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Travel Guide Budget and Itinerary for Shiraz, Iran

Shiraz is Iran's cultural capital with many ancient sites that provide you with a glimpse of its storied past. I was in this city for a couple of days and didn't regret a minute of it, despite the long and tiring trip to get here from Tehran.


Travel Guide

I took the overnight bus from Tehran to Shiraz, it took around 12-14 hours. I was the only foreigner but it was no problem, nobody bothered me throughout. I woke up and saw the landscape change from an urban jungle to an arid desert. I arrived at the bus station outside the city center by midday.

Before I left Tehran I made sure to get the address of my accommodation in Farsi. I showed it to the taxi driver but he still took me around in circles. I eventually ended up staying somewhere else and paid extra. However, the hostel I booked a room in let me move my reservation until the next day. The manager picked me up near the hotel I stayed in. You can't let these small things ruin your trip.

Persepolis


The number one reason visitors go to Shiraz is Persepolis, this UNESCO-listed attraction is worth the day trip from the city. It's ruinous but preserved state is part of its charm, imagine what life was like during the time of ancient Persia while exploring the complex, seeing the statues, columns and other relics.

Vakil Mosque




Vakil Mosque is an ancient structure dating back to the 18th century. The pillars, tile work and the minbar display the creativity of the craftsmen during the Qajar and Zand periods.

Pink Mosque



Also known as the Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque, this is one of the better known attractions in Shiraz. Its main draw is the stained glass windows that cast colorful lights on the Persian carpets in the morning. It gets really crowded here though because everybody wants to take pictures of the lights and stained glass windows. The tile work and distinct mix of pink and blue hues are also fetching.

Tomb of Hafez




Hafez is a famous poet that lived centuries ago, his legacy lives on when you visit this tomb. A lot of locals also go here.

Qavam Mansion




This mansion showcases how the elites lived during ancient times. The exterior is beautiful, the interior is just as fetching.

Eram Garden



The Eram Garden is part of the UNESCO-listed Persian garden sites. Although there was no running water during my visit, but you can get an idea of how a garden can develop in a desert region.

Shah-e-Cheragh Shrine








This beautiful religious complex displays stunning Islamic art on its walls, ceilings, domes and interiors. This is also a popular place for locals, many come here to just hangout, pray and fulfill their religious obligations. Visitors are welcome even if they aren't Muslim.

Bazaar Hopping


Bazaars are a common sight in Iran's cities, it's no different in Shiraz. These are often near or connected to a Mosque. Here you'll see the daily hustle and bustle of locals going about their routines.




I loved getting lost in the narrow alleys that lead to quaint shops that sell all sorts of local knick-knacks, souvenirs, lamps, ceramics, plates, rugs and other stuff that would make a home comfortable. I didn't buy anything though (haha).


I stumbled upon the Saray-e Mehr Tea House as I went into random alleys in the bazaar. It had an intimate atmosphere and beautiful decor. The owner was friendly and was willing to talk about anything under the sun, thankfully he could speak good English.


I tried this local dish called Dizi, it had bread, meat and a delicious dip.


Where to Stay


I ended up staying in two different accommodations in Shiraz, Grandma B&B and Banafshe Hotel.



Grandma B&B Hostel was listed online so I was able to make a reservation. It's homey because the family of the manager lives here. I felt at home here the dorm rooms were only makeshift, the other guest and I stayed in a room with gym equipment in it and we had to sleep on the floor, but it was still comfortable. Part of the reason I chose them was because they offered joiner trips to Persepolis, which was substantially cheaper than the ones listed online and when I asked around the city. The manager also spoke good English.

They have private rooms you can use, if you're willing to pay extra. The drawback of staying here was it's difficult to find and it's far from the attractions. But they offer a taxi service to the city and a handful of day trips to Persepolis, Cyrus the Great's Tomb and other spots. The family shared a meal with me, which was fun. Iranians often eat on the floor or on large chairs with no tables.



Banafshe Hotel was in the city center and within walking distance to most attractions. The price was OK for the large room I got. There are other hotels in the center within your budget.

Getting Around the City

I couldn't navigate the public transport network in the city and I didn't have much time to get used to it. It didn't help that the hostel I stayed in for a night was too far from most of the attractions. So I ended up taking the taxi to the city center and just walked to all of the attractions I wanted to visit. The ride wasn't too expensive, but it will depend on where you took it from. From the hostel to the city center a ride costs around 100000 to 150000.

Expenses

Everything's in Iranian Rial unless otherwise stated.

840000 - 1 night at Banafshe Hotel
540000 - 1 night at Grandma B&B Hostel
540000 - Shared car to Persepolis
740000 - Transportation
470000 - Food and drinks
150000 - Vakil Mosque entrance fee
150000 - Vakil Bath fee
200000 - Persepolis fee
550000 - Postcards and stamps
200000 - Eram Garden fee
200000 - Hafez Tomb fee
200000 - Pink Mosque (Nasir Al-Mulk Mosque) fee
200000 - Qavam Mansion
280000 - Bus to Yazd                                                             
5260000 - Total

*The exchange rate fluctuates regularly so always check before changing money.
*I ended up spending too much on transportation because the first taxi ride I took ripped me off. He deliberately went around in circles.

Here are related posts about my trip to Iran:


How to Get to Shiraz

I took the overnight bus from Tehran, the VIP bus costs around 680000 Iranian Rials, this is roughly US$15. I didn't have to book online, I just showed up at the bus station and bought the ticket. Buy the ticket early, in the morning if you're leaving the same night or the day before. The staff can understand what you need if you tell them where you're going. I just said 'Shiraz' and they knew what I was looking for, no fuss and no worries (haha!). There are also flights from the capital, but of course these cost more.




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