Even though Switzerland doesn’t have any access to any sea, Switzerland is very lucky to have more than 1,500 crystal clear lakes! When planning a trip to Switzerland, it may be hard to decide which lakes to visit, so I’ve made your life easier. The biggest lake in Switzerland is lake Geneva, you will almost feel like being by the sea once you visit it, but Switzerland is full of tiny Alps lakes which are hidden in the mountains and some of them you can reach just after a two-hour hike. I’ve visited more than 30 Swiss lakes and here’s the list of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland.
Tomasee is a small lake high in the Swiss Alps: at 2,345 meters altitude. It is a very beautiful lake surrounded by mountains, but the fact that it is the beginning of the biggest Swiss river Rhein makes it even more majestic.
The best time to visit Tomasee is definitely summer, as in other times it can already be frozen or to get there can be quite tricky.
If you want to reach this lake, you must go to Oberalp Pass with a train from Andermatt or by car. Once you are there, you will have to hike 1-2 hours (depending on your fitness level and pace) to the lake. This lake is only reachable by foot, there’s no cable car or train up there which makes it even more beautiful.
p.s. don’t miss some of the stunning Andermatt hiking trails in the region.
The lake on one side is surrounded by rocks, on the other side by a very beautiful green meadow – pretty much like from a fairy tale.
I wouldn’t suggest swimming in the lake as it is very cold, but as I was there, I saw a couple of young people jumping into the lake, but from the screams afterward, I understood that it is not warm enough.
If you have more time, you can go and visit Badushütte, a mountain hut which is a bit higher than the lake. In the summertime, you can spend a night there or get a portion of delicious goulash soup.
Caumasee is yet another unbelievable lake because as you see it from the top, you can not really believe that such a beautiful lake even exists.
The color of the lake is pretty magical, that what makes it so outstanding. The lake spreads in the mountains and a thick forest surrounds it.
I have visited this lake couple of times, and the second time we had to pay to get access to it, but I completely understand the local nature preservation people – you must keep this lake as pristine as possible.
Once you get to the lake, you can take a chair to sunbath (the shore is full of them) or even swim in the lake – this lake gets really warm in summer. There are a couple of platforms in the middle of the lake, so you can swim to them and jump back to the lake – lots of fun.
By the lake, you will find as well a huge restaurant with a terrace where you can sit and observe the fish swimming around the lake.
To reach the lake, you will have to go to Flims city, by the end of it you will find a parking place (or you can park in the middle of the city under a big supermarket). From the parking lot, you will have to walk 10-15 minutes and take an elevator down to the lake. It is really cool that you can see the lake from the top as well.
3- Lucerne Lake
Lucerne lake is one of the biggest in Switzerland, but really worth visiting.
Lucerne is a very beautiful and jolly city with a stunning old town and very beautiful old bridges above the lake. That is the most popular place in the city.
I really recommend taking a portion of ice cream by the lake and take a walk along the shore.
Knowing that this lake is not somewhere deep in nature, I am really surprised how clean and beautiful the lake is.
If you wish – you can dip in the lake – there are many small steps by the lake which you can take and get to the lake.
There are countless boat tours which can take you to the next villages and mountains. One very famous is Mount Pilatus.
From the mountains around the lake, you can get an exclusive view of the lake from above.
4- Brienz Lake
I personally love the Brienz village and the walks by the Brienz lake.
If you get to Brienz, go straight to the lake and take a slow stroll by the lake. There are plenty of places to relax and enjoy the views of the mountains next to it.
Brienz town welcomes each tourist and even gives free chairs to sit and breathe in the local pristine mountain air. Don’t forget to explore Brienz attractions once you’re in town.
If you have more time, take a boat tour to Iseltwald – it has a majestic mansion/hotel right on the shore – it looks really stunning. You are going to love the tour of this mountain lake.
In the summertime, you can swim in the lake or even fish if you wish.
5- Sils Lake
Lake Sils is right on the other side of Switzerland, very close to Italy, next to Maloja Pass.
Lake Sils sits at 1797 meters altitude, so it gets completely frozen in wintertime.
I have visited Lake Sils in early January and it was just covered by ice. We have thrown some small stones onto the ice and it made this cosmic like sound which we loved. The ice must be extremely thin and new to get this kind of sound.
By the lake, you will find the majestic Maloja mansion which is now a luxury hotel.
Even though the lake is quite high in the mountains, higher bigger mountains and peaks still surround it.
You can hike around the lake or take a kayak tour there.
To get to Lake Sils from Zürich you will need about 3-4 hours, so that is a perfect weekend trip. After the lake, you should visit Maloja Pass or even go to one of the hidden Swiss treasures – Soglio village.
Oeschinensee is maybe one of the most popular lakes in Switzerland.
I have visited this lake in the middle of summer and did a winter hike to Oeschinensee as well. On both occasions, I had a great time.
Oeschinensee is at 1578 meters altitude so you can either hike to it or take a cable car. The cable car will take you quite close to the lake, but you still will have to walk 20 minutes to see it. The hike from the parking lot to the lake can take you 1-1,5 hours.
In the summertime, people love to even swim in crystal clear waters as it gets pretty warm.
What is very fun – there are herds of cows around it in summer – they look surreal up there.
In summer as well you can embark on hiking trails by the lake and get much much higher above the lake and enjoy the views from the top.
In the wintertime, I really suggest getting into the local restaurant and get a cup of coffee. That restaurant on the shore of the lake is owned already by the 5th generation of the same family. Isn’t that fascinating?
7- Geneva Lake
Geneva lake (or lake Leman) is huge. It is like a small sea. When I have visited it once in the middle of winter and it was windy – it had waves like in the sea. True story.
Geneva lake starts at Geneva and goes to Montreux and if you would like to go around it, you will have to get to France as well. On the France side, they have beautiful resorts by the lake as well.
Geneva lakes harbor many beautiful cities like Geneva, Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux, and many other smaller cities and villages. It is really worth visiting most of them.
You can take long boat tours on the lake and take hot pictures for your Instagram account. It is going to blow up and get many likes for you.
Next to Montreux shore, you are going to find many vineyards, so you can take a walk there and enjoy the views of the lake – you will not see the end of the lake, trust me, it is that big. Montreux is a beautiful city with many attractions and things to do. Be sure to spend at least a day or two before going to Lake Geneva.
Bachalpsee is a beautiful Swiss Alps lake next to Grindelwald.
It is one of the highest lakes in this list: located at an elevation of 2,265 m.
If you want to reach the lake you can hike from Grindelwald – but that will take 2-3 hours or take a cable car to First (First is a stunning location as well) and take a 1-hour hike to the lake. The hike is very pleasant and not steep, the altitude difference is just 130 meters, so easy peasy.
It is always fun to earn such views, so after a hike, I really recommend to unpack your lunch, your hot coffee or some drinks and just sit by the banks of this lake.
If the weather is good, you will see many white peaks all around you and it is going to be the highlight of your day.
Afterward, you can take a hike back to First or if you wish or take a very nice hike on Schynige Platte.
9- Maggiore Lake
Lake Maggiore, as you may understand from the name, is on the Italian side of Switzerland.
It is in Ticino canton, right next to Locarno city.
Maggiore Lake is pretty big and even gets to Italy, actually, the bigger part of the lake is in Italy.
Once you are in Locarno or any other village by the lake, I really recommend taking a boat tour on the lake.
The lake is all surrounded by the mountains, so the views from the boat are jaw-dropping.
The walk by the lake in Locarno is really nice and relaxing.
Fälensee is yet another beautiful lake hidden in the Swiss Alps.
To reach the lake, you will have to hike there, but trust me, you are going to love the end result.
The lake is located at 1,446 m and is completely surrounded by the mountains.
The lake is not that far from St. Gallen, but the destination you are looking for is Brülisau. You will be able to park in Brülisau and from there you can take a cable car which you will get a bit higher, but still, to reach the lake, you will have to hike 1-2 hours (depending on your pace).
The hike will take you through beautiful meadows and hilly paths. You will pass by some small Swiss farms and will get to see many cows and goats.
Once you reach the lake you can rest in a local mountain restaurant on the terrace or just sit by the lake and enjoy the spectacle.
What is good is, that you can actually spend a night there in the local mountain hut which is right next to the lake (you will have to hike a bit more up, but it is very close).
One other thing I really recommend visiting once you are there: Saxer Lücke. You will have to hike an extra hour to see it, but it is an outstanding rock formation. As well you will get a peak to Liechtenstein from above.
What’s your favorite Swiss lake? Share your thoughts below.