Overland Iran Travel
Currency to display:
- 1 Visiting Iran
- 2 Entering Iran with a Car or Motorbike
- 3 Driving in Iran
- 4 Gas and Diesel price in Iran
- 5 Safety and Security Considerations
- 6 Camping in Iran
- 7 Navigation
- 8 Special Overland Travel interests
- 9 Vehicle Maintenance
- 10 Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Iran
- 11 References
- 12 Helpful External links
Visiting Iran is a wonderful experience. People are extremely friendly, welcoming to strangers and hospitable. Iran is safe, but just take normal measures, as you would do in for instance a European country. Do not be careless with your valuable, but on the other hand, if you forget something like a bag, it will most likely still be there after an hour or more....something that would not be possible in many other countries. There are so many beautiful sites to visit in Iran, it is impossible to state them all. Any book on Iran will give you the regular highlights, but visiting the deserts beyond Yazd, the Zagros mountains on the way from Kermanshah to Ahvaz and on to the cooler Yasuj in the mountains is spectacular. The Northern regions bordering the Caspian sea are lush and green while the South with Qeshm Island is warm and humid and far more Arab than other regions. Try visiting the Zurkhaneh in Yazd, although very busy nowadays, popping in to a primary school in a small village can also be a wonderful experience, and when Iranians invite you to visit their home, take up the invitation and enjoy their food and hospitality. As for dresscode: men are not allowed to wear bermudas or sleeveless t-shirts and for women a headscarf that covers hair and neck is obligatory, as is a blouse/dress ("rupush/manteau) which covers the hips down to below the buttocks. Also bare arms are not allowed, nor is a revealing cleavage. In the modern cities like Tehran and Shiraz, the dress style is more loose with hair showing than in the more conservative rural areas (although Esfahan is pretty religious as a city as well).
Entering Iran with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: July 2013
- Iran Visa: To check if you need a travel Visa for Iran, application instructions and fees.
- Carnet de Passage that is valid for Iran
- Original Vehicle registration
Process at border
The Iranian borders are a little different from other borders. You will need to get your passport stamped and after that your car papers stamped. Fuel is widely available.
An excellent write-up of the process to get the ferry from the United Arab Emirates is http://travelafricaoverland.com/nl/ferry-from-dubai-to-iran/
Cost of entry
Except for the possible fuel permit there should be no cost involved.
Permitted length of stay
Visa duration is for 14 - 30 days. Extendable at the police station for approx 7 Euro
Extension of stay
In order to extend the visa time limit, the applicant should visit the Passport and Immigration Police Office in the main cities of Iran 
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Describe if/how a vehicle can be stored, and for how long.
Also mention if the owner / temporary importer can leave the country while the vehicle is in storage.
Temporary importer can leave the country without the vehicle for the time of duration of CDP. There is no complication at the border by doing so.
Exiting with a vehicle
Describe the paperwork requirements and process at the border to exit.
Driving in Iran
Recommended books for Overlanding in Iran
Travel insurance for Iran
Vehicle insurance requirements
Yes or No if insurance is mandatory, and what kind is acceptable.
European Green Card is accepted in Iran
Cost of vehicle insurance
State the price of insurance and a time period.
Where to purchase vehicle insurance
Describe where insurance can be purchased.
International driving licence is needed
Driving side of road
Unknown if RHD vehicles can be driven in Iran
Mandatory items in vehicle
State any mandatory items that must be carried in the vehicle. (i.e. safety triangle, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, etc.)
General Road quality
Although road quality is generally ok, most of them are poorly maintained. Road markings are often worn away or simply lacking, and the asphalt can be slippery at times. Speedbumps often appear unannounced, and can be placed right at the border of a town where the motorway runs through. Therefore, be vigilant when nearing city limits. Especially motorcyclists, since these bumps can be heavy. Intersections can be confusing due to the lack of proper signage, markings, or length of an exit.
Most roads are not properly equipped with water drainage. During a rainy period or after a storm, be aware of large and deep puddles covering some parts of the roads.
On motorways/rural roads, be aware of vehicles going the wrong way when trying to get onto the other side.
Road signs giving directions are in both Farsi and English.
List the frequency and approximate price of toll roads.
Bribery in Iran
I have had a few encounters with Iranian police. Even got a ticket for crossing a solid line. Found them to be correct and suborn. Had to pay my fine at a local bank before he wanted to return my passport. And it was a bank holiday! I have not encountered any bribery attempt but have encountered fake police who tried to rob me of my money.
When you are driving near the Afghan border, e.g. on the highway from Kerman to Bam, police might ask for your papers and can search your car. They use dogs to search your car. Never take pictures of people in uniform and official buildings as for instance the checkpoints. In other areas bus drivers and taxi's must stop at regular checkpoints to show their papers and tachometer. Sometimes they can also ask for your destination and/or you have to show your papers.
Traveling with pets
List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.
Gas and Diesel price in Iran
Last updated: March 2011
Currency and unit to display:
|Regular||$1.44 USD per Gallon (US)|
Link to external websites with price & quality information, if available.
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Fuel is generally available within cities and at rests stops alongside of main motorways (E.G. Between Tehran and Isfahan), both Diesel and gas. Most towns are equipped with a gas station. When taking a very remote trip, make sure to check the availability of gas stations on the route or near the destination using Maps. Gas prices are generally very cheap. As an example, in 2019, one litre of gas cost +- $0,07.
Gas and Diesel Quality
Discuss if gasoline / diesel considered "clean" or "dirty", and generally high or low quality.
State the sulfur content of diesel, if known.
Safety and Security Considerations
Avoid driving at night, especially around large cities. Roads are often poorly lit, and it can be common to see drivers who don't use any lights. The lack of proper road markings, or the abidance of them by local drivers, combined with poor road conditions, can cause very chaotic or unclear situations. Excessive speeding can also occur on rural roads and motorways.
IS IRAN A SAFE TRAVEL DESTINATION?
Iran is generally a safe country. Violence against foreigners, racism and bad behavior are rarely seen in Iran . On the contrary you’ll find Iranians the kindest and most hospitable people in the world. Tourist reviews available on trip advisor and in personal blogs and the growth of the tourism industry in the past few years prove this claim.
Larger cities may provide enclosed parking garages or carparks for a small fee. In most cities or towns, it is common to park cars on the side of the road. It is generally safe to park roadside in cities overnight. Use general theft prevention measures such as not visibly keeping any valuable items or anything that suggests it. There are no parking meters or costs for roadside parking.
Parking on sidewalks is technically forbidden, though according to locals in Isfahan, the police doesn't strictly enforce that rule. This may vary per city and it is advised to inform yourself before considering doing so.
When traveling by (motor)bike, some hostels allow you to park the bike on their property behind the gate, where it can often be parked for as long as the guest intents to stay, within reason.
Special driving considerations
A List of special things to be careful of (i.e. Unsigned speed bumps, abnormal road rules, people or animals on the road, etc.).
List any roads that are not recommended to drive for safety or other security reasons.
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for Iran - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in Iran
I know of no campsite in Iran. Many hotels will let you camp in their parking lot.
Wild camping is not a good idea in Iran although I have done so. Around borders things tend to get dangerous at night due to heavy smuggling. If police see you wild camp, and they are well informed, they tend to send you away. There are a few spots where camping is allowed, usually parks in big towns. The Khomeiny burial site in south Teheran is such an example.
Camping guide books
List and link to books specifically for camping.
Regular tapwater is safe to drink, especially in the large cities. Bottled water ("ab e madani") is cheap and can be bought all over the place (1 liter approx ﷼10,000.00 IRR depending on location, i.e. touristic or not). Along the highway at parking places and shops you can buy boiling water (ab e joosh) for very little money. It’s safe to drink the tap water in most of Iran. All of the tourist destinations like Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd, and Shiraz have perfect tap water; even the shower water is drinkable. Moreover, if you don’t feel comfortable drinking tap water, bottled water is widely accessible throughout the country. And it’s cheap!
In short, you can always drink the tap water in Iran unless someone tells you otherwise.
Reise Know-How are amoung the best paper maps. Purchase paper maps before arriving in Iran
GPS Maps of Iran
Review different GPS companies, quality and coverage (Tomtom, Garmin, OSM, Tracks4Africa). (with links to each).
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in Iran
- iOverlander is a website and iPhone application designed by Overlanders, for Overlanders. It contains GPS co-ordinates and reviews for camping, hotels, propane, water, mechanics, borders and much more.
Link to sites that have a list of GPS co-ordinates (or directions) for camping locations (including "wild" campsites), propane filling, gas stations, repair shops, places of interest, etc.
Special Overland Travel interests
List any special items / places that are popular with Overlanders
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Add known good mechanics here.
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in Iran
Describe how a foreigner can buy a vehicle. List any difficulties or limitations on where the vehicle can be driven.
Describe how a foreigner can sell a foreign-plated vehicle, or list not possible.'
Links to the source of any information - blogs or discussion forums, etc.
Add any helpful external links here.
- Iran: Visa and Passport requirements | World Travel Guide
- Health Information for Travelers to Iran - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Iran travel guides at wikivoyage
- Iran - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia