Isfahan is the cultural capital of Iran and without a doubt the most beautiful city in Iran! “Anyone who have seen Isfahan, has seen halve of the world”, is an old Persian saying. I completely concur. Esfahan is a large city with over two million inhabitants. Despite its vastness, most of the sights van be reached by foot. What are the must do’s in Isfahan?
The 7 must do’s in Isfahan.
1. Het Naqsh-e Jahan square
Believe me, this square will surprise even the most seasoned traveler! It’s one of the best must do’s in Isfahan. What makes this square truly unique are the many Islamic buildings lined alongside the square. It’s the second largest square in the world and in the middle of the square you’ll find some fountains. It turns the square into an atmospheric and unique square with a constant feast for the eyes. It indulges your senses and will leave and everlasting impression on you.
2. The Isfahan bridges
The bridges across the Zayandeh Rud river are another hightlight on the list with must do’s in Isfahan. A large part of social live of Iranians happens on these bridges, especially during the night. Make sure to take part in this experience! They are at its most beautiful when the river carries some water, but that only happens a few weeks a year. When I happen to visit (May), they carried water!
The Si-o-Se pol bridge and the Pol-e Khaju bridge are recommendations. I liked the Si-o-Se Pol bridge best at night. Ask an Iranian to have the sounds of a Tar resonate against the arches of this bridge. The bridge is built in such a way that you can talk with someone who stands on the other side of the arch. A magical experience! The Pol-e Khaju bridge is best visited during the day. Rent a water bike and experience the bridge from the water.
Funny and great way of spending your time!
3. The buildings alongside the Naqsh-e Jahan Square
The westside of the square has the Ali Qapu palace. You’ll have a great view over the square from here, as you can climb to the top. The eastside has the Masjed-e Sheikh Lotfallah and is worth a visit as well. It’s an elegant and smaller mosque, yet with astonishing beauty! The southside of the square has the Masjed-e Jameh mosque. A larger mosque decorated with a lot of colorful tiles.
Isfahan has an Armenian neighborhood, because Shah Abbas I moved about 3000 Armenians to Isfahan to encourage trade. They were free to practice their own religion. That’s why there is a very beautiful Armenian cathedral in this neighborhood. The area has many great little restaurants as well as a music museum worth visiting. In the evening this area is beautifully illuminated and if you are on the roof of the parking garage near the Vank cathedral, you’ll have an impressive view over the city.
5. Fire temple
This is the Zoroastrian fire temple and is located 8 km outside of the city center. This temple is dramatically placed on top of a rock, near the edge of Isfahan and offers an impressive view of the city. You will need to climb for about 20 minutes, but it’s worth the climb. It’s recommended to visit this temple around sunset.
6. The bazaar
Any city in Iran has a bazaar and it’s great to visit them. Isfahan also has a very nice one. The bazaar symbolizes the beauty of Iran. You’ll find shops, people, colors and smells in abundance here.
7. Restaurant Fereni Hafez
Fereni Hafez is the master in the Isfahani-fereni specialty. Fereni is a mixture of rice flour, milk, sugar and rose water, served in a bowl. Great to eat as breakfast! As far as I’m concerned, they are also selling the tastiest ice cream in all of Iran. It’s a low budget restaurant, situated in Hafez street. About 1-minute walking from the central square.
These are my favorite must do’s in Isfahan! What are your must do’s in Isfahan?
There are some great and affordable places to stay in Esfahan! Choose a hotel in the old city!
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