Shiraz, the city of literature and poetry, is one of the must-see destinations of Iran. It is home to tombs of Persian poets Sa’di (1291 or 1292) and Hafez (1315-1390). The city is also known as the city of bitter orange. It mesmerizes every visitor with fragrance in spring. It is known for its fantastic gardens and beautiful springs.
Besides, Shiraz is the fifth-most-populous city of Iran and the capital of Fars Province. Shiraz boasts the gems of Persian civilization like Persepolis or Pasargadae. The remaining of these historical monuments remind the Persian civilization.
Several nomad tribes live near Shiraz makes the city more attractive to visitors. There are also some attractions dated back to the era of Karim Khan Zand (1775-1779).
Tasty cuisines and nice alleys surrounded by gardens are waiting for you. Mesmerizing historical monuments are waiting for you in Shiraz.
Shiraz is located in the south of Iran and is 800 kilometers south of Iran’s capital Tehran.
If you want to have a road trip, it takes about 10 hours. Qom and Isfahan are on the road driving from Tehran to Shiraz.
The flight distance between Tehran and Shiraz is 682 kilometers. It takes one hour and 20 minutes.
Besides, you can have a direct flight from some countries. So to name a few Malaysia, Syria, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates to Shiraz.
Dated back to the Achaemenid era (522-486 BCE), Persepolis is UNESCO-registered historical sites near Shiraz.
The magnificent ruins of the Persepolis are the symbol of urban planning, construction technology, and art of Iranians. In addition, it was the seat of the government of the Achaemenid Empire.
Darius I established Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire in 518 BCE. The magnificent palace inspired by Mesopotamian architecture. So it was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace.
Above all, the 13-ha Persepolis consists of porches, monumental stairways, and throne rooms (Apadana). Reception rooms and other facilities are other parts of the place. In fact, it is the biggest archeological areas in the world.
- what to visit in Persepolis?
Do not forget to visit the Gate of All Nations! You can see the stone bearded guards standing at each side of the place! The reliefs on the eastern staircase of the Apadana is another thing that you should not miss. They depict the representatives from subject governments who bring gifts for the king.
Going to Persepolis, climb to Artaxerxes II’s tomb. From there, you can have a great view of magnificent Persepolis!
In the southwestern corner of the site, you can find private palaces. They were constructed during the reigns of Darius and Xerxes like Tachara and Hadish. The Palace of 100 Columns is another place that you should visit. The extravagant hall about 70 sq meters and 100 stone columns support the structure.
Last but not the least, do not forget to visit Persepolis Museum, which homes to several artifacts excavated at the site.
Cyrus II in 6th BCE built Pasargadae as the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire.
Pasargadae was the first capital until Darius moved it to Persepolis.
Located on the Morghab, Pasargadae is located 40 km to the northeast of Persepolis. The 1.6 square kilometers area includes several sites. It includes the mausoleum of Cyrus, the fortress of Toll-e Takht, and the remains of two royal palaces and gardens. Pasargadae Persian Gardens are the earliest known example of the Persian Chahar bagh (four-garden).
The compact limestone tomb once held Cyrus the Great’s gilded sarcophagus and the royal ensemble. It consists of several palaces originally located within a garden layout. Pasargadae also hosts the remains of the tomb of Cyrus’ son and successor Cambyses II.
The entire monument originally reached almost eleven meters in height. Hence, it is constructed in massive ashlar masonry with few decorative moldings.
Nasir Al-Molk Mosque
Known also as the pink mosque, Nasir Al-Molk Mosque is a rare example in Islamic architecture. The stained glasses and colorful tiles make an eye-catching scene in the morning.
Also known as the Pink Mosque, the Nasir al-Molk was constructed between 1876 and 1888. In addition, the tiles with the rose-pink floral design are the signature of Shiraz art of tiling in Iran.
The mosque has survived several earthquakes. Hence, they use flexible woods within the walls like the wooden bricks in the iwan columns.
The best time to visit the place is early morning before 11 A.M. Then you can enjoy the reflection of stained glasses under the sunlight. However, before 9 A.M. you can enjoy the tranquility of the place.
Eram Garden is one of the most renowned manifestations of Persian gardens in Iran. As its name suggests, the beautiful garden is a reminder of Eden.
Moreover, it is based on Zoroastrians’ theory of four elements sky, earth, water, and plants. With its running water, cypresses, and bitter orange trees, and beautiful flowers.
Located within Shiraz University’s botanical garden, one of the properties of the noble Shiraz Qavami Family. In addition, it has 320 rooms in two stories.
There is a majestic palace next to a pool, which makes breathtaking scenery in the garden. No one is aware of the exact construction date for the garden. However, according to the narrations, the building was constructed in the middle of the 13th century.
The Eram Garden is vibrant and beautiful throughout the year. However, the best time to visit the garden is in the spring. Do not pass the 75-meter cedar, the tallest cedar tree of the city, while walking in the heavenly paradise.
As a part of the Zandieyeh complex of Zand dynasty (1751–1794), Vakil bazaar is the meeting point of vibrancy and history.
It also includes Vakil Bathhouse, Vakil mosque, and Karim Khan Citadel. So you can visit after visiting the bazaar.
Fascinated with colors and odors, you can walk in the alleys and find Shiraz souvenirs and different spices, and handicrafts. Besides, don’t forget to drink tea at the heart of the bazaar to complete your great experience.
It is one of the finest places for visiting in Shiraz. Walking in the Bazaar, the beauty of architecture and history surrounds you.
You can also visit its courtyard and bathhouse. Don’t forget to bargain at the shops of bazaar selling rugs, spices, and sweets. Since most prices are negotiable in Iran! It is a great idea to drink tea at a teahouse in the heart of the bazaar.
Named after trees of bitter orange (narenj), Narenjestan Garden was built between 1879 and 1886. In fact, Mohammad Ali Khan Qavam al-Molk, a wealthy merchants of the time, ordered this breath-taking garden.
It is interesting to know that this mansion is connected to nearby Zinat ol-Molk House via an underground passage. However, it is not open to the public.
Besides, the mirrored entrance hall of the pavilion, intricate tiles, and inlaid wooden panels of the rooms connected to it mesmerize you.
In addition, there is a museum in its basement. the American scholar Arthur Upham Pope (1969-1979) who taught at the Asia Institute in Shiraz collected them.
Tomb of Hafez
This is one of the greatest places that you can find the connection between Iranians and poetry. Since you can find Divan of Hafez is one of the books that you can find in almost every Iranian house.
The collected work of Hafez (1315-1390), known as Divan, is one of the pinnacles of Persian literature. Since many of his poems are recited in traditional Persian music and are used in proverbs and everyday sayings.
His tomb was decorated with a fabulous octagonal pavilion. It has eight stone columns and a tiled dome in 1935. Besides, most of the time, some enthusiast is reciting his poems at his tombs. It is surrounded by a memorial garden.
Don’t forget to ask about faal-e Hafez. For centuries, Iranians consult with Divan of Hafez when they could not have a decision or choice. They keep the book in their hand. Ask Hafez to answer them and then they open the book. They read the poem and they interpret the poem according to their will.
You can also visit Sa’dieh, the tomb of renowned Iranian poet Sa’di (1210-1291/1292) as well.
Things to Do in Shiraz
Be a nomad!
Travelling Shiraz gives you a chance to experience living with nomads! There are some tours that provide you with facilities to live like nomads. Hence you can spend some time with Bakhtiari or Qashqai tribes. It can be from one day to one month.
So you experience real-life attending their ceremonies, cooking, and milking with nomad families.
About two to three percent of Iran’s population are nomads, mostly live in the Zagros mountain region.
Read also: Some 15 Best Things to Do in Iran
If you visit Shiraz from autumn to mid-spring, remember to go to pink lake Maharloo. This seasonal-salt lake is in the highlands near Shiraz.
The Pink Lake of Shiraz has this great color due to its high salt concentrations.
Besides, this natural wonder hosts several kinds of migrant and local birds living at the lake.
Maharloo village near the lake is also another attraction that you should not miss.
It has pomegranate, almond, and fig trees, and a good mineral water spring.
Walking beauties of Shiraz
Shiraz is the city of gardens and beauties. So do not miss walking in the beautiful streets and nature of this city.
If you travel to Shiraz in early spring, you mesmerize with the odor of bitter oranges. In addition in other seasons, you can enjoy the change of nature.
It is a vibrant city with welcoming people. So do not forget socializing with people! In this way, make memorable experiences in Shiraz.
Read more: Travel to Iran: Tips for First Travelers
Lodgings in Shiraz
Panj Dari Traditional House
It is one of the most beautiful historic houses in Shiraz, opened its doors to travelers. In addition, the 720 square meters house has a well-lit courtyard with a beautiful pool.
In addition, the Panj Dari hotel has 11 rooms on two floors. They are single, double, triple, quadruple, and family room for five-person, decorated with Qajar-era design.
Despite their traditional structure, the rooms have modern facilities. So it includes an indoor fridge, TV set, closet, private bathroom with shower, western toilet, and toiletries.
Karim Khan Hotel
It is a four-star hotel founded in 2013 at the heart of Shiraz. Mixing traditional 18th Zand era and modern architecture, it provides a unique, cozy, and welcoming atmosphere for guests.
There are single, double, triple rooms and a suites. All rooms are equipped with a safe box, fridge, television, heating and cooling system, and free WI-FI.
You can take care of your health routines in the wellness center. Karim khan hotel includes a pool, sauna, and Jacuzzi, spa and massage center, and a fitness center.
Shiraz Grand Hotel
The hotel, with an area of 40,000 square meters, was launched in 2013.
This Shiraz Grand hotel is located at the foothill of the city’s mountains, showing a complete and spectacular view of the city.
It has 14 floors and 158 rooms. The rooms include double/twin rooms, a king room, and a connected room. All the rooms have modern facilities and are located from 7 to 12 floors.
The hotel’s rooms have a balcony with a great view of the city. They have a comfortable sofa, shower, toilet, hairdryer, toiletries, LED TV, safety box, tea maker and free WI-FI.
Local foods and deserts
Kalam Polo Shirazi
Most of the time, trying local foods and desserts of the place you travel to be a great experience you achieve.
Kalam Polo is one of the most delicious Persian food that you can rarely find it in other cities of Iran! It is a mixture of cabbage, rice, and minced meat. In addition, and is a traditional food of Shiraz and is served in most restaurants in the city.
It is flavored with some local herbs and is unparalleled in Iranian mixed rice. Most of the time, it is served with Shirazi salad or torshi (pickled veggies).
Read also: Top 20 Iranian Foods You Should Not Miss!
A semi-frozen vermicelli noodle in rosewater, Faloodeh is a favorite Iranian desert.
lime juice or cherry syrup flavors this delicious desert for serving.
Visiting Shiraz, don’t forget to taste Faloodeh Shirazi! It is one of the tasty desserts that make you calm down especially in summer.
Another thing that you should experience during your travel to Shiraz is Shirazi Salad.
Cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onions are the main ingredients of the salad. you can add salt, pepper, and dried mint to the salad.
For flavoring, you can add sour grape extract or juice, also called ab-e-ghooreh.
It is a great choice for some cuisines like Kalam Polo, Ghormeh Sabzi, or Kubideh.
Traveling Shiraz, you can have a great experience of cooking with Exotigo. During this food experience, you’ll have the opportunity to cook popular Persian food. You will cook three different dishes including Kalam Polo during one-day tour!
Best Time to Visit Shiraz
Early-April to mid-May is the best time to visit Shiraz. Spring of Shiraz fascinates you with the odor of bitter orange and fine weather.
Having a hot weather, maybe you enjoy visit the city in autumn. So June, July, and August are less preferred months to visit the city.
Read also: Best Time to Visit Iran: A Complete Guide
Souvenirs and handicrafts of Shiraz
There are different delicious souvenirs that you can buy while visiting Shiraz.
Masghati is a soft and transparent sweet made of rose water and starch.
Koloocheh, a kind of pie, is another sweet you can only find in Shiraz.
You can also find distilled waters of different kinds with high quality in this city.
The dried bitter orange is another souvenir of Shiraz, which you can use to flavor some deserts and your tea.
Having nomads, you can also find kilims and jajims woven by Iranian nomads in beautiful Shiraz.
Restaurants and café
This popular restaurant with a menu covering a variety of Iranian and international cuisines is near Quran Gateway.
Hence you can experience eating food in different places. It has a buffet, fast-food court, à la carte restaurant, and a teahouse on different stories of the place.
The ground-floor buffet allows you to taste a variety of Iranian cuisines and dips.
Vegetarians also can have several choices at this place!
The best value among the restaurants is the ground-floor buffet. It offers a huge array of traditional Iranian dishes. Freshly baked bread with cheese and herbs, lots of salads, and some unusual dips (great for vegetarians) are on the menu.
Address: Quran Blvd, Shiraz 71364 Iran, +98 71 3228 0000
Near the historic downtown of the city, you can find this café and restaurant. It provides vegetarian-friendly and vegan options for customers.
There you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, and drinks at the café.
Decorated with tile work and some pieces of modern art, the café is a great place to enjoy your time.
Sometimes cafe hosts live music performances.
Address: 149 Ferdowsi Street, Shiraz, Iran, +98 71 3231 6616
Saray-e Mehr Tea House
It is located in the heart of Vakil Bazaar at Saray-e Moshir caravanserai. This teahouse has a small menu including Abgoosht, Kubideh, and Zereshkpolo.
As its name suggested, it also serves tea. Painted panels and antiques, and rugs on the wall make a great atmosphere have a rest.
The walls are decorated with painted panels and antiques and have a small menu of tasty favorites.
Read also: How Much Money Do You Need to Travel Iran?