• Itinerary
  • Dates & Rates
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes
  • Reviews
  • Booking
  • Map
  • Hotels
  • Visa Info

Overview

The Four Stans and Iran tour is a unique opportunity to explore the rich cultural heritage of Central Asia. This 26-day itinerary covers Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. You will visit some of the most ancient cities in the world, including Samarkand, Bukhara, and Mashhad. You will also have the chance to see some of the most beautiful Islamic architecture, such as Registan Square, Bibi Khanum Mosque, and the Imam Reza shrine.

This tour is perfect for anyone who wants to experience the rich history and culture of Central Asia and the Middle East. You will be accompanied by experienced guides who will provide you with a wealth of information about the history and culture of the region.

4 Stans and Iran Journey: From the steppes of Kazakhstan to desserts of Iran: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran

 

Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive in Almaty (Kazakhstan)

Upon your arrival at Almaty Airport, we will be there to greet you and transfer you to your hotel. You can relax and rest after your flight. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your leisure. You will spend the night in Almaty.

Day 2: Almaty (Kazakhstan) [B, L, D]

This morning we stop at the several popular tourist attractions of Almaty, including Panfilov Park, Zenkov Cathedral (a wooden structure), St. Nicholas Cathedral, the National Musical Instruments Museum, the Central State Museum, and the Almaty Green Bazaar. You will also enjoy a panoramic view from Kok Tobe. You will spend the night in Almaty.

Day 3: Almaty – Bishkek (Kazakhstan/Kyrgyzstan) [B, L, D]

Travel to Bishkek via a newly built highway. During the drive, you can enjoy the beautiful natural landscapes along the way. You will arrive in Bishkek in the afternoon and check in to your hotel. In the afternoon, you can explore the city of Bishkek and visit some of its popular tourist attractions, including the Central Museum (currently closed for reconstruction), Independence Square, Philharmonic Square, University Boulevard, and TSUM. You will spend the night in Bishkek.

Day 4: Bishkek – Issyk Kul – Karakol (Kyrgyzstan) [B, L, D]

Today we journey east towards Chine to Karakol town, which is located in the east of the lake area, at the foot of the most picturesque mountains of Tian Shan. The route passes along the south shore of Issyk Kul. You will follow the way along the shore of Issyk Kul until you reach the town of Karakol. On the way, you will stop in the yurt makers village of Kyzyl Tuu and visit a yurt master’s home. You will also visit Djety Oguz canyon, which is named so because of the red rocky sand formations covered with forests of Tien Shan spruces. Djety Oguz in Kyrgyz means “Seven Bulls”. This picturesque gorge is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and hikers. You will spend the night in Karakol.

Day 5: Karakol – Cholpon Ata (Kyrgyzstan) [B, L, D]

Move onto Karakol for a short city tour. First, visit the wooden Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral, which was completed in 1895 and used as an officers’ club during Soviet times. It has now been restored and is in use again as a church. You will also visit a small section of Russian colonial ‘gingerbread’ style residential buildings. Next, you will visit a very pretty wooden mosque built entirely without nails by Chinese artisans between 1907 and 1910 for the local Dungans. The Dungans are Muslims of Chinese origin who fled China during the aftermath of the XIX Century Hui Minorities’ War. After that, you will visit the museum of Nikolay M. Prjevalski, the outstanding Russian explorer of the Asian Continent.

Later, you will drive to Cholpon Ata, which is situated on the Northern shore of Issyk Kul Lake. Upon arrival in Cholpon Ata, you will visit the Petroglyphs site, which is an open-air temple of Scythians and Hungsuns civilizations dating back to VIII to XIX Centuries BC until III to IV Centuries AD. The site is a must-visit destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike. You will spend the night in Cholpon Ata.

Day 6: Cholpon Ata – Bishkek – Tashkent (Kyrgyzstan/Uzbekistan) [B, L, D]

After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, you will depart for Bishkek. On the way, you will visit the Burana Tower historical complex in Tokmok District, which used to be the center of Karakhanid Kingdom Culture. You will have lunch on the way at a local restaurant or with a local family. After lunch, you will continue your drive to Bishkek, Manas Airport, to take a flight to Tashkent at 18:40 HY 780. Upon arrival, you will go through immigration and customs clearance. You will be met outside of the arrival hall. You will spend the night in Tashkent.

Day 7: Tashkent (Uzbekistan) [B, L, D]

This morning you will embark on a full-day sightseeing tour of Tashkent. You will visit the old part of the city, including the Khast Imam complex which houses a rich Islamic library with an immense Osman Koran VII, the Chorsu Bazaar, and the Kukeldash Madrasah. In the afternoon, you will visit Independence (Mustakillik) Square, which is home to several governmental buildings, the A. Navoi Theater Square, the A. Temur Museum, and Square. You will spend the night in Tashkent.

 Day 8: Tashkent - Samarkand (Uzbekistan) [B, L, D]

After having our breakfast at the hotel will transfer to the railway station for the bullet train AFROSIAB to Samarkand. Upon arrival in Samarkand, you will embark on a tour of the “Rome of the East”. You will visit the Registan Square, the Gur Emir Mausoleum, the Bibi-Khanum Mosque, and the Central Bazaar in Samarkand. You will also visit the Afrosiyob Museum and the Museum of Ulugbek Observatory. Finally, you will explore the Shakhi-Zinda Necropolis. You will spend the night in Samarkand.

Day 9: Samarkand – Shakhrisabz – Samarkand (Uzbekistan) [B, L, D]

We journey to Shakhrisabz, the hometown of Great Tamerlane. Upon arrival in Shakhrisabz, you will visit the remains of the Ak-Saray Palace, the Kok-Gumbaz Mosque, and the Khazrati Imom Ensemble. After sightseeing in Shakhrisabz, you will depart back to Samarkand and visit the Paper Mills. You will spend the night in Samarkand.

 Day 10: Samarkand - Bukhara (Uzbekistan) [B, L, D]

Move on to Bukhara via Gijduvan. En route, you will visit the remains of the Caravanserai and Sardoba, a water reservoir. You will also have an excursion to Gijduvan, a famous pottery house. Upon arrival in Bukhara, you will check into the hotel. You will then embark on a sightseeing tour of Bukhara, visiting the following places: Kalon EnsembleMadrasah Miri-ArabMagoki-Attori MosqueChashma-AyubMadrasah Ulugbek and Abdulaziz KhanKosh MadrasahTrade DomesLyabi Hauz Complex, and Madrasah Chor-Minor. You will spend the night in Bukhara.

Day 11: Bukhara (Uzbekistan) [B, L, D]

Delve into the extragavant history of  Bukhara. You will visit the summer palace of Bukhara emirs Sitora-i-Mokhi Khosa, the Necropolis Chor Bark which is the burial site of Sheikhs and Royal family members, the Complex of Bahauddin Naqshband which is a place of worship for locals, the Samanid Dynasty Mausoleum, and the Ark Fortress. You will spend the night in Bukhara.

Day 12: Bukhara – Farab - Turkmenabat – Mary (Uzbekistan/Turkmenistan) [B, L, D]

Leaving Bukhara behind and cruise your way to the Uzbekistan-Turkmenistan border point in Farab. After completing border formalities on both sides, you will cross the border and transfer to Mary via Turkmenabat and Merv (4.5hrs). Upon arrival, you will embark on a tour of Merv, which was located at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road and quickly became one of the most important and biggest cities of the Ancient World. Your sightseeing tour will include the following places: Gyz Gala and Oglan GalaComplex of AskhabsGyaur GalaErk GalaSoltan GalaSoltan Sanjar Mausoleum, and Ibn Zeid Mausoleum. You will spend the night in Mary.

 Day 13: Mary – Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) [B, L, D]

Transfer to the local airport for your flight to Ashgabat. Upon arrival, you will enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Blue Mosque, the Arch of Neutrality, and Independence Park with its rotating gold statue of Turkmenbashi. You will then drive to Nisa and explore the ancient, ruined capital of the Parthians. You will discover the unique fortressescitadeltemples, and tombs (III Century B.C.) and visit the National Museum of History and Ethnography. You will spend the night in Ashgabat.

Day 14: Ashgabat – Mashhad (Turkmenistan - Iran) [B, L, D]

It is time to head to Iran. An early morning transfer will take us to the Iran border with border formalities on both sides. You will then meet with your Iranian guide and driver and route to Mashhad (155 miles). Upon arrival, you will be accommodated in your hotel. Mashhad is the capital of Iran Khorasan Province and Iran’s second-largest city. It is known for the shrine of Imam Reza, the Eighth Imam of the Shia Muslims who follow Twelve Imams. Mashhad literally means “burial place of the martyr.” The city started out as Sanabad, a stop-over for trade caravans traveling to and from Turkmenistan. It was only after the martyrdom of Imam Reza at Tus in 818 and the construction of his shrine here that the city became a pilgrim site. The complex is a city in itself and visitors are frisked by security at all gates. Women must observe shrine decorum and cover themselves with the Chador, without which they will not be permitted to enter the complex. Apart from its religious significance, the complex is an architectural masterpiece decorated with intricate tiles, calligraphy, beautiful courtyards, and porches. The complex also houses a museum, library, and the very beautiful Masjid-e-Gohar Shaad of the Timurid period. You will spend the night in Mashhad.

Day 15: Mashhad – Tehran (Iran) [B, L, D]

Start your morning with a visit to Bazaar-e-Reza which is one of the main shopping areas in Mashhad. It has two stories and offers a wide range of local fabrics, handicrafts, jewelry, and more. After lunch, you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Tehran, the capital city of Iran. Upon arrival in Tehran, you will be transferred to your hotel. You will spend the night in Tehran.

Day 16: Arrival In Tehran [D]

Upon arrival at the airport, your tour guide will greet you and transfer you to your hotel. You will have dinner and spend the night in Tehran.

Day 17: Tehran [B, L, D]

After enjoying a delicious buffet breakfast and checking out of the hotel, you will embark on a full day guided tour of Tehran. Our first stop will be The Archaeological Museum, which is must-see in Tehran. The collection includes pottery, ceramics, stone figures, and carvings from the 4th and 5th millennium BC. Some of the highlights include four tablets inscribed in cuneiform, the Darius I inscription, a carved staircase, tiles from Apadana Palace, and the salt man. Later, we will visit The National Jewels Museum, which houses the world’s most precious jewelry collection. The treasury has an interesting history dating back centuries. Before lunch, we will visit The Glassware and Ceramic Museum, which is housed in a building that is a combination of traditional Iranian style and European architecture from the XIX Century. The museum’s collection of glass and clay works is among the rarest in Iran, including clay pots dating back to the 4th millennium BC up to the present time, as well as glass works from the 1st millennium BC up to the contemporary era. European glass works from the XVIII and XIX Centuries are also part of the collection.

In the afternoon, we will visit Golestan Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lavish palace is a masterpiece of the Qajar Era, embodying the successful integration of earlier Persian crafts and architecture with Western influences. The walled palace, one of the oldest groups of buildings in Tehran, became the seat of government of the Qajar Family, which came into power in 1779. Built around a garden featuring pools as well as planted areas, the Palace’s most characteristic features and rich ornaments date from the XIX Century. It became a center of Qajari Arts and architecture of which it is an outstanding example and has remained a source of inspiration for Iranian artists and architects to this day. It represents a new style incorporating traditional Persian arts and crafts and elements of XVIII Century architecture and technology. Dinner and overnight in Tehran.

Day 18: Tehran - Shiraz [B, L, D]

Today’s highlight is the Carpet Museum with its beautiful modern architecture and a facade resembling a carpet-weaving loom. Founded in 1978, the museum provides a historical background for the evolution of this art form. We will then transfer to the airport for a short flight to Shiraz.

Shiraz is crowned as the heartland of Persian culture and this city of sophistication will never fail to conjure up images of roses and nightingales, gardens, and poetry. This gorgeous city in the province of Fars is home to famous poets such as Hafez and Sa’adi. Also, historical sites from different eras stretching back 6,000 years ago can be found there. Relish in the highlights of Shiraz when it was the capital of Iran during the Zand Dynasty. Be inspired by the glorious Karim Khan Palace, the splendid Vakil Mosque, Vakil Bazaar, and Saray-e-Moshir with its splendid architecture and interesting ethnic souvenir shops and Nasir Almolk Mosque. Next, we will stop for a mouth-watering Iranian lunch at one of the traditional restaurants of Shiraz. In the evening, we will visit Ali-Ebn-e-Hamzeh and be prepared to marvel at its beauty. Take a stroll through the Jahan Nama Garden and witness its tall and proud cedars. Not forgetting the two famous Persian poets, Hafez and Sa’adi, whose mysterious poems are everlasting in the Persian language, we will get a chance to pay homage to their tombs. Finally, we will visit the Delgosha Garden and Khajoo-e-Kermani tomb from where the perspective of the mysterious city of Shiraz will perpetuate in our mind. At night, we will have dinner in a restaurant with a specific atmosphere in the north of Shiraz. Overnight in Shiraz.

Day 19: Shiraz - Persepolis - Shiraz [B, L, D]

Drive about 35 miles to Takht-e-Jamshid or as the Greeks called it, Persepolis, a ruined capital of ancient Iran. It is one of the greatest artistic legacies of the ancient world and perhaps one of the most beautiful and spectacular archaeological sites surviving today. In the VI Century BC, the Achaemenian King Darius I, created Persepolis as a palatial precinct for an empire which eventually became larger and more efficiently ruled than any other in the ancient Persepolis was primarily reserved for ritual celebrations, and the arrival of delegations was announced by trumpeters who stood at the top of the staircase in front of the Gate of Nations. The delegations were then led to the Hundred Column Palace to meet the king. Superb bas reliefs depict the flow of ritual processions that once passed through the palaces and audience halls of the Achaemenian Kings. We’ll explore the Gate of Xerxes, the Apadana Palace, the Treasury, the Harem, and the private palaces of the different rulers. Persepolis was completed by Xerxes and Artaxerxes I, who ruled Persia in the V Century BC. The palaces were used by the Achaemenid kings up until they were destroyed by Alexander the Great in 330 BC as revenge for the sacking of Athens during the Persian Wars with the Greeks. Nowruz, the Zoroastrian observance of the beginning of Spring, is still celebrated today on March 21st. To top off the afternoon, visit Naghsh-é-Rostam, which contains the rock-carved chambers of four Achaemenian Tombs, believed to be those of Darius the Great, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, and Darius II. The ornamental facades are rock reliefs from the Sassanian dynasty depicting various scenes of imperial conquests as well as a probable fire temple from Achaemenian Times. Later, return to Shiraz via the Koran Gate, for dinner and overnight in Shiraz.

Day 20: Shiraz - Pasargadae - Yazd [B, L, D]

Today your journey takes you to Yazd, stopping en route at Pasargadae, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus II the Great in the VI Century BC. Its palaces, gardens, and the mausoleum of Cyrus are outstanding examples of the first phase of royal Achaemenid Art and Architecture and exceptional testimonies of Persian Civilization. Particularly noteworthy vestiges include the Mausoleum of Cyrus II, Tall-e-Takht, a fortified terrace, and a royal ensemble of gatehouse, audience hall, residential palace, and gardens. Pasargadae was the capital of the first great multicultural empire in Western Asia, spanning the Eastern Mediterranean and Egypt to the Indus River. It is the first empire that respected the cultural diversity of its different peoples. This was reflected in Achaemenid Architecture, a synthetic representation of different cultures. After a leisurely visit to Pasargadae, we will continue through the desert to the city of Yazd. Upon arrival, we’ll have an evening stroll through Fahadan Historical Neighborhood and Amir Chakhmagh Square. Dinner and overnight in Yazd.

Day 21: Yazd [B, L, D]

Move on to Yazd with its Towers of Silence and the Fire Temple and adjoining museum to learn about the Zoroastrian faith, their holy book – the Avesta, four divine elements – air, water, earth, and fire, and motto – good thoughts, good words, good deeds! Next, at the Yazd Water Museum, we will learn about the construction of Qanats (canals or canats), which are underground tunnels or subterranean aqueducts carrying life-giving water from the mountains to the homes, Persian gardens, fields, orchards, and pomegranate groves. You’ll admire their courageous builders using techniques developed from the IV Century BC and explore a house with its own traditional wind tower. Overnight in Yazd.

Day 22: Yazd - Na’in - Esfahan [B, L, D]

Travel to Esfahan, stopping along the way to visit the early Islamic period Friday Mosque in the city of Na’in. We will then drive to the beautiful city of Esfahan (Isfahan), the XVII Century capital of The Safavids, referred to as “Nesf-e-Jahan” (Half of the World) in Safavid sources. Dinner and overnight in Esfahan.

Day 23: Esfahan [B, L, D]

Another full day of sightseeing in wonderful Esfahan. We will begin by wandering through the antique Friday Mosque, which has undergone continual construction, reconstruction, additions, and renovations since around 771. The mosque has an Abbasid hypostyle mosque in place by the X Century. Buyid construction lined a facade around the courtyard and added two minarets that are the earliest example of the double minaret on record. We will then continue to the Naghsh-e-Jahan Complex, the central focus of Esfahan. It is a Royal Square, 1674 feet by 540 feet and enclosed by double-storied arcades. The square drew merchants and ambassadors to the Safavid court for centuries. It is seven times the size of the Piazza San Marco in Venice and puts the grandeur of the surrounding palaces and mosques into appropriate proportions. On the north side is the entrance to the Royal Qaysari Bazaar. On the east side is the Lotfollah Mosque, which served as a private chapel for the Imperial family. On the west side is the Ali Qapu Palace. To the south is the Friday Mosque and Shah Mosque, dedicated to Shah Abbas the Great. Overnight in Esfahan.

Day 24: Esfahan [B, L, D]

Delve into the extragavant history of Esfahan by visiting the beautiful Chehel Sotuni Palace, with its exquisite collection of frescos and paintings on tile, was built by Shah Abbas II in the XVII Century. The reflecting pool magnified the majesty of the ruler. Here, Shah Abbas II welcomed dignitaries and ambassadors. Today, you are the guests of honor! Next, we’ll begin with a walk across the historical bridge of Khaju, constructed by Shah Abbas II in 1650. It is essentially a bridge superimposed upon a dam, 436 feet long and supported by twenty-four stone arches. On the far side is the garden tomb of Arthur Upham Pope and his wife Phyllis Ackerman, Americans who were dedicated to the study of Persian art, history, and culture. Continue to the Armenian Quarter to visit the richly decorated Vank Cathedral. Begun in 1606 at the time of arrival of Armenian immigrants to Isfahan, it was completed between 1655 and 1664 under the supervision of Archbishop David, with the encouragement of the Safavid Rulers. It is the historic focal point of the Armenian Christian Church in Iran. The dome and walls have colorful paintings representing the story of Creation. Pause for lunch in the Armenian Quarter.

During our time in Isfahan, you are invited to a private gallery to visit a famous miniature artist. Those who are interested may visit a carpet shop to sip tea and admire Iran’s most valuable craft and art form. The Persian knot allowed the tight composition to create intricate arabesques, geometric, and other floral designs. You will see both City and Tribal carpets. Persians also developed natural – and lasting- dyes. Cobalt found in Isfahan was exported to China where it was used in the blue on ceramics known later by the British as ‘China’. End the afternoon with a visit to the Hasht Bahesht (eight paradises) Pavilion and Park. It was built as an official court and a reception hall by Shah Abbas II in the XVII Century. The pavilion is surrounded by a beautiful garden with eight reflecting pools. Overnight in Esfahan.

Day 25:  Abyaneh - Kashan - Tehran [B, L, D]

Today you will take the sites of UNESCO recognized village of Abyaneh, located at the foot of Mount Karkas and in the vicinity of the desert. You will appreciate the serenity of this quaint village with its splendid archaeology and meet the dwellers who speak, live, and dress in the original Persian style. The province and the city of Kashan are among the most prominent producers of stunning handicrafts. The wool for the carpets is usually shorn by local men in spring or autumn, and women are mostly in charge of the weaving. Next, we will head to Kashan and visit Tabatabaiha and Boroojerdiha houses, along with some other historical places specially chosen by our tour guide, to acquaint you with the previous century’s architecture, the Qajar Era. Dinner and overnight in Tehran.

Day 26:  Departure From Tehran [B]

After breakfast, we will transfer you to the airport for your flight back home.

 

 

 

2024 Departure Dates
Departure-Return DatePrice
(Per person in Double room)
Single
Supplement
Availability
May 2-May26

$8,495$2,295BOOK NOW
Jun 6-Jun 30

$8,495$2,295BOOK NOW
Sep 5-Sep 29
$8,495$2,295BOOK NOW
Oct 3-Oct 27
$8,495$2,295BOOK NOW
2025 Departure Dates
Departure-Return DatePrice
(Per person in Double room)
Single
Supplement
Availability
May 4-May 28

$8,495$2,295BOOK NOW
Jun 1-Jun 25

$8,495$2,295BOOK NOW
Sep 7-Oct 1
$8,495$2,295BOOK NOW
Oct 5-Oct 29
$8,495$2,295BOOK NOW

  • Transfers from airport, upon arrival.
  • Turkmenistan Letter of Invitation to obtain visa
  • Hotel accommodation at very comfortable centrally located 5 star or best available hotels (double room sharing)
  • Meals specified in the day-by-day itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • All internal flights:
    • Biskek-Tashkent
    • Mary-Ashgabat
    • Mashad-Tehran
    • All train tickets
    • Bukhara - Samarkand
    • All entrance fees for sites and museums
    • Bottled water (1 liter per person per day)
    • English speaking tour guide throughout the tour
    • Flo Tours document packet including; name and luggage tags and more.
  • Transfers from airport, upon departure.
  • International flight arriving Ashgabat and departing from Tbilisi
  • Turkmenistan visa fee ($103 payable at Ashgabat Airport) (subject to change by government)
  • Tips at the hotels, tour guides and drivers
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Any extra expenses at the hotels
  • Video and photo camera charges at the museums or sites
  • Travel Insurance

There are no reviews yet.

Be the first to review “Discover The 4 Stans and Iran”



  • Turkmenistan:
    • ASHGABAT: Oguzkent Hotel or similar
  • Uzbekistan:
    • KHIVA: Asia Khiva Hotel or similar
    • BUKHARA: Asia Bukhara Hotel or similar
    • SAMARKAND: Registan Plaza Hotel or similar
    • TASHKENT: Miran Hotel or similar
    • DUSHANBE: Hilton Hotel or similar
  • Kazakhstan:
    • ALMATY: Rixos Hotel or similar
  • Kyrgyzstan:
    • BISHKEK: Hyatt Regency Hotel or similar
    • KARAKOL: Green Yard Hotel or similar
  • Iran:
    • MASHAD : Almas or similar
    • TEHRAN: Espinaz Hotel or similar
    • SHIRAZ: Zandiyah Hotel or similar
    • YAZD: Safaieh Hotel or similar
    • ESFAHAN: ABBASI Hotel or similar
Visa Information for US Citizens.
Country Regulation
Turkmenistan Letter of Invitation provided by Flo Tours. Visa will be issued upon arrival at Ashgabat Airport . Cost is $103.00* paid at the airport.
Uzbekistan Visa Required
Kyrgyzstan Visa NOT required
Kazakhstan Visa NOT required
Iran Visa Required .
*Cost of visas are subject to change based on government regulations and currency exchange rates. Please feel comfortable to email or call with any other questions you might have regarding visa processing or your unique situation. Visa processing is different if your citizenship is not what we have listed. It varies for each country visited on the tour for each country of citizenship.