With their shimmering waters and riveting reflections, lakes make for some of the most spectacular sights on Earth. Whether they are bordered by towering mountain ranges, overgrown forests, or arid and desolate deserts, there is always something magical about seeing a lake’s surroundings mirrored in its waters. Add in the mesmerizing shades, gleaming surfaces, as well as bright blue skies above, and it’s easy to see why the most beautiful lakes in the world are so sought after.
15. Lake Bled
Set in a scenic spot with lush forests surrounding it and the majestic Julian Alps looming in the background, Lake Bled’s reflective waters are as picturesque as they come. Add in the lovely little island with its Gothic church that lies at its heart, and it’s no wonder that the lake is one of Slovenia’s most popular tourist attractions.
Although it can get quite crowded, particularly in the summer months, Lake Bled is not to be missed out on; a boat trip across its peaceful waters to the island is simply a must. Whether blanketed in snow or decked out in autumnal colors, Lake Bled is a special place to visit at any time of year.
14. Lake Kawaguchi
With the iconic snow-covered cone of Mount Fuji reflected in its waters, it’s fair to say that Lake Kawaguchi is blessed with one of the most phenomenal and famous views in Japan. Due to its marvelous scenery, the lake has long attracted visitors to its shores. Many take boat trips around its dark blue waters, snapping photo after photo of the majestic peak.
One of the Fuji Five Lakes, Kawaguchi is also noted for its relaxing hot springs and beautiful cherry blossoms that hug the lakeshore. Immortalized in Hokusai’s gorgeous woodblock prints, Lake Kawaguchi with Mount Fuji in the background has long been a photographer’s dream.
13. Lake Tahoe
Straddling the states of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the whole of North America. Formed over two million years ago, the crystal-clear waters of the lake lie in the Sierra Nevada, with majestic mountains and forests all around it.
With skiing and snowboarding to be enjoyed in the winter and hiking and water sports in the summer, there is a myriad of incredible recreational opportunities on offer. In addition, there are lakeside casinos, flashy hotels and ski resorts for visitors to stay at.
With so much wonderful nature on show and so many fun activities to try out, it’s no surprise that Lake Tahoe is such a major tourist destination.
12. Laguna Colorada
Located high on the Andean Plateau in Bolivia, the rusty red waters of Laguna Colorada – or ‘red lagoon’ – make for an impressive sight. While local legend has it that the ruddy hues of the lake are the spilled blood of the gods, its distinctive coloring is, in fact, due to the algae that reside in its shallow waters.
Dotted about its reddish surface, visitors can spot gleaming white borax islands and pink flamingos, while the clear blue skies and glimmering salt deposits along the shoreline add yet more color to the already spectacular scene. Located just a stone’s throw away from the Chilean border in Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, this beautiful lake and its kaleidoscopic colors needs to be seen to be believed.
11. Dead Sea
Bordered by Israel and Palestine on one side and Jordan on the other, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on Earth. Set amongst the desolate Judean Desert, the lake’s blue waters and salt-lined shore stand out delightfully against the arid, moon-like landscapes around it.
While its staggeringly salty waters make swimming a challenge due to its natural buoyancy, the lake’s high mineral content has long seen it heralded for its healing properties. Thanks to its striking beauty and super salty waters, the Dead Sea has welcomed visitors to its shores for well over two millennia.
10. Lake Pichola
With elegant palaces, marble temples, and magnificent mansions strung along its shores and islands, Lake Pichola in the Indian state of Rajasthan makes for an enchanting sight. Despite its natural appearance, the lake is actually human-made and was built in the heart of Udaipur – the ‘City of Lakes’ – all the way back in 1362.
Over the centuries, the sumptuous City Palace was built along its banks, while the lovely Lake Garden Palace was erected on one of its islands. The real show-stopper, however, are the blindingly bright white walls of Lake Palace, which are mesmerizingly reflected in the waters of the lake.
9. Lake Baikal
The deepest and oldest lake on Earth, Lake Baikal is reputed to boast some of the clearest and cleanest waters around. To top it all off, the enormous freshwater lake contains more water than all the Great Lakes in North America combined.
With so many accolades to its name, it’s no wonder that Lake Baikal is nicknamed the ‘Pearl of Siberia.’ While the lake makes for fabulous viewing when the summer sun glints off its dark waters, it is no less impressive in winter when it freezes up two meters deep in parts. Whether it’s ice skating across the surface, hiking along the scenic shoreline, or climbing in the mountain ranges that border it, Lake Baikal is a nature lover’s dream.
8. Lake Titicaca
The largest lake in the whole of South America, the glittering waters of Lake Titicaca lie more than 3,800 meters above sea level. Nestled amongst the Andes, with snow-capped peaks spotted in the distance, the seemingly never-ending lake now straddles the border between Bolivia and Peru.
Besides taking in the stunning scenery, visitors can go hiking along the lakeshore, take boat trips to floating islands, or visit age-old Inca ruins. While many people use the lively tourist town of Copacabana as a base, others prefer to stay in quieter and more relaxed shoreside towns. Long a popular holiday destination, Lake Titicaca certainly has something for everyone to enjoy.
7. Lake Pehoe
Undoubtedly one of the most breathtakingly beautiful lakes in the world, Lake Pehoe looks stunning when viewed with the domineering Torres del Paine mountain range behind it. Located in a remote part of Chilean Patagonia, the lake takes some getting to, but is well worth the effort once you see the gorgeous glaciers, sparkling waterfalls, and majestic mountains that lie nearby.
Set in Torres del Paine National Park, Lake Pehoe’s vivid blue waters and beautiful backdrop look astonishing at any time of day, with sunset particularly magical.
6. Inle Lake
Nestled amongst the scenic Shan Hills, Inle Lake is a fantastic place to visit, whether you’re into history and culture or spectacular natural sights. Besides being bordered by centuries-old monasteries and temples, the lake also sports a number of sleepy fishermen’s villages, which are picturesquely set upon bamboo stilts.
Now a popular tourist destination, these lakeside communities and their floating markets proudly exhibit Myanmar’s rich culture. The second-largest lake in the country, Inle Lake is home to lots of delightful scenery. A wonderful way to see its many sights is to take a boat trip around its tranquil waters.
5. Crater Lake
The deepest lake in the whole of the States, Crater Lake is set in the caldera of a volcano that collapsed long ago. Famed for its deep blue color and crystal-clear waters, the lake makes for some jaw-dropping photos with the crumbling craggy cliffs that surround it.
Besides its photogenic qualities, the lake and its surroundings offer untold recreational activities, with hiking, cycling, and camping being popular pastimes. The main feature of the national park of the same name, Crater Lake is one of Oregon’s top attractions.
4. Lake Wakatipu
Located in the South Island of New Zealand, Lake Wakatipu is renowned for its spectacular setting, with rugged mountains surrounding it. Of these, the fittingly named Remarkables mountain range is undoubtedly the pick of the lot.
Tucked away along the glacial lake’s scenic shorelines is the adventure capital of Queensland. From here, visitors can arrange to go hiking, paragliding, and white-water rafting amongst the incredible nature that surrounds Lake Wakatipu. For an unforgettable view of the gorgeous lake, adrenaline junkies can go sky-diving above its sparkling waters.
3. Lake Como
Lying in the north of Italy, Lake Como has been a favorite haunt of the rich and famous ever since Roman times. Surrounded by forest-clad hills and towering mountains, its gorgeous setting and sun-kissed shores make it perfect for rest and relaxation.
Lining its dark blue waters are elegant lakeshore villas and palaces, with picturesque towns and villages dotted here and there. Add in all the marvelous food on offer, celebrity spotting in Bellagio, and hiking in the mountains, and it is easy to see why it’s such a popular destination.
2. Lago de Atitlan
Although often overlooked, Lake Atitlan in the Guatemalan Highlands certainly ranks amongst the most beautiful lakes in the world. Lined by three immense volcanoes, its impressive setting in a caldera really takes some beating. While it is rightfully known for its splendid scenery, the lake is also a fantastic place to learn more about Mayan culture.
This is because many of the lakeside communities still wear traditional clothes and worship Mayan deities, while centuries-old archaeological sites can be found dotted about. Offering up the perfect mix of history, culture, and oh-so-beautiful nature, Lake Atitlan is the highlight of any visit to Guatemala.
1. Moraine Lake
Hidden in the delightfully named Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake in Banff National Park makes for an unforgettable sight. Renowned around the world for its unique shade of azure blue waters, the glacial lake stands out magically against the snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains all around it.
While paddling around its tranquil waters is a wonderful way to take in the arresting scenery, hiking up to one of the numerous viewpoints on offer is equally rewarding. As well as being one of Canada’s most iconic natural sights, Moraine Lake is also one of the most famous and beautiful lakes in the world, thanks to its unique color and breathtaking setting.