Istanbul to Tehran by Rail

Rail, Istanbul to Tehrān
Image by G Adventures

Information from G Adventures

Tour description

You may have made your way into Turkey before, but now it's time to take it a little farther east and discover some of the greatest underexplored territory in the world. This 17-day rail tour will bring you through the Turkish countryside to see the highlights of the Cappadocia region and the elegant, lakeside city of Van. You'll cross into Iran to find yourself in bustling Tehran, roam ancient Persepolis, and sample Shiraz grapes in the city that gave them their name. Take a true adventure and experience a part of the globe that's made for small-group travel.

What's included

  • Your Local Living Moment: Dinner with Local Family, Çavuşin
  • Istanbul orientation walk
  • Anitkabir visit
  • Traditional dinner with local family (Göreme)
  • Open Air Museum visit
  • Trans-Asia train
  • Mt Ararat day trip (Van)
  • Ishak Pasha Palace visit
  • Ahtamara Island visit
  • Van Castle visit
  • Tehran city tour, including Sa'd Abad Palace and the National Jewelry Museum
  • Karim Khan Citadel visit (Shiraz)
  • Vakil Mosque visit
  • Hafez and Sa'adi tombs visit
  • Persepolis guided tour
  • Naqsh-e-Rostam visit
  • Koran Gate visit
  • Pasargadae visit
  • Isfahan city tour
  • Golestan Palace visit (Tehran)
  • National Museum visit
  • Carpet Museum visit
  • Transport between destinations and to/from included activities


  • Cover part of the silk road by rail
  • Soak in the dramatic scenery of cappadocia
  • Savour the diverse flavours of turkey and iran
  • Absorb the ancient history of the region
  • Marvel at the dazzling bazaars and colourful mosques.


Day 1: Istanbul Arrive at any time.

Day 2: Istanbul/Ankara Enjoy an orientation walk around Istanbul before moving on to the capital city of Ankara.

Day 3: Ankara/Göreme Visit Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, before driving to the Cappadocia region. Enjoy a home-cooked dinner with a local family.

Day 4: Göreme Enjoy an included visit to the Göreme Open Air Museum before free time to explore this unique region. Opt to see it from above on a hot air balloon ride.

Day 5: Göreme/Tatvan Enjoy one more morning in Cappadocia before driving to nearby Kayseri. Board an overnight train for Eastern Turkey.

Day 6: Tatvan/Van Arrive to Tatvan and board a ferry for the scenic ride across Lake Van. Arrive to the other side and the town of Van in the afternoon.

Day 7: Van Enjoy a day trip to Mt Ararat with a visit to the Ishak Pasha Palace.

Day 8: Van Use a full day here to enjoy Lake Van. Drive to Gevas for a short cruise to Ahtamara Island to visit a beautiful Armenian Church. Opt to swim at the local beach.

Day 9: Van/Tehrān Enjoy another day in the Van area with a visit to the Van Castle. Board the Trans-Asia train in the evening for the journey to Tehran.

Day 10: Tehrān Spend the day absorbing the scenery from the train, arriving into Tehran in the evening.

Day 11: Tehrān/Shiraz Explore Tehran with a local guide, visiting the Sa’d Abad Palace and National Jewel Museum before boarding an evening train to Shiraz.

Day 12: Shiraz Arrive in Shiraz in the late morning. Spend the day visiting the Karim Khan Citadel, Vakil Mosque, and the tombs of Hafez and Sa’adi.

Day 13: Shiraz Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Persepolis, the ceremonial palace of Darius, and admire its amazingly well-preserved carvings. Later, wander the streets and mingle with the students in laid-back Shiraz.

Day 14: Shiraz/Isfahan Stop at the Koran Gate and the UNESCO-listed Pasargadae complex en route to Isfahan, one of the finest Islamic cities in the world.

Day 15: Isfahan/Tehrān Tour the beautiful city of Isfahan, enjoying the famous square, mosques, and bartering at the bazaar. Hang out on the many bridges that make Isfahan unique, or shop for an authentic Persian rug. In the evening, board a final overnight train to Tehran.

Day 16: Tehrān Arrive early and enjoy a final day of sightseeing in the busy capital of Tehran. Visit Golestan Palace, the National Museum, and the Carpet Museum.

Day 17: Tehrān Depart at any time.