There are so many beautiful lakes in Switzerland and wherever you are a lake is only 16 kilometers (10 miles) away. There is no surprise why Switzerland is known as the water castle of Europe.
Which lakes in Switzerland are the most beautiful? Is there one you must see?
It would be a Herculean task to answer these questions and choose the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland.
In this article, we wanted to tell you about our favorite lakes, the ones we believe you will like and want to visit.
9 beautiful lakes in Switzerland you should visit
- Lake Geneva
- Lake Zurich
- Lake Lucerne
- Lake Lugano
- Lake Constance
Fun fact: If you take a look at our list of beautiful lakes in Switzerland you may notice that many lake names end in -see. It is not a coincidence, in the German language See means lake.
Lake Geneva is one of the biggest lakes in Europe. It is located on the border between Switzerland and France. Due to its size, it completely dominates the entire city of Geneva.
This crescent shape lake is formed by the Rhone River. The Rhone River enters the lake at the east between Villeneuve, Switzerland, and Saint-Gingolph, France to exit the lake through the city of Geneva, Switzerland.
Due to its shape, it can be figuratively divided into two parts Large Lake to the east and Small Lake to the west.
It is bordered by the Alps. On its southern shore, you will see the Chablais Alps and on the eastern side, you will see the Bernese Alps.
The main symbol of the city of Geneva is located in the lake. It is the iconic Jet d’Eau. This is a large fountain 140 meters high.
The impressive 500 liters of the lake water shoots out from the lake every second creating the massive water column that is illuminated with pink, blue, or some other color during a special occasion or holiday.
To experience the lake, many people choose to take a boat cruise. Very often, they have an enjoyable meal and soak in all the beauty that surrounds them.
One of the biggest attractions stretching for nearly 30 kilometers at the side of the lake is the vineyards of Lavaux. They are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is the place where one of the best wines in Switzerland is produced.
The biggest cities on the shores of Lake Geneva are Geneva and Lausanne in Switzerland. Other well-known cities located on the lake shores are Montreux, Morges, Nyon, Vevey in Switzerland, and Thonon-Les-Bains, Évian, and Yvoire in France.
Lake Zurich is one of the major touristic attractions in Zurich. It is a place where locals and visitors love to spend time and enjoy the beauty of nature.
This lake is of unusual shape, it almost mimics banana. Framing it on the southern side are Albis and Zimmerberg hills and on the north the Pfannenstiel chain of hills.
The largest city in Switzerland Zurich lies on its shores.
In the past, lake Zurich played an important role in traffic and transport. Today it is a spot to relax and enjoy the best life.
Zurich Lake has a “golden coast”. It extends along the northern side of the lake.
This side of the lake gets a lot of sunshine and is famous for low taxes and high property prices. Here, you will get to see magnificent houses and villas.
The Eastern part of the lake is home to Rapperswil or the “rose town”. This is the public garden where you can see over 15000 rose bushes of more than 600 different varieties.
You will enjoy taking a walk along the lakeside promenade with a Mediterranean flair to it. Picturesque old town and medieval castle are perfect for excursions.
Children adore Knie’s Children’s Zoo, it is high up on their to-do list on lake Zurich.
Other popular areas to visit on Zurich lake are:
- Alpamare in Pfäffkon (the largest covered water park in Europe)
- The Lindt & Sprügli chocolate factory
- The islands Ufenau and Lützelau, also known as sunny islands
When they come to Lake Zurich, people love to enjoy the peace and quiet, gently rocking on the waves of a boat. They have fine food and discover the Lake Zurich area by taking a boat trip.
The most popular are two historic paddle-steamers “Stadt Zürich” and “Stadt Rapperswil”.
You can enjoy different types of excursions from bright and early in the morning until sunset.
Zurich shipping company offers special tours on public holidays, musical trips, and many other exciting tours as a part of their program.
Lake Lucerne is the fourth largest lake in Switzerland, but it is not why this lake is important. The meadow of the Rütli is located above the lake.
Rütli is of great value for all Swiss people. It is where the famous Swiss pact began.
The three founding cantons formed an alliance on this meadow in 1921.
The Rütli also has the nickname CRADLE OF THE CONFEDERATION for the obvious reasons.
It attracts many visitors. Every year 100,000 people visit the iconic Rütli, including children on school trips.
Lake Lucerne itself has a lot to offer. It has the most unique surroundings in the entire country.
The scenery around the lake looks like a fjord but the climate is mild.
This has created a unique atmosphere people love to enjoy year-round.
Every season brings something special but equally stunning.
Visitors love to enjoy the beauty of nature from one of many boats cruising the lake.
Activities one can do at Lake Lucerne are plentiful.
People enjoy walks, such as the Swiss Path (a themed trial on the history of Switzerland).
Along the lakeshore, many activities are available too. Cycling and skating paths are very popular. Bathing and rest areas are perfect when you want to unwind.
Excursion to the city of Lucerne is very sought after as well. It is a famous sightseeing and shopping town. You can check out the Swiss Museum of Transport and its IMAX cinema, the Glacier garden, or simply enjoy world-class shopping.
In the past, the lake had a very important strategic position. Until 1863 it was the only trade route to the Gotthard pass.
Today the largest shipping company in Switzerland uses the lake to reach many mountain cableways and excursion destinations. These are the Rigi, Pilatus, Bürgenstock, and Klewenalp.
If you are in search of a multicultural holiday experience the Lake Lugano should be your choice. It lays on the border between Switzerland and Italy and offers a unique mix of the two cultures.
The lake is famous for its irresistibly beautiful blue water, branch-like shape, and many different types of fish. Lake Lugano is named after a city that lays on its shore.
Owing to its Mediterranean climate, you can see citrus fruit trees growing here. Palm trees are providing shade to hide under during a hot day.
The variety of the region is best discovered by taking a boat ride. There are many excursions available to visitors. These are our favorite:
- Visit a historic village of Gandria which has remained the same for about 100 years. It is a perfect example of a little Swiss fishing village.
- The Swiss Customs Museum in Gandria provides information on how smugglers operated in the past at great risk, as this was a poverty-stricken area.
- A UNESCO World Heritage Site Monte San Giorgio is located in the proximity of the lake too. This pyramid-shaped mountain is regarded as the best fossil record of marine life from the Triassic Period.
- Literature fans will enjoy the Hermann Hesse Museum in Montagnola. The famous writer spent half of his life in this small Swiss village above Lake Lugano.
- We recommend the city of Lugano when you are exploring the area. You can easily reach the city from Switzerland and Italy.
Lake Constance is one more lake that acts as a border. It is shared among Switzerland, Germany, and Austria.
An interesting fact about the lake is that the three countries do not see eye to eye where the borders between them lie. Even today there are a lot of disputes about the right to fish in certain areas of the lake.
Lake Constance is very popular during the summer. People love to visit it for fun and recreation.
It is perfect for active holidaymakers.
Boating, hiking, and water sports are keeping people entertained when they visit.
We would suggest a bike ride on a cycle path that runs along the perimeter of the lake. It is the Lake Constance Cycle Path.
You can choose to cycle for just an afternoon or the entire week. Isn’t it exciting? We believe that it is.
If you want to go from country to country you can do it easily because scheduled boat services operate on the lake.
The so-called “white fleet”, a consortium of Swiss, Austrian, and German passenger ship companies, will take you on many excursions around the lake.
Among the most popular cruise destinations are Mainau Island and the Reichenau peninsula.
Mainau Island is famous for its flower gardens and parks.
The Reichenau peninsula is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Listed monastery. The traces of the Benedictine monastery founded in 742 are still preserved on the peninsula.
To top off your vacation on Lake Constance we would recommend a very picturesque boat cruise.
Your journey would begin on the Swiss side of the lake at Kreuzlingen. During which you would also visit medieval towns of Stein am Rhein and Schaffhausen.
Unlike the previous lakes, Blausee is not a big one. It is small but has a unique charm.
The lake got named after the color of its water. As you can guess it is deep blue.
According to a legend, a blue-eyed maiden died of a broken heart and that is how the lake got its color.
This unique lake fed by subterranean springs is situated in the middle of Blausee Nature Park. The lush green forest surrounds it.
People come to the lake to do some fishing, hiking, or just simply to relax.
Blausee has been a popular destination for many centuries but it still evokes the feeling of solitude and peace when you visit it.
A hotel on the shore of the lake will provide even more relaxation and unwinding.
You can ride across this small lake on a rowing boat with a transparent floor. The view you would get is amazing. Since the water is extremely clean so you can see all the way to the bottom of the lake.
The Blausee lake is a perfect spot for a day spent surrounded by stunning nature.
Star Wars fans cannot miss visiting Bacalpsee. It provided a backdrop for Alderaan from the “Revenge of the Sith”.
The small Bachalpsee or Bachse lake is located above the Grindelwald. Grindelwald is a resort town in the canton of Berne.
To get to the lake you hike up from the Grindelwald for around 1.5 hours. On your way, you will get to enjoy the view of surrounding meadows, glaciers, and mountains. They only would make your hike worthwhile.
Riffelsee is probably one of the most photographed lakes in Switzerland. It is very little but so famous.
The reason why is the Matterhorn, Switzerland’s most iconic mountain.
On a clear day, when the lake is not frozen, it perfectly reflects the impressive rugged tip of the Matterhorn.
To get the best possible picture you should head out early. The best odds to get a clear view are in the morning. The clouds tend to veil the mountain more often in the afternoon.
Riffelsee, a glacier-fed lake, is tiny. It is even smaller than the Blausee. Nevertheless, it is well worth your visit. The pictures you take by the lake will for sure bring you many likes.
Oeschinensee is a calm isolated large alpine lake. It is 1.6 kilometers long and 56 meters deep.
This high-altitude lake is situated above the resort village of Kandersteg. Easy access is enabled by a gondola ride from the village.
People who come to the lake are attracted by the almost unreal mountain panorama that sits as a background to the vividly blue water of the lake.
Its unique beauty attracts many tourists. This may result in crowds on a sunny day. But there are plenty of places where you can find solitude when you leave the main area around the restaurant.
Since the lake gets its water from the surrounding glaciers the temperature of the water never exceeds 20 degrees Celsius.
People enjoy hiking around the lake.
During the summer season, you can enjoy rowing, swimming in the lake, and mountain coaster, among other things.
Ice fishing, tobogganing, and skating are popular from December to May. This is when the lake generally freezes over.
Switzerland is the home of many beautiful lakes. Some are very big, like Lake Geneva or Lake Zurich, the others are small, such as Blausee or Riffelsee.
All of these lakes share many things in common.
One of them is getting in touch with nature as you will be mesmerized by their surroundings and the color of their waters.
You can enjoy various things if you choose to visit one of the lakes in Switzerland.
They offer plenty of outdoor activities for nature lovers, educational opportunities, and places for having fun.
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