The world's most beautiful lakes

For many travellers, holiday destinations are selected based on beautiful beaches, rolling countryside or exciting nightlife. In our book, lakes are one of the most under-rated travel experiences out there. If you love to get a taste of the great outdoors when you're travelling, these lakes are not to be missed. The following are some of the most beautiful on earth...

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes are a series of 16 emerald lakes, dotted with tiered waterfalls and peaceful turquoise pools. Hike your way along the wooden boardwalks to admire the views - and make sure to take the detour at Veliki Slap to see the region's biggest waterfall.

Lake Matheson, New Zealand

This picture perfect South Island lake is ringed with towering trees and a looped trail. It's best draw card, however, are the reflections cast in its mirrory waters by Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. In fact, it's known to many locals as "Mirror Lake". Visit early in the morning to enjoy the tranquillity and for the best chance of clear skies to make the most of those views.

Lake Garda, Italy

Lake Garda is Italy's largest lake and framed with pastel coloured villas, pebbled beaches and the rugged Dolomites to the north. It's a popular destination for holidaymakers, who usually make their base at one of the resorts on the lake's southern shore.

Peyto Lake, Canada

Picture a pristine alpine scene with rugged snow capped mountains, dense evergreen forest and powder blue waters... and you might just be picturing Peyto Lake. For a fantastic view of the lake, head to Banff National Park's Bow Summit car park.

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala

Located in the highlands of Guatemala, and resting at the foot of three massive volcanoes, is Lake Atitlán. This is the deepest of all lakes in Central America, and offers a winning combination of breathtaking scenery, a relaxed atmosphere and an accessible Mayan culture via the villages that line its shores.

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