Travelling around the world, we cross countries, visit cities, maybe travel along some famous rivers or famous roads, and enjoy some great beaches. Many people like to cool off and enjoy the waters of the sea, oceans and rivers, but somehow lakes are less popular. Sure, there are some beautiful lakes, with stunning landscapes, but lakes are not overly popular for beaches and related activities like surfing (no waves!), diving or snorkelling. There are however some exceptions or at least some lakes which might not be for cooling off in the waters or other classical water fun, but are deservedly popular for other reasons: a monster, its deepness, the volcanoes, the hight of the lake and in some cases even great beaches!
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Lake Malawi is one of the largest lakes in Africa and is even in the top 10 of the world. It is also known as Lake Nyasa and is the southernmost lake of the Great African Rift Valley. It is one of the best places in the world apart from the open sea/oceans to snorkel and dive. The lake is teeming with tropical fish and there are several towns along the lake's coastline that are great to stay with lots of hostels and nightlife. The southern portion is called Lake Malawi National Park and is one the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Many travellers will stay at least for days, if not weeks on end. Although part of the lake is located in Mozambique as well, most travellers will visit the lake in Malawi, with better infrastructure and accommodation.
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Lake Tanganyika is on of the African Great Lakes and is the longest and second deepest lake in the world and also the the second largest freshwater lake in the world. The lake is located in the border region of Burundi, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, the latter two having over 85% of the surface together. The water of the lake flows into the Congo River and finally into the Atlantic Ocean. It is not easy to get to, but the long dirt roads are well worth it. It is absolutely stunning. It's full of fish, has crystal clear waters and in fact the water is so clean that in some places you can drink it!
Lake Victoria is one of the African Great Lakes. It was named after Queen Victoria, by John Hanning Speke, the first European to sight this lake.
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The lake borders three countries: Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. With a surface area of 68,800 square kilometres. Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake by area, and it is the largest tropical lake in the world. It is also the source of the White Nile, one of the two main rivers (together with the Blue Nile) to feed the Nile River further downstream.
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Lake Toba on Sumatra is the largest lake in Southeast Asia, created by the eruption of a super volcano 75,000 years ago. In the middle of the lake, volcanic activity created Samosir an island as big as Singapore.
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Qinghai Lake is the largest lake in China. This lake’s salty water covers an area of 5,694 km² and is 360 kilometres in circumference. It is also an important place in history and culture, this lake has been the traditional meeting place between Mongolian and Tibetan societies. On the very shores of Qinghai Lake in 1578, the Mongolian King Altan Khan gave the title of Dalai Lama to Sonam Gyatso, creating the first Dalai Lama.
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Inle Lake is one of the best sights in Myanmar. It is the second largest lake in Myanmar and is framed on both sides with stunning mountains. The banks of the lake, which is a marshy reed land, is home to several villages built on stilts with homes connected by bridges and boats. There are also 4 cities that are little bit more modern. The entire lake area is considered the Nyaung Shwe Township.
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The Tonle Sap is the largest freshwater lake in South East Asia and is located in Cambodia. On Tonlé Sap lake (near Siem Reap) in the northwest of the country are the Vietnamese floating villages. The lake is covered by a string of floating villages, whose fortunes rise and fall with the water level of the lake.
Schools, homes, shops even pubs exist in this floating world to service the inhabitants of these villages. The diversity of structures and reflections of light across the water of the lake make this a picturesque and fascinating human landscape.
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Lago Atitlan, framed by volcanoes and dubbed 'the most beautiful lake in the world', is a must see in Guatemala. It is a volcanic lake located in the Guatemalan highlands at an altitude of about 1,560 metres. The lake is beautifully set, surrounded by mountains and volcanoes. There are many small villages around the lake, most of them only accessible by boat.
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Lake Balaton is the largest lake in Central Europe and located in the central west of Hungary. Together with Budapest, it forms the hart of the country's tourism industry and is popular with both young people for partying as well as aquatic activities, spas, scenice flights and other activities.
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Lake Bled is one of the most favorite places of travellers who visit Slovenia and possible of the Slovenians themselves as well. The lake and the town (which is called Bled as well) are beautifully located in the Julian Alps. In the lake itself is small island where a little church can be found, almost making up the whole island. There are numerous boats that can bring you there and the views are fantastic. The views are equally fantastic when you go up the hills to the Bled Castle, from where you can see the lake and little church from a distance. A very romantic place, but in the peak months a very crowded places as well. Therefore, it is best to visit somewhere in May/June or in September.
Although, just like the Great Lakes, the Lake District is not just one lake, it still deserves a place here.
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Loch Ness is Scotland's second largest loch (lake), just behind Loch Lomond, but due to its extreme depth of 230 metres (754 feet), it is the largest by volume. It is a deep, freshwater loch in the Scottish Highlands extending for approximately 37 kilometres southwest of Inverness. Loch Ness is most famous thanks to its elusive inhabitant "Nessie", a.k.a. the Loch Ness Monster. See if you can spot the monster, or just enjoy the loch for its natural beauty. On the northside of the lake you will find the ruins of Urquhart Castle, which used to be one of the biggest in Scotland.
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Lake Ohrid is the centerpiece of Macedonia and together with the beautiful town of Ohrid, the natural and cultural heritage of the lake and its surroundings form a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of Europe's oldest and deepest lakes (up to 288 metres) and a popular attraction, especially during the warm summer months. The lake is located in the central west of the country and forms a natural border with Albania. The total shoreline is about 87 kilometres, of which the majority lies in Macedonia (56 kilometres).
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Although it is not jus one lake, it would not be fair to name just one of these 5 magnificent lakes. The Great Lakes, consisting of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, are some of the most amazing features of North America and are located on the Canada - United States border. These giant bodies of freshwater seem like oceans and offer great opportunities for relaxation and adventure. If you want to hang out on the beach at Union Pier, hike the Superior Trail or explore the wilderness of Isle Royale National Park there is plenty to do along the shoreline or in the water. With a total surface of 208,610 km², and a total volume of 22,560 km3 together they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, together holding over 20% of the world's fresh water.
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Red-rock canyon walls, sandy beaches, deep blue water and an always stunning night sky. Lake Powell, straddling the border of Utah and Arizona, is no-doubt a magical destination. Power boats and wave runners zip about while houseboats slowly wend their way deep into side canyons. The second largest man-made lake in the United States attracts nearly 3 million visitors annualy. Lake Powell is 186 miles (about 300 kilometres) long and has 1,960 miles (over 3,000 kilometres) of shoreline, which is longer than the entire west coast of the continental United States. There are 96 major canyons to explore though you'll need a water craft for the majority of them since access is limited because there are few roads.
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Lake Tekapo is a beautiful stretch of water in the Canterbury Region on New Zealand's South Island. Together with Lake Pukaki and Lake Ohau they are located at the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin. Located at about 700 metres above sea level it is around 83 square kilometres big and is a major attraction in the region. Lake Tekapo is also the name of the town along the shores of the lake itself and has become more and more popular over the years, attracting visitors with beautiful views across the turquoise colours of the lake, surrounded by hills and mountains. It is also famous as a location for stargazers due to its high altitude and isolation from city lights.
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Lake Titicaca is not only the largest lake in South America but, at 3,860 metres, the highest navigable lake in the world and some parts are extremely deep propping deep into the earth. The lake is surrounded by high mountains, some of them active volcanoes.
Lake Titicaca forms part of the boundary between Bolivia and Peru. For landlocked Bolivia it forms the only place for their navy. This international body of water has been a holy place for local peoples for thousands of year. The lake itself is quite stunning and the other side can not even be seen on a clear day, although the snowcapped mountains further away can. There are also some great islands in the lake as well. The best known are probably the Uros Islands, made from rushes. Rushes are also used for making their houses, public buildings and boats - and part of the stem can even be eaten. You can visit them from Puno, the Peruvian gateway tot the lake.
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