Considering the huge population of 14 million people, Teheran is the largest and the capital city of Iran. Its location at the foot of the Alborz mountain range attracts many tourists. Even though Iran is the Muslims country, Tehran is a cosmopolitan city and a pleasant place to visit.
Among the most popular sites to visit in the city are Azadi Tower, Golestan Palace, the Grand Bazaar and the national museum of Iran full of treasures and objects.
Warnings & Dangers in Tehran
OVERALL RISK : LOW
When the overall risk is in question, Tehran can be considered a safe city to travel, but the political risks and plenty of dangerous zones near the borders with Iraq and Afghanistan, make it less attractive. However, the practice of common sense and basic precautions concerning pickpockets in crowds will make your visit free of any kind of worries. Phone snatchers are very common on the streets of Tehran. Because of the high rate of poverty, there are plenty of slums around the city.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
Traffic in Tehran is very dangerous, and not only for the drivers but for the pedestrian as well. Accidents on the road occur frequently and the driving can be dangerous since drivers are aggressive, and do not follow the signs. If you want to get around by taxi, make an agreement on the price before the ride or ask them to turn on the taxi meter. You should know that women are not allowed to drive a motorcycle on public roads.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
You should be aware of the possible robbery by a motorcyclist, so when walking along the street, pay attention not to become a victim of bag snatchers on a motorbike. Pickpocketing is a problem in the overcrowded bazars and public transports. So, do your best to safeguard your belongings.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
The climate in Iran is so extreme which might lead to the extremely high temperatures over 50 degrees. Most of Iran is prone to earthquakes, so it is advisable to follow the media before deciding to come to Tehran.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
The risk of being mugged or kidnapped in Tehran exists and the usual aim of the muggers is getting your money and valuables. So, it is better to give them what they want than to get seriously injured, since the money is what they are after and not you.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
Terrorists attacks are very likely to happen in Iran. Attacks could happen anywhere and there have been reports that several bombings have taken place. Be vigilant in Iran, since there is a threat of kidnapping foreign tourists in the border areas.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
The first thing you need to pay attention to is the fake police. They are dressed in uniform and might request to see your passport or check your luggage. In case this happens to you, ask them to go together to the nearest police station, since it is impossible for a tourist to tell these from the real police.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : MEDIUM
Female travelers need to avoid visiting remote neighborhoods late at night and they should know that the BRT lines have the women-only section at the front. Their behavior and dress in public must be in accordance with the local rules. In order to make your holiday trouble free avoid walking alone especially at night.
So... How Safe Is Tehran Really?
Considering the size and the population, Tehran is a relatively safe city for those travelers that practice common sense and take the usual precautions against pickpockets. As long as the city is crowded, even at night, it is hustle free.
Travelers are advised not to take a private taxi at night and pay attention to phone and bag snatchers. The traffic in Tehran is very dangerous and should be considered some of the worlds’ worst. It is required to wear a headscarf and long sleeves when going out in public.
Tensions in the region have increased with the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria which might lead to serious consequences, thus affecting the tourists’ impression of the city.
You should consider carefully the risks of traveling to Iran if you choose to travel there.
- Visas - The rule when coming to Iran is that the entry will be refused to citizens of Israel and foreign travelers who visited Israel. Tourist visa lasts 30 days and can be extended. Travelers should make their visa application well in advance of their date of travel due to the fact that the application process for an Iranian visa can be long. Another rule is that women and girls over the age of nine must wear a headscarf in their visa application photos.
- Currency - Riyal is the official currency of Iran and MasterCard or Visa are not accepted. You can exchange your currency in most banks after filling out some forms. There are no cash machines that accept UK bank cards and it is illegal to change money on the street.
- Weather - The period from June to September is the hottest period of the year with extremely high temperatures. Heavy snowfall can also occur in parts of the country during the winter months. Sandstorms and dust storms are also frequent.
- Airports - If you are coming to Iran by plane, Imam Khomeini International Airport, located 55 km from the city center, is the international airport in Tehran. Tehran's Mehrabad airport is an older airport in the city itself used for domestic and cargo flights.
- Travel Insurance - Medical costs, including medical evacuation, should be included in your travel insurance policy. It is advisable to afford travel insurance before coming to Tehran, since accidents cannot be predicted.