The World's Most Beautiful Lakes
Published on: September 18th, 2017
Last modified: March 8th, 2022
A lakeside retreat can be the perfect escape, especially if crystalline waters, freshwater swims and scenic views are high on your agenda.
Take a look at the world's most beautiful lakes, ranging from underwater caves to glacial lagoons.
These lakeside stays will make you want to update your bucket list...
1) The Lake District, Argentina
Explore the true natural wilderness of Argentina here at the Lake District. From a snow-capped peak horizon to beguiling crystal-clear lakes and forested slopes, this is an undeniably picture-perfect region whose secluded and serene setting makes a delightful place to sit back, relax and soak up those immaculate lakeside views.
Lovers of the great outdoors will also be in their element here with hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and horse riding just some of the activities you can get involved in.
2) Lake Nakuru, Kenya
If birdwatching is a passion of yours then look no further than Lake Nakuru. This Kenyan National Park is a haven for birds with countless Pink Flamingos found here, creating a colourful and captivating vision.
Apart from a healthy flamingo population, Nakuru boasts other exciting animal encounters with its impressive Rhino Sanctuary and other Big Five creatures.
3) Lake Titicaca, Peru
For a sacred lakeside retreat, head to Peru’s Titicaca. Regarded as the highest navigable lake on the planet, Titicaca has earned the name ‘sea in the sky’ and is believed to be where the founders of the Incan civilisation rose and came to be.
Still as spiritual today as ever, the extremely traditional Uros Indians reside on these deep, calm, blue waters on reed-made islands which they have built themselves.
4) Inle Lake, Myanmar
Discover Myanmar’s tranquil highlands and the famous leg-rowing fishermen here on Inle Lake. Rich in tradition, this scenic area is home to the regional Intha people who are known for their unusual leg-rowing technique on traditional boats.
Besides watching locals pass by, you can also visit floating markets and the famousPhaung Daw Oo Pagoda. For adventurous souls, the enveloping lush countryside offers excellent trekking.
5) Lake Bled, Slovenia
It would be hard to find a more fairytale destination than Lake Bled, with its disney-esque church island and looming clifftop castle surrounded by the verdant, forested mountains of the Julian Alps. Charmingly, the island is reached by pletna boat (a kind of huge gondola) or rowboat, as motorized craft are not allowed on the lake.
6) Lake Taupo, New Zealand
More an inland sea than a lake, Taupo is roughly the size of Singapore, forming in a caldera caused by a volcanic eruption roughly 2000 years ago. Many of the beaches fringing this typical New Zealand lake have warm geothermal currents, alongside geysers, hot mud pools and boiling craters.
Adventure seekers will find plenteous opportunities for skiing, sailing and kayaking, whilst the more culturally inclined can enjoy a boat trip to the Maori rock carvings at Mine Bay. Don’t miss the nearby Huka Falls or the charming lakeside town of Taupo.
7) Udaipur, India
A devastatingly romantic sight is the serene lake city of Udaipur with its iconic palaces that seem to float on the surrounding shining water. Tumbling buildings and ornate architecture flow down to the serene water’s edge, surrounded on all sides by the wooded Aravalli Hills.
The best of the rest
8) Lake Malawi, Malawi
Providing landlocked Malawi with golden sandy beaches and wonderful snorkelling and diving opportunities, Lake Malawi is the shimmering centrepiece of this African country. Fringed by fishing villages, this freshwater lake enjoys an unspoilt ambience with bundles of local charm.
9) Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Wrapped in a sublime setting of volcanoes and highland scenery, this gorgeous Guatemalan lake offers a wide array of activities. Spend your time here horse riding and cycling along the shore, paragliding high above the surface or getting closer to those sparkling waters with a fun scuba dive, kayak or lancha (boat) ride.
10) Jokulsarlon, Iceland
This vast glacial lake is one of the most beautiful parts of southern Iceland. Located in Europe’s largest national park, Vatnajokull, the lake is home to a colony of seals who can be seen popping up for air between the icebergs. Walk out to the lake’s estuary and you’ll find an unearthly black sand beach covered with white sparkling chunks of ice.
11) Loch Ness, Scotland
Scotland‘s most mystical lake and home to the infamous Loch Ness Monster (so the stories go), this sparkling lake also boasts the beautiful crumbling Urquhart Castle, dolphin spotting cruises, world class whisky tastings, fishing, hiking and superb terrain for hiking and mountain biking.
12) Laguna Colorada, Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia
Discover the bloody red image of Laguna Colorada in Bolivia’s otherworldly Altiplano. The water’s red sediments and algae create a reddish hue, while the surrounding scenery of rolling Andean mountains and craggy rocks enhances this exceptional view. What’s more, the rarest type of flamingo is also found here.
13) Lake Bratan, Ubud, Bali
Set in the cool mountains and serenity of northern Bali, about an hour from Ubud, Lake Bratan boasts the major water temple Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Seemingly floating on the lake, this spiritual landmark is dedicated to worshipping the lake and river goddess Dewi Batari Ulun Danu, and attracts locals and tourists alike.
14) The Lake District, England
The glaciated landscapes of the English Lake District are at once charmingly bucolic and thrillingly dramatic, with their deep U-shaped valleys, steep ridges and radiant lakes. Head for Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater in the spring to see the daffodils that inspired William Wordsworth’s famous poem.
15) The Cenote Lakes, Mexico
A swim in Mexico’s Cenote lakes is a magical experience. These limestone sinkholes fill the Yucatan Peninsula. Over 7,000 are found here, classing them as one of the region’s most stunning highlights. The clear, cool, turquoise waters create natural swimming pools where you can enjoy a refreshing dip, snorkel or simply relax.
16) Lake Como, Italy
A popular retreat since the days of the Roman Empire, to this day everyone from aristocrats to A-listers can enjoy the tranquil waters and stunning lakeside towns of Italy‘s Lake Como. One of Europe’s deepest lakes, it is shaped like an inverted ‘Y’ and overlooked by the Rhaetian Alps.
17) Lake Pukaki, New Zealand
The striking ice blue waters of Lake Pukaki are the result of erosion from the Tasman and Hooker Glaciers, sparkling away under the watch of New Zealand‘s enormous Mount Cook. But don’t take our word for it – this region is a favourite location for celebrated Kiwi filmmaker Sir Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame.
18) Tonle Sap Lake, Siem Reap & Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Glide along Tonle Sap, Cambodia‘s Great Lake, for not only a scenic but a cultural encounter too. Just 45 minutes from Siem Reap, this lake serves as a home and working place for many communities. Take a private tour of the lake to enjoy the scenery and see the goings-on of daily life in the floating villages’ schools, markets and police stations.