Having heard such positive experiences of Iran from other travellers my expectations were very high and after 2 months hassle and considerable cost of getting the visa and guide meant Iran was going to have to be very special for my expectations to be met.
Unfortunately for most British passport holders getting the visa is a hassle but shouldn’t deter you as it is a great country to travel in. It’s cheap, I spent about £10 per day on all food, tourist experiences, petrol etc. hotels not included but for about £20 – £30 you can get a reasonable hotel. If you want luxury it’s available at a cost.
There is a lot to see in Iran from the amazing landscape and cities unlike any in Europe to the different culture. Men, women and children permanently engaged with me wherever I am and the cars and lorries constantly let you know you are welcome as you pass. The start of July isn’t the best time to visit as it’s too hot, I’m sure April & May would be preferable.
The food is great and got better the further east I travelled, wonderful curries and aubergine dishes with the best rice ever.
Iran is a cultural feast where nothing compares to home.
As a traveller I was aware that what I experienced when I saw and engaged with people was only one side to how Iranian people live. Whilst they smile and are outwardly happy I detected on a couple of occasions that all is not well with the regime. Before I entered Iran I read about the way the people are governed but it was very difficult to get anyone to discuss this although I did have a few conversations with people. One said because of secret police and their heavy handed approach it is very safe in Iran. Someone else said that relationships outside marriage are difficult.
What I’m trying to say is that on the surface everything seems great with many happy people but my feeling is that this is because they are proud of their country and love the fact that tourists visit their country but there are real issues with the society that people don’t want to discuss, maybe they are scared?
I was walking one evening and as usual a group of young men stopped me to talk and as I was leaving one said ‘why are you here, are you a tourists or a spy?’
Overall I would recommend you visit Iran as it is so very different to anywhere else and the Iranian people are so welcoming and hospitable.
I just wish I had been able to stay longer but I only received a 10 day visa:(