Tehran is a fascinating metropolis where the forces of religious conservatism and liberal modernism that have shaped – and continue to shape – Iran, meet head on. It's packed with interesting museums, contemporary art galleries hung with creative works, a buzzing cafe scene, and pretty gardens – all great escapes from the city's crazy traffic.
But what really gives Tehran its wow factor are the Alborz Mountains that rise up majestically to the north. This range is home to Iran's best ski resorts, including Dizin, Shemshak and Darbansar – all within a day trip of Tehran. Heading northeast will bring you to the foot of Mt Damavand, a magnificently shaped dormant volcano that is the highest peak in the Middle East. Climb it or just come to admire the scenery and relax in a hot-spring pool.