Yazd is a big city located in the middle of the desert in central Iran. Fresh air, hot climate, slow pace of life, beautiful mosques and desertic atmosphere are what you can expect from our favourite city in this country. However, nothing can beat the number one attraction. In Yazd you can sleep at the hotel rooftop under the stars with a breathtaking view of the city and nearby Jameh Mosque. See how to organize your unique holidays and visit Yazd on a budget.
How To Get In Yazd
The airport in Yazd serves only domestic flights, so if you travel by plane, you should pick Tehran International Airport (IKA) and then head to Yazd overland. Of course, you can take a domestic flight between Tehran and Yazd on board of some local airline, but it would be much more expensive than overland route.
We described all issues about travelling through the international airport in Tehran in our article Visit Tehran, Iran – Dangerous or Safe, so now we’ll concentrate how to arrive to Yazd from Tehran/Esfahan.
Budget travelers have two ways to reach Yazd from the capital/Esfahan: train or bus. Both options have their pluses and minuses, so we will help you to choose the one, which is the most suitable for you.
The railway connections between Yazd and Tehran are well-developed. From 6 to 7 trains depart a day, so you can pick the time, which is the most comfortable for you. You can choose between modern high-speed trains with open-layout sitting or old trains with 4-bunk compartments. The ride takes from 6 to 8 hours depending on a train type and it costs about 550 000 IRR (approx. $13). A small juice box along with a pack of biscuits are handed to each passenger for free. You can also order a dinner onboard and if you run out of water, you always can buy a bottle from the conductor for a standard price – 10 000 IRR (approx. $0.25).
If you plan to travel to Yazd by railway from Esfahan the situation is a bit more problematic. The only one train between these cities goes every second day, so you don’t have any choice. The ride in the 4-bunk compartment takes 4 hours and a half and costs 350 000 IRR (approx. $8).
You can’t buy a train ticket through the official website as it’s required to use an Iranian card. Tickets are sold out very quickly, so it’s not recommended to wait to buy them at the station. The best option is to buy them from the unofficial agent called Iranrail, which can buy the tickets for you and send them on your e-mail. The fee is €8 for the first reservation, regardless of number of tickets. But if you plan to use their services more than once, you will get a discount code and will pay only €4 for next routes. Tickets are on sale up to a month in advance.
There are several buses going to Yazd from Tehran every day. It takes 9-10 hours. You can choose a regular bus or a more comfortable VIP bus. Tickets for VIP buses go for about 450 000 – 500 000 IRR (approx. $12) and regular ones for about 300 000 IRR (approx. $7).
It’s also easy to travel between Yazd and Esfahan by bus. On this route there are couple of buses every day and the ride takes 4-5 hours. VIP bus tickets cost 260 000 IRR (approx. $6) and regular ones 210 000 IRR (approx. $5).
Usually there’s no problem with the availability of bus tickets, so there’s no need to book it in advance. But if you still want to reserve them, you can ask a receptionist at your hotel to book it for you.
How To Get Around Yazd
Most of attractions and hotels in the old town are within the walking distance, so there’s no need to use any means of transport in the center. That’s why you can visit Yazd in just 24 hours with no rush.
Bus and train station are far from the old town. So, you must take a taxi and pay about 100 000 IRR (approx. $2.5) for it. That’s the standard price for a taxi anywhere you go in Yazd. Remember to fix the price with the driver beforehand.
Public buses are unbelievably cheap. A single ticket costs only 5 000 IRR (approx. $0.12). Unfortunately it may be quite difficult to use them by foreigners, because all signs are written in Farsi and the driver may not speak any English.
What To See in Yazd
JAMEH MOSQUE OF YAZD
That’s the representative symbol of Yazd as well as wonderful example of the unique Islamic architecture. It looks the most beautiful at night when it’s illuminated. The entrance fee to see it from inside is 80 000 IRR (approx. $2).
AMIR CHAKHMAGH COMPLEX
It’s a large symmetrical structure on the square with the same name. Nice place to spend some time having a peaceful walk looking at the fountain and eating delicious Iranian ice creams, which you can buy there.
It’s a Zoroastrian Fire Temple. The most interesting part of it is a fire inside, which has been nonstop alight since 470 AD, so for over 1500 years! Entrance fee: 80 000 IRR (approx. $2).
HISTORICAL ALLEYS IN THE OLD TOWN
The Old Town in Yazd has plenty of twisted, narrow alleys. It’s a true maze and it’s impossible not to get lost there. In this area all buildings and walls are built entirely of mud brick and adobe. That’s the perfect place to see the traditional face of the city and meet with the history coming back in time. Also you can find some small museums there, which show how the life in Yazd looked like in the past.
Sleeping, Eating, Safety and Other Tips
If you are looking for a hotel in Yazd, take the Orient Hotel. This place is great, but the thing, which differs it from other ones is the opportunity to experience something unforgettable. Wonder what is it? In the evening the rooftop of this hotel becomes a sleeping place under the sky!
After dark when the whole city goes to sleep and it gets very quiet, you can be at the top of the hotel admiring the panoramic view of Yazd and illuminated Jameh Mosque. When you go to sleep, thousands of shining stars will be in front of your eyes. In addition, you’ll probably be there alone and having all the area only for yourself as this attraction is hardly known among foreign travelers. Also prepare yourself for early wake-up call by muezzin from the nearby mosque, who will loudly invite Muslims for morning praying at sunrise. Obviously, it’s not a problem – even more it’s a perfect opportunity to get to know Middle East culture better.
Also remember that on desertic lands like this, the climate may be surprising. Days are usually super-hot and nights can be pretty chilly. However, you will have very warm blankets to cover yourself. Of course, you don’t go there to have a comfortable sleeping. You can get enough sleep later. You go there to experience something magical. And believe us – it would be your life-time memory!
The price of a rooftop bed is 375 000 IRR (approx. $9) per person. You can pay in euros and dollars too, but paying in rials turns out to be slightly cheaper. Tasty buffet breakfast is included. To reserve a bed in this hotel in advance you must send them 10 % of the total amount of the reservation by PayPal. However, we doubt you would have any problems with the availability of rooftop beds, so there’s nothing to worry about.
The most popular food in the whole Iran is for sure chelo kebab. This dish contains two strips of lamb meat, white rice and some vegetables on the side. Everyone in Iran eat that as it’s delicious, cheap and quick to order. Also it’s very easy to find the restaurants that serve chelo kebab as they are present at every corner. We noticed that chelo kabab has something like a flat price – anywhere in the country we ordered it, we paid 150 000 IRR (approx. $3.50) for a portion. As an alternative to chelo kebab you can try a dish called chicken rice. The idea of the dish is the same with only one difference – instead of two lamb strips you get grilled chicken breast. It’s a good option when you don’t want to eat kebabs all the time ;) Restaurants which serve chelo kebab, usually offer chicken rice too.
You may also try lavash – traditional soft flatbread making in tandoor, which is popular not only in Iran, but also in many countries in Western Asia. It’s a good pick for a breakfast.
Yazd like the whole Iran is very safe. During the day when the temperature is extremely high, people tend to stay indoors, so the city looks a bit empty. Yazd starts to live from the evening when it gets chillier (but still warm). In summer the temperature can hit 40℃, so the biggest danger in Yazd will be the heat.
More advices you’ll find in our article – Visit Tehran – Dangerous or Safe? Many tips about traveling around Iran are universal, so they are accurate for Tehran as well as for Yazd.
How Much Does It Cost? (Per Person)
train Tehran-Yazd: 550 000 IRR (approx. $13)
train Yazd-Esfahan: 350 000 IRR (approx. $8)
fee for booking train tickets: €12 / 2 people = €6 (approx. $7)
taxi (twice): 200 000 IRR / 2 persons = 100 000 IRR (approx. $2.50)
hotel (one night): 375 000 IRR (approx. $9)
food: 350 000 IRR (approx. $8)
TOTAL for 1 day in Yazd (excluding other Iranian cities): $47