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Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran

Neor Lake: An Untouched Natural Attraction

For many nature enthusiasts, visiting pristine natural attractions like Neor Lake is an exhilarating experience. Located near cities such as Ardabil and Khalkhal, Neor Lake remains relatively undiscovered compared to other nearby attractions. Situated in the foothills of the Talesh Mountains, it offers a delightful setting for nature stays.

Neor Lake is located in the northwest of Iran, straddling the provinces of Gilan and Ardabil. Surrounded by high mountains, the area is characterized by a cool, rainy climate. Throughout the year, many tourists traveling to Gilan and Ardabil provinces make a point to visit Neor Lake. A visit to Neor Lake promises surprising beauty in its surroundings. If you’re passionate about exploring untouched and pristine natural spots, join us as we introduce you to Neor Lake.

Neor Lake Ardabil

Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran
Neor Lake in Ardabil, Iran

Neor Lake is a scenic spot in the provinces of Ardabil and Gilan, located near the Asalem to Khalkhal road, on the border between the two provinces. The lake essentially consists of two separate sections that join together in the spring when the mountain snow melts, forming Neor Lake. The depth of different parts of Neor Lake varies between five to 13 meters in spring. The smaller section of the lake covers about 40 hectares, while the larger part spans approximately 180 hectares.

Protected under the auspices of the country’s environmental organization, Neor Lake’s ecosystem and climate are considered highly significant. The diversity of plant and animal species around the lake has attracted the attention of experts. More than 70 species of aromatic and medicinal plants cover the area around Neor Lake, including clover, chamomile, tulips, thistle, and plantain. The area also boasts over 90 animal species, including bears, martens, horses, various bats, and domestic animals like cows and sheep.

Due to its location in lush, forested, and pleasant climate areas, Neor Lake attracts numerous nature lovers and tourists throughout the year. Its relative obscurity compared to other natural attractions in the area means Neor Lake has remained pristine and untouched; however, the number of nature enthusiasts and tourists visiting this area is increasing day by day. The surroundings of Neor Lake are also among the most important summer habitats for nomadic tribes.

Discovering Neor Lake offers an escape into one of Iran’s lesser-known natural paradises. Its untouched beauty, diverse ecosystem, and serene environment make it a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the natural wonders of Iran.

Where is Neor Lake?

Neor Lake is a picturesque natural attraction located on the border between the Gilan and Ardabil provinces, nestled within the Talesh Mountains’ slopes. Recognized as one of the most beautiful natural sites in northwest Iran, it is easily accessible from both Gilan and Ardabil provinces. Due to the presence of a well-maintained asphalt road from Ardabil province, most visitors access the lake from Ardabil and Khalkhal.

To reach Neor Lake, you must navigate a winding path along the Talesh mountain slopes. Climbing these mountains leads to the lake, attracting hikers and nature enthusiasts. The route from the lake to the Subatan highlands is among Iran’s premier nature trails.

Access Routes to Neor Lake

Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran
Asalem to Khalkhal Road, Ardabil (photo by Wikipedia)

The access route to Neor Lake lies midway on the road from Ardabil to Khalkhal. To reach this lake, you should head from Ardabil towards Khalkhal. If you’re traveling from Tehran or cities outside the East and West Azerbaijan provinces, make your way to Zanjan and follow the south-to-north road from Khalkhal to Ardabil.

Approximately 40 kilometers from Ardabil, near the village of “Boudalalou” and on the east side of the Ardabil-Khalkhal road, a winding path leads to Neor Lake and nearby villages. After traveling 12 kilometers on this road, you’ll find an exit on the right that takes you to the village of “Dash Bolagh” and the southern part of Neor Lake, continuing towards the lake’s northern section. The village of “Abbasabad” is also located along this lake route.

For those coming from Gilan province, head towards the Lisar forests and Subatan highland, from where a winding western route leads to the lake. These roads, passing through mountainous terrain, offer some of the most beautiful scenic drives in northwest Iran.

Recreational Activities at Neor Lake

Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran
Camping at Neor Lake in Ardabil

Walking along the dirt road surrounding Neor Lake and enjoying the aromatic mountain plants is a pleasure for many tourists. The beautiful views of the Talesh foothills next to the lake create memorable experiences. You can photograph the surroundings of Neor Lake to capture your memories. In winter, a portion of the lake’s water freezes to a depth of 80 centimeters, turning it into a large ice skating rink.

If you enjoy hiking, you can head towards the peaks around Neor Lake to reach stunning views of the Caspian Sea and the northern forests of Iran. Various hiking trails are available around the lake, with “Baghroudagh” peak being one of the most famous for climbing. This peak, standing close to 3200 meters tall, is located on the northern slope of Neor Lake.

The area around the lake is also ideal for mountain biking, attracting enthusiasts. Many cyclists cover the approximately 20-kilometer distance from the lake to the Subatan highland in the southeast during spring and summer, enjoying one of Iran’s most famous cycling routes. Horse riding and boating are other popular sports activities at Neor Lake. While horses are available for rent around the lake, if you wish to go boating, you must bring your inflatable boat.


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Swimming in the lake is not recommended due to muddy parts that resemble marshes, making swimming prohibited. Neor Lake is also a prime bird-watching destination in Iran, where wildlife enthusiasts can enjoy watching various bird species during migration seasons. Neor Lake and its surrounding areas are protected no-hunting zones, ensuring the safety of animals and the ecosystem.

For many tourists, spending a day outdoors in nature is a delightful activity. This region, with its untouched beauty and pleasant summer climate, offers an ideal setting for a one-day picnic in nature. So, if you’re a fan of this leisure activity, definitely plan to spend a day near Neor Lake during your trip.

The Ideal Habitat for Fish

Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran
Fishing in Neor Lake

Neor Lake is recognized for its abundant and fresh water, creating a perfect environment for fish growth. Additionally, Gammarus, a type of crustacean, thrives in the lake, playing a crucial role in purifying Neor Lake’s water. To manage the Gammarus population, rainbow trout farming is artificially conducted in Neor Lake.

During the warmer months, small rainbow trout are released into Neor Lake and reach ideal fishing conditions by the end of summer. As a result, summer, especially September, is considered the prime time for fishing in Neor Lake. Fishing enthusiasts find Neor Lake particularly appealing, and fishing competitions are held in the area towards the end of summer.

If you’re looking to try your hand at fishing in Neor Lake, it’s advisable to visit before the weather turns cold. Rainbow trout in the lake are not resistant to cold, and before the onset of freezing temperatures and ice formation, they are collected from the lake. With the arrival of warm weather, farmed fish are once again released into the lake. Rainbow trout is among the tastiest types of trout.

Other aquatic life, including leeches, planktons, clams, otters, water frogs, striped frogs, and various mollusks, also inhabit Neor Lake and its surroundings.

Best Time to Visit Neor Lake

Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran
Visiting Neor Lake in Summer

Due to its cold, mountainous environment with continuous precipitation, Neor Lake is full throughout the year, maintaining a high water level. The area is cold during autumn and winter, requiring warm clothing for those wishing to appreciate Neor Lake’s beauty in these seasons. Autumn brings a colorful and picturesque nature around Neor Lake, and in winter, the lake’s surface freezes over.

Spring and summer are the best seasons to visit Neor Lake. However, due to the cold climate of the region, spring in Neor Lake’s nature starts from mid-May. This time of the year sees the surrounding meadows turn green and bloom with flowers, offering very pleasant and suitable weather. As summer progresses, the temperature around the lake warms up, but the average summer temperature does not exceed 25 degrees Celsius.

For those interested in camping by Neor Lake, the long days of summer are ideal for planning a visit. The lush nature and abundant springs around the lake make it perfect for walks and exploration during the summer. In spring, you can also enjoy the beauty around the lake, but be sure to bring warm clothing as the temperature can vary.

The vegetation around Neor Lake is diverse and eye-catching, forming part of a protected area. Given the prohibition on hunting in this region, animals and birds feel secure, allowing you to witness beautiful wildlife scenes during the appropriate seasons and bird migration times.

Amenities at Neor Lake

Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran
The Area Around Neor Lake

The area around Neor Lake is among the most pristine and untouched natural regions in northwest Iran, lacking specific facilities but offering an ideal choice for nature lovers who prefer serene landscapes.

Around Neor Lake, there are only a few camping platforms, a restroom, and a small kiosk with limited items. For various activities and camping in nature, it’s necessary to bring the required equipment and gear; carrying sufficient food and water is also essential.

Camping at Neor Lake

Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran
Camping at Neor Lake, Ardabil, Iran

Given the stunning natural attractions around Neor Lake, spending a night in its vicinity can greatly enhance your appreciation of the area’s beauty. For an overnight stay near Neor Lake, camping is your go-to option. Due to the scarcity of facilities around the lake, it’s essential to bring all necessary camping gear for an outdoor adventure. This mountainous area, even during warmer seasons, experiences a drop in temperature as the sun sets and night begins.

Essential items such as warm clothing, sleeping bags, windbreakers, tents, and suitable ground mats are crucial for camping near Neor Lake. Don’t forget to pack enough food and water. This region is suitable for camping and offers high security; however, if desired, hotels and traditional accommodations near the lake are available for overnight stays.

Attractions Around Neor Lake

Neor Lake: A Serene Destination in Iran
Varzan Waterfall

The attractions around Neor Lake are significant natural sites that you can explore during your visit to the lake. The Sobatan highland is approximately 20 kilometers southeast of the lake, with a dirt road leading from the northeast part of the lake to this picturesque highland. If you have an off-road vehicle, navigating this dirt road becomes much easier, though it’s also accessible by other vehicles.

Traveling from Neor Lake to Sobatan, you will pass through the slopes of the Talesh Mountains, witnessing the most beautiful flower-covered slopes, abundant springs, and lush meadows. The Sobatan highland area itself boasts natural attractions that will double the pleasure of your trip.

The Varzan Waterfall, located in the northwest of the Sobatan highland, is along the Varzan River, which originates from the Lisar River and flows down to the Varzan Waterfall. This waterfall stands about 30 meters tall, surrounded by steep rocks. Above the waterfall, there is a pool suitable for swimming, and the area’s climate in summer is perfect for taking a dip.

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The Lisar forests form a vast part of the forested area east of Neor Lake, considered one of the most beautiful and pleasant regions in Gilan province. Various plant species such as hornbeam, alder, beech, maple, poplar, and wild pomegranate, wild tomato, blackberry, nettle, and clover can be found here. These forests, located in the north of the Talesh county, attract many tourists throughout the year.

Another notable natural attraction near Neor Lake is the Asalem to Khalkhal road. This road lies to the south of the lake and is among the most beautiful roads in Iran. In spring and summer, the road is filled with poppy flowers, and the highland villages are at their greenest. Traveling this road will leave you with unforgettable memories.

The Almas Pass, on the Asalem to Khalkhal road, offers the most breathtaking natural views along this route. Tall trees flank both sides of the pass, with parts of the pass shaded by trees and completely dark. Rural and nomadic homes in the vicinity of this beautiful pass are a sight to behold.

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SURFIRAN Editorial Team

SURFIRAN is an Iranian tour operator and travel agency offering tour packages to those interested in Iran. It provides the tourists with services needed to travel to Iran, offers tours across the country, and assists the tourists in obtaining Iranian visas.

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