Here is a selection of questions we receive about travelling to Iran.
Is it safe?
Yes, incredibly safe. On a personal level, petty crime is very low in Iran and Iranians are amazingly accommodating to foreign travellers. You’ll end up being surprised at how safe you feel.
There is of course the political dimension, but as long as you’re not involved with any NGOs, a journalist, or involved in politics in some way you’ll be fine.
Are Iranians Muslims?
The short answer is yes, officially 99% of Iranians are Muslim, with 90% of Muslims following the Shia sect, and a minority being Sunni, Sufi or one of the other smaller groups. The remaining 1% are Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, just to name a few. Unofficially there are many more Christians than the 1% would suggest. Likewise?” a significant minority are Atheists or Agnostic however this isn’t officially allowed.
An unofficial survey conducted in Iran showed than 22% had no religion at all, while 7% claimed to be Zoroastrian.
Is there alcohol in Iran?
It’s possibly the worst kept secret but yes, there is alcohol in Iran. Finding alcohol in Iran is like finding drugs in some countries, you need to know someone. You need to make a connection and have the right contacts. The average traveller arriving in Iran will not be able to find it. Iranians of course drink privately in their own houses so you won’t see alcohol use on the street and are very unlikely to see someone drunk. Officially the Christian communities are allowed to drink alcohol, although the import of such drinks is still illegal.
Is it difficult for women travellers?
On the whole being a female will not affect your experience in Iran. In Iranian culture it’s still completely acceptable for men and women to communicate, interact and socialise. Other than in mosques and on some trains, men and women are not separated in Iran like in other Islamic countries.
Of course being an Iranian woman can be difficult, but much less so than in some other countries in the region. Women here have never had bans on women driving for example, or women in the workforce. Iranian men generally also act in ‘gentlemanly’ ways compared with those in some other countries.
Will I need to wear a headscarf?
Women will need to wear a head scarf whenever out in public, but you don’t need to wear a burka, niqab, chador or any other Islamic dress, just a simple headscarf covering your hair. You’ll also need to dress modestly by making sure your legs and arms are covered as well, although what counts as modest is slowly becoming more liberal.
Are there restrictions on men’s clothing?
Most men are surprised to find out there are also restrictions on men’s clothing. Men must wear long trousers and can’t wear shorts. You also can’t wear tank tops or singlets and must wear a normal shirt, however it can be short sleeved.
Can I get pork in Iran?
Sorry to bacon lovers, but you won’t find pork in Iran. However the fake bacon usually made from beef is getting more and more realistic, and is actually quite tasty. We recently had a cheese and bacon sandwich in Isfahan that tasted just like the real thing!
Do Iranians hate westerners?
Definitely not! Iranians are highly educated and realise that people do not equate to politics. Some may hate western governments for the sanctions and other negative impositions, but are also likely not to be huge fans of their own government either, and are extremely friendly to travellers from western countries. Quite often locals will be disappointed if you’re not from America, because like everywhere in the world American culture, films and music are among the most popular.
Is there much English spoken in Iran?
This is a difficult question. Almost everywhere you go people will know enough words to have basic interactions, at local shops or restaurants, however if you’re wanting to have a proper conversation it won’t always be possible. However you’ll still be surprised how many do speak English as well as many other foreign languages.
Was your question not answered? We’d love to hear from you. If you have a question you want answered about any of our destinations, please send us an email .