I usually do not believe what media say about Iran, but this time it could not be that far from the truth.
It is a safe country, I did not feel threatened at all at any time. Persian people (do not call them Arabs, they are not Arabs) are very hospitable and friendly, but of course you always have to be alerted, like in any other country.
First of all make sure that you sort out your visa in advance and bring €50 just in case if you have to pay for it. Otherwise you will spend a 2.5 hours waiting in the airport just like us.
Bear in mind traffic in Tehran is ridiculous. There are no rules. It is a huge and busy city. Pollution is quite high, most of the time you cannot see the surrounding mountains.
Iran is undeniably not a poor country. People are wealthy and I did not get a chance to see any poor people, like I did for example in the USA, funny enough.
We were lucky to have such an amazing hosts like my friend and her mum. They took such a good care of us and the mum cooks the most delicious Persian dishes. I have tried to cook some over the weekend, it was not that bad for the first time. Here is the recipe.
- Make sure that you visit one of the restaurants at the base of mountain Darband – it is full of cheap and expensive restaurant, stalls, young people hanging around etc.
- Markets are always a good idea – try fresh pistachios (heaven), pomegranate, buy some spices, especially saffron, it is an expensive spice and Iran has one of the best.
- Milad Tower is quite exciting thing to do. You are able to see how enormously large Tehran is.
- Āsh soup – thick, winter soup. It contains different types of beans, herbs, meat and etc. And, trust me, you want to try it. I forgot the name of the place but I ate it at the oldest restaurant that serves Āsh soup.
- Valiasr Street – is the longest street in the Middle East, almost 18km long. Good for shopping, and to buy some nuts to take home with you.
- Make sure that you stuff your face with Iranian bread. It is amazing, especially for breakfast. Add some salty cheese or chocolate spread. I managed to eat 8 of them one morning.
- Check out the Tehran Times blog, it is a good source for some local art, fashion and etc.
Onward and upward,