Visiting Shiraz’s Pink Lake: Maharloo Lake, Iran
Updated December 2023, Visiting Shiraz’s Pink Lake: Maharloo Lake, Iran was originally written in April 2020
I knew very little about Shiraz prior to my visit, aside from the uber-famous Pink Nasir al Molk Mosque. When I arrived in the city I was welcomed by a friend of a friend who had traveled in Iran four times already. I had no idea that Solmaz would become such a close friend before I had arrived, and she had epic plans for me before I even arrived in her city.
One of those days was dedicated to Shiraz’s beautiful pink lake, officially named Maharloo Lake, or Daryache e Namak in Persian.
I’d already seen a pink lake before in Puerto Rico’s Cabo Rojo, and the devilishly red waters lapping along the black glimmering sands of Hormuz Island’s Red Beach, but never anything so large and pale pink with mirror reflections as I did at Maharloo Lake. For further travel planning in Iran, I recommend picking up a copy of Bradt’s Iran guidebook.
Start planning your Iran trip here: The 1-4 Week Iran Itinerary Guide
How Did Maharloo Become Shiraz’s Pink Lake?
Move over Pink Mosque, Pink Lake is another wonder of Iran.
So why is Maharloo so pink? Pink Lake is a little salty. Maharloo is rich in salts that allow for a red tide (high concentration of algae to proliferate), which makes the lake look pink in color. The color of Marharloo can actually shift throughout the year, making this lake even more interesting to those that live nearby and see it in varying shades of pink to blue.
Check out the otherworldly island of Hormuz on your Iran adventure
Why Does The Pink Lake In Shiraz Change Color?
The pinkness of Maharloo Lake (much like Lake Urmia near Tabriz) largely depends on how much water is in the lake. Rainfall helps to replenish water levels at the Pink Lake, so if you view it right after a number of heavy rainstorms the lake will actually be a fainter pink, even bluish.
When I visited in April 2019 Maharloo was actually pinker in some areas and bluish-purple in others. I had been traveling in Iran while devastating floods ravaged large parts of the country (which heavily dictated where I went and where I changed directions on the trip). I visited Shiraz right after they had significant flooding in the area, meaning I didn’t get to see the lake at its ultimate pinkness.
With all that said the lake will be pinker when water levels are at their lowest.
Going to Tabriz? Learn how to get to the fascinating cave village of Kandovan
When Is The Best Time To Visit Maharloo Lake?
To see Maharloo at its optimum pinkness you should try to visit in midsummer (July-September), the driest time of the year in Central Iran. April to June have pleasant temperatures, but are the rainest months in Iran, so the lake could very likely be less pink. October-December have similar temperatures to the spring but tend to be much drier, though it’s worth noting that if there is a drought the lake could be totally dry in these months.
Traveling in Central Iran? Use my Yazd Travel Guide to plan the perfect two day trip to Yazd
How To Get To Maharloo Lake
Maharloo Lake is located about 30 kilometers southeast of the center of Shiraz. I went with friends, but they did tell me that you can hire a taxi to take you to the lake and back for about 1,900,000 IRR (190,000 Toman or ~$13 USD).
Plan your stay with my Shiraz Travel Guide
Where To Stay In Shiraz
Have Any Questions About The Pink Lake?
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Need Travel Insurance For Iran?
Start shopping plans over at 1stQuest as most other travel insurance providers will not cover travel in Iran.