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TCS World Travel took guests to Iran in 2017 on our Kingdoms and Cultures of Eurasia expedition. The warm welcome our group received from Iranians was second to none—and the indisputable highlight of the visit.

In August, our private jet landed in Isfahan, Iran on our Kingdoms and Cultures of Eurasia journey, marking the first time TCS World Travel has visited the Middle Eastern country in nearly a decade.

Over three days, guests and expedition staff discovered Isfahan’s ancient bridges, explored remarkable blue-tile mosques and perused the bazaars for handmade rugs—just a few of the things for which this historic city is renowned. They also had the unique opportunity to interact with the residents of Isfahan.

We asked our seasoned expedition team, who accompanied guests on this journey, to share their impressions of our visit to Iran.

Eszter Foldvary has been to more than 120 countries over her 25 years as an expedition leader. One of her favorite moments in Iran happened when an elderly gentlemen dancing and singing in a park spontaneously invited the group to join them.

Later when the group was photographing the sites of Isfahan’s main square, a little girl who was picnicking with her family offered up a beautifully arranged tray with cups of tea and a sugar bowl.

“These were the signs of the warmest welcome and the friendliness of the Iranian people,” Eszter said. “I have never experienced something like that from everybody in any other country.”

Mary Wakefield, a member of our advance staff team, spent almost a week in Isfahan prior to the group’s arrival making sure everything was in order. Her friends back home were concerned she was making such a lengthy trip to Iran, but changed their minds once she returned home and recounted her experience.

“I could see that a new sense of a country that is totally misunderstood started to emerge for them,” Mary said. “The people of Isfahan are gracious, friendly, fun loving and so welcoming.”

TCS World Travel, with National Geographic, is returning to Iran in May 2018 on Great Empires by Private Jet: Exploring Ancient Persia to the Mediterranean. All of our curated expeditions include the opportunity to authentically connect with the local people and cultures of the places we visit.