Switzerland is truly one of the most naturally beautiful countries in the world. While most people automatically think of the Swiss Alps, Switzerland has some breathtaking lakes as well. Without further ado, here are ten lakes in Switzerland that are worth a visit.
1. Lake Constance
Lake Constance is actually located within three countries – Austria, Germany, and, of course, Switzerland. It’s a great place to stay for a few nights if you are looking to simply take a boat and visit a completely different country. As a matter of fact, just on the border of Germany and Switzerland is a city called Konstanz, which boasts a very well preserved Old Town, with everything from 11th-century architecture to historical play performances.
2. Lake Neuchatel
Known as one of the best places to watch the sunset in Switzerland, Lake Neuchatel is another gem of this naturally-blessed country. It is the perfect place for families to gather, have a barbecue, and watch the summer sun slowly sink below the horizon. Or if you are feeling a little more active, many decide to stand-up paddleboard across this lake, as it is the largest lake in the country with all of its borders completely within Switzerland, so there’s no need to bring a passport with you.
3. Lake Lugano
Lake Lugano is one of the few lakes located in the Italian part of Switzerland, which gives it a very special atmosphere. Instead of hearing German or French and eating at restaurants that serve schnitzel or crepes, along the promenade of Lake Lugano, you can enjoy some amazing pizza and gelato while listening to the locals speak fluent Italian. At the same time, the calmness of Swiss culture is still present, so you can enjoy the best parts of both Italian and Swiss culture at the same time.
4. Lake Oeschinen
Lake Oeschinen is beautiful throughout the year, no matter what season it is. During the warmer times of the year, it is a beautiful lake just a couple miles from the social media-famous Kandersteg mountain slide. In the winter, it turns into a frozen, completely transparent lake that visitors can walk over for an experience unlike any other. If it’s just the right temperature, you can walk on the frozen lake while watching fish swim just below you.
5. Lake Zurich
Lake Zurich may be considered the most popular lake on this list, as it is present in one of the most well-known cities in the country. This means that, at certain times of the year, it can get quite busy, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting. The more people come to visit, the more tasty food businesses start to open. So if you are looking for a Swiss lake to sit by and take some Instagram-worthy pics with some bomb gelato, this is the place to do it.
6. Lake Thun
The shores of Lake Thun are filled with scenic viewpoints and historical monuments, including St. Beatus Caves, the castle of Spiez, and Oberhofen Castle. Many visitors spend a couple of nights in the town of Thun, either in a cute bed & breakfast or a local hotel, as there is no shortage of activities to do and places to visit in this area.
7. Lake Brienz
Not far from Lake Thun is Lake Brienz, known for its special boat tours. One of the most famous is aboard the Lötschberg, a paddle steamer built over one hundred years ago. Others include a fondue ship, a raclette ship (a traditional Swiss potato and cheese dish), and an Alpine-style brunch ship. Spend a little time searching for a quirky boat tour on Lake Brienz, and you might be able to find the one to your liking.
8. Lake Blausee
While it is probably the least well-known lake on this list, Lake Blausee has a secluded, fairytale-like quality that most of the other lakes on this list don’t quite have. Located at least one train and one bus ride from any main city in Switzerland, it is truly a hidden gem. It’s the perfect place to just lounge under the sun, enjoy the view of the mountains, and maybe even do some trout fishing.
9. Lake Geneva
Lake Geneva, locally known as Lac Leman, is the largest lake in Switzerland, at 224 square miles – far larger than any other lake in the country. Because of this, there are many notable cities along its coastline – Vevey, Lausanne, Geneva – and those are just the ones on the Swiss side of the lake. The other side of the lake is actually in French territory, boasting amazing features like the mountain of Evian, famous for the bottled water company of the same name. However, one of the most memorable events that take place on Lake Geneva is the Montreux Christmas Market. Open from late November to late December, over 150 vendors open their little wooden booths and sell amazing Christmas-themed treats on the shores of Lake Geneva.
10. Lake Lucerne
The dichotomous nature of Lake Lucerne makes it the most interesting lake in all of Switzerland. Both old and new, touristy and local, natural and technological, Lake Lucerne embraces it all, and all it takes is a glance at the boats or buildings around the lake to notice this. While some might be sailing their high-tech yachts around, others are making use of their simple wooden rowboats. While many buildings are made of metal and glass, others, like the towers on many of the bridges crossing the lake, are hundreds of years old.
Now, the only question is when are you headed to Switzerland?
Updated: July 19, 2017