BEST LAKES IN SWITZERLAND TO SEE

MOST BEAUTIFUL SWISS LAKES TO VISIT 

While other travelers might chase waterfalls, I chase lakes. Yes, I am a lake chaser – this might explain my obsession with Switzerland. Because some of the most beautiful lakes in the world are home in Switzerland.

And if you are wondering where to find these the best lakes in Switzerland, this post will help you. 

Here are the most stunning, prettiest, most amazing lakes in Switzerland to add to your Switzerland itinerary.

Lake Brienz

INTERLAKEN

Located just east of the town of Interlaken, in the canton of Berne, is the turquoise Lake Brienz, a quite large lake with an area of 29.8 square kilometers. It is approximately 14 km long, 2.8 km wide, and 260 meters deep. At surface, Lake Brienz is 564 meters above sea level.

Best things to do around Lake Brienz, Interlaken Giessbach Waterfalls
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The alpine lake takes its name from the village of Brienz, which lies on the northern shore towards the east. Ships connect the main settlements around the lake, as well as the famous historical funicular Giessbachbahn, which rises 98 meters until the beautiful Giessbach Waterfalls nearby.

View from Brienzer Rothorn
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The Aare channel connects the western tip of Lake Brienz to Lake Thun by crossing the town of Interlaken.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Brienz is definitely in my “top 3 of Swiss lakes”. Its sheer size in that unique color is beyond incredible. Also, there is so much to do and see around Lake Brienz. You can check out my full guide on Lake Brienz for the best vantage points, activities, and more. 

Lake Thun

INTERLAKEN

Another famous lake in the Bernese Oberland is Lake Thun, located west of the town of Interlaken. With its 48.3 square kilometers, it is the largest of Swiss lakes located within a single canton (Bernese Oberland). Its length is about 17.5 km, the width is 3.5 km and the maximum depth is 217 meters. Similar to Lake Brienz, it stands among alpine peaks at 558 meters above sea level.

View from the panorama restaurant in St Beatus Caves
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View from the panorama restaurant in St Beatus Caves

Best things to see at Lake Thun, boat tour Lake Thun
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The town of Thun, which lies on the northwestern tip, gives its name to the lake. Multiple ships cross the deep-blue lake and connect the Thun to Interlaken.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Thun is definitely in my “top 5 of Swiss lakes”. Its amazing villages and towns along the shores make this lake very special. You can check out my full guide on Lake Thun for the best vantage points, activities, and more. 

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Lake Oeschinen

KANDER VALLEY

A true alpine gem and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007, the small Oeschinen Lake has a surface area of just over 1 square kilometer and 56 meters of maximum depth (1.6 km long and 1 km wide). With an elevation of 1.578 meters above the sea and high mountains all around, it is the perfect alpine lake postcard.

Stunning Lake Oeschinensee with Arzo Travels
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Oeschinen Lake is located in the Kander valley, in the Bernese Oberland canton. You cannot reach the lake by car – you can take a gondola, a bus, or hike from the nearby town of Kandersteg.

Best Interlaken attractions
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PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Oeschinen is definitely in my “top 10 of Swiss lakes”. Its color and the scenery make it incredibly beautiful. However, for the best views, you have to do quite a bit of hiking.  You can check out my full guide on Lake Oeschinen for the best vantage points, activities, and more. 

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Lake Blausee

KANDER VALLEY

Even smaller than Oeschinen Lake, the gorgeous Lake Blauseee is another picturesque gem in the Bernese Oberland. At 887 meters of altitude in the Kander Valley, this tiny lake is just 0.64 hectares large (0.0064 square kilometers).

Blausee in Berner Oberland, Arzo Travels
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Thanks to its deep-blue, crystal waters, Blausee is one of the most famous mountain lakes in Switzerland – it was praised in a travel guide in 1885! Located in a nature park between the town of Spiez (on Lake Thun) and Kandersteg, it is easy to reach and a popular spot to hike. Swimming in Lake Blausee is not allowed.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Blausee is pretty, a pretty, pretty small lake. It is not in my “top 10 of Swiss lakes”, because there is an entrance fee to see it. Quite a bumper. You can check out my full guide on Lake Blausee for more information. 

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Lake Lucerne

LUCERNE

The fifth-largest lake in Switzerland is located within 5 cantons in the center of the country: surrounded by beautiful and famous peaks, the irregular shape of Lake Lucerne covers an area of 114 square kilometers at 434 meters of elevation. Its maximum length is 3 km, the maximum width is 20 km, and the maximum depth is 214 meters.

Getting up Mount Rigi - a must-do activity in Lucerne
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Lake Lucerne is so large and complex that nine different parts have their unique designations: there are bays, funnels, basins, and lakes within the lake. However, the town of Lucerne gives its name to the lake, located on the western side.

Most Expensive Hotel in the region Park Hotel Vitznau
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PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Lucerne is definitely in my “top 10 of Swiss lakes”. Its sheer size and stunning scenery make it a top lake in Switzerland. Also, there is so much to do and see around Lake Lucerne. You can check out my guide on Lucerne for more tips on things to do around Lake Lucerne. 

Lake Geneva

GENEVA, MONTREUX, LAUSANNE

All the way to the south-west of Switzerland is Lake Geneva, the largest lake in Switzerland. With 73 km of length and 14 km of width, its surface area is 580 square kilometers, making it one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. It lies at 372 meters above sea level, with a maximum depth of 310 meters.

Boat Tour on Lake Geneva with the Swiss Travel Pass
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Its half-moon shape is cornered by the city of Geneva on the southwestern tip, the city of Lausanne in the center of the northern shore, and the picturesque town of Montreaux on the eastern tip. The southern shore belongs to France.

Geneva view of the lake for your one day itinerary
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PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Geneva is definitely in my “top 10 of Swiss lakes”. Its enormous size blew me away. Also, there is so much to do and see around Lake Geneva.

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Lake Zurich

ZURICH

Lake Zurich is located in the north of Switzerland, towards Germany. The city of Zurich is on the northern tip of this slightly L-shaped, long, and narrow lake. Its surface area is approximately 88 square kilometers, with 40 km of length and 3 km of width, making it the 6th largest lake in Switzerland. It lies at 406 meters above sea level and the maximum depth is 136 meters.

Where to stay in Zurich - best places to stay in Zurich Switzerland
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It is popular to swim in Lake Zurich, thanks to its very clean water, even though summer temperatures go just beyond 20 °C (68 °F). Multiple ferries connect the towns around the lake.

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Sunset over Lake Zurich

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Zurich is definitely in my “top 10 of Swiss lakes”. It probably is not the most beautiful lake in the country. However, there is so much to do and see around Lake Zurich. You can check out my full guide on Lake Brienz for the best vantage points, activities, and more. 

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Lake Lungern

LUNGERN

Between Lake Brienz and Lake Lucerne, in the Obwalden canton, is the pretty Lake Lungern. Named after the town of Lungern, on its southern tip, this lake at 688 meters of elevation is just 2 km long and 660 meters wide on average, which gives it an area of just 2 square kilometers.

Brüning Pass, Lake Lungern Switzerland Arzo Travels
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With a temperature of approximately 23 °C (71 °F) in the summer, swimming in the crystal waters of the lake is very refreshing. There are many beaches, as well as an easy hike around the lake, and the beautiful Dundelbach falls nearby.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Lungern is one of my favorite stops when I road trip. For the last 6 years or so, I always stop here and enjoy the view from here. Sometimes I take some short walks around the lake. 

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Lake Bachalpsee

GRINDELWALD

South of Lake Brienz, in the Bernese Oberland near Grindelwald, you can find Lake Bachalpsee, a small lake of just 0.08 square kilometers of surface and 14 meters of maximum depth.

Bachalpsee in Grindelwald - not too far from Hotel Caprice
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The incredible elevation of Lake Bachalpsee is 2265 meters! It is one of the most beautiful mountain lakes in Switzerland, surrounded by green pastures and the high peaks of the Jungfrau region, not far from the Grindelwald-First gondola station.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Bachsee is definitely a unique lake – unfortunately, it was very foggy when I visited. This might be a problem because it seems the weather in Grindelwald is often not ideal. If the weather had been better, it surely would have made it on my top 10 list.  

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Lake Walensee

Lake Walensee is located almost at the eastern border of Switzerland, not far from Lake Zurich, in the cantons of St. Gallen and Glarus. Approximately 20 km long and 1 km wide, this lake has a surface area of about 24 square kilometers and an elevation of 419 meters.

 

It takes its name from the town of Walenstadt, on its eastern side. However, it is famous for the Churfirsten mountain on its northern side, which rises almost vertically straight out of the water.

Lago di Saoseo

POSCHIAVO

The circular lake of Saoseo is located in the Val di Campo valley of the Poschiavo region, in the southeast of Switzerland, very close to the Italian border. This mountain lake is a small gem surrounded by pine forest, just 570 meters long and 550 meters wide – that’s 0.025 square kilometers. Its altitude is 2028 meters.

Lago di Saosea - underrated places in Switzerland
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Making Lago di Saoseo even more photogenic, there is even a tiny rocky island that reflects in the crystal clear waters. During the winter, the lake is covered in ice and snow.

Lago di Saoseo in Valposchiavo
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PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lago di Saoseo is definitely in my “top 5 of Swiss lakes”. Its beauty is beyond…everything. It does not present itself on a silver platter and it is time-consuming getting there but it is worth it. This lake is everything. For more info, read my Valposchiavo travel guide.

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Lake Gelmersee

In the south of the Bernese Oberland, not far from Interlaken, is the reservoir Lake Gelmer, at 1850 meters of elevation. The surface area is just 0.64 square meters, with a maximum depth of 48 meters.

Gelmer Lake in Switzerland Arzo Travels
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With a dam, an incredibly steep funicular, fresh water to swim in, and waterfalls along the hike around the lake, it is a very impressive Swiss lake.

Water Gelmersee view Arzo Travels
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PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Gelmersee is definitely in my “top 5 of Swiss lakes”. I know, it is a man-made lake and yet, I just love it. You can check out my full guide on Lake Gelmersee for the best vantage points, activities, and more. 

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Lake Maggiore

LOCARNO

Lake Maggiore, or Lago Maggiore in Italian, has its northern tip in Switzerland, and most of its length in Italy. The Swiss part of the lake is located in the Italian-speaking Canton of Ticino, in the south of the country, right in the center.

The whole surface area is 212 square kilometers, at an elevation of 193 meters, but the Swiss part is just 16 km long and less than 10 km wide.

Lago Maggiore in Locarno
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In the town of Locarno, located on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore, you will find the best climate in Switzerland, with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures.

Best Places to See in Switzerland
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PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Maggiore is pretty – no doubt about it. It has beautiful towns and villages along the shores. However, it has not made it on my top 10-list. I am not sure, why not. Maybe it is just because I like another lake close by even more?  

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Things to do in Locarno/Ascona

Lake Lugano

LUGANO

Just east of Lake Maggiore is Lake Lugano, which is also shared between the Swiss Canton of Ticino and Italy. Its twisted shape covers an area of 48.7 square kilometers at an altitude of 271 meters.

Parco Ciani is one of the most beautiful places in Lugano
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The lake takes its name from the town of Lugano, on the northern shore. It is popular to bathe in the lake at numerous establishments, as well as hike the nearby mountains.

Monte San Salvatore
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PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Lake Lugano is definitely in my “top 10 of Swiss lakes”. I love its colors, the vantage points, the villages along the shores (including the most beautiful village which is Morcote) – I just love it. You can check out my full guide on Lugano and Morcote for the best vantage points, activities, and more. 

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Palü Lake

POSCHIAVO

The small Palü Lake, a blue gem surrounded by forests and high peaks, is located in the canton of Graubünden, in the south-eastern part of Switzerland, near Poschiavo Valley.

Valposchiavo Palü Lake in heart shape
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This small lake at the elevation of 1923 meters has a surface area of 0.052 square kilometers. It is a natural lake as well as a reservoir, fed by the Palü Glacier. 

PERSONAL THOUGHTS: Standing at the vantage point and looking at Lake Palü on the one side and Palü Glacier, on the other hand, made me realize it is one of the most beautiful places in Switzerland. I know, it is an artificial lake and yet, I just love it.

Disclaimer: I have seen the lake twice. The lake color looked incredible the first time. The second time, I visited after some heavy rainfalls – and the lake color was quite disappointing. That can happen if you visit after some rainy days. You can check out my full guide on Valposchiavo for the best vantage points, activities, and more. 

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FINAL WORDS ON THE TOP LAKES IN SWITZERLAND

These are my favorite lakes in Switzerland. Some are not easily accessible – some you will see while sitting on a train. Some are small and charming, some are gigantic and impressive. Each of them is stunning.  Each is special! Each s worth a trip! So, whichever lake you end up visiting, you cannot go wrong! 

 

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