Top 10 Sensational Lakes

04.06.2010 In: Travel destinations

As far as bodies of water go, lakes are like poor, neglected stepchildren. People acknowledge their presence but don’t necessarily go out of their way to spend time with them.

Oceans, seas and rivers are usually where the tourist action is at. But no longer, we say! Just have a gander at these ten terrific and unusual lakes around the world. They’re truly some of the most sensational natural wonders on Earth.

10. Taal Lake – Luzon, Philippines

This freshwater lake in the beautiful province of Batangas in the Philippines may not be the largest in the country (it’s in second place), but it certainly is the most stunning. Visitors can cross the lake and ride on horseback to the top of Volcano Island for unforgettable views.

9. Crater Lake – Oregon, U.S.A.

The result of a land collapse in the wake of a massive volcanic eruption some 8,000 years ago, Crater Lake in the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon is renowned for superb clarity and an intense blue hue. Part of a national park, the lake is among the deepest in the world.

8. Lake Atitln – Guatemala

A closed drainage basin in achingly gorgeous Guatemala, home to resplendent landscapes and a rich cultural heritage, Lake Atitl?n was formed over 84,000 years ago in a devastating volcanic eruption. The area around the lake’s circumference is dotted with traditional Mayan villages, most of which rely heavily on tourism to Atitl?n.

7. Heaven Lake – China and North Korea

With a name that isn’t mere hyperbole, Heaven Lake straddles the border between China and North Korea. The highest crater lake in the world sits atop Baekdu Mountain, a volcanic peak shared by the two nations. Known as Tianchi in China and Chonji in North Korea, locals have reported sightings of a strange lake monster here for over a century.

6. Lake Baikal – Siberia, Russia

Lake Baikal is true natural wonder. The oldest, deepest and largest freshwater lake in the world, it is more voluminous that all of the Great Lakes put together. In fact, Lake Baikal holds one-fifth of all the freshwater on the planet. Difficult statistics to grasp on paper, an up close and personal visit is absolutely required to comprehend Baikal’s astonishing scope. At over 25 million years old and with more than 1,100 endemic species of plants of animals, the lake is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Plitvice Lakes – Croatia

The unusual chain of sixteen lakes in breathtaking Croatia, near the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a major national park area and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Formed via water runoff from surrounding mountains, the Plitvice are distinguished by unusual colour changes throughout the year and rocky, natural dams. Amid densely forested cliffs, waterfalls and caves, the lake system is uniquely picturesque.

4. Pitch Lake – La Brea, Trinidad

A natural asphalt lake in the town of La Brea in southwest Trinidad, Pitch Lake is singularly bizarre. Discovered by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1595, the lake is now a popular tourist attraction and area of foremost curiosity with the scientific community. The commonly-held belief is that Pitch Lake sits on the confluence of two fault lines, which allows oil sediments to rise up into the water, which, after evaporation, fosters the creation of asphalt.

3. Lake Assal – Djibouti

With shores that constitute the lowest point in Africa, the most saline body of water in the world is a marvel. Incredibly, the salt content of Assal hovers in the vicinity of 35%, with natural hot springs fed by the Gulf of Tadjoura pumping the profitable mineral into the lakebed.

2. Lake Toba – Sumatra, Indonesia

The phenomenal and record end result of a supervolcanic eruption some 70,000 years ago that disrupted global weather patterns for years, Lake Toba gives the island of Sumatra a wonderful attraction. Home to countless species of native fish and plants, Toba also contains a center island that was the product of underground magma movement.

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1. Lake Titicaca – Bolivia and Peru

So surreally beautiful it almost looks fake, Lake Titicaca is a natural wonder that you must witness in person. The body of water is notable for two reasons: first, as the most elevated commercially navigable lake in the world (over 3.8 km above sea level) and second, as the most voluminous lake in South America. Nestled way up in the Andes on the border of Bolivia and Peru, Titicaca contains many scenic islands and shoreline villages.