Saffron Agritourism in Iran
16/02/2022

Saffron Tours in Iran

Saffron harvest, as the most expensive spice in the world, is a fascinating event for many tourists. Saffron or Zafferano is mainly cultivated in eastern regions of Iran, specifically in the Great Khorasan. Iran, as the main saffron producer, also hosts many saffron tours to introduce different stages of saffron harvest, get to know Iranian saffron dishes, or even saffron traditions. In this blog post, you will become more familiar with saffron tours in the land of Red Gold. 

What is Agritourism?

Agritourism, also termed Agrotourism or farm tourism, is the systematized tours and travels to visit rural farming, organic food production, or animal husbandry, with the purpose of enjoyment, education, and entertainment. Agritourism may be conducted by individuals, travel agencies, or by state-run ministry, aiming to introduce specific or general agricultural capacities, technologies, as well as providing economic assistance to local people by offering an occasion to present their landscape and lifestyle, products, and foods to foreign tourists. 

What are saffron tours and who are interested in them? 

People in Saffron tour

Iranian saffron tours involve many outdoor recreation activities such as visiting saffron farms, farm accommodation, guided tours, cooking guides, testing products, and even direct sales on the farm. Depending on the time of visit, the tourists may be able to see the genuine operation of cultivation, harvesting, saffron stripping or processing phases of the saffron product. Tourists will also get the chance to converse with farmers directly and study their challenges and traditions. 

Foreign and Iranian saffron tourists, farmers, chefs, or those who are interested in cultural and agricultural tours of different regions will enjoy and learn a lot by joining such tours. The tours may be informative, as well as entertaining, for all who are involved in saffron.

What’s more, nutrition experts, researchers and photographers are welcomed to take saffron tours, in order to gain more in-field knowledge and perspective of saffron harvest occasion.

When does the Saffron tour take place?

Saffron Tour map

Generally, saffron tours take place from the end of October to mid-November, from Mehr-to-Aban in Solar Hijri calendar, as it is saffron harvest season. Once saffron harvest begins, you will have 3 to 4 weeks to visit the field and witness farmers’ hard work. 

In case you are traveling from a fairly far region, or you were not able to find a good saffron tour, you can take a flight to Mashhad and continue your travel plan, using in-province tours and transportation. All saffron farms are only 100 to 500 kilometers away from Mashhad. You can use your own car or use public transportation, to visit all cities in your way.

When deciding to take a saffron tour, consider, at least, a two-day stay on the farm. You may not be able to visit harvest on your arrival day due to farmer harvesting schedule or weather conditions. In addition to that, to have great sightseeing opportunities, you need to spend enough time around the farm and local areas.

 

 Where is Iran saffron farms located?

Saffron largely grows in warm and dry climate conditions. In such a climate, people experience modest winter as well as hot summers. Those cities also experience drastic temperature differences during a single day. That is, people experience hot days and cold nights, in such regions. 

Tip: With respect to the temperature difference, you may need to take proper clothing, such as warm clothes, sun cream, appropriate shoes if you are planning to stay in local guest rooms. It is also recommended to bring a good camera, or your mobile phone, at least, to capture nice moments.  

The Great Khorasan Province is the land of Zafferan. Many cities in this province are involved in the saffron business. During this tour, you will visit Gonabad, Qaenat, Torbat-Heydarie, Taybad, Birjand, and Mashhad as the lands of Red Gold.

In addition to Khorasan Province, other areas such as Fars, Hamedan, and Kerman grow different qualities of safran. However, generally, saffron tours take place in Khorasan province for their standing and fame in the saffron industry. 

What to expect in saffron tours?

During this tour, you will witness the attendance of local families, including women and children, in the fields to pick saffron flowers, early in the morning.  

kids in saffron farm

 In addition to that, you can visit specialized saffron institutes in those cities and discuss subjects with the saffron agricultural experts. Moreover, you can afford saffron products from the market. 

Tip: It is highly recommended to buy saffron products from local farmers. In this case, you benefit the local economy while you are receiving fresh saffron products. Please remember that by purchasing saffron souvenirs for your family and friends, you can gift them while you recite your saffron tour memories.

histotical places in saffron land

Surely, you will have a chance to visit saffron processing and packaging workshops, in that area. 

In addition to that, you may enjoy Iranian saffron dishes such as saffron rice, saffron tea, or even sweet rice pudding, locally called Sholeh Zard. 

Finally, you will have the chance to visit historical and pilgrim destinations such as Imam Reza Holy Shrine, Ferdowsi Tomb, Khayyam tomb, Kolah Farangi Birjand house, Shrine of Zeinoddin Abu Bakr Tāybādi, Dougharoun Bazzar, natural attractions, such as Rood-Majan in Torbat-Heydarie, and rural areas to purchase handicrafts as well as socializing with local people, and attending their traditional events, which benefits you learn about their unique culture. 

It is nice to bring some presents to the local people and farmers, especially something for women or children who are working on the land. Warm clothing, hats, and maybe some tools would be nice options for gifting.

How to book saffron tours?

As saffron spice is highly tied to Iranian culture and cuisine, many traveling agencies offer special tours to introduce their most precious herb to foreign tourists. In addition to normal travel agencies, local departments of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts or even state-run Ministry of agriculture plans for saffron tours, as it is a good opportunity to introduce saffron to the world. In addition to that, if you are traveling for academic or researching purposes, you may be able to book scientific tours with local universities or research institutes. 

SunLand Recommendation

If you joined any saffron tour or visited any saffron farm, we will be happy to see your nice photos. Please kindly share your photos on your Instagram post, or story, and DO NOT forget to mention us. This way, we can know all saffron enthusiasts around us!

Follow our Instagram at: sunlandsaffron

 

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