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I usually stay in hostels or guest houses when travelling, it is much easier to meet people than in hotels and usually cheaper too.

Coming up is a trip through Iran and the usual suspects like hostelworld and Hostelbookers don't even list that country.

I don't actually think that there are proper hostels in Iran, but there must be some budget accommodation used by travelers where people speak some English.

The Lonely Planet used to be a good source, but even they seem to care less about people travelling on a shoestring these days.

Does anybody has any tips on how to find places to stay?

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    What's wrong with Lonely Planet? Plenty of listings online as far as I can see: lonelyplanet.com/iran/tehran/hotels – lambshaanxy Feb 3 '14 at 21:27
  • @jpatokal - limit the search to Hostel/Guesthouse or even Budget hotel, then you'll get an empty list. I was more talking about the books. When I compared a recent India LP with an older edition, most budget places have been removed. – Peter Hahndorf Feb 3 '14 at 21:34
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    Might be just a problem of categorization: checking one of the hotels at random (Mosaferkhaneh Amol Mazandaran), a room last year cost 200k IRR, or about US$8 at today's exchange rates. That's budget in my book, although it probably costs more today since the rial is sinking like a stone. – lambshaanxy Feb 3 '14 at 21:39
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If you are interested in meeting people I would definitely suggest Couchsurfing. As an Iranian I can assure you they'd love to provide host, specially to foreigners.

You can find many Couch surfers in big cities.

Here is just a sample search for Tehran.

Unfortunately, in Iran there are not (yet) many good hostels as you can find in Europe. And you shouldn't expect to see an international environment in the hostels there either. Maybe in close future but not yet.

Also TripAdvisor has a great database of comments for hotels and restaurants. An an example I give you a list of restaurants and hotels in Tehran sorted by their rankings (A restaurant is always a good place to meet/communicate with Iranians):

Tehran hotels:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g293999-Tehran_Tehran_Province-Hotels.html

Tehran restaurants:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g293999-Tehran_Tehran_Province.html


EDIT

Seems like there has been some progress since my original answer and now there are more qualified hostels and reservation systems in Iran. I'll gradually list them here.


- Pintapin.com

Online Hotel Booking

In their FAQ page they claim:

The first and only site that allows you to book and pay for Iranian hotels from outside of Iran


- Seven Hostels

Location: Tehran

Seems fairly good (at least in the photos!).

Website: http://www.sevenhostels.com/


- Tehran Hostel

Location: Tehran - GPS coordinates: 35.715353,51.470853 (Close to the Sabalan metro station and BRT bus line)

(Recommended by many travellers (TripAdvisor Profile)!)

Website: http://www.hosteltehran.com


- HI Tehran Hostel

Location: #2, Tabatabaei Alley, Bahar Shomali Street, Tehran - location on Google map (Close to the Haft-e-tir metro station )

(Visit Trip advisor page (TripAdvisor Profile)!)

Website: https://www.hitehranhostel.com/

5

Buy a Lonely Planet guide for Iran. It lists plenty of affordable places in all the major urban centres. There aren't many European-style hostels in Iran, but many of the budget hotels effectively operate like hostels, as these are the places independent budget-minded travellers in Iran flock to.

At most of these, you'll get away with speaking (some) English with the staff, though this won't always be guaranteed.

1

The huge provider like Booking.com, hostelworld.com and Tripadvisor.com because of sanction cannot have Accommodation Booking in Iran. But in this case to find good and cheap Hotel or Hostel you can use Iranian (local) Booking system. Something like Iran Traveling Center, I know this site since many years ago and I thought they start work from 2001.

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