Welcome to Mashhad, the second-largest and the holiest city of Iran the home to Imam Reza Holy Shrine. Here is an ultimate Mashhad travel guide where you can find all essential information about how to travel to Mashhad and what to do in this must-see Iran destination.
Mashhad at a Glance
Houses Imam Reza Holy Shrine
Houses Imam Reza Holy Shrine, the most sacred place in Iran for Muslims
Capital of Razavi Khorasan
The capital of Razavi Khorasan Province situated in the northeast of Iran
the second-largest city in Iran and the home to over 3 million inhabitants
Tourist & Pilgrim
Hosts millions of pilgrims and tourists every year
Famous for its saffron and turquoise stone
Located on the ancient Silk Road
Famous for its numerous water parks
With the altitude of about 995 m above sea level
Major pole of Iran medical tourism
Where is Mashhad
Mashhad is the Razavi Khorasan Province Capital that is located in the northeast of Iran and the vicinity of North Khorasan, South Khorasan and Semnan Provinces. Also, Mashhad lies between the two mountain ranges of Hezar Masjed and Binalood. Furthermore, the flying distance between Mashhad and Tehran is equal to 736 km, while its land distance is about 891 km.
Getting information about the destination’s history, especially a historic destination like Iran is essential for every tourist. Hence, in this Mashhad Travel Guide, we present a brief introduction to Mashhad History.
Mashhad formerly was known as Sanabad village, a stop-over on the Silk Road for trade caravans coming from or heading to Turkmenistan. Afterwards, it was renamed to “Mashhad” during the Safavid Era. Notably, the word “Mashhad” means “the place of martyrdom”. Accordingly, this city has got this name because Imam Reza the eighth Imam of Shia, who was killed by Al-Ma’mun Abbasi in 202 AH, was buried in this town.
Furthermore, Mashhad got its glory during the Afsharid Dynasty, which during that period (1736 to 1747) it became the capital of Iran. Nowadays the city is the holiest pilgrimage city in Iran. Furthermore, as it was the major oasis on the Silk Road, Mashhad houses many historical monuments of Iran.
Interestingly, Mashhad sister cities are Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Lahore in Pakistan.
Where to stay in Mashhad?
How to get to Mashhad
As Mashhad is the most important pilgrimage city in Iran, there are several ways to get to Mashhad. Hence, in this Mashhad Travel Guide, we introduce you to different ways to get to Mashhad.
Travel to Mashhad
You can enter Mashhad through Shahid Hashemi Nejad Airport. And, this airport covers several international flights from different countries and foreign cities such as Herat, Mazar Sharif, Dubai, Kuwait, Najaf, Beirut, Basrah, India, Doha, Muscat, Lahore and Istanbul and more. And the foreign airlines which have flights to Mashhad International Airport are Qatar Airways, Turkish Airline, Emirates, Air Arabia, Fly Bagdad, Fly Dubai, etc. Please mention that with these airlines you can have connection flights from Mashhad to all over the world and vice versa.
On the other hand, Mashhad connects to all cities in Iran that have airports. Accordingly, there are many domestic flights between Mashhad and other Iran destinations every day. And, among these flight paths, the routes from Mashhad to Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz, Kerman, Qeshm Island, Kish Island, Bandar Abbas, Ahvaz, and Rasht are highly demanded by tourists. Notably, the flight duration between Mashhad and Tehran, the capital of Iran, is about 1 hour and 5 minutes.
Finally, note that Mashhad International Airport, located 8 kilometres south of the city centre, has convenient access to the important parts of the city and the Imam Reza Shrine. Accordingly, you can use a taxi, metro or bus to reach the airport. For your record, internet taxi costs about 300000 rials from the city centre to Mashhad airport.
Travel to Mashhad
The most economical way to travel to Mashhad is by using a bus. You can get to Mashhad from almost anywhere in Iran on a bus. However, although riding a train is the safest option, many passengers choose the bus because it is faster and there are plenty of VIP buses from different parts of Iran to Mashhad. Notably, you can choose the night bus between Mashhad and other cities to decrease your travel expenses.
Moreover, there are several bus terminals in Mashhad that the major ones are Imam Reza Bus Terminal, Meraj Bus Terminal and Rah-e Abrisham Bus Terminal located not far from the city centre. Mainly, there are plenty of buses arrive in/depart Imam Reza Bus Terminal from/to all cities of Iran since early in the morning until midnight. On the other hand, Meraj Bus Terminal and Rah-e Abrisham Bus Terminal are dedicated to the travels between Mashhad and the nearby towns. As Tehran-Mashhad is the most common route, there are several buses in different classes on this route daily. Notably, you can reach Imam Reza Bus Terminal by taxi, metro or bus.
Travel to Mashhad
You can travel to Mashhad from the main cities of Iran by train in different classes from the standard class to a 5-star one. The Mashhad train covers the routes to Tehran, Qom, Isfahan, Yazd, Tabriz, Ahvaz, Kerman, Bandar Abbas, Rasht, etc. Please note that the train journey between Mashhad and Tehran takes about 11 hours. Notably, you can choose the night train between Mashhad and other cities to decrease your travel expenses.
Finally, Mashhad railway station is located about 4 kilometres north of Imam Reza Holy Shrine. Accordingly, in the best possible conditions, you can reach the shrine in less than 10 minutes by taxi.
Travel to Mashhad
Main motorways and highways connect Mashhad to all parts of Iran. So, a lot of passengers choose travelling in a private car as its schedule is flexible and is faster and more convenient than bus and train.
What do you know about Mashhad attractions?
How to move around Mashhad
Although most of the pilgrims prefer to stay in a place that has easy access to Imam Raza Shrine, Mashhad has more points of interest to offer. So, the information about transportation in Mashhad is essential for every tourist. Hence, in this Mashhad Travel Guide, we introduce you to different ways to move around Mashhad. In any case, you can rent a private car with driver, use taxis or public transports such as buses or metro.
Get around Mashhad in Taxi
You can use internet Taxi called Snapp and TAPSI. These kinds of Taxis work like Uber. You can download the application on your phone and easily take an internet taxi within a few minutes wherever you are. Also, you can pay the taxi fee in cash (Rials).
Another option is to get a taxi through a “telephone taxi agency”. These taxis will get you to the destination and also wait for you whenever you want. To get this kind of taxi, you can ask your hotel reception or your Iranian friend to do it for you.
Get around Mashhad in Metro
There are also metro lines in Mashhad, which takes you to the Imam Raza Shrine, tourist attractions Imam Reza Bus Terminal, Mashhad International Airport, Mashhad Railway Station, etc. Notably, the metro system of Mashhad is fast and convenient.
Get around Mashhad in Bus
Although the bus system covers all parts of Mashhad, the bus stations are sometimes confusing for a foreign traveller. However, you can get complete information about your destination station and the bus that you should get from the locals and use this kind of transportation. Also, you can use the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) in most parts of Mashhad. Notably, there are separate men’s and ladies’ sections on each bus.
Get around Mashhad in Private Car with Driver
Although renting a private car with a driver is the most expensive option to get around Mashhad, it is the fastest and most convenient choice. Besides, you can rent a car with a driver for one day to go to the tourist attractions that are located around Mashhad, such as Torghabeh, Shandiz, Tus Village, and more. The expense of renting a private sedan car with a driver per day starts about 3000000 rials.
What to eat in Mashhad?
Where to Eat in Mashhad
Best Restaurants in Mashhad
In recent years, visiting restaurants and tasting different foods have become one of the most attractive activities during a trip. It is interesting to know that this issue has been taken very seriously in Iran and you can find excellent and even international restaurants in the cities of this country. However, you are in Iran for a short time, and it is better to go for the best options in this limited time.
Accordingly, selecting a good restaurant in Mashhad, where there are restaurants on every corner is very difficult. So, if you want to taste delicious and quality food in the best restaurants in Mashhad during your trip, join us in this Mashhad travel guide.
Moein Darbari Restaurant
One of the old and very well-known restaurants in Mashhad is Moein Darbari Restaurant. The style of this restaurant is quite traditional, and its walls and ceiling are entirely mirrored. The most famous dish of Moein Darbari restaurant is Shishlik, which we suggest you try it.
Pesaran-e Karim Restaurant
One of the old and famous restaurants in Mashhad is Pesaran-e Karim Restaurant. The quality of the food in this traditional restaurant is unparalleled, and at the same time, it has a reasonable price. Pesaran-e Karim Restaurant has three branches in Mashhad city on Sajad Boulevard, Khayam Boulevard and Daneshgah Street. Finally, The most popular food of this Restaurant is “Chelo Mahiche”, which has a unique taste.
Padideh Shandiz Restaurant
Padideh Shandiz Restaurant, located in the mountainous and beautiful region of Shandiz, is one of the oldest and most popular restaurants in Mashhad. Actually, Padideh Shandiz Restaurant consists of three different restaurants, including international restaurant, the buffet restaurant and the summer restaurant. Moreover, a bird garden in this complex has created an attractive atmosphere in this restaurant.