Safety is an important issue for independent women who travel alone. Solo female travel to Iran and other middle eastern countries, might seem like a big and difficult challenge, Is it really safe to visit Iran as a solo female traveler?
This is probably the first question that comes up when you think about traveling to Iran as a solo woman, so let’s talk about it!
If you have an EU passport, you can easily get a 30-day visa on arrival at any major international airport in Iran. Click here to check if you need a visa.
In order to get a visa on arrival in Iran, you only need to show your return ticket, your first-night hotel reservation, your passport, and proof of travel insurance (which you can buy at the airport for €14). The visa usually costs €75, but the price may vary depending on your nationality.
After obtaining a visa, going through passport control, and picking up your luggage, we recommend you hire someone to pick you up for €20 to make your arrival easier. (You can also use Snapp or other Uber-style Taxi services)
In general, Iran is a very safe country to visit, so much so that many travelers claimed it is the ‘safest country I’ve ever been to’, or ‘much safer than traveling in Europe’.
Violent crime against foreigners is very rare and, as expected, if try to fit in with local customs, you won’t be treated with anything but hospitality and friendliness.
While visiting Iran, you might notice people staring at you, both men and women, but it is only a matter of curiosity, not bad intentions.
They might try to talk to you, usually coming up with questions like “Where are you from?” and “How do you like Iran?”
As you might have heard, there are separate carriages for women in Tehran metro. The women-only zone is clearly marked and the specific women-only carriages are found at the back and front of the train.
Once you enter the carriage, you will have to face vendors selling all the necessary things: from makeup to kitchen equipment!
The buses between the cities didn’t have particular areas for women but you can reserve your seat when buying a ticket. In case a guy gets to sit next to you the driver rearranges the passengers so a woman won’t have to sit next to an unknown man.
Other than climate and seasonal changes, there are three significant country-wide events that you should be aware of before visiting Iran; Ramadan– Muslims fast throughout Ramadan from sunrise to sunset and people are not supposed to eat and drink in public until the night.
Muharram– Muharram is considered to be the most important after Ramadan. Iranian people mourn the death of Imam Hussein and his army during Muharram.
Nowruz– Persian new year, Nowruz, begins on the first day of spring each year. People in Iran celebrate Nowruz and travel during Nowruz holidays.
As you might already know, Iran is an Islamic country with rules based on Sharia laws, Which means hijab is an essential element in women’s clothes. If you are willing to know more about dress codes in Iran for both men and women, take a look at our blog post: Dress codes in Iran: What should Tourists wear in Iran?
Whether you are going to get a visa on arrival or not, you need to renew your passport if it’s about to expire.
As we have already mentioned, there are women-only zones available on bus and train platforms.
There are separate seats for women and men on buses. Also, most taxi drivers have a certification number on their glass which makes it easier for you to track the cab in case of trouble.
Iran has many interesting must-see places, and this can get a little confusing sometimes. Therefore, we suggest you go online, look for the most highly recommended places ( e.g. World UNESCO Heritage Sites In Iran) and make your very own list.
In order to stay connected, you can simply buy a SIM card for a very sensible price from one of the most famous mobile operators in Iran; Irancell and Hamrah Aval.
See You in Iran (SYI) is a facebook group that encourages traveling to Iran by providing a platform where future and former travelers can connect with locals through unfiltered experience and information sharing. This is one of the most useful groups you can join before visiting the country.
If you are planning to use Facebook, Twitter, Couchsurfing, Youtube, Tinder, Spotify, etc you better install a VPN.
Sometimes Iranians will try to be polite and courteous by saying things they don’t always mean. For example, the cashier might tell you that you don’t need to pay for your groceries, or a taxi driver may refuse your payment. They are just trying to be nice and you should insist until they accept your payment. Tarof is a little confusing for tourists, so whenever you are offered something for free, insist on paying for several times.
International credit and debit cards are completely useless in Iran. Carrying a big amount of cash is not only uncomfortable but also a little risky. Therefore, we suggest you order a MahCard instead. Mah Card is an Iranian prepaid debit card designed for tourists and temporary visitors.
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