Lakes in Switzerland
Photo: swiss-image.ch / Jan Geerk
Swiss mountains and lakes are the country’s “trademark”. Therefore the Confederation is called the “country of mountains and lakes. From this material you will get not only general information about lakes in Switzerland, but also detailed information about each particular lake. All you have to do is to click on the appropriate link. So if you’re ready, the Switzerland Business Portal invites you to take a trip around our lakes. Fasten your seatbelts!
Have you ever set yourself the task of counting Swiss lakes? Take your time! It is not an easy task. Much depends on the choice of method of counting. And yet, the official figures are available. They say that the number of lakes in Switzerland fluctuates around the 1500 mark.
How many lakes are there in Switzerland?
The task of counting Swiss lakes is not so simple. Much depends on the choice of method of counting. Nevertheless, there are official figures of the Federal Government, according to which the number of lakes fluctuates around the 1500 mark.
Of these, the vast majority are in the Swiss Alps region. About 100 are in the Jura mountains; about 100 are in the Mittelland region (i.e., in the plain between the Alps and the Jura). Together with rivers, lakes occupy about 4% of the country. Only 15 lakes in Switzerland cover an area of more than 10 sq km.
Most of the lakes in Switzerland are of natural origin. Those in the Alpine region were largely formed by melting mountain glaciers at the end of the last ice age.
Jungfrau-Aletsch glacier. Graphic: swiss-image.ch/Christian Perret
Nevertheless, some of the Swiss lakes have been created artificially by the construction of dams. The purpose is to generate energy. The largest artificial lake in Switzerland is the Lac de Dis (Canton Valais). It has a maximum depth of 227 meters and holds 401 million cubic meters of water. The artificial lake with the largest surface area is Zilze (canton of Schwyz). It has an area of 10.72 sq km.
Total area and volume of fresh water
The Swiss lakes and rivers are home to about six percent of Europe’s freshwaters. Yet Swiss lakes and rivers cover just 4 percent of the land area.
Switzerland’s biggest lakes
The largest Swiss lake is Lake Geneva (the portion belonging to the Confederation is 345.31 sq km). It is much less clear which one comes second. In Switzerland, the lake is counted according to the size of the area under Swiss sovereignty, not the total area. Accordingly, although Lake Constance is larger than Lake Neuchâtel, but the latter (incidentally, the largest lake, completely (!) surrounded by Swiss shores) is considered the second largest.
Lake Constance, 72 kilometers of shoreline which belongs to Switzerland, is located on the 3rd place of the largest lakes of Confederation. According to Switzerland, it is 172.86 sq. km area of the lake.
The list of the largest lakes of Switzerland (with area more than 10 sq. km):
Lavaux Vineyards (near Vevey). Graphic: swiss-image.ch / Marcus Gyger
Lake Geneva – the pearl of western Switzerland (Romandy). The water body boasts a subtropical climate due to its location in the Alps.
The cities of Geneva, Lausanne, Montreux, Vevey, Morges and Nyon are on the shores of Lake Léman (its second name).
View of Lake Constance from the gemeinde Utville. Photo: Romans A
Lake Constance (aka Lake Constance or Swabian Sea) is a body of water on the border of three countries: Switzerland, Germany and Austria. This natural object is one of the most little explored in Europe.
On the shores of Lake Constance nestled Stein am Rhein, Romanshorn, Arbon, Gottlieben and Mammern.
Lake Neuchâtel. Photo: swiss-image.ch / Andreas Gerth
The largest lake located entirely on Swiss territory. Lake Neuchâtel is not the most picturesque of its “brethren” (it is also called the “boring lake”). Nevertheless, and it can offer a couple or three objects that are worth seeing. Half a day is completely enough to explore the region.
Sunrise over Firwaldstätten Lake. Photo: swiss-image.cc/Ivo Scholz
All Swiss lakes are beautiful. But Lake Vierwaldstätten is beautiful in a special way. Did you know that this is where Switzerland was born?
If you have never been to the Lake Lucerne region (its middle name), then you can be sure: you don’t know Switzerland yet!
View of Lake Zurich from the Bürkleplatz. Graphics: swiss-image.cc/Ivo Scholz
Anyone visiting the city of Zurich should definitely take at least a few minutes to greet Lake Zurich.
View of Lake Thun and Castle Spitz. Photo: swiss-image.cc/Ivo Scholz
The jewel of the Bernese Highlands is, of course, Lake Thun.
View of the Valensee from the southwest. Graphic: David86, CC BY-SA 3.0
The undiscovered Walensee is a goal for many who already know a lot about Switzerland.
Lake Brienz. Photo: ST/swiss-image.ch
Switzerland’s lakes are a world of their own. Lake Brienz, however, is a world of its own. Intrigued?
Switzerland’s most beautiful lakes
Located in central Europe, prosperous Switzerland is famous primarily for its magnificent lakes with water of crystal frequency. Judging by government data, there are about 1,500 lakes in Switzerland, both large and not so large. Most of them are located in the Swiss Alps. And their origin is mostly natural. To get to any, even the most remote lake is not difficult, because the country has excellent transport system.
What just no entertainment is not provided for the guests of Switzerland at each of the reservoirs: fishing, water-skiing, swimming, and of course excursions to cities and picturesque villages located around the lake with a medieval castles, beautiful gardens and museums.
Surrounded by some pretty steep mountains is Lake Lugano. One of the most beautiful Swiss parks is at this body of water. Here are a collection of amazingly beautiful exotic plants . The promenade of the lake with its two rows of trees is considered the most popular place for walks.
And for tourists about the historical past of the region, the coastal towns and villages, such as Lugano:
- The city of Lugano, which attracts tourists not only with its unique historical sights, but also with its wide range of outdoor cozy cafes, parks and squares.
- Melide, with its park of miniatures.
- Campione d’Italia, a small town that is essentially an Italian enclave.
- Morcote, with its Renaissance church.
- Montagnola with its museum dedicated to the German novelist and publicist Hermann Hesse.
Not far from the city of Bern is a very small lake called Blau. According to one legend, the color of the water in this charming body of water, located in the heart of a park created by nature itself, resembles the bright blue eyes of a beautiful girl who died of unrequited love.
Blau has been popular with solitude-loving travelers since 1885 . The water here is so clear that even the bottom can be seen.
In the summertime here are shown movies, which are reflected in the water surface of the lake. This incredibly beautiful spectacle is able to amaze anyone who comes here.
Remarkable Lake Zurich
The beautiful, sickle-shaped Lake Zurich is located in northeastern Switzerland. Its shores are buried in greenery. They are scattered in a picturesque disorder of cozy villages and ancient castles. On the north shore is the eponymous Swiss city of Zurich, with stunningly beautiful waterfront.
There are three beautiful islands on the lake. On one of them – the island of Ufenau – there is a chapel, built in the 7th century. On Lutzelau – abandoned convent, the first mention of which dates back to about 742 . The island is very popular with tourists from the restaurant located here amidst lush nature, which offers guests very specific Swiss dishes. The lake is navigable. And the navigation has two missions: transport and tourism. Many famous poets, writers and artists have dedicated their works to this beautiful body of water.
The solid Lake Geneva
The lake is located among the majestic Alpine mountains in an ecologically clean region, the nature of which is characterized by a huge variety of fauna and flora.
There is much interesting historical information about it. Here are some of them:
- At the time of the Roman Empire, the lake was called Lacus Lemanus. It was not called Lake Geneva until 1529.
- In the 11th century, on the shores of Lake Geneva appears Chillon Castle, built in the Gothic and Romanesque styles common to those times.
- The impressionist painter from Switzerland, François Beauchon, dedicated his work to the unique beauty of the lake.
- It is estimated that there were 40 shipwrecks, and in the 19th century, six cars fell into the lake because of the collapsed bridge.
- The Swiss naturalist Trout devoted his work to the study of the lake.
- The health of the lake was studied during the summer of 2011 by Russian deep-water apparatuses belonging to the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Winding Lake Lucerne
This water body with flowing water is surrounded by the mountain ranges of Riga and Pilatus, thanks to the quiet Rois River which flows into it. The lake is considered a hallmark of Switzerland. On it float small old steamboats and modern comfortable boats. The views from their decks of the passing towns and mountains are stunning.
The Highlands of Eshinense
High up in the mountains amongst amazingly beautiful and varied flora lies the biggest alpine lake of the world, Lake Eshinense, with a maximum depth of 56 meters. Since 2007 it has been under UNESCO protection. It is fed by glacial streams that flow down from the peaks of mountains such as:
- The Fründenhorn.
The most famous attraction of these places is the toboggan run. It is three kilometers long.
With its crystal clear turquoise waters this lake is one of the most beautiful among the Swiss lakes. On its shores is the small village of Brienz, famous for its wood carvings. Here you can buy excellent souvenirs made of wood by local craftsmen. Most of them are real works of art.
The coast is decorated with numerous sculptures. In it there is a lot of fish, dishes from which are offered to tourists by local restaurants.
The lake is considered the most beautiful in Switzerland. It is located among the high mountains next to the reservoir Brienz. Connects them a romantic and at the same time mysterious river Aare. Around the area are many attractions. Among them: