Do you prefer visiting travel destinations before they become trendy? And are you also the adventurous type — someone who loves to discover authentic cultures and amazing sites? Then you’ll want to pack your bags and head quickly to Iran. According to the Financial Times, Iran was recently named by travel industry leaders as the world’s next top destination for 2014.
If the only information you know about Iran has come from gruesome war accounts on the evening news, you might be surprised to learn that it is actually a very beautiful country that is also home to one of the oldest continuous civilizations on the planet. To say Iran — which was once known as Persia — is rich in historical significance is an understatement. Iran boasts 16 Unesco World Heritage sites, including the amazing ruins of Persepolis. Located near Shiraz, Persepolis was founded by Darius the Great in 518 BC and partially destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330. It remains as one of the most amazing archaeological sites on earth.
In Iran, you can find it all — modern cities; stunning beach resorts, such as those on Kish Island and Ramsar; as well as lovely ski resorts in Iran’s beautiful mountains. It is also a country of amazing ancient architecture. Minarets, cupolas, domes and windcatchers enliven Iran’s skyline. And, of course, a visit to one of the country’s incredible bazaars is a must. In addition, Iran’s people have a reputation for being warm and welcoming.
Unfortunately, it’s still not easy for just anybody to head to Iran. Travelers are required to get a visa to enter this country, and if you are an American, you will need to travel to Iran with a sponsored tour group. In addition, anybody whose passport has been stamped with an Israeli stamp within the past year will have to get a new book before traveling to Iran. Of course, if you’re a true traveler and not just a tourist, these types of small roadblocks only serve to make Iran a more enticing and exciting destination.