20 of the most extraordinary lakes across the globe
by Joy Wood
What is it about the magical pull of a still, clear lake? There’s something mysteriously primal about water, and lakes, with their crystalline surfaces and vivid colours beckoning us to them.
And while all lakes are beautiful, there are some that simply need to be on your bucket list. Join us as we explore 20 of the most extraordinary lakes around the globe.
Carezza Lake, Italy
Carezza Lake in Bolzano, Italy, is admired for its deep emerald colour, its stillness and its crystal-clear transparency.
On a clear day you will also take in the reflections of the Catinaccio and Latemar mountains. Local legend has it that a lovelorn wizard threw jewels into the lake, giving it its hues.
Moraine Lake, Banff, Canada
Hike into the Valley of the Ten Peaks to get jaw-dropping views of this stunning turquoise lake.
The incredible blue-green colour changes in hue and intensity throughout the day. There are a ton of hiking and walking trails in and around the lake — so bring your hiking boots!
Dove Lake, Tasmania
Trek the six-kilometre boardwalk that encircles Dove Lake in Tasmania, at the foot of Cradle Mountain.
Be sure to stop and experience the Ballroom Forest, where ancient myrtle-beech trees rise from a mossy forest floor.
Lake Powell, Utah, USA
While not technically a lake, this man-made reservoir in the Glen Canyon is a must-see.
The second-largest lake in the U.S. offers boating, floating, swimming, snorkeling, fishing and just about any other thing you can think to do in water.
Derwentwater, Keswick, England
This five-kilometre-long (three-mile-long) lake is a short stroll from the village and one of the most popular spots in the area to snag your Instagram shot.
Take the 16-km (10-mile) Derwentwater Walk which winds its way around the lake — it’s an easy walk on flat paths.
Pehoe Lake, Chile
This stunning lake in Patagonia sits in the Torres del Paine National Park and offers icy, crystalline blue waters set against dramatic mountain peaks.
Catch a glimpse of the local wildlife: guanacos, flightless birds (Chile’s version of an ostrich), or, if you’re really lucky, you might even spot a condor.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada, USA
The largest alpine lake in North America is world-renowned for its beauty and non-stop outdoor activity.
At this majestic location in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, you can spend your time on the water in any manner of vessel, or just opt for a nice calm swim.
Dead Sea, Israel
The famed Dead Sea isn’t actually a sea at all, but a salt lake. At the lowest point on earth, and surrounded by desert, you can dive in to experience the natural healing qualities that the minerals and mud are thought to provide. Plus, you’ll float!
Crater Lake, Oregon, USA
The deepest lake in America also appears to be the deepest blue.
Get mesmerized on a hike in Crater Lake National Park to view this blue beauty surrounded by cliffs, but bring a sweater, because even in summer it can get chilly.
Hutt Lagoon, Australia
Just when you thought you’d seen it all: a pink lake! Nestled on Western Australia’s Coral Coast, this lake gets its pink hue from a specific type of algae.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Located in the Plitvice Lake National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, these 16 incredibly beautiful lakes are connected by a series of waterfalls and seem to change colour given the season and time of day.
Lake Baikal, Siberia
The largest freshwater reserve in the world, this lake attracts people year-round for its breathtaking colour in summer and its incredible icy formations in winter.
Its nickname? ‘The Galapagos of Russia.’
Lake Manasarovar, Western Tibet
One of the highest lakes on the planet, this turquoise beauty is surrounded by Himalayan Peaks and Buddhist monasteries alike.
Plan ahead, though — this lake can only be visited by organized tour and permits have to be arranged.
Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
The fourth-largest lake in the country is beautifully situated between mountains and bordering its namesake, the town of Lucerne.
This one is an easy trip with no hiking required — simply stay in one of the many summer resorts in this lakeside town.
Five-Flower Lake, China
Situated in the province of Sichuan, this multi-coloured lake draws you in and keeps you guessing as it changes tones throughout the day.
The reason? It contains calcium carbonate and hydrophytes which give it its hues.
Melissani Cave Lake, Greece
Located on Kefalonia Island, this mysterious cave lake is surrounded by trees and forest. Be sure to be present at midday, when the sun directly hits the opening above, flooding the lake with a magical blue light.
Lake Pukaki, New Zealand
Seated at the foot of majestic Mount Cook, this incredibly turquoise lake sits in a glacial valley. On a good day, you can get a shot of the mountain reflected in the waters.
Lake Como, Italy
Bucket list: sip a glass of red wine while taking in the languid afternoon sun at Lake Como.
Set against the Rhetian Alps and an elegant destination, this playground for the rich and famous allows you to trade your hiking boots for heels.
Lough Corrib, Ireland
This lake runs from Galway to Maam and offers fishing and local hospitality. Plus, it’s said to have about 365 islands dotting its shores.
Lake Nakuru, Kenya
Located in Lake Nakuru National Park, this destination attracts travellers not for a swim but to enjoy the rich diversity of wildlife: flocks of pink flamingos are the stars of the show but there are about 450 species of birds in the park.