Here’s exactly how much it costs to go backpacking in Iran

A detailed budget report about how much it costs to go backpacking in Iran. Includes a city-by-city breakdown, average costs for common expenses, and recommendations for budget accommodations.

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Planning the financial part of a trip is often the most difficult step. Sure, you have vague notions of how much food costs, and how much that hostel for the first few nights will be, but planning for more than a couple of days is pretty miserable.

For most foreigners, Iran is a cash-only economy. This means you’ll have to walk around with large wads of rials. If you don’t feel comfortable about this, check out Mah Card. Mah Card is a prepaid debit card specifically designed for travelers in Iran. Use the promo code LOSTWITHPURPOSE to get a 40% discount on Mah Card.

Before we give you the breakdown, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • We only included costs we think are relevant to the average traveler. We doubt anyone cares about the clothing we bought, or camera bits and pieces, so we didn’t include these costs in our public spreadsheet. Things like visas for onward travel are also not included.
  • We Couchsurfed in Iran. Even though we did this only sporadically, it still saved a lot of money. You don’t have accommodation expenses, and your host will insist on paying for everything. We highly recommend it, because it’s a great way of meeting even more wonderful people. Make sure to bring a gift from home, though! Postcards or something similar are much appreciated.
  • We didn’t visit all the tourist sites. A lot of tourist sites are relatively overpriced (200,000 IRR for the Fin Gardens in Kashan? No thanks.), so we had to pick and choose. If you have a serious case of FOMO, you’ll probably spend more than us on entrance fees.
  • Iranians are going to invite you to stay with them quite often, and they’ll pay for everything when you do. This greatly reduced our costs. Given how common this is, we figured we’d leave the freebie days in when making our calculations. Say yes to invitations!
  • There is a big difference in prices between the touristic cities (Tehran, Kashan, Esfahan, Yazd, Shiraz) and other places in Iran (most notably in the west). Wherever relevant, we will give price ranges. The lower range is for less touristic places, the higher range for more touristy places.
  • The actual exchange rates at the time of writing are 34,500 IRR to the US dollar and 38,000 to the euro (the euro might fluctuate a bit). We are using a euro exchange rate that is a bit below 38,000 IRR because we exchanged euros to dollars back in the Netherlands. Overall this difference is negligible.

Exchange rate used for this trip: €1 = 37,672 IRR

Money and credit cards at Fin Garden Iran

Do you have some change for the fountain? No? Well, we accept cards, too.

How much it costs to go backpacking in Iran

Total cost of backpacking for 55 days

  • For two people: 86,551,000.40 IRR / €2,297.48
  • Per person: 43,275,500.20 IRR / €1,148.74

Average cost per person

  • Total per day: 786,827.28 IRR / € 20.89
  • Food and drinks per day: 100,000 – 200,000 IRR / €2.65 – 5.31
  • Accommodation per day: 250,000 – 550,000 IRR / €6.64 – 14.60

Note: prices for rooms in Iran are usually per person. A solo traveller can expect to pay roughly the same as the above mentioned.

  • Mahmoomly long distance buses: 100,000 – 250,000 IRR / €2.50 – €6.50
  • VIP long distance buses: 200,000 – 500,000 IRR / €2.50 – €6.50
  • Taxis: All over the place. See our post about taking taxis in Iran.


Imam Square in Esfahan, Iran

Dazzling Esfahan, home of endlessly stunning architecture and some of the most hospitable people we met in Iran.

City by city breakdown

Average amount spent per day in each city, for one person. Includes transport to the city.

  • Tabriz: 792,839IRR / €21
    • We stayed at Darya guesthouse
  • Zanjan: 983,850IRR / €26
  • Qazvin: 982,750 IRR / €26
    • We stayed at Telighani Inn
  • Rasht: 737,500 IRR / €20
    • We stayed at Kenareh guesthouse
  • Masuleh: 762,500 IRR / €21
    • We don’t know the name of the place we stayed 😉
  • Tehran: 758,750 IRR / €20
    • We stayed at Khazar Sea Hotel
  • Kashan: 822,500 IRR / €22
    • We stayed at Noghli House
  • Isfahan: 856,667 IRR / €23
    • We highly recommend Spring Hostel
  • Yazd: 894,167 IRR / €24
    • We stayed at Alexander Guesthouse (expensive) and Amir Chakhmaq Hostel (cheap)
  • Farahzad: 1,118,000 IRR / €31
    • We stayed at Barandaz Lodge
  • Mashad: 965,667 IRR / €26
    • We highly recommend Vali’s Homestay
  • Gorgan: 187,500 IRR / €5
    • We Couchsurfed
  • Hamadan: 740,00 IRR / €20
    • We stayed at Rasti Hotel
  • Sanandaj: 971,250 IRR / €26
    • We stayed at Hotel Kaj
  • Kermanshah: 735,000 IRR / €20
    • We stayed at Hotel Meraj
  • Khorramabad: 582,500 IRR / €15
    • We have no idea what the name of the hotel was… some tiny mosaferkaneh.
  • Shush: 70,000 IRR / €2
    • We stayed at a family’s home
  • Shushtar: 612,500 IRR / €16
    • We stayed at Shushtar Hotel
  • Shiraz: 1,00,1250 IRR / €27
    • We recommend Niayesh Hotel
  • Kerman: 768,750 IRR / €20
    • We stayed at Omid Guesthouse
  • Kaluts: 1,880,000 IRR / €50
    • We stayed in Kaluts Ecolodge
  • Bam: 495,000 IRR / €13
    • We recommend Akbar Guesthouse
  • Zahedan: 1,010,000 / €27


The horse races in Gonbad-e Kavus, a small town in northeastern Iran.

The horse races in Gonbad-e Kavus, a small town in northeastern Iran.

How we could’ve spent even less

  • Eat only kebabs. Since we didn’t want scurvy, we ate at sit-down restaurants more often than we normally do.
  • Couchsurf more. We never used Couchsurfing before Iran, so it took us a bit of time to get things rolling (and sometimes we’re anti-social), but it’s a great way to save money. Iran has a very active Couchsurfing community, especially in the well-visited cities. If you post a public trip a couple of days before you go, you’ll likely get dozens of responses.
  • Go camping. Iranians love camping, and you’ll see tents everywhere. These are mostly to post and chill during the day, but it is possible to camp in many places in Iran.
  • For more money saving tips, check out the Broke Backpacker’s guide to backpacking in Iran.


Sipping melon smoothies in Tabriz, Iran.

Sipping up some sweeeet melon-y goodness in Tabriz, a super chill city and the perfect introduction to Iran.

Context/how we roll

We’re your typical wanderin’ backpacker duo:

  • Always walk or take public transport… unless there is none. (Or we’re reeeally lost…)
  • Usually eat cheap meals and fast food for at least 2 meals a day.
  • Sleep in the cheapest accommodation we can find that isn’t crawling with bedbugs or covered with old vomit. Usually opt for a private double rather than dorms.
  • We don’t like museums.


Interested in backpacking in Iran? Want to know how much you need to do so? Here's how much money we spent backpacking in Iran for two months, including a city-by-city breakdown of costs, average costs for common items, and much more. Read on to find out how much money you need to travel in Iran!



Preparing for your trip to Iran? Don’t miss our list of things you need to know before traveling to Iran!


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Alex Reynolds

American by birth, British by passport, Filipina by appearance. Addicted to ice cream. Enjoys climbing trees, dislikes falling out. Has great fondness for goats which is usually not reciprocated.

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15 thoughts on “Here’s exactly how much it costs to go backpacking in Iran

    Jess says:

    This is really comprehensive. I’m so glad you mentioned couchsurfing. I love CS’ing, and am happy to hear there’s an active community there!

    Yeah it’s a great way of meeting the wonderful people if Iran. Have fun 🙂

    Joseph Simko says:

    I spent a little over a week in Iran back in September with one of my best friends and we had a tour guide the whole time. We are Americans so it was required by law, and I’m glad we went because it looks like it may not be possible for the next four years thanks to our Orange leader.

    We developed a close relationship with our guide as he was close to the same age as us and we have maintained contact with him back in the States.

    One of the things he has complained about is tourists taking advantage of Iranian hospitality. It is part of the culture to offer free things to guests, but informed guests know enough to not accept all the time. When you take locals for a ride by not paying for anything you sour them on tourists and backpackers. Please keep that in mind.

    Hi Joseph,

    Thanks for pointing that that. We mention the practice of ta’rof, and how to deal with it, several times in our other Iran articles. This article, however, focuses on costs, so we didn’t include it.

    Larisa says:

    Hey guys, nice post! I am wondering though, how did you manage to enter in Iran with an American passport? Really interested about it. Thank you 🙂

    Alex entered on her UK passport (not that UK passports are any better), claiming that she was part of a tour. You can learn more about what she had to do to get the visa here:

    Prior to the Trump fiasco, Americans could enter Iran as part of a tour or if accompanied by a guide. We believe Americans were banned from getting visas as a reciprocal action to Trump’s travel ban, though we’re not sure what the current status is given the travel ban has been deemed illegal.

    Diewertje says:

    Hi there! Off to Iran in April 🙂 Where did you (presumably) catch the bedbugs? Have had many cases of them, always travelled with me in my backpack unfortunately and would LOVE to avoid them if I can…

    Alex says:

    If you’ve had many cases, you’ll know that there’s no use in pointing out specific places—you can find them anywhere, it all depends on who was sleeping there before you! However, the bedbug incident mentioned was in Khorammabad I believe.

    mehrana says:

    I’m iranian and it’s true that iranian people are the best hosts, not that im compliment myself :)))))) . actually, we kinda feel bad about negative media vibe about iran and iranian people so we love to show you guys the real persian culture

    Alex says:

    Well you and your people do an excellent job! On behalf of travelers everywhere, thank you for being so kind to your guests 🙂

    Tandis says:

    As an Iranian living in the West, this makes me very angry. Travelers, PLEASE DO NOT listen to this blogger. “Iranians are going to invite you to stay with them quite often, and they’ll pay for everything when you do. This greatly reduced our costs. Given how common this is, we figured we’d leave the freebie days in when making our calculations. Say yes to invitations!” Iranians are being polite, it’s in our culture. But if you are privileged and wealthy enough to be traveling, do not go there to mooch off people who have far less opportunity than you. In fact, if you accept any invitation for dinner or at someone’s home, please insist on reciprocating in some way. In the comments you say that you’ve addressed the subject of tarof, but obviously you have not really understood or decided you didn’t care because “yay, freebies!!”. Again, to anyone reading this blog: this is terrible advice and an abuse of Iranian hospitality.

    anna taksar says:

    I agree with Tandis. I would never consider accepting hospitality as one of my freebie days. If I were lucky enough to get an invitation, I would try to reciprocate in some way. When I read that comment, it sounded in very poor taste. My travel rule is, “If you can’t afford to pay for the trip, don’t go,” or save until you have enough money to not have to count on hand-outs.

    Kasia says:

    Tandis and Anna, I couldn’t agree with you more. I will never understand how can people from wealthier countries abuse the culture of people who are in worst financial position just for the sake of posting as low number as possible and bragging about how great backpacking skills they have. It’s like all those begging backpackers in SE Asia. Going to the country/ countries where people earn significantly less than them (if they wanted to work on their countries) and have a lot of problems connected to it like for example big numbers of homeless children and child prostitution in the Philippines yet they still have the nerve to ask those people for money which they are gonna use to follow their dreams. And I am aware of the fact that letting someone pay for you if he insists on it is not the same as begging for money but it’s dangerously close and it’s our responsibility as travellers to recognize those situations and avoid them. Because in the end, what this family paid for you may mean for them that they will have to eat smaller portions that day or few days or struggle with something else. Yet their culture demands on them to be as hospitable as possible. For you on the other hand it’s not a significant amount of money, few euros and you could easily just add it up to the general sum you spent during the trip, you probably spent such sum numerous times in your life without even paying attention for stupid stuff like coffee in Starbucks etc. Why would you do that to people? And brag about it and recommend it as a way of traveling to another people through social media?

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