2015 | Dr Rachel Wood

It was invaluable to have a tailor-made tour as it meant I was able to see places off the beaten track (such as the caves at Karafto and ancient sites in Khuzestan).

I’m struggling to pick out a few favourites from all the places we went, but I’d recommend that everyone should visit the beautiful sites of Bisotun and Taq-e Bostan near Kermanshah, the snow-covered fire temple at Takht-e Soleiman with its sulphuric lake, and the ancient reliefs cut into the awesome cliff face of Naqsh-e Rostam. Any trepidation caused by the political climate soon evaporated in the face of the friendly welcomes.

My guide, Kayvan, was very enthusiastic and didn’t complain at all in having to trug up steep paths to look at obscure Sasanian remains, and our driver, Darius, was very polite and cheerful. The hotels were all very clean, and I could have sat for days in the beautiful garden of the Abbasi hotel.

My advice to people considering a trip would be: do go, learn a little Farsi if you can since it goes a long way, and make sure you like kebabs. I cannot recommend Magic Carpet Travel enough.

I was a little uncertain of visiting Iran since I’d never been before and was going alone, but Zohreh made everything run very smoothly.

Wearing hejab wasn’t too much of a problem once I got the hang of hairpins (some of the places were very windy), although depending on where and when you’re going do make sure your wardrobe under your manteau will adapt to the heat accordingly.

Dr Rachel Wood, Oxford University