Best Things To Do In Shiraz

Shiraz, nestled in southern Iran, stands as the nation’s cultural and artistic hub and is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Famous as the city of celebrated poets like Saadi and Hafez from the 13th and 14th centuries, their tombs today mark some of Shiraz’s enchanting attractions.

Ranked as Iran’s third-largest city after Tehran and Mashhad, Shiraz is an indispensable stop for those looking to delve into the profound cultural and historical legacy of Iran. The city spans history from ancient Persia to the eras of the Zand and Qajar dynasties, offering visitors a rich tapestry of majestic monuments, buildings, and gardens that each tell a part of the region’s long history.

Positioned against the scenic Zagros Mountains, Shiraz also features a breathtaking natural backdrop that complements the city’s calm and inviting atmosphere—an allure that captivates both locals and tourists.

Here are 17 best things to do in Shiraz that you shouldn’t miss, curated to help you fully discover this beautiful city.

1. Visit Shah Cheragh Mausoleum

Shah Cheragh Mosque

What can you do in Shiraz? A great starting point is the Shah Cheragh mausoleum and mosque, which translates to “King of Light” in Persian. This revered site contains the tombs of brothers Amir Ahmad and Mir Muhammad, who were sons of the seventh Shiite Imam, Musa al-Kazim. It’s the most significant pilgrimage location in Shiraz.

Visitors are often awestruck by the mosque’s lavish decorations. The interiors are adorned with mosaics made from mirror shards that cover the walls, vaults, and ceilings, and the doors are embellished with silver panels. There’s also a stunning fountain in the courtyard. These features collectively make Shah Cheragh one of the most visually impressive mosques in the city.

2. Visit Nasir-al-Mulk Mosque

 Nasir-Al-Mulk Mosque In Shiraz

Just a short distance from the Shah Cheragh shrine, you’ll find the stunning Nasir-al-Mulk Mosque, also known as the Pink Mosque. Often considered the most beautiful structure in Shiraz, missing out on this mosque would be a true loss for any visitor. Constructed between 1876 and 1888 during the Qajar dynasty, the mosque enchants all who enter. Visitors will be mesmerized by its elegant colonnades and the vibrant stained glass windows that adorn it. As sunlight passes through these windows, it casts a breathtaking kaleidoscope of colors across the exquisite Persian carpets on the floor, creating a magical atmosphere.

3. Visit Zinat Al-Molk House

Zinat Al-Molk House Shiraz

Zinat Al-Molk House, also known as Zinat Al-Molouk, is a key historical attraction located on Lotfali Khan Zand Street in Shiraz. It was built in 1302 SH and was once the residence of Zinat Al-Molouk Qavami, daughter of Qavam Al-Molk IV.

The house showcases exquisite design, starting from the entrance vestibule leading to a courtyard flanked by two lush gardens. A striking square turquoise pool sits at the courtyard’s center, leading to the mansion adorned with wooden and multicolored windows under an ornate arch façade.

4. Explore Vakil Bazaar

Vakil Bazaar Shiraz

If you’re planning a trip to Shiraz, make sure to include Vakil Bazaar on your itinerary! Located in the heart of the historic city center, it’s the most important market in Shiraz.

The bazaar is a photographer’s dream, resembling a vast labyrinth filled with hundreds of picturesque stalls. Here, you can shop for spices, jewelry, exquisite Persian rugs, and other traditional handicrafts. Moreover, Vakil Bazaar is a splendid example of 18th-century Zand Persian architecture, featuring beautifully adorned arches and ceilings that add to its charm.

5. Explore Sarayeh Moshir

Sarayeh Moshir

In the center of Vakil Bazaar in Shiraz, you’ll find Sarayeh Moshir, a special section of the market dedicated to various Persian artifacts. This area features a charming pool surrounded by shops. Be sure to also visit the workshops upstairs for a more in-depth experience. Saraye Moshir is a must-visit if you’re in Shiraz; it’s not only a great place to shop but also a relaxing spot to stroll and enjoy the atmosphere.

6. Discover Eram Garden

Eram Garden

Shiraz is renowned for its stunning gardens, and Eram Garden is particularly notable. Known as “Garden of Paradise” in Persian, it is located near the city’s university and is centered around an impressive palace from the Qajar era. Eram Garden is a perfect spot for those looking to find tranquility and appreciate natural beauty.

7. Visit The Tomb of Hafez

The Tomb Of Hafez

A visit to Shiraz would not be complete without a stop at the Tomb of Hafez, one of Iran’s most beloved poets. The tomb, made of marble, is located south of the Koran Gate and lies within the Musalla Gardens by a seasonal river. Redesigned in 1935 by French architect André Godard, it provides a peaceful setting perfect for reflection and appreciating Hafez’s literary contributions.

8. See The Tomb of Saadi

The Tomb Of Saadi

Close to the Tomb of Hafez you can find the Tomb of Saadi, another esteemed Iranian poet. Set among cypress trees, this peaceful site features several tea houses where visitors can relax. Nearby, the Delgosha Gardens offer another beautiful sight, enhancing a visit to Shiraz with its serene atmosphere and lush scenery.

    9. Visit The Qavam House

     Qavam House Shiraz

    Built by Mirza Ibrahim Khan from the wealthy Qavam merchant family, Qavam House is a 19th-century Persian residence that showcases the sophistication of that era’s Persian high society. Now functioning as a museum, it features a beautifully designed garden, complete with fountains, palm trees, and flowers, demonstrating why Shiraz is famed for its stunning gardens.

    10. See The Citadel of Karim Khan

    The Citadel Of Karim Khan

    Located in the historic city center, Arg of Karim Khan fortress was constructed around 1766 during the rule of the first Zand dynasty leader. It has since been transformed into a museum where visitors can explore the opulent palaces and apartments. The fortress also features a stunning interior courtyard, lush with orange trees, adding to the site’s historical charm.

    11. Visit The Pars Museum

     The Pars Museum In Shiraz

    Formerly, it was a palace that welcomed prestigious visitors under the Zand dynasty. Today, the building is a Pars Museum that houses masterpieces and works of famous Iranian painters, artifacts such as hand-written Qurans, as well as the superb Nazar Garden – one of the oldest in the city!

    12. Visit Vakil Historical Bath

    Vakil Historical Bath

    Still considering what to do in Shiraz? Before heading out to the ancient sites around this splendid Iranian city, make sure to visit the Hamman-e Vakil, an 18th-century public bath. This beautiful building features a richly decorated interior, showcasing the architectural splendor of the era.

    13. Admire the Quran Gate

    Quran Gate Shiraz

    Quran Gate, also known as Shiraz Gate, is a historic entryway located in the north of Shiraz, which is a must-see if you’re entering the city from that direction. The gate itself is enchanting, and the surrounding area, including the mountains beside it, adds to its charm. You can hike up the mountains for a fantastic view of the city. Around the gate, you’ll also find street vendors selling barbecued corn and other local snacks, adding to the lively atmosphere of the place.

    14. Try traditional Iranian cuisine in Haft Khan Restaurant

    Traditional Food At Haft Khan Restaurant
    Traditional Food at Haft Khan Restaurant

    The Haft Khan complex, a favorite among young, middle-class Iranians, features four floors packed with various food spots. Located near the historic Quran Gate, the entrance to Shiraz, Haft Khan embodies a unique Iranian architectural style. Each floor is dedicated to a different type of cuisine, with the first floor highly recommended for its excellent traditional Iranian dishes. If you’re visiting Shiraz, Haft Khan is a great spot to explore a wide range of foods in a vibrant, modern setting.

    15. Discover Persepolis

    Persepolis Monuments  Near Shiraz

    After exploring the stunning Quran Gate, the historic northeastern entrance to the city, take a trip towards Marvdasht to see the renowned ruins of the ancient city of Persepolis! Nestled at the base of Kuh-e Rahmat mountain, this site is a must-visit when in Shiraz. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Persepolis was founded by Darius I in 521 BC. Although it was partially destroyed by Alexander the Great during his conquest of Persia, today visitors can explore this expansive complex, which includes palaces, staircases, altars, terraces, tombs, and striking sculptures.

    16. Explore Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab archaeological sites

    Naqsh-E Rostam

    Naqsh-e Rostam is an ancient archaeological site and necropolis located about 13 kilometers northwest of Persepolis, in Fars Province, Iran. This site is famous for its mountain rock reliefs which serve as the final resting place of four Achaemenid kings, including Darius the Great and his son, Xerxes. The significance of Naqsh-e Rostam stretches back over a millennium, featuring carvings from various historical periods including the Elamites, Achaemenids, and Sassanians. Just a short distance away, near Naqsh-e Rajab, there are four more Sassanid rock reliefs, three of which honor kings and one a high priest. This site holds a crucial place in Iranian history, containing some of the most important and enduring legacies of Iran’s ancient civilizations.

    17. Explore Pasargadae World Heritage Site

     Pasargadae World Heritage Site

    Further north from Naqsh-e Rostam, you can visit Pasargadae, an ancient site that predates many others. Although many of its buildings have been damaged by earthquakes, it remains a remarkable place to explore. Pasargadae was the capital of ancient Persia and is also famed as the burial site of Cyrus the Great. The area surrounding his tomb is a sprawling green plain, offering a serene backdrop. If you’re interested in seeing the ancient ruins, which are located some distance from the tomb, there is an additional fee. This fee includes a ride on a tourist train that takes visitors through the site.