- The natural beauty of lakes in Italy, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia
- Advice for choosing an escorted tour
- Lakes that inspired history, culture and industrial innovations
Europe is home to some spectacular scenery, famous for its powerful rivers and mighty mountains, but some of the most beautiful places to visit are its lakes. Nearly every country has its own particular region renowned for its lakes, meaning that wherever you go you’re never far away from jaw-dropping beauty and a host of fun outdoor activities. Here are some of Europe’s prettiest lakes for you to visit on our tours.
Sitting on the border between Italy and Switzerland, Lake Maggiore is located on the south side of the Alps. It’s an incredible 40 miles long, meaning it goes from very alpine scenery to almost Mediterranean surroundings across its length. On our Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn tour, you can visit the lower end of the lake, where the shores are lined with palms and oleanders and the waters are still and deep blue. The Borromean Islands are a highlight of this region, including Isola Bella, a beautiful villa from the 17th Century, which is also part of the tour.
William Wordsworth was no stranger to the beauty of lakes, having spent so much of his time in the Lake District in England, but even he was moved when he saw Lake Como, which he described as “a treasure the earth keeps to itself.” He wasn’t alone, as the likes of Shelley, Verdi, Rossini and Pliny have also gone down in the history books as big fans of it and you can see why on this tour, where you get to spend a day exploring the surroundings of Como, including the picturesque town of the same name, as well as the various lakeside parks.
The final lake on the tour is Lake Orta in the Piedmont region of Italy, which may not be the largest or most famous of the Italian lakes, but may well be the prettiest. Along with its beautiful blue waters and tree-lined banks, Orta’s main charm comes from the town of Orta San Giulio, which sits on a peninsula and is an unspoilt Italian medieval town. Between the natural wonders and the friendly locals, this is one lake you’ll never want to leave.
All three of these stunning Italian lakes can be enjoyed on our Italy tours. The Walk & Discover: the Italian Lakes tour, which, as the name suggests, also includes a trip to see the famous Matterhorn mountain in the Alps, all within 8 days.
Located in the Austrian Lake District of Salzkammergut, Wolfgangsee is a charming and peaceful lake, with so much to see and do. The town of St. Wolfgang has shops and cafes nearby, as well as a restaurant right on the lakeside, the Weissen Rössl, or White Horse Inn, so you can enjoy a tasty lunch with the perfect view. If you are hoping to do more while at the lake, a scenic walk by the lakeside is a perfect way to spend your time. The alpine scene is beautiful from all angles and the National parks and forests are a brilliant backdrop to the shimmering waters of the lake. You can visit St. Wolfgang as part of our Lakes and Mountains of Austria tour.
Much like Lake Maggiore, Lake Geneva is also shared across two countries; France and Switzerland. This incredible lake spans 45 miles in length and hosts many museums, botanical gardens, and other tourist sites, such as the Château de Chillon, the inspiration behind Lord Byron’s poem The Prisoner of Chillon. Also by the lakeside is the Statue de Freddie Mercury and the Queen recording studio for those interested in recent history and music. These attractions are located on the Swiss side, in the Montreux area, where we will visit as part of the Mont Blanc, Lake Geneva & Annecy tour.
There are so many superlatives to describe Slovenia’s most famous attraction, Lake Bled – beautiful, stunning, romantic, awe-inspiring, picturesque, charming – and yet you might find yourself rendered speechless at the sight of the glassy lake. Famed for its forested hills, castle-topped cliffs and the mountains of the Julian Alps, you will feel spoilt for scenery when you see it in person. The perfectly positioned Church of the Assumption is positioned in the centre of the lake, towering over the trees on the small island Blejski Otok. This beautiful church and lake can be seen on the Slovenia & Lake Bled tour.
Located in Austria, Achensee is one of the most magical lakes in Europe. The lake is surrounded by hills and forests, making the alpine setting seem like something out of a movie. Taking in the forest surroundings by coal-fired locomotive is one of the best ways to climb the Inn valley and observe the glistening lake from a higher vantage point. On our Austrian Tyrol & Innsbruck tour, we will do just that, taking the Achenseebahn at a gentle pace to see the view above the trees and hills, seeing the lake, with water so clean, you can observe up to 10 m below the surface.
Known locally as Bodensee, this 39-mile-long lake borders three European countries: Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This lake is the perfect destination for nature-lovers, due to the various types of plants and wildlife because of the shared heritage from all three countries. Many areas of the lake are protected as National Parks, to preserve the environment, and provide a home for woodland creatures. Taking in the Insel Mainau (Island of flowers) is a must when travelling to the lake as well, which can be visited as part of the Oberammergau Passion Play, Salzburg & Lake Constance tour.