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Europe’s 10 Most Stunning Lakes

Europe is known for its breathtaking landscapes, pristine lakes, and stunning vistas. From the majestic Lake Geneva in Switzerland to the picturesque Lake Como in Italy, Europe is filled with some of the most breathtakingly beautiful lakes in the world. Whether you’re looking to take a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or just a quiet escape, Europe’s 10 Most Stunning Lakes article will provide an unforgettable experience. With so many to choose from, we’ve created a list of the top 10 best lakes in Europe to visit. 

Get ready to be mesmerized by the serenity, beauty, and tranquility these lakes have to offer!

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1) Lake Geneva, Switzerland – Europe’s 10 Most Stunning Lakes

Lake Geneva is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular lakes in Europe, situated between France and Switzerland. The lake is not only known for its remarkable beauty, but it is also home to a myriad of attractions that visitors can explore during their stay. 

Lake Geneva is the largest lake in Western Europe, surrounded by picturesque villages and awe-inspiring landscapes. Its size makes it possible for historic paddle steamers to operate and transport tourists to different villages along the way. These steamers offer an enchanting experience that is not to be missed. 

For beach enthusiasts, Lake Geneva has over 116 beaches on its shores, most of which are free for public access. With crystal-clear waters and sandy beaches, it’s the perfect spot for swimming and other water sports activities. From June to September, the lake’s water temperatures are warm enough for swimming and relaxation, making it an excellent summer destination. 

Aside from the picturesque landscapes and water activities, Lake Geneva offers numerous other attractions to visitors. The city of Geneva, for instance, is a bustling metropolis that has much to offer. Here, visitors can explore historical sites, museums, parks, and other exciting attractions that cater to all ages. 

In conclusion, Lake Geneva is a must-visit destination for anyone planning a European getaway. With its impressive size, beautiful landscapes, and numerous attractions, it is the perfect spot for relaxation, adventure, and cultural immersion. So pack your bags and head to Lake Geneva for an unforgettable experience!

2) Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Nestled in the heart of Croatia, Plitvice National Park boasts one of Europe’s most spectacular natural wonders. The lakes, formed over thousands of years by natural dams and fed by runoff from the surrounding mountains, offer a stunning display of colors that range from vibrant green to crystal clear blue. As the sunlight hits the water at different angles throughout the day, the colors of the lakes change, making it a truly magical sight to behold.

Spread over an area of almost 300 square kilometers, Plitvice National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for an immersive nature experience. With seven different routes to tour the park, visitors can choose their adventure and explore the unique beauty of each lake. As they make their way through the heavily forested trails, visitors can traverse over wooden bridges, through caves, and up steep slopes. 

One of the best ways to experience the stunning beauty of Plitvice is by rowing on the largest lake, Kozjak. As visitors glide through the calm waters, they can admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape from a completely different perspective.

So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, don’t miss out on Plitvice Lakes – a true natural wonder of Europe.

3) Lake Annecy, France – Europe’s 10 Most Stunning Lakes

Nestled in the heart of the French Alps, Lake Annecy is a true gem that never disappoints. With crystal-clear blue waters that are considered to be some of the cleanest in Europe, this lake has earned a reputation as a popular spot for swimming and other water activities. Despite its relatively shallow depth, at just 82 meters, the lake’s stunning natural beauty is truly remarkable.

One of the most striking features of Lake Annecy is its unique contrast of colors and textures. Surrounded by snowcapped mountains and sandy beaches, it’s a mesmerizing landscape that is sure to leave visitors in awe. The area is also home to many picturesque lakeside medieval villages that are perfect for exploring.

Lake Annecy is a destination that’s beautiful in every season. In winter, the surrounding valleys and mountains become a winter wonderland, with endless opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and paragliding. Visitors can experience the joys of the winter season while taking in the stunning scenery that Lake Annecy has to offer.

With its breathtaking natural beauty and countless activities, Lake Annecy is a must-visit for anyone looking for an unforgettable experience in the French Alps!

4) Lake Bled, Slovenia

Nestled in the Julian Alps of northwestern Slovenia, Lake Bled is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Its crystal clear bluish-green waters, surrounded by thick forests and snow-covered peaks, provide a stunning backdrop for all types of outdoor activities.

The highlight of the lake is undoubtedly the tiny island in its center. The island is home to the medieval Bled Castle, which overlooks the calm waters and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The castle can be accessed by a traditional “pletna” boat ride during the warmer months, and visitors can also take in the spectacular scenery from the top of its 16th-century bell tower.

For those seeking more adventure, Lake Bled offers numerous hiking and biking trails, including an easy six-kilometer path that circles the lake. The more advanced hikers can head to Triglav National Park, which can be accessed directly from the lakeshore.

Whether you’re an avid hiker or a leisure traveler looking to take in some of Europe’s most stunning landscapes, Lake Bled should undoubtedly be at the top of your travel list. So pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and set out on an unforgettable adventure to Slovenia’s Lake Bled!

5) Jökulsárlón Ice Lake, Iceland – Europe’s 10 Most Stunning Lakes

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, you must visit Jökulsárlón Ice Lake in Iceland. This breathtaking lake sits at the edge of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and has grown four times larger since the 1970s due to glacier melting, making it now 18 square kilometers in size. It is also the deepest lake in Finland, plunging 248 meters beneath the surface.

One of the best ways to experience the icy waters is by kayaking, and if you’re feeling adventurous, there are local ice caves that you can explore. There are also hiking trails around the lake that offer beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. But the main reason to visit this lake is for photography. The iceberg pieces floating on the lake offer a range of unique hues of blues and volcanic black against the pink sunset sky, making it a dream destination for photographers. The location is also a great place to see seals.

Another stunning sight to see is the nearby Breiðamerkursandur Beach, also known as Diamond Beach. It sits right next to the lagoon and is the perfect place to see pieces of ice washing up on the shore, mimicking the look of tiny diamonds scattered on the sand.

A trip to Jökulsárlón Ice Lake is an experience you’ll never forget. From kayaking the icy waters to photographing the beautiful landscape, it’s the perfect destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike.

6) Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como is one of Italy’s most famous and picturesque lakes, attracting visitors from all over the world. Its shimmering blue waters are surrounded by green mountains and dotted with charming villages and grand villas. But there’s more to Lake Como than just beautiful scenery.

As one of Europe’s deepest lakes, Lake Como offers some of the best water sports in the region. From water skiing and wakeboarding to sailing and windsurfing, there’s something for everyone who loves being out on the water. And if you’re feeling more adventurous, why not try diving? The lake’s clear waters offer excellent visibility, and there are plenty of dive sites to explore.

On land, the surrounding mountains offer plenty of opportunities for hikers and explorers. With relatively warm winters, Lake Como is a year-round destination for outdoor activities. 

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely walk, the area offers something for everyone.

7) Riffelsee Lake, Switzerland – Europe’s 10 Most Stunning Lakes

Riffelsee Lake, Switzerland

Riffelsee Lake, Switzerland

Switzerland is famous for its picturesque mountains and charming lakes, and Riffelsee Lake in Zermatt is no exception. Nestled high above the town of Zermatt, Riffelsee Lake is a popular destination for hikers and adventurers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Despite its small size, Riffelsee Lake is an absolute stunner. It offers one of the most beautiful natural photo opportunities in Switzerland, especially at sunrise when the lake reflects the stunning image of the Matterhorn mountain. Its tranquil waters are surrounded by awe-inspiring Alpine landscapes that are sure to take your breath away.

Apart from being a paradise for nature photographers, Riffelsee Lake is also surrounded by numerous hiking trails that offer magnificent views of the surrounding peaks. If you’re visiting during winter, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular activities on the lake’s snow-covered trails. And for the more adventurous, Riffelhorn Mountain offers a challenging climbing route that will test your limits.

In short, Riffelsee Lake is a hidden gem in Switzerland that is worth visiting. Its serene surroundings, beautiful scenery, and stunning reflection of Matterhorn Mountain make it an unforgettable destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. 

So why not plan your visit today and experience the beauty of Riffelsee Lake for yourself?

8) Lake Garda, Italy

Lake Garda, Italy - Europe's 10 Most Stunning Lakes

Lake Garda, Italy

If you’re a nature lover and love being outdoors, Lake Garda in Italy is a must-visit destination for you. With its stunning natural beauty, Italy’s largest lake sits on the edge of the Dolomites, making it an ideal spot for hiking, cycling, or simply exploring.

One of the most popular destinations around Lake Garda is the town of Sirmione, which is home to the 13th-century Scaligero Castle and a few medieval churches that attract visitors from all over the world. From here, tourists can take ferries to other towns, including Riva, which is especially popular among sailing aficionados.

Lake Garda is home to several islands, the most famous of which is the Isola del Garda. Once a Roman burial ground, it is now home to a stunning Venezian neo-Gothic villa that is surrounded by manicured formal gardens.

The area around the lake boasts a mild climate that makes it a perfect destination to visit year-round. With its clean, blue waters, Lake Garda is highly sought-after by kayakers, windsurfers, and anyone who loves to swim or simply lounge on one of the well-outfitted beaches.

So if you’re planning a trip to Europe and looking for an idyllic spot to unwind and soak in some natural beauty, make sure to add Lake Garda to your itinerary!

9) Lake Hallstatt (Hallstättersee), Austria – Europe’s 10 Most Stunning Lakes

Lake Hallstatt, Austria - Europe's 10 Most Stunning Lakes

Lake Hallstatt, Austria

Lake Hallstatt, situated in Austria, is a breathtaking water body dating back to the Ice Age. Its stunning beauty is amplified by the picturesque Alpine village that shares its name. With a depth of 125 meters, the lake’s clear waters offer a perfect opportunity for scuba diving enthusiasts. The diverse ecosystem in and around the lake also provides a natural habitat for several aquatic species.

Aside from scuba diving, visitors can rent rowing and pedal boats to explore the serene lake. Additionally, hiking enthusiasts can explore the surrounding Dachstein Karst mountains. However, it is essential to note that Lake Hallstatt attracts more than a million visitors yearly, making it quite crowded, particularly during July and August. The small beaches, including Obertraun, that line the shores can be equally crowded, so plan accordingly.

To experience the lake differently, visitors can consider visiting the lake during winter. When covered with snow, the little Alpine village transforms into a picturesque winter wonderland that’s ideal for romantic walks and sightseeing. 

In summary, Lake Hallstatt is a prime destination that is worth exploring.

Therefore, whether it’s summer or winter, Lake Hallstatt will surely offer an unforgettable experience that’s both awe-inspiring and remarkable.

10) Hornindalsvatnet Lake, Norway

Located in Norway’s picturesque fjords, Hornindalsvatnet is not just another stunning lake. It is, in fact, Europe’s deepest lake, with a depth of 514 meters. Surrounded by towering mountains and glaciers, it is truly a sight to behold.

One of the most fascinating things about Hornindalsvatnet is that it is the only lake in Europe that is deeper than 500 meters. It is the 12th deepest lake in the world. In 2006, an ROV was sent to explore the deepest point of the lake and discovered a new fish species.

Another unique feature of Hornindalsvatnet is that the bottom of the lake is salty, while the top is freshwater. This is because saltwater comes in from the fjords and settles at the bottom of the lake, while melted snow flows at the top.

During the warmer months, the crystal-clear waters of Hornindalsvatnet are perfect for canoeing or swimming, and you can see deep into the lake’s depths. In winter, the lake freezes over, providing a spectacular display of swirling lights.

To protect the natural landscape, the lake, and its surrounding areas have remained largely undeveloped, with only a few ferry piers dotting the shorelines.

A visit to Hornindalsvatnet is a must for any nature lover or anyone seeking a unique and unforgettable experience.

Conclusion – Europe’s 10 Most Stunning Lakes

With so many stunning lakes to explore across Europe, it can be difficult to decide where to start your adventure. Whether you prefer tranquil mountain lakes or vibrant city-side waters, this list has something for everyone. From the crystal-clear waters of Lake Annecy to the mystical Jökulsárlón Ice Lake in Iceland, each lake offers its own unique charm and natural beauty.


If you’re planning your next holiday, be sure to check out Framey, a great app for sharing and viewing travel photos. You never know where you’ll find inspiration for your next adventure. 


So, start packing your bags and get ready to discover the breathtaking lakes of Europe. 

Happy travels!

Are you planning to travel to Europe? Try also: Walks of a Lifetime: Europe’s Most Epic Mountain Hikes in 2023