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Cycling through Iran, a 12-day social and cultural tour

Join this amazing cycling and cultural tour in Iran and discover a fascinating country, along with Hamed and the qualified guides of the Iran Plateau team.

Duration12 days
Offer periodApr, May, Sep, Oct
Skill LevelIntermediate
Fitness LevelFit
Type of tripGroup


  • Discover a fascinating country and some of the friendliest people in the world

  • Enjoy a cycling adventure combined with social and cultural visits

  • Interact with local people and discover beautiful architecture and landscapes


Join us on this amazing 12-day adventure in Iran, a unique cycling, cultural and social tour that will challenge everything you think you know about this fascinating country.

Iran is one of the countries where locals are most welcoming with visitors. You will meet some of the friendliest and warmest people in the world, while discovering beautiful ancient architecture and amazing landscapes.

This is a tour that balances local impact with cycling and sightseeing. We will be cycling 6 out of the 12 days of the tour. We will connect you with local Non Government Organizations (NGOs) and also with the beneficiaries of a funded project of your choice. We will take you to the villages to discover what really happens on the ground.

Our adventure starts in the capital city of Tehran, and we will slowly head south towards the city of Shiraz. We will trace the spectacular legacies of the Persian Empires and traverse immense deserts and oasis towns. However, the highlight of the journey will be the spontaneous interaction with the locals.

Our riding pace will be friendly and relaxed, as this in adventure to be enjoyed, not a race. Travelling by bike allow you to have the most authentic experiences.We’ll have time to stop for tea, coffee, lunch and local specialties, and of course, to take lots of pictures. You can check the day-by-day itinerary below.

Depending on the gradient of the mountain, the average cycling pace could be anything from 5km/ph to 20-22km/ph.The shortest day (Nº5) is only 25km, but it’s all uphill and not without it’s challenges, while the longest (Nº8) is about  70km, but it’s mostly all downhill. Also note we cycle away from main roads, highways and traffic.

One of the most interesting aspects to discover when visiting a new country is local food, and Iran won’t disappoint you, with the great variety of local delights it offers. Think of a huge diversity of spices, buttery rice, brilliant barbecued meats, fresh fruits, vegetables and so much more.

We usually have dinner in a “Iranian family style”, meaning everybody has the possibility to try everything. If you’re a vegetarian, don’t worry. There will alwas be vegetarian options on the table and there is a huge diversity of local vegetarian specialties available at every meal.

Needless to say, this is an adventure only for open minded and curious spirits. Although Iran is an incredibly friendly country, it is mandatory that local customs and laws are followed and respected. For instance, drinking alcohol is absolutely forbidden.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to discover a fascinating country. Check the dates below and book your place. It will be our pleasure to guide you in Iran on this 12-day amazing tour.


We will stay in hotels in the bigger cities, Tehran, Kashan, Esfahan and Shiraz (7 nights) and in local homes in the smaller towns (4 nights). Prices are based on sharing rooms, but a single room supplement can be arranged for an additional $490, however, it only applies to hotel nights.


Needless to say, this is an adventure reserved for the open minded. Iran is an incredibly friendly country but it is imperative that local laws and customs are adhered to. Just a few things you will need to be aware of: -Alcohol is illegal. This doesn’t just apply to locals, it applies to everybody. There will be absolutely no alcohol on the Social Cycles tour. -You must dress conservatively. Women must wear a hijab (head scarf) at all times when in public. Long sleeve shirts and trousers should also be worn. For men, full length shirts and trousers should also be worn in public. Cycling clothing is permitted but should be covered with loose fitted clothing over the top. -Money. There is no Visa or Mastercard access from ATM’s as sanctions still limit financial access. As a result, you will need to bring in US cash and exchange at the airport. The money that you bring into the country is the only money you will have access to whilst you are in Iran, so make sure you have enough for all your souvenirs!

More info

NGOs -In Tehran, we will visit Omid Foundation, who work towards empowering vulnerable young women through education and training. Hemayataz Koodak work with distressed families with young children, offering support and guidance. -For every tour, all riders are requested to contribute a nominal sum for the purpose of a donation. Usually AU$200 per rider. During the course of the tour, you are given the chance to engage with, and learn from, local NGOs. We visit no less than three NGOs during the Iran tour and spend some time learning about their projects, strategies and challenges. At the end of the tour, the riders are then empowered with new found knowledge and have the opportunity to combine the allotted donation money and make an impact towards a project of their choosing. We spend 1-2 hours with each NGO who are then remunerated, should they accept it, regardless of whether or not there is a follow up donation from the group.




Day 1: Tehran-Welcome Dinner

We’d recommend you arrive a few days earlier to Tehran to have a good look around, as we don’t have a lot of time scheduled here. You can check out one of the many museums, mosques or markets. Brett, one of the tour facilitators will be in the city to greet you and offer some local advice. Our first official activity for the evening is a welcome dinner at a ‘local’s favourite’ restaurant.

Day 2: Tehran- NGO Visit -Quom

We start the day with the wonderful people from Omid-e-Mehr foundation. You will learn how this incredible NGO empowers local disadvantaged young women through three key areas: self empowerment, education and training. Starting in 2004, Omid-e-Mehr was set up to help victims of sexual, physical and mental abuse. Today, it has over 200 young women enrolled in it’s program. In the afternoon, we will start to make our way to Qom, the second holiest city in Iran. This is an ideal place (and time) to see Muharram, the mourning of Imam Hossein. The festivities of this religious occasion will follow us on our whole trip across Iran in September, but nothing will be more prevalent that what you will witness in Qom.

Day 3: First Cycling Tour-Kashan

In the morning, we’ll take the van and get out of town into the foot of the mountains. This is where we start our first cycle day as we begin a gradual climb from 1400m to 2800m asl over the first 30km. After a bit of undulation, we finish the day at 1750m asl at the 70km point, before getting into the van and driving to Kashan. We plan to arrive into Kashan in the comfort of a hotel to give you a chance to rest, relax and explore the incredible town of Kashan at your leisure.

Day 4: Kashan-Fin Gardens-Sightseeing

We’ll arrange the van to take us to Fin Gardens (about 10km out of town) for the morning, but the rest of the day is yours to explore. Kashan is a really interesting city, a popular tourist destination for locals. And for good reason. The Agha Bozorg Mosque is an excellent example of 19th century architecture, the bazaar, Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse and Bagh-e-Fin Garden are all easy to get camera crazy over. And then there is the food to eat and rugs to buy! Of course, this is an opportunity to soak up the cultural surrounding by just taking rest. Take your camera for a walk, drink tea with a local stranger and let the local hospitality guide you.

Day 5: Kashan-Abyaneh

We drive out of the traffic of Kashan and onto a quiet road, some 1400m asl. The 25km climb is broken up by exploring some of the local villages on the way. Don’t be surprised if the locals invite us in for tea, and if so, expect a feast of fruit, dates, home made sweets and of course, black tea. The day finishes at 2200m asl in the small historical village of Abyaneh. Make sure you take some time to go for a stroll and marvel at the wonderful red colours of the mud brick town.

Day 6: Abyaneh-Meymeh

From Abyaneh we tackle the mountain range to the West. A slow 22km climb will take us to new heights of 2800m above sea level into a land of complete remoteness and rural fascination. These are the roads less travelled, let alone cycled, and these are the roads that lead to great adventures and authentic experiences. We will arrive at the tiny village of Meymeh (200m asl), before being picked up by the van to transit into Esfahan. It’s important to note that the first 22km of this ride from Abyaneh is not supported by either vehicle as the terrain is not suitable.

Day 7: Esfahan -NGO Visit

Esfahan is the number one tourist destination in Iran, and for good reason. Being one of the oldest cities in Iran, some 2500 years, Esfahan is famous for it’s tree lined boulevards, Life-Giving River, The Zayandeh-Rood, abundant and beautiful mosques, bazaars, bridges and city squares.

Esfahan is an incredible city to explore and discover through the diverse food, cafes and teahouse’s. We will also dig a little deeper and meet Congress 60, another NGO, to learn a little more about the what happens beneath the surface of this friendly and welcoming community.

Day 8: Esfahan to Zagros Mountains

Today we have a 44km cycle day, with more down than up.

As standard, we will drive out of the city of Esfahan to quieter roads. At a starting elevation of 2300m asl, we’ll make our way through remote outback Iran, via small villages to a small town, not too far from the Dena Protected Area. The elevation of our destination is at the 1500m asl point, and although it”s not all downhill on the bike, there certainly is more down than up!

Day 9: Zagros Mountains

More mountains, villages and cycling.

We continue our journey on bike through the mountains for a further 30kmk or 35km, depending on the route we go and the confidence of the group. The beauty of cycling out in these back end roads is that it is an opportunity to witness true Iranian hospitality. Tourists are covered with kindness and are considered by some to be ‘guests from God’. These off the beated tracck roads will give us the opportunity to take our time and stroll through local villages on the way, whilst enjoying local foods and capturing that amazing photograph.

Day 10: Shiraz-Cycling

Starting at an altitude of 1700m, we will climb to a peak of 2500m over the first 60km, before descending to 2300m for the evening in the next 10km. This is the last cycle day of the trip and the distance we cycle towards Shiraz will depend on the group and the time we want to arrive. Having two support vehicles and a small group allows for greater flexibility in our cycling day and everybody should be able to have a great day. Shiraz is another fabulous city and one that wants to be explored. We’ll have the entire following day to explore, but the mosque and Hafez Tomb are great places to visit for sunset and evening times.

Day 11: Shiraz: The city, the people, the monuments and our last NGO

We take a full day here to explore, relax and reflect on the experience over the previous couple of weeks. Shiraz is a photographers dream with highlights such as Eram Gardens, Nasir al-Mulk mosque, Vakil mosque and bazaar, Karim Khan citadel just to name a few. We’ll spend part of the day visiting our final NGO of the trip, while the rest is yours to explore what suits you best (and to grab some of that last minute shopping!)

Day 12: Shiraz to Tehran

Today we have a long drive via Izad Khast. We’ll drive straight to the country’s premier attraction, Persepolis. This ancient empire was built in 518 BC by Darius the Great as the capital of the mighty Achaemenid Empire. Alexander the Great burnt the city to the ground in 330 BC, but many remnants of its former glory remain and Persepolis lives on as one of the greatest wonders of the ancient world. Officially made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

It’s a long day in the van, but we’ll get you to Tehran by early evening to say goodbye.

About the guide

guide profile img

We are a team of Mountain Leaders who are passionate about sharing the mountains and warm, friendly culture of Iran with visitors from around the world. We love being outdoors and lead ski, trekking, rock climbing, ice climbing, mountain biking, cycling, canyoning and caving tours all around Iran.

We run tours in all four seasons and work every day to put Iran on the map as a top outdoor adventure destination. Come and see what you have been missing here in Iran!

My name is Hamed, and along with Hussein, I co-created Iran Plateau - a Tehran based guiding agency who leads outdoor activities and adventures throughout the country. I also serve as the president of the National Mountain Leaders Association here in Iran.

We love what we do and look forward to having you join us.

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Prices per person

Group of 1

EUR 2640 each

Group of 2

EUR 2640 each

Group of 3

EUR 2640 each

Group of 4

EUR 2640 each

Group of 5

EUR 2640 each

Group of 6

EUR 2640 each

Group of 7

EUR 2640 each

Group of 8

EUR 2640 each

Want a different number of travellers?

Price includes

• Guiding fee

• Accommodation

• Transport during the trip

• Luggage transfer during the trip

• Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Price details

• Price includes: 11 x nights accommodation (4 in local homes); Full Bicycle hire, not including helmets; Minimum 3 x support staff, including cycle guide, driver and cultural tour manager; 2 x support vehicles for the ride with water and fruit; Minimum three NGO presentations with local staff across Iran; Multiple field trips to villages and communities; Entry and guided tour of Persepolis UNESCO world heritage site; 11 x breakfasts, 6 x lunch and 8 x dinners; Airport transfers for arrival.// Flights, Visa and Insurance are not included in the price.

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