By Martha Hales
Waterside locations offer some of the most attractive scenery in the world. For adventurous and laid-back travellers alike, the pools and lakes of the world are sure to have something to offer. Take your pick from this selection of the loveliest and most beguiling lakes around the globe, handpicked by our local experts.
Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua
Serene and peaceful, Lake Nicaragua is a haven of natural beauty which remains mostly undisturbed by human development. It is renowned for the beauty of its main island, Ometepe, which consists of two volcanos standing proudly above the water. Ometepe and its 35 neighbouring islands make up this unique archipelago but, with proposed plans for an industrial canal under approval, it’s unlikely to remain unchanged for long.
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Known all over the world as one of the most beautiful lakes in existence, this oasis of incredible scenery is a peaceful and culturally fascinating destination. Lying at 1500 metres altitude, the sparkling lake is surrounded by a string of volcanic peaks. If you ever tire of gazing at the views, take some time to explore the charms of the lake’s many shoreside villages.
Dead Sea, Jordan
The salty waters of the Dead Sea are unique. Set in a landscape of arid ochre hills, the salt deposits that build up along its shore are eerily beautiful, contrasting with the milky turquoise waters. The saltiest body of water in the world sits at the lowest point on earth, bestowing some peculiarities of climate and sediment. The waters are also believed to be curative, particularly for skin disorders or respiratory complaints.
Argentinian Lake District
A spectacular corner of a picturesque country, the Argentinian Lake District is an alpine playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Some come for the fishing, others for the trekking and mountaineering, and many to potter around the charming towns which line the shores of the lakes.
Tonlé Sap, Cambodia
With its fluctuating water levels, Tonle Sap expands during the rainy season into Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake. It is within reach of Siem Reap - gateway to Angkor - and makes a fascinating destination in its own right. The shore is scattered with a succession of stilted and floating villages which offer a fascinating insight into traditional life. Many of the locals make their living from the lake, either fishing or growing crops in the rich fluvial soil.
Inle lake, Myanmar
Myanmar’s magical Inle lake lies in Shan state and is a highlight of any visit. Take a longboat to visit some of the stilted villages that line the lake shores, and immerse yourself in the comings and goings of rural life. The floating islands are an unusual feature in their own right, as is the unique rowing technique used by the Inle lake fishermen.
Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda
Undeniably picturesque, a few days downtime on the shores of Lake Bunyonyi are a perfect counterpoint to the serious wildlife watching that most visitors come here for. Paddle around the lake in search of its 29 islands, or settle in onshore for some birdwatching. Bunyonyi means ‘place of many little birds’ so avian enthusiasts will not be disappointed!
Rift Valley lakes, Ethiopia
This string of eight attractive lakes line the bottom of the Ethiopian Rift Valley, which divides the country’s highlands in two. Among the most impressive are the lakes of Ziway and Langano. Ziway offers visitors the opportunity to spot hippos wallowing in the shallows and to explore secluded, monastery-topped islands. Langano, on the other hand, is notable for its apparently bilharzia-free waters (although it’s always best to check locally before swimming).
Make it happen
Tempted by the volcano views at Atitlán or Ometepe? Or by the chance to float on the salty waves of the Dead Sea? Click on the links above to find out more about what each destination has to offer, and how TravelLocal's expert partners can help create your perfect trip.