As you may know, Iran has been subject to several embargo's over the past years. As a result, banking relationships between the country and the rest of the world are non-existent. What does it mean practically, if you want to visit Iran? Bring cash!
Your debit or credit cards will be of no help there. You will not be able to use them in hotels, nor in travel agencies, nor in big stores, nor to withdraw cash. It is absolutely impossible to use your foreign bank cards in Iran. Nope, can't be done.
Do your homework right to estimate how much your stay will cost and bring enough cash to cover your expenses. Living costs inside the country can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, depending on your lifestyle. Bear in mind though that because of the embargo's, prices have surged and it is not as cheap as one may expect. To start, you can get an idea of accommodation costs on Hotelyar. CouchSurfing is also very popular in Iran as the locals love to meet and exchange with guests.
You can exchange major currencies at the airport (easiest would be to have EUR or USD though). But do not exchange everything at once – if you are stuck with an excess of IRR, you will lose quite a bit exchanging them back into your own currency. There are exchange offices available in major cities, you will always find someone to point you in the right direction.
Iranian people are among the friendliest and most hospitable in the world. They will help you with great pleasure without expecting anything in return. Don’t hesitate to ask them your way in case you are stuck with practical issues – or if you just want to share your stories!
More tips to follow soon on this beautiful country with an incredible history. Stay tuned!