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Top 10 Lakes

Lake Windermere

Windermere is the largest natural lake in England. t is in the county of Cumbria and entirely within the Lake District National Park. Windermere has also been the venue for the Great North Swim since 2008. The word “Windermere” is thought to translate as “Vinandr’s lake”, from the Old Norse name Vinandr and Old English mere, meaning lake. It was known as “Winander Mere” or “Winandermere” until at least the nineteenth century. The lake is drained from its southernmost point by the River Leven. It is replenished by the rivers Brathay, Rothay, Trout Beck, Cunsey Beck and several other lesser streams. The lake is largely surrounded by foothills of the Lake District which provide pleasant low-level walks; to the north and north-east are the higher fells of central Lakeland. The lake contains 18 islands. By far the largest is the privately owned Belle Isle. Passenger Boat services serve the length of the lake, from Lakeside railway station, on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite heritage steam railway at the southern end of the lake, to Waterhead Bay near Ambleside in the north. Intermediate stops are made at Bowness and, by smaller launches only, at Brockhole. Some boats only operate part of the route, or operate out and back cruises, whilst others run the whole distance. There are four large boating clubs based around the lake: the Windermere Motor Boat Racing Club, the Lake District Boat Club, the Royal Windermere Yacht Club, and the Windermere Cruising Association.

Lake Garda

Lake Garda is the largest lake in Italy. It is located in Northern Italy, about half-way between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan. Glaciers formed this alpine region at the end of the last Ice Age. The lake and its shoreline are divided between the provinces of Verona (to the southeast), Brescia (southwest), and Trentino (north). Being easily accessible from the north via the Brenner Pass, the lake is a major tourist destination, including a number of exclusive hotels and resorts along its shore. The lake has numerous small islands and five main ones, the largest being Isola del Garda. The ancient fortified town of Sirmione, located on the south of the lake, is one particularly popular destination, home to the Virgilio & Catullo Spa Complexes, as well as numerous restaurants, bars, hotels, fashion stores and a market. The picturesque Scaliger castle dates from the 13th century. The Roman poet Catullus had a villa here, and visitors can see a ruined Roman spa named the Grotte di Catullo (Grotto of Catullus) although there is no evidence linking him to this particular building. The sulfur springs at the tip of the peninsula have a reputation for healing catarrhal conditions, particularly those involving the ear. Nearby, there is Gardaland, one of the most famous theme parks in Italy.

Lake Balaton

Lake Balaton, is a freshwater lake in the Transdanubian region of Hungary. It is the largest lake in Central Europe, and one of its foremost tourist destinations. As Hungary is landlocked (its coastline was severed after World War I), Lake Balaton is often affectionately called the “Hungarian Sea”. In Hungarian, the lake is known simply as a Balaton, or “the Balaton”. This name derives from the Slavic blato meaning ‘mud’ or ‘swamp’. The major resorts around the lake are Siófok, Keszthely, and Balatonfüred. Zamárdi, another resort town on the southern shore, has been the site of Balaton Sound, a notable electronic music festival since 2007. Balatonkenese has hosted numerous traditional gastronomic events. Siófok is known for attracting young people to it because of its large clubs. Keszthely is the site of the Festetics Palace and Balatonfüred is a historical bathing town which hosts the annual Anna Ball. The peak tourist season extends from June until the end of August. The average water temperature during the summer is 25°C, which makes bathing and swimming popular on the lake. Most of the beaches consist of either grass, rocks, or the silty sand that also makes up most of the bottom of the lake. Many resorts have artificial sandy beaches and all beaches have step access to the water. Other tourist attractions include sailing, fishing, and other water sports, as well as visiting the countryside and hills, wineries on the north coast, and nightlife on the south shore. The Tihany Peninsula is a historical district. Badacsony is a volcanic mountain and wine-growing region as well as a lakeside resort. The lake is almost completely surrounded by separated bike lanes to facilitate bicycle tourism. Although the peak season at the lake is the summer, Balaton is also frequented during the winter, when visitors go ice-fishing or even skate, sledge, or ice-sail on the lake if it freezes over.

Lake Constance

Lake Constance (Bodensee) is a lake on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps, and consists of three bodies of water: the Obersee (“upper lake”), the Untersee (“lower lake”), and a connecting stretch of the Rhine, called the Seerhein. The lake is situated in Germany, Switzerland and Austria near the Alps. Specifically, its shorelines lie in the German federal states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, the Austrian federal-state of Vorarlberg, and the Swiss cantons of Thurgau and St. Gallen. The Rhine flows into it from the south following the Austro-Swiss frontier. There is no legally binding agreement as to where the boundaries lie between Switzerland, Germany and Austria where these three countries meet in Lake Constance. While Switzerland holds the view that the border runs through the middle of the lake, Austria is of the opinion that the lake stands in condominium of all the states on its banks. Germany holds no unambiguous opinion. Legal questions pertaining to ship transport and fishing are regulated in separate treaties. The three major islands are: Mainau Island, Reichenau Island and Lindau.

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva or Lake Léman is a lake in Switzerland and France. It is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. The first recorded name of the lake is Lacus Lemannus from Roman times; it became Lacus Lausonius, although this name was also used for a town or district on the lake. The beauty of the shores of the lake and of the sites of many of the places near its banks has long been celebrated. However it is only from the eastern end of the lake, between Vevey and Villeneuve, that the scenery assumes an Alpinecharacter. On the south side the mountains of Savoy and Valais are for the most part rugged and sombre, while those of the northern shore fall in gentle vine-covered slopes, thickly set with villages and castles. The shore between Nyon and Lausanne is called La Côte because it is “flatter”. Between Lausanne and Vevey it is calledLavaux and is famous for its hilly vineyards. Yacht racing is a popular sport and high-performance catamarans have been developed specifically for the lake. The design of the Alinghi 5, the defender of the 2010 America’s Cup, was influenced by those racing catamarans. The best-known event, the “Bol d’Or” (not to be confused with other events having the same name) runs from Geneva to the end of the lake and back.

Geirangerfjord

The Geiranger Fjord (Norwegian: Geirangerfjorden) is a fjord in the Sunnmøre region of Møre og Romsdal county in Norway. It is in the municipality of Stranda. It is a 15-kilometre (9.3 mi) long branch of the Storfjord (Great Fjord). The small village of Geiranger is located at the end of the fjord where the Geirangelva river empties into it. The fjord is one of Norway’s most visited tourist sites and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, jointly with Nærøyfjord, since 2005, although this status is now threatened by the disputed plans to build power lines across the fjord. A car ferry, which doubles as a sightseeing trip, is operated by Fjord1 Nordvestlandske. It runs lengthwise along the fjord between the small towns of Geiranger and Hellesylt. The two most notable waterfalls in the Geirangerfjord are the Seven Sisters and the Suitor (also called The Friar). The two falls face one another across the fjord, and the Suitor is said to be trying to woo the sisters opposite. The Bridal Veil is another waterfall in the fjord, so named because it falls delicately over one rocky edge, and when seen backlit by the sun it has the appearance of a thin veil over the rocks.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is generally considered the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. It is the world’s third-largest freshwater lake by volume. The largest island in Lake Superior is Isle Royale in the state of Michigan. Isle Royale contains several lakes, some of which also contain islands. Other large famous islands include Madeline Island in the state of Wisconsin, Michipicoten Island in the province of Ontario, and Grand Island (location of the Grand Island National Recreation Area) in the state of Michigan. The larger cities on Lake Superior include: the twin ports of Duluth, Minnesota, and Superior, Wisconsin; Thunder Bay, Ontario; Marquette, Michigan; and the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Duluth, at the western tip of Lake Superior, is the most inland point on the St. Lawrence Seaway and the most inland port in the world. Among the scenic places on the lake are: the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park,Pukaskwa National Park, Lake Superior Provincial Park, Grand Island National Recreation Area, Sleeping Giant (Ontario) and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Lake Saimaa

Saimaa is a lake in south-eastern Finland. At approximately 4,400 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi), it is the largest lake in Finland, and the fourth largest in Europe. It was formed by glacial melting at the end of the Ice Age. Major towns on the lakeshore include Lappeenranta, Imatra, Savonlinna, Mikkeli, Varkaus, and Joensuu. The Vuoksi River flows from Saimaa to Lake Ladoga. Most of the lake is spotted with islands, and narrow canals divide the lake in many parts, each having their own names (major basins include Suur-Saimaa, Orivesi, Puruvesi, Haukivesi, Yövesi, Pihlajavesi, and Pyhäselkä). The Saimaa Canal from Lappeenranta to Vyborg connects Saimaa to the Gulf of Finland. Other canals connect Saimaa to smaller lakes in Eastern Finland and form a network of waterways. These waterways are mainly used to transport wood, minerals, metals, pulp and other cargo, but also tourists use the waterways. One of the rare and endangered freshwater seals, the Saimaa Ringed Seal, lives only at Saimaa. Also, the Saimaa salmon is another endangered species in the same habitat. Saimaa highlighted on a satellite photo, Gulf of Finland on the bottom,Lake Ladoga on the right. The black line is the Russo-Finnish border. The shores of the lake are the most probable origin of asbestos-ceramic, a type of pottery manufactured with asbestos and clay between ca 1900 BC – 200 AD. This is because it is the only place with richer easily-accessible natural deposits of asbestos in the area of distribution of the pottery.

Chiemsee

Chiemsee is a freshwater lake in Bavaria, Germany, between Rosenheim, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria. It is often called the Bavarian Sea. The rivers Tiroler Achen and Prien flow into the lake; the river Alz, out of it. The Chiemsee is divided into the bigger, north section, in the northeast, called Weitsee, and the Inselsee, in the southwest. The region around the Chiemsee is Chiemgau and is a famous recreation area. The Chiemsee was formed, like many other pre-alpine lakes, at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago from a hollow carved out by a glacier (a Zungenbecken). Originally the lake covered an area of almost 240 km², which is about three times its present area. Within 100 years its area shrank to around 200 ha. Before 1904 the water level was lowered by about a metre. As a result, large areas of dry land were reclaimed. Two of the main islands on the lake are Herrenchiemsee (biggest island) and Frauenchiemsee, also calledHerreninsel (gentleman’s island) and Fraueninsel (lady’s island), respectively. The third main island,Krautinsel (herb island), is smaller than Frauenchiemsee and is uninhabited.

Lac du Bourget

Lac du Bourget (Lake Bourget), also locally known as Lac Gris (Grey Lake), is a lake at the southernmost end of the Jura Mountains in the department of Savoie, France. It is the largest and the deepest lake located entirely within France. The most important town on its shore is Aix-les-Bains. Chambéry, the capital of Savoie, lies about 10 km south of the lake. It is mainly fed by the river Leysse (and other small rivers), and drains towards the riverRhône through the Canal de Savières, an artificial channel. It is a Ramsar site. The extinct bezoule was found only in this lake. The lake was formed during the last period of global glaciation in the Alps (Würm glaciation) during thePleistocene epoch. It has a surface area of 44.5 km2 (4,450 hectares). The long and narrow north-south axis of the lake extends 18 km in length, and ranges between 1.6 km and 3.5 km in width. The lake’s average depth is 85 m, and its maximum depth in 145 m. The lake is bordered by the steep summits of the Mont du Chat and the Chaîne de l’Épine on the west, andBauges Mountains on the east, which form its shores. Lac du Bourget was made famous by several romantic poems of Alphonse de Lamartine, including Le Lac, as well as by descriptions by Xavier de Maistre, Honoré de Balzac, and Alexandre Dumas.

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