We present a validation analysis of a regional climate model coupled to a distributed one dimensional (1D) lake model for the Caspian Sea Basin. Two model grid spacings are tested, 50 and 20 km, the simulation period is 1989-2008 and the lateral boundary conditions are from the ERA-Interim reanalysis of observations. The model is validated against atmospheric as well as lake variables. The model performance in reproducing precipitation and temperature mean seasonal climatology, seasonal cycles and interannual variability is generally good, with the model results being mostly within the observational uncertainty range. The model appears to overestimate cloudiness and underestimate surface radiation, although a large observational uncertainty is found in these variables. The 1D distributed lake model (run at each grid point of the lake area) reproduces the observed lake-average sea surface temperature (SST), although differences compared to observations are found in the spatial structure of the SST, most likely as a result of the absence of 3 dimensional lake water circulations. The evolution of lake ice cover and near surface wind over the lake area is also reproduced by the model reasonably well. Improvements resulting from the increase of resolution from 50 to 20 km are most significant in the lake model. Overall the performance of the coupled regional climate-1D lake model system appears to be of sufficient quality for application to climate change scenario simulations over the Caspian Sea Basin.