You simply can’t visit Iran without going to Shiraz, the city of poets and gardens. This essential Shiraz travel guide will help you plan your visit. It has the best time to visit, things to do/see, what to eat, where to stay, and most importantly what to wear. Bonus: there’s a sample Shiraz travel itinerary.
Table of Contents
Where is Shiraz?
To begin this Shiraz travel guide, let us understand where is this city located. The fourth-most-populous city of Iran, Shiraz is the capital of Fars Province. Located in the southwest of Iran on the “Rudkhaneye Khoshk”, a seasonal river, Shiraz has a moderate climate. It was one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia and has been a regional trade center for over a thousand years.
The best time to plan your Shiraz travel
Shiraz has a wonderful moderate climate. It is sunny and warm even in winter with approximately 15°C during the day even in the coldest months of the year. Summers are hot and sweltering and the daytime temperature exceeds 35°C. Rain is rare in Shiraz and the best time to visit Shiraz is spring – March, and April. Those months are pleasantly warm and sunny, with temperatures still under 30°C during the day. It is also the most popular tourism time, so make sure to book your hotel in advance.
How to reach Shiraz
A Shiraz travel guide must include the transportation options. Shiraz is one of the most accessible cities in Iran and one can reach it by bus, flight, and train. You can also fly into Shiraz since it has an international airport. The city is also well-connected to other Iranian cities with scheduled bus routes. Check out 1st Quest to find detailed information on bus schedules to and from Shiraz. Iran has a host of domestic airlines like Kish Air, Qeshm Airlines, Mahan Air, Air Aseman, etc. You can book domestic tickets online on 1st Quest, via a local travel agent, and at the airport. Shiraz also has a railway station which is located outside of the city center. One can travel to and from Tehran, Isfahan, and Mashad from Shiraz by train. The most popular mode of transportation by travelers in Iran is a private transfer. It is much cheaper to book it in Iran than from outside.
The most popular local mode of transportation in Shiraz is a shuttle taxi. The locals get around town by shuttle taxis. Each trip costs around 20,000 IRR. There are also public buses along with the Shiraz Urban Railway. However, the Shiraz Urban Railways caters mostly to locals and does not connect to any tourist sites. Most of the old city attractions are easily walkable and are best visited on foot.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of accommodations available in Shiraz. These range from hostels like the Taha Hostel, and boutique stays in the old city. Some of the best boutique accommodations in Shiraz include the Keyvan Hotel, Niayesh, Forough Boutique Hotel, and Darbe Shazdeh Hotel. I suggest choosing accommodation in the old city. You will have most of the attractions within walking distance and the atmosphere is photogenic. Nowadays, you can book accommodations in Iran online on 1st Quest.
Shiraz travel guide on things to do
Shiraz is packed with attractions and here are some of the most beautiful things to do.
- Nasir ol Molk Mosque or the Pink Mosque
- Vakil Mosque and Vakil Bazaar
- Eram Garden
- Naranjestan garden
- Shrine of Shah-e Cheragh
- Karim Khan Citadel
- The historic houses
- Tombs of Hafez and Sa’di
You can read the detailed information on Shiraz travel attractions here.
There are also some interesting places to explore as day trips from Shiraz and these are
- Naghsh-e Rostam
- Qalat Village
- Maharloo Lake
What to eat in Shiraz
While in Shiraz, don’t forget to enjoy some of the exquisite regional dishes like Kalam Polo and Faludeh.
Other Shiraz travel tips
What to Wear
Shiraz despite being the most liberal Iranian city, still follows a strict Islamic dress code. Women have to keep their heads covered at all times in public. Full sleeves are mandatory and so are full-length skirts and trousers. Covering the legs is mandatory for both genders. Tight clothes are prohibited. At religious places, women have to cover themselves with chador – a loose sheet. These are available at the entrance of the sites.
Money in Shiraz
The local currency of Shiraz is either toman or Irani Rial IRR. The exchange rate changes daily and it is best to find out the rate from a local. Due to the embargo, Visa and Mastercards are not allowed in Iran. It is a cash currency destination, so bring lots of dollars and change money on the street. To get the best rates, try to bring 100 USD bills that are newer than 2013. Older US$100 notes are considered invalid by Iranians. IRR is the official currency of Iran. However, most locals quote prices in toman, which is a different way of counting the same money. 100,000 IRRs are 10,000 tomans. It is necessary to confirm if the price is in toman or rial from any vendor before purchasing anything.
Internet is very restricted in Iran and many popular websites and services are blocked. These include Facebook and WhatsApp. So make sure your family and friends back home are aware of this when you travel to Iran and they do not panic upon not hearing a peep from you. Alternatively, you must get a VPN if you wish to browse the net in Iran. One of the trusted companies providing this is Express VPN.
Shiraz travel safety
Iran gets a bad rap due to some of its past and present domestic and international decisions. While no country is ever entirely safe, I have not once felt unsafe as a solo woman traveler in Shiraz. The local people are warm, welcoming, friendly, and like to talk about their culture, heritage, and traditions.
Things to Remember
- This is a conservative country and public show of affection is prohibited. Same sex couples should exercise extreme caution in Iran since homosexuality is a crime here.
- Morning is the best time to visit Pasargadae and the bas-reliefs of Persepolis especially if you are a photographer.
- Some tickets might let you come back to the site so enquire if you want to return for a sunset shot.
- Most of the sites charge entrance fees. So bring enough cash with you to get you through the day. That way you don’t have to waste time searching for money changers during the day.
- Read a bit about Persepolis before your trip. Your visit to the site will be more enjoyable.
- Carry an English-Farsi phrasebook with you.
- Make friends with the locals to enjoy Shirazi hospitality to the fullest.
Shiraz Travel Itinerary Suggestions
If you are short on time and have only one day to squeeze in the best of Shiraz attractions, then give priority to the Nasir ol Molk/Pink Mosque, Vakil Mosque and Bath, and Persepolis. The best way to do this is to hire a taxi or a car with a driver and a guide for the whole day. Start early in the morning, visit Persepolis, keep Vakil Mosque and Bath for the afternoon, and experience the sunset at the Pink Mosque. You can also do the reverse.
Day 1: Shiraz old town (Pink Mosque, Qavam House, Zinat Al-Moluk House, Vakil Mosque, etc)
Day 2: Persepolis and Pasargadae
Day 3: Tomb of Hafez, Eram Garden, and a relaxing evening at the citadel.
Follow the rest of the Iran series
- SOLO TRAVELING TO IRAN
- MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF SHIRAZ
- MY BEAUTIFUL SHIRAZ DAYS
- THE PINK MOSQUE OF SHIRAZ
- MOST BEAUTIFUL SHIRAZ ATTRACTIONS
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE