Europe is well known for its fabulous food and gorgeous architecture but it also has some of the most stunning scenery in the world. From the tallest mountains in Switzerland to the outstanding lakes in Austria, a train trip through Europe will certainly keep you entertained.
Europe is filled with gorgeous lakes and a lake trip should be high on your bucket list. Keep reading to find out the most beautiful lakes in Europe that you need to visit for the perfect holiday.
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- 1 Beautiful Lakes in Europe to add to your bucket list
- 2 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Austria
- 3 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Belgium
- 4 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Czechia
- 5 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Croatia
- 6 The Most Beautiful Lakes in England
- 7 The Most Beautiful Lakes in France
- 8 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Iceland
- 9 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Ireland
- 10 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Italy
- 11 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Montenegro
- 12 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Poland
- 13 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Romania
- 14 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Slovenia
- 15 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Spain
- 16 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Switzerland
- 17 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Ukraine
- 18 The Most Beautiful Lakes in Wales
- 19 Share It!
- 20 My BEST Travel Resources
Beautiful Lakes in Europe to add to your bucket list
Are you trying to find the most beautiful lakes in Europe to visit this year? You’ve come to the right place. In this blog post you will find the best recommendation for the prettiest and most beautiful lakes in Europe, what to do at each lake, where to stay, how to get the best photos and everything in between.
If you think I’m missing a lake that MUST be included on this list, let me know in the comments below.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Austria
Joanna, The World In My Pocket
Hallstätter See is one of the most beautiful lakes in Austria. Located in the Salzkammergut region of Austria, close to Salzburg, the lake is famous not just for the picturesque town of Hallstatt but also for the impressive Dachstein glacier.
Getting to Hallstätter See is very easy from Salzburg, either by car or by train. If you take the train, you will have to change once. There are several train stops along the lake, serving different destinations. For Hallstatt, you will have to cross the lake by ferry, as the train station is on the opposite side of the lake.
It doesn’t matter if you visit Hallstätter See in summer or in winter, as there are always things to do here. Hallstatt is gorgeous both in summer and winter, offering a different experience in each season.
In summer, you can cycle to Hallstatt on the bike path which circles the South part of the lake. Summer is the best time to hire a boat on go on a romantic trip on the lake. If you feel adventurous, you can also hire a SUP.
In winter, you can climb up to Dachstein, by cable car, and visit the ice palace inside it. The cable car is fascinating as it has an outdoors viewing platform. If you are not afraid of heights and want to feel the wind as you go up, book a spot on the platform, on top of the cable car.
No matter which time of the year you visit, you must visit the Hallstatt salt mine, which is the world’s oldest salt mine. Inside, you can go down the longest underground slide in the world.
For a unique experience, stay at one of the hotels in the main square of Hallstatt. You will either have a gorgeous lake or mountain view.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Belgium
Paulina, Paulina on the road
Genval lake is located near La Hulpe, in the southeast of Brussels, Belgium. It is in close proximity to Sonian Forest and the cities of Flemish Brabant and Rixensart. The lake of Genval is one of the most visited lakes in Europe. It is a popular holiday destination and is magnificent due to its beauty.
The lake is beautifully surrounded by the ancient homes built during the Belle Epoque. That is what makes it the prettiest. It is a peaceful place to be at. On the south of the lake, there is also a five-star hotel, Chateau du Lac, which travelers can consider for a luxurious stay. It also has a bar. The lake is also surrounded by a number of restaurants nearby, so it is a must to try local cuisines after a walk around the lake.
This artificial lake is a wonderful getaway from the busy city crowd. Along with the five-star hotel, eatery, and bar, a walk around the lake also offers excellent views with a castle turned into a hotel and a number of eateries. But avoid visiting the lake on a sunny Sunday. It might turn out to be crowdy than usual. Consider visiting on a week day.
It is best to visit the lake during the months of June through September. It is because the weather is most moderate and peasant during this time. Since the lake is close to Brussels, it is easy to reach there. Travelers can rent a car and reach there within 25 minutes of drive. It is also possible to rent a taxi but it can be a little more expensive.
During the summertime, the lake also offers a yacht club that rents rowing boats, pedal boats, kayaks, and paddleboards. It is perfect for travelers who want to spend some good and peaceful time with friends and family. Padding between the lake Genval’s waters is a tranquil feeling. It is also one of the best places to take photographs, surrounded by greenery and water. The club may also offer floating BBQs, floating aperitif times, didactic sessions around the water, and a guide to learn about the history’s lake.
Travelers can also experience drinks in the park on alternate Thursdays across the lake organized by Chateau de Luc. It offers a great time with music, concerts, and drinks. There is a friendly atmosphere as people from local community join the celebration.
Other attracts near the area include Fondation Falon, Chateau de la Hulpe, and Memorial Waterloo 1815. Travelers can go on a day trip from Brussels to explore these atttractions and the iconic Lake Genval.
One of the closest hotel to lake Genval, apart from Chateau de Lac, is Martin’s Manoir. It also has impressive reviews.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Czechia
The Lipno lake in Czechia is a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. It’s a reservoir that’s part of the river Moldau, and is 11 kilometers in length with a jagged shore line. Driving around it is perfect, since on one side there are mountain views and on the other side a lake with its jagged shore. There’s beautiful nature to be found around the lake and plenty of activities to do.
Several towns surround the lake, the most tourists visit the Southeast side and stay at either Frymburk or Lipno nad Vltavou. Frymburk is an authentical Czech village, dating from the 13th century. Lipno nad Vltavou was founded after the reservoir was constructed in the 1950s.
Summer and Winter are both perfect seasons for a visit, in Summer all sorts of watersports can be practised on the lake. However Winter is extra special, since at that moment the lake is frozen over, and with the snow covered mountains around the lakes, this gives breathtaking views.
There are two perfect places for the best views and to take pictures. One is on the lake, whether this is on a boat or when ice skating on the lake. This way you have the lake with the mountains in the background. The second is on top of the treetop walkway, one of the fun things to do in Lipno nad Vltavou. The walkway is on top of the mountain at Lipno nad Vltavou, and is 40 meters in height. From here there are 360° degree views of the lake and mountains.
In Winter time ice skating and walking on the frozen lake and skiing in the surrounding mountains are the things to do. In Summer it’s swimming, boating and other watersports on the lake.Linz Airport, in Austria, is the closest airport, which is 41 miles by car to Lipno nad Vltavou.
Landal Marina Lipno, is a perfect place to stay at. They have apartments right next to the lake, close to the marina and ski slope of Lipno nad Vltavou.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Croatia
Dragon Eye Lake, Croatia
The Dragon Eye Lake near Rogoznica in Croatia is definitely one of the most beautiful small lakes in Europe. This hidden gem is a real highlight, and an insider tip if you are looking for the very special lake experience.
This place is also called Zmajevo oko, a name that means the eye of the dragon. The beautiful natural jewel is embedded in beautiful nature and is surrounded by rock walls up to 24 meters high. The lake has an oval shape, which is said to resemble a dragon’s eye. Legends abound around the mystical lake!
According to the legend, a huge dragon lives in the deep lake. The depth of this azure lake is almost 60 meters, and its water level rises and falls with the tide. However, it is probable that the lake was formed by a meteor impact or as a sinkhole.
If you like, you can even swim in the dragon eye lake. Ladders lead down into the rather warm salt water, and small rocky outcrops also invite you to cliff jump. Unique is that the Dragon Eye Lake becomes cloudy every few years. Then the life in the lake disappears – all fish, jellyfish and even snails disappear – probably due to the sea.
However, after a few months the lake clears up again and the old fauna returns. Until now, it’s a phenomenon which is not explained.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in England
Malham Tarn, England
Hannah, Get Lost Travel Blog
Malham Tarn is a unique sight in the Yorkshire Dales, England. Due to the prevalent limestone geology of the area, there are only two natural lakes in the whole of the Dales; Semerwater and Malham Tarn.
Despite not having much competition for the title of ‘prettiest lake in the Yorkshire Dales,’ it could easily be ranked as one of the prettiest lakes in Europe. This tranquil spot is a charming place to enjoy the impressive natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales without the huge crowds that many of the other local sights attract.
The Yorkshire Dale are a beautiful and popular tourist spot year-round. But, to avoid the crowds, the shoulder seasons of either June or September usually mean reasonable weather with fewer tourists.
For the best views of Malham Tarn, enter from the southern Watersinks car park. As you approach the Tarn, you will be able to enjoy sweeping views of the lake with the boathouse opposite you. It is the ideal photo spot!
One of the most popular ways to see Malham Tarn is as part of a 9.5mile circular walk around the many Malham sights.
As well as Malham Tarn, your journey will take you to the enchanting waterfall Janet’s Foss, into the impressive gorge of Gordale Scar and across the limestone pavement that sits atop Malham Cove. Due to the distance of this walk, it is a full day hike so come prepared with snacks, a picnic, plenty of water and sun cream!
If you want to take in the whole 9.5 mile walk, park your car at the Malham National Park Centre (BD23 4DA). If you want to head straight to Malham Tarn, you can park at one of the two car parks by the lake, at either Watersinks Car Park (BD23 4DJ) or at the Malham Tarn Estate Office (BD24 9PT). There is no direct way to reach Malham Tarn via public transport.
The rural nature of Malham Tarn means there are a lack of hotels right on the doorstep. However, the village of Malham is around two miles away and has a great choice of hotels and holiday cottages for your stay. The Lister Arms is a beautiful quintessential English pub in the heart of Malham, which makes the perfect homebase.
Rutland Water, England
Rutland Water was once a green farming valley near Oakham in the smallest county of England, Rutland. The River Gwash was dammed with a 1200 metre long and 35 metre high dam in the early 1970’s.
A few villages were submerged and lost forever under the water although the upper portion of the Church of Normanton was saved and is now a museum documenting the history and construction of the reservoir.
Rutland Water covers 13sq.km of countryside and is now a very popular destination for water sports, bird watching, fishing, sailing, cycling and hiking.
There is a 25 mile (40km) trail around Rutland Water with the main parking areas at Whitwell and Normanton where you can also hire bikes (e-bikes too) if you want to cycle around the lake or even part of it. Allow 2 to 3 hours for a full 40km circumferential ride.
Bird watching centres at Egleton and Lyndon are an excellent place to view some wildlife where there are bird viewing windows, trails and hides. Birds that can be seen here include Lapwing, Cormorant, Coot and Osprey.
For something different take a trip on “The Rutland Belle” which is a 45 minute cruise around the reservoir with interesting commentary along the way. The boat trip starts at the Whitwell Visitor Centre.
For those with their own boat, canoe, or kayak Whitwell is also where you can launch. There is a small fee which includes free parking for the day and you must have your own insurance which includes water sports.
When viewed from the air the Rutland Water resembles the shape of a horseshoe which has been the Emblem of the County of Rutland since 1784. A huge collection of horseshoes are on display at the castle in Oakham which were donated over centuries by visiting dignitaries as custom requires.
Rutland Water is free to visit anytime of year. It changes with the seasons so there will always be something different to see and do.
Rutland Water is set in an absolutely stunning location with a range of activities to suit everyone, picnic areas, walks, cycle rides. It really has got it all.
A good place to stay overnight is The Finch’s Arms, a 17th-century country inn in the pretty village of Hambleton right on the peninsula. Alternatively there are many hotels and B&B’s available in the nearby villages surrounding Rutland Water.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in France
Lake Annecy, France
Kat, France Voyager
Lake Annecy is easily one of the prettiest lakes in Europe. Located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France near the Swiss border, Annecy is the dreamiest mountain town.
Annecy itself is known as the “Venice of France” thanks to its flower-lined canals that lead to Lake Annecy. Lake Annecy, being an alpine lake, has mountains on the other side of it, creating the most beautiful scenery.
Lake Annecy also has crystal clear water, idyllic for a swim on a warm summer day.
The best time to visit Lake Annecy is between May and September when you can swim in the lake on hot days. You can also take a paddleboat out on the lake and perhaps even make a picnic from products you’ve purchased at the iconic Annecy Old Town Market!
Even if you only have one day in Annecy, this lake is a must to see! Whether you want to get out on the water, bike the circumference of the lake, or even go paragliding in the mountains on the other side, Annecy is a place for those who wish to relax or be active.
The best place to take a photo is in the Jardins de l’Europe, which sits at the edge of the lake.
To get to Annecy, you could fly into Geneva and take the 1-hour train ride to the city, or you can take a 4-hour train ride from Paris. For a great place to stay, Atipik Hotel Alexandra is next to the Old City and within walking distance of many attractions.
Lake Annecy is one of the most beautiful places to visit in France!
Lac de Sainte-Croix
Daniela, Ipanema travels
Lake of Sainte-Croix (Lac de Sainte-Croix) is one of the most popular summer holiday destinations in France. Located in Southern France, the lake attracts holidaymakers who can’t get enough of the laid-back vibe of Provence, combined with the stunning nature that’s literally at the doorstep of the lake.
The lake was created in the 1970s when they’ve built a dam on the Verdon River just after the canyon cut by the river. Quite interesting fact is that whole village of Les Salles-sur-Verdon had to be flooded and today it lies at the bottom of the lake. After the lake was created, the village was moved some 400 m further at the shore.
For the most beautiful views of the lake, you need to drive to little village of Aiguines. From there you can admire the post-card beautiful panorama of the lake’s turquoise waters. For an equally stunning view, stop at the bridge Pont du Galetas: at one side you’ll see the Lake of Saint-Croix and on the other side – the entrance to the Gorges du Verdon – one of the most beautiful canyons in Europe!
At the lake, you can relax at one of the beaches or do some water sports, like canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, or sailing. You can also hire a pedal boat, which is a quite fun. The area around the lake is a real paradise for the hikers as the Gorges du Verdon with its numerous hiking trails starts where the lake finishes. Those who enjoy the typical charming villages of Provence, won’t be disappointed as well.
The lake is located at some 850 km to the south of Paris. The nearest international airports are Nice (130 km) and Marseille (135 km). The best way to get to the lake is by car, travelling by public transport is almost impossible, as some of the bus lines are available only in the summer.
Around the lake there are lots of places to camp, bed-and-breakfasts, holiday homes and small hotels, where one can stay. Highly recommended are Aiguines, Les Salle-sur-Verdon (Auberge des Salles) and Bauduen (Hotel Les Cavalets) because of the beautiful views.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Iceland
Natasha, Planes, Trains and Karcz
Nestled between the North Atlantic and the infamous Vatnajokull Glacier (Europe’s largest glacier) is where you’ll find the renowned Jökulsárlón Glacial Lake; a lagoon brimming with massive broken shards of ice, seals, and turquoise waters.
Jökulsárlón is not only considered one of Iceland’s prettiest lakes, but it’s also its deepest; with depths reaching nearly 250m. Formed via the melted glacial water of Vatnajokull, Jökulsárlón is composed of both freshwater and salt water from the oceanic passage it flows out to – which gives it its distinct color.
While the lake itself is accessible year round, there are specific advantages to visiting in either the summer or the winter season.
During summertime, you can opt for a Jökulsárlón boat tour where you will be comfortably escorted in between the massive bergs (or take it a step further and opt for the kayaking tour – only offered during July and August!), whereas in the winter, you have a pretty decent chance at catching the dancing northern lights reflecting off Jökulsárlón, or can opt for a nearby ice cave tour.
Jökulsárlón glacial lake is located approximately 6 hours from Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik, but rest assured there are a myriad of stops and views along the way to make the journey worthwhile.
Opt to join a tour or self-drive (which is recommended if you wish to take the south coast at your own pace!), and stay at the nearby Fosshotel Glacier Lagoon hotel for lavish accommodations set in Iceland’s rugged landscape.
Of course, no visit to Jökulsárlón is complete without a visit to nearby Diamond Beach. Take a short day hike along its pristine black sand, and don’t forget your camera; as this beach is riddled with polished fragments of ice that have broken off, floated out to sea, and have since been churned around and washed back up to where they sit shimmering in the sunlight. It’s a spectacular sight to behold, and you’ll want to document every second!
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Ireland
Lough Ouler, Ireland
Adam, As Adam Goes
Lough Ouler is known as one of Ireland’s natural treasures. Over the past couple of years, Lough Ouler has captured the attention of outdoorsy lovers searching for something special in the rugged Wicklow Mountains.
But, what makes Lough Ouler so special? Well, it’s one of the only love-heart-shaped lakes in the whole of Ireland. To get to the tarn, you must first tackle the durable Tonelagee Mountain. It’s the third highest mountain in Wicklow. The climb will test your nerves, but what’s waiting on the other side will be worth the struggle. The hike takes roughly two hours.
Parking at the Turlough Hill carpark will give you access to the Tonelagee mountain, which you must climb to see the lake. Once you’ve reached the top, make your way straight and you’ll eventually see the lake of love.
Be careful not to venture too close to the edge as the drop is super steep. The last thing you want is an accident. When you’ve finished up, follow back the way you came. Be sure to avoid climbing the Tonelagee to see Lough Ouler if the weather is bad. You can get lost up there pretty quickly if it’s a foggy day. That’s speaking from experience.
The best time to visit is during the summer months, which include May, June, July, and August. A great place to stay near Lough Ouler is The Meetings B&B. You’ll get a great location and fabulous staff who will look after you like their own.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Italy
Lago di Braies, Italy
Dean and Laynni, Routinely Nomadic
The fabulous Dolomites of Northern Italy are truly spectacular – the region is filled with jagged mountains, stunning viewpoints and, of course, truly beautiful alpine lakes.
Although there are many to choose from, each with their own unique highlights, the wonderfully photogenic Lago di Braies is definitely one of the best of an impressive bunch.
Located close to Austria and easily reached from transportation hubs such as Dobbiaco (20 min) and Brunico (30 min), Lago di Braies is also commonly referred to by its German name, Pragser Wildsee. There is a large parking area or, in high season, comfortable shuttles travel back and forth to Dobbiaco.
With calm, reflective waters surrounded by steep hills/mountains, Lago di Braies is one of the most picturesque places in Italy for a hike, swim, paddle or just a relaxing picnic. Well-known in hiking circles as the starting point of the epic Alta Via 1 trek, there are several scenic trails leading off into the wilderness.
The most iconic activity on Lago di Braies is taking a leisurely float on the calm waters in a charming little rowboat. These can be rented by the hour near the main dock. There is also a resident herd of cattle that hangs out at the far southern end of the lake, languidly chomping grass, sometimes begging for human food and occasionally photobombing. Kids seem to like them, though.
The only hotel on the lake is the stunning Hotel Lago di Braies, a gorgeous mountain chalet with classic luxury and phenomenal views over the lake. It tends to book up quickly but if you manage to get a room you can enjoy the serenity of this amazing location after all the day-trippers have gone.
Lago di Carezza
Krisztina, She Wanders Abroad
Located in Northern Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol region, Lago di Carezza is definitely one of the prettiest lakes in Europe. Lying in the Dolomites at an elevation of 1,500 meters, its warm, deep-blue waters are a magnet for hikers and wildlife.
The lake is a picturesque sight for anyone who loves the outdoors. It looks like a landscape from a fantasy or fairy tale with majestic peaks in the background and a tranquil blue lake.
Unfortunately, you can’t swim in the lake due to the fragile ecosystem but it offers one of the best hikes in the Dolomites. The trail around the lake is mostly flat, making it a pleasant experience for every type of hiker. It won’t take more than 20 minutes to complete the whole trail and it offers gorgeous views all along.
Lago di Carezza is a great destination all year round, the best season to visit depends on whether you want to see the lake surrounded by lush greenery, or with snow-capped mountains. As far as timing goes, it’s best to visit early in the morning to avoid the biggest crowds.
You will find a huge car park near the lake, where you can park for 1 EUR per hour. If you don’t have a rental car, you can also catch the bus from Bolzano.
Annabel, Smudge Postcard
When exploring Italy, it can be difficult to pick which of the country’s beautiful lakes to visit first – there are so many to choose from. However, Lake Garda is certainly a good choice – it has something for everyone from historic castles to lakeside theme parks.
Lake Garda has some busy resorts to stay in as well as peaceful hidden gems away from the crowds. As well as lakeside activities such as water sports, there are plenty of things to do close by such as wine tasting, cycling and hiking.
The water of Lake Garda has a wonderful turquoise hue and the mountain backdrop makes for a picture perfect view. Hiring a boat and motoring into the centre of the lake is a great way to get away from it all and understand just how big it is. It’s also a great way to get a good photo of some of the picturesque lakeside towns.
The roads around Lake Garda can get very busy in high season – spring or autumn are great times to visit if you would prefer a quieter experience.
There are countless places to stay – Sirmione in the south is very attractive, while Riva del Garda in the North is also a good choice. If you’d like to be close to public transport, there’s a train station at Desenzano del Garda.
Lake Garda is situated midway between Milan and Venice so it’s a convenient place to combine with these two brilliant cities and there are good transport links if you’d rather not hire a car – both are under two hours by train to Desenzano.
If you’re happy to stay slightly away from the lakefront, Agriturismo Corte Patrizia near Bardolino offers a collection of smart apartments set on a vineyard – the perfect retreat at the end of a busy day.
Lake Misurina, Italy
Chelsey, Chelsey Explores
Lake Misurina is one of the prettiest lakes in Italy, and in Europe in general. This beautiful lake is located in the Italian Dolomites, which is also one of the prettiest areas on Earth.
Lake Misurina is one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe because of the beautiful mountains surrounding the lake, the breathtaking view, the even prettier reflection of the view in the water, and if all of this wasn’t enough – this is also one of the prettiest sunset spots in the Italian Dolomites!
There is a beautiful path along the lake that you can walk around and enjoy the view, take unique photos during your walk around the lake, and take some super Instagrammable photos at the lake!
Mont Cristallo, one of the prettiest mountains in the Dolomites is also in the area, only a 9 minutes drive away from Lake Misurina! Also, you can find in the area Sentiero Durissini, a beautiful hike you can go on before or after visiting Lake Misurina. It’s only a 6 minutes drive away from the lake.
The Chalet Falorie Airbnb is beautiful and has several sized apartments to meet your travel needs. It is also one of the most recommended apartments in the area, and will cost around $520 total for two nights.
If you are wondering how to get to Lake Misurina, you will need to plan in advance since getting to the Italian Dolomites can be a little difficult as it is quite remote.
The nearest airports are Milan, Italy (4 hours drive to the Dolomites), Munich, Germany (3-4 hours drive to the dolomites), Zurich, Switzerland (5-6 hours drive), or the closest airport – Venice, Italy (3.5 hours).You can rent a car at the airport, and drive from one of these destinations.
The Dolomites is best explored by car (car’s a quite easy to hire in Italy), as many of the locations are spread out and public transportation is not easily accessible here.
Caroline, Veggie Wayfarer
Lake Sorapis is arguably the prettiest lake in all of the Dolomites. With sweeping views, emerald green water, and the surprising lack of mass tourism it simply is a must-see when touring the region.
That being said, Lake Sorapis will not give up its beauty for just anyone. She will make you work for it, all 14 km of sweaty hiking trail of it. The trailhead can be reached by either car or bus. When taking the car, you will want to input Passo Tre Croci in the GPS.
Once arrived parking is easy enough to find along the road. If the bus is your preferred option, simply hop on bus number 30 from Cortina, the bus stop is called – you might have guessed it – Passo Tre Croci.
The hike itself is easy to moderate – at least for those who do not suffer vertigo. Certain passages of the hike take you along small paths alongside the hill, the drop off is pretty spectacular. Other passages will have you clamber up rickety stairs, the views are absolutely breathtaking but could be a bit problematic for those with an ardent fear of heights. Wear proper footwear and be sure to bring a rain jacket (one never knows in the mountains).
The best spot to photograph Lake Sorapis is about 100 meters from your arrival point. Once you set eyes on this magnificent lake, walk straight on until you face a large rock emerging from the water. This rock is the most photographed spot on the lake. Alternatively, you can make the trek around the lake for a different perspective – be it a little less spectacular.
There are plenty of local guesthouses dotted around the area, if you do want to take public transport though try and stay in Cortina. The Royal Hotel in Cortina offers spectacular views and is family-run.
Lago di Toblino
Toti & Ale, Italian Trip Abroad
Nestled in the beautiful scenario of the Dolomites, Lake Toblino is still a little unknown to many tourists visiting Trentino in Northern Italy. Considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the Dolomites, Lago di Toblino is one of the many natural basins in lakes Valley.
However, the fairytale lake is well known among locals. There are many stories about this extraordinary place, from one of the most romantic places around the Dolomites to enchanting, charming paths through the forests, vineyards and valleys.
Easy to reach from Trento, the capital city of the region, Toblino lake is gorgeous to visit at any time of the year. In winter, you can uncover the magic winter wonderland, even if the lakes hardly gets frozen, while all around is white.
Summer instead is ideal for long walks and appreciating the shimmer effect of the sun on the water. The lake is well known for unique things; its water turned red in summer when a special Algae was released on the surface. This effect is not occurring anymore, but Toblino Lake is often referred to as the Red Lake.
To better enjoy the area, book your stay at the Hotel Due Laghi, walking distance from the path, and a nice restaurant to enjoy, even just a quick bite.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Montenegro
Cazzy, Dream Big Travel Far
Nestled on the frontier of Albania and Montenegro, Lake Skadar is Southern Europe’s largest lake. While the side in Montenegro has been turned into Lake Skadar National Park, the Albanian side is a nature reserve.
This family-friendly nature destination is ensconced by karst mountains and rugged shores, which definitely give the lake a breathtaking beauty. But not only that, it is actually the largest bird reserve in all of Europe, housing over 280 wetland and water bird species.
It’s truly a paradise for animal lovers and wildlife enthusiasts, as the lake itself is home to nearly 50 fish species, eels, snakes, swamp turtles, and numerous reptiles. Moreover, wild boards and wolves roam the surrounding areas, while the lush vegetation around has over 25 endangered Mediterranean flora.
There are tons of activities to keep you busy on Lake Skadar, and the unmissable thing would be to explore the waters. Cruises can last one to eight hours, where the ride takes you to Grmožur, the island prison and fortress, among others. It’s also possible to grab lunch in the lakeside villages and float through Pavlova Strana, the world-famous horseshoe bend. This is also a fantastic photo spot any photographer would love.
Kayaking is also a great way to experience Lake Skadar, as well as cycling the five bike trails and hiking one of the nine hike trails. With ancient monasteries and fortresses strewn throughout the area, there really is no shortage of history and wonder to discover!
So, when is the best time to visit Lake Skadar? Each season has its own appeal. While hiking and cycling are best done in summer, the lake in winter is just as superb. The mountains turn blue and the cool, still air gives the entire scenery a mystic atmosphere.
For those planning a trip to Lake Skadar, the best place to stay in is Virpazar. This quaint town on the lake’s shore is 40 miles from Kotor. While it’s recommended to drive into town, there is a train station nearby and the Bar-Podgorica bus also makes a stop there.
In terms of accommodation, Virpazar has plenty of hotels, resorts, apartments, and lodging to choose from. Ethno Lodge AB is one example, a stunning property right on the shore of Lake Skadar that offers cozy cabins and continental breakfast.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Poland
There are many beautiful lakes in Europe, and many of them are overcrowded with tourists from every part of the part, diminishing their natural beauty. If you want a lake whose beauty is complemented by pristine nature, then the Morskie Oko Lake in Zakopane, Poland is ideal for you.
Known as the biggest lake in the Tatra National Park of Poland, it is an unmissable attraction when visiting Zakopane. The lake is situated at 1,395 meters above sea level, the perfect altitude for fresh air and amazing greenery. Because of its size, what makes the lake so beautiful is its crystal clear water. You can see several meters into the lake (sometimes even to the bottom). Combined with the natural trouts that inhabit this lake, the alpine peaks, and the swiss pines that surround the lake, the scenery is impeccable.
The best time to visit Morskie Oko is unquestionably the summer, when the trail is guaranteed to be open and visitors can see the surrounding flora in full bloom. However, it is not uncommon for visitors to come any time of the year, even in the winter when the lake freezes!
To get the best view of the lake, it is more than just arriving at the lake. Visitors wanted to see the entirety of the lake must hike a bit higher to Czarny Staw pod Rysami, a lake above the Morskie Oko Lake. It takes an additional 45 minutes but the views are more than worth the struggle!
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Romania
Lacul Bâlea, Romania
One of the best things to do in Romania is to drive through the scenic Transfăgărășan Road (also called The Road in the Sky), considered one of the most beautiful highways in Europe.
This road is how you reach Balea Lake (Lacul Bâlea), a glacier lake in the Făgăraș Mountains (the Southern Carpathians) that’s definitely worthy of being called one of Europe’s prettiest lakes.It doesn’t take much to enjoy the beauty of Balea Lake. It is not very big, so almost every spot provides a picture-perfect angle.
To marvel at a few more pretty places, take some short hikes to nearby Balea Waterfall or Capra Lake and Waterfall. Since the road is only open to vehicles during summer, that would be the best time to visit. Note that this is a mountainous area, so even in August it can be a bit chilly, so be sure to pack accordingly.
Throughout the year, you can access the lake by cable car, and many travelers choose to visit around winter to see the area covered in snow.
Around the lake, you’ll find a couple of chalets (Cabana Bâlea Lac and Cabana Paltinu) and even an ice hotel that opened in 2005, but there’s no shortage of cozy places to stay in the surrounding area.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Slovenia
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Whilst you may not have heard of the Lake Bled or even Slovenia, the country that is home to Lake Bled, you are bound to have seen photos of the little church in the middle of the lake.
Lake Bled in Slovenia is one of those fairy tale-like destination that makes you think “This can’t be real!”.
Bled is world-famous for its mesmerizing lake and stunning surrounding scenery. In the middle of this alpine lake surrounded lies a tiny island with a shining white church on top of it. The lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains, and high above on the cliffs next to the lake sits a medieval castle overlooking it all.
One of the best things to do in Bled is to take a traditional Pletna boat ride to the island. These boats are rowed similarly to the gondolas in Venice, except that the oarsman of a pletna boat uses big oars to row the boat.
When it comes to places to stay in Bled there are many great options. If you’d like to stay in style then Villa Bled is for you. This historic villa on the shores of the lake used to be the summer residence of former president Tito, and it is pure luxury.
More on a budget? Then The Best Hostel is a great option. Even though the name might raise some questions, it actually is the best hostel in Bled, especially when it comes to value for money.
Dhara, It’s Not About the Miles
Lake Bohinj in Slovenia is one of the prettiest lakes in Europe, and a must-visit destination on your Slovenia itinerary.
Part of Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s only national park, Lake Bohinj is large, with several communities along its shore. It is nestled amongst the mountains, and features spectacular scenery.
One of the best spots for photos at Lake Bohinj is near the Ribcev Laz end. Here you will find the very picturesque Church of Saint John the Baptist, and an old bridge that make for a fabulous backdrop against Lake Bohinj.
There are lots of things to do at Lake Bohinj, from swimming to strolling the shore of the lake, canoeing, visiting the Savica waterfall, and taking the cable car to the top of Mt. Vogel. There is also a tourist boat you can take to get from one end of the lake to the other, the ride is very scenic.
To get to Lake Bohinj by public transport, you can take the bus from Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, or Bled. You can also drive yourself to the lake if you have a car, or join a guided tour from Ljubljana that includes Lake Bohinj.
The best time to visit Lake Bohinj is from late spring until fall, when the weather is warm enough to enjoy water activities. Leaf colors are great in the fall, and in the spring you will see lots of wildflowers. Hotel Jezero in Ribcev Laz is a great place to stay, being right on the lake.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Spain
Cynthia and Alexander, Travel Your Memories
Covadonga is located in a picturesque narrow valley. A narrow mountain road leads from here to one of the most beautiful areas of the Picos de Europa with the glacial lakes Lago Enol and Lago de la Ercina at an altitude of more than 1,000 meters.
From Covadonga, you can hike 12km to the beautiful viewpoints of Mirador de la Reina. This is an amazing place to photograph. The view extends far over the coastal mountains to the sea. Cows and sheep graze on the green pastures.
After crossing a pass, the deep blue Lago Enol is on the right, in front of the panorama of the western massif of the Picos de Europa with the 2,594 meters high Torre Santa. At the east of the lake, you can start a hike to the mines of Buferrera and Lago de la Ercina at the foot of the Macizo Occidental. T
he Ruta de Los Lagos is one of the best hikes you can do in Picos the Europa because you can admire glacial lakes like anywhere else in Spain.
Hiking in Picos de Europa is the best way to discover different areas. Day trips or long-distance hikes with the possibility to stay at mountain huts (refugios) are possible. Hiking maps are available at the national park information points.
The lake and Picos de Europa are best visited from March to October. During these months the weather is the best. In winter it is sometimes not possible to walk in this area due to snowfall.
If you are going to visit Covadonga Lakes, it is recommended to stay in the nearby village of Cangas de Onis at Hotel Los Lagos Nature. This hotel is run by a family that welcomes you with open arms.
Picos de Europa is best reached by flying to Santander and using a rental car at the airport to travel to Cangas de Onis. Hiking in Picos de Europa is the best way to explore this area, there is so much beauty to discover.
El Chorro Lakes
Linn, Andalucia Hiking
Tucked in the hills of Ardales and El Chorro in the Malaga Province in Spain, there is a surprisingly stunning group of turquoise lakes wrapped in a thick pine forest.
El Chorro Lakes was for long a hidden gem that only the locals knew about, but with the years it has become more and more popular, and you will hear different languages spoken all around you. Luckily, the lakes span over such a large area that you can still find a silent spot if you hike or rent a kayak.
You should get there early so that you can park before it fills up, especially on the weekends and in the month of August when the entire country takes their vacation and merge from the cities. If you don’t drive, there is a possibility to get there by public transport thanks to the world-famous Caminito del Rey. Take the train from Malaga to El Chorro and jump on the local shuttle bus that takes you to El Kiosko Restaurant, the starting point of the hike.
Then you need to backtrack on the road until you get to a place you can enter the lakes. La Isla is the most popular spot where you also can rent kayaks.
The best place to stay is the Camping Parque Ardales. If you travel in the high season, you will have to book in advance. The lakes are beautiful all year round, but the best time to go swimming is between June and September/October.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Switzerland
Millie, Travelling Through the Trees
Lake Brienz is undoubtedly one of the prettiest lakes in the picturesque town of Interlaken in Switzerland. Its turquoise waters glisten away in the sunshine with snow-capped mountains as a backdrop – it’s a tough location to beat in Europe.
The best time to visit Interlaken is during the summer months, where many locals and tourists head to Lake Brienz for water sports such as paddle boarding and canoeing. However, if that sounds far too strenuous, then you can hop on board a larger boat which will take you to some of the most scenic spots on the lake – most notably to Geissbach Falls. Alternatively, you can simply stroll around Lake Brienz or find a spot to relax in the sunshine.
To get the best view of Lake Brienz, there are a few options worth considering. The first is taking a trip on the Brienz Rothorn Bahn – an old steam train that snakes its way up the side of the mountain. Not only is this a great experience, but it provides numerous great views of Lake Brienz from different viewpoints.
The second is a well-known viewing platform in Interlaken named Harder Kulm, where a funicular railway transports visitors to the top of the mountain and provides fantastic views of not only Lake Brienz but the neighbouring Lake Thunersee too. Lastly, many opt for paragliding over Lake Brienz, which is arguably the best option!
For those looking for somewhere to stay in Interlaken with stunning lakeside views, then Grandhotel Geissbach is one of the best n the area.
Zoe, Together In Transit
For one of the best, prettiest and sunniest lakes in Europe, find yourself heading to Lake Lugano in Switzerland. This gorgeous Swiss location is situated in the Ticino canton of Switzerland, not far to reach from other cities by train or car such as Lucerne and Milan.
For visiting, Lugano and the lake is beautiful all year round, but most enjoyed in the spring and summer time with the warmest temperatures. During this period you can swim at specific sections, enjoy local paddle boats and also a few boat trips around the lake to different areas. A walk or run along the whole promenade is also a must, from neighbourhood Paradiso to Brè-Aldesago.
To see the whole Lake Lugano in one view, either head to the high mountain viewpoints at Monte Bre or at Monte San Salvatore. From both of these locations you can view the lake beautifully from above, looking also down onto the city of Lugano. You can also grab a bite to eat or drink at the restaurants to enjoy the view for longer!
If you wish to stay the night or longer in Lugano to enjoy Lake Lugano, book yourself a room at the The View Lugano hotel. Here they offer a relaxing stay, fantastic fresh breakfast choices and high standard service for your needs. Their sauna is perfect for relaxing at after a long day out else to make use of their delicious dinner menu while enjoying the view of the lake from their terrace area.
Lavina, Continent Hop
There’s numerous stunning lakes in Europe due to the size of this continent. While a single country couldn’t claim to have the prettiest lakes, the presence of the Alps in countries like Italy, Austria and Switzerland sure make the lakes located in the Alps some of the most beautiful!
One such lake is Seealpsee. Located at an altitude of 1141 metres above sea level, Seealpsee is what you’d call a mirror lake. This is because when there’s no disturbance, the mountains by the side are clearly reflected in the lake making it quite unforgettable!
Seealpsee doesn’t get many tourists as it is located on a hiking trail within the Appenzell Alps in Switzerland and only if you pass by this route will you see it, which makes it quite offbeat and unique.
While many spend only the night here in the nearby lodge, you could spend more than a night and just explore the locality as there’s lots of areas around the lake where you could have a picnic, take a walk by the lake and watch the cows graze around lazily. In summer, you could also go boating on the lake or even kayaking. Kayaks and boats can be rented from the nearby lodges.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Ukraine
Iris, Mind of a Hitchhiker
You might have seen pictures of the famous pink lakes in Mexico and Australia, but you can also find a few in Europe.
The area of Heniches’k at the Sea of Azov features many lakes and estuaries, but if you ask specifically for the rozovye ozero, helpful locals will point you in the right direction. Take the road southward out of town to travel on the Arabat Spit – the part of the Crimean peninsula that’s under Ukrainian control – where you’ll find some marvelous nature.
This sandy spit becomes wide enough to host its own lake on a peninsula. This is the pink Heniches’k Lake. But what makes it pink? The water is very salty and that makes it difficult for many organisms to stay alive. But there’s one alga that thrives in this briny environment: Dunaliella salina. It produces beta carotene which makes it orange or red and is the algae’s way of protecting itself from the UV-rays in summer. That’s why the lake is a stronger shade of pink towards the end of summer in August and September.
It’s around that time that the lake dries up at the edges and the salt and mineral mud gets harvested by locals and visitors. There are little wooden planks extending into the lake from where you can take beautiful photos, but they can be slippery. So you can also walk a little uphill to see a panorama of Heniches’k Lake. (Un)intentionally stepping into the water without suitable shoes is also a bad idea because the salt crystals are very sharp and the water is deeper than it looks.
If you’re not comfortable harvesting salt yourself, pay a few Hryven (₴) to support a local who harvested it. It goes well with bread. This is not the only thing the Arabat Spit has to offer. There’s also a hot spring nearby if you like a soak, markets where (returned) Crimean Tatars sell tasty food, plenty of beach for kitesurfing, a WWII bunker, and a former railroad bridge that’s great for photography and meeting locals. You can reach Heniches’k by hitchhiking, train, and bus.
The town gets busy with local tourists in summer, so make sure to book a hotel or guesthouse (such as “Travnevyy”) well in advance.
The Most Beautiful Lakes in Wales
Llyn Glaslyn, Wales
One of the most beautiful glacial lakes can be found in Snowdonia National Park. Llyn Glaslyn impresses with heart shape and its surrounding mountains. It is also full of legends about the Welsh water monster that lived in this lake. Every year, over half a million visitors climb the highest mountain in Wales to admire breathtaking views of the lakes and mountains.
You can see Llyn Glaslyn from the summit of Snowdon. However, if you would like to take a picture of the lake from close up, start your climb at Miner’s Track. During your hike you will be able to admire a few other lakes. Just keep in mind that it requires a long walk to get to Llyn Glaslyn.
Miner’s Track is not a difficult route, so you can visit the lake at any time of the year. Llyn Glaslyn looks really pretty during summer. However, Snowdon is one of the busiest mountains in the UK, so it might be better to explore it in low season.
During winter you will also find cheaper accommodation. You can stay at YHA Snowdon Pen-y-Pass that is just a stone’s throw away from Miner’s Track or Pyg Track. There are also plenty of other amazing lakes in Snowdonia National Park. Llyn Idwal, Llyn Llydaw or Llyn Gwynant are just a few of them.
Which do you think are the prettiest lakes in Europe? Let me know in the comments below
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