This is a comfortable group tour that visits the highlights of Iran & Iraq (Kurdistan), two of the most friendly, beautiful and historic countries in the Middle East. We travel by private buses and domestic flights to reach our destinations quickly and we stay in 3 & 4 star hotels and guesthouses to ensure your comfort at all times. The relaxed itinerary gives you time to visit all the sites at a leisurely pace and our local guides are there to provide all the information about the places we visit. Travelling on this tour is a fun and hassle-free way to visit the best of what Iran & Iraqi Kurdistan have to offer!
Length: 22 nights, 23 days
Accommodation: 3 & 4 star hotels and guest-houses
Transport: private minibus/coach, 1 domestic flight
Age restrictions: none, all ages are welcome
Group size: 15 is average, minimum is 10, maximum is 24
Our itinerary has been designed to show you the best of Iran & Iraqi Kurdistan in a comfortable timeframe. The itinerary rarely changes on this tour but please be prepared to accept minor itinerary changes in the event we encounter any problems.
This tour starts in Tehran where you will be met at the airport and transferred to our comfortable hotel in the city centre. Most people arrive very early in the morning after an overnight flight.
After you have had a rest at the hotel you will be invited to join us for a welcome lunch at a local Iranian restaurant. After lunch your guide will take you on an afternoon tour of a few of Tehran’s sites including the bustling Grand Bazaar, the lavish Treasury of National Jewels and the historic Persian Carpet Museum.
On our first night you will be invited out to meet your fellow travelers over dinner at a local restaurant serving traditional Persian food.
This morning we will take a guided tour of Tehran and explore the glittering Golestan Palace, the fascinating National & Islamic Museums and the former US Embassy made famous by the 1979 hostage crisis.
After lunch we will head to the northern part of the city and visit the former residence of the Shahs of Iran, Sa’d Abad Palace, a magnificent complex of royal palaces and museums.
In the late afternoon we visit the traditional village of Darband situated at the foothills of the Alborz mountains, take a walk across Nature Bridge for commanding views over Tehran and wander the alleys of the traditional Tajrish Old Bazaar.
In the evening a group meal will be arranged at a local Iranian restaurant but you are free to do your own thing if you prefer.
Tonight we will spend the evening at a comfortable hotel in Tehran city centre.
Today we catch the morning flight to Kerman where we will spend our first day here exploring the highlights of this ancient trading centre perched on the edge of the Lut Desert, one of the hottest places on earth!
A real gem in Kerman is the 1200m long classically vaulted Sartasari Bazaar where the copper merchants, goldsmiths and Persian carpet sellers will make you feel like you have taken a step back in time.
In the afternoon we will also visit the beautifully detailed 14th century Jameh Mosque as well as the Ganj Ali Khan square comprising an ancient caravanserai, madrassa, bathhouse and coin mint.
We end the day at the Harandi Museum, half of which displays archeological finds from the nearby site of Jiroft and the other half displaying an impressive array of traditional instruments.
Tonight we will spend the evening at one of Kerman’s best hotels.
Today we explore more of the region’s highlights starting with the small village of Rayen where we have the opportunity to visit Iran’s most impressive fortress-citadel where behind it’s vast adobe walls we find a castle within a castle.
We continue to the picturesque town of Mahan where we visit the handsome Persian gardens of Shahzde, a colourful stop in an otherwise bleak stretch of desert. Here you can also visit the blue-tiled mausoleum of Shah Ne’matollah Vali, a revered 13th century dervish-mystic and poet.
Our final destination today is the Kaluts, a dramatic area of the Lut Desert where 10 storey high ‘sand-castle’ formations have been sculpted into the rocky desert landscape by millenia of wind erosion.
Tonight we will spend the evening at one of Kerman’s best hotels.
Today we travel by private bus from Kerman to Yazd and along the way we visit Saryazd Fortress, a wonderful defensive castle with concentric walls, high towers and a labyrinthe of twisting inner corridors.
After checking into our beautiful hotel in the heart of Yazd you are free to explore the atmospheric old town by night and have dinner at a Persian restaurant.
Today we take a full day to visit the highlights of Yazd, one of the country’s oldest continually inhabited towns and also the centre of Iran’s Zoroastrian community.
We start by visiting the abandoned Towers of Silence where until the 1960’s Zoroastrian practitioners would leave their dead to decompose and be devoured by birds.
At the still active Zoroastrian Fire Temple you will get an insight into the world’s oldest monotheistic religion. This elegant neoclassical building is also home to a flame that has been burning for 1500 years and is cherished by the Zoroastrians.
We continue to the magnificent Jameh Mosque which is graced with an intricately tiled mosaic dome and flanked by the tallest minarets in all of Iran bearing inscriptions from the 15th century.
At the Amir Chackmaq Square you will get to see one of Iran’s most notable landmarks, a 3 storey facade of perfectly proportioned sunken alcoves making it a prime site to get that perfect photograph.
Today we travel by private bus from Yazd to the beautiful town of Shiraz and along the way we visit two historic sites.
Our first stop is at the charming desert town Abarkuh which is home to an ancient living cyprus tree believed to be 4000 years old as well as a 2 storey wind-tower which cooled the adobe ice-houses used to store ice and food prior to the invention of the refrigerator.
Later in the day we visit the site of Pasargadae, the former capital of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, where we find the ancient tomb of Cyrus the Great, crumbling palaces and the remains of a once fertile garden.
Tonight we will spend the evening at a charming hotel in Shiraz.
This morning we will visit the ancient site of Persepolis, the 2500 year old ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings where you will find beautiful bas-reliefs, sculptures, pillars and terraces amongst the remains of the palaces of Darius the Great and Xerxes.
We continue to Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab in the neighboring cliffs where we discover a series of rock-hewn royal tombs and a collection of magnificent Sasanian rock reliefs.
Tonight we will spend the evening at a charming hotel in Shiraz.
Today we have a full day to explore Shiraz, the heartland of Persian culture synonymous with poetry, wine, roses and nightingales.
Our first visit is to the exquisite Nasir-Al-Molk (PInk Mosque) where the deep blue tiling, colourful carpets and stained glass windows will dazzle you.
Nearby we find Naranjestan, the most lovely garden in Shiraz where you will also find a beautiful pavilion with a mirrored entrance, inlaid wooden panels and ceilings painted with European-stlye motifs.
Our next visit is to the Tomb of Hafez, Iran’s most revered poet and 14th century folk hero who is so loved here that practically every Iranian can quote some of his work.
Dominating the centre of Shiraz we now visit the Karim Khan Citadel, an 18th century fortress of high walls, ornamental brickwork and tall circular towers.
We end our day by visiting the bustling Vakil Bazaar, a masterpiece of Zand architecture where wide vaulted brick avenues lead you to over 200 stores selling carpets, handicrafts and spices.
Tonight we will spend the evening at a charming hotel in Shiraz.
Today we travel by private bus from Shiraz to the iconic city of Isfahan and along the way we visit the historic Izadkhast complex which houses a fabulous castle, an ancient caravanserai and a Safavid-period bridge.
After checking into our fabulous hotel in the heart of Isfahan you are free to explore the atmospheric old town by night and have dinner at one of the many delightful Persian restaurants offering some of Iran’s best dining.
Today we have a full day to explore Isfahan, a living museum of traditional culture recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful and historic cities. With its elegant bridges, opulent gardens and glorious Islamic buildings this town is unmatched in its visual appeal.
We start by visiting Naqsh-e Jahan (Imam) Square, one of the world’s largest squares and certainly one of the most striking. Hemmed by architectural gems this square was designed to showcase the finest jewels of the Safavid empire including the stunning Shah Mosque, the magnificent Sheik Lotfollah Mosque and the lavish 6-storey Ali Qapu Palace offering one of the best views in Iran.
Leading off from Imam Square we now enter the Qeisarieh Bazaar, a maze of arched passageways where you will find carpet vendors, coppersmiths and spice merchants plying their wares as they did 1000 years ago.
In the afternoon we visit Chehel Sotun Palace, a tranquil place with stunning Persian gardens and a graceful pavilion where 20 wooden pillars rise to support a superb inlaid wooden ceiling and grand halls display frescoes, miniatures and ceramics of a bygone era.
We end our day of sightseeing at Hasht Behesht Palace. Although now damaged this was once the most lavishly decorated palace in Iran and still retains some spectacular details including a stalactite ceiling with fine paintings.
Tonight we will spend the evening at our fabulous hotel in the heart of Isfahan and you are free to explore more of the city by night or join us for a group meal at a traditional Persian restaurant.
Today is a completely free day for you to explore Isfahan at your leisure.
A popular excursion is to take a walk along the Zayandeh Riverside crossing back and forth across the city’s most beautiful bridges which include the oldest bridge in Iran, the 14th century Shahrestan Bridge, as well as the picturesque Khaju Bridge where locals sing under the arches making good use of the excellent acoustics.
Another site well worth exploring is the Jameh Mosque, the biggest functioning mosque in Iran and a veritable museum of Islamic architecture showcasing nine centuries of artistic and religious endeavour.
The Armenian Quarter is a fashionable Christain area where you will discover the richly decorated Vank Cathedral is a site deserving of at least an hour of your time in this relatively liberal part of the city.
Tonight we will spend the evening at our fabulous hotel in the heart of Isfahan.
Today we travel by private bus from Isfahan to Kashan and along the way we stop off at the ancient village of Abyaneh, a warren of twisting lanes and crumbling red-brick homes where the elders still speak an old form of Persian and dress in wide bottomed trousers and black waistcoats. This is a step back in time!
After checking into one of Iran’s best traditional hotels in Kashan we then have the rest of the day to explore this often overlooked gem that is home to the delightful UNESCO recognized Fin Gardens, an authentic Bazaar and a cluster of historic architectural wonders that include ancient caravanserais, hammams, madrasas and mosques.
Tonight you will be invited to join the group for dinner at a Persian restaurant.
This is our final day in Iran where we will travel by private bus from Kashan to Tehran Airport and along the way visit Qom, Iran’s 2nd-holiest city where we get the chance to see the stunning Fatima Masumeh Shrine, a masterpiece of Islamic architecture with intricate tile work and a great golden cupola that distinguishes this shrine from all others.
We aim to arrive at Tehran Airport around 12H00 (noon) today and then take an afternoon flight to Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Most flights travel via Istanbul and arrive into Erbil around 21H00. This international flight is not included in the tour price so you need to book this flight yourself. We will send you the details of the flight we recommend so that we can all travel together.
Once you arrive into Erbil you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to our 4 star hotel in the city centre.
In the morning after breakfast we will meet our local Iraqi guide and go over our itinerary for the next 9 days. You then have the rest of the day free to relax and explore the friendly city of Erbil at your leisure.
This evening you will be invited out to join your fellow travelers for dinner & drinks at a local restaurant on the famous Iskan Street, the locals choice for the best kebabs in the country!
Today our local guide will take us on a tour of Erbil Citadel, the oldest continually inhabited settlement in the world. The bazaar here gives us a glimpse of ancient Mesopotamia with its colourful carpet displays, aromatic spice shops and busy tea houses.
We will also visit the Jalil Khayat Mosque, the interior of which is rated as one of the most beautifully decorated in the Middle East.
There is also an opportunity for us to visit the Erbil Civilizations Museum and the Syriac Museum, both of which give you a good insight into the history of Kurdistan.
Tonight we will spend our evening at a 4 star hotel in Erbil city centre.
Today we climb aboard our private vehicle and travel to northwest Kurdistan where our first stop is at the mountain village of Lalish, home to the holiest temple of the Yazidis and the sacred tomb of Sheikh Ali.
We continue to the archeological site of Khanis, part of the ancient Assyrian irrigation system where we can view several carvings and reliefs dating back to 681 BC.
In the Assyrian town of Alqosh we discover a synagogue which contains the tomb of the prophet Nahum, a famous Jewish pilgrimage site. Two miles away hidden away in the cliffs we also visit the Rabban Hormizd Monastery which was carved out of the mountainside in 640 AD.
We end the day’s sightseeing by visiting the Mar Mattai Monastery which is recognised as one of the oldest Christian monasteries in existence dating back to 363 AD.
Tonight we will spend our evening at a 4 star hotel in the town of Dohuk.
We start the day by visiting the highlights of the Dohuk region which include the bustling bazaar, scenic Dohuk Dam, Zoroastrian Fire Temple, Chwarstoon fire worship cave and fascinating Inishke cave which now houses a popular coffee shop.
In the magnificent Gara Mountains we find the ruins of Saddam Hussein’s summer palace where he would host dignitaries and movie stars. Not much is left of the palace today but the beautiful views remain!
Our final destination today is the ancient Assyrian city of Amedi which dates back to 2500 BC. Perched high up on the plateau to avoid attack this city is also known as the ‘City In The Sky’.
Tonight we will spend our evening at a comfortable guest-house in Amedi.
This morning you have the option to take a short hike to swim in Gali Sheran, a cool blue river hidden in the nearby mountains.
Our drive now takes us through the Barzan region which is considered to be one of Kurdistan’s most strikingly scenic areas.
We end the day’s sightseeing with visits to the 40,000 year old Shanidar and Bestoon caves which are more commonly referred to as the Neanderthal Caves as the remains of 10 individuals were found here shedding light on the social behaviour of the Neanderthals. Shards of ancient pottery can still be found on the cave floors.
Tonight we will spend our evening at a comfortable guest-house in Soran.
Today we drive along the Hamilton Road, a feat of engineering constructed by New Zealander Archibald Hamilton between 1928 and 1932. This winding road takes us through the Rawanduz area which is considered to have the most beautiful landscapes in all of Kurdistan with highlights including the deepest gorge in the Middle East, the stunning Gali Ali Beg waterfalls and the Korek Mountain Resort panoramas.
Towards the end of the day we also visit Khanzad Castle, a 16th century hilltop fortress that has retained much of its original charm with round towers marking each of its 4 corners.
Tonight we will spend our evening at a 4 star hotel in Erbil city centre.
Our first stop today is at Koya, a real hidden gem in Kurdistan known for its modest mosques and 18th century caravanserai which have been used by travelers for centuries.
At Dokan Lake you have the option to take a boat trip around Kurdistan’s largest lake and visit the dam wall.
In the town of Sulaimaniya we now visit the Red Prison, a sombre reminder of the brutality of Saddam’s regime where thousands of Kurds were tortured and murdered. An interesting exhibit is the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ where 182,000 shards of mirrored glass represent the number of lives lost here.
Sulaimaniya also has the largest bazaar in Kurdistan where you will find traditional shops selling handcrafted jewellery, indigenous sweets and Kurdish rugs, well worth a couple of hours exploration.
We end our day in the Goyje Mountains for a sunset panorama over the area.
Tonight we will spend our evening at a 4 star hotel in Sulaimaniya city centre.
This morning we visit the ancient town of Halabja where an horrific genocide of the Kurdish people took place during Saddam’s rule. Thousands of Kurds died here during chemical attacks but today Halabja is a peaceful place where the Halabja Memorial Museum promotes peace and tolerance to all.
We now skirt the mountainous Iranian border region and visit the beautiful Ahmad Awa Waterfall before returning to Erbil.
Tonight we will have a farewell dinner in Erbil to say goodbye to our local guide and fellow travellers before spending our last night at a 4 star hotel in the city centre.
This tour ends in Erbil after breakfast on the final morning of the tour. You will then be transferred to the airport to catch your flight home.
How to Book
To make a booking please fill in our online booking form and then pay a £300 deposit by direct transfer, Paypal or credit/debit card over the phone. Once we receive your online booking form and deposit we will confirm your booking by email and send you all relevant information necessary for your tour preparations.
The Tour Payment of £3695 is the complete payment for your tour and is payable in the U.K. in GBP (£ Sterling). In order to reserve a place on this tour you must pay £300 as a deposit. Eight months prior to departure a further payment of £1500 must be paid to secure your booking. The final balance of your Tour Payment £1895 must then be paid in full at least four months prior to the tour start date. If you book between 4 to 8 months prior to the departure date a deposit of £1800 should be paid upon booking. If you book within 4 months of the departure date the full Tour Payment of £3695 should be paid upon booking.
The Tour Payment can be paid by direct bank transfer, Paypal or credit/debit card.
Bank Details for Direct Transfers
NOTE: Please use your full name as a reference when paying by direct transfer.
Account name: Madventure Ltd.
Sort code: 400810
Account number: 91618415
IBAN : GB14HBUK40081091618415
Swift/Bank BIC: HBUKGB4B
Branch BIC: HBUKGB4116A
Bank address: HSBC Bank, 6 High Street, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 5AZ, United Kingdom
Paypal account name: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below is a list of the most popular optional activities along with the most recent prices. Prices can of course change and are not controlled in any way by Madventure so please use the list below as an approximate guide only.
Jameh Mosque, Isfahan £8
Vank Cathedral, Isfahan £1
Dokan Lake boat tour £10
All other tours & entry fees listed in the itinerary are Included
On the ground we always travel in private vehicles on this tour, usually in a minibus and sometimes in a coach if the group is larger.
We include 1 domestic flight from Tehran to Kerman on this tour as the distance to drive there would be too time consuming.
We do not include any international flights on this tour so your flight from Tehran to Erbil is not included and you should budget approximately £300 for this flight.
All breakfasts will be provided during this tour, usually at the hotel before we start the day’s activities.
We include 10 lunches during this tour, usually at the more remote places where we know we need to order ahead. The rest of the lunches are at your own expense.
We include 12 evening meals during this tour, usually at local restaurants. The rest of the evening meals are at your own expense.
All meals provided are hearty and wholesome but please bear in mind we are in the Middle East and the availability of western style food is limited.
Persian & Iraqi food is absolutely delicious and also very cheap by western standards so we are sure you will enjoy sampling the local dishes as much as possible.
Hotels and restaurants do cater for vegetarians but the dishes may not be exactly what you are used to at home so please be prepared to try a few new things.
On this tour we will spend 20 nights in 3 & 4 star hotels and 2 nights in local guest-houses. The hotels we use are always comfortable with modern conveniences and private bathrooms. The 2 local guest-houses we use are in the more remote areas and are the best options available so please understand that although they are comfortable they are also quite basic.
Accommodation is provided on a twin share basis so if you are travelling alone be prepared to share your room with another member of the tour, male or female. Your tour leader will always strive to put you in a room with a suitable partner. Couples can request a room with a double bed.
There is a single room supplement fee of £600 if you are a solo traveller and prefer to have a private room just for yourself.
1. A deposit of £300 is payable at the time of booking. The deposit is non-refundable unless Madventure is unable to offer you a place or you cancel within 14 days of the initial booking date. Madventure guarantees not to increase the trip price once the deposit has been received.
2. A booking is made in the name of the client and is not transferable to another person. You are only permitted to transfer your deposit once to a future tour, after that a further £300 non-refundable deposit will be required. Please note that you will be affected if you have transferred and there is a price increase as you will have to pay the current tour price at the time that the tour balance payment is due.
3. Eight months prior to departure a further payment of £1500 must be paid to secure your booking. This payment is non-refundable unless we can not provide the tour. The final balance of your Tour Payment £1895 must then be paid in full at least four months prior to the tour start date at which time the tour will be confirmed to run. Once the tour is confirmed to run you will not receive any refunds of any monies paid. If the full payment is not received 4 months prior to departure Madventure may deem the booking cancelled and all monies paid will be forfeited. If you book within the 4 to 8 month period prior to departure a non-refundable deposit of £1800 should be paid upon booking. If you book within the 4 month period prior to departure the full non-refundable Tour Payment of £3695 must be paid upon booking.
4. The Tour Payment covers guide fees, transport, accommodation, meals and entrance fees to sites as specified on the website.
5. Cancellation of a booking must be notified in writing and when received by Madventure any monies paid will be forfeited. You acknowledge that payment for the trip is an intrinsic part of the trip’s income and contributes towards the overall costs of hotels, transport, staff administration, travel permits, etc. and Madventure will have incurred a large part of its costs before the actual departure date. You will not receive a refund of any amount after the tour has been confirmed to run (which will usually happen no later than 4 months prior to the tour departing) therefore we recommend you take out your travel insurance from the date you pay the Tour Payment so you are insured if you have to withdraw off the trip. If the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
6. It is unlikely that we will have to make any changes to your trip, but we do plan all trips many months in advance. Occasionally, we may have to make changes and we reserve the right to do so at any time. Most of these changes will be minor and we will advise you of them at the earliest possible date. We also reserve the right in any circumstances to cancel your trip. For example, if the minimum number of clients required for a particular trip is not reached, we may have to cancel it. However, we will not cancel your trip less than 4 months before your departure date (except for reasons of Force Majeure). If we are unable to provide the trip for any reason (aside from Force Majeure) you can either have a refund of all monies paid or accept an offer of an alternative trip of comparable standard from us, if available (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value). It is understood that a minimum of 10 tour members are required to run this Madventure tour and less than that may result in the cancellation of the tour. In the event of this happening, all monies paid by you towards the tour cost only will be refunded. In the event of a cancellation Madventure is not responsible for reimbursing equipment, flights, visa costs, vaccinations, medication, etc. purchased by yourself. In the event of a trip being cancelled due to Force Majeure no refunds or compensation will be given by Madventure. We therefore recommend you have suitable travel insurance as if the reason for cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
7. In the unlikely event of Force Majeure we will not refund you or pay you compensation if we have to cancel or change your trip in any way because of unusual or unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control. These can include, for example, war, riot, industrial dispute, terrorist activity and its consequences, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, epidemics, pandemics, health risks, closed or congested airports, ports or stations, poor local infrastructure, changes imposed by rescheduling or cancellation of transport by the transport supplier such as flights by airlines or main charterer, the alteration of transport or transport types, adverse weather conditions (actual or threatened), avalanche and technical failure with transport, Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice changing and advising against travel to the trip destination. We therefore recommend you have suitable travel insurance as if the reason for cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
8. If you choose to leave a trip for any reason on your own accord once the trip is underway you will not receive any compensation from Madventure including any refunds of the Tour Payment. We therefore recommend you have suitable travel insurance as if the reason for your departure is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
9. We reserve the right at any time prior to the departure date, without prior consultation with yourself, to merge your trip with one or more other trips travelling at the same time. This will not constitute a major change and would usually just mean swapping vehicles.
10. You undertake to comply with the laws and regulations, whether in respect of health, immigration, currency exchange control, dress or any other matter of all the countries visited during the expedition.
11. You undertake to obtain a valid passport and have enough blank pages in the passport for the trip and your specific passport and visa requirements. Immigration requirements are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant embassies and/or consulates. We do not accept any responsibility and shall not be liable if you cannot travel or cannot participate in any part of the trip because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. You are responsible for obtaining and having available the necessary documents (including but not limited to full, current passport with enough blank pages to complete the trip and valid for at least 7 months from the first day of the trip and visas for all periods, countries and territories within the trip) enabling you to participate in the trip and shall comply with all local legislation and regulations of the countries in which the trip takes place (including immigration requirements, customs regulations and currency exchange). You shall indemnify us against any loss or expense that we may incur or suffer as a result of breach of this condition by you. We cannot guarantee visa prices and availability of visas. Ultimately visas are your own responsibility to obtain.
12. Madventure reserves the right to deviate from the advertised tour route if in their reasonable opinion such deviation is necessary for the safety or well-being of any or any one of the members of the tour or for the satisfactory progress of the tour. In the event of it becoming necessary to fly over a country or countries in order to satisfactorily and safely continue the tour, all costs of your flights will be borne by yourself.
13. Madventure accepts no responsibility for matters arising out of political disputes, border closures, epidemics, pandemics, natural disasters, climate, armed robbery, terrorism, etc. Should it become necessary to abandon a tour because of such an event Madventure will be entitled to retain all monies paid. We therefore recommend you have suitable travel insurance as if the reason for cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy you may be able to reclaim these charges but it is your sole responsibility to do so and we accept no liability for any acts or omissions of your insurance company.
14. You accept that owing to the nature of countries visited, all tours involve an element of personal risk and are of a potentially hazardous and unpredictable nature. In many countries we visit the basic infrastructure, such as roads, is very poor and therefore less safe than that familiar to people from many western countries. In particular, lack of road markings or warning signs, unmarked speed bumps, seasonal flooding of roads and bridges, local vehicles which are poorly maintained and driven and which are hazardous to other road users etc. are factors beyond the control of Madventure. Where stated, locally arranged transport and crew, including trains, ferries, buses or coaches are used. You agree that the obligation of Madventure to yourself is to select normally competent, independent subcontractors to provide the necessary services related to the trip and to exercise reasonable care in selecting such suppliers to provide these. You also accept that you undertake this tour at your own risk and your participation is your own decision and does not form any part of your contract with Madventure. Madventure does not take responsibility for cancellations, unreliability of services or safety of operators, agents or contractors.
15. You accept that local emergency facilities are usually of a very limited nature. Hospitals outside of large cities often have no accident and emergency facilities and emergency transport facilities can be non-existent.
16. If you have a problem during your trip please inform the tour leader immediately who will endeavor to put things right. If your complaint is not resolved locally please follow this up by emailing or writing to our office giving all other relevant information and, where possible, evidence. We must receive any such complaint not later than 28 days from the date of completion of your trip. Please keep your letter concise and to the point. This will assist us to quickly identify your concerns and speed up our response to you.
17. We do not accept any liability or responsibility for any personal possessions (including but not limited to cameras, jewelry, valuables and money) which is carried on or in our vehicles, carried on public transport or transport supplied by independent subcontractors, left in accommodation provided by us or our suppliers during a trip or left in our care during a trip. Such items are carried and/or left at your own risk.
18. Excursions or other tours that you may choose to book or pay for whilst you are on a trip are not part of your trip arrangements provided by us. For any excursion or other tour that you book your contract will be with the operator of the excursion or tour and not with us. We are not responsible for the provision of the excursion or tour or for anything that happens during the course of its provision by the operator. You accept that the prices quoted for optional activities are approximate as local prices can and do change. Any of the optional activities listed are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Madventure. You also accept that you undertake any activity at your own risk and your participation is your own decision and does not form any part of your contract with Madventure. Madventure does not take responsibility for cancellations, unreliability of services or safety of operators, agents or contractors.
19. Whilst a trip is in progress you will at all times be expected to act in accordance with all reasonable instructions from us and/or the tour leader. We may exclude you from the trip or any part thereof at any time (including during the trip itself) if we are of the opinion that you are likely to prejudice the good order, discipline or safety of the trip, including as a result of failing to comply with the tour leader’s instructions, breaking any law or regulation of any country where the trip takes place or failing to adhere to the trip code of conduct, provided that we exercise our discretion reasonably in this regard. In such an event you shall reimburse to us any reasonable costs, losses or expenses which we incur or suffer as a result of our decision to exclude you from the trip, and Madventure shall cease to have any responsibility to/for you. No refund will be given for any unused services.
20. By completing the booking form you confirm that you appreciate the risks involved in the trip and that you do not suffer (or have ever suffered) from any pre-existing medical condition that may prevent you from actively participating in the trip other than those that have been declared to us. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are medically fit enough to undertake the trip and to ensure that you have received the necessary vaccinations and medications (and taken them as prescribed by your doctor) relevant to the destination country. Unless informed otherwise in writing we will assume that you are in good health and are not aware of any reason why you may be unsuitable to take part in the trip. We recommend that you consult your doctor before making a booking to ensure that you are medically fit and are fully aware regarding the immunizations and medical issues related to your destination countries. If you have any pre-existing medical condition, illness or disability, are undergoing medical treatment or, since entering into the contract, develop any medical condition, illness or disability or undergo any medical treatment; you will give us full particulars at the earliest opportunity and at the latest sixty (60) days before the departure date. If it is later discovered that a pre-existing condition was not declared within the specified time, and such condition would, if we had knowledge of it, have led to our refusal to accept or to cancel your booking, we reserve the right to withdraw you from the trip without any refund or recompense. In such an event, you shall reimburse to us any reasonable costs, losses or expenses which we incur or suffer as a result. In the event of you being withdrawn from a trip, no refunds will be given and we will not be responsible for (and you agree to indemnify us against) any costs, claims, losses and expenses arising including costs of repatriation, eg. flights and legal expenses. By agreeing to these conditions, you provide your consent to us and our insurers obtaining your medical records should we consider it necessary. You will be responsible for any charges for the provision of the information. We reserve the right to inspect your vaccination book at any time and to withdraw you from the trip in the event that you have not received and/or taken all the requisite inoculations and/or medication. If the information provided by you is incorrect and we discover that the correct information affects your suitability to take part in the trip, we may terminate the contract and withdraw you from the trip without refund or recompense, including during the trip. You agree and acknowledge that certain activities undertaken whilst you are on the trip may be inherently hazardous and have risks associated with them. You agree to abide by all instructions given to you whilst you are on the trip and you acknowledge that we cannot be held responsible for any injuries that may arise as a result of you failing to comply with such instructions.
21. You must be covered by personal travel insurance to undertake any Madventure tour. We recommend you take out a travel insurance policy that covers you fully against the cost of tour cancellation by you or by Force Majeure, medical care and repatriation should you become too ill to continue and above all covers you against the cost of air evacuation should sickness or injury necessitate such a course of action. You should also note that passenger liability insurance covering vehicles, particularly in third world countries, may be inadequate. It is therefore important that your travel insurance cover makes sufficient provision for your dependents in the event of an accident. Please note however that we have no control over the availability or standard of medical and repatriation services and facilities in the areas we visit and these do not form any part of our contract with you. Please remember that many of the areas we visit are not as developed as the UK and the availability and standard of such services may well be lower. Please read your travel insurance policy details carefully and take them with you when you travel. It is your responsibility to ensure that the insurance cover you purchase is suitable and adequate for your particular needs. We do not check individual insurance policies for suitability.
22. In many countries we visit, the local vehicle accident insurance includes either very limited passenger liability or none at all. Madventure has passenger liability insurance for some countries through which we travel but the client acknowledges that in many countries the vehicles we travel on do not have the benefit of passenger liability insurance. The client agrees to indemnify Madventure against any claim or demand made in respect of any accident, personal injury or loss of life caused to, contracted or suffered by the client during the course of the tour.
23. Privacy & Data Protection – we shall ensure that appropriate security measures are in place to protect your personal data (as defined in the European GDPR act 2018 and the UK Data Protection Act 2018) and we do not store our customers financial details. When you make a booking, you do however consent to all the information you provide being passed on to our suppliers, agents, subcontractors, employees or volunteers whether based inside or outside of Europe for the purposes of us providing you with the trip.
24. By agreeing to these terms and conditions you consent (unless otherwise stated on your application form) to our staff taking photographs and or video footage of you during the trip and that these images may be used by us for publicity and training purposes including, but not limited to, brochures, websites, marketing material and in the media.
25. We shall be entitled to novate or assign the contract or any part of it to any third party. You shall not be entitled to assign the contract or any part of it. This contract is made on the terms of these conditions, which are governed by English law, and subject to the provisions of condition you agree to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts. If any of these conditions is found by any court or other competent authority to be wholly or partly unfair or unenforceable the validity of the rest of the booking conditions and the rest of the condition in question shall not be affected and shall remain valid and enforceable to the extent permitted by law. A reference in these conditions to a statute, convention or regulation shall be as a reference to that statute convention or regulation as amended, re-enacted or extended at the relevant time. The headings in these conditions are for convenience only and shall not affect their interpretation. Where the context otherwise requires, words importing the singular meaning shall include the plural meaning and vice versa and words denoting the masculine gender shall include the feminine and neuter genders. Where the context so admits, words denoting persons shall include natural persons, companies, corporations, firms, partnerships, limited liability partnerships, joint trips, trusts, voluntary associations and other incorporated and/or unincorporated bodies or other entities (in each case, whether or not having separate legal personality) and all such words shall be construed interchangeably in that manner.
26. The information given on the website, in the brochure and other literature supplied is given in good faith but no warranty is given that it is correct.
27. No servant, agent or authorized representative of Madventure has authority to commit Madventure to any liability whatsoever and Madventure will not be bound by any statement or representation unless it is in writing and signed by one of the directors.
28. Your contract is with Madventure Limited, a company registered in England and Wales (Company No. 6809461) whose registered office is at 93 Lashford Lane, Dry Sandford, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX13 6EB.
As breakfasts, accommodation, transport, entry fees and half of the lunches & dinners are all included during this tour you won’t need much spending money. We therefore recommend a budget of $600 per person to live comfortably during this tour. This budget should cover day to day things like the lunches & dinners that are not included, snacks, soft drinks, the odd few beers, etc.
Souvenirs are something that can be very cheap or very expensive so if you are going to be buying things like Persian carpets you should budget for it.
Please also have a look at our Optional Excursions list as you may want to budget for a few of those activities too.
We recommend you bring USD $600 in cash as spending money on this tour. US Dollars are generally accepted everywhere for exchange.
ATM’s are not available to tourists in Iran so you need to have cash on you during this part of the tour.
ATM’s are available in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan for you to draw local currency using your Visa or Mastercard credit/debit card so there is no need to have a lot of cash on you during this part of the tour.
To keep your money/credit cards/passport/tablet/camera/laptop safe we recommend you purchase a ‘Pacsafe Travelsafe’ product. They offer various size portable anti-theft bags that can be attached to the vehicles when travelling and also attached to the toilet/bed/closet in your hotel room when off the vehicles.
Below is general information and recommendations regarding visas and passports. Visas are ultimately your own responsibility to obtain and visa requirements may vary according to your nationality and place of application, so use the information below as a guide only. Madventure is in no way responsible for obtaining your visas or passports.
Please ensure you have 3 free pages in your passport in order to accommodate the visas and the immigration stamps, and ensure your passport is valid for at least 7 months after the tour start date.
Most nationalities including European, Australian and New Zealand citizens can obtain an Iran visa on arrival when landing at Tehran’s International Airport.
British, American and Canadian citizens can not currently get a visa on arrival, they need to apply for a visa in advance and before they can apply for the visa they need an Authority Number issued by the Iranian government. Our agent in Tehran can apply for your Iranian Authority Number on your behalf for a fee of USD $100 but there is no guarantee the government will approve it. If you do get approved you will be able get the visa issued at your nearest Iranian consulate when showing the Authority Number. If you don’t get approved you will not be able to get a visa. As you will be part of an organised group with a local Iranian guide who works for an approved Iranian Travel Agency your chances of getting approved are much higher than independent travellers who are almost certainly always refused a visa. We have had many American, British and Canadian citizens approved over the years but there is no guarantee.
All other nationalities should check their Iran visa requirements with their closest Iranian consulate.
Iraqi Kurdistan visas are issued free of charge upon arrival for most nationalities including British, American, Canadian, European, Australian and New Zealand.
All other nationalities should check their Kurdistan visa requirements with their closest KRG office abroad.
Vaccination requirements are constantly changing so we recommend you seek the latest professional medical advice at least 8 weeks before departure to ensure you allow yourself enough time to obtain all necessary vaccinations. Nomad Travel’s website has up-to-date information on vaccinations, malaria and other general medical advice for all the countries we visit and they also administer vaccinations at their Travel Clinics in various locations within the UK.
Alternatively speak with your local Health Professionals for current accurate information. You will need to make an appointment with your GP or Travel Clinic and take a list of the countries you are visiting and the approximate dates when you will be there.
An up to date Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate should be brought with you as it is sometimes required on this tour.
Medically Fit & Able
You need to be in good general health for this tour and be reasonably fit and able. You do not need to be super-fit by any means and all ages are welcome. We always attract a very broad age range on these tours, from people in their 20’s through to people in their 70’s.
Please inform us of any medical conditions that you have before departure so that your crew knows how to deal with a medical situation if it should arise. All information will be kept confidential unless you request us to inform your fellow travelers. For example, it may be wise to inform fellow travelers if you are allergic to something like bee-stings so they know what to do if you get stung.
First Aid Kit
The tour leader carries a first aid kit during the tour but it is recommended that you bring your own basic first aid kit for general use.
It is compulsory that every person who travels with Madventure obtain travel insurance for the complete duration of the tour. Proof of travel insurance must be shown before joining a tour.
There are various travel insurance companies to choose from and a Google search will bring up a selection but we recommend a London based company named Campbell Irvine, www.campbellirvine.com, +44 (0) 20 7938 1734. They are familiar with what we do so mention our name and the tour you are travelling on and they should be able to provide excellent cover for you.
For people based in North America a company called Allianz offers good cover – Tel: +1 866 884 3556, www.allianztravelinsurance.com
If you choose to obtain your travel insurance through another company please ensure you read the small-print and make sure you are covered for Medical Repatriation.
Backpack/sports bag/suitcase: We recommend you carry your luggage in a backpack but irrespective if you prefer a sports bag or a suitcase you are restricted to a maximum 100 litre volume.
Day bag: You are also permitted to bring a day bag with a maximum 40 litre volume.
Pacsafe: in order to keep your valuables safe we recommend a Pacsafe product. They make a range of anti-theft bags which vary in sizes and can accommodate your money, credit cards, passport, camera, laptop, etc. They can be attached to a fixed part of the buses we use and/or to a fixed item in your hotel room.
Kindle: optional but great to keep all your travel guides and books in 1 place.
Ipad/Tablet: not a necessity but most hotels have WiFi available these days so having your own Ipad or Tablet will save you hanging around internet cafes.
Smartphone: not a necessity but very convenient for taking photos.
Camera: completely up to you but most people bring one.
Toiletries: available everywhere but start with some toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, deodorant, soap and shampoo.
Sunblock: a minimum SPF 15 is recommended.
Sunglasses: polarised lenses offer great protection.
First aid kit: only a basic one is recommended but should include plasters, antiseptic cream, bandage, pain relief tablets, scissors and safety pins.
Passport: please ensure you have 3 free pages in your passport to accommodate your visas and immigration stamps.
Yellow Fever vaccination certificate: an up to date certificate is sometimes required on this tour.
Clothes & shoes: Iran is a conservative Islamic country so whenever we are in public in Iran males must wear trousers and females must wear trousers, a headscarf (hijab) and a long shirt that covers their arms and hangs down to mid-thigh level. There is no need for females to wear a chador unless they choose to. Iraqi Kurdistan is much more liberal so men can wear shorts here and women can wear long skirts and t-shirts without having to wear a headscarf.
1 pair of flip flops
1 pair of walking shoes or trainers
4 pairs of socks
4 pairs of underwear
3 pairs of zip-off trousers which can be worn long or short
1 waterproof jacket
1 warm fleece top
1 lightweight long sleeve top for the men
4 lightweight long sleeve tops for the ladies
2 light-weight long dresses for the ladies
1 swimming trunks/bikini
2 head scarfs for the ladies
1 baseball cap
We always like to go through every aspect of the trip with you to ensure that you are as informed and prepared as possible. At Madventure we believe in giving you the nitty-gritty details as well as the obvious highlights, as in our opinion these are just as important and we want to explain the tour in as much detail as possible so you can be sure you are suited and prepared for one of our adventures. If after reading this, you decide that this tour is not for you then, as long as it is within 14 days of your initial booking, you can cancel off the tour and receive a full refund of your Tour Payment.
The following may sound a little negative at times, but it’s just so we are secure in the knowledge that we have provided you with as much information as possible, the good and the bad, to ensure everybody is completely aware of exactly what type of trips we run for the benefit of you, us and your fellow travellers as there is nothing worse than getting someone booking on the trip when it is not what they actually wanted or expected. You need to know what you are in for and be able to handle it!
You must be medically fit and able to ensure you can participate in all aspects of the tour including carrying your own bags to the hotels, walking around the sites we visit, etc. You do not need to be super fit by any means but if you want to do the longer walks you do need to be reasonably fit.
When things go wrong: When we are in Iran & Iraqi Kurdistan things generally go to plan but if something unexpected does delay us or force us to change our itinerary please understand that sometimes things happen that are out of our control and we may have to make an alternative arrangement. Please be prepared to expect the unexpected and accept that things might go wrong from time to time. These instances are usually the stories that remain with everyone so enjoy the experience An easy-going approach will help the situation immensely. Moaning about every little thing that doesn’t go our way will not!
Attitude & Group Living: A good, easy-going attitude will help you enjoy this trip and ensure you are liked by your fellow travelers as well as the locals. The one thing that is extremely detrimental to a tour such as this is your common ‘moaner’. It has nothing to do with age, gender or nationality, it just matters that although they signed up for this ‘in theory’ they can’t cope ‘in practice’ and it’s always got to be someone’s fault. It sounds a bit harsh but by weeding out any moaners early on we can have a chat with them and ensure your tour is as good as it can be. By ensuring everyone is on the same page from the get-go will start us off in good stead.
We have no age restrictions and if there is one thing we have come to realize, through experience, is that it’s the mental attitude that counts the most and a broader age range is better on this trip as it stops the stereotyping – the more in the mix the better.
We can guarantee that at some stage during the tour you will have to just fit in and go with the flow when it’s not what you personally wanted to do. When situations arise where we can’t please everybody we always aim to please the ‘majority of the group’ not the individual.
Please be aware that if any particular person is constantly causing the rest of the group (or the crew) grief due to their behavior they will be warned and then asked to leave the tour if nothing improves and no refund will be given. This is obviously the most extreme situation but we will not let one or two rude individuals spoil it for everybody else. Everybody knows the score from the start and this is for everyone’s benefit. Usually everyone who travels with us has a relaxed approach and everybody gets on very well as this is a short tour.
This is a once in a lifetime experience so let’s all enjoy it!
Travel times & proposed itineraries: We have designed this tour so that we are not travelling at night. We travel by day and arrive at our destinations before nightfall.
It is usually just a few hours between destinations on this trip and we have designed it so that we see all the highlights and have plenty of time to look around the sites. There are however 3 longer drive days on the tour which are broken up by visiting sites along the way.
Our proposed itinerary can sometimes change if an area of our route becomes off-limits for any reason.
Delays: We always strive to arrive at our destinations on time but if we experience any delays we will adjust our itinerary accordingly.
Drugs: Please be aware that drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are illegal in Iran & Iraqi Kurdistan and they enforce severe punishment for being caught in possession. There is NEVER to be any illegal drugs carried by any travellers on this tour as you would not only jeopardize your own freedom but also the well-being of the entire group if you are caught in possession.
If you are caught with any kind of illegal drugs on this tour, regardless of the amount, you will be asked to leave the tour immediately and no refund will be given.
This is a very serious rule as any inconsideration can lead to the tour being cancelled and other innocent people arrested. We will not hesitate to remove someone if we have to so please respect your fellow travelers.
Alcohol: Alcohol is illegal in Iran so don’t bring any with you from home and don’t try and buy any from strangers while on the tour as if you are caught with alcohol you will be arrested and prosecuted.
Alcohol is legal and freely available at shops and restaurants in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Dress: Iran is a conservative Islamic country so whenever we are in public in Iran males must wear trousers and females must wear trousers, a head scarf (hijab) and a long shirt that covers their arms and hangs down to mid-thigh level. There is no need for females to wear a chador unless they choose to.
Iraqi Kurdistan is much more liberal so men can wear shorts here and women can wear long skirts and t-shirts without having to wear a headscarf.
Your Crew: You will normally have a crew of 1 experienced Madventure guide who fills the role of being the tour leader. On some tours we may also have a cameraman who is there to help market our tours and update our social media accounts.
You will also have an English speaking local guide who can give you the history of the area and the facts about all the sites we visit.
You will also have a local driver who drives the private vehicle that you will be travelling on.
Your Madventure guide is responsible for the overall well-being of the group and will sort out all the transport, accommodation, permits, etc. and generally ensure the smooth running of the tour. Your Madventure guide is not responsible for giving you the history of every site we visit, the local guide is there to provide that type of information.
Your crew will be hand-picked and trained by Madventure and will have experience of leading tours but they may or may not have done this tour before. They will however have detailed notes from previous tours and backup from the office in the UK.
Tipping: Tipping the tour leader at the end of your tour is always appreciated. As this is a relatively short tour we recommend you tip your Madventure guide a minimum of $150 at the end of the tour if you are happy with their service.
We also recommend you tip your local guides and drivers $50 each if you are happy with their service. Thank you.
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