Switzerland is famed for its beautiful lakes. There are crystal-clear little mountain lakes to visit and you can navigate the larger lakes on a traditional paddle steamer. Wherever you choose to stay, you won't be too far from the water and all the beautiful scenery which accompanies it.
Here are just a few of the lake highlights which you discover on a holiday in Switzerland.
Encircled by mountains, the lake stretches from the historic resort of Lucerne through the fjord-like landscape and joins with Lake Uri to reach Flüelen, in the very heart of Switzerland. A lake cruise is a real pleasure - you can hop across to one of the villages or stay on board for the full round trip. The boats also connect with the mountain trains and cable cars. You can bathe in the lake, take a trip on a pedalo, stroll along a lakeside path or simply sit and admire the sparkling water in all its glory.
Size: 114km², elevation: 434m, maximum depth: 214m.
Stay in a lakeside resort: Lucerne, Weggis, Brunnen
Lake Thun & Lake Brienz
These two lakes at the heart of the Bernese Oberland are separated by the popular resort of Interlaken. Both lakes are famed for their deep blue colour and have a stunning backdrop of the Jungfrau mountains - a relaxing cruise is highly recommended to experience this magnificent view. All along the lakes you will find pleasant villages, swimming areas and lakeside walking trails. Lake Thun also has historic castles to visit, while on Lake Brienz you can see the thundering Giessbach Falls.
Thun - Size: 48km², elevation: 558m, maximum depth: 217m. Brienz - Size: 29km², elevation: 564m, maximum depth: 260m.
Stay in a lakeside resort: Interlaken, Thun, Spiez, Bönigen
Switzerland's largest lake boasts a mild climate and has historic vineyards stretching along its scenic shoreline. Take a cruise along the length of the lake and you will be suprised by the changing scenery - from the snowcapped Alps to the sunny vines and pleasant villages, from waterside statues of residents Charlie Chaplin and Freddie Mercury to the famous Jet d'Eau fountain if you travel all the way to Geneva. In Montreux, it is a delight to promenade along the lake to the charming Château de Chillon.
Size: 580km², elevation: 372m, maximum depth: 310m.
Stay in a lakeside resort: Montreux, Vevey, Lausanne, Geneva
Lake Maggiore & Lake Lugano
The lakes of Ticino, where Switzerland meets Italy, offers some of the country's most beautiful views. Thanks to the mild climate, there are palm trees and an array of brightly coloured flowers on the shores and in the stunning botanical garden on Brissago Island. Mountains surround both lakes and it is certainly worth taking a funicular or cable car up to enjoy the vistas over the azure water. Regular boats transport you across the lakes to idyllic villages, where you can relax over lunch in the perfect holiday setting.
Maggiore - Size: 212km², elevation: 193m, maximum depth: 372m. Lugano - Size: 48km², elevation: 271m, maximum depth: 288m.
Stay in a lakeside resort: Locarno, Ascona, Lugano
You can experience Swiss lakes even if you are staying in a mountain resort.
Bernese Oberland: Bachalpsee and Oeschinensee are crystal clear lakes fed by pure glacier waters. In summer they are surrounded by alpine flowers including edelweiss.
Valais: Riffelsee, Schwarzsee and Blausee offer fantastic views of the Matterhorn. Riffelsee is famous for its reflection of the mountain and Blausee has water of the deepest, purest blue.
Central Switzerland: Härzlisee is an idyllic mountain lake with wonderful views and a traditional Kniepp path to massage your bare feet.
Graubünden: the region around St. Moritz and Pontresina has a chain of beautiful lakes offering views of breathtaking scenery in the high Alps. Lake St. Moritz, Lake Silvaplana, Lake Champfèr and Lake Sils are highly recommended for scenic walks. For summer swimming, try Lake Cauma near Flims, Untersee near Arosa or Heidsee near Lenzerheide. Temperatures reach 20ºC and there are sandy beaches, sports facilities and restaurants - all in the midst of beautiful scenery.
More Swiss lakes
There are of course many other lakes within Switzerland. You may well pass Lake Zurich and Lake Zug while en route from the airport to your resort, and they certainly make for a very picturesque introduction to the country.
Visitors staying in St. Gallen and Schaffhausen should take the short journey to see beautiful Lake Constance on the German border. From Bad Ragaz you can also visit Walensee, the huge lake at the foot of the Churfirsten mountains.
As well as these large lakes, there are plenty of peaceful little lakes hidden away in forests all over Switzerland, just waiting to be discovered.
Find out more on our Switzerland - a land of water page or click here for information on the beautiful mountains