About two thirds of Iran’s territory is occupied by the highlands of Iran. The highlands are bordered to the west, southwest and south by the Zagros and Kuhrud mountains. These enormous folded mountains consist of several mountain ranges running side by side in a northwest-southeast direction, between which are very steep valleys. Its highest peaks are Zard Kuh (4571 m) and Kuh-e-Dinar (4432 m). The north of Iran is characterized by several mountains. In the northwest, the Armenian-Azerbaijani mountain junction with the large basin of Lake Urmias dominates. This is followed by the Elburs-Kopet-Dag system, which stretches 1200 km from the Talysh Mountains to the Turkmen border. Here you can find the highest mountain in the Middle East at 5670 m, the dormant, glacier-covered volcano Damavand, as well as the 4840 m high Alam cow.
There are only a few lowlands in Iran. On the southern shore of the Caspian Sea there is a 600 km long, but only a few kilometres wide coastal lowlands. On its east side is the Turkmen steppe, on the west side is the Mugan steppe. In the southwest, a small portion of the Mesopotamian lowlands is part of Iran, from there a narrow, shallow, but barren coastline runs along the Persian Gulf.
Facts and Figures
Official Language: Perian
Form of government: Islamic Republic
Area: ca. 1.650.000 km²
Population: ca. 80 Mio
Population Density: 48,5 Inhabitants per km²
Currency: 1 Rial (IRR) = 100 Dinars / 10 Rial = 1 Toman
Timezone: +2:30 MEZ
Religion: 90-95% Shia Muslims, 5-10% Sunni and Sufi Muslims, 0,6% Bahai, Zoroastriker, Jews, Christians
Visa requirement: Yes
Iran is bordered by seven states: Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia to the west and northwest, Turkmenistan to the northeast and east, Afghanistan and Pakistan to the east and southeast.
Climate & best time to travel
What is the best time to travel to Iran depends heavily on what kind of trip you are planning and where you are going. Generally speaking, the months from the end of October to the beginning of May are among the best travel months. For trekkers and mountaineers, the summer months, June to August, can also be very advantageous. If you plan to climb Damavand, you should come in the snow-free months, June to August. Spring and autumn are very attractive for cultural and hiking tours.
Due to the different altitudes from sea level to high alpine altitudes, the climate zones are also very different. From alpine, temperate to subtropical, Iran has many climatic zones to offer. The capital Tehran is located at about 1.000m and has a Central Europe similar climate with snow in winter and quite hot summers. The highlands in the centre of the country are characterized by hot, dry summers with average temperatures of 25-30 °C and cold, dry winters with average temperatures of 2 °C. Temperature fluctuations of up to 40 °C in the course of the day and year are quite possible here. The highlands are deserted with low rainfall and almost always cloudless. In the northern and western mountain regions, an alpine climate dominates daily life. There may also be heavier rainfall in winter. In January, temperatures are often below freezing.
The South Caspian coastal lowlands have a pleasantly mild, humid and temperate climate. In the lowlands of the Persian Sequence, summers are dry, humid and hot, and winters are pleasantly mild.
Entry & Visa
To enter Iran, Germans, Austrians and Swiss need a passport valid for at least six months from entry, as well as a visa. Attention: If you have an Israel stamp in your passport, we recommend that you have a new passport issued, as the visa will be refused in this case.
If you book a trip with us, we will assist you in obtaining your visa. Our partner in Iran sends us a reference number with which you have two options.
- You can get a Visa-On-Arrival at the Iranian airport for about 75 EUR, which is then valid for 30 days. However, since there may be several hours of waiting at the airport, we do not advise you. For the application you need: 2 passport photos, the reference number, proof of a health insurance abroad, an invitation or booking confirmation of your trip/hotel
- You get your visa at the appropriate Iranian embassy in your home country:
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jaurèsgasse 9, 1030 Vienna Website
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Podbielskiallee 65-67, 14195 Berlin Website
Iranian Consulate General in Frankfurt, Raimundstr. 90, 60320 Frankfurt am Main Website
Iranian Consulate General in Hamburg, Bebelallee 18, 22299 Hamburg Website
Iranian Consulate General in München, Mauerkircherstr. 59, 81679 München Website
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Thunstr. 68, 3006 Bern Website
Health & Vaccination
As with all long-distance journeys, many diseases can be prevented by simple precautions. Tap water should not be drunk, instead use bottled water and boiled water, and fruits and vegetables should only be washed or peeled. In general, the health care system in Iran is quite well developed. Especially in the larger cities there are good doctors and pharmacies. Due to economic blockades, however, there may be bottlenecks in the supply of special medicines. Here it is advisable to bring important medications yourself if necessary.
Before traveling to Iran, you should see your doctor or tropical medicine doctor and discuss any vaccinations. We strongly recommend that you refresh immunizations against diphtheria, tetanus, polio and hepatitis A + B.
During your trip to Iran, you may experience problems due to gastrointestinal diseases, simply because the food and spices are new to the European stomach, or because you have eaten dirty water and/or bad food. Eat only cooked or well-fried food, avoid ice cream, open fruit juices, raw unpeeled fruits and vegetables and milk.
Some of the sun’s radiation is very high and unusual for Central Europeans. Therefore, we recommend you to bring a hat and sunglasses, as well as a good sunscreen and also to wear!
Food & Drinks
The Persian cuisine is a real treat. It is very similar in many ways to Indian cuisine, but not as spicy. In addition, it is extremely healthy and rich in vitamins. The main ingredients of Iranian dishes are rice, bread, fresh herbs, sheep, beef, chicken and a huge range of spices. In Iran, people eat with a spoon and a fork, they don’t use a knife.
Drink water and/or fruit juices to eat. Apart from that, you always like to drink tea, and in the hot season you also like Dugh, a cool drink made of yogurt, water, salt and mint.
who could resist that? Photo: Velveteye, Shutterstock