Lake Bled, Slovenia
Many holiday-goers flock to the seaside when it comes time to take a break, but there is something special about lakes. The clear fresh water is tranquil and calm, reflecting the changing tones of the sky. The towns build around them are slow-paced and scenic and make perfect places to relax. There are many activities that can be enjoyed on the calm waters, including fishing, sailing, swimming and stand up paddle boarding.
There are a few stunning lakes in Europe that will make you gasp in awe at their beauty. With clear blue water and majestic surroundings, why not dive right in to one of these lakes on your next holiday?
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled is picture-perfect. A fairy tale medieval church on a tiny island in the middle of topaz blue water, surrounded by the craggy peaks of the Julian Alps. In this tranquil resort surrounded by lush evergreen forest you will find luxury accommodation and plenty of thrilling outdoor activities. It’s no surprise that the film Chronicles of Narnia was made in the forests surrounding the lake – there is a wonderfully magical feeling to this wilderness.
The resort town of Bled has been a holiday location for many centuries – it was once the home of the Yugoslavian royal family and the summer residence of President Josip Broz Tito. Local tour companies offer hiking, swimming and white water rafting in the region. Or, you can go paragliding from the top of Mount Vogel and glide down slowly into the valley below while admiring the views.
Lake Ohrid, Macedonia & Albania
Considered to be one of the oldest and deepest lakes in Europe, beautiful and tranquil Lake Ohrid is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many visitors from Macedonia and Albania come here for their relaxing holidays and in recent years the lake has started to attract visitors from all over Europe and the world.
Stroll along the peaceful banks of the lake and marvel at the way the sunlight shimmers on the water. While on the Macedonian side you can also visit Lake Prespa, another beautiful nearby lake that is rumoured to have its own Loch Ness Monster.
Lake Orta, Italy
Lake Orta does not have as many throngs of tourists as Lake Como, Garda and Maggiore, yet it still offers tranquillity and stunning vistas. The town of Orta San Guilio has pretty slate roofed houses, arcaded lanes and a quiet, welcoming atmosphere. It’s a wonderful spot to get away from it all and recharge your batteries.
Take a hike up the Sacro Monte to see the ornate and beautiful Baroque chapels or dine on superb Italian food while gazing at the relaxing blue waters of the lake. If you are visiting during the summer months make sure to avoid August as this is when Italians and French are on holiday and these lovely lakeside resorts will be much more crowded.
Lake Saimaa, Finland
The largest lake in Finland and the fourth largest in Europe, this scenic lake covers an impressive area of 4,400 square kilometres. It is dotted with 14,000 small islands that make it appear to be an enormous water maze. The locals love outdoor activities and there are many opportunities to go cycling, canoeing, hiking and cross country skiing in and around the lakes.
Visiting the green islands in this expansive waterway is one of the most popular natural attractions in Finland. In fact, some of the islands are available for purchase – would you like to own one?
Lake Annecy, France
This French lakeside destination is a popular favourite with many Europeans. It offers refreshing alpine air, gorgeous mountain scenery, cool blue waters and several lovely villages and towns to explore. It is often used as a base for exploring the rest of the scenic Savoie Region.
Annecy town itself is a lovely place to stay with its historic architecture. Make sure to visit the mountain commune of Chamonix, the majestic peak of Mont Blanc, the picturesque medieval villages of Geneva and Yvoire and the town of Evian. Of course, your visit will also include plenty of delicious French cheese paired with superb wine.
Lake Geneva, Switzerland
One of the most famous lakes in Europe is Lake Geneva, a stunning blue glacial lake nestled within the rugged Alps. The waters are clear and cold and the lake is surrounded by lovely attractive villages, towns and castles that are a delight to explore. Don’t miss Chateau de Chillon, which is a beautiful medieval castle that overlooks the lake.
Plitvice Lakes, Croatia
The oldest national park in Southeast Europe, Plitvice Lakes is known for its amazing unspoilt beauty. Set within a dense forest, these 16 turquoise lakes are connected together by waterfalls and cascades. They are separated by natural dams that are made from travertine, which is created by plants and bacteria.
Thanks to the strict rules and regulations of the National Park, Plitvice Lakes will remain well protected and their beauty will be preserved for many generations to come.
Wildlife is abundant here and while you are admiring the lakes you might spot wild boar, deer and a huge variety of birds. Seeing these clean, clear and beautiful pools of water is an experience you will never forget.
Koningsee Lake, Germany
This lake is the cleanest and deepest in Germany and it has been used for recreation for centuries. It was a popular retreat for Bavarian royalty and it was also a hunting destination for the local rulers of Salzburg and Berchtesgarden. The lake is still as pristine and gorgeous as it was then, as the ecosystem here has been very carefully preserved. Only pedal and rowing boats and electric powered passenger ships have been permitted on the lake since 1909.
From Finland to Italy and everywhere in between, these are a few of the most gorgeous lakes in Europe. On your next getaway, why not consider relaxing at a calm and beautiful lakeside retreat?
Tom’s travel writings are a testament to his insatiable curiosity and love for the road less traveled. Eschewing the typical tourist spots, Tom has built a reputation for uncovering hidden gems known only to locals.
From secluded mountain villages in the Himalayas to untouched beaches in the South Pacific, his adventures have taken him to the world’s most undiscovered corners.