Some of the most beautiful lakes in the world

Lakes are one of our more familiar geographical phenomena; punctuating the landscape and offering some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. Found in all shapes, sizes, colours and even concentrations (consider the Dead Sea), the beauty and mystery of a lake is something that can inspire creativity, passion or in the case of Loch Ness, even fear. It was whilst gazing out over Lake Como in Italy that Mary Shelley first began to conceive her masterpiece, Frankenstein; in 1955 Donald Campbell raced across Ullswater in the English Lake District to set the first of his world water speed records in Bluebird V7; and it was a desire to catalogue the great lakes of Africa and discover the true source of the Nile River that lead Dr. David Livingstone on a journey deep into the African bush from which he would never return.

As we can see, these extraordinary natural features have become truly embedded into the human narrative and today we can all enjoy their history and splendour by visiting them as tourists. Sites such as Lake Victoria, Lake Taupo and Lake Tahoe have for centuries served as hubs for social and economic progression as well as major attractions for locals and travellers alike. So without any further ado, here is a list, albeit somewhat abbreviated, of my favourite lakes of the world.

Nestled in the forests of Croatia, roughly halfway between Zagreb and Zadar along the Croatian coast is the Plitvice Lakes National Park. Accredited an UNESO World Heritage status in 1979, the real attraction of the area is the eponymous lakes themselves. A collection of sixteen incredibly blue bodies of water, each feeding into the next via a series of cascading waterfalls awaits visitors to this mystical landscape. Several walk ways have been sympathetically constructed to allow visitors to negotiate the waterways and embrace the stunning vistas over the valley. Widely considered as Croatia’s most famous tourist attraction, the Plitvice Lakes are a must for any visitor to the country.

Just off Australia’s famed North Queensland Coast lies Fraser Island, the world’s largest independent sand island. Favoured by tourists and backpackers who tour the area in self-drive 4x4s or larger guided rovers, Fraser is renowned for its whale watching and unspoiled forests. Trekking through the dense undergrowth travellers should been prepared to have their breath well and truly taken away as they suddenly stumble upon a spectacular natural inland lake. Lake McKenzie along with the hundred or so other smaller lakes that scatter across the island offers incredibly clear crystal waters, naturally filtered by the sand. The beach that surrounds the lake is constituted almost entirely of silica, making it one of the purest beaches in Australia.

Along with Lake Mashu in Japan and Crater Lake in Oregon, New Zealand’s Lake Matheson is considered as one of the cleanest and clearest lakes in the world. Matheson is referred to locally as the, ‘Mirror Lake’, for the way that its waters reflect the rugged ranges of the Westland National Park, which includes New Zealand’s tallest peaks, Mt Tasman and Mt Cook. Winding through the ancient rainforest, the established wooden walkway provides three unique viewing platforms from which to appreciate the panorama of the site. A great test of just how clear Lake Matheson’s waters are is to take a photograph and present it upside down to someone who has never seen it before; the chances are unless you tell them, they won’t be able notice any difference.

James Bell is a Director of Turquoise Holidays.

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Comments (4)

  1. claire says:

    Lakes do have that tranquil nature that calms you.

    My favourite is Lake Bratan, Bali, Indonesia. You feel a sense of peace and spirituality when you visit, especially with the beautiful temples and shrines nestling on its shore and Mount Agung in the background

  2. Emma Eccles says:

    I havnt really been to any lakes outside of the UK but would love to. I agree they are very calming and seem to draw you there.

  3. Loes says:

    I think you can add Lake Baikal in Russia as well. The biggest fresh water lake in the world and realllly beautiful! Nice article :-)

  4. sanjacta says:

    You definitely must visit Plitvice lakes… very beautiful.

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