The Localist

Darband: Retreat to the mountains of Greater Tehran

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You’ve come to Iran, and you are looking for a bar where you can chill out? Well, you are out of luck – you should have done your research beforehand! There are no bars in this country. But don’t worry. You can still catch up with friends while smoking shisha and eating fruity snacks. Just head up to the north of Tehran, to Darband.

Imagine this: What could be more bracing than taking a midday nap right after a delicious Iranian meal in the heart of the mountains, alongside a river? You don’t need to prepare or bring anything. Maybe a pair of mountain boots if you are up for some climbing. If not, your day-to-day comfortable shoes will suffice.  Just get yourself in a cab and head to Darband.

Darband is the name of a neighbourhood 20 minutes drive from Tehran city centre. It was formerly a village located north of Tehran, but it’s now considered within Tehran’s city limits. Being so close to the busy capital of Iran, it’s a perfect option to escape from the city life and spend some time in nature, even if only for a couple of hours.

There are a few activities that you can do in Darband. There are plenty of cosy traditional restaurants and teashops like the one pictured above, sometimes with live music, where you’ll find warm food. After you eat, smoke a shisha while lying down on your throne before taking a nap. If you have already eaten, then just order some berries or nuts, and don’t forget to try Lavashak, which is a sour fruit roll, healthy and delicious.

If you happen to be more of an active person, then you have the entire Tochal mountain to climb! There is also a cable car available. In winter there’s a ski court in Tochal  where you can also bungie jump.

MEET THE LOCAL: SHAFAGH HELALAT

Image. Photo by Shafagh Helalat.

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