Open landscapes, scenic views, calming water sounds… these are just some of the reasons lake stays are ideal for a peaceful getaway. But, with so many beautiful lakes in Europe to choose from, deciding where to go can be difficult. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the top 6 lake destinations in Europe. Take a look at our pick of Europe’s best lakes to escape the tourist crowds and connect with nature.
1. Lake Constance: Your three-in-one destination
Bordering on three countries, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, Lake Constance is the ultimate destination for travellers who love variety. You can cycle along the Swiss shores in the morning, hop over to Austria for a coffee and sachertorte in the afternoon, and round off the day at a scenic beer garden in Germany. Spend your days exploring the area’s scenic towns and villages, to soak up the diverse culture of central Europe. Lake Constance is also an amazing destination for active travellers. Take your pick from kayaking, canoeing, cycling, swimming, and even skiing! Or, if relaxation is what you’re after, the area also has many thermal pools and spas for you to unwind in style.
2. Lake Bohinj, Slovenia: The hidden gem of Eastern Europe
While Lake Bled may get all the attention, Lake Bohinj is an ideal destination to discover Slovenia, while avoiding the tourist crowds. Spend your days there chilling by the lake waters and exploring scenic routes on foot or by bike. The area will charm you with its understated natural beauty and authentic local towns. Explore the idyllic villages of Stara and Fužina, and make sure to taste local delicacies, such as the Bohinjski sir cheese. Or, you can go horse-riding on the shores of the lake to experience the area’s natural beauty from a unique perspective. It’s all about the simple pleasures in this off-the-beaten-track destination.
3. Lac d’Allos, France: For Damatic Natural Beauty
Located in Mercantour National Park, Lake d’Allos in France boasts unspoilt natural beauty. As the largest natural high altitude mountain lake in Europe, Lac d’Allos boasts a dramatic mountainous backdrop and pristine blue waters. Take one of the many popular hiking routes to get to the lake. Once there, you can enjoy a picnic on the shore, while taking in the stunning views of the lake. Afterwards, we recommend venturing to some of the area’s other glacial lakes, before making your way down to Nice for a relaxing evening by the French riviera.
4. Saimaa, Finland: To Experience Nature at its Purest
Lake Saimaa in Finland is one of the largest natural freshwater lakes in Europe and has been voted as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Having the world’s longest lake coastline, Saimaa is home to thousands of islands and lake trails just waiting to be discovered. The lake is surrounded by villages in harmony with nature, as well as large stretches of unspoilt natural forests. The area is also home to one of the world’s rarest species of seal. You can stay in a secluded cabin on the shores of the lake. Or, you can stay in one of the picture-perfect nearby towns, such as the charming Savonlinna. A real excursion out of the ordinary.
5. Attersee, Austria: The secluded oasis in the heart of Europe
This beautiful lake is the ultimate destination for a relaxing getaway. Spend your mornings swimming in the clear blue waters of Lake Attersee, and your afternoons discovering quaint coffee houses. The lake is located in upper Austria and is home to the fairytale-like town of Hallstatt. Voted as one of the most beautiful towns in the world, Hallstatt is famous for its stunning natural beauty and its unique architectural style. While stunning, Hallstatt can get crowded at times so we recommend staying at one of the nearby villages, like St. Wolfgang, if a secluded getaway is what you’re after.