This newsletter explores lakes selected by Budget Travel magazine as the most beautiful freshwater lakes on Earth. What do these lakes have in common? All provide panoramic lake views framed by majestic mountains. We list these lakes alphabetically, and challenge you to choose your own #1 lake. Follow each lake link for photos!

Crater Lake, Oregon
photo © StuSeeger


Crater Lake, Oregon
Crater Lake was formed about 7,700 years ago by a massive volcanic eruption that left behind a deep caldera that filled with water over time. Crater Lake’s sapphire blue water highlights its amazing depth of 1,943 feet – the deepest lake in the United States and among the 10 deepest in the world. The lake is the centerpiece of Crater Lake National Park, located on the crest of the Cascade Range in southern Oregon. Crater Lake was given National Park status by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902. The 33-mile Rim Drive provides spectacular scenery by car or by bicycle. Heavy snows fall from October to June with an elevation of almost 6,200 feet above sea level, so the Rim Drive does not open until early July. Boat tours provide scenic lake cruising from July through September. The park is open in winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, when blankets of snow frame the sapphire water.

Lake Bled, Slovenia
photo © mirci


Lake Bled, Slovenia
Lake Bled, in the majestic Julian Alps, is a fairytale vision come to life. This small glacial lake, crowned with a picture-book island, is a vacation destination worth planning for. The jewels in its crown are Bled Castle, overlooking the turquoise lake from a craggy cliff, and the Church of the Assumption located on Bled Island. These well-restored medieval edifices anchor the City of Bled midway between past and present. The first written records of Castle Bled date from 1004, providing documentation as the oldest castle in Slovenia. Local flat-bottomed gondolas transport visitors to Bled Island, where 99 steps ascend to the Church and its tower Wishing Bell steeped in folklore. A walking path circles the entire Lake Bled shoreline. Although covering less than 400 acres, Lake Bled is a world-class rowing center that has hosted three world championships.

Lake Garda, Italy


Lake Garda, Italy
Lake Garda, or Lago di Garda in Italian, is the largest lake in Italy, sprawling over 90,000 acres with beautiful vistas. Lake Garda is conveniently located less than 20 miles from Verona (think Romeo and Juliet), 60 miles east of Milan, and 80 miles west of Venice. The lake is graced by the mystical Dolomites to the north; their awkward and angular rock formations, towering at heights close to 10,000 feet, earned them the UNESCO Natural Heritage label in 2009. To the south of the lake, the low and gentle rolling hills are accentuated by vibrant and colorful Italian architecture. Along the coasts of the long and narrow water body, in the many towns and villages, are hundreds of historical sites and places for nature, adventure, entertainment and rejuvenation.

Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada
photo © Brian Sacan


Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada
Banff National Park in Alberta province is the birthplace of the Canadian national park system (1885) – and Peyto Lake is one of the small, spectacularly beautiful, glacial lakes snuggled within the Park. The Canadian Rockies frame 346-acre Peyto Lake, renowned for its brilliant emerald-turquoise colored water. “Rock flour” particles in the lake, containing mineral particles of dolomite, calcite, and quartz, reflect the blue-green sector of the light spectrum, giving Peyto Lake changeable hues of emerald and turquoise. The Icefields Parkway is a breathtaking 143-mile drive through Banff National Park, originating at Lake Louise and passing by Hector Lake and Bow Lake before reaching Peyto Lake (about 25 miles). Peyto Lake is best seen from Bow Pass, the highest point on the Icefields Parkway at about 6,850 feet (2,088 meters) above sea level.

To read about all 9 of the World’s Most Beautiful Lakes, visit our Lakelubbers Newsletter Archive. And don’t forget to sign up for future newsletters, delivered straight to your email inbox!

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