A beautiful aerial view of Lake Skadar in Montenegro, Europe.

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Europe's prettiest lakes (that nobody seems to know about)

Published June 28th, 2016

In all their stillness and tranquility, the humble lakes of the world often get forgotten. They just sit there, ever so patiently, waiting for their time in the limelight. How cold it must be for them in the metaphoric shadows of so many other bodies of water that flood our Pinterest boards and dictate our travels. Gushing waterfalls, palm-fringed beaches, thermal hot springs (Iceland, we’re looking at you)...

So the time has finally come to switch up our attention and give a little praise to some lovely lakes: and we’re starting with our favourites in Europe. Nestled by time-frozen towns, wooden cabins and towering trees aplenty, there’s so much to love in this lake loving round up.

Lake Bled - Slovenia

Lake Bled is situated amidst Slovenia’s picturesque Julian Alps, an area that often finds itself capped in snow. But the lake isn’t just made dreamy by its mountain range backdrop and seasonal white blanket.  There’s the fringing of ash trees, the medieval-era Bled Castle that sits on the shoreline, and – not least of all – the pastel buildings in Bled’s town centre. But still, none of that really compares to the real Lake Bled draw card. It’s the tiny island perched in the lake’s centre that really makes our hearts pound. It even boasts a 17th Century church all dressed up in Gothic murals that reflects into the lake for postcard perfection – swoon.  


 

A photo posted by Andy Scott (@andynscott) on


Lake Skadar - Montenegro

Much like humans, it would seem our world’s water bodies have doppelgangers hiding from them in some mysterious corner of the world. Take Montenegro’s Lake Skadar, for example, which has a striking resemblance to Arizona’s Horseshoe Bend. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch of the imagination. But they both do the horseshoe lake thing, and they do it very well. Skadar also spills into Albania and sits around 10-kilometres from the Adriatic coastline so you have many boxes to tick in its vicinity.

Jokulsarlon Lake - Iceland

Even a casual outdoor lap pool in Iceland resembles a scene from The Secret Garden, so it was always going to have a lake or two worth mentioning.

Tjörnin, Leirvogsvatn, Frostastaðavatn, Þórisvatn; they may be beyond impossible to pronounce but they make up for it in their breathtaking beauty. Our pick of the lot is Jokulsarlon Lagoon. If you can time your visit with a moment in which icebergs sit on the lake in complete serenity whilst reflecting the wizardry of Aurora borealis, then we officially declare you one of the most privileged human beings on Earth.


 

A photo posted by Melanie Richet (@melanierichet) on



More Europe inspo right here:

Croatia's best kept secret (hint - there's no beach)

Europe's lesser-known (but totally must-see) hotspots

6 places in Europe that are too good for an Instgram filter


Fusine Lakes – Italy

If rolling vineyards, Tuscan sunsets and the Amalfi coastline aren’t enough to drag you to Italy, perhaps Fusine Lakes will do the trick. This sight delight is surrounded by dense forest and – on a clear day – reflects the surrounding Julian Alps that beg you to get your wilderness on. Fusine is the perfect excuse to explore this forgotten pocket of the boot where the borders of Slovenia, Austria, and Italy meet.



Lake of Sainte-Croix - France

Lake of Sainte-Croix might lose a few points for being a man-made construction, but it gains plenty for the dramatic gorges that fringe the lake’s teal silk waters. You can take to this mega pond for a spot of pedalo boating (read: you power a boat with your feet), windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, catamaraning, and fishing. If only we were a little bit fancier and could camp out at the nearby Domaine de la Baume in between our lake hangs; oh, we can dream.

Obersee Lake - Germany

You may be certain you’ve never heard of Obersee Lake in Germany. And then you’ll Google it and have your “oohh, that place” moment. This could very well be the Internet’s most popular lake shack, what with its little wooden pathway and rickety simple presence as it hovers above iridescent pond like water and lingers in front of the mountains of Berchtesgaden National Park. If we could just install Wi-Fi we’d live there forever. 



Plitvice Lakes – Croatia

People seem to pack their bags for Croatia with a plan to nest on the coastline then head offshore. Meanwhile, they are missing some of the most untapped and radiant landscapes of Europe sitting just within reach. Don’t believe us? Take a marvel at the national park of Plitvice Lakes. The park’s 300 square kilometres of land are filled with powerful waterfalls, wild animals like wolves and brown bears, and fairytale walkways that will leave you completely lost for words.


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Samantha Chalker

Samantha Chalker is an Australian travel writer most commonly found swinging from the palm trees of India or Indonesia. On cloudy days you'll find her sucking Wi-Fi from vegan cafes, experimenting with plant dyes, hunting down traditional artisan treasures, and trying to get good at Instagram