50 of the world’s most beautiful lakes

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November 15, 2020
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November 15, 2020

Panoramic view at Pink lake at sunset light

These days we’re all dreaming about traveling again. Why do you love travel? Is it about rare architecture or world-class museums? Food you’ve never tried before? Immersing yourself in a different culture? Or could it be about experiencing amazing natural phenomena such as animal migrations, gorgeous beaches…or hauntingly beautiful lakes? 

Some lakes shine in winter, and others in summer. Some are beautiful because of the simplicity of the surrounding landscape—while the beauty of others can’t be separated from the grand geological features surrounding them. 

Whatever your preferences, we feel certain you’ll find plenty of lakes on this list that you’ll want to put on your travel list.

Here are 50 photos of gorgeous bodies of water all around the world.

Lake Baikal, Russia
Weeraporn Puttiwongrak/iStock

1. Lake Baikal, Russia

When this nearly mile-deep lake freezes in the frigid Siberian winter (the ice is so thick you could drive a car on it), methane gas that rises from the lake’s floor creates gorgeous patterns in the ice.

Gurudongmar Lake
Roop_Dey / iStock

2. Gurudongmar Lake, India

Located at nearly 18,000 feet above sea level—making this one of the highest lakes in the world—this beautiful alpine lake remains frozen for over six months out of the year.

Lake Yamdrok
MuYeeTing

3. Lake Yamdrok, Tibet

Yamdrok (which means “turquoise” in English) is a sacred lake to Tibetans. The long, slender body of water is surrounded by a beautifully austere landscape of hills and snow-capped mountains.

Lake Wuhua Hai
Chensiyuan / Wikimedia Commons

4. Lake Wuhua Hai, China

“Five Flower Lake” is located within the spectacular Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its crystal-clear waters reveal fallen tree trunks lying on the lake bottom.

Diablo Lake
Alex Blessing / iStock

5. Diablo Lake, North Cascade Mountains, Washington

Nope, this isn’t photoshopped. Diablo Lake’s unwordly turquoise water is caused by suspended rock particles that sift into the lake after being ground up by surrounding glaciers.

Lake Bled, Slovenia
mihtiander / iStock

6. Lake Bled, Slovenia

Looking straight out of a fairytale, this aquamarine lake in the Julian Alps is best known for the island in its middle (thanks, Instagram!), which is home to a centuries-old, red-roofed church.

Lake Pichola
VladimirSklyarov / iStock

7. Lake Pichola, India

Gleaming Lake Pichola, surrounded by the city of Jaipur, is a man-made lake that was first developed in 1362 AD. Over the centuries, marble palaces and temples have been built around the lake and on its four islands.

Crater Lake
zrfphoto / iStock

8. Crater Lake, Oregon

Gorgeous, circular Crater Lake is, yes, a lake formed in a caldera after volcanic activity. It’s one of the deepest lakes in the world — the deepest in the Western Hemisphere, in fact. The purity of the water and the beauty of the surrounding landscape make it one of the most stunning natural phenomenons in the United States.

Lake Powell
Sean Pavone / iStock

9. Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona

Lake Powell is a reservoir that, sadly, drowned spectacular canyon lands after a dam was built on the Colorado River. That being said, the tops of the canyons are still visible ,and myriad inlets make this a very intriguing and beautiful lake to explore.

Lake Como
Leila Kitlaeva / iStock

10. Lake Como, Italy

Colorful historic villas line the shores of Lake Como, and steep, forested mountains rise high behind them. The lake has been popular since Roman times as a retreat for artists and aristocrats.

Lake Lucerne
Xantana / iStock

11. Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

Quaint lakeshore villages and the snowy Swiss Alps reflected in its serene blue waters? Check. Lake Lucerne is another alpine wonder.

Rossvatnet Lake
Alexandre Patchine / iStock

12. Rossvatnet, Norway

You practically couldn’t throw a dart in Norway and not hit a spectacular lake, but Rossvatnet—which is Norway’s second-largest lake—offers a simple beauty made up of land rolling gently away from the lakeshore, and views of distant snowy peaks.

Sand Harbor at Lake Tahoe, Nevada
iStock

13. Lake Tahoe, California/Nevada

Stunning Lake Tahoe, ringed by trees and surrounded by snowy mountains in the distance, is one of North American’s ancient lakes and has the distinction of being the deepest lake after Crater Lake.

Lake Superior
csterken / iStock

14. Lake Superior

Breathtaking in its scope and size, this great inland sea can be explored from many angles. In the winter, visitors trek to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin, where magnificent ice caves await them.

Melissani Lake
kwasny221 / iStock

15. Melissani Lake, Greece

Melissani Lake is located below ground level inside a soaring cave—like the cenotes of the Yucatan—and its impossibly clear waters are (of course) a popular tourist attraction.

General Carrera Lake
Erlantz Pérez Rodríguez

16. General Carrera Lake, Chile

The largest lake in Chile is the keeper of a spectacular secret. The lake’s wave action against marble cliffs on its shores, over millennia, has carved out truly breathtaking caves, columns, and other formations that visitors can explore on commercial tours or by kayak.

Lake Bacalar
diegocardini / iStock

17. Lake Bacalar, Mexico

The limestone bottom of this lagoon, located on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, turns the water a hauntingly clear turquoise. The lake is fed by the Yucatan Peninsula’s extensive underground rivers, which give rise to the cenotes that have made this part of Central America a destination for adventure-seekers.

Lake Louise
JTBOB888 / iStock

18. Lake Louise, Canada

Glacier-fed Lake Louise is a milky turquoise, and the surrounding mountains—as seen from luxury hotel Fairmont’s Chateau Lake Louise—make the alpine lake impossibly gorgeous.

Lake Titicaca
T. A. McKay / iStock

19. Lake Titicaca, Peru/Bolivia

This deep, high-altitude lake in the Andes is home to floating islands made out of reeds by indigenous residents. Its deep blue creates a striking effect against the surrounding arid hills.

Lake Hillier, Australia
vvvita / iStock

20. Lake Hillier, Australia

Micro-organisms in the water turn Lake Hillier in Western Australia into a startling opaque pink, and salt in the water dries into a shining white crust along the lakeshore.

Hanging Lake
Focqus, LLC / iStock

21. Hanging Lake, Colorado

Crystal-clear Hanging Lake, in Glenwood Canyon, is a travertine lake fed by waterfalls. The delicate landscape is visited in summer, but can be dangerous in winter.

Lake Wakatipu
nzgmw2017 / iStock

22. Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand

The backdrop to this long, Z-shaped lake is the jagged and snow-covered mountain range called The Remarkables, which lends the scenery an air of rugged drama.

Drew Shaffer / drewshafferstudio.com

23. Torch Lake, Michigan

Clear, turquoise-colored Torch Lake is nearly 20 miles long, and very popular in the summer with outdoor enthusiasts.

Garibaldi Lake
Oleg Charykov / iStock

24. Garibaldi Lake, Canada

Another unwordly turquoise lake that’s fed by silt from glaciers. Garibaldi is surrounded by magificent, snow-covered peaks in the distance, and hills that rise steeply from the lakeshore.

Deer Lake
DeerLakeAssociation.org historical photo

25. Deer Lake, Minnesota

Fed by underwater springs, Deer Lake is known for its nearly unbelievable clarity and the shifting colors of its waters. The lake is studded with islands, where wildlife can be seen.

Lake Mackenzie
Camila1111 / iStock

26. Lake MacKenzie, Australia

This fresh water lake’s clarity, and the white silica-sand beach surrounding it, are stunning. The lake sits above the water table, so it is filled with rainwater only—making it too pure to support any life forms—which only adds to the lake’s eerily pristine appeal.

Lake of the Woods
Wildnerdpix / iStock

27. Lake of the Woods, Canada/Minnesota

You could get lost in this enormous, island-studded body of water. People flock here to fish and boat in the summer, or ice-fish in the winter.

Phoksundo Lake
Zzvet / iStock

28. Phoksundo Lake, Nepal

Located in Nepal’s spectacular Shey Phoksundo National Park in the Himalayas, Phoksundo Lake’s brilliant turquoise waters are surrounded by jagged glacial mountains.

Lake Moraine
MartinM303 / iStock

29. Moraine Lake, Canada

Like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake is located in Alberta’s Banff National Park. Rugged landscape and surrounding mountains make this alpine lake a photographer’s dream.

Blue Lake, Australia
ianwool / iStock

30. Blue Lake, Australia

This lake, which formed in the crater of an extinct volcano, turns a brilliant blue during Australia’s summer months. During the winter, its color is more muted, and scientists are still not sure why.

Skilak Lake, Alaska
flownaksala / iStock

31. Skilak Lake, Alaska

Located on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, this clear turqouise lake is surrounded by snow-capped peaks. The area is rich with wildlife such as bear, caribou, and moose.

Delta Lake, Wyoming
frankazoid / istock

32. Delta Lake, Wyoming

The Grand Tetons are some of the most breathtaking mountains in the United States. Delta Lake, located within Grand Teton National Park, is another meltingly beautiful “rock-flour”-fed turquoise lake.

Lake Borovoe
yrabota / iStock

33. Borovoe, Kazhakstan

The serenely beautiful Borovoe, located in Burabay National Park, is ringed by lush forests and striking rock formations. A circular inlet in the lake makes for a dramatic photo-op.

Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania
rchphoto / iStock

34. Lake Tanganyika, Africa

The second-oldest freshwater lake in the world (after the ancient Lake Baikal), and also the longest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Tanganyika boasts beautifully clear water that can show, in different areas, the sometimes-stunning rock formations beneath.

The Dead Sea
vvvita / iStock

35. The Dead Sea, Jordan

Dried salt formations in and around the lake and the austere beauty of the surrounding Negev desert make the Dead Sea stunningly beautiful (and yes, it really is a lake, not a sea). It’s almost impossible to swim beneath the surface due to the lake’s high saline content.

Caddo Lake
Dennis_Casey / iStock

36. Caddo Lake, Texas/Louisiana

Bayous and sloughs, punctuated with submerged bald cypress trees and rafts of Spanish moss, make this lake a mysterious place for exploration. The wetland is protected by an international treaty.

Lake Nakuru
mgokalp / iStock

37. Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Located within the Nakuru National Park in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakuru is widely known for the vast flocks of flamingos that feed on the lake’s abundant algae.

Lake Champlain
Meghan McGrath / iStock

38. Lake Champlain, Vermont/Canada

Lake Champlain, which straddles the border between the US and Canada, is notable for the islands within it. Stacks of gently rolling hills add to its air of gentle beauty.

Maroon Lake
tonda / iStock

39. Maroon Lake, Colorado

Maroon Lake, located a short drive from Aspen, is a mountain lake that sometimes perfectly reflects the distant Maroon Bells peak in its waters.

Lake Atitlan
Nicolas-Vanzetto-Photography / iStock

40. Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Atitlan is a Sierra Madres crater lake, and it’s the deepest in Central America. Three volcanoes preside over one side of the lake, while small towns and villages hug the lakeshore on the other, making for impossibly beautiful photo ops at every turn.

Thale Noi
KHellon / iStock

41. Thale Noi, Thailand

This government-protected “little sea” is a haven to nearly 200 bird species, and the lotus flowers that bloom from February to March drape the water with pink.

Sebago Lake
Studeb / iStock

42. Sebago Lake, Maine

Deep, clear Sebago is dotted with beautifully sandy beaches and is surrounded by forest. Visitors come here year-round to swim or to cross-country ski in a serenely beautiful landscape.

Lake Martin, Alabama
Shackleford-Photography / iStock

43. Lake Martin, Alabama

Dam-created Lake Martin is one of the largest man-made lakes in the United States. Rocky, tree-covered formations rise directly out of the water in places, making this a beautiful place to explore.

Derwentwater, Lake District, England
matthewleesdixon / iStock

44. Derwentwater, England

The Lake District in England is known worldwide as a destination for lake aficionados. Derwentwater is one of the largest in the district, with a serene landscape that highlights the forested hills of Cumbria.

Arial view of Lake Okeechobee, Florida
6381380 / iStock

45. Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Huge freshwater Lake Okeechobee is as shallow as one could expect from a lake that’s a gateway to the magnificent Everglades. Visitors come here year-round to traverse the surrounding Florida National Scenic Trail.

Lake Waiau
Karl Magnacca / Wikimedia Commons

46. Lake Wa’ia’u, Hawaii

One of the few lakes in Hawaii, Lake Wa’ia’u is located inside the cinder cone of the dormant volcano Mauna Kea. The contrast between its blue water and the unforgiving volcanic landscape that surrounds it is stunning.

Lake Pehoe in Southern Chile
kavram / iStock

47. Pehoe Lake, Chile

Pehoe Lake, located in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, is an unwordly crystalline body of water that reflects the jagged peaks of the surrounding mountains, which seem to rise up directly from the lake.

Maligne Lake
R.M. Nunes / iStock

48. Maligne Lake, Canada

Maligne Lake is another alpine lake—this one located in Alberta’s Jasper National Park—that boasts vivid turquoise waters that reflect the jagged glaciers around them.

Lake Coeur d'Alene
JoanBudai / iStock

49. Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Lake Coeur d’Alene was formed over 10,000 years ago by floods that ripped through this part of the country. Today, it’s a dam-controlled body of water that is beloved in summer for its beaches.

Plitvice Lakes main waterfall in spring
nikpal / iStock

50. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Reknown for its many delicate travertine waterfalls, the conjoined Plitvice Lakes (located within a national park) are soothing and translucent.

Couple on vacation
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