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Iran Driving Guide

Iran is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-11-26 · 9 mins

Iran or officially called the Islamic Republic of Iran is located in Southwest Asia. It is a land of history, culture, and authenticity that many visitors are impressed by its attractions and beauties. Iran has four seasons but can have multiple climates simultaneously. Some cities would have summer in the winter, spring in autumn, or winter in summer. Iran's traditions and customs have made the country a treasure of intangible and tangible heritage. If you visit Iran, it will surely not disappoint you and give you the best experience that every visitor gets.

When bringing home a souvenir or two, there are plenty of bazaars and traditional markets around the country. The country is the origin of handicrafts, and they have attained a UNESCO Seal of Experience for more than two hundred varieties of arts and crafts.

How Would This Guide Help You?

This driving guide can tell you all about the country's general information and requirements if you want to rent a car in Iran. And if you're going to migrate to Iran, this guide can help you start your journey. This guide can also help visitors who will visit Iran for the first time and have plans for renting a car since it includes some general traffic rules and how to have an International Driver's License.

General Information

Iran or officially called the Islamic Republic of Iran, is located in Southwest Asia and is bordered by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, and the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Gulf of Oman. The country is home to one of the world's oldest civilizations, the Elamite kingdoms, in the fourth millennium B.C. The Iranian Medes first identified it in the seventh century B.C. They reached their territorial height when Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Empire in the sixth century, becoming one of the biggest empires in history.

Iran is a mountainous, dry, and ethnically distinct country located in southwestern Asia. Much of the country consists of a central desert plateau ringed on all sides by great mountain ranges that you can access through high passes. Most of the population lives on these edges of the forbidding, waterless waste. The country's capital is Tehrān, a spread-out metropolis at the edge of the Elburz Mountains.

Geographic Location

Iran is located in Southwest Asia, bordered by Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Iraq. It has a land area of 1,648,195 square kilometers (636,372 square miles) and is the second-largest country in the Middle East. About one-third of the country's boundary is the seacoast, and they control around a dozen islands in the Persian Gulf.

Languages Spoken

Iran’s official language is Persian or Farsi, but there are also languages and dialects that you will hear from the locals of Iran, the Indo-European, Altaic, and Afro-Asiatic. About three-fourths of Iranians speak Indo-European languages, and somewhat more than half of the population speak Persian from the Indo-Iranian language. Other languages heard in the country are:

  • KurdishLurī
  • Armenian
  • Azerbaijanian
  • Turkmen language
  • Arabic

History

Iran has long represented a vital role in the region as an imperial power. Its strategic position and rich resource, especially petroleum, became a factor in colonial and superpower rivalries. The country's roots date to the Achaemenid period that began in 550 BCE, known as Persia. Iran has been influenced by different indigenous and foreign conquerors and immigrants, like the Hellenistic Seleucids and local Parthians and Sāsānids.

Government

Iran is a uniform Islamic republic with one legislative house. Their constitution was placed in 1979 in which numerous bodies dominated by the clergy oversee the executive, judiciary, and parliament. The head of their government is a ranking cleric called the rahbar, or leader. The duties and authorities of a rahbar usually equate with the head of state.

About 83 million people are living in Iran as of 2020 mid-year, according to U.N. data. They are equivalent to 1.08% of the world population in total. Their culture has influenced other countries like Macedonia, Italy, Greece, Russia, the Arabian Peninsula, and some parts of Asia since it is one of the region's oldest cultures. The majority of Iranians still practice Islam, which governs their personal, economic, political, and legal lives.

Tourism

According to Iranian media, the country ranks 15th globally in terms of tourism potential and 45th-48th based on the number of tourists in the country. They also noticed that most of their tourists visit Iran for religious treatment. Tourists from Europe, Australia, and Canada mostly visit deserts in the south and natural sites in the north.

When it comes to family matters, Iranians take their responsibility very seriously. Men are protective of women and children. When it comes to asking questions about an Iranian wife or other female relatives, it is highly inappropriate.

International Driver's Permit for Iran

An International Driver's Permit/License for Iran is an additional document for travelers that prefer to drive in Iran. This license is also part of the requirement when renting a car in Iran. It is also a translation of your native driver's license, so if you get pulled by the authorities for checkpoints or violations, they can easily understand your documents.

Getting an International Driver's Permit for Iran is not only a requirement, but it's a useful document for people that plan on driving through Iran. To others, they use their International Driver's Permit while waiting for their Iranian driving license as part of their migrating period.

Is my Local Driver's License Valid in Iran?

All tourists who plan on driving through Iran would need to have an International Driver's Permit. Authorities will not let you drive inside Iran if you don't have an Iranian driving license or an IDP. If you don't comply, you will either get deported or sent to jail. Even if your license is in English, you would still need an IDP since not all Iranian understand the English language.

Does An International Driver's Permit Replace A Native License?

An International Driving License does not replace your native license. It is only a translation of your license so that the locals in Iran can better understand your documents, especially if you prefer to drive in Iran. It also does not permit you to drive in your home country if your local license got lost or expires.

How Can I Drive With an International Driver's Permit?

An International Driver's Permit is a requirement for visitors who want to drive in Iran. For first-timers from the UK and want to visit Iran, you might wonder, "can I drive in Iran with the UK driving license?" The answer is no. Whether you have an English or non-English license, you would still need an International Driver's Permit to drive in Iran legally. Do note that an IDP doesn't entitle you to use it as a learner's permit in your driving lessons in Iran.

When driving to Iran, make sure that you always bring the necessary documents such as your IDP, native license, passport, visa, and car insurance, even if it's only a short drive. It is important to have them in the car for checkpoint purposes.

Renting a Car in Iran

Other visitors would instead want to take public transportation or scheduled tours. But if you're an adventurer, renting and driving a car in Iran is a great way to explore the country's less-known destinations. It gives you the option to go around the country at your own pace since Iran has fantastic landscapes and nature due to its different climates. Also, when renting a car, you have the option of renting a driver if you want a more luxurious vehicle.

Other tourists who have visited Iran might discourage you from renting a car in the country and saying that there are some crazy drivers in Iran. But don't all countries have that? Also, even if some crazy drivers in Iran still follow traffic rules since numerous speeding cameras monitor traffic flow and drivers respect each other's right of way. So, driving in Iran is safe, even if some drivers tend to get crazy when driving.

Car Rental Companies

You can pre-book a rental car online to some renowned car rental agencies in Iran, or you can rent a car upon your arrival in Iran. Some of these famous rental agencies are Europcar, Saadat rent, Takseir, Aradseir, Persiangasht, Parsianhamrah, and Hamirent. Some of these car rental companies also have offices at the Imam Khomeini International Airport or IKIA and Mehr Abad airports, and some operate in big cities. Make sure to contact the rental agency first to inquire if they can deliver your rental car at the airport.

Documents Required

The documents needed to rent a car in Iran will depend on the car rental company you chose. But the basic requirements are your passport, valid driver's license, visa, and International Driver's Permit. Some agencies would also require you to deposit between IRR 51,600,000 to IRR 258,000,000 ($1200 - $6100) depending on the vehicle type and rental company. This deposit will be given back to you when you deliver the rental car back to the company.

There are other companies that will keep an amount of the deposit if you have any violations recorded by the police cameras. Do take note that the required deposit should be given in cash.

Vehicle Types

To rent a vehicle in Iran, you would need to know that your options are limited to a 4-wheel drive only. You'll mostly drive on a worn trail so a 4-wheel-drive car is recommended. Unfortunately, rental companies don't offer motorcycles for rent, and if some companies do offer it, you might have a difficult time getting a hold of a bike. There are also some locals that would lend their motorbike to travelers. But note that if you want to try and rent from the locals, there might be some risks since you don't have any details about the person and the bike.

Car Rental Cost

Car rental prices in Iran will depend on two categories: the service if you want to avail a self-driving or chauffeur driven, and the type of vehicle. The types of vehicles that you can choose from are economical, luxury cars, and SUVs. If you want to self-drive during your trip, the minimum rental time is three days, which is about 93 U.S. Dollars ($31 per day), depending on what type of car you'll be driving.

A chauffeur-driven car, on the other hand, is where you rent a car and a driver. This type of car rental category is common for companies and organizations if, for example, you're on a business trip. Also, the maximum hour of the rental car is ten hours per day, and if you want to extend the hours, you would need to pay the extra hourly charge. The lowest amount for a chauffeur-driven car is $41 per day.

Age Requirements

The minimum driving age requirement when renting a car in Iran is 19 years old and has a valid driver's license. But this driving age in Iran will vary from one rental company to another. Some companies would require you to be at least the age of 21 to rent a car, so if you're one of the younger age sides and want to experience driving in Iran, it's best to make sure that the company you'll choose has a lower driving age requirement. Also, it's best to have some extra money in case they have a young driver fee.

Car Insurance Cost

Rental companies should provide basic car insurance for travelers who require a rental car, and it should also be part of the agreement you signed. However, car insurance cost would depend from company to company whether you would be purchasing the basic insurance or the premium insurance. Make sure to discuss the details with your prospective rental company.

Car Insurance Policy

Some car rental companies provide basic car insurance for people renting their car, called Collision Damage Waiver or CDW. It covers the vehicle's body, such as doors, the bonnet, the back of the car, and side panels. However, it does not include tires, lights, windows, and glasses. If you also want to cover these parts of the car, you would need to purchase premium car rental insurance from the company when renting a car.

Road Rules in Iran

Before you start hitting the road, knowing some driving laws in Iran is a must to avoid traffic violations and extreme road accidents along the way. Understanding the rules of driving in Iran is necessary, especially if you don't have enough experience.

One of the most important rules you need to know in Iran is that alcoholic beverages are illegal. Since your luggage will be checked, if they found out that you brought any alcoholic beverages or liquor chocolates, you will immediately be put into questioning as to why you smuggled alcohol into their country.

Important Regulations

Iran's rules are almost as general as other countries. Still, there is one rule where every driver and passenger must be aware of, and this rule is vital for a tourist driver if you want to self-drive in Iran, especially if you're from a non-Islamic country. This specific traffic rule can either get you blacklisted in the country or get you fined as a lighter punishment.

Law About Drinking and Driving in Iran

As stated above, liquor is illegal in Iran so expect that they take drunk driving pretty seriously. They have no legal blood alcohol level, and if they suspect you of drinking, you would need to comply with a breath test. If you got caught or you failed to comply, the lightest punishment can be a simple fine, and the worst case of punishment you can receive that's below Iran's Islamic Penal code is 80 lashes. So, if you'll be out drinking, let a chauffeur drive instead.

General Standards of Driving

The general driving laws in Iran are like any other driving rules worldwide, and some regulations might also be obvious even for young drivers. Some of these commonly known rules are seatbelts, where all passengers inside the car should all wear their seatbelts when moving. Another is no use of mobile devices while driving unless you use a hands-free device. Lastly, all documents should be within reach when driving in Iran, like your license, International Driver's Permit, and insurance. Also, make sure your rental car has an Iranian license plate. The two-digit codes on Iranian license plates differ in every province. These codes are found at the right end of license plates.

Speed Limits

Iran has three kinds of speed limits; inside the city, it's 50 km/h, then 70 to 110 km/h outside major cities and on rural roads, and on highways, it's from 70 to 120 km/h. Knowing these speed limits can lessen accidents and penalties when driving to Iran. Moreover, you'll also find speed bumps on some roads in Iran. Also, there are many speed cameras on all roads, so if you ever get stopped by the authorities, it might be because you were caught overspeeding.

Seat Belt Law

In Iran, all passengers inside the vehicle should wear seat belts even if they're only going to the mall or a store. Also, toddlers should have a child safety seat inside the car. Wearing the seatbelt should be common practice for every driver and passenger, especially when driving in another country since you're still adjusting to the locals' driving habits. Also, driving through Iran is safer, and you'll be calmer if you know that everyone is tucked tight in their seatbelt, particularly if you have children under the age of 10.

Driving Directions

Driving Direction in Iran will always be on the right, whether you're in a roundabout or on a freeway. Fortunately, roundabouts are often found in major cities like Tehran, and when you enter a roundabout, make sure that you'll move slowly to avoid any road accidents while entering.

Staying on the roundabout's left side is the right way to avoid other vehicles that are entering. When exiting the roundabout, you need to turn your signal light and enter the road's outer lane until you reach your exit point.

Traffic Road Signs

Traffic road signs in Iran are all similar to other countries. The only thing you would need to worry about is the words written inside the road signs since most are in Farsi. You would need to be familiarized with some words in Farsi, especially if they are part of a road sign. Iran's traffic road signs are categorized into eight groups: Warning Signs, Priority Signs, Prohibitive or Restrictive Signs, Mandatory Signs, Road Markings, Traffic Regulation, Temporary Signs, and Route Shields.

Right of Way

Some local drivers in Iran are careless and would rather want to get their way instead of waiting for other people to make a turn. But under their law, the first one that came to a full stop on a crossroad has the right to proceed first. Also, when overtaking a vehicle, you must be on the inner part of the lane.

Knowing your right of way can make your driving adventure in a country much more comfortable and quicker since there will be a lesser chance for you to get into a road accident. Also, since you have deposited an amount of cash into your rental car, you would want to get back your money rather than pay more because of a road accident.

Legal Age of Driving

The legal driving age in Iran is 18 years old. If you want to have an Iranian driving license, you would need to take driving lessons in Iran, but before taking the lesson, it's best to know some driving tips in Iran via videos or official sites to be mentally prepared. Also, when applying for a driving license in Iran, you should know what type of vehicle you will be using since there are different types of licenses for a specific type of vehicle.

Law on Overtaking

When overtaking, you must be on the road's left side since your car operates on the right side. Avoid driving on the left side if you're not overtaking since most cars are faster on that side of the lane. Most major accidents happen in Iran because some drivers ignore vehicles that want to overtake them, which results in a collision.

Driving Side

The driving side in Iran is right. Operating the car is on the right side and also on the road. If you're not in a hurry, it is mandatory to stay on the street's right side to avoid accidents from the vehicles that want to overtake.

Driving Etiquette in Iran

Road rules in Iran might be the same as any other country, but be careful when it comes to their driving habits and cultures. Before visiting the country, knowing some driving habits in Iran would benefit you a lot since there would most likely be random checkpoints. You might also learn a thing or two about the culture of driving in Iran.

Car Breakdown

If your car accidentally breaks down while on your way to your destination, immediately call the rental company where you rented the vehicle to report the incident. They will then ask you for information about the incident and your location to provide the nearest service they have. One rental company even quote that "when driving in Iran and the car broke down, we will give customer service anywhere in less than 45 minutes. And, if it's unfixable, we will replace the vehicle in less than 24 hours, free of charge."

Police Stops

If, in any case, you got stopped by a police officer, the first thing you would need to do is to calm down. Police stops are frequent in Iran since many drivers get caught overspeeding. If you did manage to over speed, all you need to do is present them the documents that they need to see and accept the fine that they would give you. Don't give them bribes or any indication that may result in a larger issue. Authorities in Iran don't like it when you try to bribe them because they'll think that you're an illegal immigrant or you're trying to smuggle something.

Asking Directions

You should never be shy if you want to ask for directions in Iran since there are road signs and directions that you wouldn't understand. Locals in the country are more than willing to help you get to your destination, but before you do, it's better to know some of the directional words in their language since they might feel uncertain to answer you if you asked them in English. Persians are friendly, and they don't want you to get lost, so they want to help you as much as they can.

Checkpoints

Checkpoints are mostly located outside big cities or crossroads. They put checkpoints in areas around the country to check for undocumented migrants and if someone is trying to smuggle alcohol or illegal medications while driving into Iran. If you're driving into Iran's east side, do take note that they're stricter on routine checks than other areas in Iran.

Other Tips

Other than the mentioned situations above, there are still some questions that every first-time visitor would want to know. And knowing the answers to some questions might deduce your doubts and increase your curiosity about Iran.

Is it Legal When a Woman is Driving in Iran?

Women driving in Iran are allowed. Women drivers have a larger number than men drivers since they like to drive with their family and friends. There are also many female taxi drivers, and their passengers will be strictly for women only. Most female tourists prefer having a female taxi driver because they know that they'll be safer.

When Driving in Iran, does Zip Codes Matter?

All visitors can go driving in Iran without worrying about zip codes. However, you need to check if the vehicle has free mileage or not since companies offer free mileage for a specific type of car. Free mileage means that you can drive anywhere in Iran without having extra costs.

Can I Drive in Iran with a UK Driving License?

You can use any driving license you have as long as it is valid and is complemented by an International Driver's Permit or IDP. If you don't have an International Driver's Permit, you will be driving illegally in Iran, and if you get caught driving without an IDP, they might let you off with a warning or a ticket as a minimum penalty.

Driving Conditions in Iran

If you experienced driving in middle eastern countries, Iran is no different. Like in any other Middle East country driving in Iran is safe. Although it is safe to drive in Iran, you need to be cautious of the difference in the driving habits in Iran and their driving culture.

Most signs are written in both Persian and English, so getting lost wouldn't be a problem, and road conditions are also good on major routes. If you get lost, you can always use Waze and Google Maps application to find your way back. It can also help you save more time by finding the best route with less traffic.

Accident Statistics

Despite having safe drivers in Iran, the country still has a high road accident rate because reckless drivers tend to ignore the traffic rules. The country ranked 42nd on road accidents in the world according to WHO data, and as reckless drivers increase in Iran, it is most likely that tourists would instead want to take public transportations or tours than to self-drive.

Common Vehicles

The most standard vehicle in Iran is the economy car since most people use it in big cities like Tehran. You would also see vehicles like trucks, SUVs, compact cars, and motorcycles on the road, but most locals prefer using an economy car.

Iran was known as the 12th biggest car market in the world in 2017, according to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers' figures, and had 1.5 million sales in the region. The country's two major car companies are Iran Khodro and Saipa. They have their model of vehicles and also manufacture popular brands since they have deals with larger companies.

Toll Roads

There are plenty of toll roads outside major cities, and when going to each destination outside the town, it is best to bring some extra cash. Some toll roads don't accept cards, and forgetting to get extra money for toll roads could delay you on your schedule for at least a day.

Road Situation in Iran

There are a number of freeways in Iran about 2,400 kilometers long. In 2020, Iran set the plan to improve its roads since the difficult winter weather has poorly damaged its streets in the last 24 months. The project would first prioritize roads that have the most drastic damage and work its way to repair all 36,000km of road.

Driving Culture

You'll encounter several types of drivers in Iran. There are some Iranian drivers that are safe drivers, but there are also drivers that are reckless and would do anything to get their way. Even if Iranians are friendly and help you in any way, some culture of driving in Iran is reckless, causing safer drivers to act irrationally, which sometimes leads to accidents. But since Iran has a driving law that quotes, "If the driver hit a pedestrian, it is always the driver's fault and is responsible for paying blood money to the family of the victim."

Other Tips

Knowing how safe it is to drive through Iran and border crossing is also essential since not all travelers would want to fly to Iran. Some visitors would like to go to Iran, especially if they're going as a group. You can read below some helpful tips if you want to travel by road to get to Iran.

Is Driving Through Iran Safe?

Driving through Iran is safe as long as you follow their traffic laws and do not carry any illegal goods such as liquor and drugs. Iranian drivers are generally safe drivers so you don't have to worry about sharing the road with them as a tourist. When driving in Iran, you should always have your passport, visa, and an International Driver's Permit with you since there would be many checkpoints outside major cities. Authorities will be inspecting these documents to make sure that you're not an illegal immigrant. Also, if hotels require their guests to leave their passports at the front desk, it would be a good idea to have several copies of your visa and passport.

Are They Using KpH or MpH?

Iran determines the speed by using Kilometers per Hour or KpH. The country's traffic signs regarding speed look like signs in other countries. It is a circular shape with a thick red-lining that has a specific number in the middle, indicating the maximum speed limit in the area. There are also signs that indicate the end of the speed limit on each road; these signs are also circular with thin black lining and have four lines across the stated number.

Can you Cross the Border from Pakistan to Iran?

Driving through Iran from Pakistan can be done as long as you have a complete document of your vehicle since you're going to cross borders. Forms include an International Driver's Permit and carnet de passage. Carnet de Passage is an International validation for your car so that you can pass through Iran. You would also need to be at least 18 years old to be able to cross borders. If you have an incomplete document, driving through Iran from Pakistan will not be possible.

Things That You Can Do in Iran

If you decide that you want to stay longer in the country or want to try having driving jobs in Iran like truck driving, you would need to consider some requirements to get you started. These requirements include an Iranian driving license, visas, a Xerox copy of the first page of the passport, and a certificate of residency in the country.

Many foreigners have migrated to Iran since 2019. Their initial purpose was not because they want to try working in Iran, but because they're curious to know what kind of country is Iran. When deciding on a long-term stay, documents such as an Iranian driving license, working visa, and a residency certificate in Iran are needed. These documents are necessary because they would legally permit you to work and live in Iran.

To apply for a working visa, you would first need to have a granted entrance visa registered for no more than 58 days before your travel. Your Iranian driving license for your driving jobs (i.e., truck driving in Iran) and certificate of residency should be applied inside the country. The residency has two kinds: Temporary residence and Permanent residence. These types of residency permits shall be issued by the agent that hired you, and they must be submitted eight days after entering Iran.

Drive as a Tourist

Driving as a tourist in Iran is possible as long as you have every requirement needed every time you're driving, such as your valid driver's license, passport, visa, and an International Driver's Permit (IDP). An IDP should always be beside your driver's license since authorities would be looking for all the documents stated above, especially your IDP if your driver's license is not English.

Work as a Driver

Finding a job as a driver might be difficult in Iran than in other countries if you prefer to be a chauffeur or a public driver. Truck driving jobs are quicker to find in Iran since you won't be interacting much with tourists or locals, but you would need to be familiar with the country's language to get hired as a driver. If you prefer finding a driving job as a public driver or a chauffeur, you would need to be more fluent in their language since most Iranians take public transport.

Work as a Travel Guide

If you think you're confident enough to guide and educate other visitors to some of Iran's destinations, then working as a travel guide might be the right fit for you. Do note that finding a job as a tourist guide is a bit harder since most job openings have a minimum requirement of stay in the country and a degree related to the position offered.

If you do secure a job as a travel guide, make sure to cooperate with your employer quickly and efficiently because they can replace you at any moment with a local if they feel like you're not prioritizing the job offer.

Apply for Residency

Applying for a residency in Iran is possible even for a driver. A certificate of residency means that you are allowed to live in Iran, and you are obliged to contribute to various taxes and social security. Having a certification lets you apply and renew an Iranian driver's license since it's one of the requirements. There are two types of residency in Iran, temporary and permanent permits. A permanent residency is for foreigners who would want to stay in Iran; if not, they would need to apply for a temporary residence.

If you want to apply for a resident certificate, you would need to do it eight days after you arrive in Iran at the police of the provisional capital or the city you want to stay in to start your application. When registering for your residency, the basic documents you would be needing are:

  • Your application form;
  • ID's like passport, to prove your nationality and;
  • Proof of former address before going to Iran.

The requirement stated above may or may not be the only documents needed. Make sure to ask the officer in charge if there would be added requirements for your application.

Other Tips

Deciding to stay longer in the country or if you want to secure a job and live in Iran, these tips can help you on where you would start and what documents you would need to prioritize first. Below are some key requirements of needing to work in Iran.

What are the Requirements for a Working Visa?

Having a working visa and a certificate of residency will be the top priority of a person if they want to stay longer or migrate to Iran. When applying for a working visa, you should have already been accepted by an employer since one requirement for the application is the labor certificate given to you by the employer. Other basic requirements would include your passport (current and former), passport photo, air ticket, and medical certificate.

Before you start applying for a working visa, you should know that you would only be getting a temporary working visa or Type F visa. Work permits can be extended at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to be approved by the Police Aliens Affairs Department and the Department of Aliens Employment if the employer requests. Once the application has been approved, the next step is to register for a residency for you to be able to apply for an Iranian driving license.

What are the requirements for an Iranian Driving License?

Once you have your working visa and residency, the last thing you will need is an Iranian driving license if you intend to work as a driver in the country or if you want to buy a private car for yourself. To apply for an Iranian driving license, you would need to enroll in a licensed driving school and pass the theory exam to take the driving test. Before taking the driving test in Iran, you can watch some videos to learn some tips and tricks on how you can pass with flying colors, especially if it will be your first time getting a driver's license.

To start your driving license application, you would need to have the following documents:

  • Confirmation letter from the Immigration and Passport Police of NAJA or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
  • Photocopy of your passport and visa (first page of your passport);
  • A translation of your passport that's approved by the embassy or the Technical Department of Justice;
  • Passport photo with a white background;
  • A valid International Driver's License (if applicable);
  • A Persian and English application and;
  • Cash payment for your license.

What are the Types of Iranian Driving Licenses?

There are five types of driving licenses in Iran; motorcycle permit, third grade, second grade, first grade, and specific. Having a motorcycle permit restricts you to purely motorcycles and tricycles. For a third-grade driver’s license, you can drive a private vehicle with a passenger capacity of not more than nine, but if you want a job as a driver, you would need to have a second-grade license. The second-grade driver’s license is for public transportation with an exemption of buses because you can only have a vehicle with a maximum weight of 6000 kg.

On the other hand, the first-grade driver’s license has a weight capacity of over 6000 kg, meaning you can drive trucks and buses with this type of permit. Lastly, if you want to have a job on a construction site, you need to have a specific permit. This kind of license allows you to operate cranes and other types of machines that would typically be seen on construction sites.

Top Road Trip Destinations

Iran is a country of history and culture with many heritages that's part of the UNESCO World Heritage list with its civilization, historical and archeological sites, and monuments that demonstrates the value of religion, rituals, and traditions of the country. Tourists can learn a lot about the country's history in many of their top destinations, and if you're hungry, there are many restaurants in the country where you could taste some of their local foods and cuisine.

Iran has four types of seasons, but there are times that you can experience them simultaneously. You can experience summer weather in one region but winter in another. Also, a fun fact about Iran is that they start their working days on a Saturday. Their weekend officially begins on Thursday, and their week finishes on a Friday.

Persepolis

Persepolis is located below the Kuh-e Rahmat (Mountain of Mercy), founded in 518 B.C. by Darius I, and is part of the World's Greatest Archaeological Sites. The Achaemenid Empire's capital, which is known as the Gem of Achaemenid, sets in construction technology, architecture, urban planning, and art. The city stands among the archaeological sites that have no equivalent and has a unique ancient civilization.

Successors on the terrace built a series of stunning palatial buildings, where part of it is the huge Apadana palace and the Throne Hall (Hundred-Column Hall). Some locals might tell you that you haven't fully seen Iran if you haven't walked in the ancient kings' footsteps.

Driving Directions:

The fastest route to Persepolis from Tehran is Route 65, where you would be traveling for 862 km for at least nine hours and twenty minutes.

  • Take Navvab Expy, Cheraghi Expy, and Kazemi Expy to Persian Gulf Hwy/Route 7 in District 19.
  • Follow Persian Gulf Hwy/Route 7, Esfahan Eastern Bypass Fwy, and Route 65 to Marv Dasht - Sarooie Rd in Fars Province.
  • Exit from Route 65.
  • Follow Marv Dasht - Sarooie Rd and Shiraz - Persepolis to your destination.

Things to Do in Persepolis

If you want to understand Persepolis's history fully, going to each monument can give you a more detailed explanation as to why it became one of UNESCO's World Heritage.

Visit Naqsh-E-Rustam

When in Persepolis, visiting Naqsh-E-Rustam should be on your list to go to since it is one of the most visited destinations in the area. Naqsh-E-Rustam is an ancient cemetery where kings are buried high in the rocks and where you will see beautiful carvings around the area. It is a magnificent sight to travelers that has a passion for history.

Visit Pasargadae

The next area you should visit in Persepolis is the Pasargadae. It is a vast historical site where you can see the ruins of Cyrus' Private Palace and the tomb of Cyrus. Cyrus was the founder of the Achaemenian Empire that stretched from the Aegean Sea to the Indus River, and it was the largest empire that existed at the time.

Try out Local Cuisines

After visiting Persepolis, you may want to try local foods in the nearby restaurants where you can find the finest Persian cuisine Zereshk Polo Morgh. It is one of the prettiest rice dishes in Iran. It is usually made up of saffron and barberries with chicken and tomato soup on the side.

Anzali Lagoon

Anzali Lagoon or Talab-e Anzali is located on the Caspian Sea's coast, near Anzali port. It is registered as an international wetland that holds many islands and is home to hundreds of a variety of animals and plants. Anzali Lagoon is also one of the few places that houses one of the rare plants, the Caspian Lotus, which you can find anywhere in the lagoon. The top tourist attraction in the area is boat riding, where you can slowly float on the calm waters while hearing the birds sing and watch the flowers dance to the water's movements.

Once you're done in the lagoon, there are plenty of tasty local foods around the area. Foods like Kabab-e Torsh, Mirza Ghasemi, and Baghala Ghatogh are some of the delicacies that are sure to make your experience in the Azali Lagoon a little more than satisfactory.

Driving Directions

The road trip to Azali Lagoon will be at least four hours and forty-five minutes from Tehran if you take Route 2 and Qazvin.

  • Take Imam Khomeini St and Sheikh Fazlollah Nuri Expy/Tehran - Karaj Fwy to Route 2/AH8 in District 22.
  • Continue on Route 2/AH8. Take Qazvin - Rasht Fwy/Route 1 to Qazvin - Rasht Rd/Route 49 in Gilan Province.
  • Continue on Qazvin - Rasht Rd/Route 49 to your destination in Abkenar.

Things to Do in Anzali Lagoon

If you want to visit Anzali Lagoon, you need to know that the area's activities are limited because from the name itself, you will be going in a lagoon. Nevertheless, do not underestimate this natural tourist attraction's beauty, especially now that many forests and lagoons are slowly dying.

Take A Boat Ride

When you get to the lagoon, exploring the area with a boat ride is popular since you will see the plants and animals that live in the lagoon. On the boat ride, you'll be able to see the rare plant, Caspian Lotus, and other rare plants that you would only see in the lagoon. There are also animals and insects that you would only see in the area.

Take Pictures

While having your boat tour, you won't resist taking pictures of the rare plants and animals, so go ahead; the tour guide would allow you to take some pictures since you cannot take anything out of the lagoon. For botanists or those who love nature, taking photos is a great way to have some souvenirs in the area, but they can also learn it once they return home.

Try Local Foods

Once you're done in the lagoon, there are plenty of tasty local foods around the area. Foods like Kabab-e Torsh, Mirza Ghasemi, and Baghala Ghatogh are some of the delicacies that are sure to make your experience in the Azali Lagoon a little more than satisfactory.

Rudkhan Castle

Rudkhan Castle is located southwest of Foman in Gilan Province. This medieval castle was once part of the military and is made up of brick and stone. It had evidence that the castle was initially built in the Sasanian era and was rebuilt in the Seljuks' reign. The Rudkhan Castle is nicknamed "The Castle of a Thousand Steps" since locals say that's how many you will need to climb for you to get to the top of the castle.

Driving Directions

To get to Rudkhan Castle from Tehran, you would need to take Route 2 and Qazvin, and it will take you around four hours and thirty-three minutes of driving to get to the destination.

  • Take Imam Khomeini St and Sheikh Fazlollah Nuri Expy/Tehran - Karaj Fwy to Route 2/AH8 in District 22.
  • Continue on Route 2/AH8. Take Qazvin - Rasht Fwy/Route 1 to Qazvin - Rasht Rd/Route 49 in Gilan Province.
  • Continue on Qazvin - Rasht Rd/Route 49.
  • Take Fuman - Saravan Rd, Shaft - Mollasara Rd, and Qaleh Rudkhan Rd to ‫RoudKhan Castle Rd.‬‎ in Qaleh Rudkhan.

Things to Do in Rudkhan Castle

Going to Rudkhan Castle would require you to be mentally fit to reach the castle's main gate. But no doubt that when you get to the top, it will be worth the effort.

Hiking

As said above, getting to the top requires you to be mentally fit since you would be climbing a thousand steps to reach the main castle. There will be a resting place in some areas, so no need to worry if you can't get to the top. Going up the mountain is an adventure enough because you'll get to see different plants and animals that hide in the forest.

Camping

A day before your hike, you can camp at the foot of the mountain so that you can relax before climbing the castle. Others would stay the night to start early in the morning because what better time to climb a mountain than in the morning before the sun rises.

Explore the castle

Once you get to the castle, you can explore a lot of areas in the castle ruins. If you only love the hike to the top of the mountain and nature along the way, the view of the castle will also take your breath away.

Kashan

Kashan is a desert town near Tehran and Isfahan. It is a small town with beautiful sights like traditional houses. Not many travelers know this place but end up staying in the city for a couple of days once they stumble upon the town on the way to their destination. You can do many things in Kashan, from visiting traditional houses to traditional bathhouses in the city.

Driving Directions

When going to the beautiful city of Kashan, it can take you at least two hours from Tehran and on to the city you can plan out your stay and things to do in the area if you want to explore the town to the fullest.

  • Take Navvab Expy, Cheraghi Expy, and Kazemi Expy to Persian Gulf Hwy/Route 7 in District 19.
  • Follow Persian Gulf Hwy/Route 7 to Emam Reza Blvd in فین علیا. Exit from Amir Kabir Fwy/Persian Gulf Hwy/Qom - Kashan Fwy/Route 7.
  • Continue onto Emam Reza Blvd.

Things to Do in Kashan

Kashan is a beautiful town where you can see and experience some activities that you wouldn't get to do in many cities in Iran. And when you visit this magnificent city, some things that every tourist must do, go and see. Below are a few things that you might want to try in the city.

Visit Traditional Houses

The traditional houses in Kashan are possibly one of the main reasons why the city gained so much attention. These traditional houses are from the 19th century, and they are enormous and beautiful to look at even after being preserved for hundreds of years. Most of the houses have been renovated and divided into smaller homes. But the few that were left for everyone to see and appreciate have different ambiances to offer.

Pay the Traditional Bathhouse a Visit

There is one particular bathhouse in Kashan where you would feel royalty once you step foot inside its halls, where the ceiling and walls are covered with gold and turquoise tilings and paintings. The name of this traditional bathhouse is Sultan Amir Ahmad Bathhouse. If you want to have a relaxing day, you can go to this bathhouse and spoil yourself a little. There is also a rooftop where you can have a nice view of the mountains and the city.

Try the Local Foods

If you got tired from all the wandering and visiting around the town, picking the best restaurant might be your next priority. Trying out the town's specialties is a must, especially to those travelers that love exploring each country because of the uniqueness of their food.

Tabriz

Tabriz is a historical capital, the largest city today in the northwest of Iran, and the center of the Azeri community in the country. This metropolitan city is green, mountainous, and rich in cultural heritage like marvelous churches, mosques, fortresses, and landscapes, making it a great introduction to Iran. Tabriz is a great town where you wander for some days, and by the time you leave, you would feel like you have become a part of the Tabrizian people.

Driving Directions

When going to Tabriz from Tehran, expect that you'll be on the road for at least seven hours.

  • Take Imam Khomeini St and Sheikh Fazlollah Nuri Expy/Tehran - Karaj Fwy to Route 2 in District 22.
  • Follow Route 2 to Kasaei Expy/Tabriz Southern Bypass Expy/Route 16 in Tabriz.
  • Exit from Route 2.
  • Take Pasdaran Expy/Route 14 to Bolvar-e-Azadegan-e-Jonubi/Bolvar-e-Azadegan-e-Shomali/Chaykenar/Southern Azadegan Blvd.

Things to Do in Tabriz

When you get to visit Tabriz, don't be afraid to befriend some locals there. People in Tabriz are friendly and hospitable and expect many locals to shout greetings to you even from afar.

Visit The Bazaar of Tabriz

The Bazaar of Tabriz is a must-see whenever you come to Tabriz. It is one of the oldest bazaar worldwide that has vast shops to choose from. The bazaar had earned its place on the UNESCO World Heritage since most people would visit the bazaar not because they would like to buy something but because of the bazaar life that makes the area an attraction.

Visit The Blue Mosque of Tabriz

The Blue Mosque of Tabriz is one of the most beautiful mosques in the world. Unfortunately, an earthquake in 1772 had damaged the mosque, but there are still visible mosaics that make this mosque incredible. Until today, the recovery of the mosque is still ongoing, and you will see how careful the locals are in restoring this mosque.

Try Foods in Shahgoli Park

Shahgoli Park is another spot in Tabriz that you shouldn't miss when visiting the city. There are plenty of food stalls where you can try some local street foods or eat at a luxurious restaurant in the center of the park. There is also an artificial lake ring in the park for you to enjoy your walks.

Do take note that all the routes in each destination you'll take have tolls on them, so make sure to bring some cash with you in case they might not take your credit card.

All-in-all, Iran is a great place to visit if you love history and adventure, and if you're also a visitor that loves to try new and unique foods, Iran is one of the great places to do it. Sure it may feel a bit crowded in some cities, but that's the reality of all the countries in the world. Besides, you don't visit a country to critique how crowded the place is; you visit a country because you want to explore its beautiful sceneries, know its history up close, and try some of the best local dishes in the country.

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