Into The Lut Desert
16 Days & 15 Nights
A spectacular journey that crosses timeless desert landscapes that still cling to the traditions of the past, this astonishing adventure takes us deep into the cultural heartlands of eastern Iran.
Encompassing ruined desert cities, ancient cave dwellings and some of the finest Islamic architecture anywhere in the world, we explore a region that is rapidly crumbling against the onslaught of the modern world. Beginning in Mashhad we have an opportunity to visit the revered shrine of Imam Reza, before we head out across the vast barren landscapes of the Lut Desert and into a world filled with ancient aquifers, hilltop fortresses and a rich heritage that has endured for generations.
Spending much of our time enjoying the hospitality of the local people, we’ll watch the sunset over the kaluts (a dramatic desert geological comprising ridges and hollowed-out rocks) and visit the once great city of Bam, discover the beautiful Shazdeh Gardens in Mahan and spend time exploring the remarkable architectural treasures of Kerman, Yazd and Isfahan.
* Travel deep into the heart of Iran’s Lut Desert
* Visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Bam, Mahan and Isfahan
* Spend a night amongst the cave dwellers of Meymand
* Explore the abandoned desert ruins of Kharanagh
* Discover the rich and ancient traditions of Zoroastrianism
Day 1. Mashhad
arrival mashad meet and assist transfer to hotel .O/N
Day 2. Mashhad
Today we explore Mashhad, Iran’s second largest city and visiting shrine of 8 th imam of shiaa ( Reza ) you can enjoy some stunning Islamic architecture. Spend the afternoon exploring and soaking up the atmosphere of the city’s Koushangi Park.
Day 3. Mashhad / Bidokht
Departing Mashhad we head south towards Bidokht, stopping off to visit nearby Gonabad, known for its famed aquifer, as well as visiting the mud-brick village of Rihab.
Day 4. Bidokht / Birjand
Continuing on through the low hills of Khorasan Province, we head for the once strategic town of Birjand, situated midway between Mashhad and the Pakistan and Afghan borders, along the way exploring some of the region’s famous gardens and museums.
Day 5. Birjand /Deh Salm / Shafiabad
Today we drive via Deh Salm, and through the surreal landscapes of the Lut Desert, considered to be the hottest desert in the world. Sit back and enjoy the incredible towering sand dunes and sculpted rock formations before arriving at Shafiabad.
Days 6-7. Shafiabad / Kerman
After visiting Shafiabad’s fort this morning we drive on to Kerman to spend the next 2 nights. The provincial capital and an important city in south-eastern Iran, Kerman is home to a rich collection of mosques and Zoroastrian fire temples.
Day 7. kerman
With a full day to explore the sights, we’ll visit the Safavid Ganj Ali Khan complex, the 17th century mint, the bathhouse and caravanserai, as well as the world’s only Iranian museum solely dedicated to the anthropology of the Zoroastrians.
Day 8. Kerman / Keshit Village / Rayen
This morning we take a scenic drive through the mountains towards the oasis village of Keshit on the southern edge of the Lut Desert. We’ll visit the Seljuk period fortress before continuing to Rayen to visit its 1000-year-old castle.
Day 9. Rayen / Bam
Today we drive to Bam, devastated by an earthquake in 2003 but now much rebuilt. We will have time to discover the magnificent splendour of the ancient citadel and explore ruins that span a history of over 2000 years.
Day 10. Bam / Mahan / Meymand
This morning we visit the UNESCO Shazdeh Gardens in Mahan and the shrine of the great Sufi leader Shah Ne’emat Ollah-e-Vali before continuing on to the ancient Zoroastrian troglodyte village of Meymand, where we spend the night in a cave dwelling.
Day 11. Meymand / Yazd
Today our journey takes us to Yazd – the “City of the Wind-catchers”, by way of the caravanserai at Zein al Din, as well as Mehriz and the Sassanid castle of Sar Yazd.
Day 12. Yazd / Beyazeh
Leaving Yazd we’ll visit the small village of Chak Chak, home to the most sacred of the Zoroastrian mountain shrines. From here we then move on to the old desert city of Kharanagh, before we finish at Beyazeh, located on the edge of the desert.
Day 13. Beyazeh / Mesr
The journey today takes us further into the central deserts of Iran, through Arosan, Khor and the date palms of Garmeh, towards the oasis town of Mesr where we will spend the night.
Days 14. Mesr / Isfahan
Our final leg of the journey takes us towards the lush plains of the Zayanderud River, in the foothills of the Zagros Mountains, through Naien, Toudshak and Kohpayeh before arriving at the old Persian capital of Isfahan.
Day 15. Isfahan
We spend the day taking in the cultural and historic sights of this breathtaking city. Explore the world’s most beautiful mosques – the Imam Mosque, the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque and six-storey Ali Qapu Palace built in the 16th century.
Day 16. Isfahan
The tour ends with breakfast at the hotel, although those on the recommended group flights will depart in the early hours before breakfast.