Top things to do

Top Choice Teahouse in Mashhad

Hezardestan Traditional Teahouse

Hezardestan is one of Iran’s most beautiful teahouse-restaurants. Carpets, samovars, antique qalyans, cushions and wooden benches are surrounded by walls adorned with scenes from Ferdosi’s Shahnamah. There’s live mu…
Modern Iranian in Mashhad

Atlas Hotel Restaurant

For steak and chips in a middle-class setting, this comfortable hotel restaurant opens longer than most and the coffeehouse downstairs has an espresso machine.
Iranian in Mashhad

Jahan Hotel Restaurant

Kababs, schnitzels or trout (US$4) come with truly phenomenal views across the Haram, making lunchtime dining here a must. Enter via the hotel, easily missed beneath a Bank Mellat sign. Don’t be late!
Sweets in Mashhad

Vitamin Sara

Come to this unpretentious juice shop for Mashhad’s best maajun (US$1), a fabulous mush of crushed walnuts, pistachios, ice cream, cream, banana and honey, all whizzed through the orgasmatron to form one of Iran’s m…
Museum in Mashhad

Main Museum

Bequests and donations from the faithful fill the Haram’s fascinatingly eclectic museums. The Main Museum kicks off with chunks of now-superseded shrine decor interspersed with contemporary sporting medals presented…
Museum in Mashhad

Mehdi Gholibek Hamam

In the shadow of the mosque squats one of Iran’s most interesting and spacious bathhouse museums. The main delight is the wonderful central dome repainted for centuries in multiple levels – most recently in 1922 wit…
Mausoleum in Mashhad

Nader Shah Mausoleum

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Nader Shah is considered something of a historical tyrant. But here he’s a local hero for briefly returning Khorasan to the centre of a vast Central Asian empire. Nader’s horseback stat…
in Mashhad

Bazaar-e Farsh

Bazaar-e Farsh, is a multi-unit carpet market mostly aimed at bulk dealers so prices can be excellent. It even has an interesting top-floor repair workshop and remarkably there seems to be no sales pressure.
in Mashhad

Bazar-e Reza

Upstairs in the 800m-long Bazar-e Reza, jewellery stalls proffer turquoise (mined at nearby Neishabur) but their sales pitch is often more impressive than their gems.
in Mashhad

Friday Book Market

The Friday book market is good for English-language magazines including the Economist (IR10,000). Blind peddlers outside the Haram near Falakeh Ab sell excellent city maps (IR6000).