Church of St Stephanos, Jolfa One of three splendid Armenian churches that together form a Unesco World Heritage listing.
Oljeitu Mausoleum, Soltaniyeh A vast 14th-century mausoleum with the world’s tallest brick dome is the most magnificent surviving Mongol structure in Iran.
Naranjestan, Shiraz Take the ultimate selfie in the exquisite winter iwan (vaulted hall), repeated ad infinitum in the mirror.
A soaring, almost unfeasibly bold 11th-century brick tower.
Treasury of National Jewels, Tehran Home to the Peacock Throne and a Shah’s ransom of bling.
Isfahan Music Museum, Esfahan, A Stunning new museum that plays to the city’s fine musical traditions.
Carpet Museum, Mashhad, Admire exquisite carpets while on a pilgrimage to Mashhad’s holy shrine.
Tehran Museum of ContemporaryArt, Tehran, Striking piece of modern architecture housing a fabulous but rarely seen collection.
Ardabil: Possibly the sweetest town in Iran, famous for its honeycomb, black halva (‘pest’) and
Hezardestan Traditional Teahouse, Mashhad: Fabulous food, a memorable teahouse setting, and live music make this the top choice for Mashhadis.
Haj Khalifeh Ali Rahbar, Yazd: The mind- and taste-bud-blowing array of Iranian Shirini (sweets) is
the best in town.
Fereni Hafez, Esfahan: Fereni is a classic Iranian dessert and this Esfahan institution is so popular people eat it for breakfast.
Persepolis: The full glory of the Achaemenid period in one magnificent former summer capital.
Shushtar: The Sassanian-era structures here include watermills, a 45-span bridge, and a cliff-top castle.
Takht-e Soleiman: History’s foremost Zoroastrian fire-temple complex is set in a high, lonely bowl of mountains beside a crater lake.
Ardashir’s Palace: South of Shiraz, Ardashir’s monumental palace was one of the earliest Sassanian architectural triumphs and the most impressive of what’s left.
Ateshooni, one of Iran’s original and best homestays in the classic mid-desert oasis village of Garmeh.
Tak-Taku Guesthouse, Experience desert family life with Mohammad and his family in their atmospheric courtyard home in Toudeshk.
Bavanat Stay in a living museum of village life where profits return to the community.
Qeshm Island Experience the fast-disappearing Bandari Arab way of life in the coastal villages of Tabl or Shibderaz.
Alborz trekking Iran’s best hiking with trails possible from both the Karaj and Alamut sides.
Mt Damavand Trek to the summit of the Middle East’s highest mountain.
Desert trekking Venture into the sands by camel or on foot from the desert villages of Farahzad or Mesr.
Rock climbing Tackle one of the region’s classic climbing challenges at Farhad Tarash, in the shadow of the historic Bisotun rock inscriptions.
Bazar-e Bozorg, Esfahan Sprawling, historic and endlessly fascinating; feels like a Persian fairy tale.
Bazar-e Vakil, Shiraz One of Iran’s best with brick-vaulted ceilings and a marvelously chaotic early evening vibe.
Grand Bazaar, Tehran Begin in the copper section, move on to carpets and inhale deeply in the nut-and-spice section.
Bazar-e Sartasari, Kerman Classic east Iranian bazaar with commercial lanes overlooked by mosques and museums.
Kurdish hospitality, Howraman Valley Journey among the Kurds to experience singing and dancing in this ancient Kurdish bastion.
Zurkhaneh, Yazd Uniquely Iranian show of male strength with mystical undertones.
Religious pilgrimage, Mashhad Observe the passionate reverence for Shiite Islam that is nowhere more fully displayed than at the major holy shrines, particularly the huge shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad.
Persian Food Tours, Tehran Learn how to cook Iranian-style and shop with locals to buy the ingredients.