With picturesque scenery and peace guaranteed, Europe’s lake resorts are some of the most sought after in the world. From a mix of our personals favourites and feedback gathered from our travel community here is a collection of 15 of the most beautiful lakes in Europe…
Lake Annecy, France
A favourite lake of many European visitors, Lake Annecy pretty much has everything you would want from a lake resort – idyllic mountain scenery, fresh alpine air, icy blue waters and plenty of gorgeous towns and villages to explore. It also makes a great base to explore the rest of the beautiful Savoie region. Try Annecy town itself, the majestic Mont Blanc, the mountain commue Chamonix, the town of Evian and the medieval villages of Yvoire and Geneva.
Lake Geneva, France and Switzerland
Not far from Lake Annecy is easily one of the most famous lakes in Europe is Lake Geneva, it’s also one of the largest lakes on the continent spanning both France and Switzerland. Nestled below the beautiful Alps, the glacial lake is known for its icy blue waters, its crescent shape and the many attractive villages, castles and towns surrounding its shores. Try medieval Yvoire a member of the ‘Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of France’ or Château de Chillon a fairytale esque castle which overlooks the lake.
- Travel tip: If you run out of Swiss Francs, try swapping them at Travelex’s currency converter or even reserving currency online then picking it up at the nearest Swiss Travelex to you.
Lake Garda, Italy
Lake Garda is definitely up there as one of the romantic destinations in Europe, if not the world. Where can you go wrong with a beautiful mountain lake flanked by impossibly gorgeous villages? Each of the lake-side communities are very different from the next and range from a historic town dominated by a medieval castle to a picturesque village brimming with flowers and pastel-coloured houses.
Lake Como, Italy
There’s just something about those North Italian lakes and Lake Como is arguably the most beautiful of them all. The very elegant resort (and George Clooney’s favourite European hangout) lies in the shadow of the Rhaetian Alps and its shoreline is scattered with pretty villages. Try the world famous Bellagio, a very attractive traditional town and the central hub of the resort tourism.
- Travel tip: When visiting avoid the summer months, especially August as the resort can get very crowded.
Lake Wastwater, Lake District, England
England’s largest national park is home to a large number of beautiful lakes. Wastwater lake – the most remote lake – was once voted Britain’s favourite view. It’s hemmed in by some of the highest peaks in England and surrounded by some of the Lake District’s most impressive scenery and is easily worth the extra effort to get to.
Norway is home to a huge number of spectacular fjords and there are four fjord regions in Western Norway; Møre & Romsdal, Sogn & Fjordane, Hordaland and Rogaland. The largest and most beautiful fjord is Sognefjord, the third longest in the world. Also head for Nærøyfjord, a branch of the Sognefjord particularly noted for its unspoiled nature and dramatic scenery which is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Loch Duich, Scotland
There are many beautiful lochs in the Highlands – Scotland is famous for them, but we’ve chosen this one for its iconic views. This sea loch situated on the western coast of Scotland, is dominated by the hauntingly beautiful Eilean Donan Castle – a familiar 13th century structure which adorns postcards, calendars and once even a BBC advert.
Lake Bled, Slovenia
This small and very picturesque glacial lake can be found in the Julien Alps in Northwestern Slovenia. Popular with visitors, its main attraction is Bled Island, a tiny forested circle that’s home to the 17th-century Church of the Assumption and its prominent baroque clock tower.
Lakes of Killarney, Ireland
Ireland is known for its wild and rugged landscapes but if you want to find some of the country’s most beautiful scenery head for the Lakes of Killarney. It is a renowned scenic attraction which consist of three lakes – Lough Leane, Muckross Lake and Upper Lake. History fans will also be kept busy with the surrounding Ross Castle, Muckross Abbey and Muckross House.
Lake Lucerne, Switzerland
Located in central Switzerland and encircled by gorgeous mountains and Alpine towns, Lake Lucerne is said to be reminiscent of Norway’s fjords but with a milder climate! Also explore Lucerne city itself (located on the lake shores). The old town is filled with historic buildings, painted facades and narrow cobbled streets lined with shops selling traditional Swiss goods.
Lake Saimaa, Finland
Covering a huge area of 4,400 square km, Lake Saimaa is the fourth largest lake in Europe. It’s also one of the most beautiful. One of the most scenic sights in Finland, most of the lake is dotted with 14,000 small islands of different shapes, making it look like a watery labyrinth. Those Scandinavians definitely like to keep active and there’s no shortage of actives available from cycling, canoeing and hiking in the summer to cross-country skiing in the winter.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
Plitvice Lakes National Park is the oldest national park in Southeast Europe. Known throughout Europe for its extraordinary unspoilt beauty, its woody hills are home to sixteen turquoise lakes that are connected by waterfalls and cascades. Wildlife fans are also in their element here, it’s one of the few places in Europe where bears and wolves still roam. Also expect to see deer, wild boar and a huge variety of birds.
An UNESCO world heritage site, this beautiful Austrian lake enjoys a relaxed atmosphere – very far from the madding crowds. Surrounded by huge mountains, Lake Hallstatt is located at the heart of the Salzkammergut region and was once where Celtic tribes settled some 4000 years ago. Today it’s an extremely photogenic place with mirrored waters surrounded by steep cliffs and typically attractive Austrian villages.
Konigsee Lake, Germany
Located in the southeastern portion of Germany and on the border’s of Austria, is the beautiful Lake Königssee – Germany’s deepest and cleanest lake. This area has been used for outdoor recreation for centuries – both Bavarian royalty and the local rulers of Berchtesgaden and Salzburg once hunted here. In keeping with its pure and natural surroundings only electric-powered passenger ships, rowing and pedal boats have been permitted on the lake since 1909.
Kerid Crater Lake, Iceland
Iceland is famous for its crater lakes, but one of the most visited and attractive is Kerid – a volcanic crater lake located in the Grímsnes area in south Iceland. Like many of Iceland’s attractions, it’s a pretty surreal sight; the pool has a brilliant aquamarine colour and the surrounding steep barren walls gives it an almost lunar-esque feel.