Tehran, where the skyscrapers pierce the sky and touch the sun, you can see how tradition and modernity Come together to let you experience a new atmosphere. The capital city of Iran is a place that offers you the modern side of the Iranian lifestyle as well as the traditional side. From the small local restaurants in the south to the most luxurious shopping malls in the north, Tehran lets you see a vibrant life among the restlessness of the city. Even in the most crowded days of Tehran, you can always find a lovely cosy place to explore and enjoy some peace and quiet.
The meaning of Tehran
There are different ideas about the meaning of this city’s name. This Endo-European name may come from two morphemes that are “Teh” and “ran,” and they mean a hot place or a hot hill.
Also, some linguists believe that the name of Tehran means animals that are moving forward. This name comes from the fact that Tehran province was a perfect place for feeding cattle as well as hunting animals.
The History of Tehran
Standing in the middle of the city, if you look up and around, the only things that you can see are the high buildings, vehicles and long highways, but Tehran was not always like what you see today.
Tehran province is located in the hills of Damavand Mountain, like a hidden treasure. The pleasant weather of Tehran, along with its fascinating landscapes and fruitful green gardens, was indeed a heaven on earth. All these features enticed Safavid emperors to travel to this place for long vacations. Since then, Tehran became more like a tourist attraction with elegant palaces and mosques as well as inns.
Later on, during the Qajar Dynasty, attentions were directed toward Tehran, and this popular city became the capital of Iran or Persia. Many new buildings were built, and with the help of French architects, the area got a new look to become more and more like a city. This development in architecture and economy continued until today to turn Tehran into one of the largest metropolitan cities in the world.
Things to Know Before Visiting Tehran
If you are planning to visit Tehran or you have some questions in your mind before making your decision, we are providing you with all the information you need about the capital of Iran.
Is Tehran Safe?
Because of social media and what you may have heard about Iran on the news or different platforms, you may become concerned about your safety in Iran. Still, unlike popular opinion, Tehran is one of the safest cities in the world. The crime level is low, and people are truly friendly and hospitable towards visitors. However, you have to consider the fact that unpredictable problems can happen to anyone in any spot around the world, so in order to prevent these problems from becoming serious issues, you can use travel insurance to guarantee your safe trip to Tehran.
By paying a little amount of money, you can choose your insurance and travel to Iran with no worries. Our team will support you through the process 24/7, and all you need to do is to contact us.
How is Tehran’s Weather?
Tehran was once known for its utterly pleasant weather, but today, breathing clean air is a wish for the citizens of Tehran in some days of the year. During the cold days of winter or fall, due to heavy traffic and large factories around the city, Tehran faces temperature inversion, and the weather gets polluted. However, if you visit the northern parts of the city such as Tajrish and Damavand, you are going to find the excellent weather of Tehran once more. During summer, even though the weather is not as polluted, the high temperature may still be bothering. You need to wear loose cotton clothes to help you tolerate the heat and go out in the mornings and evenings.
Visiting Tehran during spring when the weather is awesome would be the perfect time to enjoy wandering around the city. Sometimes, the light rain gives Tehran a new look and lets you enjoy looking at green leaves sparkling under the sun rays after the rain.
Tehran traffic is compared to a warzone, but do not worry, you will get used to it after a while, and you will learn how to deal with it.
During Iran’s weekdays, which are from Saturdays to Wednesdays, there are some traffic hours to be avoided. From 6:30 to 8:30 in the morning and 4:30 to 8:30 in the evening, transportation in Tehran’s main streets can be a nightmare. You need to leave your home early if you want to be punctual and use public transport to save your time and energy.
Tehran Metro is truly a blessing for the city during rush hours when you cannot move an inch in the street while you are in a car. Thankfully, most parts of Tehran have metro stations, but you will not get away from crowdedness even in the underground. People of Tehran love subways since it is fast and cheap, so you should expect to see lots of people, especially during busy hours.
To get more information about how to use metros in Iran, you should check out our article on Metro transportation in Iran!
According to the World Population Review website, the population of Tehran is about 8.3 million. This number is more than the whole population of countries such as Denmark and Ireland.
People of Tehran are living in 22 districts of the city, and the population is growing every day because people who are living in smaller cities or villages migrate to Tehran in pursuit of a better job and a better income.
Tehran Local Time
Tehran time zone is UTC +3:30 hours. In Iran the Daylight Savings Time period starts at the beginning of spring in March, 21st and the clock is set one hour forward. At the beginning of fall on September 21st, the clock falls back again to the Iranian Standard Time.
You can check the exact time of Tehran and its relevance to where you live here.
Tehran has two main international airports that transfer passengers every day. Mehrabad International Airport, located in the west of Tehran, was used for both domestic and international flights until 2007. Since then, only domestic flights fly from Mehrabad.
Mehrabad serves customers by providing services in 6 terminals, as well as a VIP and a CIP section.
After 2007, Imam Khomeini International Airport started its work by providing international flights from Tehran to other countries. Imam Khomeini International Airport or IKIA has three terminals, as well as VIP and CIP sections. Also, there are some hotels inside the airport to provide a comfortable trip for its passengers. You can access this airport near Eslamshahr and Robat Karim.
What Are the Best Hotels in Tehran?
If you are concerned about your accommodation while visiting Tehran, this city offers you diverse options for hotels and hostels. You can pick the one that suits you best from the most luxurious ones to the economical and budget-friendly options.
You can find the list of top hotels in Tehran and read about them in our blog.
What Are Tehran’s Top Attractions?
Impressive architectural design, fascinating historical places, and lovely nature of Tehran tempt you to explore this mysterious land and get to know different aspects of it.
Inspired by Khaju Bridge of Isfahan, the 890 ft Tabiat Bridge located in the middle of Tehran connects Ab-o Atash Park in the west to the Taleqani Park in the east. Walking on the bridge, you can feel the city beneath your feet. On your way to the other side of the bridge, you get to see different restaurants and cafes that give you the opportunity to rest, freshen up, and continue your way.
This well-designed architecture has won many awards and was built by Leila Araqian and Alireza Behzadi.
Two towers in Tehran are the symbol of this city. Azadi tower, located in the west of the city in Azadi square, was designed by Hossein Emanat and was built in 1971 to become the best entrance of Tehran. The perfect combination of traditional Persian design, along with Islamic art, created a masterpiece and turned this monument into the landmark of Tehran.
Standing under the tower and looking at the geometrical design of it can give you a sense of modernity as well as originality.
Milad Tower was built recently but could fit the city perfectly. As the sixth extant tower in the world, Milad Tower is visible from all parts of the capital and has become the landmark of Tehran. Looking at the tower at night, you can see the colorful lights sparkle in the sky, and if you want to see a mesmerizing view of Tehran, you can go to the top floors of the tower and watch the city.
You also have access to many restaurants, cafes, and entertainment centers, and you have the opportunity to stargaze in the tower.
Different types of Museums in Tehran offer you the chance to see the history of this city and get familiar with its rich culture.
Ferdowsi Street is where you can find hidden treasures of Iran there. Inside the Iran Central Bank’s building, you get to see the elegant crowns, luxurious jewels, and fascinating gems from the Safavid, Qajar, and Pahlavi Dynasties. While entering the building, a mysterious temptation guides you towards a dark room where you will be enchanted with the glory of the 182 carats Daryay-e Nour Diamond. This pink gem, which was a trophy from India for the king of the Afshar Dynasty, Nader Shah, is there to captivate you with its endless beauty and drown you inside the pink sea of glory.
Located in Laleh Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art has collected the most valuable and amazing works of artists from all around the world to allow you to visit and enjoy them.
Visiting there, you get to see more than 3000 outstanding works of famous artists such as Giacometti, Piccaso, and Gauguin.
Qasr means palace in the Persian language, but ironically this place was a prison for criminals before being used as a museum. The design of the building is a combination of Persian and European architecture, and by entering the building, you can hear the voices of prisoners from speakers to get the authentic feeling.
Being located at the hills of Alborz range, a variety of unbelievable landscapes have surrounded Tehran.
You can go to the north of the city, visit Damavand mountain and its green hills, which are covered with anemone flowers during spring, and enjoy the pleasant weather while wandering around the caves and natural fountains.
Going to the Shemiranat district in the north of Tehran, you can find Tochal’s cable cars to explore Damavand mountain. If you are a fan of skiing, do not hesitate and go to the last station to start skiing. You can also book a Tochal Ski Tour to get the most of your trip.
One of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites is located in the south of Tehran, and that is the Golestan Palace or as locals call it “Kakh-e Golestan.” The name of this glamourous palace means the rose garden, and that is what the colorful tiles on the walls are representing.
Entering the palace, you can get lost in the patterns of the tiles and find yourself inside the mirror room where Persian art shows its perfection in the design of the wall and ceiling. This room shines like a diamond inside Tehran and renders its visitors speechless.
Right in the north of Tehran, you can find Niavaran Palace in the middle of a garden. This place was used as a summer residence for the royal family, and today is one of the most significant yet fantastic historical places to visit.
Going inside the building, you can realize how the royal family used to spend their life and see the majestic interior design of the palace.
The classic furniture, along with elegant Persian carpets, represents an overload magnificence. Also, if you are a bookworm, you should explore the library of the palace thoroughly and enjoy the shine of crystal chandeliers on the wooden bookcases.
Located in one of the most pleasant parts of Tehran, where you can enjoy listening to the sound of birds and enjoy breathing pure oxygen, Sa’dabad Complex looks elegantly gorgeous.
With different kinds of museums and palaces, this place is not only essential but also a perfect location if you don’t have much time left in Iran. The Pahlavi family used to live in this place which was built by Reza Shah’s order. He was the first king of the Pahlavi Dynasty, and he left this legacy for his son, Mohammad Reza, and his family.
Walking among the high green trees and listening to the sound of fountains, you cannot ask for anything prettier.
You should visit the Green Palace or Kakh-e Sabz and be enchanted by the delicate mirror works of the walls and ceiling.
Arguably, the most crowded Bazaar in Iran is Tehran Grand Bazaar, in which you can find everything you are looking for. Walking in Panzdah-e Khordad Street, you will see the overcrowding visitors who are trying to find their way to the bazaar.
Inside Tehran Bazaar, you can see a variety of Persian spices, different clothes, yummy Persian snacks such as fruit leather and exotic Persian cuisine.
Continuing exploring the bazaar, you can find the Bazaar of Gold and Jewelry, carpets, and the shoe market as well.
Tajrish Bazaar, located in the north of Tehran, is also worth visiting. Tajrish Bazaar is more famous for the diversity of fruits and vegetables as well as delicious Persian foods that are served there.
What Are the Most Famous Restaurants in Tehran?
If you are going to Tehran and visiting the Grand Bazaar, you cannot leave without trying Moslem’s food. Walking in the bazaar, you will definitely see a long line of people waiting to go inside the restaurant and dine there. The traditional meals which are being served in the restaurant are so delicious that you will come back to try it once more. However, keep in mind that the portions of the meals are huge for one person, so you may want to share your food with a friend.
This restaurant serves one of the best traditional Persian meals called dizi, which is a stew made of chickpeas and meat with Persian spices such as Turmeric. Then you should separate the broth from the ingredients and add small pieces of bread to it. Next, you should mash the remaining ingredients to have a soft Hummus-like mixture, and eat it with bread, herbs, and onions.
Eating Dizi in Iranshahr Dizi Sara Restaurant, allows you to enjoy the traditional atmosphere of the place as well. The restaurant is decorated like Iranian coffee and tea houses, which suits traditional meals perfectly.
Right in northern Tehran, in Niavaran District, you can find Morshed Restaurant with its delicious famous Persian Kebabs.
The traditional atmosphere of the restaurant is designed with wooden Persian furniture, and you can sit beside the large windows and enjoy looking at the green trees while eating your food. The portion of the meals are plentiful, and they are served inside copper trays. You can also enjoy drinking Persian sour drink called Dough.
If you are looking for a traditional old place with live Persian music, Laneh Kaboutar Restaurant, located in Shariati Street, is a perfect choice. You can have a variety of Persian meals along with Persian tea and hookah.
The atmosphere of the restaurant is designed with traditional sitting areas called Takht, which are beds that are used for sitting. However, if you do not like them, you can sit behind tables and enjoy your meal.
If you are a vegan or vegetarian who’s planning on visiting Iran, you can find veggie/vegan options available for you. Check The Ultimate Guide for Vegan and Vegetarian Travelling to Iran article to find all the information you need.
Tehran at Night
The city that never sleeps allows you to explore its nightlife and see how the dynamic of life continues even after midnight. Tehran at night is way more beautiful than what you can imagine. The city becomes quieter and finds its peace after a super crowded day. You can walk your way to ValiAsr Street while looking at the vendors who sell artworks or old books and go to the overpasses to see the dance of cars’ lights commuting in the highways. If you are looking for a late-night meal, you can always go to Si-e Tir Street and see food trucks offering you a diversity of delicious street food to try. If you are a vegetarian, this place suits you as well.
Traveling to Tehran should be in your “must visit” list because there would be new people, new cultures and new experiences that need to be seen. You can always start your journey to Iran by getting your visa and wait to see how this country and its capital can surprise you.
⭐ Best For:
Shopping, Museums, Modern Architecture, Skiing
🕌 Top Sights:
Golestan Palace, Tabiat Bridge, The National Jewelry Treasury, Niavaran Cultural-Historical Complex, Mount Tochal
🛏️ Where to Stay?
Espinas Palace Hotel, Pamchal Hotel, Hi Tehran Hostel, Tehran Heritage Hostel
💡 Our suggestion
If you are passionate about food, do not miss the 30 Tir street.
💭 Interesting Fact
The capital has been moved several times throughout history, and Tehran is the 32nd national capital of Iran.