Day 1 - 2 From Tehran over the Alborz to the Caspian Sea
Today, we welcome you at Tehran airport, from where a transfer brings you to your hotel. Overnight: Hotel.
Your private train departs in the morning from Tehran station. A genuine rail adventure is waiting for you! During your journey through the Alborz Mountains, landscapes are changing quickly and now and again, red and green ribbons appear on the austere hills. From one moment to another a Wild West scenery changes into a cultivated piece of land where poplars and reed are signs of the proximity of water. At an altitude of nearly 8,000 feet you pass the main mountain crest before sliding down towards the Caspian Sea. On the way to Sari you pass numerous bridges, viaducts, tunnels and terminal loops. Once in Sari, a tour of the city takes you to the clock tower – the city’s landmark. Thanks to the close-by Caspian Sea that is home to the sturgeon, caviar is a regional speciality here, so, your dinner in a quaint restaurant includes a caviar tasting. (BLD) Overnight: Train.
Day 3 Mashhad
Mashhad is one of the seven holy sites of the Shiite Islam – and the only one in Iran. Here you find the mausoleum of the eighth Shiite Imam, Ali ibn Musa ar-Reza, who is said to have been poisoned at Calif al Ma’mum’s behest. The sanctuary in his honour consists of numerous patios and features one of the most comprehensive art collections in the whole of Iran, of which you will visit the impressive carpet museum among others. (BLD) Overnight: Train.
Day 4 Kerman
You are crossing the desert landscape of the Iranian plateau on your way to Kerman today. Breakfast and lunch are served on board. The city of Kerman is famous for its carpet manufactory. During your guided city tour you see the Friday Mosque and the Mosque Ganj Ali Khan. You stroll around the bazaar and enter a tea house where you taste the local sweet treat Kolompeh – a small shortcrust cake filled with date sauce. (BLD) Overnight: Hotel.
Day 5 Bam
This afternoon you reach Bam – an oasis full of date palms and citrus fruits, ideally located at the artery between the Iranian plateau and the Indian subcontinent, hence its importance. Its current and also former historic centre is the fortress Arg-é Bam, a UNESCO World Heritage. After sunset, you are the guest of some local Bedouins who are telling you about the fairy tale world of 1001 Nights, while you’re all sitting snugly around a bonfire. (BLD) Overnight: Train.
Day 6 Yazd – City of the fire-worshipers
In the morning, you reach the most exciting desert city of Iran: Yazd. Wind towers and domes dominate the city founded by Alexander the Great. Here, you visit the Zoroastrian fire temples and towers of silence, where the dead were once buried after the Zarathustra rite. The Yazd Water Museum introduces you to the desert city’s water supply by the Qanat system and gives you an idea of the green and water-refreshed life of a well-to-do family’s home. While you are taking your lunch in the dining car, your private train heads towards Isfahan, where your hotel room is waiting for you. Today’s dinner will be served in the lovely courtyard of a former caravansary. (BLD) Overnight: Hotel.
Days 7 and 8 Isfahan – Image of the world
Take your time to explore this wonderful city! Image of the World is what the locals like to call the Imam Square. With 1,840 ft. x 520 ft., it is not only the second largest, but also one of the most beautiful squares in the world. The marble columns bear witness to the fact of this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s former purpose as a venue for polo games. You cross the threshold to visit the Ali-qapu Palace and a veranda where you can enjoy an excellent view of the Imam Square. Once a private mosque for the Safavid royal families, the Lotfullah Mosque opens its doors for you today. You also visit the Jameh Mosque and the Armenian Quarters and you have enough time to explore the city and its markets on your own. Walk the Zayandehrud River and get to know the city’s two famous bridges, a favourite meeting place for the locals. Get enchanted by the merchants’ skills and products on display at the gold bazaar. Two days full of exciting experiences end with a dinner in an oriental style restaurant featuring local food at its best and a visit to a typical zurkhaneh, where the locals go for their sporting activities. (BLD) Overnight: One night hotel, one night train.
Day 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites Pasargadae and Persepolis
At the site of his victories, the Persian King, Cyrus the Great, built his capital city of Pasargadae. I am Cyrus the King, an Achaemenian, states the inscriptions on pillars and reliefs of the audience hall of the Residence. Your local tour guide shows you all of the attractions of this sprawling archaeological site, including the Cyrus grave. By bus, you reach your next sightseeing spot in about an hour. The kingdom of Darius the First extended from Egypt to Pakistan, and he founded the capital of Para; the Greeks named it Persepolis. Your guide takes you on a discovery tour of the 1,500 ft. x 985 ft. palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Step up the two stairs to the Portal of All Countries, which gives you an idea of the size of the Achaemenid Empire. The Assyrian models of hybrids and bull figures had a defensive and protective function. Discover Apadana Palace, where King Darius received his visitors, and the Naqsh-e-Rostam necropolis of the Achaemenids. A short bus ride brings you to Shiraz, where you spend your night in a hotel. (BLD) Overnight: Hotel.
Day 10 Shiraz – City of Hafiz the Poet
With the verses of Hafiz in your mind and following the scent of roses, you explore the city of the Persian paradise gardens (UNESCO World Heritage site). Not just flowers and fruit were thriving in the mild climate, but Persian poetry also struck roots here. Experience the hustle and bustle of the Old Town bazaar and discover Nasir-al-Molk Mosque, where the winter prayer hall is one of the most beautiful of its kind. Bud-shaped domed structures are typical for Shiraz – a visit to the Shah Cheragh monument and mosque will show you one of the best examples of this style, before you board your special train to travel to Tehran overnight. (BLD) Overnight: Train.
Day 11 Tehran
After your arrival in Tehran, you say goodbye to your charming train staff. In the Iranian capital, you visit Golestan Palace, an exciting monument of the glories and excesses of the Qajar emperors. One of the most oustanding gem collections in the world is on your agenda after lunch. The precious stones are estimated at up to 182 carats! A very special and magnificent exhibit in the extensive collection is the Naderi Thorn, which is decorated with 26,733 gems. In the Archaeological Museum you take a journey through history – here again the impressions gained on your journey are of historical proportions. (BLD) Overnight: Hotel.
Day 12 End of your journey
Airport transfer for individual departure.