One of the longest streets in the Middle East, Valiasr is the spine of Tehran. It starts at the train station in the south of the city and runs north, ending at Tajrish Square near the city’s famous bazaar. Not only will you hit many of Tehran’s major sites along the way, you’ll notice a drastic change in culture as you head from one end of the city to the other. Start at Tajrish and go south for an easier walk, as the opposite direction has a mild incline. Keep your eyes out for hidden street art along the way.
Wake up bright and early on a Friday morning like a true Tehrani and hike up Tochal. As one of the city’s premier skiing locales, you’ll find ski enthusiasts taking the gondola lift up to the last stop to hit the slopes. Nature lovers and hikers get an early start to their weekend and hoof it to station 1 or 2 to enjoy breakfast with a view. If you’re not a morning person, take an evening stroll to Bam-e Tehran (the roof of Tehran) in the Tochal Complex, popular with the city’s young crowd.
Darband is another favorite starting point of hikers in Tehran. The initial walk starts slowly, before opening up to more challenging trails leading further up the mountain. If you’re just looking for a light hike, stroll the narrow, winding path that passes through the plentiful restaurants, cafes, and hookah lounges, and stop at any one that seems enticing. A great place to have breakfast, Darband is also a popular place for an evening walk and kebab dinner at one of its many cliffside restaurants.
There’s a reason why the former Shah chose the location of Saad Abad Palace as one of his residences. Situated in the north of the city in the foothills of Darband, this 300-hectare complex has beautiful museums and cool, fresh air, making it the perfect place for a 2-3 hour escape during the summer. There’s a small fee to enter to “just walk around” (as it states on the ticket), but it’s worth it. Take this chance to visit the museums on site or make it an extension of your walk around Darband.
Mellat Park is Tehran’s answer to New York’s Central Park. This urban green space houses a cinema, mini zoo, aviary, musical fountains, and numerous snack bars and cafes. This is where you can also find busts of some of Iran’s most famous names, as well as modern sculptures designed by local artists. Mellat Park offers some respite and a place to clear your head from the hustle and bustle of Tehran.
Ab-o Atash Park connects to Taleghani Park via Tabiat Bridge, the multi award-winning bridge that has quickly become one of the symbols of Tehran. Ab-o Atash Park itself is a pleasant area for a walk and has many dining options around it. Cross over the well-maintained, modern Tabiat Bridge into Taleghani Park, essentially a forest in the middle of the city! A popular place for sports addicts due to the shade the trees provide, it’s also one of the best places to spend Nature Day on the last day of the Persian new year.
Located in the foothills of the Alborz Mountains in the northern Niavaran neighborhood, Jamshidieh Park is one of the most secluded, peaceful locations to get in a vigorous walk and enjoy some fresh air. The stone and rocky paths make it a favorite among amateur hikers and young couples looking for a romantic spot, but the water running through the trails can sometimes make for a slippery walk. If you can make it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking views.
Nestled in the Deh Vanak neighborhood, Iranian Garden is a lesser known park in Tehran, which makes it all the more special. Modeled after traditional Persian gardens, this park has beautiful architecture and landscaping and is especially lovely in the spring when it’s drowning in a sea of colorful tulips. It’s also worth exploring the narrow streets, wooden doors, and adobe walls of the surrounding neighborhood, which is surprisingly peaceful given its proximity to buzzing Vanak Square.