How much did it cost to travel in Iran for 16 days?
We haven't posted any budget pie charts for a long time, but still thought it might interest you how much our Iran trip in June did add up to.
We spent 16 days and 16 nights in the country which cost us an average of 52.43 € per day for the two of us. During this time we visited Teheran, Isfahan, Yazd, Shiraz with Persepolis and Mashhad (day trip to Nishapur).
This figure includes all local costs such as accommodation, public transport, food, entrance fees and some additional items such as a SIM card, but not the flight from Berlin to Teheran and visa costs. Apart from a photoshopped picture of us in the holy Reza Shrine in Mashhad we did not buy any souvenirs. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter most parts of the shrine and even pilgrims are not allowed to take pictures inside. That is why a lot of photo studios offer pictures of pilgrims digitally altered so that they appear to be INSIDE the holy shrine area.
Including flight and visa, the total cost of our trip was 78 € per day or 1276 € in total for both of us.
Conclusion: Iran is not a very cheap country, but for individual travellers, costs can be kept below the level of Western Europe.
Accommodation: 456 € in total / 28.50 € per night.
We stayed in cheap double rooms, sometimes with shared bathroom. In general, there are not so many hotels in the lower price range. All the places we stayed at were clean and friendly. Hotel accommodation in the bigger cities usually included breakfast. We stayed in one apartment-hotel (room with kitchenette) in Mashhad and in a rundown place without any facilities at the Iran-Turkmen border in Bajgiran. We also spent one night on a long-distance bus.
Local transport: Usually we used buses and shared taxis; we only used individual taxis in a few instances where public transport was not available at all and hitchhiking was not feasible. And as always we walked a lot.
Long-distance transport: The bus system is very good and reliable. We used normal buses most of the time, but spent more money on a comfortable VIP bus for the 30-hour bus ride between Shiraz and Mashhad. In total we covered over 3000 km – for about 85 € altogether.
Food: Many hotels rooms included breakfast in the price. We never had a meal in a proper restaurant (those are rare anyway) but most days ate in sandwich shops or fast food restaurants. For vegetarians, this is very cheap and somewhat boring (falafel sandwich or sandwich with herb omelette). Freshly squeezed fruit juices in open stalls are also very reasonable. We were surprised that fruits in the markets are only slightly cheaper than in Germany. Alcohol is not available (at least not to outsiders), and the tap water is drinkable and tasty everywhere (even in the streets there are frequent drinking fountains), so we didn't have to buy bottled water.
Entrance fees: The same entrance fee of 150,000 Rial (about 5$) applies to almost every tourist site; Iranians pay a small fraction of that. For the top sites (National Museum, Persepolis, etc) this is certainly not too much but it made us think twice about some minor sites such as smaller gardens, museums or mosques. But even so, we did spend a huge chunk of money on entrance fees, altogether 131 € or 11% of the total expenses (including flight and visa).