Are you looking for the most beautiful lakes in Europe to spend your Summer holiday? Or maybe you want to plan a road trip through Europe where you can visit some of the most incredible lakes in Europe?
Well, then this article will have you covered! As with all of my travel guides I only try to include places that I visited myself. That being said, there are a couple of lakes that I visited as a child or before I started my photography journey. I also included those but in that case I will use a stock photo. There’s simply no use including my dark and grainy blackberry photos!
This list of the most beautiful lakes in Europe will take you through several countries and along some of the most spectacular roads and landscapes this continent has to offer.
So without further ado, here are the most beautiful lakes in Europe!
The 16 Most Beautiful Lakes In Europe
1. Lake Brienz in Switzerland
Lake Brienz, also known as the Briensersee is one of the most beautiful turquoise lakes I have ever seen. My favourite place in this area is Iseltwald, a cute little town located in a bay on the lake. During the day you can participate in a ton of water activities or simply go for a stroll around the lake. Across the bay you’ll see Schloss Seeburg, a beautiful castle which unfortunately is private property and can’t be visited.
Make sure to spend at least one evening in Iseltwald. Enjoy a dinner outside at Hotel Chalet du Lac, also offering a splendid view over Schloss Seeburg.
2. Seealpsee in Switzerland
The beautiful Seealpsee is a stunning alpine lake that’s surrounded by the most spectacular mountains in the Appenzell region. But to reach it you will have to do some hiking!
Park your car at Ebenalp and from there simply follow the hiking trail to Seealpsee. At times it’s a pretty steep climb up but it shouldn’t take you longer than 1 hour to reach this hidden gem in Switzerland!
Seealpsee is especially spectacular in the early morning! Cause during the day it can become very crowded. Nevertheless, a lunch or afternoon snack at Berggasthaus Seealpsee is always a good idea!
You can completely walk around the entire lake and it’s a leasurely stroll without any inclination. If you’re looking for a more challenging route you can also hike up to Altenalp and buy some delicious local cheese from the farm there. Friendly goats are included!
📖 READ NEXT – Appenzell Travel Guide
3. Eibsee in Germany
Eibsee lake is one of the most popular lakes in Bayern and with good reason! Imagine crystal clear water in different shades of blue and green throughout its surface and the impressive Zugspitze glimmering in the background.
It’s definitely one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe! Time your visit here to wander around the lake in the early morning. The sunlight will hit the mountain peaks and the lake will be quiet and serve as a perfect mirror.
Romantik Alpenhotel Waxenstein – So far I’ve stayed at this hotel twice and absolutely love it. It’s in authentic German style and offers an incredible view over the Zugspitze. It’s also the perfect place to stay if you want to visit the lake in the early morning.
There’s a beautiful hiking trail which goes all the way around the lake and has several paths to go of the official trail to get to a more scenic viewpoint.
The hike is 7,1km in total and takes 1h40 minutes to complete at an average pace.
📖 READ NEXT – A travel guide to Eibsee
4. Königssee in Germany
Lake Königssee is an emerald green lake in the National Park of Berchtesgaden and is often referred to as Germany’s most beautiful Alpine lake.
Any outdoor enthousiast will have an amazing time here cause this area in Berchtesgaden is filled with adventurous activities. Not just because of the beautiful nature but there are just so many things to do around Lake Königssee. You can go hiking, biking, swimming, visit a waterfall with an infinity pool and search for hidden viewpoints. You won’t even get the chance to be bored!
The best time to visit Lake Königssee, in my personal opinion is either in May, June or September. This way you get to skip the crowds and still see the most beautiful places at Lake Königssee.
📖 READ NEXT – The ultimate travel guide to Lake Königssee
5. Obersee in Germany
Obersee is a lot smaller than Königssee but might be even more beautiful than its big sister! And in my personal opinion it’s one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe.
To reach Obersee you will have to take one of the boats at Königssee and get off at the second stop ‘Salet’. Once you get out of the boat you have the follow the sign that says Fischunkelalm.
📖 READ NEXT – Berchtesgaden travel guide
6. Seebensee in Austria
The Seebensee is a natural high mountain lake in Ehrwald in Austria. There are two ways to reach this wonderful alpine lake. You can either start your hike from the parking lot or you can take the cable car up to Ehrwalder Alm.
If you choose the second option you can also take your little ones with you cause this hiking trail is very child friendly and can even accommodate strollers.
📖 READ NEXT – Top things to do in Ehrwald
7. Plansee in Austria
Plansee is the second largest lake in entire Tyrol and pretty close to the Highline 179 so why not combine both in a fun day trip? The lake is surrounded by the most stunning mountain range and on a clear day it’s the perfect place to enjoy the sunset!
Lake Plansee is really popular with joggers, hikers and cyclist who love to get their exercise in along the beautiful lakeside. Besides that you can enjoy a ton of different water activities and even go on a boat ride to the other side of the lake.
8. Piburger See in Austria
If you want to describe lake Piburger See you will end up with the word “idyllic” sooner or later. Nestled in a small valley above Oetz, the crystal-clear green water mirrors the surrounding forests and mighty Acherkogel peak.
Nature explorers, hikers and swimmers recharge their batteries in this special place of strength. Such a nature treasure must be protected, therefore lake Piburger See is one of Tirol’s oldest nature preserves.
9. Lake Bled in Slovenia
This famous lake is beautiful year round but to me the best time to visit lake Bled is definitely when all of the leaves are changing color. It adds a magical atmosphere to the already scenic place and it also doesn’t hurt that you’re visiting during shoulder season.
I always thought that lake Bled was a little overdone and that people were exaggerating about its beauty. But I was dead wrong. Lake Bled is even more stunning in real life than on the photos and in this travel guide I will tell you everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit.
📖 READ NEXT – The 8 Best Things To Do In Lake Bled In Slovenia
10. Lake Jasna in Slovenia
Lake Jasna is a crystal clear emerald lake that you can find right before the start of the Vrsic Pass and only 2km from Kranjska Gora.
At the start of the lake there’s a paid parking lot but if you drive a little further alongside the lake you’ll come across a couple of free parking spaces.
It’s a beautiful place to sit down or simply take a stroll around the lake and feed the ducks.
The path that goes around the lake is manageable for everyone and is even good for strollers. There are plenty of places alongside Lake Jasna to sit down and relax.
11. Lake Gjende in Norway
Gjende Lake is located in Jotunheimen National Park and can be best admired from the Besseggen Ridge Hike. The Besseggen Hike is considered one of the must-complete hikes by Norwegians and it is said that once you conquer this ridge you can call yourself a ‘serious hiker’. An estimated 60.000 people walk the Besseggen ridge every year.
📖 READ NEXT – Besseggen Ridge Hike Guide
12. Mývatn lake in Iceland
The stunning lake Myvatn is a beautiful sight to behold and definitely worth a closer take. However if you want to go swimming/soaking in hot water then this lake isn’t the option for you. Then you have to go to the Myvatn Nature Baths. The spa is open all year round and it costs 5700 ISK to enter.
13. Jökulsárlón in Iceland
Jökulsárlón, also known as Glacier Lagoon is located close to Fjallsárlón but definitely worth a visit. It’s one of the top attractions in Southern Iceland and one of the most beautiful stops in Iceland. At Jökulsárlón you can walk around the lagoon as far as you like, take a boat tour, grab a bite to eat, or use the restrooms.
Make sure to also visit the close by Diamond Beach where the ice sheets from the glacier wash up on the black sand.
14. Lago di Braies in Italy
Lake Braies, also known as Pragser Wildsee, is the perfect mirror and one of the most photographed places in the Dolomites. And without a doubt it’s one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe.
Lago di Braies is one of those lakes that remains beautiful throughout every season but at the end of Summer the water level can become pretty low. I would recommend to visit at the end of June and beginning of July to have the best chance at a high water level which will give you the best reflection and photography opportunities.
The easiest way to figure out which time of day to arrive is to simply see when the sun rises. Make sure to be there within 1 hour after sunrise otherwise you might not be able to get a parking space anymore.
📖 READ NEXT – How To Visit Lago Di Braies
15. Lago di Landro in Italy
Lago di Landro, mostly known as Dürrensee, is an alpine lake in the Tre Cime National Park. Alongside the lake you’ll have a magnificent view on the Cristallo Group and the Ampezzo Dolomites.
Besides Lake Braies and Lake Dobbiaco, Lake Landro is among the three largest natural lakes in the upper Val Pusteria. There are a lot of fun spots to relax such as the pebble beach on the north bank of the lake. It’s the ideal place for some sunbathing during the Summer months cause even that Lago di Landro is a mountain lake its water is rather warm.
There’s also a small restaurant right across from the parking lot where you can literally have lunch with a view!
16. Lago di Carezza in Italy
Lago di Carezza, also known as Karersee, is a small alpine lake in the Dolomites. It’s especially famous for its calm and dark green coloured waters and the beautiful mountain panorama in the background.
There’s a big parking lot across the road and you’ll be able to access the area around the lake through a tunnel. The entire lake is clearly fenced off but unfortunately there are still people who find it necessary to jump this fence to take photos or to have a picknick and leave their trash.
Lago di Carezza get its emerald green colour thanks to a fragile eco system. One that easily could end up being destroyed by coming to close near the lake.
Charlotte Lint is the founder of Charlies Wanderings.
Charlotte has traveled all over the world and is based in Belgium where she also owns her very own dental practice.
She is an expert on writing efficient travel guides and finding unique places to stay.
Every month she helps over 134.000 people discover the most beautiful places in the world through her detailed travel guides.