Iran had 31 previous capitals before settling on Tehran in 1796, and there is a lot of history to be experienced here. You can tour the Golestan Palace, the one-time royal complex of the founding Qajar shahs, and home to Mirror Hall, before diving into the Grand Bazaar, a labyrinth of covered alleys selling everything under the sun, including exquisite, hand-woven Persian carpets.
Up in the clouds
Another must-see is Darband, a quaint neighbourhood on the slopes of Mount Tochal. It is the starting point for a scenic trail all the way up to the summit. There’s also a chairlift if you prefer not to hike. When in Darband, do as the locals do, and hunker down in a tea house for Iranian tea and honey-sweetened cakes.
When to go
High season is March to May, months when the mild weather sees Iranian capital fill up with visitors. A highlight is Nowruz or Iranian New Year, on 21 March each year. The holiday lasts for two weeks, during which the city is in a celebratory mood, with a folk music festival organized by city hall.
The Iranian winter, from November to December, can be bitterly cold, but low season also means deals on return flights and last minute flights. Also, if you fly in winter, there are ski resorts just two hours outside the city that can rival the Alps.
Airports and airlines
Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport
Opened in 2014, Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, otherwise known as Tehran IKIA, is the city’s main international airport. It is located 30 km southwest of the city centre, near to Robat-Karim and Eslamshahr. It consists of one terminal at present, although a second is on the way. Aeroflot, Austrian, British Airways, Emirates, Pegasus, Lufthansa, Swiss and Turkish Airlines offer return flights to Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport from UK airports including Belfast City, Birmingham, London Heathrow and Manchester. View flights to Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport.
Getting around the airport
Getting to the city from the airport
There are a variety of ways to travel to the city centre from the airport, but taxis are recommended. There is a taxi rank outside the terminal, and the journey has a fixed fare of Rs. 400,000. Depending on traffic, it should take around 90 minutes. There are regular buses from the airport that drop you off at Haram Metro Station or the city centre. The bus stop is outside the arrivals hall.
Don't forget before you fly
UK visitors to Iran will need to obtain a visa before travelling to Iran. As of 2018, the Iranian Embassy requires tourists to apply for a visa either as part of an organised tour or through a sponsor in Iran. Contact the Iranian embassy for additional information and advice.