5 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT TRAVEL IN IRAN
1. Visas are impossible
Iran’s visa process has definitely earned itself a pretty awful reputation. But it’s not as bad as you think, and Iran Tourism Center is here to help you through it!
Here’s what you need to know:
Obtaining an Iran visa is a two-step process.
Authorization code for your visa must be issued by the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A visa for your passport must then be obtained at an Iranian Embassy once the authorization code has been issued.
The process varies depending on your nationality (or the passport you’re traveling on). If you are UK, US or Canadian – sorry guys, you can expect the process to take a little longer and a be a little bit more complicated (we’ll still help you, though!). Fortunately for Australians, New Zealanders, Irish and most other nationalities you can opt to obtain a visa on arrival once you have your authorization code, which is a much simpler process. If you’re confused already, don’t be. The great news is that all of our Iran visa information and application forms all live in one handy place.
2. It’s unsafe
The first thing people say when you tell them you’re traveling to Iran is, “Are you sure it’s safe?”. The reality is that nowadays, there is a degree of risk wherever you’re traveling or living for that matter. In fact, Iran is a very safe country for foreigners.
3. It’s no place for women
Many travelers arrive in Iran with a perception of Iranian women that’s way off the compass. In short, they think it’s going to be just like Saudi Arabia. That woman is not allowed to drive, they can’t work, or get an education, they are highly conservative and religious.
And there’s no doubt during your time in Iran you will see super conservative, religious women dressed top-to-toe in the ‘Chador’ (meaning ‘tent’ in Farsi). But, with half of Iran’s population under 35 years old, you’ll find far younger Iranian women with head scarfs pushed back low on the head, bright colored clothing (some of it figure-hugging), high heels, immaculately made-up with red lipstick and nails.
Women in Iran are no different to you or me, or your sister, or your mother; they go to the gym, stay on top of the latest fashions, get their nails done and more! At Iran Tourism Center, we have a female team of leaders and they are representative of a large percentage of Iranian women. They are fully integrated into the workforce, young, modern, independent, and they are highly educated (youngest Iranians have one if not two university degrees).
4. Iran has 1 climate – HOT
Similar to many Middle Eastern destinations, Iran conjures up images of sandy desserts and hot, balmy nights. However, it’s one of the few countries in the world that has a four-season climate and depending on the time of year (and region), you can experience all extremes of weather.
The high season of March-May offers ideal mild spring temperatures and clear weather in most of Iran. June and July are characteristically hot, while the shoulder season mirrors autumn and kicks in from September through to November. Winters are from Dec-Feb and temperatures average around 10°C or 50°F. This is typically the ‘off-season’ but offers a great opportunity to travel during the cooler, but incredibly stunning winter months.
Regardless of what time of year you travel, you can expect to see a range of stunning landscapes. Tips: pack layers as the nights can get cool, even in summer.
5. Iranians don’t know how to have fun
Thanks to media coverage, Iran is often portrayed as a dour regime. On the contrary, it’s full of lively, friendly people who love to socialize and have fun – just like anybody else!
There may not be bars and nightclubs but there are plenty of other ways that locals spend time together, let off some steam, have a good time. Want proof? Here are some favorite local activities:
Board game cafés. In lieu of bars and nightclubs, these are a popular haunt for locals to spend evenings with friends and are actually a lot of fun!
Picnics. Iranians love a picnic. Grass or no grass they will set up roadside on the weekend and simply enjoy being outdoors, eating, and spending time with loved ones.
Long meals. Iranians eat late. You can expect dinner to be around 10 pm and the feasting can easily go into the wee hours. It’s also worth noting that Iran is a ‘home cooking culture’. Unlike western countries, where people usually go out for a good meal, in Iran, it’s the opposite. You go out for a quick meal for convenience or fast food.
Skiing. In winter it’s not uncommon for locals to head to the slopes for a weekend away.
Tempted to pay this dazzling country a visit? Check out Iran Tourism Center range of small group adventures in Iran.