One of the major worries that people have when thinking about travelling to Iran. The recent rise of groups such as ISIS have heightened those fears. However, Iran represents one of the safest places in the Middle East to travel to.
There has been no terrorist attacks in Iran in the last eight years, nor has there been any significant political unrest that has posed any threat to foreigners.
This has been reflected in governments such as the Australian government reducing their travel warnings to Iran. Some areas of the country, particularly close to border areas with Afghanistan and Iraq, the Baluchistan province are seen as areas of higher risk by Western government and are generally not recommended as a travelling destination.
Those who travel to Iran tend to report that they feel most unsafe as a pedestrian, as particular norms that are followed in many western countries such as cars stopping automatically at pedestrian crossings are not generally adhered too in Iran.
Do I need a guide?
Most people are able to travel independently within Iran, without any guide or official guidance whatsoever. US and Canadian citizens, however, need to have their itinerary and tour group approved beforehand, which will require an officially sanctioned guide. However, as part of the itinerary it is possibly to include free days, which if approved, will allow for free travel.
Many people, however, prefer to go on guided tours, as much of the population, including those who work in tourism do not have proficiency in English, making some experiences more difficult.
Photo by Ninara – Flickr