Cycling Iran

92-Photo time in Iran.jpgIran only receives about 250,000 foreign tourists a year, a trickle compared with the rich heritage and sights on offer.

In fact, the reaction of your family and friends when you tell them you’re going to Iran is likely to be a questioning of your sanity. What a shame that stereotypes and international politics prevent so many people from experiencing one of the world’s most hospitable cultures.

Getting a visa for Iran can be trying but the reward is a hearty welcome from every Iranian you meet, doubly so if you’re brave enough to choose a bicycle as your mode of transport through the mountainous terrain. It’s a rare day indeed when the cyclist isn’t offered food, a cup of tea or a place to stay for the night.

Bakers... they gave us free samples!Iran’s “must see” places include the cities of Esfahan, Yazd and Shiraz. Many travellers also pass through Tabriz (a great spot for bike repair) as they head to or from Turkey and the holy city Mashhad is a key stopover on the way to Central Asia. Tehran isn’t as alluring as other parts of Iran but most cyclists on long journeys will need at least a few days in the capital to arrange onward visas. Away from the main drag, cyclists speak highly of routes through the Dasht-e-Kavir desert and in the Kurdish region of western Iran around Kermanshah.

The Caspian Sea area has a reputation for being developed and polluted although it is a popular summer holiday spot for Iranians. Hotel prices there soar in high season.

Read More about Cycling in Iran…

Cycle This…

Simon and Isabelle also have some great notes for Mashhad to Yazd.

Comments

  1. reza
    2nd February 2010 at 8:11 pm #

    hi
    my name reza.i am from iran.i am cycletourist. i have a weblog. i hope see you. by

    • Mahmoud
      16th September 2014 at 11:56 am #

      Hi Reza
      I am an Iranian living in Singapore and planning to bring few cycling friends who love Iran around Aug. 2015. We are so excited for this cycling trip and would want to find out how could we arrange for hotels and food during this road trip.
      Please contact me by email and need to know what are things we need to be done.
      Thank you
      Mahmoud

  2. mahdis
    7th December 2010 at 8:54 am #

    hi, don’t know when you came to iran, i’m a cyclist, too and call me for any help if you came to iran again :)

  3. hamidreza
    15th May 2011 at 8:29 am #

    hi. it’ good, how are you. if you want to have a trip to iran again,I will be glad for any help to you.call me

  4. Radka
    2nd July 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Hello,

    I am Radka. My partner and I are hoping to cycle to Iran in next 2 months. We are really looking forward to Iran and can’t wait to meet the local people and experience the lifestyle.

    Can somebody please recommend some recent blog with info what it was like to cycle through Iran? My partner is British and we were wondering if any British people travelled recently and had any encounters with local officials?

    Any info is appreciated.

    Thank you

    Radka

    • Sepehrdad
      11th April 2014 at 9:37 pm #

      Hi Radka i read your comment it is my proud to help you if you still wanna cycle to Iran…I live in Tehran Call me for any help i leave my phone number so please call me .
      With love Sepehrdad
      +989358161238

  5. Matt
    7th December 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Thinking of cycling through iran on a round the world trip leaving london uk around sept 2012. Is it safe for 2 english men to cycle through Iran considering what we see on the news?? Hope so!

    Thanks!

    • Mohammad
      16th October 2012 at 11:09 am #

      dear Matt, it’s safe. don’t worry about the news.

  6. mina
    5th November 2012 at 12:48 am #

    based on World Travel and Tourism Council, Iran received 1,679,000 tourists @2006 & it is increasing. Where did u get 250,000 ppl?

    • friedel
      6th November 2012 at 8:51 am #

      I can’t remember now but I think this was the difference between “real” tourists (let’s say – in general – Westerners) and Iranians returning home to visit family.

  7. B M
    21st February 2013 at 4:10 am #

    Hi There-

    I am an American and have heard that American tourists are required to travel with a guide while in Iran. Have you heard of any american visitors being able to successfully bike tour in Iran? (I.e. once I’ve successfully got the visa and etc.)

    Thanks! -ben

    • Worldl4awayfarer
      16th December 2014 at 11:56 pm #

      Hey BM, did you ever find out any info on Americans cycling in Iran?

      • Mary Bowker
        8th January 2015 at 11:43 pm #

        Hi…have you gotten info on americans cycling in Iran? Looking to do so this spring, but I just read about the guide issue. Hmm.
        Please let me know if you find anything out…you can get in touch through my website freetwowheel.com
        Thanks!
        Mary

  8. Tim Moss
    19th January 2014 at 7:06 am #

    I could probably leave the very same comment on every other page of your website but: thank you for an excellent resource!

    We’re in Yerevan about to head to Tabriz and this is really useful stuff.

    • friedel
      23rd January 2014 at 4:27 pm #

      I hope it helps; the notes are undoubtedly a bit out of date now as we were there way back in 2007 but hopefully still helpful.

  9. Omid
    1st April 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    Hi
    I am a cycle tourist from Tabriz.
    I can give you some detailed info about traveling here In this region.

  10. Natalia
    6th July 2014 at 2:21 pm #

    We’ve started planning a trip to Iran, and when my husband suggested us biking from Pasargadae to Persepolis I thought it was totally out of question, until I found your website. I wish I could hug you for such valuable information you share here! Thanks a lot!

  11. Mary Bowker
    11th January 2015 at 3:39 am #

    I am an American and my husband is from the UK (Irish). We want to cycle Iran as part of the silk road sometime this spring (2015), but are having a hard time figuring out how to get around/work with the requirement for Americans, and now, Brits and Canadians, to have a pre-determined tour plan and guide. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks!
    You can contact us through our website http://www.freetwowheel.com

  12. George
    17th February 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    This looks exactly like something I would enjoy, thank you for the advice. I look forward to visiting soon.

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