“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” –Henry David Thoreau
Some people thrill to the sight of soaring mountains, others to the vast expanse of the ocean. Still others prefer the calm waters of pristine lakes. So for those people, we’ve gathered some of the more alluring lakes that we visit on tour.
From deep blue Lake Titicaca in the Peruvian Andes to black-as-night Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands, perhaps one – or more – of these “most beautiful and expressive features” will call to you.
Lake Titicaca sits high in the Andes Mountains at 12,500 feet above sea level, making it one of the world’s highest navigable lakes. Formed approximately 60 million years ago, this prehistoric lake straddles the modern-day border between Peru and Bolivia where, as legend has it, the founders of the Incan empire first emerged from its waters.
We visit the Floating Islands of Los Uros (pictured above) and Isla Taquile by boat as we explore Lake Titicaca on Day 9 of Treasures of Peru.
With medieval Bled Castle on its northern shore and the 17th-century St. Marie Church on the island at its center, Lake Bled looks like it was plucked from the pages of a Slovenian fairytale. The dense forests and snow-capped mountains surrounding Lake Bled only add to this aesthetic, ensuring it remains one of Europe’s most famous – and most photographed – lakes.
We go for a boat ride on Lake Bled’s placid waters on Day 5 of Pearls of Dalmatia.
Nestled between steep mountains, charming villages, and other glacial lakes, Lake Lugano sits on the border between northern Italy and southern Switzerland. The first historical records of Lake Lugano date back over 1,000 years to Gregory of Tours, the sixth-century Gallo-Roman historian who originally named the lake Ceresio – a word derived from the Latin word for “cherry” – thanks to the abundance of cherry trees once found on Lake Lugano’s shores.
We embark on a private half-day cruise around Lake Lugano on Day 8 of Alpine Splendor: Switzerland and Austria.
Natural wonders abound in Iceland, and Lake Mývatn is no exception. Created by a large volcanic eruption approximately 2,300 years ago, Lake Mývatn and its surrounding landscape of volcanic craters, lava fields, and mud flats combine to form one of Iceland’s most stunning nature reserves.
We stay in a hotel overlooking Lake Mývatn on Nights 3 and 4 of Exploring Iceland.
Formed following the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the mid-1900s, Lake Nasser measures 298 miles long and 9.9 miles wide at its widest point, making it one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. However, as Lake Nasser’s filling would inevitably flood much of Lower Nubia and submerge many of the area’s historical sites, a coalition of 50 countries worked together between 1960 and 1980 to relocate 22 ancient monuments – including the temple complexes at Philae (pictured above) and Abu Simbel – as part of the International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia.
We embark on a 4-night Lake Nasser cruise on Egypt & the Eternal Nile, visiting the Temples of Philae, Abu Simbel, and so much more along the way.
Despite its relatively modest size at a mile long and less than half as wide, Lake Louise’s deep aquamarine hue and postcard-worthy vistas make it one of the most famous lakes in North America. But you might want to think twice before taking a dip – thanks to the glacial melt, Lake Louise is either frozen or freezing all year long, even in the summertime.
We take in the beauty of Lake Louise on Days 6 and 7 of Canadian Rockies Explorer.
Lake Manyara and the surrounding national park make up the Lake Manyara Biosphere Reserve, established by UNESCO in 1981. An important water source for Tanzania’s animal population, Lake Manyara attracts elephants, lions, hippos, monkeys, and more than 400 species of birds.
We visit Lake Manyara on Day 7 of Classic Safari: Kenya & Tanzania, where we hope to catch a glimpse of some of the area’s diverse wildlife.
Ashi Lake | Hakone, Japan
Located in the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Ashi Lake sits in the shadow of one of Japan’s most famous landmarks: Mt. Fuji. Thanks to the stunning views of the nearby mountain – along with the many hot springs, historical sites, and traditional ryokan hotels in the surrounding area – Ashi Lake stands as one of Hakone’s premier tourist destinations.
We enjoy a leisurely boat ride around Ashi Lake on Day 5 of Insider’s Japan.
As home to the mythical monster of the same name, Scotland’s Loch Ness reigns as one of the world’s most famous – and mysterious – lakes. But the tale of “Nessie” accounts for only part of Loch Ness’s story. Rainwater carries peat from the surrounding hills down into the waters of Loch Ness, giving it its distinctive inky black color. Plus, with its 263 billion cubic feet of water, Loch Ness is the largest lake by volume in the United Kingdom.
We enjoy a boat ride on the 23-mile-long Loch Ness on Day 6 of Scotland: Highlands and Islands.
To discover one (or more) of the world’s many great lakes with Odysseys Unlimited, contact us to start planning your next adventure today.