Tehran (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, and 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 are 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. Even though 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 centres, urban service organizations, and academic and methodical centres 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 36°C or about 95-100°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 to 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 some of the best in the world.
Visa Restriction: Entry will be refused to citizens of Israel and travelers with any evidence of visiting Israel (this includes entry/exit border-crossing stamps to/from countries neighboring Israel, such as Jordan or Egypt), not just (but also) Israeli entry stamps. So, if you wish to visit Iran you should renew your passport.
For tourists a 30 Day visa on arrival is available at international airports for citizens of Republic of Azerbaijan, Albania, Germany, Austria, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Spain, Australia, Slovenia, Slovakia, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Ukraine, Italy, Ireland, Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Russia, Romania, Japan, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Oman, France, Palestine, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar, Croatia, South Korea, North Korea, Colombia, Cuba, Kuwait, Georgia, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Poland, Malaysia, Hungary, Mongolia, Mexico, Norway, New Zealand, Venezuela, Vietnam, Netherlands, India, Yugoslavia and Greece Reference.
No prior electronic registration is required but evidence of insurance may be requested and should be available in hard copy or can be purchased at the airport (14 euro/16 USD for 15 days of stay). Visa fees vary by country and are charged in Euros (Europe 65-70Euros, Australia 130, New Zealand 140, Greece 75/July 2016). First you have to pay for the insurance, then for the visa and then wait, a lot, for checking the passport. You need at least one hour.
Imam Khomeini International Airport (IATA: IKA ICAO: OIIE) , located 55km southwest of the city center, is the international airport in Tehran to which passenger flights operate. The domestic airport is called Mehrabad which is inside of the city. If you need a connecting flight inside Iran, you need to travel between the two airports which may take between 40 minutes to 2 hours depending on the traffic.
There are direct flights to/from from numerous European, African, Middle Eastern, and Asian cities; however, there are no direct flights to/from North America or Australia. Iran Air  is the national carrier of Iran.
To travel between the city center and the airport:
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 feeapplies to foreign travellers only when leaving Iran on land or by sea.
There is at least one train each day to the Iranian cities of Mashhad, Isfahan, Tabriz, Kerman, Yazd, Sari, Gorgan, Ahvaz and Bandar Abbas. Buy tickets at the station, or from travel agencies, or online from Raja passenger train company .
Until 2015 there was a weekly train (the "Trans-Asia Express") between Tehran and Ankara, with another between Tabriz and Van. All cross-border trains are now suspended indefinitely.
Traffic is very congested but has improved with the completion of several new tunnels and highways (referred to as Bozorgrah or Otoban in Persian language) 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:
Internationally, Tehran is connected with a bus service to Yerevan (60 USD one way).
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. Some require prepaid contactless card (min 20000 rials), which can be bought from booths beside the bus stops and Metro Stations used when you get off the bus, and some should be paid by cash (ranging from 3,500-6,000 rials). Note that the buses are partitioned in two sections, men-only (the front section) and women-only(the back section).
Note that in the BRT lines, the women-only section is at the front. Also, the fee is paid on the station, using the prepaid contactless card (shared with Metro), or paying to the guard.
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). Railway square (South of Tehran) directly to the North (Tajrish square). Azadi square to free university(northwest). Azadi square to south Terminal and parkway bridge(north of tehran) to jomhuri square. Costs between 1,000-3,000 rials. In high-traffic hours (7AM-9AM & 4PM-8PM) it is the best way to traveling . 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's and men's seats and queues are separate.
Tehran's new metro system  is comprised of five 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 Tehran traffic. However, many residents decided to leave their cars and commute by metro, so expect huge crowds during rush hours.
There are five lines available (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) (some stations on line 3 are still under construction) but the two most useful are lines 1 (north to south- from northern most Tajrish Station to Kahrizak Station) and 2 (east to west) which connect at the central Imam Khomeini station. All stations have signs in both Persian and English. Trains run every 10 minutes or less on rush hours (15 minutes on Fridays and holidays) from around 5:30AM-11PM every day. line4 (yellow line) recently extended eastward to Kolaahduz station and westward to Eram-e-sabz Station. It's really crowded since it is connecting some of most important points like University of Tehran in Enqelab Sq. and an interconnection to line5 (green); line5 is going to Karaj, which is a 3 million population suburb!
There are a few apps for Android and iOS devices to assist passengers on using the metro. You can try downloading the Tehran Metro app which is made specially for foreign travelers. First you can find yourself on Google map (with stations marked on it) and your destination to decide which station you can get in and to which you want to arrive. After it you can select them on the stations map to get a textual explanation on taking directions and line changes along with a travel time estimation.
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-8AM and 5PM-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 150,000 rails (15,000 Tomans) (Prices accurate as of August 2015, but huge inflation means they change quickly). Most drivers are very poor at English - if your destination is anything other than an extremely popular spot (Bazaar, etc) you should bring it on a map or written in Farsi.
Snapp  is also the Iranian version of Uber in Tehran which is fairly cheap and the price is calculated in advance. The app can be downloaded from Google Play Store  and Apple App Store  and is available in English and French but a local SIM card is required to activate it. Although the drivers may not be good English speakers, the support line speaks English well and can handle the communication problems between you and the driver.
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 seem 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.
Tehran has more than 50 museum and 100 art galleries.
There are some graffiti in Tehran by different artists.
Zoos & Botanical gardens
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.
For information on Iranian currency see Iran#Buy.
You can exchange your currency in most banks after filling out between two and five forms, but the exchange rate in exchange offices is always better than what is offered by banks. It is much advisable to go to one of these offices which are mostly (but not only) on Ferdosi St which begins at Imam Khomeini Square.
Also, most exchange offices in Tehran don't exchange before 9AM, when the daily rate gets fixed.
Do not exchange your money with one of the many individuals offering to exchange along Ferdosi St. It is a lot more risky and illegal.
Bazaars and shopping malls
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, excellent quality, you'll never have enough. It gets really crowded though, which requires some patience.
There are also numerous shopping malls in the city. Valiasr Street and Tajrish Square (also includes a traditional bazaar) are two of the many locations full of shopping centres in Tehran. Some of the great Tehran Shopping Malls and Centers are listed below:
Due to Iran's refusal to sign up for the Berne Convention, the sale of pirated software is legal in Iran. However, bringing the software home may be illegal and carry large fines or jail sentences. In addition, the software many not include the correct ID keys and therefore may not work on your computer.
Places where pirated software is for sale include the bazaar at the corner of Vali-e-Asr Ave and Enghelab Ave., Bazar-e-Reza, Bazar-e-Iran, and "Paytakht Computer Complex", a 7-story modern complex filled with computer equipment, at the intersection of Vali-e-Asr and Mirdamad. The prices at "bazaar reza" (at charrah-e-vali-asr) are usually cheaper. Some of the computer equipment that is sold in Iran are cheap knockoffs.
Jewelry & Gold
Jewelry & Gold boutiques located in Geisha, Milade Noor, Karim Khaan St. Golds, gems, and diamonds.
Bags & shoes
Designer bags and shoes such as Gucci, Versace,Dior, Armani in Golestan shopping centre & Milade noor and other shopping centers mentioned above but please keep in your mind that there are all fake products imported from Turkey or produced by local so their prices are cheap. Because of not being in the international business world due to sanctions , there is not any famous and expensive brands in Tehran or if there are sometimes double or triple times higher than the original price in countries like Europe. however, there are real branches of Nike, United color of Benton, Ecco, Geox, Clark's, Adidas, Reebok and some other premium brand's level.
Note that prices quoted on the menu may exclude an 8% tax, a 10-15% service charge, and a 10% tip. Be prepared to add as much as 1/3 to the prices quoted on the menu.
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.
For information on popular drinks in Iran, see Iran#Drink
Coffee shops are a great place for people watching as well as drinking.
refreshing on a hot day.
For information on mobile phone operators and using the internet in Iran, see Iran#Contact
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.
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 2AM.
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.
Another thing to watch out for are phone snatchers. One guy will wait on a motorcycle while another rips your smart phone out of your hands and jumps on the back of the bike before they take off. Happens in less busy streets at night. A precaution is to only use your phone inside shops.
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 extremely careful when travelling to Tehran due to strict and harsh regulations on homosexual activity. Iran justice has death penalty for homosexuals, even teenagers.
Exercising extreme caution in public is the key thing to remember, and in fact, it is mandatory to abstain from any kind of intimacy even for heterosexual couples, but it doesn't mean you cannot hold hands.
It is required by law, even for Westerners or non-Muslim women, to wear a headscarf and long sleeves/skirt/trousers when going out in public. Failure to do this will result in being arrested and fined.
If you decide to smoke the qalyan (waterpipe), make sure that you are not smoking opium or other kinds of drugs if you don't intend to do it. Although drugs and alcohol are illegal in Iran, it is not impossible to obtain them, especially in Tehran. Since the Iranian government decided to ban the qalyan and cigarettes in public places, it is a bit difficult to find a decent place for smoking.
And if you really want to try the qalyan, you can expect to find this in dodgy places.
The traffic in Tehran is horrendous. To get a break from it head to the parks in the north of the city.