It might not be at the top of everyone’s list, but Iran’s capital Tehran (pop: 8.1m) has an active population of pilots, with flying sites in the hills surrounding the city. On the northern edge of town, where the houses start to thin, there is an unpaved car park that is also the landing field. Make contact with any of the Iranian pilots on Facebook, and you’ll be collected at the airport and hosted in someone’s home. Visiting pilots are feted guests in Tehran. They will whisk you up into the barren rounded hills above the city by 4-x-4. From launch you’re faced with the full spread of Tehran as far as the pollution allows you to see. On a clear day the views are stunning. On hazy ones the Milad Tower pokes mysteriously into view from the mist. When you land you don’t have to try too hard to be invited to a picnic breakfast that pilots share in the LZ.
Photo: Erfan Kouchari
Originally published in the 2017 Travel Guide, as part of an article called City Slickers. You can find the other urban getaways in the series, here.