What is surprising in Iran is to see such a paradox between the ideas received before departure, what we imagine to know about this country, the image conveyed by the media, and the real kindness, benevolence, warmth of the reception of Iranians.
Iranians are very welcoming to foreigners. You will be seen as guests who need to be taken care of, and wherever you go they will be very helpful.
It is important to take into consideration some local rules before embarking on a trip to Iran.
You are traveling to an Islamic republic, so there are certain rules to follow in public space and during your stay.
For example, it is not possible to kiss, nor to shake hands with the opposite sex, unless you are offered it.
We greet each other by bowing our heads, with our hands on our hearts.
The consumption of alcohol and drugs is of course prohibited, so be careful if you are offered any.
Women are obliged to cover their heads, wear long clothing (pants, skirt or long dress), and a sufficiently long tunic reaching at least the top of the thighs, not low-cut and covering the arms to the elbow.
Shorts and tank tops are prohibited for men. Short-sleeved t-shirts are allowed.
The authorities, however, are very flexible with regard to foreign travelers.
In houses, it is customary to take off your shoes before entering, and for toilets and the bathroom, it is necessary to use a pair of specially dedicated slippers that you will find inside.
There is no such thing as nightlife as we know it in the West. So you can’t find bars, nightclubs or other nightlife entertainment venues.
However, Iranians are very good at partying inside homes. They are a very festive and happy people.
If you have more specific questions, please write to us.
– Travel to Iran when you are a woman
It is quite safe and secure to travel to Iran when you are a woman alone or in a small group.
Many undertake this journey solo without any difficulty or danger.
As stated above, Iranians are a caring and respectful people.
– Iranian politeness: the Taarof
Taarof is a kind of exaggerated politeness and courtesy that Iranians practice on a daily basis.
It’s about complimenting too much, using strong words like “I would sacrifice myself for you” or “May your hand feel no pain” or “I am your slave”. These are common expressions that have fortunately lost their meaning.
It also consists of refusing three times before accepting something. For example, before accepting an invitation we must refuse it three times, the fourth time we accept. It is the same for the payment of taxis, restaurants or your purchases.
It may sound over the top or inappropriate, but it is the art of Iranian communication.
– Other things to know …
If you are invited to an Iranian family, it is customary to bring a small gift, fruit or pastries, not to come empty-handed.
If you are invited to dinner or lunch, you will be greeted with tea, fruit, dried fruit, sweets. Then you will be served the meal that you must eat, and leave immediately.
Iranians are very curious and ask a lot of questions that may seem intrusive to us. Like knowing your age, if you are married, if you have children …
They are also very fond of showing photos of their family and expect to see personal photos of yourself or loved ones as well.
They will certainly ask you to take pictures with them. Iranians love to take pictures of themselves.
You understand there is a big cultural difference, but Iranians are very accessible and warm.