Searching the internet you can find a list of must-see places and landmarks of Iran! However, to have a memorable journey with some exclusive moments, you should read between the lines! Having local experiences in Iran provides you with a unique experience that belongs to you. Even in this way you can have a better understanding of what you visit as a tourist in this country!
The old alleys, different ceremonies and traditions, and crowded bazaars in Iran all promise you the local experiences that you can enjoy in this country. Iran has friendly and welcoming people who cherish you with their hospitability and are open to sharing many experiences with you. Here we provide you some suggestions to have some non-touristy experiences in Iran and have a great time!
Read also: Tips You Wish to Know about Iran Culture
Public transportation, a local experience on a budget
Using public transportation is a great way to associate with the locals. In this way, you can have interaction with people and besides, know more about their habits and culture. You can choose to visit some landmarks using the metro or bus. In this way, you add charm to your sightseeing!
To have such a local experience in Iran, you can use the bus and in some big cities metro. Several renowned landmarks in cities like Isfahan or Tehran are located in the heart of the cities. So do not miss this non-touristy experience while visiting must-see places during your trip to Iran.
Read also: All Things You Should Know About Domestic Flights in Iran
Watch out for tourist traps!
Like all other parts of the world, there are shops, cafes, and restaurants for tourists around the renowned landmarks. While traveling to different cities, walk some streets away from tourist attractions. So you can find shops and cafes for locals.
There you can find your needs at a more reasonable price. Besides, you have the chance to communicate with local people and in this way have more local experiences.
So do not spend all your time on tourist attractions! Walk away and have more experiences and fun with local people.
Ecolodges, a local experience and local stay
Staying at an ecolodge is a great choice during your travel.
Nowadays there are different kinds of ecolodges in Iran with different prices and features.
So you can find your favorite one with a little research.
In this way, you can have a lot of local experiences even when you want to rest and relax in your room!
The decoration and facilities are adapted for your accommodation.
Most of the time, the architecture and lifestyle of the region are reflected in the ecolodges.
Many of these eco-lodges are located in villages or non-touristy places of the city. This is another chance for you to have unique local experiences. Besides, many of them arrange some local tours during which, they introduce you to the region’s culture and lifestyle.
Muharram, a nationwide mourning
If you travel to Iran during Muharram, you would be surprised by people mourn in groups in some rhythmic movements. Shia every year mourn during the first ten days of the Hijri month of Muharram to commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain and his companions.
Imam Hussain is the third Imam of Shia who was martyred with 72 of his companions on the 10th of Muharram. The mourning of Iranians stresses during the 9th and 10th of Muharram, which is called Tasua and Ashura.
There are mourning processions, known as dasteh, on the streets. They are composed of men in black dresses who rhythmically beat their chests (sineh-zani) or beating with a chain on their shoulders (zanjir zani).
The mourning tradition is various in different parts of Iran. Tasht-Gozari in Aradabil, Nakhl Gardani in Yazd, and special sineh-zani in Bushehr are some of the traditions observe nationwide.
So traveling Iran in Muharram, you can watch a tradition of centuries-old on the street. This is a local experience that you can have in Iran.
Nowruz, New Year in Iranian style
If you travel to Iran in late March, you see the elements of Haft Seen (an arrangement of seven symbolic items starting with ‘S’ in Persian) decorated cities. People are buying these elements for their homes.
Besides, people buy new clothes for the new year. Although people celebrate this traditional ceremony for the New Year in their houses, there are traces of this national ceremony on the streets.
Also, on the last Wednesday night of the year, which is called Chaharshanbeh Suri (firework Wednesday) people jump from fires lighted on the street. A tradition that makes it a national ceremony.
Touch the differences, a local experience in Iran
Iran homes to different ethnic groups. You can find Azeri, Lurs, Kurds, Baluchis, Turkmen, and Arabs in different parts of the country. Each ethnic group has its tradition, cuisine, and everyday life.
Some special tours provide you the opportunity to have local experiences all over the country. There are some music tours, tea-tasting tours, Bible tours, and also culinary tours by which, you can follow your interest in a country like Iran with diverse cultures.
Besides, there are some trekking and nature tours by which, you can pave the unbeaten paths of Iran. With Nomad tours, you can experience living with nomad people in Iran. You can accompany them during their everyday life. In this way, you have a great non-touristy adventure in this country.
Cooking like Iranians
Going into the kitchen of other nations always reveals a lot of secrets about tastes! In a Persian kitehcen, you will learn a lot about the spices and tastes of Persian cuisines. There are one-day tours available in different cities by which, you can have a great experience of cooking in an Iranian style. So do not miss the chance and pick one of them. In this way, you know about the secrets of the delicious cuisines of Persia.
Workshops are calling you!
To have a great local experience, you can attend one-day workshops in which, you can make handicrafts.
In this way, you learn about new handmade products and also know about Persian culture and history.
There are different handicraft workshops and tours that you can choose to have a non-touristy experience in Iran.
For example, you can attend a bead-making workshop in Qom city. During the workshop, you learn about the history of Persian blue beads (Kharmohreh).
You also get familiar with tools, materials, and techniques for making the beads. Besides, you can walk around a live production area.
During the workshop, you engage in making your own Kharmohreh and can shop unique original work from the workshop.
Persian traditions in Persian buildings, a unique local experience
Have you ever heard about hammam or zurkhaneh? They are places in old Iran with multi-purpose functions.
Hammam or bathhouse is a meeting place for people of a neighborhood while zurkhaneh or Iranian traditional gymnasium was not only a sports gym but a place that people learn how to support each other!
Most of the hammams and zurkhanehs are now closed in Iran. But there is good news! You can have an experience of being at these places with some tours. You can have these unique experiences in Iran and be a part of it. This is an experience that makes an unforgettable trip to Persia for you.
Festivals of different times, different places
No matter which time of the year you travel to Iran, research local festivals that might be underway in that time! This is a great experience that you can have with the locals! For example, the rose water festival is held in Kashan in May. You can attend Pir-e Shalyar festival in Kordestan on the 40th day of winter. In early autumn, you can attend Ghali Shuyan festival in Mashhad Ardehal near Kashan.
You see there are a lot of ceremonies and festivals that you can enjoy while traveling to Iran. These non-touristy experiences make your travel unique and memorable for a lifetime!
Last but not the least
Iran is the land of tastes, ethnics, and differences! This fact provides you the chance to explore this country in depth and beyond what you read in your guide book. So invite yourself to this feast of culture and art of local experiences.