22 Beautifully Serene Lakes Around the World

Torres del Paine National Park


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Torres del Paine National Park

A Glimpse of Tranquility

Old-school lake vacations are an annual tradition for many. But if such a trip isn't on your horizon this summer, you can "visit" some of the world's most beautiful lakes without leaving your own home. In the mood for a little virtual travel? Here are 22 images of peaceful lakes around the globe to help satisfy your water wanderlust.  

Related: 31 Historic Places Across America That You Can Tour Virtually

Lake Tekapo
Lake Powell

Lake Powell, Utah

Straddling the Arizona-Utah border, Lake Powell proves that man-made lakes can be just as gorgeous as their natural counterparts. It's home to the stunning sandstone Rainbow Bridge, the world's largest natural bridge, and took 17 years to fill with water — a process that began in 1963 and ended in 1980.

Related: The Best Lakes in All 50 States

Lake Yamanaka
Lake Erie

Lake Erie, Ohio

Though it's the warmest Great Lake, Lake Erie also freezes over the most because it is relatively shallow, with an average depth of just 62 feet, according to Live Science. One of its most picturesque spots: Ohio's Marblehead Peninsula, home to the Great Lakes' oldest continuously operating lighthouse.

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Lake Baikal
National Park Photos

Swiftcurrent Lake, Montana

It's hard to take a bad photo in Glacier National Park, but the dramatic vistas at Swiftcurrent Lake should be high on any shutterbug's bucket list. The lakeshore is home to the Swiss chalet-like Many Glacier Hotel, the park's largest lodge.

Stunning Photos of Every National Park in America

Plitvice Lakes
Josep Bernat Sànchez Moner/istockphoto

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes National Park is home to 16 lakes that are connected by a seemingly endless number of waterfalls. The lovely scenery belies a bloody history: This was the spot where gunfire first broke out in 1991 in the Croatian War of Independence against Yugoslavia. 

Related: The 50 Most Beautiful Views in the World

Crater Lake National Park
Chris LaBasco/istockphoto
Laguna Colorada

Laguna Colorada, Bolivia

Your eyes aren't deceiving you. Laguna Colorada, a salt lake some 14,000 feet above sea level, really is red. The color largely comes from red algae that live in the lake, according to Atlas Obscura. The rare puna flamingo is a common visitor, as are alpacas, llamas, Andean foxes, and Instagram-happy tourists. 

Related: 14 Under-the-Radar Destinations in Latin America

Dead Sea
Voyageurs National Park
Lake Malawi

Lake Malawi, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania

This 350-mile-long lake is one of Africa's largest and deepest, but what really stands out is its fish life: It's home to more than 1,000 types of fish, more than any other lake in the world, and some scientists believe the true number could be double that figure.

Related: Around the World in 20 Stunning Sunsets

Mono Lake
Lake Reschen

Lake Reschen, Italy

A church bell tower is the only clue to what's underneath the surface of Lake Reschen, near the Italian border with Switzerland. The lake holds the remains of more than 160 buildings, the ruins of two towns submerged when local authorities built a dam that would provide the area with electricity.

Lake Huron
Lake Pehoe

Lake Pehoe, Chile

Part of Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park, Lake Pehoe is home to sweeping mountain views and endangered guanacos, a cousin of the camel. Domesticated versions of the guanaco, the llama and the alpaca, are a much more common sight around South America.

West Lake, China

West Lake, China

Famous for its classical beauty, West Lake in China's Hangzhou city has a history dating back to the 8th century, when the then-lagoon was dredged. In the following years, it became home to gardens, pagodas, islands, and bridges that make it one of the region's most picturesque and popular spots today.

Lake Atitlan

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Several colorful towns and three cone-shaped volcanoes make Lake Atitlan a feast for the eyes. One of the volcanoes, San Pedro, is a popular hike for more ambitious travelers, providing a spectacular view of the water from the top.

Lake Myvatn

Lake Myvatn, Iceland

Iceland's fourth-largest lake is a relative newbie, formed 2,300 years ago when a lava fissure erupted and blocked off a river. It's very shallow, with an average depth of only about 8 feet, and is surrounded by lava canyons, craters, mountains, waterfalls, and other stunning natural features.

Lake Kariba

Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

One of the largest man-made reservoirs in the world, Lake Kariba is noted for its drowned trees, which are especially picturesque at sunset. Visitors can stay on the lake itself inside "floating hotels" and spy wildlife like elephants, cheetahs, and lions at nearby Matusadona National Park. 

Related: The Prettiest Floating Cabins Around the World

Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

This lake in central Switzerland showcases postcard-perfect Alpine vistas and is often filled with historic boats on scenic cruises. The town of Beckenried, on its south bank, is a popular base for trips up to Klewenalp, a ski resort with breathtaking views of the area.

Gadisar Lake
Bharat Bhushan/istockphoto

Gadisar Lake, India

This artificial lake created in the 1300s in a desert-like part of Rajasthan has become a major tourist destination for its many shrines and temples. A nearby wildlife sanctuary also makes it a popular stop for migrating birds.