A Deep Dive into the Stunning Lakes and Wetlands of Iran

Iran, with its diverse climatic regions, is home to some of the most beautiful and unique lakes and wetlands in the world. From the salt formations of the Isfahan Salt Lake to the ever-changing pink hues of Maharloo Lake, each has its special attraction. In mountain areas, lakes such as Urmia, Van, and Zreivar offer breathtaking views with tranquil vistas. Additionally, extensive wetlands like the Anzali lagoon in the north of the country, with their unique ecosystems and migratory birds, have special tourist attractions. These lakes and wetlands showcase Iran's natural diversity and its natural wealth. Let's visit these lovely places together and enjoy the wonders of our country's nature.
What are some must-visit lakes in Iran for nature enthusiasts?

Lakes such as Urmia, Van, and Zreivar are renowned for their breathtaking vistas, while Maharloo Lake is famous for its unique pink hues. Each lake offers a different and vibrant natural experience.

The Isfahan Salt Lake, Hoz-e Sultan Lake of Qom, and the Haj Ali Gholi Salt Lake are some of the prominent salt lakes in Iran, known for their striking salt formations and landscapes.

The Anzali Wetland and Miankaleh Wetland are particularly famous for their diverse ecosystems and as havens for migratory birds, making them ideal spots for bird watchers.

Activities range from bird watching and nature photography in the wetlands to boating and fishing in the lakes. Each site offers unique ways to connect with nature.

Many of the lakes and wetlands are accessible via local transport, though some might require a guide or a special permit due to their ecological sensitivity or location.

Iran has several initiatives aimed at preserving the natural beauty and ecological balance of its lakes and wetlands, involving local communities and international partnerships.

Frequently Asked Questions: Exploring the Lakes and Wetlands of Iran

What you will read in this article:

Maharloo Lake, Shiraz

This beautiful lake, located in Shiraz, is colored pink. However, it was not always this color. Once upon a time, the lake was a refuge for birds like flamingos, coots, green-headed ducks, mallards, sandpipers, and more. But these days, even though its pink hue is intriguing for many, it poses a threat to birds. The water of Maharloo Lake has always been saline and is fed by three rivers and two large springs. However, due to drought, the water level has decreased, and the growth of red algae has increased. Although this turns the lake beautifully pink, the condition is not optimal. The lake’s high salinity accelerates the overgrowth of red algae, which are harmful to the lake’s creatures. These algae rapidly cover the water surface, reducing the oxygen exchange between air and water. Consequently, the water’s oxygen level drops and toxins are produced. Maharloo Lake is located 27 kilometers southeast of Shiraz.

Arvah Lake, (Spirits' Marshland) Nowshahr

This fog-covered lake is hidden among dense forest trees. It should be noted that the route to this lake is both challenging and dangerous. Despite the risks, like passing through the forest with potential encounters with wild animals, many people visit this region to see the lake. “Mala Kala” Lake, commonly known as Arvah (Spirits) Lake, is located 5 kilometers north of Chalender village, affiliated with Nowshahr. The lake stretches approximately 700 meters in length and 300 meters in width, with dead and broken trees protruding out of it. The combination of dead trees, the fog that often covers the lake, and the sounds of wild animals collectively gave this lake the title “Lake of Spirits.” To date, no one has reported any tales or sightings of spirits in the area. Nevertheless, caution is the better part of valor – stay safe! This lake’s address is 5 kilometers north of Chalender village in Nowshahr.

Lake Siyah Gav of Ilam

Two beautiful and deep lakes are connected by a blue channel, each with a distinct color. Siyah Gav is the only twin lake in the country in Ilam province. The original name of these lakes is “Siyah Ab” (Black Water). Due to their crescent shape and their resemblance to a cow’s horn, they’ve been named Siyah Gav (Black Cow). There’s a local legend that in the distant past, a blackwater horse lived in this lake. Since it was unfamiliar to the people, they named the lake after the mythical creature. A 70-meter-long channel connects the two lakes. The first lake, the primary source, is slightly elevated with clear and transparent water. The water from the second lake forms a relatively abundant river that flows into the surrounding lands. Although the edges of the lakes are shallow and the bottom can be easily seen, the depth suddenly increases to more than two meters and, in some places, up to twenty meters. Therefore, if you’re not skilled at swimming, do not enter the water. Address: The lake is in Ilam, 15 kilometers from Abadan city.

Hoz-e Sultan Lake of Qom (Qom Salt Lake)

Iran’s most significant natural mirror is the Hoz-e Sultan Lake in Qom. With a bit of rain, the flat salty surface of the lake becomes a large mirror, reflecting the point where the earth meets the sky. This lake is 40 kilometers north of Qom County and 85 kilometers south of Tehran. Its size changes throughout the year. Interestingly, Hoz-e Sultan was formed in 1261 (1845 AD) due to the construction of the Tehran-Qom highway. It originated from two separate pits. The eastern pit is called Hoz-e Marreh, and the western one is named Hoz-e Sultan. A waterway connects these two. In the rainy seasons, the Hoz-e Marreh fills up first, and its excess water flows into Hoz-e Sultan. The best time to visit Hoz-e Sultan is in early spring and mid-autumn. Address: This lake is 35 kilometers on the Qom-Tehran route on a dirt road.

Chameli Wetland of Takab

It is a beautiful wetland with a grass-covered island that moves on the surface. The best description for this unique lake is: “Chamli Gool,” which in the local language means “a grassy island on a pond.” Also known as “Chamli Gool” or “Badrloo’s moving grassland,” this lake has a diameter of 80 meters and the grassy island inside measures about 60 meters in diameter. This moving grassland shifts directions with the wind and air currents, making this natural attraction unique. What’s fascinating is the evergreen grass on the island, even in winter, and its reeds float on the water without being attached to the ground, connected only through their intertwined roots. Address: The wetland is located in West Azerbaijan, in the village of Badrloo in Takab.

Blue Water Lily Marsh of Sari

Originating from a natural pond with murky marsh water, pink lilies with broad, lively green leaves emerge to establish a dreamy Blue Water Lily garden two kilometers off the Sari to Neka road in the village of Abandon. Boating in this beautiful marsh and taking photos among the water lilies can become an unforgettable memory, especially since the number of water lilies in the Anzali marsh is not as high as before. The blooming period for the Blue Water Lily, or as some refer to it, the Marsh Tulip, depending on the weather, is from early July to late September. Therefore, if you’re visiting Sari in the summer, don’t miss out on this dreamy marsh.

Address: Sari-Neka Road, Abandan village.

Sabalan Lake in Ardabil

To see the next astonishing lake, you’d have to make an effort and ascend Mount Sabalan. These days, the mouth of Sabalan’s volcano is covered in a turquoise blue, which has been named Sabalan Lake. Locals consider this place sacred because they believe that Zoroaster achieved prophethood here, and his tomb lies beside the lake under one of the stones. The lake’s water, resulting from melted snow, is frozen most months except for July, August, and September.

Address: Ardabil, Lahroud Shabil, Meshgin Shahr.

Lipar Lake

Another colorful lake in Iran is the Lipar Lake, located in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan, in the Chabahar district. This pink-colored marsh, which has attracted many tourists, is also known as the “Bride of Chabahar.” The Lipar marsh came into existence due to the stagnation of the Oman Sea water between two mountains. Apart from its captivating view, it also has a unique ecosystem. Interestingly, the Lipar marsh has one of the saltiest waters in the world—the color and extent of this marsh change according to rainfall and environmental conditions. During high-rainfall seasons, the expanse of Lipar Lake reaches about 10 hectares. If you ever visit Lipar Lake, you can buy handicrafts from stalls around the lake, try camel riding, birdwatch, or take photos. The vegetation around this lake consists of plants like thorn bushes, oak, and reeds. One can also observe various species of birds, invertebrates, and fish in the area.

Gel Afshan Gomishan Mud Volcano

If you wish to see another of Iran’s colorful lakes, you should head to Golestan Province. The Gel Afshan Gomishan Mud Volcano is considered a tourist attraction of Bandar Turkmen and stands about eight meters high. Atop this mud volcano, a lake has formed, from which highly concentrated saltwater, mud, and gas are expelled. The soil from this volcano has therapeutic properties and is recommended for treating ailments such as joint pains, neurological disorders, and vascular constriction. Recently, some visitors might be fortunate enough to see the lake in shades of pink or purple. This color change is attributed to the valuable element iodine around the lake. Throughout the year, the underground activities of the mud volcano undergo significant changes, and its condition isn’t always stable. However, whenever you visit the Gel Afshan Gomishan Mud Volcano, you can witness the eruption of saltwater accompanied by gas at its center. If you’re unfamiliar with mud volcanoes, they are fascinating geological phenomena formed from one or more volcanic vents, often expelling mud and sludge. The Gel Afshan Gomishan is located 15 kilometers from the border town of Gomish Tappeh and is very close to Bandar Turkmen.

Hasel Wetland

Hasel Wetland is another of Iran’s colorful lakes, nestled among the towering trees of Chalus. The wetland is not very extensive, and at its most flooded state, it does not exceed one hectare. The water of Hasel Wetland springs from its bed, with no rivers or streams flowing into it. For this reason, life in the Hasel Wetland is stagnant and still, and time passes in tranquility and silence. The water’s surface is covered with algae to a depth of about half a centimeter, and it’s seamless. In areas shaded by trees, the algae are green. As one moves towards the lake’s center, the algae turn orange and red under direct sunlight. In the past, many animals inhabited the Hasel wetland, but over time and due to the disruption of the ecosystem, these species are no longer visible. The intrusion of tourists or constructing of roads and pathways through the forest might be reasons for this decline. The term “Hasel” means stagnant water or seasonal reservoir. In every season, Hasel Wetland possesses its unique beauty.

Bakhtegan Lake

One of Iran’s colorful lakes is Bakhtegan Lake, located in the Fars province. Recognized as the largest lake in Fars, it is a prominent attraction in Neyriz. It serves as a winter habitat for birds migrating from Russia and Siberia to enjoy the moderate climate of the region. In years with good rainfall, species such as flamingos, cranes, seabirds, plovers, ducks, and geese flock to the area to spend their winter. The lake is dotted with numerous small islands. Sadly, due to dam construction, unauthorized well drilling, and consecutive droughts, Bakhtegan Lake is drying up, affecting the region’s ecosystem. The lake’s drying could result in extensive salt flats and the spread of dust and sand in surrounding areas.

Parishan Lake

Parishan Lake is one of the most significant wetlands in Fars province, situated in the Arjen plain. Unfortunately, like many other lakes in the country, its current state is not promising. Located in a region with a pleasant climate, it is a protected area. At its fullest, the lake can reach depths of up to 6 meters. As a significant tourist attraction in Fars and one of Iran’s colorful lakes, Parishan Lake annually hosts numerous migratory birds during the winter season. The surrounding meadows and plains offer natural recreational areas, home to various wildlife species. Notable bird species in the wetland include the heron and the cormorant. Turtles are also among the most abundant amphibious species in the area. Unfortunately, due to unauthorized well drilling, rising temperatures, droughts, and construction activities, a significant portion of this wetland is drying up. If you’re planning a trip to Fars and wish to visit Parishan Lake, it’s best to do so in early spring until the very last days of the season.

Saravan Marshland, Gilan

If you’ve traveled to Gilan province, you probably know about its numerous pristine and green regions. Caravan is one such beautiful natural area in Gilan. In this region, you can not only enjoy various recreational activities but also visit the unique pink Saravan Marshland. Recognized as the most renowned pink marshland in northern Iran, its distinctive color does not come from chemical changes in minerals, salts, or organisms. Instead, its stunning hue is derived from the lush vegetation covering its surface. By visiting this area, you can witness the emerald marshland and the local flora and fauna and engage in activities like cycling, paintball, and pedal boating.

Dorouk Marshland, Mazandaran

One of the stunning natural beauties of Mazandaran province is the Dorouk Marshland. Also known as Daryook Marshland, it is located in Kelardasht, Mazandaran. However, it’s worth noting that reaching this lake is not entirely straightforward; one must traverse a forest first. The surface of the marshland is covered with reeds, and if you’re interested in visiting, you’ll find that its surroundings are beautifully blanketed by vegetation. The best time to visit and enjoy the picturesque Dorouk Marshland is during the spring and summer seasons.

Zarivar Freshwater Lake, Kurdistan

Zarivar Lake is one of the most beautiful and enticing lakes in Iran, surrounded by the lovely snow-covered Zagros mountains. The lake’s freshwater supports a rich and captivating wildlife ecosystem along its shores. Here, one can witness various aquatic and non-aquatic recreational activities. Domesticated wild boars roam freely around the lake, with the locals having a harmonious relationship with them. During the winter, the region experiences severe freezing conditions, to the extent that the lake’s water completely freezes, allowing people to play on the ice. Zarivar Lake is one of the primary tourist attractions of Marivan County.

Gahar Mountain Lake, Lorestan

Lorestan province, with its captivating and lush landscapes, resembles a dreamlike painting that not only boasts flowers, plants, flowing rivers, and towering mountains but also cradles the Gahar Lake in its heart. This stunning mountain lake is located in the protected region of Oshtoran Kouh and is divided into two distinct sections, though they’re less than 100 meters apart. The eastern and western shores of the lake are suitable for those who love swimming and water activities.

Valasht Lake, Mazandaran

If you’ve traveled to Chalous, do pay a visit to the beautiful mountainous Valasht Lake. Located southwest of Chalous and northeast of Kelardasht, it is considered one of Iran’s freshwater lakes. The freshwater of this lake has fostered lovely and captivating wildlife in the region. Various species of fish and birds living along the lake’s shores are among its distinctive features. The high influx of tourists to this area has caused significant damage to the pristine nature of this mountain lake, underscoring the growing need to pay attention to the environment surrounding the lake.

Ovan Lake

The beautiful Lake Ovan is located in the northern half of Alimut, nestled against the Khoshchal mountain. In spring, with its stunning mountains, blue sky, clear waters, and surrounding green fields, the area transforms into a delightful and refreshing scene. Most of the lake’s water is supplied from nearby springs and underground sources. However, a minor portion of winter comes from snowfall and rain. The lake’s surface freezes in winter, making it an ideal spot for ice skating. Though the lake presents a breathtaking view in spring, summer is an excellent time for fishing, and fall is perfect for birdwatching.

Shurmast Lake in Mazandaran

The mesmerizing Shurmast Lake, with its captivating name, is located in the Mazandaran province, within the Savadkuh county. Tourism tours in the country’s north often dedicate one or two days to exploring this region during nature excursions in Mazandaran. The beautiful forested landscape around the lake creates a heartwarming ambiance. Here, one can witness dense Tuscan trees, ancient and tall but always green and vibrant due to the abundant rainfall. One of the main reasons this lake attracts thousands of local tourists and foreign travelers is its location on the Tehran-North highway, which is accessible both by asphalt roads and railway.

Tar and Hovir Lakes in Tehran Province

Near Damavand and around Tehran, there’s a touristy village named Hovir! Located 30 kilometers from Damavand and adjacent to the town, two beautiful lakes named Tar and Hovir have emerged among the surrounding mountains. These two lakes are approximately 500 meters apart, allowing visitors to see both daily. The hills around Hovir and Tar don’t have much greenery and lack forest cover, but for those tired of Tehran’s hustle and bustle, the area offers a serene getaway. If you enjoy walking and strolling in open, pleasant environments, this beautiful region is recommended. You can cover the distance between the two lakes in less than 30 minutes and enjoy the refreshing air.

Khara Salt Lake

The Khara Salt Lake is located 50 kilometers from Varzaneh, situated in the Khara desert, also known for its proximity to Hasanabad and Varzaneh. Starting from the southern part of the wetland and moving from the village of Khara, you first come across plants like Gaz and Ghich. Once past them, you enter a sandy desert with shifting sands. As you proceed, a vast expanse of salt flats and crystals come into view. Approximately 60% of Iran’s edible salt and 20% of its exported salt come from the Jerqooyeh A’la salt mine in this region.

Haj Ali Gholi Salt Lake

This lake, now predominantly a salt-covered desert, is located southeast of Damghan. Historically, the Haj Ali Gholi salt desert used to be a genuine lake, but over time, its water dried up, leaving behind an expansive desert landscape. In some areas, there are salt-tolerant plants and shrubs called “Tagh,” but as far as the eye can see, there’s only the white expanse illuminated by sunlight. Getting there: To reach this area, one must head from Tehran towards Mashhad. After going to Damghan, there’s a secondary road in the Damghan beltway known as “Moallem Road.” Upon arriving at the village of Salh Abad, opposite the gas station, the path to Khurzan village emerges. Entering this path and after traversing a certain distance on a dirt road, you’ll reach the salt lake.

Khor Salt Lake

The Khor Salt Lake is the largest seasonal salt lake in the world and one of the lowest points in Iran. This lake stretches from the central part to the southern regions of Iran’s central desert. Contrary to other salt lakes in Iran, the salt depth of this lake is thin, ranging from 5 centimeters to 10 meters. This thinness is due to the continuous movement of underground salty water and the black mud layers beneath. During the colder months, the lake is covered in a clay mixture of silt and salt, while in spring and summer, it turns into a white salt-covered sea. The salt in the deeper layers of this lake is densely packed, making it possible to drive on certain parts. In the Potash Khor salt mine, visitors can purchase souvenirs and edible salt. There’s also food available for purchase. Getting there: If you move from Khor County towards Tabas, after covering a distance of 40 kilometers, you’ll see the southern part of the lake. While other routes exist to reach the lake, they are not recommended due to the marshy nature of the surrounding lands.

Urmia Lake

The Urmia Lake, which has recently sparked heated discussions due to its drying and various proposed strategies for its revival, is another of Iran’s colorful lakes. Located in West Azerbaijan Province, it is considered the largest permanent lake in Western Asia. At times, the lake’s water turns shades of orange and red due to the activity of microscopic organisms present in it. The decrease in the lake’s water level and the resulting increase in its salt concentration make the water even more colorful. Urmia Lake’s wildlife is unique, hosting a variety of mammals, birds, and aquatic species. The lake’s vegetation is also rich, containing around 550 plant species. Typically, tourists visit the Urmia Lake in spring and summer, but the colder months of autumn and winter see fewer visitors due to the cold weather. Getting there: The lake is situated 21 kilometers away from Urmia, located on the border of the West Azerbaijan and East Azerbaijan provinces.

Anzali Wetland

Due to its unique geographical position, the Anzali wetland stands unparalleled among Iran’s marshes in terms of high humidity and water content. Perhaps the marvel of this wetland becomes more apparent when you learn that it lies on the path of rivers flowing into the Caspian Sea, acting as a natural filtration system for them. The Anzali wetland is among the natural freshwater marshes of the country and is considered one of the most beautiful blue landscapes of the region. It hosts numerous islands, with the cities of Bandar Anzali and Abkenar situated on its shores. Many might recognize the Anzali wetland by its marsh lilies and plants that spread their carpet across the swamp, giving it a charming appearance. Its role in boosting regional tourism and its economic impact cannot be overlooked.

Miankaleh Wetland

The Miankaleh wetland, one of the most beautiful marshes in Iran, is located on a narrow peninsula of the same name in Mazandaran Province. It’s connected to the Caspian Sea to the north, Gorgan Bay to the south, Zaghmarz wetland to the west, and Ashuradeh Island to the east. Approximately one kilometer in length, it connects to the port of Turkmen. Among the most popular and significant marshes in Iran, migratory birds choose the international Miankaleh wetland during colder seasons for migration. Known as the “Bird Watching Paradise” in our beloved Iran, it enjoys particular popularity among environmental enthusiasts and eco-tourists.

Gandoman Wetland

The Gandoman wetland, one of the most picturesque marshes in Iran, is located 20 kilometers from the Borojen county and 4 kilometers from the town of Gandoman, near the Borojen-Lordegan road in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, and is situated close to the Choghakhor wetland. The Gandoman wetland spans an area of 1,200 hectares, which, due to various interventions, has decreased by 220 hectares. It is surrounded by eight villages with a combined population of around 10,000 people, situated at an altitude of 2,219 meters above sea level. The fauna around the Gandoman wetland, one of Iran’s most beautiful marshes, includes birds that migrate to this area in the winter and coexist with the resident birds. Some migratory birds found here include ducks, pelicans, coots, herons, snipes, cormorants, storks, ospreys, swans, and more. However, the native birds of this area, including storks, kingfishers, eagles, ospreys, and more, have their visual allure and charm.

Estil Wetland

Estil Wetland, often referred to as the last remaining wetland of Astara County, covers approximately 138 hectares and is located at the northernmost point of Gilan Province. Of this area, only about 48 hectares are permanently covered with water, while the rest of the wetland may dry up during various seasons. Estil is the first stopover for migratory birds entering Iran, and in the Talysh language, it’s referred to as “Hastel,” meaning “catchment.” Estil Wetland in Astara is considered one of the five exemplary tourist areas of Gilan Province, and hunting is prohibited there. It’s one of the most beautiful artificial wetlands in the world. Another remarkable feature of the wetland is its “Touska” trees, which sway from side to side with the local winds. This phenomenon has given it the nickname “Floating Trees.”

Hoor al-Azim Wetland

Hoor al-Azim, also known as Hoor al-Hoveizeh, is a wetland located in the west of Khuzestan Province, within the counties of Dasht-e Azadegan and Hoveyzeh. It is situated at the end of the Karkheh River in the border region of Dasht-e Azadegan. Roughly one-third of the wetland lies in Iran, with the remainder in Iraq. Hoor al-Azim is one of the last remnants of the vast wetlands of Mesopotamia and is a significant habitat for many plants and animals. Covering over 120,000 hectares, it is one of Iran’s most important wetlands and is the country’s largest border wetland. The primary water sources for Hoor al-Azim are the Karkheh River in Iran and the Tigris in Iraq, with an average depth of 5 meters. Apart from being a habitat for numerous birds and animals, its marshes offer unique beauty. Additionally, the wetland plays a crucial role in increasing air humidity and preventing dust storms. It’s noteworthy to mention that the gradual drying of Hoor al-Azim is the cause of recent sand and dust storms in Khuzestan Province and Iraq.

Meghan Wetland

Mighan is a wetland located in Markazi Province, situated between the cities of Arak and Davoodabad. The catchment area of Mighan wetland spans about 12,000 hectares, consisting of a large seasonal lake, three small islands in the center, flood plains, and a desert region—the formation of the wetland dates back approximately 65 to 55 million years. The lake’s water is highly saline and is known as the country’s most significant source of sodium sulfate. Due to the lack of underground water tables, the wetland’s plant cover is minimal, with sparse vegetation growth such as Atriplex and Alhagi. On the other hand, due to its unique climatic conditions, Meghan is a critical habitat for migratory birds in the country. Every year, over 120,000 migratory birds from 140 diverse species visit the wetland.

Shadegan Wetland

The Shadegan Wetland is one of Iran’s natural attractions located in Khuzestan province, nestled between the cities of Shadegan, Abadan, and Mahshahr. It is internationally renowned and covers approximately 400,000 hectares, a significant portion of Iran’s international wetlands. This wetland is a remnant of a once vast interconnected wetland system that stretched across the Mesopotamian plain in ancient times, extending up to the great marshes at the Iraq border. Before its current state, there were three wetlands in the area: Shadegan, Khormusi, and Khoralamiya. During the international wetlands convention in Ramsar in 1974, it was decided to merge these three wetlands and register them as the Shadegan Wetland. Named after the Shadegan district, the wetland is known by other names such as Khordorq, Dorqalfars, Hor al-Dorq, or Horalfalahiyah. This wetland is located at the southern end of the Khuzestan plain, downstream of the Jarrahi river basin, and connects to the Persian Gulf in the south.

Choghakhor Wetland in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari

In the past, the water area of Choghakhor Wetland was around 1,360 hectares, but this size increased to 2,300 hectares after the construction of the Choghakhor Dam. The water for Choghakhor is supplied by atmospheric precipitation and regional springs, such as Sibak, Tang Siah, Zordgan, Orgon, Golugerd, and others. Its depth reaches up to 3 meters during rainy seasons and high water times. Choghakhor, based on criteria such as bird diversity, fish species, threats, socio-economic characteristics, and conservation status, ranks eighth among the 75 significant wetlands in the country. This wetland hosts over 20 bird species, of which three are endangered with low populations, and two are globally threatened. With its high fish diversity, it serves as a breeding and habitat site for endangered fish species.

Yazd Sewage Lagoon

The Yazd Sewage Lagoon, as its name suggests, is a body of water formed by the release of water from the Yazd wastewater treatment plant in the heart of the desert. This water, lying between the lowlands and the sandy hills, has created a segmented wetland, providing a habitat for various birds and plants and a water source for desert animals. The lagoon spans about 3 kilometers, with its widest point being 1 kilometer, and is approximately 1145 meters above sea level. The surrounding climate, like other parts of the Yazd province, is dry and desert-like, with significant temperature variations between day and night. There are various ways to reach the lagoon, but the safest is by continuing along Nasr Street near the Quran Gate, which leads to the Baran Desert Camp. Notably, the path to the lagoon is unpaved and sandy, with no signage for guidance. Therefore, it’s advised to use an appropriate vehicle or seek help from professionals for the trip. Visit before it gets dark and ensure you leave or set up camp before nightfall. Desert camps are also a good accommodation option. It’s recommended to reach the lagoon before sunset and either go or set up a camp. The road lacks amenities and lighting, posing a risk of getting lost.

Amir Kalaye Wetland of Lahijan

One of the most beautiful and unique attractions of Lahijan is the Amir Kalaye International Wetland, often referred to as the only freshwater wetland in the Gilan province. What amplifies its allure is its proximity – just a kilometer from the Caspian Sea – yet it boasts fresh water sourced from springs bubbling from the wetland’s bed. Additionally, sea pistachio, blue water lily, marsh tulip, blue Maryam, lens plants, and short and tall reeds enhance its beauty, creating a dreamy landscape. The Amir Kalaye Wetland is also a haven for various reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and aquatic animals. During the cold seasons, it hosts rare migratory birds like the red-crested and white-headed ducks, grey pelicans, small and large avocets, plovers, and more, making it an ideal location for birdwatching.

Fereydunkenar Wetland

Covering 5,400 hectares, the Fereydunkenar Wetland is one of the most significant wetlands in the country, located in northern Iran, south of the city of Fereydunkenar. Recognized as one of the richest wetland ecosystems in the north of Iran due to its diverse collection of aquatic plants and animals, it’s a top destination for birdwatching enthusiasts and wildlife photographers. Annually, over 100,000 migratory birds visit this wetland, including various ducks and mallards, wild geese, pelicans, lapwings, herons, coots, egrets, falcons, and royal eagles. The most crucial species observed here is the critically endangered Siberian crane. Of its population in Iran, only one bird remains, aptly named “Hope,” who embarks on a long journey from Siberia to reach this wetland each year.

Lahijan's Soostan Wetland

Located southeast of Lahijan city and adjacent to a village of the same name, Soostan Wetland is one of Iran’s freshwater wetlands. It offers breathtaking beauty throughout the year. In spring and summer, its surface is covered with marsh plants, especially blue water lilies, giving it a picturesque appearance. In autumn and winter, the wetland becomes packed due to the abundant rain, shining like a gem amidst the beautiful landscape of Lahijan. This wetland is relatively less known among Lahijan’s attractions, and as a result, it remains pristine and lacks recreational amenities. However, it’s an excellent choice for a small family picnic. Here, one can enjoy the stunning sunset and immerse themselves in the wetland’s scenic beauty.

Kermanshah's Hashilan Wetland

One of the attractions in Kermanshah that draws many nature enthusiasts is Hashilan Wetland. “Hashilan,” in Kurdish, means “House of Snakes.” Situated 26 kilometers northwest of Kermanshah and at the southern foothills of Khorin Mountain, this 450-hectare wetland is home to numerous species like jackals, wild goats, foxes, green-headed ducks, coots, mallards, herons, white-winged terns, broad-billed sandpipers, pond turtles, marsh turtles, agamas, geckos, salamanders, and small fish. The presence of migratory birds during the cold seasons, especially with the onset of autumn rains, is a significant feature of Hashilan, attracting many birdwatchers. These birds travel from Central Asia to spend their winter here, making the wetland a dream destination for bird enthusiasts. The water source for Hashilan Wetland comes from a spring called “Sabz Ali” and from precipitation. The swamp also features over 110 small and large islands, which enhance its beauty.
Interestingly, these islands only cover about one hectare of its area. Additionally, aquatic plants cover the wetland’s surface. To reach Hashilan, one must travel north from the vicinity of Yavari village on the Kermanshah-Ravansar route, passing through the town before reaching the beautiful Hashilan.

Chort Lake or Miyanshe

This lake is located 300 kilometers from Tehran. By entering the Chort village via the Sari-Kiasar road, you can easily find the enchanting Chort Lake by asking the village residents. Its original name is “Miyanshe,” but most people know it as “Chort Lake.” The unique nature and captivating ecosystem of the area draw many travelers and tourists. The lake’s distinct appearance captivates any observer. Interestingly, this lake formed in 1939 when a water passage was blocked. Despite its shallow depth, it stands as one of the most beautiful lakes in Iran.

Koohgol Lake

Koohgol Lake is located 8 kilometers from Sisakht in Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province. To reach Koohgol, drive 8 kilometers from the road leading out of Sisakht towards the lake. After this, a 15-minute trek will bring you to the lake itself. Covering half a hectare with a depth of 15 meters, Koohgol is one of the largest lakes in the country’s west. Apart from its rich flora, the lake hosts fauna and is always hospitable to migrating birds.

Marmisho Lake

One of the best natural tourist attractions of West Azerbaijan is Marmisho Lake, situated 45 kilometers from Urmia City in the verdant area of Targour. The lake is in the Bani valley, at the foot of the border mountains between Iran and Turkey. Marmisho Lake offers a breathtakingly beautiful view and is among the best places for relaxation and serenity, captivating every visitor. The Nazluchay River originates from the border mountains between Iran and Turkey and eventually pours into Marmisho Lake. The lake’s formation is attributed to a mountain collapse caused by an earthquake, creating a natural dam that resulted in the current lake. The former residents of Marmisho were Christians, and the lake is named after a Christian leader, Benjamin Marshimon, dating back to around 1200 AH (Islamic calendar, corresponding to the late 18th century CE). Marmisho Lake is home to various animals and plants, for instance, trout, trees like willow, oak, pine, alder, and plants like gum, mountain tulip, sweet flag, wild lily, etc. The lake environment is calm, making it ideal for fishing except during breeding seasons.

Mekhrage Lake (or Mehrage Lake)

This lake is one of the attractions of Babak City, with a unique feature that draws many tourists. The reflection of the sky in the water creates a mesmerizing scene. For this reason, it’s called the giant natural mirror in Iran, rivaling the world’s most enormous natural mirror, “Salar de Uyuni,” in Bolivia. Undoubtedly, witnessing this lake makes you wish the view was infinite; however, the expanse of Mekhrage Lake is only 25 square kilometers. The lake spans 7 kilometers in length and reaches up to 5.5 kilometers in width. Another notable feature of the salt lake of Babak City is its shallow depth, allowing one to walk in it easily. The deepest part of the lake is only 30 centimeters. Mekhrage is considered one of Iran’s salt lakes, known as Chah Zangar Lake.