Last month, as we came across this travel blogger’s astounding pictures uncovering the beauty of Iran, we discovered a growing travel craze among backpacker groups and bloggers to explore Iran, in a context where mainstream media seems to suggest the contrary. Why is this once-exotic destination becoming so popular these days? We looked into these travel experts’ stories and found four common reasons:
1) Hospitable people
Iranians’ hospitality seems to be a common surprise among travelers, who find themselves sheltered by secret Couchsurfers and driven by perfect strangers who ask for nothing in return. “When it comes to hospitality, generosity and kindness, the people of Iran rank at the top of the list. When we were out in the middle of nowhere in the Desert of Garmeh, we met a lovely couple who gave us their number after only 5 minutes of knowing them. They said to call them when we were in Esfahan and we could stay at their house,” say Nick and Dariece on their blog Goats on the Road.
2) Discovering the biggest empire the world has ever seen
Amid forced conceptions of what the Islamic Republic represents, travelers go to Iran to actually visit Persia, the civilization that created an empire that stretched from modern-day Middle East to the Black Sea and some regions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and China: the largest ever known. “Shiraz remains one of my favorite destinations – the city that is considered the cultural capital of Iran. Old Persia remains here and you can easily imagine the descriptions of gardens and nightingales found in the diaries of those traversing the Silk Road,” says Becki Enright in her blog Borders of Adventure.
3) The curiosity to uncover what is veiled by prejudice
Polemic and often feared by Western media, Iran is an intriguing destination for many travelers seeking adventure. “I have never had people express so many opinions about my travels as when I decided to backpack through Iran for two weeks. Everyone seemed to have something to say about it,” says solo traveler Silvia in her blog Heart My Backpack.
4) Cheap prices
While accomodation in a hostel can range between 4 and 15 Euros, a dinner in a traditional restaurant can cost as little as Euros 2.5, says Spanish bloggers Eva and Javi.