Isfahan Iran

As one of the tourist cities of Iran, Isfahan has a variety of modern, classic and traditional accommodations. In this city, you can book a mixture of 4- and 5-star hotels suitable for relatively luxurious tours and 3-star accommodations for economic tours. If you are fond of the old architecture of Isfahan, you can also use this city’s beautiful boutique hotels and ecolodges to stay.

5* Hotels in Isfahan

Discover unparalleled luxury in Isfahan with a selection of 5-star hotels ready to exceed your expectations. From the majestic Abbasi Hotel, the grandeur of Isfahan Kowsar Hotel, the exquisite Char-Bagh Hotel—each offers a pinnacle of hospitality. Immerse yourself in opulence as you explore the captivating city, with these premier accommodations setting new benchmarks for luxury and indulgence in Isfahan. Your journey awaits, beckoning you to experience the lavish side of this dynamic destination.

Isfahan Boutique Hotels

Immerse yourself in the charm of boutique hotels in Isfahan, where luxury seamlessly intertwines with a rich sense of history and tradition. Discover unique stays like Ghasr MonshiSarhang Palace, Keryas, and Isfahan Heritage Boutique Hotels. These exceptional accommodations offer more than just comfort; they provide an immersive journey into the cultural tapestry of Isfahan, making each stay a delightful blend of modern luxury and timeless traditions. Elevate your experience with these boutique gems, where every corner tells a story, inviting you to be a part of Isfahan’s enchanting narrative.

4* Hotels in Isfahan

Experience top-tier accommodation in Isfahan with a selection of outstanding 4-star hotels. Choose from options like Ali-Qapu Hotel, Aseman Hotel, Piroozy Hotel, and Safir Hotel, each offering a seamless blend of comfort and quality. Embrace the pinnacle of hospitality as these hotels ensure a memorable stay in the heart of this enchanting city. With a variety of choices available, finding the perfect 4-star accommodation to complement your preferences and enrich your Isfahan experience is effortless.

3* Hotels in Isfahan

Delight in the comfort and quality of 3-star hotels in Shiraz, where hospitality meets affordability. Consider charming options like Park Hotel, Arg Hotel, Parseh Hotel, Vakil Hotel, and Rudaki Hotel, each offering a cozy and welcoming stay. Embrace the perfect balance of cost-effectiveness and convenience, ensuring a delightful experience during your exploration of Shiraz. With a variety of 3-star hotels to choose from, you’re guaranteed a pleasant and budget-friendly stay in this captivating city.

Hostels in Isfahan

For budget-conscious travelers and backpackers seeking cozy accommodations, Shiraz has a range of welcoming hostels. Consider options like Ragrug, Ziba Traditional Hostel, BB Hostel, Friendly Hostel, Homayouni Hostel, and Seven Hostel, offering affordable stays without compromising on comfort. Embrace the friendly atmosphere and shared experiences that hostels provide, ensuring a pocket-friendly yet memorable stay in Shiraz. With these options, budget travelers can explore the city without breaking the bank, making the most of their journey in this vibrant destination.

The Best of Isfahan

From the magnificent Imam Mosque to the enchanting Chehel Sotoun Palace, we’ll guide you on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Isfahan, Iran’s cultural gem. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Grand Bazaar, admire the breathtaking architecture of the Khaju Bridge, and explore the rich history of the Jameh Mosque. Get ready to be captivated by the timeless charm and beauty of Isfahan!

How to Spend 3 Days in Isfahan

Get ready for an unforgettable 3-day exploration in amazing Isfahan! We’ve curated a perfect plan for you to discover the province’s top highlights. Whether you’re on a tight schedule or have more time to spare, our friendly guide lets you tailor your adventure based on your interests. Dive into the rich culture and history of Isfahan, making the most of your stay in this captivating part of Iran. Your journey of discovery awaits!

Explore Isfahan Architectural Marvels

Start your day in Isfahan at the magnificent Naqsh-e Jahan Square, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Begin by exploring the Imam Mosque, known for its stunning blue-tiled mosaics, then move to the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque with its unique tile work and striking dome. Next, visit the Ali Qapu Palace for panoramic views of the square and its intricate stucco decorations. Afterwards, dive into the bustling Great Bazaar of Isfahan, where you can shop for traditional crafts and enjoy a cup of tea with local snacks.

For lunch, savor authentic Persian cuisine at a nearby restaurant. In the afternoon, you can either visit the Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, showcasing various architectural styles from different Persian eras or head to the Armenian Quarter (Jolfa) to see the Vank Cathedral with its beautiful frescoes and tile work. Later on get back to the city center to visit Chehel Sotun Palace and enjoy the evening strolling along the iconic Si-o-se Pol bridge for scenic views of the Zayandeh River.

Isfahan Suburbs and Exceptional Experiences

Start your day with an early morning drive from Isfahan to Natanz. Visit the Natanz Jameh Mosque and the serene Sheikh Abd al-Samad Shrine, known for its impressive tile work and peaceful gardens. Then, head to the picturesque village of Abyaneh, famous for its red mud-brick houses and narrow alleys. Stroll through the village, visit the Abyaneh Zoroastrian Fire Temple, and see the intricately carved Abyaneh Mosque.

Continue to Kashan and explore the beautiful Fin Garden, a historical Persian garden with flowing water channels and ancient cypress trees. Visit the traditional Tabatabaei House, known for its elegant courtyards and stained glass windows. Later on, see the Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse, a stunningly restored traditional bathhouse. If time allows, explore the Agha Bozorg Mosque before shopping for local crafts and souvenirs at the Bazaar of Kashan. For overnight stay you can either return to Isfahan in the evening or accommodate in Kashan.

Starry Nights in Varzaneh Desert

Begin your day with an early morning drive from Isfahan to the Varzaneh Desert, about 1.5 to 2 hours away. Start by exploring Varzaneh Village, known for its unique white chadors worn by local women and traditional architecture. Then, visit the Varzaneh Salt Lake, where the shimmering white salt flats provide stunning photo opportunities, followed by a stop at the Gavkhouni Wetland for some bird-watching.

In the afternoon, head to the sand dunes of Varzaneh for exciting activities like sandboarding, camel riding, or simply enjoying the expansive desert views. Have a picnic lunch amidst the dunes, ensuring you stay hydrated and protected from the sun. As the day winds down, visit the historic Varzaneh Citadel to capture a breathtaking sunset over the desert. After the sunset, begin your drive back to Isfahan, arriving in the evening.

Isfahan FAQs

Isfahan is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, stunning Islamic architecture, and vibrant bazaars. It's often referred to as "Nesf-e-Jahan" (Half of the World) due to its historical significance and beauty.

Some must-visit attractions in Isfahan include the Imam Square (Naqsh-e Jahan Square), Imam Mosque, Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque, Ali Qapu Palace, Vank Church, Jolfa District, Music Museum of Isfahan, Chehel Sotun Palace, and the historic bridges over the Zayandeh River.

The best time to visit Isfahan is during the spring (April to Jun) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and mild, making it ideal for exploring the city's outdoor attractions.

Some traditional dishes to try in Isfahan include Biryani or Beryouni, Khoresht Mast (Yoghurt Stew), and various types of Persian rice dishes (Polo). Don't miss trying local sweets like Gaz and Sohan.

Isfahan is generally considered safe for tourists, with low crime rates and a welcoming atmosphere. However, it's always a good idea to take normal safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings while traveling.

Yes, Isfahan is known for its vibrant bazaars and markets where you can find a variety of souvenirs such as Persian carpets, handicrafts, traditional clothing, and local sweets. The Grand Bazaar and Naqsh-e Jahan Square are popular shopping destinations for visitors.

Isfahan has a well-developed public transportation system, including buses and taxis, which make it easy to get around the city. Additionally, many of the main attractions in the city center are within walking distance of each other.

Isfahan Gallery