Switzerland is one of those countries that has something for everyone. With its stunning Alpine scenery, world-class skiing and hiking, legendary chocolate and cheese, and vibrant cities, it's no wonder that this small nation is such a popular tourist destination. And while most people might think of the Swiss Alps when they think of Switzerland, the country has a lot more to offer in terms of natural beauty. In addition to its towering mountains, Switzerland is home to some pretty amazing lakes.
20. Lac de Joux L'Abbaye, Le Chenit
We start our list with Lac de Joux, the largest lake in Switzerland, located above 1,000 meters. It's 9km long, 1km wide, and 22 meters deep on average. It has a surface area of 9.5 square kilometers offering stunning views of the Jura Mountains. It is situated in the Vallée de Joux in the Canton of Vaud, and it's a great place for hiking, swimming, and boating. The lake is also surrounded by impressive scenery, including the Jura Mountains. The Lac de Joux is also home to the Geneva Observatory, which is worth visiting if you're interested in astronomy.
19. Lake Biel Canton of Berne
Next up is Lake Biel, located in western Switzerland, Canton of Berne. It's 15km long and up to 4.1km wide, with a surface area of 39.3km2. The maximum depth is 74m, and it's located at 429 meters above sea level. It's located between the German and French-speaking areas of Switzerland, and that's why you will hear some call it Lake Biel and some call it Lake Bienne. It's one of three large lakes in the Jura region of Switzerland. The area is popular for watchmaking, and the headquarters of many world-famous brands are located nearby, including the Swatch Group and Rolex.
18. Schwarzsee (Lac Noir) Plaffeien, Fribourg
Another outstanding lake to visit while in Switzerland is the Schwarzsee. The lake is situated in the canton of Fribourg and is a great place to take a dip or relax on the shore. According to Wikipedia, the lake is 1.4 kilometers long with a maximum depth of 10 meters. The picturesque scenery and the clear water make it a perfect spot to take in the beauty of Switzerland. The views of the surrounding mountains are simply breathtaking and make for some great photo opportunities.
17. Lake Neuchâtel Romandy
Lake Neuchâtel is the largest lake located entirely in Switzerland. It is situated at the foot of the Jura mountain range, on the Swiss Plateau, mainly in the French-speaking Swiss Romande. The lake is 38 km (24 mi) long and has a maximum width of 8.2 km (5.1 mi). Its maximum depth is 152 m (499 ft), and its capacity is estimated at 14 km3 (3.4 cu mi). Lake Neuchatel is fed by several rivers, the most important of which are the Thiele and the Broye. The lake's main tributary is the Thielle canal (German: Zihlkanal), connecting it to Lake Morat. It has unbeatable panoramic views of the Alps and is a popular tourist destination. The towns around it are rich in history and culture, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy the Swiss way of life.
16. Bachalpsee Bernese Oberland
If you're looking for a breathtaking mountain lake to visit in Switzerland, look no further than Bachalpsee. It's located in the Bernese Oberland region and is split by a natural dam, with the smaller part of the lake being 6 meters lower. With an elevation of 2,265 meters, you'll find some stunning views. This idyllic spot is located in the Bernese Oberland region of the country, and it's well worth a visit. Towering peaks surround the lake, and the views are stunning.
15. Walensee (Lake Walen or Lake Walenstadt) Walenstadt
Another awesome lake you have to visit while enjoying your stay in Switzerland is the Walensee. It's one of the larger lakes in the country, with a surface elevation of 419 meters and a mean depth of 105 meters. The lake is 15.5 kilometers long and 24.19 kilometers wide, making it the perfect spot for various activities like swimming, fishing, and boating. Don't forget to check out the nearby towns of Weesen, Quinten, Quarten, and Murg while you're in the area.
14. Riffelsee (Lake Riffel) Zermatt, canton of Valais
Riffelsee is a lake located in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. It is situated at an elevation of 2,757 meters (9,045 ft), below the summit of the Riffelhorn, in the valley of Zmutt. The lake is accessible via the Gornergrat Bahn cog railway, which runs from Zermatt to the Gornergrat. The lake is a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and nature lovers. The Riffelsee is a starting point for numerous climbs and walks, including the ascent of the Riffelhorn. The lake is also home to a variety of rare alpine flowers.
13. Blausee (Blue Lake) Kander valley, Blausee
If you want to see some natural wonders, head to Blausee. This small lake has a beautiful blue color that is almost magical. It is located in the Kander valley, and it is a famous place among locals and tourists. You can get to the lake by taking a short walk from the parking lot. The path through the forest will fill you with expectation as you walk along the curling paths through big moss-filled boulders and high pine trees. The best time to visit Blausee is in the off-season when it is less crowded. You can also visit during the weekdays or after 5 pm. The lake is open until 9 pm, and the lake is wonderfully lighted during the evening.
12. Lake Brienz Berne
Next, we have the beautiful Lake Brienz. This is another one of the larger lakes in Switzerland, and it's also quite shallow, with a maximum depth of only 260 feet. The lake is located in the canton of Bern, and it's a great spot for swimming, fishing, and boating. The impressive mountains surrounding the lake make it a popular place for hiking and climbing. You can also take a cruise on the lake to enjoy the scenery. The Lake Brienz region is also home to several museums and attractions, so there's plenty to do in the area.
11. Lake Maggiore Southern Switzerland
Lake Maggiore is the next lake on our list, and it's located on the Swiss-Italian border. According to Wikipedia, it has a catchment area of over 6,500 square kilometers and a max depth of 372 meters. It's the largest lake in southern Switzerland and the second largest in Italy. The lake is surrounded by mountains on all sides, with the majestic Alps visible. Several small islands located in the lake can be reached by ferry. The largest and most popular island is Isola Bella, home to a beautiful Baroque palace and gardens. The lake is home to many different fish species, including brown trout, perch, and eel. If you're looking for a breathtaking view, Lake Maggiore is your place.
10. Lake Lugano Lugano
The next awesome lake is a neighbor to Verbano, Lake Lugano. This is a glacial lake located in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino, close to the border with Italy. The lake is nearly twenty-two miles long and just under six miles wide. Lugano is a beautiful town located on the lake's shores and has a Mediterranean feel with palm trees and promenades. You can take a ferry to the nearby city of Varese or explore the many small villages that surround the lake.
9. Lake Zurich Zurich
Lake Zurich, 40 kilometers long, 3 kilometers, and up to 49 meters deep extends from the east end of the Zurichsee-Greifensee basin at Zurich city limits in a southeasterly direction up to Rapperswil at its far end. This lake is divided into three sections: The Oberer Zürichsee or Obersee ("Upper Lake Zurich"), the Mittelland ("Midland"), and the Unterer Zürichsee or Untersee ("Lower Lake Zurich"). It has that serene quality that makes it perfect for rowing, fishing, swimming, and all kinds of water sports. The place offers a lot of possibilities for walks and hikes along its shores.
8. Lake Constance (Bodensee) Romanshorn
Next up is Lake Constance, also known as Bodensee in German, the third-largest freshwater lake. This massive lake is located in the Alps, and it's shared by three countries: Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. Wikipedia says the lake is 63 kilometers long and 14 kilometers wide, making it one of the largest lakes in Europe. It's surrounded by a few islands, including Mainau, Reichenau, and Lindau. It's a popular spot for swimming, sailing, and windsurfing. It's a place you can visit fish or enjoy the views of the snow-capped Alps.
7. Lac de Taney (Lake Tanay) Valais, Switzerland
Lac de Taney is one of those lakes that offer a little bit of everything – from stunning scenery to ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. It's located in the Valais region of Switzerland, at an elevation of 4,921 feet (1,500 meters), and is surrounded by wildflowers, forests, and of course, the Alps. The lake is also part of the Rhone drainage basin, which is fed by melted snow and rainwater from the mountains. Several trails lead to and around Lac de Taney, making it a popular destination for hikers, mountain bikers, and even horseback riders. One of the most popular trails is the 5.6-kilometer (3.5-mile) loop that starts and ends in the town of Vouvry. While the trail is generally considered to be moderately challenging, it's worth it for the views of the lake and the surrounding valley.
6. Thunersee (Lake Thun) Bernese Oberland
If you find yourself in Bernese Oberland, you might want to watch to check out Lake Thun. It's a 17.5-mile-long Alpine lake, great for swimming, fishing, and boating. It has a lovely trail that leads up to some karst caves. Its catchment area is also great for local flooding after heavy rainfalls. You can find some picturesque small towns along the lake like Spiez, with its castle and Romanesque church. You can also find some excellent museums in Thun and its stretch of shoreline.
5. Lake Sempach (Sempachersee) Lucerne
It might not be as huge as some of the lakes on our list, but it's one of the wonderful spots to enjoy the outdoors, especially during summertime. It's located in Lucerne, and it's easily reachable by public transport. It's a natural lake fed by different rivers, the Lippenrutibach and the Rotbach. You can find different B&Bs around it as well as holiday homes. A beautiful path goes around the lake – the Sempachersee Round Trail. You'll have amazing views of the water and also different attractions like, for example, the Chapel of Mariazell in Sursee. If you're more into water activities, there are also some beaches with lawns to sunbathe and relax.
4. Oeschinensee (Oeschinen Lake) Bernese Oberland
Here is another awesome lake located in Bernese Oberland, Switzerland, Oeschinen Lake. It is 4 kilometers east of Kandersteg in the Oeschinen valley. It has a surface area of 1.1147 square kilometers with a maximum depth of 56 meters. The lake is also home to much different fish, such as rainbow trout, Arctic char, and Lake trout. Since it lies in the Alps, the scenery around the lake is just stunning, with white-capped mountains and glaciers in the background. There are rowing boats available for rent to explore the lake at your own pace. Hiking is also a popular activity around the lake, with many different routes.
3. Gelmersee (Lake Gelmer) Bernese Oberland
Our third lake on this list is Gelmersee, a reservoir located in Bernese Oberland. It exists as a hydroelectric reservoir and was completed in 1932. According to Wikipedia, the lake is incredibly scenic, with a shore length of 4.2 kilometers and a surface area of 64 hectares. The catchment area is also large at 16 square kilometers. Besides enjoying the view and fresh air, visitors can go swimming, windsurfing, and rowing on the lake. You can also go hiking or mountain biking in the area.
2. Lake Lucerne Lucerne
Lake Lucerne is a 30-kilometer-long lake located in central Switzerland. It is the fourth largest lake in the country, with a surface area of 113.6 square kilometers and a mean depth of 104 meters. The lake is located in the cantons of Lucerne, Uri, and Obwalden. Enjoy the fresh air and stunning scenery as you sail around Lake Lucerne on a traditional Swiss steamship. Or go for a swim in the refreshing waters. If you're feeling more energetic, there's hiking and cycling in the mountains. Visit one of the many pretty towns and villages around the lake, such as Lucerne, with its medieval architecture and beautiful mountain backdrop. Or explore the lakeside vineyards and taste the local wines. With so much to see and do, you're sure to have a memorable time at Lake Lucerne.
1. Lake Geneva (Lac Léman) Geneva
And last but not least, we have Lake Geneva. According to Wikipedia, this is the largest lake in Switzerland, and it's a great place to visit all year round. It's shared between France and Switzerland so you can explore both countries while you're here. The scenery is beautiful, and there's plenty to do, from shopping in Geneva to relaxing in Évian-Les-Bains. This is the lake you don't want to miss when you're in Switzerland. There are plenty of activities to do, such as swimming, sailing, windsurfing, and kayaking. Most lakeside towns have their unique charm, and there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Written by Liz Flynn
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