I arrived in Shiraz after a 7 hour bus journey…
In preparing my Iran trip it was sometimes hard to find information on budget hotels or hostels in Iran. The 2012 Lonely planet was outdated. Airbnb was not yet working and many hotels do not yet have an internet presence and those who do are rather expensive. Backpacker hostels are still very rare but with tourism on the rise budget hotels and hostels are opening up throughout the country as the demand for cheaper places to stay is high. Unfortunately it means that making reservations is recommended, especially in the high season. Therefore I decided to share my final top ten list of places I stayed or visited based on my own experiences.
Note: I was not sponsored or given discounts to write any of these reviews. They are based on my own experience and hostels were not aware that I was a travelblogger. This post also does not contain affiliate links.
By far the best place I stayed in Kashan was Ehsan house. It is a traditional house with a lovely courtyard. Staff is friendly and they can help you with everything. There is a lovely breakfast buffet included in the price and the restaurant offers a varied menu of traditional Iranian food that is not always easy to find in other restaurants. This is your chance to taste delicious fesendjoon or gorme sabji. It is centrally located in a quiet alley opposite the Agha bozorg mosque. It’s on walking distance from both the bazaar and the old traditional homes. There are lovely decorated private and double rooms and for backpackers there is a lovely dormitory with 6 beds (500,000 rials as of April 2016).
Alternative places to stay in Kashan: Kashan is full with traditional houses converted into a hotel. Other places I heard good stories about from other travellers are Kamal Al Molk house, Noghli house & Manoucheri house
This place is on number 2 mostly because of its restaurant. The hotel has a wonderful rooftop restaurant with a beautiful view on the blue mosque that serves delicious food. They have a varied menu including vegetarian options. Try Shuli, a soup speciality from Yazd or try camel meat. Besides the restaurant the Orient hostel has nicely decorated rooms and a lovely courtyard. For backpackers there are dormitories including a female only dormitory (500,0000 rials as of April 2016).
I did not stay in this hostel, but visited a friend who was staying here and this is another lovely place to stay. It is much smaller than the Orient hostel with a lovely courtyard in a traditional home. During the day there is free tea and there is also a nice restaurant menu. Nice and clean rooms and for backpackers a dormitory (300,000 rials as of April 2016 )
Alternative places to stay in Yazd: another good place for the budget minded traveller is the Silk Road Hotel.
This hotel is a bit overwhelmed by its own success and is therefore only on number 4. The rooms are all nicely decorated, the dormitory is nice and cheap (300,000 rials as of April 2016) and it has the best breakfast buffet I had in Iran. The restaurant also has a nice menu with delicious food. Try kallam pollo, a speciality from Shiraz. The service is a bit mixed tough. Some staff are extremely friendly others are a bit indifferent.
This homestay like hostel with a very friendly and helpful owner offers two rooms that can either be booked as a private room for 20 euro or as a dormitory style room for 10 euro per bed (as of April 2016). This includes breakfast and tea. Probably one of the cheaper places to stay in Esfahan. It is a bit outside of the city center and not so easy to find, but it is actually quite easy to get there by local bus. The owner will explain how to get to the centre by bus (5 minutes) or by walking (30 minutes). He might not always be open as he closes when he is out of town, but if he is there it is a very good option in Esfahan.
Alternative places to stay: Esfahan is a very touristic city, but lacks decent budget options. You will not find traditional guesthouses like in Kashan, Shiraz or Yazd. They are there, but definitely on the more expensive side. Some other budget options are there tough like Amir Kabir hostel. Also in Esfahan new backpacker hostels are opening up like Spring hostel, Seven hostels & Amir Kabir hostel
The only real backpackers hostel I stayed in Iran deserves place number 5 for its extremely helpful and friendly staff. No pictures are included as when I visited they were still in their old place in a really tiny building. They have now moved to a bigger location. It’s a great place to meet other travellers and get all the advice and help you need. It’s in a quiet neighbourhood and it is easy to reach by Tehran metro. It has private rooms and a dormitory (500,000 rials as of April 2016)
Number 7: Hotel Koosaran, Gazor Khan in Alamut
Hotel Koosaran has no presence on the internet. It’s on number 6 for its amazing location. True, the hotel itself is nothing special. It is a small dormitory style room with 4 beds (300,000 rials as of April 2016). The balcony outside with the view on the mountains is amazing though. The homemade food is a very welcome change from all the kabab. The lady who runs the place is quite a character herself. She might come across as a bit grumpy at first, but try to break the ice and you will find out she is a lovely person. The guestbooks are a wealth of funny traveller stories and useful advice on hiking possibilities around this small lovely village. It is easy to hike up from here to the Alamut castle. Don’t expect much from the castle, but the views are amazing.
Number 7: Ordibehest hotel, Hamedan
Another hotel without any presence on the internet. In the less touristic central and western parts of Iran you are most likely to stay in the so-called mosaferkhaneh’s or mehmanpazir’s. Local guesthouses used by Iranian men or families. They are nowhere as atmospheric as the traditional guesthouses in the touristic cities of Kashan, Isfahan, Shiraz or Yazd. Most of them are not so clean and bathrooms are often shared facilities. The Ordibehest hotel in Hamedan was a pleasant surprise in this range. Clean, cosy and friendly. Single room for 600,000 rials (as of April 2016)
Number 8: Hedayat hotel, Sanandaj
All budget places in the lonely planet were closed. I decided to try out the Hedayat hotel. As expected of most mosaferkhaneh’s this place does not earn any award for cleanliness. However, people were very friendly and therefore it still made it into this list. Also I had a nice view from my room on the top floor of the building. There are not many budget places to stay in Sanandaj and this is a good option. Single room for 500,000 rials (as of April 2016)
Number 9: Hotel Kenareh, Rasht
Another typical mosaferkhaneh included for the friendly staff and relatively clean rooms. It has a central location near the bazaar. Single room for 400,000 rials (as of April 2016)
Number 10: Mashad guesthouse, Tabriz
My first introduction to Iran was a nice one with Mashad guesthouse. Again it is a typical mosaferkhaneh. Shared bathroom facilities, not too clean, but friendly staff and centrally located near the bazaar. Single room for 300,000 rials (as of April 2016).