I finally went to Iran for a few days! I have been dreaming about it for so long, and it really didn’t disappoint ! Before going into the details of my itinerary, I must be honest with you, 2 days in Esfahan is a little quick to really enjoy this beautiful city. It is enough to run from one place to another and see almost everything, but not enough to enjoy walking, sitting in a tea house, and people watching …And that is something you want to do when in Iran!
But if that is all the time you have, don’t miss out the below :
Day 1 in Esfahan
- Masjed-e Shah
- Kakh-e Ali Qapu
- Masjed-e Cheikh Lotfollah
- Nasqh-e Jahan
- Zayandeh river bridges
Day 2 in Esfahan
- Cathedral Vank
- Abassi Hotel
- Kakh-e Chehl Sotun
- Masjed-e Jameh
- Bazar-e Bozorg
- Nasqh-e Jahan at night
Below are the details of Day 2. If you want more infos about Day 1, check my article here
2 DAYS IN ESFAHAN – DAY 2
Starts the day in Jolfa, Esfahan’s Armenian quarter, and visit the Cathedral Vank.
Although relatively small for a cathedral, Cathedral Vank is worth a visit for its impressive interior decoration. From floor to ceiling, it is covered with biblical scenes, painting and mosaics, in very deep and lively colours.
Across from the cathedral is a museum, with a rich collection of Armenian manuscripts and artefacts. Although the pieces are beautiful, the poor display doesn’t do them justice. Don’t leave without taking a look at the section dedicated to the Armenian genocide.
Once you are done with the Cathedrale, walk around the cute streets of Jolfa and stop to have coffee in one of the many coffee shops around.
From Jolfa, we took a cab back to Esfahan Center, to visit the Abassi hotel. I didn’t manage to book a room there, but I still wanted to see the one of the Middle East’s most beautiful hotel. The typical Iranian courtyard is amazing, with fountains, majestic trees and fragrant roses. From the courtyard you can see the bleu dome of the Madraseh-ye Chahar Bagh, that unfortunately was under renovation then. For sure a gorgeous place to stop by !
Kakh-e Chehl Sotun
Walking distance from the Abassi hotel is the Chehel Sotun palace. Located in a UNESCO World Heritage garden, the palace is known for its spectacular paintings dating back hundred years. The garden is also an ideal place to relax and disconnect from the buzzing city.
We hoped into a cab again, heading to Masjed-e Jameh, the Friday mosque. The main courtyard is somewhat similar to Masjed-e Shah, with its four iwans, but is much larger. I loved walking around the columns supporting the arches of the prayer halls. The style in there is solemn, with little decoration, but the space is impressive. It was a very serene place, that I loved a lot.
Did you think I forgot about Esfahan famous bazaar? Of course not !
Bazar-e Bozorg links Masjed-e Jameh (in the north) to Nasqh-e Jahan (in the south) so it is the ideal walk back to the city center. Bazar-e Bozorg is an endless covered market, selling everything from the basic food supply to clothes, carpets, chadors, home decoration and much more.
From Masjed-e Jameh we stuck to the main road by fear of getting lost, and to be honest we probably missed some of the most interesting parts. We spent around 2hrs there, but if you have time I would recommend to take the time to get lost, to have a tea and to really enjoy the experience!
Talking about bazar, I will tell you all about Kashan bazaar, that I loved, in another post soon.
Nashqh-e Jahan at night
If you still have some energy et this end of these 2 days in Esfahan, you can complete the itinerary by heading to Nasqh-e Jahan again after sunset. Just like Zayandeh river, it seems that Nasqh-e Jahan is the meetup point of Esfahanis at night. Families gather to picnic on the grass, groups of friends are laughing together, and tourists admire the incredible mosaics of the mosques under a new light.
2 DAYS IN ESFAHAN – GOOD PLACES TO EAT
For lunch : Bastani Traditional Restaurant
We then grabbed lunch in Bastani Traditional Restaurant. Coming as the Lonely Planet top pick I was a bit worried it would be overly touristic, but it was really pleasant. We ordered 2 main course, with absolutely no clue of what would be coming our way. Thankfully it was delicious meat and rice dished, that we devoured the traditional way: on a sort of large bench, used as both table and seating. It was delicious, the central courtyard was beautiful and we only paid around 17 EUR for a starter, 2 main courses and 2 drinks. Definitely worth visiting.
For desert : Fereni Hafez
We ended up the night eating desert at the local Fereni Hafez. Noth East of Nasqh-e Jahan, on Hafez Street, you will recognise the place by the queue of locals waiting to be served. With the help of a friendly man we grabbed 2 fereni, a sort of rice pudding with date honey. And OMG that was good ! We sat on some plastic chairs, on the sidewalk, chatting with the man who helped us order and his mum, and I must say, that was the most lovely and authentic moment of our 5 days in Iran.
For tea time : Roozegar cafe
We stopped by this little tea house for tea time and had tea, hot chocolate, and some pastries (chocolate cake and apple pie). It was all very good and very easy to access, just B-side the Great Mosque.
2 DAYS IN ESFAHAN – WHERE TO STAY?
If your itinerary only allows for 2 days in Esfahan, I recommenced you to stay nearby Nasqh-e Jahan, to be able to visit most of the city by foot.
We stayed in the newly open Ghasr Monshi boutique hotel. Just 10 min walked from Nasqh-e Jahan, it is ideally located. The rooms are simples, but bright and comfortable.
Prices : 70 EUR / night for a single room, 90 EUR for a double room and 120 EUR for a triple room.
You can book online directly on their website http://ghasrmonshihotel.com/en, and payment can only be made in cash (EUR/USD/IRR preferred).
For more info, check out my review of Ghasr Monshi Boutique hotel here
FOR MORE INFO
When planning for a trip to Iran for 2 days in Esfahan and way more, the ultimate blog you should check out is TravelStyle, written by an Iranian lady who loves to explore her own country and beyond.