Hugging the lower slopes of the magnificent, snowcapped Alborz Mountains, Tehran is Iran’s most secular and liberal city. Spend time here – as you should – and you'll soon realise that the city is so much more than a chaotic jumble of concrete and crazy traffic blanketed by a miasma of air pollution. This is the nation's dynamic beating heart and the place to get a handle on modern Iran and what its future will likely be.
Exploring this fascinating metropolis will transport you on a journey through more than 250 years of Iranian history – from the glittering Golestan Palace and the adjacent Grand Bazaar to the beautiful Azadi Tower and the notorious former US embassy. Then there are the city's many excellent museums and serene gardens. In such places, as well as in contemporary cafes, traditional teahouses and on the walking trails in the mountains, you can relax and enjoy all that's good about Tehran.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Tehran.