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Maharloo Salt Lake

The Maharloo Salt Lake or Darycheh-ye Namak, located in the southwest of Iran, occupies an area of ​​25,000 hectares just 20 kilometers southwest of the city of Shiraz
Maharloo Salt Lake, Shiraz, Iran
Maharloo Salt Lake, Iran

The Maharloo salt lake or Darycheh-ye Namak, located in southwestern Iran, occupies an area of ​​25,000 hectares just 20 kilometers southwest of the city of Shiraz. Located in the Fars province of Iran, the lake features polygonal and hexagonal salt formations that create a beautiful sight. The fascinating salt flats also have nearby natural springs including mineral waters, beautiful mountains, trees and birds such as flamingos and ducks.

Also called the Pink Lake because it turns pink when evaporation of the lake's water increases in the warm months of the year and attracts many travelers to this beautiful lake to take amazing photos. The name “Maharloo” originates from a village to the west of the lake and Maharloo means “High Land” as the village is located on high ground relative to the lake and other surrounding villages.

Things to know before visiting Maharloo Salt Lake in Iran

1. How it all started

The Maharloo Salt Lake is not old and is probably not older than twenty thousand years, which is the last glacial period. The maximum salt depth reaches 40 cm and excavations have not revealed other salt layers. Also due to the lack of ancient beaches or highlands, the possibility of the lake's existence in the pre-Pleistocene era is low, and if there was a lake, it would have been in the places that today are located on the edge of the current lake. Lake Maharloo formed in an extended northwest-southeast syncline subsidence, where it is crossed by the young Sarvestan earthquake fault. It seems that the movements of this fault, especially since the end of the Pleistocene, have caused the formation of this subduction zone.

2. The right time to visit

If you want to visit Maharloo Salt Lake for its beauty or if you want to boat in the deepest part of the lake, you should visit in the rainy season from December to April. If you are a bird watcher, the best time to visit is from March to May when migratory birds, including flamingos, are by the lake. The period between June and August welcomes many Shiraz people and tourists who love the lake when it is very pink. May to November is considered the dry season, so the ground hardens and can move over more terrain, making more of the salt lake accessible. You can visit Maharloo Salt Lake in Iran during wet or dry seasons, depending on what you are looking for.

3. How to get

Shiraz salt lake view maharloo Iran salt lake

The most popular route starts from Shiraz, which is the largest and closest city to the lake and Shiraz International Airport is just 20 kilometers from Lake Maharloo. You can reach Shiraz and book tours and day trips in the city. Shiraz is easily accessible by plane, train or bus. Direct international flights from countries like Qatar, Oman, UAE and Turkey and domestic flights from Iranian cities like Tehran, Tabriz, Isfahan, Kish, Mashhad will take you to Shiraz Airport. The flight from Tehran takes about an hour and costs around 40 USD and you can reach the lake by car from the airport for 30 minutes. Taking a bus from Tehran can be time-consuming as it takes around 12 hours to reach Shiraz and then 1 hour to reach the lake, but it is cheaper (10-15 USD). There are trains from Tehran and Isfahan to Shiraz with low prices, so check the timetables and book accordingly.

If you are traveling by road from Kerman, Bandar-Abbas or the ports and islands of the Persian Gulf, you can organize your trip so that you can visit the lake.


4. Climate in Iran's Maharloo Salt Lake

 Maharloo lake landscape Maharloo village

Lake Maharloo sits at an elevation of 4,900 feet above sea level and in winter temperatures in the salt lake drop as low as 1°C and in summer can reach 40°C. March and April are the best months to visit Maharloo weather-wise, but as we explained before, depending on what you want to see and your planned activity, you can choose when to go to the lake, regardless of the weather.

5. Where to stay

Maharloo Ecolodge Maharloo village

If you want to stay by the lake, at the moment the only option is Maharloo Ecolodge located in the village of Maharloo which is located west of the salt lake in Iran. It is a large house converted into an ecolodge by the Pazira Travel company and contains 6 large rooms with air conditioning, bathrooms and showers outside the rooms and one room with a private bathroom. There is a parking spot in front of the Ecolodge where you can park your car. It also offers excursions to Lake Maharloo. The Maharloo Ecolodge is very close to the Maharloo natural spring within the village, the gardens and the Maharloo mountain; Therefore, you can include many enjoyable activities within the village if you stay there. If you're looking for more luxury, stay at a hotel in Shiraz like the Forough Hotel which is in the city center and make a day trip to the lake so you can have lunch at Maharloo Ecolodge. Zandiyeh or Shiraz hotels are even more convenient options.

Maharloo Ecolodge contact and booking options

You can reserve a room by calling or texting, through Instagram direct messages, or through the contact form on their website. You can also book it through Uppersia hotel booking service.

Tel: 09305458560 Sitio web: Instagram: @maharlooecolodge

Address: Maharloo village (20 km from Maharloo road from Shiraz to Sarvestan) - At the end of the main street of the village - next to the square - @29.3479908,52.8148713

Price: Approximately 20 USD per person with breakfast included



6. Things to do on a Maharloo Salt Lake Tour

Maharloo mountain

What to do in Iran's Maharloo Salt Lake depends entirely on your interests. Around the salt lake, there are other attractions such as the Maharloo mountain decorated with natural springs and covered with snow in the cold season, the Maharloo village with its mineral waters, the Qajar caravanserai and its beautiful gardens of pomegranate and almond trees and if you are interested in places UNESCO world heritage site, you can visit the Sassanid Palace of Sarvestan 60 kilometers from the lake. Many long tours include visits to nearby towns, mountains, deserts, lakes and mineral springs. Wildlife such as flamingos can be seen around the lake and it is a great place for bird watching. Pedalo riding is very popular in the rainy season, especially from March to May. Iranian salt lakes are very hot during the day and cool at night in warm seasons, so plan and dress accordingly. An umbrella or hat can help during the day.

7. Budgets and Schedules

tour Salt lake paddle boating Maharloo lake

In Shiraz you can take a shared tour, which is cheaper, or a private tour. Group tours that can accommodate 2 to 12 travelers stick to your itineraries and there is less flexibility if you want to spend more time on your activities. Private tours can be more expensive, but they are more flexible and accommodate your requests to the itinerary. If you choose shared tours, check the itineraries, as most offer the same thing, but at different prices. Two-day tours cost around $75-$85 and include food, accommodation at Maharloo Ecolodge, and transportation. Private tours cost around 120 USD.

Weigh the pros and cons of the tours and check the timings in detail before selecting. You can always choose the one-day tour as suits you, but we recommend that you choose the two-day tours and explore the surroundings as well. Shiraz's Maharloo Salt Lake is more than sunsets, deserts and hills!

You can book a day trip to Maharloo Salt Lake or a multi-day tour organized by Uppersia.

8. What to bring to Maharloo Salt Lake

Maharloo gardens pomegranate

Here's a packing list of items you won't want to forget.

-Takeaway. Otherwise, there are few restaurants nearby, and you can also book a meal in advance at Maharloo Ecolodge.

-Plenty of drinking water in insulated bottles

-Full tank of gasoline. There are gas stations near the lake so in case you want to save time.

-Waterproof bandages. In case your feet get cut by salt and to block current cuts from salt.

-Sunscreen. The salt lake sun can be harsh and there is absolutely no shade.


-Swimsuit and towel: if you plan to swim in the salt water.

-Shoes, waterproof shoes if you plan to swim.

-Travel pack of baby wipes. To remove salt from your arms, legs, feet, etc. before getting back into the car.

-Light jacket. Maharloo Salt Lake can be very windy and therefore cold, especially in autumn, winter and spring.


-Drone. Don't forget your drone permit!

9. Maharloo Salt Lake FAQ

pink lake Shiraz salt lake Iran

Is Maharloo Salt Lake really pink?

Yeah! A large part of Lake Maharloo is very pink, especially from May to November, but in other months, when it rains, most of the salt lake is a normal blue-green color. Therefore, it is not edited by Photoshop or Lightroom.

What makes the Great Salt Lake pink?

Maharloo Salt Lake gets its pink color from mercury-resistant halophilic bacteria and algae living in the water, which are pink. Not many organisms can survive in an environment with such high levels of salt, but the bacteria and pink algae in Maharloo Salt Lake can.

When is the best time for birdwatching, especially to see migrating flamingos?

March and April are the best months for salt lake bird watching.

When is the best time to see the almond blossoms in the salt lake gardens?

Almond trees usually bloom in March.

Can I camp near Maharloo Salt Lake?

If possible.

Can I take a taxi or bus from Shiraz to the salt lake or hitchhike?

Yes, you can take a taxi from anywhere in Shiraz or take a bus or minibus from Kaveh Bus Terminal in Shiraz.



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Contact Details



Zand Blvd, Roodaki St. , Zip code: 7135744934, Shiraz, Iran