The 9 best lakes in Switzerland

Switzerland has some of the most glorious landscapes you’ll find on earth. From outstanding mountains that dominate the skyline to hairpin roads, which climb up the mountains giving incredible views and, of course, beautiful lakes.


Ringed by imposing mountains, the Swiss lakes are renowned for their beauty. They entice you with their breathtaking scenery, creating holiday memories to be treasured. Picture yourself on the sundeck of a lake cruiser, relaxing with a drink and taking in the views as you glide by. Each of the major lakes has a full timetable of pleasure cruises from Spring to Autumn and offer selected cruises during the Winter months. You can stay onboard your ship for the best part of a day, or use your ticket to hop on and off at the beauty spots, which take your fancy along the way.


We’ve hand-picked nine of the best lakes in Switzerland out of the hundreds in the country to help you decide which to visit. Explore our collection of some of the best Swiss lakes to add to your bucket list. Some of these places are truly life changing.

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva

Let’s start with an obvious one. Lake Geneva is the country’s largest lake, touching both Switzerland and France. Montreux sits on the eastern edge, with Geneva tucked away in the western corner, only adding to the pure beauty of the famous lake. Hop on a bike and enjoy a gentle ride through the various routes around the lake for an amazing way to see everything it has to offer.


Tall mountains surround Lake Geneva and thick swathes of greenery line the surrounding land to create a scene that takes your breath away. Looking for some history and culture? Venture around to Chillon Castle on the eastern shore of the lake. This Romanesque-castle was first mentioned back in 1150 and still stands proudly today.

Lake Geneva cruises

Being the largest lake in the country, Lake Geneva has plenty of scheduled cruises year-round. Climb aboard a historic paddle steamer, with some being over 100 years old, for a traditional way to enjoy the water. First class tickets offer entrance to the exclusive lounge and elegant upper deck, giving the most perfect view. Get a real taste of the high life with a Sunday lunch cruise, giving guests amazing plates of cuisine on a round trip past Montreux, Chillon and the Dents du Midi mountains.

Lake Geneva resorts

Being the largest Swiss lake, there are more than enough resorts in which to take a luxurious lakeside vacation. Montreux is filled with stylish boutique shops, cosy cafés and delicious restaurants. This popular resort was even once graced by the famous poets Shelley and Byron.


Vevey and its quieter neighbour La Tour-de-Peilz are other popular lakeside resorts. Both offer fantastic views over the water and the historic Lavaux Vineyards are close at hand. It's just a short train ride along the lake to Geneva if you would like to explore this famous city.

Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne

Lake Lucerne

With an irregular shape and surrounded by epic mountains, Lake Lucerne is one of the most breathtaking lakes in all of Switzerland. It’s the fourth largest Swiss lake and sits at a height of 434 metres above sea level, with a mild temperature when the sun is out.


The vast lake is situated in the bustling, compact city of Lucerne, known for its beautifully preserved medieval architecture, stunning monuments and boutique shopping. The lake itself offers some of the best views in Switzerland. Deep turquoise water and stunning snow-capped mountains are the cherries on top of this impeccable view.

Lake Lucerne cruises

The warmer climate is perfect for relaxing on a calm cruise, offering a one-of-a-kind vantage point to soak up all the lake’s incredible scenes. It’s a view you won’t forget anytime soon. Explore the lake on one of the historic paddle steamers for an unforgettable way to experience Central Switzerland. These beautiful boats are over 100 years old and have been lovingly restored to their former glory. You can hop off at various well-known spots, like the Transport Museum, Mount Pilatus and the Glass Factory. For added opulence, book onto the Panorama-Yacht Saphir for a once-in-a-lifetime experience with bespoke furnishings and a really elegant feel.

Lake Lucerne resorts

Explore the lake’s namesake with a stay in the historic city of Lucerne. Stroll through the world-famous covered Chapel Bridge and explore the flower-decked streets of this lakeside gem.


For somewhere a touch more tranquil but with great lake cruise connections, Weggis is always a popular choice. It’s calm and quiet and found at the base of Mount Rigi, in the region known lovingly as the Lucerne Riviera thanks to its mild weather and palm trees.

Lake Thun

Autumn view of Lake Thun

Autumn view of Lake Thun

Known for its crystal clear blue water reflecting off the bright white mountains, Lake Thun is another one of best lakes in Switzerland. Situated at an incredible elevation of 558 metres above sea level, the tranquil water is crystal clear, making it the perfect place for a relaxing cruise.


Visit the town of Thun for age-old castles and churches that date way back to the 12th century. These historic buildings surrounding the lake create unique scenery only found in Switzerland, giving you an experience of a lifetime. This is one you can happily tick off your bucket list.

Lake Thun cruises

Discover Lake Thun on the restored steamboat Blümlisalp for an amazing way to see the sights, including visiting castles and historic buildings in the city of Thun with a day pass before returning to the boat for a gentle cruise back to Interlaken.

Lake Thun resorts

Stay in the small but wonderful town of Thun itself, with jaw-dropping mountain views and age-old historic buildings. From its massive castle and medieval streets to the Old Town, dating back to the 12th century, it’s an impressive place.


Spiez is set against the beautiful backdrop of vineyards spanning the hillside. With its milder climate, it’s no wonder such crisp white wines originate here. It’s a quiet spot with plenty of places to relax by the water.

Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz

Named after the town located along its northern shoreline, Lake Brienz is known as one of the most romantic getaway locations in Switzerland.


It’s filled with wondrous sights, from the vast icy green lake and forests thick with trees to beautiful Bönigen and Giessbach with its waterfalls and sheer cliffs. The lake also has great walking and cycling trails, so you can get active whilst soaking in the unique, gorgeous sights of Lake Brienz.

Lake Brienz cruises

Lake Brienz has plenty of boat services to connect you with the hidden gems dotted around the shoreline. Visit Giessbach Falls, a 500-metre high waterfall that flows into the lake with a funicular leading up to it. Travel on the Lötschberg to experience Lake Brienz from a restored steamer, the most amazing way to enjoy the gorgeously coloured water.

Lake Brienz resorts

Head to Bönigen for a tranquil stay in a lakeside village. This picturesque resort is filled with buildings from the 16th century, or visit the Alte Pinte museum to see what a Bernese Oberland chalet from 1772 was like. From here, Interlaken is only a few minutes on the bus so there’s plenty to do.

Lake Maggiore

Brissago Islands, Lake Maggiore

Brissago Islands, Lake Maggiore

Lake Maggiore, or Lago Maggiore, is situated in the region of Ticino in southern Switzerland at the border with Italy, in an ideal location for boating with its mild temperatures and lush vegetation around the edges of the lake. It’s surrounded by towering mountains, so whether you’re on a leisurely bike ride or pleasure boat cruise, you’re guaranteed a breathtaking view from every angle.


Most of the lake is on Italy’s side, but the idyllic Brissago Islands are in the Swiss part. The larger San Pancrazio island is home to famous botanical gardens, transporting you to a hidden paradise surrounded by water. With plenty of relaxing activities to do and a glorious climate to accommodate you as you enjoy the stunning views, Lake Maggiore holidays are perfect for a romantic Swiss getaway.

Lake Maggiore cruises

Hop aboard a cruise boat for the perfect way to visit the Brissago Islands, or just take in the scenery of local villages and nature. Whether you go for the ultimate in relaxation with a first class ticket or enjoy a freshly prepared meal whilst basking in the Swiss sun, it’s always an unforgettable journey.

Lake Maggiore resorts

Locarno is a beautiful Swiss town with the Mediterranean sun. Experience the dolce vita from the foot of the southern alps or explore the glitzy Piazza Grande with glamorous shops and cosy cafés.


Ascona is another popular resort on Lake Maggiore, with pleasant pastel-coloured buildings and historic streets. Explore the narrow roads filled with boutique shops and art galleries then dine on traditional risotto. Sounds like the perfect day!

Lake Lugano

Lake Lugano

Lake Lugano

In the same region as Maggiore is the buzzing city of Lugano, which is famous for its Mediterranean-like sunshine and boutique shopping. Here you can also find the glorious Lake Lugano, surrounded by scenic parks and lush greenery, making for a picturesque view. This is another charming lake that shares territory with both Switzerland and Italy, adding a beautiful climate to a classic Swiss setting.


From the tall mountains that surround the lake to the refined architecture, every angle of Lake Lugano is astounding. The Mediterranean sunshine reflecting off the deep blue water is sure to be an image that’s etched into your mind, and one that’s certainly worthy of a postcard!

Lake Lugano cruises

If you’re visiting the area, a Lake Lugano cruise should be on your itinerary. Float along to a lakeside village then get off and explore local shops, restaurants and bars. Hungry? Lunch and dinner cruises last around two hours, ferrying you around scenic spots while you enjoy a seasonal Mediterranean menu.

Lake Lugano resorts

The bustling town of Lugano is the main resort on the lake. You’re spoilt for choice for things to do, with exquisite cultural experiences aplenty. Venture through the heart of the traffic-free city centre while taking in the amazing sights and sounds of the historic streets.

Lake Zurich

Lake Zurich flows into the city's Limmat River

Lake Zurich flows into the city's Limmat River

Zurich is known for its bustling streets and historic attractions. But perhaps the most beautiful part is the iconic Lake Zurich. The city itself is a must visit location, but adding Lake Zurich to your itinerary is essential too!


Enjoy the culture of Switzerland with its famous sights and historic buildings then take a leisurely cruise on the beautiful waters of Lake Zurich. Surrounded by the majestic architecture of houses and villas dotted along the shore, you’ll feel like you have stepped back in time. You can even take a ride on one of the lake’s historic paddle steamers, further adding to the cultural and historical delight of Lake Zurich.

Lake Zurich resorts

Spend some time in the bustling lakeside city of Zurich. This exciting city is the perfect place to base yourself if you’re looking to spend some time by glistening Lake Zurich. As the largest city in the country, there’s always something going on. Wander the busy streets and bask in the awe of amazing architecture or try out some traditional Swiss cuisine in a gourmet eatery.

Lake Constance

Lake Constance

Lake Constance

Nestled away in the northern region of the country, the magnificent Lake Constance is shared between Switzerland, Germany and Austria. At an incredible 536 square kilometres, this vast lake is perfect for relaxing walking trails and cycling routes, as well as exhilarating watersports.


With many small islands dotted throughout, you’re never short of exciting activities, especially if you revel in the thrill of exploring. Lake Constance is especially popular in the summer months with its mild climate and a variety of water sports on offer, including sailing and fishing. A gorgeous landscape of thick green trees and the historic buildings make for a picturesque view that you’ll cherish for a lifetime. There are many popular resort towns dotted along the shoreline of Lake Constance, offering you the opportunity for a delightful lakeside lunch in the sun.

Lake Constance cruises

For another way to enjoy Lake Constance, depart on a scenic cruise. Start at Romanshorn and end up at Kreuzlingen, a breathtaking trip that takes just over an hour.


Foodies will absolutely love the Sunday brunch aboard the MS Säntis, a 60-year old motor vessel that’s been fully restored. In the summer, an unforgettable Full Moon Cruise takes you out on the clear water at night, accompanied by a mouth-watering barbecue buffet.

Lake Constance resorts

St. Gallen is near to the idyllic Lake Constance, being just a short bus ride away. Dating way back to the 7th century, it’s a town steeped in history and culture. Visit the Abbey - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - and soak in the amazingly coloured oriel windows in the centre of the Old Town.


Appenzell is another favourite resort within easy reach of Lake Constance. This traditional town oozes historic charm and is surrounded by stunning mountains with popular walking trails and unforgettable views.

Lake Blausee

Blausee, near Kandersteg

Blausee, near Kandersteg

Despite being a small lake, Blausee has become one of the most popular lakes in all of Switzerland thanks to its incredibly scenic views. The crystal clear blue waters of Blausee, surrounded by thick green trees and a dominating mountain skyline, makes for one of the most unique environments in the world.


With such clear water, you can peer straight down into the 10-metre deep lake and see tree trunks, rocks and a stunning legend-inspired statue at the bottom.


You can enjoy the great walking trail through the forest and around the lake, or hop aboard a glass-floor boat for the best way to see the depths. The unique views of Blausee make it one of the most popular lakes in Switzerland and a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the country, even with its smaller size.

Lake Blausee resorts

Kandersteg is a model Bernese Oberland village, set amongst the flowing meadows and towering mountains of the region. Its traditional wooden buildings epitomise the region’s famous style, being a much-loved spot by walkers and adventurers.

These nine hand-picked Swiss lakes make up only a handful of the hundreds in the country. Get in touch with us today to book yourself a lake holiday to Switzerland, and don’t forget to visit at least one of these iconic lakes! Wherever you go, you’re guaranteed the holiday of a lifetime in Switzerland.

Read more about lakeside holidays

We can arrange holidays beside or close to any of the lakes mentioned above. We'll be able to help you with a choice of 3 and 4 star hotels and can even give you information on upgrading your room to one with a beautiful lake view. Please speak to our expert team on 0800 619 1200 if you would like to create your own tailor made itinerary. 

Montreux Quai des Fleurs

4 nts from £650pp

Holiday beside Lake Geneva

Stay in Montreux

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Weggis village

4 nts from £617pp

Holiday beside Lake Lucerne

Stay in Weggis

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Lake Thun

4 nts from £654pp

Holiday beside Lake Thun

Stay in Spiez

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