In scorching summers and harsh winters, we Tehraners have learned how to make the most out of the Alborz mountain range limiting our city from north and blocking the wind and humidity of the Caspian sea from getting anywhere close. When it snows, an hour drive will take us to one of the best ski slopes of the Middle East and when the heat is unbearable, we love a good morning hike in higher altitudes. Hiking has been routed in our culture for long. All of us will have a few of those amazing hiking memories with our friends. In fact it’s so common that we don’t even mind going on hiking dates! Not the most romantic place you might think, but hey, a little more oxygen to the brain doesn’t hurt anybody. 😉
Tehran has quite a few hiking trails to name, but I thought I’d start with Darakeh that has become a favourite of mine lately. Darband is the one that guidebooks suggest. Most foreigners seem to know about it as well. But what makes Darakeh a better option is the fact that its not as overcrowded, its greener and the route is rather easier.
I’ve never been an early bird, and to tell you truth what really takes me out of bed at 6 a.m. on a weekend to go hiking is really all about the food. Yes, food! Now I might not look like a foodie person, but let’s say that since we’ve started our Persian Food Tour business, I’ve found a new layer of myself that I had not known. :))
Now it’s so easy to get carried away while you’re hiking in Darakeh. There are stalls all along the trail selling anything from hats, scarves and books to fresh pomegranate juice, seasonal fruits, watermelon slices and walnuts. Come at noon and the smell of Kebab from restaurants by the river is bound to give you second thoughts on going any higher.
But out of all the restaurants, we make it our mission to climb all the way up to Cafe Omran for the best omelets and fresh bread right out of the oven.
How to get there:
There are two ways you could get to Darakeh. The first one would require you to get yourself to Tajrish square and then get a taxi for Darakeh. The second would be taking the bus from Zaferaniye Specifically Moghaddas Ardebili street. Buses run frequently and will take you back from Darakeh to Tajrish as well. Here’s the exact location of the bus stop:
Now I know that hiking in Tehran might not be on top of your to-do list, specially if you’re spending a very short time in the city, which by the way you’re making a huge mistake. But this is one of the main hubs of young Iranians on the weekend. There’s so much to eat and it’s a perfect place to witness local culture. Not to mention, it’s good to ditch the palaces and museums every once in a while and do as the locals do while travelling. 😉