Tehran (also spelled Teheran) (Persian: تهران), is the capital city of Iran. A bustling metropolis of 14 million people, it is situated at the foot of the towering Alborz mountain range.
Tehran is a cosmopolitan city, with great museums, parks, restaurants, warm friendly people. It deserves at least a few days of your Iranian itinerary.
The city can be roughly divided into two different parts - north and south. The northern districts of Tehran are more prosperous, modern, cosmopolitan and expensive while southern parts (also called the 'downtown') is less attractive but cheaper.
At the time of the Zand dynasty, it was a little town that was significant from a strategic point of view. The first of the Qajar kings, Agha Mohammed Khan, named Tehran as the country's capital in 1778, and most of its growth started during the reign of a subsequent Qajar monarch, Fath-Ali Shah. The castle which Agha Mohammed Khan had built was to contain the new majestic buildings.
At the same time, the city's populace was redoubled. Due to the increasing significance of the city, gates, squares and mosques were built and it was at the time of Nassereddin Shah that the city's master sketch was prepared and modern streets were constructed. Later, huge central squares like Toopkhaneh square (now Imam Khomeini) and quite a few military buildings were built. Event though the the Qajar dynasty was in a period of decline, Tehran soon took the shape of a modern city. The structure of large government buildings, new streets, recreation centers, urban service organizations, and academic and methodical centers were started, even as most of the old gates and buildings were destroyed and the city's old architectural fabric replaced by a contemporary one.
Tehran has also earned itself the rather unenviable reputation as a smog-filled, traffic-clogged and featureless sprawl of concrete bursting at the seams with 14 million residents. But you can also find an endless number of nice and cosy places in and around the city - if you know where to look. Tehran is also a city of parks and possesses more than 800 of them, all well-kept. The city is nearly a mile high above sea level and as a result is cooler than other cities in the middle east. Summer temperatures are around 32°C or about 90-95°F. The air tends to be very dry.
A combination of factors make Tehran a pleasant place to visit: The dry climate which is constantly cool (at least in the evenings), the proximity of the mountains, the parks and gardens where flowers blossom all through the year, the alleys of trees in the avenues or even smaller streets, and even the water that runs down from the upper city along deep and wide gutters which look like small rivers during spring. The Alborz range on the north of Tehran, which hosts the highest peak in Iran, provides fantastic conditions for ski lovers in the winter. In winter, the mountain hotels and ski-clubs at Shemshak, and Dizine are full several days a week. Some specialist skiers consider the snow value in northern Tehran to be one of the most excellent in the world.
There are no direct flights from North America or Australia, but there are flights direct from numerous European, African and Asian cities as well as cities in the Middle East. Iran Air , the national carrier of Iran, flies to many destinations such as London (Heathrow), Amsterdam and Tokyo. Alternatively, you can enter via Dubai and then take Emirates  or Air Arabia  to Tehran
Tehran's Mehrabad airport (IATA: THR ICAO: OIII)  is the old pre-revolution airport and is being replaced with the new Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA: IKA ICAO: OIIE) . Recently all International flights are designated to Imam Khomeini and Mehrabad is only used for regional and cargo flights. The old airport is located relatively close to the city center and the abundant taxis available are definitely the best way to get into Tehran. There is a booth organizing taxis for you right outside the arrivals hall.
Imam Khomeini Airport is a significant improvement over Mehrabad and it is still only in light use. Be warned that it can take up to an hour and a half to get to the airport in bad traffic but if you book your departure early in the morning it can be much faster. Taxis are cheap and plentiful.
Despite the warnings in some travel guides, there is no exit fee for foreign travelers, neither in Mehrabad nor in Imam Khomeini Airport. The exit fee' applies to foreign travelers only when leaving Iran on land or by sea.
- There is a three-day train service departing from Istanbul to Tehran every Wednesday at 10.55pm, costing 105 Turkish lira. You change trains on Friday at Lake Van which requires a four hour ferry ride to get across. Both the Turkish and Iranian trains are comfortable and clean. Waggon restaurants are rather cheap. Arrival on Saturday at 6.45pm (but expect up to 10 hours delay…).
- There is a three-day train from Damascus, crossing Turkey via Lake Van.
- Several trains a day from Mashhad, including night trains.
- There are at least one train each day to Isfahan, Tabriz, Kerman, Yazd, Sari, Gorgan, Ahvaz and Bandar Abbas in Iran.
Traffic is very congested but has improved with the completion of several new tunnels and highways (referred to as autobahns by the locals) across the city. You can drive in from Turkey fairly easily as well as from the Southern parts of Iran. Driving is often dangerous and seat belts should be worn at all times.
Almost every city and far-flung village in Iran has bus services to Tehran, as evidenced by the hundreds of buses that pour in and out of the capital each day. Most buses arrive to, or depart from one of four major bus terminals:
- The Western bus terminal (Terminal-e-gharb) is the biggest, busiest and best equipped of Tehran's terminals. Most international buses, as well as those heading to the Caspian Sea region and destinations west of Tehran originate and terminate here. The terminal is a ten minute walk north-west from Azadi Square, and a few minutes walk west from the Tehran (Sadaghieh) metro station.
- The Eastern bus terminal (Terminal-e-shargh), seven kilometres north-west of Emam Hossein square, handles buses to/from Khorasan province, as well a small number of services to the north.
- The Southern bus terminal (Terminal-e-jonoob) is well equipped and handles buses head to and from destinations south of Tehran. It is 2 km east of Tehran's main train station and easily accessible via the dedicated Terminal-e-Jonoob metro stop.
- The Central bus terminal (Terminal-e-arzhantin) is located beside Arzhantin Square, around 1.5 km south-west of the Mossallah metro stop. (Frequent shared taxis to/from the metro should be no more than IR 1,000). The station has services to /from most major destinations in Iran including Mashhad, Esfahan, Rasht, Shiraz, Tabriz and Yazd.
Getting around traffic-clogged, sprawling Tehran is a true test of patience. While taxis are your best bet, they are pricier here than the rest of the country. A large local bus network will also take you almost anywhere you need to go, as long you can make sense of the routes and Persian line numbers. The true star of Tehran's transport system however, is the brand new metro.
Tehran has an expansive but confusing bus network. Tickets (IR 200) can be bought from booths beside the bus stops. Since bus numbers, route descriptions and other information is in Persian, your best bet is to look confused at a bus terminal; a local will surely stop to help. Each bus line has a certain and almost invariable path but only people know exactly which bus stations exist for a certain road. You shouldn't expect a map or guides even in Persian showing the bus network or bus stations. Even asking the bus driver wouldn't be a great help for you to find your way either. If you get in a bus and looking for a certain station to alight, ask one to help you - you will find many people wish to help you to find your way, most of the time!
BRT (Bus Rapid Transportation)
The BRT buses are colored in red. BRTs has special lines and travels very quickly from Azadi square (west of Tehran) directly to the East (Terminal-e-Shargh). Tickets (IR 200) can be bought from booths beside the bus stops. In high-traffic hours (7AM to 9AM & 4PM to 8PM) it is the best to travel West-East-West part of your way. BRT has too many stations near main streets. Although you may not find an empty seat on the bus because of the crowds, people give their place to you if they know you are a tourist! The women and men sits and queues are separate.
Tehran's new metro system  is comprised of three lines that will whisk you quickly from one end of the city to the other without having to deal with the noise, pollution and chaos of Tehrani traffic.
There are currently four lines (numbered strangely 1, 2, 4 and 5) but the two most useful are lines 1 (north to south) and 2 (east to west) which connect at the central Imam Khomeini station. All stations have signs in both Farsi and English. Trains run every ten minutes (25 minutes on holidays) from around 6:30AM until 10PM every day.
Tickets (IR 2000) are valid for two trips (including change of lines) and can be bought from ticket booths at every station. The Tehran metro is segregated, with two women-only carriages at one end of the train. Despite this, some women choose to travel in the men's part of the train, usually accompanied by a man.
As with the rest of the country private and shared taxis are abound in Tehran, although you may find flagging down a shared taxi more difficult amid the traffic and chaos, while private taxis are more expensive than in the smaller cities. See the Get Around information on Iran for details on flagging a taxi. If you want to get around by shared taxi, your best bet is to hop from square to square, as drivers will be reluctant to pick you up if your shouted destination deviates too far from their route. In each square you will find certain places where the private taxis are lined up in a queue and drivers call for passengers to a destination. (mostly happening during the times when the number of waiting taxis exceeds the number of passengers). In this case, they would wait until the car gets full of passengers (mostly one people at front and 3 people at back, excluding the driver). Otherwise the people have to line up in a queue waiting for the taxis to come. This is the case during rush hours (approximately 7AM to 8AM and 5PM to 8PM). All these depend upon finding their regular station in the square. You can also ask them to alight sooner than your destination wherever you like but you have to pay their total fee up to destination. The cost of such a ride from Azadi square to Vanak Square is around 5,000 Rls (500 Tomans) for each person. Most drivers are very poor at English though.
Motorcycle taxis are a Tehran specialty and offer a way to weave quickly through the city's traffic-clogged streets. You'll see plenty of these drivers standing at the side of the road calling "motor" at all who pass by. Keep in mind motor taxi operators can see, even more suicidal than the average Tehran driver when driving. Agree on a price before you take off and expect to pay slightly less than chartering a private taxi.
- If you want to drool over gold and glitter, take a look at the Treasury of the National Jewels (Ferdosi St, near the corner of Jomhuriyeh Eslami Ave; Metro: Saadi; look for the heavy iron gate and rife wielding guards beside the Central Bank). For the IR 30,000 admission fee you'll get to see a collection of some of the most expensive jewels in the world. Highlights include the world's largest uncut ruby, the world's largest pink diamond (the Sea of Light) and a free standing golden globe made from 34 kilograms of gold and an astounding 51,366 precious stones. An informative IR 6,000 information book is available at the ticket counter.
- The National Museum of Iran  has ceramics, stone figures and carvings dating all the way back to around the 5th millennium BC.
- The gigantic Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini (Metro: Haram-e-Motahar) is on the southern edge of the city. The sheer size of the shrine/shopping center is enough to make the trip worth it. Entrance to the actual mausoleum is free.
- Milad Tower. Milad tower is the fourth tallest tower in the world and 12th tallest freestanding structure in the world, and it is visible from almost everywhere in Tehran.
- Golestan Palace, , the oldest of the historic monuments in Tehran. The Golestan (Rose Garden) citadel is one of mainly visited places in Tehran, which was the Qajars' royal residence, and its garden is an oasis of coolness and peace in the heart of the city. The major building, architecturally unpretentious, houses a museum with objects from the Qajar period in the self-important style of last century. In the Golestan garden, a one-story pavilion to the right and a short distance from the entrance, shelters one of the best organized museums in Tehran. It encloses about thirty showcases presenting almost everything related to Iran, which makes up the critical originality of Iranian life in the a variety of provinces of the country.
- Niavaran Palace, 
- Kolahstudio-an Art Basement, 
- Sa'd Abad Gallery of Fine Arts, 
- Glassware Museum of Tehran, 
- Iran's National Rug Gallery, 
- Reza Abbasi Museum, 
- Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, 
- Tehran Theater of the Performing Arts (Te'atr e Shahr)
- Talar Vahdat Theater
- National Museum of Iran, 
- Darabad Museum of Natural History
- Saadabad Palace, (Persian site).
- Time Museum, Evolution of time-measurement instruments. Located in Farmaniye district, north of Tehran
- Money Museum, Coins and banknotes from different historic periods. Located in Mirdamad street.
- National Arts Museum, Located in Baharestan district.
- Ebrat Museum, The prison of Shah ages.
A1one (aka Alonewriter, tanha) graffitis and street art works are a sort of interesting stuff in Tehran's Urban Space. A famous local graffiti artist is currently at the center of controversy about whether his work is art or vandalism, and you can see his early works on the Tehran-Karaj Expressway, on the southern side walls UP in Ekbatan and Apadana districts. A more recent work of stencil art is located at the entrance of the Saba Art Institute.
Ski and snowboard
There are around 16 pists in Iran depending on the conditions and two major ski resorts: Dizin and Shemshak. The two are located very close to each other and there is, undoubtedly competition among the locals: a number of 'Shemshakis' look upon those who ski in Dizin as 'kids in the park' and see Shemshak as the place for 'true skiers'. Though Dizin is a better place for snowboarders due to the steep pist in Shemshak.
Tochal and Darband is just to the north of Tehran while Dizin and Shemshak is a couple of hours drive away.
Take a ride up the Tochal gondola lift (تلهکابین توچال) on the northern outskirts of the city. Tickets range from IR 10,000 to IR 50,000 depending on how far up the mountain you want to go. If you're energetic (and strapped for money), you can simply hike all the way up, or just start walking and hop on one of the telecabins at the next station when you get tired. If you're going to the top, you should bring a jacket, even in summer, as the summit if chilly, being over 4000m above sea level. To Tochal, take the Metro line 1 to Mirdamad, then bus line 33 for 25 minutes to Tajrish Square (ask the driver to let you off at Meidan Tajrish). If you visit on a holiday when Tehranis flock to the mountain, you should be able to jump in a shared taxi to the telecabin entry gate for IR 4,000. Otherwise charter one privately from Tajrish Square. From the entry gate a minibus service (IR 1,500) will take you to the base station. There is also possibility to do benjii jumping here. A great place to get some great views over Tehran and enjoy a little peace and quiet in contrast to the bustling city.
The Darband chair lift is an alternative to the one at Tochal. Taxis to Darband go from Tajrish Square.
Shemshak, launched in 1958, is a good pist if you look at Skiing as a sport somewhat than as a fun pastime. Its slopes are appropriate for expert skiers and those who benefit from ski moguls. If you want to meet the best Iranian skiers and snowboarders this is the place to go. It has 2 chair lift stations and 3 J-Bar stations. Essentially you will be capable to get to the top of the pist, it's the coming down you should worry about!
Foreign skiers typically prefer this pist when coming to Iran, as it provides the best facilities and provides an generally good ski experience all round. Dizin is one of the highest ski pists with its peak, from which you can ski down, reaching an height of around 3600 meters, i.e. 12,000 feet. It is equipped with telecabins, chairlifts and J-Bars. The majority people choose for the aerial ski lifts (telecabins), especially if it gets cold.
If you want to have fun and also enjoy the societal aspects of skiing, Dizin is the place for you. It is also a good place to choose if you wish to be taught how to ski.
You can rent reasonably good ski equipment close to the major pists of Tehran. A few points to keep in mind when renting equipment: 1. Insist in getting the best equipment 2. If you don't like the tools you see in one shop, don't feel embarrassed to leave and visit the other shops before you make up your mind. 3. Try on all your equipment to make sure you are happy with it. 4. Try if you can to arrange for payment after you have had your day skiing. When your skiing has ended and it's time to pay, ask for a discount and drive down the price if you sense it is too much.
For skiers a ride to the Dizin Ski Resort is a must do! Iran's best ski area, Dizin, is located in the Alborz mountains north of Tehran. Driving time is about 2.5 hours from the capital city. There are two roads leading to Dizin. The first directly passes through Shemshak: it is the fastest but is often closed due to avalanches. The other road goes via Karaj and is a safer option but it is longer, maybe three hours. The road to Dizin is of a good quality but four wheel drives or chains are required for the last 10 or 12 km (6 or 7 mi) when there is snow - which is frequently the case. Dizin ski amenities includes one hotel (420,000 to 540,000 rials per night for a double), 19 cottages and 4 restaurants. The ski activity in Dizin complex is not confined to winter season.. A day-pass costs between 120,000 and 150,000 rials (more on the weekend). A snowboard can be rented for 100,000 per day, but can go as high as 300,000 per day depending on where you rent and quality. For the cheapest rent in Shemshak or at the parking-lot on the top of Dizin. The shops in the hotel and by the parking-lot in the bottom of the slope is the expensive option. Transportation from Dizin can be done through travel agents, taxi for 300,000 rials one way or with minibus for 100,000 rials with return.
Dizin and Shemshak (and most other pists in Iran) have a few restaurants/cafes on the pist, where you can get something warm to eat. However, if you can, it's constantly good to take your own sandwiches with you as it will save you money and time. Keep in mind to only eat appropriately after your have finished skiing, even though it's good to have a small snack half-way.
- Wander around Tehran's massive bazaar (بازار) in the city's south (Metro: Panzdah-e-khordad). The main entrance on 15 Khordad Ave leads to a labyrinth of stalls and shops that were once the engine room of Iran's commodity markets and one of Imam Khomeini's greatest sources of conservative, pro-Revolution support. As usual, shops are clustered according to the products they sell. If you're planning on heading out into remote areas, the bazaar is an ideal and cheap place to stock up on almost anything you need.
- Shopping in numerous shopping malls almost every where in the city. Valiasr street and Tajrish square (Also includes a traditional bazaar) are just two of the many locations full of shopping centers in Tehran.
- Amir Kabir University of Technology, 
- K.N.Toosi University of Technology, 
- Iran University of Science and Technology
- Shahid Beheshti University
- Sharif University of Technology, 
- University of Tehran,
- University of Allameh TabaTabaei, 
- University of Art, 
- Power & Water University of Technology, 
- Islamic Azad University, 
- Alzahra University, 
- Imam Sadiq University, 
- Tarbiat Modares University, 
- Iran University of Medical Sciences
- Tehran University of Medical Sciences, 
- Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences & Health Services, 
It is easy to find work in Tehran, but you must have a university diploma to be applicable for good jobs. Although there is some inflation, many of the people in Tehran have good and well paying jobs. Like every other big developing world city, there's a big difference between poor and rich.
ATM's in Iran do not accept foreign (non-Iranian) cards except some which accept those from Arab state banks, so bring all the money you might need in cash, preferably in US dollars or Euros. Once in Iran, changing your money to Rials should not be a problem. In January 2009, US$1 and €1 can get you about 10,000 and 13,700 Riyals respectively.
There is a possibility to get a pre-paid ATM card from Bank Melli in Iran if you are concerned with carrying too much cash on you.
You can exchange your currency in most banks for a small commission after filling out between two and five forms. If you know the exchange rate then it is a better option to visit one of the many exchange offices on Ferdosi St that begins from Imam Khomeini Square. All will give you a good rate but some might give slightly less than the official rate or claim a commission. Just say no and go to the next one.
Do not exchange your money with one of the many individuals offering to exchange along Ferdosi St. It is a lot more risky.
Be aware that prices in Iran are quoted in tomans, a thousand tomans is equivalent to one of those ten thousand Rials bills. You will soon get used to this. Iranians are also sometimes prone to state prices in thousands of tomans, saying "four" when they mean four thousand tomans or forty thousand rials.
Those looking to stock up on computer software--copied, but legal thanks to Iran's refusal to sign up to the Bern Convention--can start looking at the computer bazaar on the corner of Jomhuriyeh Eslami Ave and Haafez St. Just remember that importing these CDs into any country that is a signatory to the Convention may be a criminal offence. You can also try "Computer Capital" at intersection of Vali-e-Asr and Mirdamad, a 7 storey modern complex filled with computer equipments but also latest pirated copies of every software imagineable.The prices at "bazaar reza" (at charrah-e-vali-asr) are usually less . In both these bazars you also may find individual hardware parts. You may find some famous hardware brands really cheap but you should be careful not to buy the fake one. It is hard to distinguish the original one. Sometimes even the fake one would work quite well comparing to its cheap price!
To save even more money you can buy one of those software packages . For example you can buy "King of the Programming" with about 70,000 Rls . This is a 5 or 6 CD package of compressed programs which contains almost any well-known software you can imagine .
Jewellery & Gold boutiques located in Geisha, Milade Noor, Karim Khaan St.The most beautiful golds, gems, dimonds you could ever see. To buy a very good set of gold, it costs around 2,000,000 toman minimum which is equivalent to £1400-£2000.
Designers bags and shoes such as Gucci, Versace,Dior, Armani in Golestan shopping centre & Milade noor
Visit the Bazar, very appropriate for shopping. It ranges from cheap things to very expensive luxury things. You can find almost anything in Bazar, from clothing to carpets, kitchen accessories, decoratings, jewellery.... When in the Bazar, don't miss out the 'Sharafol-eslam' restaurant located in the Bazar. It is very famous for its kebabs and chickens, excellent food, excellenet quality, you'll never have enough. It gets really crowded though, which requires alit bit of patience.
- Some of the best of Iran's ubiquitous felafels are to be found sizzling away in stalls on 15 Khordad Ave, across the road from the bazaar. The cost greatly depends upon lots of aspects but there you should expect like 5,000-7,500 Rls(500-750 Tomans) for such a budget type meal.
- The Iranian Traditional Restaurant (Agha Bozorg) on 28 Keshavarz Blvd offers great and cheap dizi (2500 tomans). Afterwards there is the option to sit back with a flavored Qalyan water pipe and people-watch the Iranians who gather in this place.
- You'll find cheap & good enough abgoosht stew in any of the places they call ghahvekhuneh (قهوهخانه) which you can find in any non-strictly-residential area. Just ask for a ghahvekhuneh or get this قهوهخانه printed and show it! Nice traditional working class ambience as a rule.
- You can find several food courts around Tehran with a variety of cuisines from Thailand, India, Italy, China and Turkey.
- Note that the Jaam-e-Jam food court at the moment only sports an Italian restaurant, a Boof branch and a coffee shop. You can find western import products in several stores underneath however. There is also a decent bakery here with western type bread.
- Boof is a fast food chain serving burgers etc, similar to McDonalds.
- SFC is the Iranian version of KFC. Serves very good chicken burgers.
- Kabab and sandwich joints are found everywhere.
- For a somewhat exhilarating experience, head to Armenian Club on 68 Khark Street, corner France Ave. Almost like walking into another world (or country rather) you will be surprised to see women not wearing their hejab, which they can choose not to as it is a Christian establishment - for non-Muslims only, however.
- Try Khayam Restaurant just some meters from Khayam Metro Station. It is the one on the street right opposite to the Mosque. A no-limits evening of a chef kabab with rice and drink - and qalyan pipe, tea and sweets for dessert will set you back around 120000 Rials in total. Worth it.
- Coffee Shop & Veggie Restaurant of Iranian Artists' Forum, Baghe Honarmandan, Moosavie Str, Taleghani Ave.(just behind the Den of Espionage (former US Embassy)inside the Iranian Artists' Forum building), ☎ +98 21 88310462. Fantastic place to stock up on those much needed vegetables. The menu is pure veg and very, very good. Also, great coffees and desserts at very reasonable prices. Nice outdoor area as well.
A new Kabob restaurant called Naveed has opened that offers excellent food comparable to Alborz but at lower prices. The atmoshpere is very European looking and feeling but not as high end as Alborz.
- Many locals regard the upper class Alborz Restaurant, Nikoo Ghadam Alley (North Sohrevardi Avenue) as a somewhat goodchelo kababi in Tehran. There are also many western style restaurants around the city with more interesting food.
- For something different try Monsoon. A trendy Asian restaurant serving good Thai curries and decent sushi. Located in Gandhi Shopping center.
- Boulevard is a cool and modern place on a small street heading east of Valiasr Avenue between Vanaq Square and Park-e Mellat serves very good French and Italian food.
- 'Nayeb' in Tajrish is located in north of Tehran. It's a prestigeous restaurant and it costs around 30,000 tomans per person. It is very shik and offers excellent services to its customers.
- Dashte-Behesht is a traditional restuarant located in Saadat-Abad. It's very high class, the menu consists of different Kebabs and stews. There is always live music to make the atmosphere more enjoyable.
Other places of this kind include: -Barbod in Vanak -S.P.U in Darake -AAli Ghaapoo in Gaandi'
For all you coffee-starved travellers through Iran (or the soon to be coffee-starved if Tehran is your first port of call in the country) you'll be glad to find the string of coffee shops on the south side of Jomhuriyeh Eslami Ave, a couple of hundred metres west of Ferdosi St. You can stock up on coffee beans and related paraphernalia, or even sample a cup for IR 4,000. There is also a well-known, but small coffee shop called Hot Chocolate - they stock cigars and a number of European cigarettes as well. This coffee shop is on occasion, a meeting place for some of Iran's sporting elite.
A few doors west of these shops is a delightful coffee shop next to Hotel Naderi. They serve coffee, tea and pastries to a mix of Tehran's intelligentsia and bohemian elite. It's a great place to sit and watch hip young guys eyeing gossiping girls while old men reminisce about the "good ol' days" under the Shah.
Coffee shops (called, in Farsi, "coffeeshop" versus "ghaveh-khane" (literally, coffee house) which means a tea house) have become especially popular in the affluent North, so if need, a visit to the White Tower (Borj-e Sefid) along Pasdaran Ave, or any other mall in the area should suffice. These coffee shops can also be very appealing to tourists interested in watching how young, affluent locals deviously bend the government regulations on contact between the sexes. Definitely worth a visit if in the area- try "White Rose" in the White Tower.
- A visit to Sanaee Coffee Shop on Sanaee Street, 13th Street is definitely worth it for their absolutely fabulous chocolate milkshakes.
- Try the 'Icepack' chain with their huge sortiment of milk- and ice-shakes. Popular with the Iranian youth.
- Many places you can find fresh sickly-sweet carrot juice - as well as some other juices - for just 500 tomans a cup.
- By most main bazaar in Tehran you can get a drink of blended honeydew melon with ice and sugar. Its delicious and extremely refreshing on a hot day.
- The quintessential Persian drink is a Doogh. Its is a mixture of yoghurt, water, salt and spices. It can be purchased at almost any establishment and is often consumed in the afternoon while eating kababs. It comes in two main varieties fizzy (gaz-daar) and non-fizzy (bigaz). Typically the flavour has a slightly subtle mint flavour and is a good accompaniment to most foods.
- For trendy cafes filled with liberal Iranins try Gandhi Shopping center where you will find about ten coffeshops as well as a few very good restaurants, including Monsoon.
- The best and most atmospheric cafe in Tehran must be Entracte Cafe. Bohemic cafe operated by actor Leila Hatami and her husband. Ask for the traditional Iranian tea which is amazing. They serve a fantastic brunch between 11am and 2PM on Fridays and it includes sausages, normal bread and brie! It is located upstairs in a cinema on Jomhuri Avenue, just west of Valiasr Avenue.
- Gramophone Cafe, Charrahe Vali-e Asr(Vali-e Asr St. - In front of Theatre building). If you want talk to your friends, you can go to Gramophone coffee shop, listen to nice music, and have a nice coffee. Some of people who work there can speak English.
Amir Kabir Street a grubby street filled with car-repair shops near Imam Khomeini square offers accommodation options for the budget-minded. Expect to pay around 50,000 Rials (5,000 tomans/roughly US$5) for a tiny single. The area is not nice but it is safe and is central to the metro and buses.
- Mashhad Hostel, 416 West Amir Kabir Avenue, Amir Kabir Street, (email@example.com), . Propably the cheapest accomodation in Tehran. Nothing fancy and not exactly very nice but the obvious choice for those on a budget. Has a small kitchen with possibility to boil water and a dial up Internet connection. They do laundry for a reasonable price.Dorm beds for 50,000 rials, Single Rooms 70,000 rials and Double Rooms for 100,000 rials.
- Firouzeh Hotel, Dolat Abadi Alley, Amir Kabir Street, ☎ +98 21 33113508(firstname.lastname@example.org), . Good hotel with very friendly receptionist, who is a good source for information, especially regarding embassies and visas. Great place for breakfast, tea and meeting other travelers. Internet available.Rooms from 130,000 Rial.
- Hotel Khazar Sea, 12 Ohady Alley, Amir Kabir Street, ☎ +98 21 33113860. Very friendly place and relaxed atmosphere around quiet courtyard60,000 Rial for a single and 80,000 Rial for a double room | shared bathroom facilities.
- Hotel Naderi, Jomhuri Ave.. One of the cheapest hotels outside the grubby Amir Kabir Street. Still in central Tehran but Jomhuri Ave. has more restaurants which Amir Kabir st. lacks. Hotel Naderi is an old famous hotel where writers and intellectuals still meet in the downstairs Cafe Naderi. Some bathrooms are very old and somewhat dirty but the beds are reasonably clean.150,000 Rial for a single.
- Simorgh Hotel, Valiasr Street near Saei Park, . Cheapest rooms currently US$139. Nice location on cosmopolitan upmarket section of Valiasr St. Saei Park is almost next door and a beautiful green oasis in a deep valley. Hotel was once the Miami Hotel, and on the top floor is still the Miami Restaurant. Excellent food - try the strogen (sturgeon) fish kebabs, and the chicken cordon bleu. Rooms are comfortable and well equipped. Business centre with very fast internet. Terrific indoor pool with separate bathing times for men and women.
- Esteghlal Hotel,.
Assuring high standards of comfort, discreet luxury and friendly atmosphere, this property is an ideal place for business as well as leisure travellers. Nestled at the foothills of Alborz mountain range, the Esteghlal Grand Hotel is at the crossroads of Vali-e-Asr and Chamran Expressway, while the Tehran Airport is 25 kilometres away. This property offers 495 beautifully decorated guestrooms that are elegantly furnished with an array of contemporary amenities to satisfy the needs of discerning travellers. Guests can relish exquisite traditional French dishes at the Neuphle Le Chateau Restaurant. The Firooze Restaurant serves a variety of delectable cuisines for you to feast on. The cafeteria serves the most delicious deserts and refreshing beverages for you to enjoy. The hotel offers well-appointed meeting rooms for organising your business as well as social events. You can have a bracing dip in the swimming pool, indulge in the game of tennis or pamper yourself at the sauna during your stay in this hotel. Amenities: Room Service, High-speed Internet, Fitness Room, Restaurant, Parking, Swimming pool, Bar / Lounge, 24 Hour Reception, Air Conditioned, Tennis Courts, Conference Room(s), Sauna, Cable / Satellite TV, Hair Dryer, TV
Since few if any foreign phone companies have roaming agreements with the Iranian one, an alternative to mobile phones is needed. One very good one is purchasing a regular telephone card for local calls and then the Pars Net international telephone card. It offers international calls to anywhere in the world at the comparatively cheap price of IR 1,500 a minute and with the regular phone card you can use it from any of the abundant public phones or the phone at your hotel.
- Ferdosi Coffee Net (Enghelab Ave, a few doors east of Ferdosi Square) is hard to find (look for the small sign plastered to a building) has two banks of computers for IR 8,000 an hour.
- Pars Net is one of south Tehran's hottest coffee nets, dishing up reasonable speed for IR 9,000 an hour. It is on the eastern side of Ferdosi St, between Jomhuiyeh Eslami Ave and Enghelab Ave, across from the British embassy. They also provide fax and long distance phone services.
- Another place in Tehran's south is the Coffee net Firouzeh which you find in the nice and very friendly Firouzeh Hotel.  They charge you IR 8,000 an hour.
- Iranian Trade Center around Valiasr Square offers several Internet cafes (coffee nets) lined up.
Tehran is still relatively one of the safest cities to travel through, particularly considering its size and security. Common sense and the usual precautions against pickpockets in bazaars and crowds should ensure your visit is hassle free.
Never take unmarked taxis.
Even late at the mid-night it is safe in most parts of the city while you will find the city still crowded. It is advisable not to take a private taxi for instance at 2:00 AM.
The fake police that target Esfahan's tourists have also found their way to Tehran in recent years. These are usually uniformed men in unmarked cars flashing phoney IDs are requesting to see you passport or search your luggage. It goes without saying that you should just ignore such requests and head to the nearest police station if you feel unsafe. The trouble is that it can be a little hard for the untrained tourist eye to tell these from the real police.
The traffic in Tehran is very dangerous and should be considered some of the worlds worst. Try to cross the street when the locals do. At first it looks impossible but the drivers do a very good job to avoid pedestrians even though they drive crazy.
Gay and lesbian travellers should be careful when traveling to Tehran due to strict regulations on homosexual activity (though quite rarely enforced). If a tourist is found to be a homosexual the government will technically immediately deport them- however, as mentioned before, this is extremely rare. Exercising caution in public is the key thing to remember. The jam-e-jam food court on Valiasr Avenue is an occasional meeting place for Iranians on Tuesday nights.
The traffic in Tehran is horrendous. To get a break from it head to the parks in the north of the city. Jamshidieh Park which is located in the Niavaran district at the base of the Kolakchal Mountain, is one of the most picturesque and beautiful parks in Tehran. Mellat Park in Valiasr street is one of the largest recreation areas in the Middle-East. Niavaran Park is one of Tehran's famous and most pleasant public city parks. It is located within the Niavaran district and is situated immediately south of the Niavaran Palace Complex.
- If the hustle and bustle of Tehran becomes too much, it's possible to go to the Caspian Sea for a day or two. The holiday town of Ramsar is about five hours away, and the drive across the Alborz Mountains is spectacular. A taxi round-trip for a day shouldn't set you back more than IR 500,000 (ask for taxis near Azadi Square).
- Namakabrud Villa city and gondola lift in beautiful green coasts of Caspian Sea in the northern Iran is about 4.5 hours away.
- Qom is about two hours away from Tehran by bus and one hour by car [120 km].
Leaving by train
Trains tickets should be bought outside the station, in travel agencies.
- Weekly train to Istanbul (about 50€).
- Several trains a day to Mashhad, including night trains. 5.40pm night train costs 220 000 rial for first class sleeper. Dinner and breakfast included. Reaches Mashhad at 5.40am (or before…).
BY kierlan skipper
This page was last edited at 18:11, on 24 March 2009 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. Based on work by Aine Hickey, Étienne, cz, Espen Antonsen and Amir, Wikitravel user(s) Vidimian, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.