Mashhad, the capital of the Razavi Khorasan Province, is known as one of Iran’s holiest cities. Mashhad is home to one of the country’s holiest sites, which is visited by millions of pilgrims each year. It is said to be the ultimate resting place of Islam’s eighth Imam, who was poisoned in 817 CE. During your visit to Mashhad, you may take use of a relatively modern bus system that provides safe and dependable transportation.
A relatively recent bus system provides dependable transportation while exploring in Mashhad; it can take you from mausoleums, mosques, and shrine complexes to bustling bazaars and lively eateries. The city’s stringent clothing requirement applies to both male and female tourists. Here we listed all the necessary information you need to plan your itinerary for Mashhad holiday.
How to get to Mashhad?
Mashhad Hashemi Nejad International Airport is Iran’s second-busiest airport behind Tehran-Mehrabad. In 2016. It is connected to 57 destinations and has frequent flights to 30 cities within Iran like Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, etc and 27 destinations in Central Asia, the Middle East, East Asia and Europe like Turkey, Dubai, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait, Afghanistan, India, Russia, Tajikistan, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia.
For a road trip, it is 900 km from Tehran to Mashhad for a nonstop drive. It takes about ten hours. So you can have itineraries like some beautiful Caravanserai in Semnan, Abr forest in Shahrood and Khar Turan National Park on your way to Mashhad as well.
Sightseeings in Mashhad
Shrine of Imam Reza (S) Complex
First of all, the city is renowned for the shrine of Imam Reza (S). In fact, the shrine is in the center of Mashhad. It is 600,000 square meters and has seven courtyards.
Actually, the magnificent tile works, calligraphy ornament, porches, and minarets adorn the shrine.
Although only Muslims can visit the inner sanctuary, everybody can enjoy its architecture. The shrine with its golden dome in the center attracts everybody who visits Mashhad.
Every year lots of Muslims travel to Mashhad to pilgrimage the Imam Reza Holy Shrine.
Astan-e Qods Museum
The museum is in the shrine complex. It houses stamps, medals dedicated by Iranian athletes, and carpets. You can also visit the previous zarih (an ornate, lattice structure that encloses the grave in the shrine) at the museum. It was replaced in 2001.
Nader Shah Afshar Mausoleum
You can pay a visit to the mausoleum of Nader Shah (1688-1747) while traveling Mashhad. It is in the downtown of the city. There is also a museum, which features documents, artifacts, and military assets. The Iranian architect Houshang Seyhoun built the mausoleum during the Persian calendar year 1342 (1963-1964).
Nader Shah Afshar was one of the most powerful Iranian rulers in Iranian history, ruling as Shah of Iran (Persia) from 1736 to 1747 when he was assassinated during a rebellion.
The Tombs of Renowned Poets
A modern monument in the city of Nishapur, the Mausoleum of Omar Khayyam is a must-see place. The fantastic mausoleum was reconstructed in 1934 by prominent architect Houshang Seyhoun. The inspiring mausoleum surrounded by a garden is a great place to spend time and tranquil. Omar Khayyam (1048 –1131) was a great Persian poem, philosopher, mathematician, and philosopher. He is widely known in English by a translation by Edward FitzGerald (Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam).
The Mausoleum of Attar Nishaburi also known as Attar of Nishapur (1145 – 1221) near Khayyam tomb is located in Nishapur. The octagonal dome has four entrances.
Things to do in Mashhad
Shopping in Mashhad Bazaar
The 800m-long Reza covered bazaar is designed to look semitraditional but is a 20th-century creation. Shops within sell a wide variety of products and upstairs you’ll find many jewellery stalls proffering turquoise mined at nearby Neishabur. However, their sales pitch is often more impressive than their gems.
Mashhad is the world’s saffron capital, and you won’t find a better price anywhere else than the bazaars surrounding Fakaleh Ab plaza. The spice, which is more costly than gold gram for gram, is a great keepsake or gift.
Mashhadi carpets are likewise highly sought for, so expect to bargain your way to a decent deal.
Exploring in Kang Village
Many off-the-beaten-path joys may be found in rural Khorasan, which are frequently difficult to reach by public transportation but well worth the effort of renting a private cab or taking a taxi to get there. One especially attractive example is Kang, a small hamlet approximately an hour’s drive from Mashhad.
The village is filled with mud-brick buildings that are built along the slopes of the mountains, providing a unique opportunity to learn about one of the few groups that still practice such a traditional way of life.
Read also: Unmissable Things to Do in Mashhad
Lodging in Mashhad
Ghasr Talaee International Hotel
The hotel is a five-star luxury accommodation in the city of Mashhad. It boasts 358 rooms on 20 floors. In fact, it has double rooms with some towards the shrine, atrium rooms, president, royal, imperial, and Qajar suites.
In addition, rooms and suites are well-equipped and some of the amenities including a minibar, hairdryer, safe box, LCD TV, electric kettle, and air conditioning. Princess suites and rooms are specially designed for new couples.
Ghasr Talaeee Hotel features six restaurants with Iranian and international dishes and fast foods. Besides, it also has two coffee shops, plus a café lounge in the lobby.
The hotel is on Imam Reza blvd., the main street leading to Imam Reza Shrine. Other attractions nearby include the Tomb of Nader Shah, Gonbad Kheshti, Bazaar Reza, and Goharshad Jameh Mosque.
Madinah Al-Reza Hotel
The hotel is the closest five-star hotel in Mashhad to the shrine of Imam Reza. Madinah Al-Reza Hotel with Iranian-Islamic design, makes you feel a spiritual atmosphere. In fact, it has 320 rooms in a nine-story building.
Multiple room types are available: regular single, double, and triple rooms, plus suites and apartments with two or more bedrooms. Besides, the hotel features specific rooms for disabled guests. It is a kid-friendly hotel and providing activities for them in the kid’s room.
As mentioned before, the top feature of Madinal Al-Reza Hotel is near the shrine of Imam Reza. It takes only 15 minutes to get to the shrine. Historical attractions such as the Tomb of Nader Shah, Gonbad Kheshti, and the Anthropology Museum of Mashhad are also within a walking distance.
Darvishi Royal Hotel
The hotel is a five-star luxurious accommodation on Imam Reza Boulevard, Mashhad. In fact, it has 223 rooms and a glass atrium design.
There are various types of rooms for everyone, from economy rooms and suites to high-end accommodation with eastern designs. Besides, all rooms have a TV, fridge, minibar, air conditioning, electric kettle, safe box, and free internet access.
Darvishi Royal Hotel is a seven-minute drive to Imam Reza Shrine. Other nearby attractions are Goharshad Mosque, Kooh Sangi Park, and Tomb of Nader Shah Afshar. Mashhad Hasheminejad International Airport is a 15-minute drive away.
Read also: Best Hotels in Mashhad 2021
Best Time to Visit Mashhad
Located in the North East of Iran, In Mashhad, the summers are hot, arid, and clear and the winters are very cold, dry, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -2C (28°F) to 34C (94°F) and is rarely below -7C (18°F) or above 37C (100°F).
April, May, September, and October may be the best time that you can visit this legendary city.
Mashhad Local foods and desserts
If you’re visiting Mashhad and want to try traditional food, you must try the most renowned traditional dish, which is a type of KEBAB known as 6Kebab or Shesh Kebab, or “Shishlik” in our language.
It’s a really excellent type of kebab that originated in the little town of “Shandiz,” which is around 16 kilometers from Mashhad and where the majority of these types of restaurants are situated.
Iranian Rock Candy or Nabat (also called rock sugar) is a type of confectionery mineral composed of relatively large sugar crystals.
A sweet is made out of Sugar, Optional Ingredients (Saffron, Cumin, Lemon, Cinnamon, Thyme, Mint, Ginger) and mostly will be served by tea. Familiar dessert in whole Iran and especially in Mashhad.
Among different types of Nabat, the Saffron Nabat is the most favored one.
Mashhad Souvenirs and handicrafts
Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, commonly known as the “saffron crocus”. The vivid crimson stigma and styles, called threads, are collected and dried for use mainly as a seasoning and colouring agent in food.
The best Iran saffron can be found in Mashhad. The most famous saffron companies in Iran are located in Mashhad. Bahraman, Zaran, Sahar Khiz are well-known Persian saffron brands.
Barberries is also known as Zereshk in Iran, is another popular Souvenir in Mashhad. The city of Ghaen, 100 km from Khorasan, is the main center for the production of this delicious red seed.
Barberry is found all over Mashhad and most pilgrims buy barberry along with saffron as souvenirs. On the other hand, the anti-inflammatory healing properties of this red seed should not be overlooked. it can be used as a medicinal herb to treat a variety of disorders, such as diabetes, liver disease, etc.
Restaurants and cafes in Mashhad
Hezardastan Traditional Teahouse
Hezardestan is one of Iran’s most beautiful teahouse-restaurants, with a museum-like basement full of carpets, samovars, antique metalwork and countless knickknacks around a small fountain. The menu is limited to Ghormeh, chicken kabab, dizi or mashed Halim Bademjan (lamb and mashed aubergine). Beware when ordering tea: while a cup costs IR23,000 the tea ‘set’ costs ten times that (IR230,000).
Part of an impressive cultural complex, this memorable restaurant serves kababs, trout and huge bowls of mirza ghasemi (IR160,000) within the spacious brick vaults of a Qajar-era caravanserai. It’s around 10 minutes’ walk from the southeast end of the Reza-covered bazaar.