Vassi Koutsaftis's Top Five Cultural Destinations: Iran

Vassi Koutsaftis, a legendary guide who has been leading GeoEx tours for 29 years, was just named one of the best guides in the world by Outside magazine. The publication chose him as Best Cultural Guide in its 2014 Travel Awards, announced in the April issue. To celebrate, we asked Vassi to tell us his five favorite cultural destinations. We’re presenting one each day, illustrated with one of his extraordinary photographs.


This country has some of the friendliest people I have ever met on the planet. They are polite and hospitable and they love Americans. They will stop you on the street and start a conversation, and they’ll always tell you how much they appreciate the fact that you are visiting their country. You feel safe and very welcome everywhere you go, even in the remote mountain villages. The bazaar in Isfahan is unforgettable and Shiraz is like being in a perfume bottle with all the flowers on every street. I tell people: Forget the propaganda, pack your bags and go now -- you will never regret it.

To see more of his wonderful portfolio, visit his website. For more information on Vassi’s next trip, visit Pakistan’s Hunza Valley.


Don George, Editor

Don George is Editor in Chief of Wanderlust: Literary Journeys for the Discerning Traveler. He has been Travel Editor for and the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, as well as Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet Publications. Don is the author of "The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George" and of "Lonely Planet's Guide to Travel Writing." He has also edited eleven anthologies, including A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, and An Innocent Abroad. E-mail him at [email protected].


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