One of the oldest Persian cities, references to Shiraz go back to 2,000 BC when the city of Tirazis was mentioned on Elmative clay tablet. With so much history in and around the ancient town, Shiraz is a vibrant city packed with stunning mosques, beautiful gardens, and of course is the perfect hub to visit Persepolis. Find out what the top things to do in Shiraz are, including the must-see Shiraz attractions, and other Iran travel tips to help you prepare your Shiraz travel.

Top Things to Do in Shiraz

There is no shortage of fantastic Shiraz Attractions, but here are our top 10 Things to Do in Shiraz Iran.

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Also called the Pink Mosque Shiraz, the 19th-century Qajar Dynasty building is one of the highlights of Shiraz. No visit to the Iran city should be done without stopping at the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque (also spelled Nasir ol Molk Mosque). The mosque is famous for its colorful glass artwork that becomes alive under the sun rays. For the most dramatic effects, go when the sun shines through.

Travel photography tips: the best time on how to take good pictures of the Pink Mosque stained glass windows is early in the morning, specially in the Winter and Fall.

But the Mosque is more than this favorite room. Wander around the yard, check the other rooms that feature incredible pink mosaics – hence the name.

  • Entrance Fees: 200,000 IRR
  • Opening Hours: 7 am – 5 pm every day. Closed during Iranian holidays.
  • Time to Visit: 1 – 2 hours, depending on how many people are visiting and your patience for waiting for the perfect lights
Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque

Shah Cheragh Mosque

Hosting the tombs of the Ahmad and Muhammad brothers who took refuge there during the persecution of Shia Muslims. The funeral monument became a pilgrimage in the 14th century. Besides the religious experience, a visit will show the hundreds of small mirrors and glass shards that covering the interior. This section is stunning and is worth a visit.

Women must wear a chador that will cover you from head to toe. If you don’t have one, you can get one from one of the entrance windows. No camera is allowed inside.

  • Entrance Fees: Free
  • Opening Hours: 24/7
  • Time to Visit: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Shah Cheragh Mosque

Shah Cheragh Mosque

Naranjestan-e Qavam (Qavam House)

A traditional Persian house built at the end of the 19th-century by the Qavam family, the building features a mirror hall and a small garden.

  • Entrance Fees: 200,000 IRR
  • Opening Hours: 8 am – 7 pm every day. Closed during Iranian holidays.
  • Time to Visit: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Zinat Al-Moluk House

Sitting by the Qavam House, the 18th-century Qajar complex features a museum at the ground level and a mirror hall in the upper level. The Zinat Al-Moluk is highly interesting, and we recommend visiting it.

  • Entrance Fees: 150,000 IRR
  • Opening Hours: 8 am – 7 pm every day. Closed during Iranian holidays.
  • Time to Visit: 1 – 2 hours
Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Zinat Al-Moluk House

Zinat Al-Moluk House

Karim Khan Citadel

Known locally as the Arg-e Karim Kham, the citadel of Karim Khan-e Zand was built like a fortress. Today, the building hosts a museum. We felt that the inside the Citadel itself wasn’t worth the entrance fees. There are a couple of rooms opened where you can see some beautiful stained glass windows, but most of the rooms were closed. It felt expensive for what could be seen inside.

  • Entrance Fees: 200,000 IRR
  • Opening Hours: 9 am – 10 pm every day. Closed during Iranian holidays.
  • Time to Visit: 1 hour
Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Karim Khan Citadel

Karim Khan Citadel

Qur’an Gate

Located at the entrance of Shiraz between the Baba Kuhi and Chehel Maqam mountains, the gate used to featured hand-written Quran. Make sure to go at night when the gate is illuminated.

  • Entrance Fees: Free
  • Opening Hours: 24/7 (no actual entrance)
  • Time to Visit: 15 minutes
Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Qur'an Gate at Night

Qur’an Gate at Night

Vakil Bazaar

One of the oldest bazaars in Iran and even in the world, Vakil Bazaar is thought to have been established in that location from the 11th- century. Explore the old narrow streets, shop for spices or handicrafts, splurge on one of the beautiful traditional Shiraz carpets (kilim rug), and stop at one of the Vakil bathhouses.

But even if you are not in the mood for shopping, wandering the old bazaar is a must, soaking in history past and imaging merchants many centuries ago.

  • Entrance Fees: Free
  • Opening Hours: 9 am – 12 pm & 4 pm – 7pm
  • Time to Visit: 1 – 2 hours
Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Traditional Iran Carpets at the Vakil Bazaar

Traditional Iran Carpets at the Vakil Bazaar

Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Vakil Bathhouse

Vakil Bathhouse

Vakil Mosque

Next to the Vakil Bazaar stands the 18th-century mosque which features a beautiful prayer hall with 48 pillars. The hall is imposing, and one of the must-see in Shiraz.

  • Entrance Fees: 100,000 IRR
  • Opening Hours: 8 am – 8 pm
  • Time to Visit: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Eram Garden

Called the Bagh-e Eram, the historic Shiraz garden that might have been built under the Seljuk monarchs is one of the nine Persian gardens and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Entrance Fees: 200,000 IRR
  • Opening Hours: 8 am – 8 pm
  • Time to Visit: 30 minutes to 1 hour

Tomb of Hafez

Together with the Hāfezieh memorial Hall, the two structures are in honor of the Persian poet Hafez. The 14th-century poet is still revered today. The area is completed with pools, a tea garden, and night lights that make it an attractive destination for relaxing moments.

  • Entrance Fees: 200,000 IRR
  • Opening Hours: 8 am – 8 pm
  • Time to Visit: 30 minutes to 1 hour

More Things to See in Shiraz

If you are looking for other Shiraz things to do, check these other attractions:

  • Tomb of Saadi (Tomb of Sa’di)
  • Shapouri House
  • Imāmzādeh Ali ebn e Hamze
  • Delgosha Garden
  • Afif-Abad Garden (Royal Palace of the Golshan Garden)

Must-See: Persepolis Shiraz

The highlight of Shiraz attractions, the ancient ruins of Persepolis are a must-see. Founded by King Darius the Great from 518 BC, Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire from the 550 to 330 BC. Today, the ancient site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The site is rather impressive. While the site is in renovation in some areas, others are in stunning conditions given their age and the destruction from Alexander the Great’s army. Of noticeable importance are the famous stairwell, the upper tombs, and the different cuneiform inscriptions.

Persepolis is massive so make sure to dedicate several hours to a good half-day for exploring the area.

  • Persepolis Entrance Fees: 200,000 IRR
    • Persepolis Museum: 200,000 IRR additional
  • Opening Hours: 8 am – 5:30 pm
  • Time to Visit: Plan for at least 2 to 3 hours
Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Persepolis from Shiraz

Persepolis from Shiraz

How to Visit Persepolis?

Persepolis is about 37 miles (60 km) from Shiraz, about 45 min to 60 min away depending on the traffic.

  • Travel Independently
    • Arrange a taxi from your hotel to bring you there and wait for you. This option can include a stop at other sites like the Naghsh-e Rostam Necropolis
    • Once on site, we recommend taking a tour with one of the local guides directly from a booth inside the complex. The Guide spoke English well and was knowledgeable. The tour last 90 minutes and you add more hours while on your if you need. And time does go by fast!
    • Costs for independent travel to Persepolis:
      • Taxi: 1,200,000 IRR
      • Persepolis Entrance Fees: 200,000 IRR
      • Local Guide: 70,000 IRR for 90 minutes, and another extra 70,000 IRR for a second hour
      • Total Costs: around 1,500,000 IRR
  • Go on an organized Persepolis tour
    • Some nationalities like Americans or UK citizens must travel as part of a group with a travel agency. Or you might want to do so if you are looking to let the challenges of trip planning to someone else as a day trip from Shiraz or as part of an Iran trip.
    • Persepolis Day Trip from Shiraz, including the Necropolis and maybe Pasargadae, might cost between US$20 – US$40 per person.
    • Multi-day tours will usually include Shiraz and Persepolis, but costs will vary greatly depending on the numbers of days and services included.

Note that you cannot take any backpack with you inside the complex. A small bag is allowed. You can find water and some food inside, but the choice is somewhat limited. Come prepared if you are with children.

In addition to the famous ancient site, other exciting sites exist that are worth a visit and turn your Persepolis travel into a full day from Shiraz.

Naghsh-e Rostam (Naqsh-e Rustam)

In this Necropolis lay the tombs of Achaemenid and Sassanid kings and the Ka’ba-ye Zartosht, which has been wrongly considered to be a Zoroastrian fire temple.

  • Entrance Fees: 100,000 IRR
  • Opening Hours: 8 am – 7 pm
  • Time to Visit: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Naghsh-e Rostam Necropolis

Naghsh-e Rostam Necropolis

Pasargadae

This site is home to the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pasargadae was the first capital of the Achaemenid Empire. The site is enormous, so you might take a while to explore it all.

  • Entrance Fees: 200,000 IRR
  • Opening Hours: 8 am – 5:30 pm
  • Time to Visit: 1 – 3 hours

Shiraz Itinerary Suggestions

Shiraz in One Day

Deciding what to see in one day will depend on what you want to see. The Pink Mosque is stunning, and a couple of the top Shiraz historical sites we mentioned are incredible. But if there is one unique thing about Shiraz, that’s Persepolis. So if you have only one day, that’s what we would recommend.

One option though is to rent a taxi though it will be a long day. Start at first light in the morning to see the top attractions from the outside, make sure to visit the Pink Mosque at the opening hours (8 am or 9 am depending on the season). Then leave Shiraz with your taxi for Persepolis.

3 Days in Shiraz

  • Day 1: Shiraz old town (Pink Mosque, Qavam House, Zinat Al-Moluk House, Vakil Mosque & Bazaar, as well as other sites around the area)
  • Day 2: Persepolis and Pasargadae
  • Day 3: Tomb of Hafez, Eram Garden, and Qu’ram Gate

Shiraz Travel Guide

Where is Shiraz

Shiraz is in the southwestern part of Iran, and the capital of the of Fars Province, which is the original homeland of the Persian people. A very central location where the ancient tribes of Persians expanded their presence from the 10th century BC, creating the Achaemenid dynasty that ruled from Macedonia to Eastern Europe and the Indus Valley.

How to Get to Shiraz

  • By Plane
    • Most people will fly into Shiraz Airport on a Tehran to Shiraz flight.
    • A cheap flight to Shiraz starts at around US$50 per seat.
    • Click here to find the latest flight deals to Shiraz
  • By Train
    •  An overnight train is available from Tehran to Shiraz, but there are no direct connections from and to Isfahan or Yazd.
    • We found that Iran Rail website pretty convenient to find out about schedules between cities
  • By Bus
    • Buses are probably the easiest way to travel around in Iran. And with an important city like Shiraz, you will have no problems finding direct buses from other main cities like Bandar Abbas, Isfahan, Tehran, etc.
      • Costs for Bus from Yazd to Shiraz: 400,000 IRR
      • Costs for Bus from Bandar Abbas to Shiraz: 500,000 IRR
    • There might be several bus companies running the same line, but we found that they usually leave at about the same time. Book a couple of days ahead if you can.
  • Moving around Shiraz
    • Most of the historical sites are close to each other, and there are easily accessible on foot.
    • Local buses are convenient and are cheap.
    • If you have to take transportation, for example to the Hafez Tomb that is outside town, a taxi is the cheapest way to go around. Expect to pay between 50,000 IRR to 200,000 IRR.
    • The new metro line is easy to use as well, though the stations are not well indicated and might be hard to find.

Where to Stay in Shiraz 

Find your Shiraz hotel might be tricky if you are usually using Booking.com as the reservation platform doesn’t work in Iran due to the American sanctions. But HostelWorld does so you can use that site for booking ahead. Iranian weekends can be busy, and Hotels in Shiraz Iran tend to fill in quickly, so you might want to reserve in advance if you have a particular hotel in mind.

Sirah Traditional House comes as the recommend Shiraz hostel. Nowadays hostels offer more than just dormitory, and you can find there double rooms and even bigger ones for groups or families.

We heard good things about the Grandma B&B, and  Niayesh Boutique Hotel so that might be one to consider as well.

If you know another hostel Shiraz worth mentioning, please let us know.

Money in Shiraz

You probably noted that we put the entrance fees in local IRR currency but did not put the US$ equivalent. The exchange rate varied daily when we were there, so any dollar value would be probably old by the time of you reading this post. For reference,  the rate during our stay was about  US$1 = 100,000 IRR.

Due to the embargo, Visa and Mastercards cannot be used in Iran. So bring US$ or Euros in cash and change it on the street. Do enquire for the daily rate as it does change regularly. If you have US$, make sure your US$100 notes are newer than 2013 (2009 design). Older US$100 notes are considered not valid by Iranians, so you might have a hard time changing them. Or get a less interesting rate for them.

Iranian Rials are the actual currency, but many Iranians speak in toman, which is a different way of counting the money. 100,000 IRRs are 10,000 tomans, but using the same money. Very confusing when you count! So whatever the price, confirm whether the vendor speaks in Rials or Tomans.

Shiraz Weather

Given its location in the southern part of Iran, the weather is usually mild all-year round. However, winter can be cold and wet, and summer scorching due to the desert environment. So spring and fall are probably the best seasons to travel to Shiraz. Spring will especially be charming thanks to the blossoms of the jasmine and orange trees.

Is Shiraz Safe?

Safety is always a tricky question. We feel it’s based on both individual perceptions and political view of a destination. Of course, a country in war will be more dangerous than one in a peaceful setting. And Iran is getting a bad name given some of its past and present domestic and international decisions. However, it feels that very often, government and local populations are on opposite sides. While no country is ever entirely safe (attacks in France,  Sri Lanka, Australia, and other places in the world), we can only talk about our personal experiences. As such, we felt safe in Shiraz as well as in all the places we traveled to during our two-month trip to Iran. People were welcoming, eager to talk to us, and many interested in discussing culture and traditions.

Shiraz Travel Tips

  • Though some sites might be open late in the evening, watch for the sunset hours to ensure you still have some daylight.
  • For photographers, the morning is best to visit Pasargadae and the bas-reliefs of Persepolis.
  • Some tickets might let you come back to the site so enquire if you want to return for a sunset shot
  • Most of the sites charge entrance fees, and it felt our cash was like snow under the sun, melting fast! Bring enough with you to get you through the day, so you don’t have to waste time searching for money changers during the day.
  • Read a bit about Persepolis before your trip. Your visit to the site will be more enjoyable.
  • Carry an English-Farsi phrasebook with you.
  • Learn about Shiraz, its history, and medieval Poets.

We hope you enjoyed this Shiraz travel blog post. More posts about our Iran travel will come soon, including our road trip around Kerman and the Kaluts, biking and camping on Hormuz Island, admiring some of the most incredible sites in Isfahan and Yazd, hiking in the Alamut Valley, and exploring Cappadocia-like village around Tabriz.

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from our travel around the world!

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Things to Do in Shiraz Travel Guide // Pink Mosque Glasswork

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