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Places to see and admire in Tehran include the artistry of Persian culture, architectural masterpieces and natural havens. With a population of nearly 14 million, Tehran is a large and cosmopolitan city and the capital of Iran. The word, Tehran, means hot place, and it is in fact a very hot city in summer. It is located on the skirts of the Elburz Mountains. After the 1979 revolution, the constitutional monarchy ruled by the shah turned into an Islamic republic. So we must remind you that Islamic law with certain strict rules based on the beliefs of the Shiite sect are enforced in Tehran. For instance, all women, Muslim or not, have to cover their hair. For men, shorts and earrings are forbidden. Public transportation is usually segregated for men and women. It is also forbidden to take pictures of government buildings and to consume alcohol. It is useful to have some practical information about Iran before your trip. Iran’s official language is Persian, and they use the Persian alphabet based on the Arabic script. The alphabet might be difficult for you when you are wondering around in the city so it is a good idea to ask locals for help. The currency is the Iranian riyal. Be warned about the heavy and confusing traffic. Do not think that Tehran is completely closed to development. In spite of the strict rules, Tehran is the most developed city in Iran, leading the economy and social life of the country, and the northern part of the city is more modern than the south. However, this modernity does not imply the existence of night clubs or bars. Socializing in nostalgic coffee shops and discovering authentic Iranian cinema on site in various movie theaters are some of the cultural activities that will provide a really Oriental vacation. Visit flypgs.com for cheap plane tickets to Tehran, and have a pleasant trip to this authentic city with our recommendations.
Attractions in Tehran
- Golestan Palace: The most famous palace in the city, Golestan, is currently used as a museum.
- Azadi Tower: The Azadi Tower represents 2,500 years of history of the Persian Empire and is one of the biggest tourist hotspots in Tehran today.
- Milad Tower: Get ready to see one of the tallest buildings in the world. Milad Tower can be seen from every corner of the city and has a 360-degree rotating restaurant inside. It’s the most interesting place to visit in Tehran!
What to Eat in Tehran
- Fesenjoon: Iran’s traditional dish is also known as Fesenjan. The meat is flavoured with onions and pomegranate, which is thought of as the ‘fruit of heaven’, and is garnished with spices.
- Ghormeh Sabzi: A dish consisting of sauteed parsley, green onions, spinach, beans, meat, turmeric and fenugreek, this meal packs a real punch.
- Doogh: Iranians love this yoghurt drink.
Where to Eat in Tehran
- Hor Square: One of the busiest places in the city, this square has lots of places to eat and drink.
- Veliasr Street: Iran's most famous street is 17 km long and is lined with cafés and restaurants where you can try famous Tehran dishes.
- Tajrish: Tehran's most elite restaurants are located in this area, so head here for top-quality comfort and service!
Resting in the foothills of gorgeous mountains, Tehran will greet you with giant buildings and orderly apartment blocks. If you’re flying to Tehran at night, look out of the window and enjoy the brilliant city view.
Transportation in Tehran
Tehran’s public transport system consists of the metro, minibus and bus. Motorcycle taxis and regular taxis are also commonly used to get around.
More information about Tehran
Food and Drink
More Places to Visit
Options are limited for getting downtown from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport. The airport is approximately 40 km from the city center, and the trip can take more than 90 minutes during peak hours. You can use buses that go between Imam Khomeini Airport, the city center and Mehrabad Airport. The buses are also the most affordable means of transportation.
If you are not familiar with the city and you would like to get around easily, another option is to rent a car from flypgs.com.
Tehran’s subway has five main lines. The red line crosses the entire city from North to South and the blue line crosses from east to west. Both lines stop at the Imam Khomeini main station. These are the lines you will use most frequently.
Traveling by subway in Iran has a lot of advantages, including avoiding congested traffic and air pollution. A reminder about the subway: The first and the last cars on each train are reserved for women only. Women who do not want to travel with men can use these cars, but are also allowed to use other cars.
Taxis are abundant in Tehran. We do not think you will have trouble finding one. However, there are private, shared and motorcycle taxis to choose from. You can use shared taxis whose drivers shout out their destination in almost every public square. Do not forget that you will have to wait for the shared taxis to get full before they leave. You can also use them as private taxis.
Green or yellow private taxis have taximeters. Your hotel will assist you if you wish a private taxi assigned for women only with a female driver. You can recognize a motorcycle taxi by the driver standing next to the motorcycle shouting “motor!”
Touristic shopping options include markets, bazaars and shopping malls.
- Tehran Bazaar - With everything from souvenirs to Iranian carpets and glamorous jewelry, this bazaar has an important role in Tehran’s economy. Both Iranians and tourists crowd the place.
- Friday Market - Don’t miss this market if you are in Tehran on a Friday. It's a great opportunity to by an Iranian carpet, but your choices are not limited to carpets. You can find pretty much everything at this market.
- Vanak Mall - There are many shopping malls in Tehran, and Vanak is one of those that appeal to higher income groups. It is an interesting location to observe social life, as well as the shopping habits of wealthier people in Tehran.
- Valiasr Avenue - This avenue is so long that it is impossible not to find what you are looking for. It is Tehran’s main street and offers whatever you may need in terms of shopping.
Food and Drinks in Tehran Cuisine
Iranian cuisine is famous for its rich choice of dishes. Although the staple is rice, red meat, chicken and fish are also widely used. These are usually cooked as kebabs and served with pilav (cooked rice). The various types of pilavs are a must try part of Iranian cuisine. Some citrus fruits, spices and greens are commonly used for aroma. If you wonder what to eat in Tehran, consider our recommendations.
- Nayeb - Nayeb is a chain of some of the most prestigious restaurants in Tehran. You must try the Chelo kebab served with rice, which the Nayed family claims to have invented. The service and the ambience are spectacular. The prices are higher than average. Address: No:30 11th Street Vozara Avenue, Tel: +9821- 88707171
- Sharaf El Islam - Located inside the Tehran Bazaar, this restaurant is famous for its chicken and kebab. It is ideal for lunch after a tour of the bazaar, but you might have to wait in line since it is very famous and busy.
- Monsoon - Monsoon has a great ambience and is one of the most popular restaurants in Tehran. They serve wonderful dishes of Far Eastern cuisine, and their Thai food is particularly good. Their sushi is also quite tasty. Address: Gandhi Avenue - 4th Street corner, Gandhi Mall, No. 8, Tel: +9821-88791982
- Alborz - One of Tehran’s most luxurious restaurants, Alborz is famous for its kebabs, and they bake their own bread. It is suitable for large group meals. It should be noted that prices are very high. Address: North Sohrevardi Avenue, Tel: +98(21) 88761907
- Gilaneh - One of Tehran’s most interesting restaurants, Gilaneh offers unusual flavors. In addition to Lebanese appetizers, the restaurant is especially trying to promote dishes from the northern regions of Iran, offering seafood from the Caspian Sea. Do not pass it by. Address: No: 29 Saba Boulevard Africa Street, Tel: +98(21) 22041434
- Shater Abbas - Shater Abbas is a good choice with a simple and casual atmosphere. We recommend the special, Shater Abbas kebab. They bake their own bread and serve it warm. Address: Valiasr Avenue, near the park
- Aali Ghapou - With waiters in traditional costume, Iranian music and some hustle and bustle, an entertaining meal is waiting for you. The restaurant is very busy on weekends, and its prices are very high. Address: South Gandhi Avenue, Tel: +98 021 877 7803
- Tandoor - This is the number one spot for Indian food in Tehran. It is the perfect choice if you are looking for hot and spicy or curious about Indian cuisine. Address: Tel: +98 21 8830 0873
- Ferdowsi Sonnati - This is great place for lunch. Ferdowsi Sonnati offers Iranian cuisine at very affordable prices. It is usually very crowded due to its location. You can try traditional flavors here. Address: South Ferdowsi Street, Tel: +98 21 6671 4503
- Tamasha - Tamasha is one of the best spots in Tehran for world cuisine. The service, the atmosphere and the food are all great. Prices are a bit high, but worth it. Address: Milad-e Noor Mall, 6th floor, Shahrak Gharb
- Hayyam Restaurant - This is an old mosque that was restored and turned into a restaurant. It is famous for its decor and architecture as well as its food. The dishes are wonderful in terms of presentation and flavor. Here, you can taste traditional flavors in a traditional atmosphere. Address: Hayyam Avenue, Tel: +98 (0)21 5580 0760
- Dizi - Dizi is the name of a traditional Iranian dish, a soup cooked with many vegetables which are removed and served separately. The restaurant aims to revive this traditional dish. It is a bit expensive, but it is worth a try for the atmosphere. Address: Musa Kalantari Street, Tel: +98 21 88810008
- SPU Restaurant - Located on the outskirts of the city, near Elburz mountain, SPU serves meals on a traditional floor table. You can enjoy the landscape while you eat. Address: Darakeh Square, Tel: +98 21 2241 9494
- Bistango Restaurant - An important location for international cuisine, Bistango has perfect service and food. If you miss European food, it should be on the top of your list, especially for a romantic dinner. Address: Valiasr Avenue near Vanak Square, Tel: +9821- 8855 44 09
Accommodation in Tehran
You can choose a hotel in Tehran according to its distance to the city center or the purpose of your trip whether it’s business or pleasure. You will be satisfied with a variety of options for different budgets.
- Espinas Persian Gulf Hotel - With 224 rooms, this is one of Tehran’s most luxurious hotels. Due to its central location it is suitable for both business and pleasure trips. Address: 126 Keshavarz Boulevard, Tel: +98(21)88996658
- Raamtin Residence Hotel - Raamtin is a small, elegant and clean hotel. It offers services designed specifically for your business trips as well as apartments for long term accommodation. Address:1081 Valiasr Avenue, Tel: +9821 8872 27 86
- Simorgh Hotel - Located very close to the Valiasr Avenue, Simorgh is among Tehran’s best with good service, English speaking staff and business center. Address: No. 1069, Delbasteh Passage, near The Saee Park, Vali-e-Asr Avenue, Tel: +98 21 8719911
- Niloo Hotel - The hotel offers apartments, a sauna, a jacuzzi and a swimming pool. The rooms include everything you might need: kitchen, mini bar, safe, satellite TV and more. Address: Valiasr Avenue Vanak Square 7th Street, 3 Lahijani, Tel: +9821 88 20 20 18
- Khayyam Hotel - Despite its outdated decor, it has a good price for quality. If your expectations are not high, you can stay downtown for a moderate price. Address: No 3 Navidi Cul-de-sac, Tel: +9821 33920218
- Iranshahr Hotel - With its convenient location, clean rooms and English speaking staff, Iranshahr is a good choice for pleasure trips. Address: 75, South Iranshahr Street, Tel: +98 21 8820914
Tehran’s Places to See
Tehran is a relatively new city, yet it offers a lot of Persian architecture and museums.
- The National Jewelry Museum - This museum is one of the most impressive places to see in Tehran and is located inside the Central Bank. The Iranian jewelry collection from the Safavid Dynasty is one of the most impressive collections in the world. You must visit it.
- The National Museum of Iran - The biggest museum in Iran and one of the most prestigious in the world, the National Museum has more than 300,000 artifacts. It houses most interesting pieces from pre-historic periods to the Islamic era.
- Azadi (Freedom) Monument - The monument was built in 1971 for the 2,500th anniversary of the Persian Empire and is installed in a 50,000 m² public square. It is one the most interesting structures in the city and was given the name Azadi after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
- Gülistan Palace - Known as one of the oldest structures in Tehran, the building is from the Tahmasb I period and is located inside the city walls. The palace has 17 separate sections and is on the list of must see places with spectacular architecture.
- Tehran Modern Art Museum - The museum was opened in 1977 and it hosts the world’s most valuable Western modern art collection outside of Europe and the US. Designed by the architect, Kamran Diba, the building itself is considered a work of modern art. The museum contains works by famous Western artists such as Monet and Munch.
- The Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini - The mausoleum has the appearance of a shrine, with its striking gold dome and four minarets. The building houses the tomb of Ruhollah Khomeini, the architect and leader of the Islamic Revolution, and it is visited by statesmen on special days.
- Milad Tower - Milad tower was built in 2008, and it is the sixth highest tower in the world. The Tower is part of the Tehran International Trade and Congress Center. The building has 12 floors and the top floor houses restaurants, a congress hall and a hotel.
- Niavaran Palace - The palace was completed in 1968 and was used by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi and his family until the revolution. It contains an older summer palace.
- The Carpet Museum - Iran’s carpets are world famous, and Iranians protect this cultural heritage in the Carpet Museum. Some of its collection’s carpets are more than 2,000 years old.
- Glassware and Ceramics Museum of Iran - There are six halls in this museum exhibiting a large collection, including pottery from 4,000 BCE as well as pieces from the 19th century.
- Rıza Abbasi Museum - This museum is dedicated to Iran's traditional art with a collection that spans from 2,000 BC to the 20th century. It is named after a famous calligrapher and painter of the Safavid period.
- Surp Sarkis Cathedral - The construction of the church was started in 1964 and completed in 1970. Having a peculiar structure and being an important symbol for the Armenian community, the building is worth seeing.
- The Film Museum of Iran - This building was used as the summer palace by the Qajar Dynasty and is used as the cinema museum today. Old projectors and tools, photographs and posters of Iranian movies are on exhibit.
- Shemshak and Dizin - These are the most important skiing centers in Tehran. They are very close to each other. Dizin is bigger and favored by high income groups. Shemshak is located at a lower altitude and is less crowded than Dizin. However, both are pretty crowded on weekends.
- Mellat Park - Tehran is a city of parks, and Mellat is one of the biggest parks in the city, even in the Middle East. It is located on the Valiasr Avenue and is a must see.
- Jamshidieh Park - This one of the most beautiful parks in Tehran. Its pond, stairs and sculptures are worth seeing. It also offers a good opportunity to escape Tehran’s polluted air.
The liveliness of Tehran’s visual art scene will surely surprise you. Local artist are creating amazing works and here are some locations where you can see them:
- Mah Art Gallery - This gallery exhibits visual art pieces ranging from sculpture to calligraphy, photography and painting from Iran and the whole world. Mah Art Gallery has a very rich collection. Address: No: 26, Golestan Boulevard, Africa Avenue, Tel: +98(21) 2204 5879
- East Art Gallery - This gallery emphasizes intercultural communication in modern art with its annual international exchange program and aims to create a new and different production space for the visual arts. Address: No: 40, Khodami Street, Vanak Square, Tel: +9821 88 65 79 17
- Seyhoun Art Gallery - Found by famous artist Massoumeh Noushin Seyhoun in 1966, this is the oldest art gallery in Tehran. It continues to play a central role in Iranian modern art. Address: No: 14, 4th Street, Vozara Avenue, Tel: +9821 88711305
- North Tehran - The northern part of Tehran is where upper income groups live, and it contains many neighborhoods such as Vanak, Jordan and Shahrak-e Garb. You can observe that people have a more liberal life style, and women dress in a more European style in these areas.
- The Bazaar - The historic Covered Bazaar of Tehran and its surroundings have a completely different image. This area is not as luxurious as the North, but it is touristic. It is ideal for wondering around.
- South Tehran - The southern part of the city is visibly poorer and more religious. You will observe this easily. Wondering around here will show you another face of Tehran. We should note that this area is also cheaper, if your budget is limited.
As you may imagine, Tehran does not have a night life in the sense we know. So if you are looking for somewhere to go dancing, you will be disappointed. Yet you are in a big city that is very lively in the evening as well. Cafes, streets and restaurants welcome male and female guests. Cafes are especially favored by young people for getting together and socializing.
- Country Code: 98
- Ambulance, Fire, Police: 115
- Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport: +98 21 5100 6015
- Turkish Embassy in Iran: +98 21 3 595 11 00