The Golden Eagle - Heart of Persia
Travel into the heart of Persia and make your way through some of the most impressive, little-seen sites all throughout Iran on this 14-day adventure.
A country that has been off tourists' radars for quite some time, Iran is full of religion, history and wonder. This roundtrip train journey begins and ends in Tehran, a city where the centuries-old Grand Bazaar winds through the streets and attracts thousands of people each week. The group stays two nights in this gorgeous city, then we head to the Tehran railway station to board our Golden Eagle train bound for Mashhad. After a full day exploring the city where the father of Persian literature rests, the route continues onto Rayen and Mahan. An ancient citadel and a royal building from the 19th century are just some of the exciting sites in these two towns. The Golden Eagle makes its next stop in the 3,000-year-old town of Yazd, where the sweet smell of pomegranate wafts through the air. Moving on, trips to Isfahan and Persepolis are in store, as is a journey to the cultural capital of Persia, Shiraz. Prior to our arrival back in Tehran, the group has access to all the best Kashan, Shustar, Choghazanbil, Susa and Pol-e Sefid have to offer. Tehran sightseeing marks the final day of planned activity, then our Heart of Persia tour comes to a close.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Three nights of hotel accommodation in Tehran (split)
- Ten nights aboard the Golden Eagle
- Arrival and departure transfers
- Services of a professional Tour Manager
- All meals, tipping and gratuities
- Guided tours and Freechoice activities
- Walk through Tehran's Grand Bazaar
- Visit to the National Museum of Iran
- Tour of the largest mosque in the world, the Imam Reza Holy Shrine
- Insider's look at Rayen Castle
- Visit to the sanctuary and tomb of the famous, Soufi, Shah Nematollah Vali
- Walk through Kerman's historic markets
- Guided tour of Yazd, including the Zoroastrian Fire Temple and Silent Towers
- Sightseeing in Naghshe Jahan Square
- Look at the ruins of Persepolis
- Tour of Kashan, featuring Fin Garden and Sialk Hills archaeological site
- Scenic journey through the Zagros Mountains
- Ride through the mountains aboard the Trans-Iranian Railway
Day 1 - Tehran
Arrivals day in Tehran where you will be met and transferred to the five-star Espinas Hotel (or similar). We will enjoy a welcome reception dinner, whilst you meet your fellow travellers on this highly anticipated journey.
Day 2 - Tehran
The highlight of our stay in Tehran is undoubtedly the visit to the breath-taking Crown Jewels Museum in the Central Bank of Iran Building, with its vast array of crown jewels used by the Qajar and Pahlavid royalty.
We will also take the opportunity to explore the city's Grand Bazaar, situated in the southern heart of Tehran, it is a historical market with a seemingly never-ending maze of bustling alleyways. Overnight at the five-star Espinas Hotel.
Day 3 - Tehran
On our tour of the capital city today we visit the prestigious National Museum of Iran, opened in 1937, detailing many periods of the rich history of the country with some artefacts dating back approximately 30,000 - 35,000 years. Late afternoon we transfer to Tehran railway station with its huge portraits of Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Kamenei at the entrance to board the Golden Eagle, our home for this remarkable adventure. Settle in to your cabin and later enjoy dinner as the train begins its exciting voyage through Iran.
Day 4 - Mashhad
An early morning arrival provides us with the whole day to explore the city of Mashhad, which is home to the Imam Reza Holy Shrine, the largest mosque in the world in terms of its dimension, followed by a tour of the Nader Shah Museum. After lunch in the city, we will visit the Tomb of Ferdowsi, the father of Persian Literature who lived over 1,000 years ago. Dinner on the train as we head south.
Day 5 - Rayen & Mahan
After lunch we alight in Rayen. The 20,000 square metre Rayen castle is situated beneath the snow capped Mt Hezar in the Province of Kerman. A huge medieval mud brick citadel, it was considered second only to Bam before the 2003 earthquake. Rayen displays all the architectural elements of a deserted citadel (it was inhabited until 150 years ago) and is extremely well preserved. It is considered one of the most interesting sites in Iran.
We continue by road to Mahan where we visit the 19th century Royal building, Prince Garden and tomb. We later visit the sanctuary and tomb of the famous, Soufi, Shah Nematollah Vali, dating back to the Mongol Era. We rejoin the train at dusk in time for dinner.
Day 6 - Kerman
This morning we travel to the desert trading city of Kerman. The city has a mud-brick core centred around the historic and very lively bazaar, where we will have free time. We'll also visit a 19th century old tea house and the Hamam Ganj Ali Khan, now restored and transformed into a museum. Wonderful frescoes adorn the walls and wax dummies illustrate the workings of a traditional bathhouse. Later this afternoon we re-join the Golden Eagle for dinner as we travel onwards to Yazd.
Day 7 - Yazd
Yazd is thought to be one of the oldest cities in the world, dating back over 3,000 years, and we spend the day here. Our tour takes in the Zoroastrian Fire Temple and Silent Towers, Amir Chakhmagh Square and the Friday Mosque, home to one of Persia's finest mosaics (both 14th century) and finally the water museum. Lunch will be served in the Moshir Garden Hotel which features a lovely Pomegranate Garden (Yazd is famous for pomegranates). We return to the train late afternoon.
Day 8 - Isfahan
This enchanting city, which served as Persia's capital from 1598 to 1722, is 2,500 years old and one of the oldest in Iran. As a crossroad of international trade and diplomacy, Isfahan has a rich mix of languages, religions and customs.
The city is famous for its silver filigree and metal work, array of great historical monuments, and the Life-Giving River, the Zayandeh-Rood, which has given the city its beauty. Isfahan is packed with some of Iran's best sights and today we spend a whole day in the city, visiting the Vank Church in the Armenian Quarter. Following a traditional Iranian lunch we move on to Naghshe Jahan Square, a World Heritage Site and the second largest man-made square in the world, where the Ali Qapou Palace and Shah and Sheikh Lutfullah Mosques can be found. Here, the time is yours to enjoy the huge square and pick up a bargain at the handicraft Bazaar of Qaisarieh.
Day 9 - Persepolis & Shiraz
Following breakfast onboard we arrive in Sadat Shaha, for the nearby ruins of Persepolis, another World Heritage Site. Perhaps Iran's most important archaeological site, this ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire dates back to the 6th century. Even now, the ruins are extremely impressive. Our final visit today is to the Necropolis at nearby Naghsh-e Rustam. After lunch we continue by road to Shiraz.
Shiraz is Persia's cultural Capital. Dating back over 4,000 years it is also known as the city of poets, literature, wine and flowers. A visit to the Quran Gate, Hafez Tomb and the Vakil Citadel are the highlights of our afternoon tour.
Day 10 - Kashan
Morning finds us in the ancient city of Kashan where we visit the Fin garden, Iran's oldest garden dating from 1590 (a World Heritage Site), and nearby Sialk Hills archaeological site, dating back almost 8,000 years and Brojerdi and Taba Tabaei - 19th century historical houses. Kashan is the most important centre for Persian carpets, so after lunch in a local restaurant we will visit the impressive and ancient bazaar to explore the exquisite carpets on offer, before returning to our train mid-afternoon. As dinner is served we pass through Qom and arrive at Dorud, in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains around midnight.
Day 11 - Shustar, Choghazanbil & Susa
As dawn rises in Dorud, our comfortable Iranian train awaits to take us to the fascinating city of Shushtar. Admire the magnificent scenery as we meander through the mountainous landscape before arriving in the city late morning. We first visit the Hydraulic system that dates back to 590 BC and still provides water to the town of Shushtar. We move on to the Choghazanbil site dating back to 1250 BC and then tour the ancient city of Susa before re-joining the train for the spectacular return journey through the Zagros Mountains. Dinner will be served as we head back to join the Golden Eagle for our onward journey.
Day 12 - Pol-e Sefid
After breakfast we leave our train for a spectacular drive through the Alborz Mountains as we head towards Pol-e Sefid where our Iranian train awaits. This afternoon enjoy the ever-changing, mountainous landscapes as we climb the Trans-Iranian Railway, crossing the infamous Veresk bridge, hailed as the ‘Bridge of Victory' in World War II, and the outstanding ‘Three Golden Lines' spiral, as we make our way back to the Golden Eagle for our final dinner aboard the train.
Day 13 - Tehran
This morning we visit the Golestan Palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its renovated Versailles-inspired mirror-encrusted Marble Throne Hall used for the coronation of the last Shah. Most of the remaining brick and tile buildings date back to the 19th century Qajar dynasty.
Tonight we will host our Farewell Gala Dinner at our hotel, the Espinas, where you can join fellow passengers to reminisce on all the experiences you have shared together during this remarkable adventure.
Day 14 - Tehran
Following breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your departing flights.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Silver Class cabins, which are compact at 60 sq ft feature a small double lower bed and a single upper bed as well as DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe and large picture window. The Silver Class cabins have private en-suite wet room with a washbasin, toilet and shower.
Gold Class cabins, at 77 sq ft are extremely well-proportioned and have everything from a private bathroom with separate power shower cubicle and underfloor heating to a DVD/CD player, LCD screen, safe, individual air-conditioning, wardrobe, large picture window as well as featuring a double lower bed and a single upper bed. Guests in Gold Class benefit from complimentary drinks off the Standard Bar List in the Bar Lounge Car.
Imperial Suite cabins, the most spacious cabins available onboard the Golden Eagle measures 120 sq ft and benefits from a large and luxurious double bed as well as a lounge area with dressing table. Imperial Suite facilities include a private en-suite bathroom with power shower and the luxury of underfloor heating; individual air-conditioning; wardrobe; DVD/CD player with LCD screen; complimentary fully stocked minibar; safe; small library and two large picture windows to watch the world go by. Guests will also benefit from the option of a private guide and car service along the route, the inclusion of drinks from the standard and premium bar list in the Bar Lounge Car, a laundry service and room upgrades to the next available category at the hotels which are featured in the itinerary.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|6th April 2017||$16,495||Book Now|
|2nd November 2017||$16,495||Book Now|
|13th November 2017||$16,495||Book Now|
|6th April 2017||$19,995||Book Now|
|2nd November 2017||$19,995||Book Now|
|13th November 2017||$19,995||Book Now|
|6th April 2017||$32,995||Book Now|
|2nd November 2017||$32,995||Book Now|
|13th November 2017||$32,995||Book Now|
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Silver Class: Departs 6th April 2017 ($16,495), 2nd November 2017 ($16,495), 13th November 2017 ($16,495)
Gold Class: Departs 6th April 2017 ($19,995), 2nd November 2017 ($19,995), 13th November 2017 ($19,995)
Imperial Suite: Departs 6th April 2017 ($32,995), 2nd November 2017 ($32,995), 13th November 2017 ($32,995)
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