The beauty of the Swiss lakes casts a spell over people. Crystal clear water, green nature, mountains and enchanting cities like Basel, Zurich and Geneva are close together. 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in Switzerland
Check out the ten most beautiful lakes in Switzerland!
Overview / 10 Most Beautiful Lakes in Switzerland
The first thoughts about holidays in Switzerland often revolve around the centrally located capital of Bern, the cities of Zurich and Basel and the idyllic Swiss Alps. But at least as fascinating are the Swiss lakes, which blend harmoniously into the natural panorama. This is just as attractive for short trips as it is for annual vacations. There is a lot to discover and a lot of activities are waiting for you. Many of the inland waters offer sections for swimming and sunbathing as well as the opportunity to be physically active on and in the water. Boredom does not arise. There are exciting offers for families including attractions for children and couples can enjoy romantic walks on the lake shore. We will now show you the most beautiful Swiss lakes.
1. Lake Geneva
Overall, Lake Geneva measures an impressive 582 square kilometers, making it the largest of the Swiss lakes. It has a total of seven islands in its center. Switzerland and its neighbor France share Lake Geneva. It is the largest lake in both countries and a magnet for both locals and annual holidaymakers. While the southern shore belongs to France and the lake is called Lac Léman there, the northern shore and southwest lie in Switzerland.
The name Lake Geneva already shows it: you are on holiday in the immediate vicinity of the city of Geneva. The inland lake is used by steamers, historic ships and small ferries and gives you unforgettable moments on the water. Let the glitter of the surface speak for itself on romantic trips or take advantage of tours with different themes, such as a castle tour.
Bathing and swimming is permitted on many sections of the bank, and visitors can spend the night in nature directly on the bank at campsites. The mild climate is particularly attractive in summer for bathing holidays and lets you enjoy the mountain scenery while sunbathing. Excursions to the Lavaux vineyards are very popular. The UNESCO World Heritage site in the canton of Vaud is located in the north-east. This mixture of lake, mountains and vineyards gives Lake Geneva an incomparable charm.
2. Lake Walen
Cooling off even on the hottest summer days and an impressive backdrop await everyone who visits Lake Walen in eastern Switzerland. The lake is fed by the Linth and stretches across the cantons of St. Gallen and Glarus. It is therefore at the western end of Heidiland, the holiday region named after the famous figure of Johanna Spyri. With a proud depth of 145 meters, the water on the 24 square kilometer lake hardly gets warmer than 20 degrees. This promises the best cooling on hot days and ensures many guests. However, people don’t just come to sunbathe and swim. The depth of Lake Walen also attracts many divers. The underwater world offers, among other things, several shipwrecks to explore.
A visit to the Walensee is also worthwhile apart from bathing and diving trips. You can spend good hours in the wine village of Quinten. It can only be reached by boat across the lake and is car-free. This ensures wonderful air and carefree excursions with children. The Seerenbach waterfalls are another must-see. The water falls in stages over a total of 600 meters. If you lace up your hiking boots, you can set out from Lake Walen through the woods and towards the mountains. There are several campsites on the lake shore, so nothing stands in the way of spending the night in nature.
Quite a few guests take their breath away when they come across the Blausee in the Bernese Oberland for the first time. It is considered one of the most beautiful mountain lakes and is filled with turquoise spring water. A sad but beautiful legend revolves around the Blausee in Kandergrund: It says that the enchanting blue tones of its water come from the tears of a young woman who mourned the death of her lover on the shore. In keeping with the legend, a sculpture was sunk in the lake in 1998, which is visible from the shore and is intended to commemorate the grieving girl.
4. Lake Cauma
The beauty of nature also awaits you at the small Lake Cauma in the canton of Graubünden, more precisely in the municipality of Flims. Here you are already in the Alps and at an altitude of over 1,000 meters. The journey is therefore for more persistent hikers on foot or more comfortably with the funicular. Arrived at Lake Cauma, which translates as “lake of midday rest”, there are many opportunities to relax or for active moments in nature. In the summer months it is tempting to swim directly in the lake with a maximum water temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. Both guests and locals like to take advantage of the offer.
If you don’t want to go straight into the water, you can take a leisurely stroll around Lake Cauma. The excursion takes about an hour on foot and can start or end at a restaurant on the shore. There is a sun terrace here, which triggers deep holiday relaxation when you look out over the blue water. If you want, you can find a boat rental on the shore and soak up the atmosphere on the water. A campsite nearby is ideal for stays of several days, giving you the option of exploring the nearby Flimserwald forest, for example, by bike.
5. Lake Lucerne
In this case, Lake Lucerne is one of the lakes in Switzerland that belongs in a top 10 list. It is also known regionally as Lake Lucerne, although it not only belongs to the canton of Lucerne, but also touches five cantons: Lucerne, Obwalden, Nidwalden, Schwyz and Uri. As the fourth largest lake in Switzerland, Lake Lucerne invites you to swim in many places. Small bays are just as enticing as larger sections, which, as lidos, particularly appeal to families, because lifeguards monitor compliance with the bathing rules. All in all, it enchants with its fjord-like landscape, which attracts bathers and nature lovers alike.
Lake Lucerne offers a wide range of water sports. Whether it’s rowing, kite surfing, kayaking or wind surfing, wakeboarding or water skiing, everything is possible. Rentals equip experienced visitors with the necessary equipment and water sports schools offer courses for beginners. Excursions on steamships, which show you the fairytale scenery from the lake, are also very popular. If you want to go high, we recommend a ride on the cable cars. In addition to the modern “Dragon Ride” cable car, the historic Pilatus cable cars are also attractive.
6. Lake Zurich
At 88 square kilometers, it is the fifth largest lake in Switzerland and invites you – but not only – to jump into the cool water. Its name is appropriate to its proximity to the well-known metropolis of Zurich, and from the air its curvature gives it the shape of a banana. The lake is divided in two by a dam, with the eastern side being referred to as Obersee. It is very worthwhile to bring several days with you when you visit and to explore both the lake and the surrounding area with its many sights. Right on Lake Zurich you can sunbathe, swim, dive or go on the lake in small watercraft. There are four small islands, including Ufenau with a monastery that can be visited. Even if only a day trip to Lake Zurich is planned, a boat trip in front of the mountain panorama should be part of it.
All families who can’t get enough of the water will always find a place in the lidos. A little tip: in the nearby municipality of Pfäffikon, the Alpamare, a covered water park, awaits visitors of all ages. If you don’t just want to be in the water, you can use the lovingly designed lake promenades along Lake Zurich for leisurely walks. Guests with a head for heights should also take the cable car to climb the 800 meters to the Felsenegg vantage point.
7. Lake Brienz
Only a few kilometers away from Blausee you will find Lake Brienz. Together with Lake Thun, this forms a pair of lakes and is surrounded by the impressive steep slopes of the Bernese Oberland. Correspondingly unforgettable are not only lidos in this setting, but especially boat trips, sailing tours and canoe trips. In the lake there is the snail island, locally called Schnäggeninseli, including a small chapel and a barbecue area. Very popular: a trip on the historic steam cog railway! Anyone who would like to kite and surf, go on a jet boat or would rather dive, is also in the right place at Lake Brienz.
However, it is also worth putting on sturdy shoes and exploring the hiking trails around the lake. You will always come across quiet villages that are picturesquely embedded in the surroundings. Those who dare to take the panorama trail will lead over suspension bridges, providing perfect photo opportunities and unforgettable moments.
Being very close to nature, swimming and sunbathing, surfing and fishing, all this and more is possible on a trip to Klöntalersee. It is located in the canton of Glarus and is surrounded by a floodplain area. The protected area offers many jewels of nature to the eye while hiking and of course the lake itself invites you to swim. It has an area of 3.3 square kilometers and anyone who wants to leisurely walk around the Klöntalersee has a good eight kilometers of shore path ahead of them. It takes about two hours to walk there.
The idyllic location makes the Klöntalersee popular with all people who like to escape the hustle and bustle. It is generally quiet, many campers use the opportunities to spend the night in nature and anglers sit for hours on the shore. While people often bathe in the Klöntalersee in summer, you hardly ever see people in the lake outside of the hotter months. The reason is the cool water, which rarely reaches more than 18 to 22 degrees even when it is over 30 degrees in the shade.
9. Lake Lugano
Embedded in a green hilly landscape and on the border to Italy lies Lake Lugano in the south of Switzerland. Since it partly extends beyond the national border and is therefore also one of the Italian neighbors, it also bears the name Lago di Lugano. When traveling to the south of Switzerland, Lake Lugano is a tip for all water fans. In summer, the water temperature of around 24 degrees promises a welcome cooling off. With a size of 49 square kilometers and a depth of up to 288 meters, divers also have a lot of underwater world to explore. This is the right place for everyone who wants to enjoy swimming, surfing, diving, walking and camping.
Lake Lugano is also an ideal starting point for excursions. A green mountain landscape begins around the lake. How about climbing Monte Generoso? It is the highest mountain on Lake Lugano and reaches an impressive 1,700 meters. Two smaller peaks are Monte Brè and San Salvatore. In any case, the view of the lake is a nice reward and after the descent there is nothing to be said against another swim in the blue lake water.
10. Lake Maggiore
Among the Swiss lakes, the Langensee should not be missing. Like Lake Lugano, it is in the canton of Ticino. Most people know the lake under its second name, Lago Maggiore. The Italian name goes back to the fact that around 80 percent of the lake belongs to Italy. The remaining 20 percent, which are in Switzerland, are definitely worth a stay. A trip here promises a Mediterranean holiday ambience for young and old with palm trees on the glittering water.
A trip to Lake Langensee is best combined with stays in the Swiss towns of Locarno and Ascona. Accommodation and restaurants with Swiss food lure here, the lake promenades are perfect for walks and you can jump into the cool lake water at any time. A tip for everyone going to Locarno: Use the funicular to Orselina and from there the second cable car to the Cardada mountain station. Now you are on a viewing platform at 1,340 meters and enjoy the panorama. If you are heading to neighboring Ascona, you should plan a small boat trip to the Brissago Islands. The journey takes only 15 minutes and is rewarded, among other things, with the colorful flowers in the botanical garden.