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Turkey & Tehran Discoverer Tehran - Istanbul

Trip Overview

This 12 day overland tour journeys from Tehran to Istanbul through Iran, Turkey
12 DAYS THROUGH Iran, Turkey
of 2 reviews
$1,325 (USD) + 320 KITTY (USD)
12 days
Overland expedition vehicle
2 Dragoman crew, Local guides where necessary, 1 local crew in certain areas
$350 USD


  Guided tour of Golestan Palace in Tehran

  Learn about Iran's fascinating history at the National Museum

  See the spectacular Dome of Soltaniyeh

  Wander through the ancient bazaar of Tabriz, the largest covered market in the world

  Overnight in the Kurdish town of Doğubeyazıt

  Overland Eastern Turkey and wild camp en-route

  Guided tour of the valley of Cappadocia

  Take an optional balloon ride over Cappadocia

  Visit the incredible Blue Mosque

  Explore the many amazing sites of Istanbul



Day 1 - Tehran ( 28th Sep 2020 )

Border Information: if joining in Tehran, you will most likely enter Iran at Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA code: IKA).

There will be a pre-departure meeting at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your leader at the reception of the joining hotel upon arrival with more details about this important meeting.

After the meeting we will have an included tour of the stunning Golestan Palace and the fascinating National Museum of Iran.

In Tehran we will stay in a local hotel.

Please note that due to restrictions on citizens of the UK, USA and Canada being permitted to remain unaccompanied in Iran, we would only be able to book one extra night of accommodation in Tehran for these nationalities before the trip starts. You will also be required to book an airport transfer in advance via us. Please ensure the correct dates for your plans are clearly stated on all your visa applications.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the former royal complex of Golestan Palace, a huge site built in the 16th century and Tehran's oldest monument

Included in Kitty

Learn all about Iran's rich and fascinating history at Tehran's National Museum of Iran

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the Iranian Artists' Forum in Tehran, a large gallery for the country's best young artists to feature their work


Explore the S'ad Abad Museum in the spectacular mountainside near Tehran, once a royal summer home during the Pahlavi period

USD 4.5

Visit the shocking Ebrat Museum, once the prison used by the Shah's brutal secret police before the revolution of 1979


See Tehran's iconic Azadi Tower, the inverted Y-shaped memorial built in 1971 to commemorate the 2500th anniversary of the first Persian Empire

USD 2.5

See Tehran's Museum of the Islamic Period and its interesting collection of artifacts from various stages of Iran's history (when open)


Visit the viewing tower at the top of the iconic Milad Tower, one of the world's tallest towers at a height of 435 metres


Visit the Laleh Park in central Tehran, an oasis of calm and a well-designed green space to observe local life pass by


See some of Iran's most precious treasures at the Treasury of National Jewels, including the 182 carat Darya-ye-Nur (Sea of Light) which is thought to be the world's largest uncut diamond, and the phenomenal 34kg Globe of Jewels, made with over 51,000 precious stones

USD 4.5
Day 2 - Zanjan ( 29th Sep 2020 )

Today we will set off from Iran's chaotic capital and head west to the impressive Dome of Soltaniyeh, where we have an included visit. The 14th-century mausoleum is the 3rd largest dome in the world.

After our visit, we will continue our drive to the small town of Zanjan, where we have free time to explore and possibly visit the fascinating historical laundry hall of Rakhatshor-Khaneh.

In Zanjan we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

Daily Activities

Included Activities

See the spectacular Dome of Soltaniyeh, the huge mausolem of the Ilkhanate (Mongolian) emperor Öljeitü built in the 14th Century and the 3rd largest dome in the world behind the Cathedral of Florence and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Visit the historical underground hall of Rakhatshor-Khaneh, once used as the entire city's laundry-place

Day 3 - Tabriz ( 30th Sep 2020 )

Today we will drive to the western Iranian city of Tabriz, where we will have free time to explore some of the sights of the old town.

In Tabriz we will stay in a local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Wander through the ancient bazaar of Tabriz, once one of the most important commercial centres on the Silk Road and the largest covered market in the world


Visit the Constitution House of Tabriz, where the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1905-1907 was launched, which established the Qajar Dynasty and the country's parliament


Learn all about the vast history of Tabriz and the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan in the Azerbaijan Museum


Visit the beautiful Blue Mosque of Tabriz, built in 1465 and refurbished in 1973


See the grave of Shahriar, the beloved local poet whose Azeri-Turkish and Persian literature has been translated into more than 30 languages across the world

Day 4 - Doğubayazıt ( 1st Oct 2020 )

Border Information: Exit Iran at Bazargan, enter Turkey at Gurbulak.

Today we will drive across the border to Turkey and the Kurdish town of Doğubayazıt. En route we will have an included visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace and enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes and the nearby Mount Ararat.

In Doğubayazıt we will stay in a basic local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Visit to Ishak Pasha Palace near Dogubayazit on the Iranian Border

Included in Kitty
Day 5-6 - Erzurum, Sivas ( 2nd Oct 2020 to 3rd Oct 2020 )

Over the next two days we will travel through the stunning landscapes in eastern Turkey towards the central Cappadocia region. 

We will aim to wild camp or stay at a basic local campsite near Erzurum on the first night, and near Sivas on the second.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours each day.

Day 7 - Göreme ( 4th Oct 2020 )

Today we will complete our drive to Göreme, a small enchanting town in the heart of the Cappadocia mountains.

In Göreme we will stay in a well-equipped hostel - please note that dorm beds are sometimes used here.

Estimated Drive Time - 5-7 hours.

Day 8-9 - Göreme ( 5th Oct 2020 to 6th Oct 2020 )

We will have a 2 full days to explore Göreme, including a guided tour of the enchanted valley of Cappadocia. There will be an opportunity for a magical optional balloon ride over the valley during our time here.

Daily Activities

Included Activities

Explore the Early Christian underground cities of Derinkuyu or Kaymaklı, used as a hiding place from persecutions for centuries

Included in Kitty

Walk through the beautiful ancient valley of Ihlara, containing the beautiful rock-hewn churches built by the Cappadocian Greeks during the Byzantine era

Included in Kitty
Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia

USD 180

Guided tour of Cappadocia and underground troglodyte cities and caves


Explore the ancient pre-iconoclastic Byzantine rock monastery of Zelve

TRY 15

Learn how to make the traditional Central Turkish dishes of dolma and sarma at a Turkish cooking class

EUR 65

Take an Oriental Dancing (belly dancing) class to learn the techniques of this beautiful form of dance

EUR 70

Drive through the stunning landscape of Cappadocia on an ATV quad biking trip

USD 65

See the harvesting of the grapes and learn all about the process of making the local drink of pekmez (September to mid-October only)

EUR 50

Discover the incredible scenery of Cappadocia on horseback

EUR 45

Discover the ancient techniques of Cappadocian pottery at the village of Avanos


Head out for a fun evening of dinner and various Turkish dancing displays

EUR 30

Witness the hypnotic Sufi Whirling Dervishes ceremony at an ancient caravanserai near Göreme

EUR 35
Day 10 - Istanbul ( 7th Oct 2020 )

Today we will have a full day's drive west to arrive in Istanbul, the only city in the world that straddles two continents, Europe and Asia.

In Istanbul we will stay in dorm accommodation in a fantastic hostel with good facilities in the historic district of Sultanahmet, a 5 minute walk from the Blue Mosque.

Estimated Drive Time - 10-11 hours.

Day 11 - Istanbul ( 8th Oct 2020 )

Today we will have a free day to explore the myriad of highlights in the old Byzantine and Ottoman capital. There are many places to visit, such as the spectacular Blue Mosque, the colossal Hagia Sophia, the bewildering Grand Bazaar, the phenomenal Topkapı Palace, and a ferry cruise on the Bosphorus river.

Daily Activities

Optional Activities

These activities are not included in the itinerary, however they are available to book and/or payable locally.

Guided city tour of Istanbul

TRY 50

Visit the incredible Byzantine cathedral of Hagia Sophia, built in the 6th century

TRY 25

Explore the atmospheric underground Basilica Cisterns, built by the Byzantines in the 6th century

TRY 20

Explore the majestic Topkapı Palace, the huge palace of the Ottoman Sultans for over 400 years

TRY 35

Visit the Çemberlitas Baths, a traditional Turkish Hammam, for a bath and massage!

USD 20

Explore the phenomenal Blue Mosque, built by the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed I - a stunning icon of Istanbul


See the splendour of Istanbul from a boat trip on Bosphorus Strait, which marks the boundary of Europe and Asia

USD 17
Explore the colossal markets of the Grand Bazaar - once the centre of all trading between Europe and Asia, and the most visited tourist attraction in the world
Take a long day trip out to Gallipoli, the site of the infamous battle in World War I
USD 100
Day 12 - Istanbul ( 9th Oct 2020 )

Border information: if leaving the trip in Istanbul, you will most likely exit Turkey from Istanbul Atatürk International Airport (IATA code: IST).

Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Istanbul. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Sales Team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.


This group overland journey has multiple departures.
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Trip Notes
Departing: 28 Sep 2020
Returning: 9 Oct 2020
Duration: 12 days
Route: Tehran - Istanbul
$1,325 USD + $320 Kitty (USD)
Deposit: $350 USD


Not as much camping as I would have liked for an overland trip
Suzanne M
I loved Tehran and I also really enjoyed being on the road - the actual journey. It was a fairly small group so we had a lot of room on the truck which helped, but also the whole idea of being on the open road and camping in places where probably nobody, certainly no tourists, had camped before. It helped make for a very special trip.
Jonathan S