The Great Lakes are, of course, spectacular. But there are many more beautiful lakes all over the globe that are so visually stunning and serene worth traveling for. Here is our round-up of the best from the deserts of Morocco to the bubblegum pink lake of Australia and of course the celebrity favorite, the elegant Italian Lake Como.
Crater Lake, Oregon
Oregon is a must-visit for its scenic beauty and natural wonders. Case in point: Crater Lake, dubbed one of the seven wonders of Oregon and it’s not hard to see why. Formed around 7700 years ago when an ancient volcano collapsed, Crater Lake is the deepest at 1943 feet and possibly the clearest, bluest, and most beautiful in the country. Situated in Crater Lake National Park, crowing the Cascade Mountain Range, and abundant with forests, and wildlife, “lake majesty’’ as it’s known is the undoubted highlight. The water comes directly from rain or snow there are no inlets so no sediment or mineral deposits forms which is the reason for its stunning color. Enjoy this natural wonder by biking or driving its 33-mile rim. There are many scenic stops along the way, especially Videa Falls where you can see a cascading waterfall and Pinnacles Overlook where you’ll witness volcanic ash frozen into a 100-foot-tall rock formation. In summer hike to the top of a Fire Lookout Tower or swim in (beware it’s usually rather cold) or boat on its beautiful waters.
Where to stay:
Crater Lake Lodge is a chalet-style mountain retreat that offers panoramic views of the pristine blue waters and sheer cliff walls of Crater Lake.
Hutt Lagoon, Australia
Bubblegum Pink is the hue of Hutt Lagoon, in Western Australia, one of the most spectacular you-have-to-see-to-believe lakes in the world. A 5.5-hour drive from Perth, the salt lake is an iconic stop on the Coral Coast Highway. Home to the world’s largest microalgae production facility which is what gives this Instagram-worthy lake its fantastic color. The iconic pink is a result of algae production, which produces beta-carotene, a food-coloring agent. Its shade changes depending on the time of day and amount of cloud coverage, and it’s best viewed mid-day when the sun is high. You can view this jaw-dropping lake on the ground, or for a killer view book an aviation tour. Popular for picnics, kayaking, and pelican spotting, you can wade knee-deep into its candy-colored waters to take those once-in-a-lifetime pics.
Where to Stay:
Hutt Lagoon is located in the scenic fishing village of Port Gregory, one hour north of Geraldton and you can find some cute places to stay nearby. If you do head to Perth, Western Australia’s cosmopolitan capital, book into The Ritz-Carlton, Perth on the riverfront in Elizabeth Quay.
Lake Como, Italy
Said to be the most “James Bond” of the Italian lakes – parts of the 2006 movie Casino Royale were filmed here – the iconic Lake Como, an hour north of Milan, is surrounded by neoclassical villas and best known for its Clooney factor. Actor George Clooney and his wife Amal own an 18th-century villa here, and his cadre of famous and high-glam friends regularly make it their summer vacation spot. But the true star here is the lake itself. Known for its picturesque beauty and elegance, Lake Como appears like an upside-down Y, a sapphire blue lake at the bottom of the Alps. Narrow and deep its draw is in its fusion of alpine grandeur (Switzerland is just over the ridge) and unmistakably Mediterranean sexiness, you’ll see palms, cypress, and chestnut trees on the shore, and snow-capped mountains in the distance. In summer enjoy boating, paddle boarding, jet skiing, kayaking, and swimming or stroll its fabulous gardens, lush greenery, and enjoy people-watching in the sunny restaurants and cafes nearby.
Where to Stay
Grand Hotel Tremezzo, built by a marquis from Milan in the 17th century and today an iconic Art Nouveau hotel, sits directly on the banks of Lake Como. Rooms come with decadent private balconies and terraces overlooking the lake or the expansive park where you’ll find a bamboo forest and luxe Italian garden with fountains and citrus trees. There are also three outdoor swimming pools, including one that sits directly on top of the lake.
Loch Ness Lake, Scotland
Shrouded in mystery, Scotland’s famous Loch Ness Lake comes with the tale of a large monster lurking deep beneath it. Since the first photograph emerged in 1933, stories of Nessie, described as large, long-necked, and with more than one hump, have circulated – intriguing travelers and baffling scientists. Deeper than the North Sea (788 feet deep) and 23 miles long, Loch Ness contains more water than all the lakes of England and Wales combined, making it the most voluminous lake in the UK. Add to it, the Highland’s dramatic scenery, stunning castles, picturesque lighthouses, and of course, its cows. Loch Ness is huge and to walk each section would take six days – though each part of the trail has unique sites. For a walk, take one of the six sections and follow that part of the trail.
Where to Stay:
Loch Ness Lake is a 15-minute drive from Inverness (40 minutes from the airport) and you can also make easy day trips to Cawdor Castle, the Isle of Skye, and Cromarty for dolphin spotting. Stay at Loch Ness Lake, a stylish lodge that serves up the best breakfast in Scotland. Pancakes come with caramelized bananas and real maple syrup and afternoon tea is served with scones and cream, and buttery Scottish shortbread. Added perks include a jacuzzi, sauna, massages, and reflexology treatments which you might need after that long walk.
Lake Takerkoust, Marrakech
Just outside magical Marrakech lies Morocco’s Agafay Desert. Settled by Saharan nomads in the 18th century, they planted crops and flowers, changing the arid landscape into blooming fields during the harvest. The Atlas Mountains lie behind the desert and their waters flow into Lake Takerkoust, also known as Lalla Takerkoust Lake. This man-made lake is enormous, spanning 5000 hectares and almost 5 miles. It was built by the French in the late 1920s to provide water and electricity to the people of Marrakech and in doing so enhanced the natural beauty of the desert area. When in Marrakech, do take a day trip to the lake to admire its beauty and witness its waters juxtaposed against the unique mountain and desert backdrop. The lake is a destination where you can enjoy a full day of fishing, hiking, horseback riding, going on a desert trek, indulging in Moroccan cuisine at the gorgeous waterside restaurant Le Relais Du Lac, and even getting a desert massage.
Where to Stay
La Mamounia is one of the most famous and palatial hotels in the world. Just outside Marrakech’s medieval walls, from the moment you step through the huge souk door you are draped in sensuality and Arabian night fabulous from the silk-draped ceilings, marble fountains, spectacular gardens, and intricate Morrocan tile work.