Oceans are great, as are their countless bucket list-worthy beaches. When it comes to large bodies of water, however, there are plenty of spectacular lakes around the world worthy of praise. The seven lakes on this list are unique and unquestionably impressive, from a fiery-hued lagoon in Bolivia to a lake within a volcano in the Philippines.
Paste Travel’s Bucket List columnist Lauren Kilberg is a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her travels have found her camping near the Pakistani border of India and conquering volcanoes in the Philippines.
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Canada's Banff National Park is home to the stunning blue Peyto Lake. This glacier-fed body of water within the Canadian Rockies turns a vivid turquoise in summer as minerals from Peyto Glacier fill its waters.
Photo by Shutter Runner, CC BY-NC 2.0
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From the surface, Palau's Jellyfish Lake on Eli Malk island looks fairly unspectacular. Pop on a pair of goggles and go for a swim and you'll see exactly why it is anything but ordinary. Millions of jellyfish cross this marine lake daily, which you can witness up close while snorkeling in its waters. Fear not, the jellyfish don't contain strong enough stinging cells to harm.
Photo by Richard Schneider, CC BY-NC 2.0
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On the island of Luzon in the Philippines you'll find Taal Lake, which fills a volcanic caldera. Within Taal Lake you'll find Volcano Island, which contains its own crater lake. In the center of that lake is Vulcan Point, another island. Are you keeping up? Taal's Volcano Island is the third most active volcano in the Philippines, which is saying something for a seismically-active country. A visit to the volcano and the lake is an easy 30-mile trip from Manila. You can view the area's impressive landscape from Tagaytay Ridge. For a closer look, however, rent a motorbike down to the lake and hire a boat to take you to the island where you can hike or ride horseback up the volcano.
Photo by Freedom II Andres, CC BY 2.0
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Like an illustrated scene straight from the pages of a fairy tale, Slovenia's Lake Bled is nothing short of magical. This postcard-perfect lake is surrounded by the Julian Alps and contains an island at its center with a small pilgrimage church accessible by a covered pletna boat. Perched high on a cliff overlooking the lake is the 17th-century Bled Castle, which provides breathtaking views of the lake and surrounding area.
Photo by James Southorn, CC BY 2.0
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At one point in history, Central Asia's Aral Sea was one of the four largest lakes in the world and contained more than 1,000 islands. Today, it has almost completely dried up due to the rivers that fed it being diverted and draught. What sits in place of this once more than 26,000-square-mile lake is known as Aralkum Desert. Travel to the area is considerably difficult. However, once there you can walk the lake bed, passing the skeletons of sunken ships.
Photo by Hélène Veilleux, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Croatia, contains 16 connected and cascading lakes famous for their vibrant waters that fluctuate in color between shades of green, grey and blue. Along with the lakes, the national park boasts a dramatic karst landscape with natural dams, subterranean rivers and waterfalls.
Photo by /Casper, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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You won't need to pack a swimsuit to visit Bolivia's Laguna Colorada, but you can gawk at the countless flamingos that find this shallow salt lake plenty hospitable. The lagoon is located near the border with Chile in Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. Its blood red water is the result of red sediment and algae, which looks all the more vibrant next to the stark white borax islands that dot the lake.
Photo by Roman Korzh, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0