Book Reviews

Book Review: Lonely Planet’s Iran.

Lonely Planet is the world’s biggest English language travel guide publisher with a huge number of country, city and region guides.

Iran is countries often derided in the West, mostly by the print media, and one would think that only a few western tourists visit the country. This is simply not the case.

There are many western tourists, but admittedly, obtaining a visa requires patience and it takes a long time to obtain one. Once this is done, the rest comes easily.

Contrary to common belief that Iranians detest American you will, as an American you will be treated as an honoured guest.

Iranian, except maybe the mullahs, like to treat any visitor as a guest, and you are likely to be invited to a family dinner. If the invitation comes from a credible individual or a fried of a friend, accept it, because the best Iranian food is served in homes. Needless to say, Iranian cuisine enjoys and excellent reputation all over the world.

The three writers spent several months travelling the country and have covered absolutely every aspect on travel in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The information provided was accurate at publication time, but in Iran things change quite rapidly as is the case with exchange rates and external politics.

Iran is a relatively large country (approximately 20 per cent of the landmass of the U S A) and borders seven countries. You can travel from anyone of them on land (border opening times recorded in the guide), or by sea, or as most travellers do by air, mostly to Tehran.

All three writers created a reliable book full with facts, and several travel itineraries.

The guide covers Tehran, Western Iran, Central Iran, the Persian Gulf, South-eastern Iran, and North-western Iran.

Each region’s main cities and sights are described in detail, and include accommodations, restaurants, travelling possibilities to and from, bazaars, and everything else a tourist may need to know down to healthcare facilities, how to behave if you are arrested and questioned.

Very important information is provided on blue highlighted paragraphs, and city and region maps.

This is an excellent guide to read in preparation for a visit to this fascinating controversial, and culturally very rich country.

Most western tourists prefer travelling in groups but you can travel safely on your own.

For female travellers, male companions are recommended although experienced tourists can manage to travel on their own successfully.

Even if you have no intention to travel to Iran, but interested in its culture, and geography you will find more information in this book than anywhere else.

Highly recommended.

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