The Most Beautiful Lakes in the World

From small alpine lakes to giant inland seas, lakes offer some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities. Regardless of where you live, they always make any landscape more spectacular. Let’s take a look at 10 of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

1. Moraine Lake, Alberta, Canada

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Photo credit: brian.ch on Flickr

Canada has no shortage of incredible sceneries, and lakes are important features almost anywhere you go. And some of the most spectacular of them are located in the Banff National Park.

Moraine Lake is so beautiful, that it has been featured on the backside of the 1969 and 1979 issues of the Canadian Twenty Dollar bill. It is a glacial lake located in Banff National Park, in the Canadian Rockies. Lying at an altitude of 1,884 meters (6,181 feet) in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake offers incredible views of the Mount Fay, Wenkchemna Peaks, Mount Allen, Mount Bowlen, and Mount Babel.

2. Viti Lake, Iceland

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Photo credit: messicanbeer on Flickr

When creating a list of beautiful places around the world, Iceland almost always makes it to the list. Its dramatic natural wonders, the surreal landscape, the northern lights, are just a few of the reasons that make Iceland magical.

Lakes are no exception to the rule. One of them is Viti Lake, in Northern Iceland, which was formed inside a circular crater. The lake is filled with blue water, surrounded by colorful mountains and a geothermal area, creating a surreal and otherworldly landscape.

3. Crater Lake, Oregon

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Photo credit: Stuart Seeger on Flickr

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, reaching a maximum depth of 595 meters (1,952 feet). A caldera lake formed after the collapse of Mount Mazama, it gets its waters from snowmelt and precipitation, which also makes it one of the clearest lakes in the country.

Set along the Pacific Crest Trail, it has been featured in the movie “Wild”, which tells the story of a woman who decides to hike the 1,100-mile long trail alone after suffering a personal loss.

4. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

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Photo credit: Bit Boy on Flickr

Another lake that is a favorite among movie makers, Lake Tahoe was featured in “The Godfather: Part II”. The famous house from which Michael Corleone ran his empire was located on the shores of Lake Tahoe.

And no wonder, because Lake Tahoe is a gem of a lake. It is actually quite large, 490 square kilometers (191 square miles) in size, straddling the border between California and Nevada. Lake Tahoe is also very deep, the second deepest lake in the United States, after Crater Lake.

The lake is very popular among tourists in all seasons, and many world-class ski resorts are located in the mountains that surround it. Highways make it easily accessible from all areas.

5. Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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Photo credit: lifacolor on Flickr

Let’s now take a detour to the Southern hemisphere and go to New Zealand, one of the most beautiful countries in the world, which also boasts many incredible lakes.

One of these lakes is Lake Wanaka, located on the South Island in the Otago region, at an altitude of 300 meters (984 feet). Fed by the Matukituki and Makarora Rivers, it was formed 10,000 years ago by glacial erosion.

Nowadays, Lake Wanaka is a popular vacation destination, used for fishing, swimming, and boating. The nearby mountains and fast-flowing rivers also offer adventure opportunities year-round.

6. Lake Matheson, New Zealand

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Photo credit: Arran Bee on Flickr

Located on the West coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Lake Matheson is a small jewel. It is particularly famous for its reflected views of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. The area around the lake is surrounded by native kahikatea (white pine), rimu (red pine) trees, flax, and a variety of New Zealand fern species. The lake itself is home to many water birds, and contains long-finned eel.

Want to immerse yourself in nature? Take the 1.5-hour Lake Matheson Walk, and get inspired by the unsurpassed views and mountain reflections from the forested shores of the lake.

7. Nahuel Huapi Lake, Argentina

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Photo credit: Cathy Arkle on Flickr

Nahuel Huapi Lake is located in northern Patagonia, Argentina, at the foothills of the Andes. The lake is part of the oldest National Park in Argentina, Nahuel Huapi National Park, which was established in 1934.

The lake is surrounded by mountains, forming one of the most beautiful landscapes in South America, consisting of coves, beaches, dramatic cliffs, and wooded peninsulas. The lake even has its own monster legend. Rumors of the existence of Nahuelito, the lake’s Nessie, can be traced back to the beginning of the 20th century. Also worth visiting is the picturesque town of San Carlos de Bariloche, on Nahuel Huapi Lake’s southeastern shore, which is the gateway to the region.

8. Lake Como, Italy

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Photo credit: Donna on Flickr

Lake Como is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. It is a magnet for celebrities, many of whom have or have had homes on the lake’s shores, including Madonna, George Clooney, Ronaldinho, Gianni Versace, and Sylvester Stallone. Located in Lombardy, it is the deepest lake in Italy, and the third largest by surface area.

The lake boasts an impressive number of cultural and artistic hallmarks, as it’s been a retreat for wealthy people since Roman times. The landscape around Lake Como has been depicted in the work of 800 Romantic artists, including Franz Liszt, Gordon Byron, and Stendhal. The shoreline is dotted with beautiful palaces and villas, such as Villa Olmo, Villa Serbelloni, and Villa del Balbianello.

9. Mývatn, Iceland

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Photo credit: Rob Oo on Flickr

Located 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the North of Viti Lake, Mývatn is much larger, covering an area of 37 square kilometers (14 square miles). It is a shallow lake, located in a region of active volcanism. Mývatn and the wetlands that surround it boast an exceptionally rich fauna of water birds.

The landscape around Mývatn is dominated by volcanic landforms, including lava pillars and rootless vents. Running enthusiasts will be happy to know that a marathon around the lake takes place during summer.

 

10. Lake Annecy, France

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Photo credit: Sandra Vos on Flickr

Last but not least, Lake Annecy is a French Alpine jewel which is known as “Europe’s cleanest lake”, because of environmental regulations introduced in the 1960s. The lake is located near the border between Switzerland and France, 42 kilometers (26 miles) South of Geneva.

The gateway to the lake is the city of Annecy, considered one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the world. The quaint and laid back old town in Annecy is an area of pedestrian-only lanes along a canal that you will love immediately. The lake is a popular tourist destination, known for its water sports and swimming. The smaller villages around the lake are also accessible from Annecy by cruise boats, and are definitely worth a visit.

 

So these are 10 of the most beautiful lakes in the world. From Canada to Patagonia and from Iceland to Italy, they all offer breathtaking sceneries and are worthy of being on your bucket list.


About the author

Lakepedia is an online encyclopedia of lakes, which aims to help travelers discover new vacation destinations, nearby lakes, and to increase awareness about the importance of inland bodies of water.

One Comment on “The Most Beautiful Lakes in the World

  1. Yes they are all beautiful, but so is the English Lake District in our beautiful county of Cumbria so please don’t forget us!

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