Best time to visit Iran
Prior to setting off on a trip, it is advisable to ensure that it will be enjoyable not only in terms of new sites and experiences, but also weather-wise. The two best seasons and times of the year to visit Iran is early to mid-spring and early to mid-autumn. This short article will introduce you to Iran’s weather and climate to plan your trip more efficiently.
Weather and climate in Iran
Generally speaking, the climate in Iran can be characterised by long, hot summers and short, sharp and sometimes very cold winters. Temperatures vary dramatically depending on the region and before asking “When to visit?” it is worthwhile asking “Where to visit?”
For example, the best time of the year to ascend the highest mountain in the Middle East – Mighty Damavand (5,610m) – is August to September. If, however, after the ascent you decide to visit Yazd and the surrounding area, the extreme heat is unlikely to let you enjoy the sites. For a nomad migration tour, the Zagros Mountains in the west of Iran are picturesque and accessible from late summer to autumn, similarly to the Alborz Mountains, forming the barrier between the Caspian Sea and the Iranian plateau.
The skiing season in Iran is from November into early March and this is also when mountain areas are not accessible or recommended for (amateur) hikers. The winter of 2020 was generous on snow, which was good news for Iranian rivers and the country’s water resources. Except Karun, all rivers in Iran are seasonal and depend on the snow- and rainfall.
The central region encompassing the cities of Yazd and Esfahan has desert climate. Winters are extremely cold and although it does get very hot in the summer, the heat is dry, which is a consolation. So is in Shiraz, although it is located much further south. The Caspian region, known for its lush green forests and rice paddies, is on the other hand extremely humid in summer and if you are planning to cycle around, it is recommended to avoid passing through the north from May until August, at least.
If your objective is to swim in the turquoise waters of the Persian Gulf and visit the islands of Kish or Qeshm, December to late February is the best time of the year for that and the period from April to September should be avoided as the humidity is high and the heat is scorching.
What to wear in Iran in winter and summer
The clothes to take with you on a trip will depend on where and when you are going. As a general rule of thumb, comfortable and breathable runners (or similar shoes) are good throughout Iran (with exception of Azerbaijan Provinces in winter when the thermometer occasionally drops to below -20C and warmer shoes become a must). In the summer a pair of flip-flops will come handy anywhere in Iran, but watch out for the occasional tile street pavement and stairs. It may get slippery.
A cotton long-sleeve shirt or tunic for men and a slightly longer version of same for female travellers to wear as a manteau is recommended (see more by reading Dress Code and Iran for Female Travellers).
When it comes to trousers, it is really whatever one feels comfortable in and as wearing shorts is out of question in Iran and unless you are planning to do extreme mountain climbing, then a pair of jeans or simple sports trousers would suffice.
Regardless of the weather and climate, it is always a good idea to have a light fleece with you on a bus if travelling long distance by public transport. Iranians like it cool and air conditioners are given a run for the money spent.