10 Days
Activity Level
Mar, Apr, May, Sep, Oct, Nov
Best Months
Cultural & Heritage, Train Journeys
Travel Styles

Explore both tourist highlights and Off the Beaten Track regions in northwest Iran through a train journey

START Razi Railway Station on Iran-Turkey Border
REGION(S) Western Iran, and Tehran
MEALS: 9 Breakfasts, 0 Lunches, 1 Dinner
ACCOMMODATIONS: Hotel: 7 Nights, Guesthouse: 1 Night, Traditional Rocky Hotel: 1 Night
TRANSPORTATION:  Train, Private vehicle
All transportation according to the itinerary
Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary
Meals as indicated in the itinerary
English speaking tour guide
NOT INCLUDED Entry fee for the sites not mentioned in the itinerary
Travel insurance
International airfare
Excess baggage charges
Airport and departure taxes
Any extra hotel costs such as early check in or late checkout
Mini bar used in the room
Meals not stipulated in the itinerary
Tips (optional)
Cost of medical immunizations
Bottled water
Phone calls
Any other service not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Experience the Ancient Silk Road with modern trains
  • Explore Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran (UNESCO)
  • Stroll in Tabriz and the longest covered Bazaar in the world (UNESCO)
  • Spend an unforgettable night in the rocky Kandovan village
  • Visit Maragheh historical city, the capital of the Mongols
  • Stay in a renovated historical caravanserai in Azarbaijan
  • Zanjan sightseeing (hand-made Knives and Saltmen city)
  • Visit Rakhtshur Khaneh (the Laundry House museum)
  • Admire Soltaniyeh, the largest brick dome in the world (UNESCO)
  • Enjoy the main attractions of Qazvin, the capital of the Safavid dynasty, also known as Iran’s Capital of Calligraphy
  • Explore the Castle of the Assassins and Alamut Valley (Tentative UNESCO Site)
  • Visit the main highlights of the capital
  • Enjoy the UNESCO palace of Golestan

Ancient Persia played a main role on the Silk Road that linked the East and West in the old times.  The Silk Road was extended from west to east on different routes, and the longest route of this trade and cultural network passed through Iran. So, a considerable wealth of historical structures and cultural elements have been left from the old centuries that are worth visiting. There was a complicated network of overland and sea routes in Iran. One of the most important and shortest ones was the northern route. On Iran’s current map, this route connects the northwest of the country (Tabriz) to the northeast (Mashhad) through the south part of the Caspian Sea. This route, 2000 km long, passes through major provinces of Iran with an amazing variety of ethnic groups, languages, and cultures. The Azaris, Persians (Fars people), Turkmens, Nomadic tribes, and Baluch people are the main ethnicities who live in different parts of this region. There is also considerable diversity in foods, drinks, and landscapes in each region. The route passes along the Alborz mountain range embracing numerous fascinating villages on the foothills of the mountains. It encompasses many caravanserais, some of which are under consideration to be registered on the list of Iran UNESCO Sites. Besides the highlights along the Silk Road, there are plenty of other attractions located in this region of Iran. Tehran, the Capital, is located approximately in the middle of the route between Tabriz and Mashhad. The ancient Ray city, once an important city along the Silk Road, is currently located in the south of Tehran province. On this trip, we are going to travel the west part of this ancient route covering a journey from the Iran and Turkey border to Tehran the capital. We assume the travelers come from Turkey and start their trip from the Iran-Turkey border (Razi Border). There are other options as well. Please have a look at the trip notes.

This tour has been designed for those travelers who would like to travel by train and experience the ancient Silk Road in the northwest of ancient Persia. The tour connects Turkey to Iran to enrich the experience of the tourists who travel from the West to the East of the Silk Road. On this tour, you will be immersed in the cultural and historical attractions in northwest Iran while enjoying the scenic sceneries of mountainous and forest landscapes along the railroads. We will stop, visit, and enjoy a wide range of Iran tourist attractions including Tourist Highlights in the cities as well as Off the Beaten Track sightseeing along the route. We will travel by three-star trains (or any other available high-class train).

This is a special train journey covering the west part of the main Silk Road of Iran at the west of Alborz Mountain Range. We will visit 6 of the main Iran UNESCO sites located on our travel itinerary. The 10-day tour will begin from the Razi border in the West Azarbaijan province on the border of Iran and Turkey. Our representative will pick you up at the border and transfer you to the next destination. We will travel with different modes of transportation to reach the Capital. Some parts are covered by a private car or a van/minibus, and other parts are covered by diffident trains. We will have a short walk in the fortress of Assassins as well. The most prominent churches in Iran are located in the northwest of the country. Due to the lack of a train route, we will visit the Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran (UNESCO) by road. From there, we will go to Tabriz, one of Iran’s main trade centers along the Silk Road. After walking under the roof of the most important bazaar in Iran, we will stay in the amazing Kandovan village, well known for its ancient manmade cliffs still inhabited. We will continue our train journey to the capital, passing by tourist highlights on the route and visiting the magnificent attractions such as Maragheh Observatory, and Soltaniyeh (UNESCO) in Zanjan. Before arrival in Tehran, we will pay a visit to Qazvin, the former capital of Iran in the Safavid era and the current center of Iran’s calligraphy. We also have an excursion from Qazvin to the high mountains of Alborz to visit the Alamut valley and its famous Castle. Regarding the changing trains timetable, we will move on and arrive at different stops at various times.

This tour has been designed for people of different ages and abilities. You just need to have the ability for daily travels.

For every two people or couple, a private compartment (with 4 or 6 berth sleepers) will be allocated.

A professional tour guide will accompany you throughout the whole journey.


Day 1: Arrive at Border of Iran-Turkey - Transfer to KHOY (65 km- 1 hrs)

You will arrive at Razi Station on the Border of Iran-Turkey. Depending on your arrival time we will arrange for one of our representatives to pick you up from the border and transfer you to Khoy city. Overnight stay in a hotel in Khoy. (-, -, -)

Day 2: Travel to the Arminian border (the Church route) – Drive to MARAND (200 km)

You will have one full-day excursion tour by a private vehicle to explore a few attractions in northwest Iran and end up in Marand city at the end of the day. We will drive towards Jolfa which is near the border of Iran and Armenia to visit the three OFF the Beaten Track Armenian Monastic Ensembles of Iran (UNESCO), the last remains of Armenian culture in the region. Overnight stay in a hotel in Marand (B, -, -)

Day 3: MARAND to TABRIZ (70 km- 1 hrs)

We will continue our journey to Tabriz, a prominent city in Iran’s history, by car. We will enjoy the Tabriz city tour, visit the longest roofed bazaar in the world (UNESCO), and buy some souvenirs in the bazaar. Overnight stay in a hotel in Tabriz (B, -, -)

Day 4: KANDOVAN (56 km – 1.5 hrs)

You will visit the attractions in Tabriz before noon and in the afternoon you will drive from Tabriz head to the astonishing Off the Beaten Path Kandovan Village, an extraordinary ancient rocky village, by car. You will have a walking tour and landscape photography around the village and enjoy socializing with the Azari people. Overnight stay in a traditional hotel in the cave in Kandoval village. (B, -, -)

Day 5: MARAGHEH by Train (150 km- 2.5 hrs)

Today plan is according to the train schedule. We will drive directly to the train station of Tabriz to start our train journey from Tabriz toward Maragheh city. Maragheh is one of the oldest cities in East Azarbaijan. We will enjoy a full day of sightseeing, including the 13th-century observatory. Overnight stay in a hotel in Maragheh (B, -, -)

Day 6: ZANJAN by train ( 260 km –5 hrs)

We will continue our train journey to Zanjan, famous for its handicrafts, especially its stainless and sharp knives. We will have a city tour of Zanjan and visit the Dome of Soltaniyeh (UNESCO), one of the outstanding examples of Persian architecture and the largest brick dome in the world, Saltmen Museum, and other attractions such as Rakhtshooy Khaneh Edifice used as Zanjan Anthropology Museum. Overnight stay in a hotel in Zanjan (B, -, -)

Day 7: QAZVIN by train (180 km – 3 hrs) – Travel to ALAMUT (105 km- 2.5 hrs)

Today we will proceed to Qazvin on an early morning train. Qazvin once was the capital of the Safavid dynasty (1555–1598). Today, it is known as the capital of calligraphy in Iran. We will take a quick city tour of cultural attractions in Qazvin such as historic houses, ab anbars, and caravanserais. In the afternoon, we will drive to the Alamut valley and walk in its once unreachable Castle of the Assassins. Overnight stay in a guest house in Alamut. (B, -, D)

Day 8: Drive to QAZVIN (105 km- 2.5 hrs) - TEHRAN by Train (150 km – 2.5 hrs)

Today we have to leave the Alamut towards Qazvin train station which takes a few hours and from there, we take a train towards the capital. We will arrive around late afternoon and our driver transfer you to your comfortable hotel in the city center. You will get lost in the metropolitan which is an amazing combination of modernity and tradition. Tehran is a city of palaces, museums, and an abundance of artistic, historical, and cultural attractions for culture vultures. We will also visit the only UNESCO Site in the heart of the capital of Iran by getting Tehran downtown Classic Tour as well. Overnight stay in a hotel in Tehran. (B, -, -)

Day 9: TEHRAN Optional City Tour

You are free today and we didn’t consider any tour on this day. You can walk through the winding streets of the city, go to the traditional bazaar and be amazed at the variety of spices, handicrafts, and street food, communicate with local people, or be part of their daily life for some moments. There are lots of historical buildings, traditional architecture, parks, museums, and recreational and shopping centers on every corner.

In addition, you can choose one of our optional Capital tours according to your interest and type of travel. Overnight stay in a hotel in Tehran. (B, -, -)


Day 10: Departure

According to the flight time, we will transfer you to the Tehran IKA airport to fly back home. (B, -, -)

Note: many travelers who have time and are interested in train journeys can complete this route (the East part of the Silk Road) from Tehran to Mashhad. For this plan, we continue our journey by train on day 10th according to the itinerary. For more information and a full detailed itinerary, please contact us!

  • Regarding to the train schedule time, we are trying to book the train tickets in the morning to be able to visit and do the daily activity of the tour and the sightseeing. As the timetable of Iran is changing, if we can find available train time, we replace a private car instead for operating the tour.
  • If you wish, you can fly to Tabriz and start your journey from there. In that case, an extra day would be added to the itinerary.
  • If you would like to start this journey from the Capital, please get in touch!
  • If you come from Turkey and enter Iran from the land border, you have to get your Iran visa in advance. We will prepare your Visa Reference Number after your tour booking.
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