An Iranian megacity of 10 million, Tehran plays host to a quiet modern rebellion against more tradition always of living. One example; Tehran's traffic jams have produced a rather endearing social phenomenon. The rich kids of the northern districts have turned gridlock into a way of meeting people to date, travelling in same-sex troops to avoid running afoul ofthe morality police.
The city is spread out over a huge area and gets bougier and bougier the further you go north. There is no such thing as downtown Tehran and you'd probably regret trying to navigate the huge multi-lane roads of Tehran city as a pedestrian. Instead, head north and have a laid-back breakfast at Malek Cafe and Restaurant. A great spot handy to almost everything you would want to visit during your first days here, Cafe Malek is famed for its great ice cream, warm atmosphere and friendly, English-speaking staff. Order "Qamarol molook" if you likeacold, sweet drink. They do a good coffee too. Set aside $30 for a feast.
Golestan Palace must be seen. Considered the best manifestation of Iranian art and architecture, the lavish palace which dates back to the 16th Century is the jewel in the crown of the Iranian capital.
There are separate tickets for nine different sections, which you need to buy at the gate: the ones worth paying extra for are the Main Halls, which include the spectacular Mirror Hall, and Iranian Painting Gallery. The complex is made up of17 buildings with eight key structures. The eye-catching architecture outside is only an introduction into the opulence you will find inside. $40
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Just a few steps away from Golestan Palace is The Grand Bazaar, the beating heart of Iran. The maze of alleys, hustle and bustle of customers and sellers gives a transformative experience. You can get just about anything here but don't miss having tea in "the world's smallest tea house" Haj Ali Darvish. Worth the queue is an old restaurant in the heart of the big Bazaar of Tehran, Sharaf ElIslam. You'll need to go early if you want to get fed, most dishes sell out by 12pm. Set aside $40 for whatever delicious things catch your eye and a few gifts to bring home; take your time.
Rest your eyes after all those wonders over dinner at Divan, Persian fine dining with beautiful balcony views towards the mountains. Book ahead and take advantage of the staff's expertise in what you should order, you won't regret it. $90