From soaring Alpine peaks to the deepest lagoon, Europe is a continent of remarkable natural splendour. If you’re looking for inspiration for a memorable holiday this year, but tired of the same old beach holiday destinations, a holiday exploring the striking mountains and picturesque lakes of Europe may be just the thing for you.
Lake Como, in the shadow of the Alps, is breathtaking and one the most popular destinations in the summer amongst Italians. It also benefits from being within easy reach of one the world’s style capitals, Milan. Water sports enthusiasts and families will enjoy soaking up the summer sun in Lake Garda, whilst beautiful Lake Maggiore enjoys 150km of coastline and long, warm summers!
There is nothing quite like an invigorating holiday in nature. We have compiled a list of our top ten destinations for the best lake holidays in the UK and around the world. In this guide, we also cover the top ten locations for the best mountain holidays. So whether you prefer walking or watersports, or even fancy trying both, here's where you can get your great outdoors on.
Set in the picturesque Lake District, Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England. Steamboat tours, windsurfing, sailing lessons and canoeing are among the many activities available on the lake.
Search for the world-famous monster from the shore or cruise past Urquhart Castle and use the onboard sonar equipment to explore the depths. The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition tells of the 500 million-year history of the loch and the tale of Nessie.
Set at the foot of the Alps in northern Italy, Celebrity favourite, Lake Como, has a dramatic backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Surrounded by elegant villas, the lake comes to life in summer with jet skiing, kite surfing and sailing.
A large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Tahoe is an all-year-round destination with beaches and crystal clear water. Located on the California and Nevada border, Lake Tahoe and its skiing, hiking and water sports make for a wonderful open-air break.
Located on the border between Bolivia and Peru, Lake Titicaca is a vast, beautiful expanse of water. At over 3,800 metres above sea level, it is said to be the highest lake in the world that boats can sail on.
At an impressive 68,800 km², Lake Victoria earns its place a one of Africa's Great Lakes. Set across the borders of Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, this huge lake is a popular area for fishing, water skiing and safaris by boat.
Lake Michigan is lined by beautiful beaches and visitors can enjoy incredible sunsets. For one of the best lake holidays in America take a fishing trip, go diving or enjoy stargazing at the Dark Sky Park.
Located on Fraser Island in Queensland, Australia, this is a breathtaking lake with white sand beaches. The beautifully clear water is thanks to the lack of groundwater feeding into the lake and filtration by the pure silica sand.
Lake Tanganyika runs from Burundi through Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo to Zambia. Unmixed water at the bottom could be up to 20 million years old. In contrast, the surface is a hive of activity with snorkelling, wakeboarding and kayaking.
Located on the South Island in New Zealand, Lake Tekapo and the tiny town of the same name are set in mountainous surroundings. Nearby ski resorts, hiking through the foothills and jetskiing on the lake are the main activities on offer.
For the best mountain holidays in Greece and Europe, Mount Olympus should be literally high on the list. At almost 3,000 metres high, it is a trek that many will conquer in around 6 hours.
Set it Scotland's Grampian Mountains, Ben Nevis is the tallest peak in Britain. Millions of years ago it was a volcano, now it can be enjoyed by walkers of all abilities, with some routes more challenging than others.
The highest mountain in the Alps can be scaled in 2-3 days by experienced mountain climbers. Mont Blanc guides take visitors on a walking tour around the mountain which takes between 10 and 15 days.
Perhaps the most well-known mountain in the world, Everest is set in the Himalayas on the border of China and Tibet. At over 8,800 metres, it is the tallest and one of the toughest to climb - base camp is a little more accessible for the average holidaymaker.
The iconic active volcano is a symbol of Japan, known for its sloping sides and snow-capped peak. Climbing season is between July and September, with Obon Week in August being the busiest time.
With the highest peak in Wales at over 1,000 metres, Snowdon has six routes to choose from to suit your abilities. Climbers are rewarded with incredible views over Snowdonia and across to Ireland from the summit.
The highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro has three dormant volcanic cones. Set in the savannahs of Tanzania, the mountain can be tackled with the help of local guides.
The flat-topped Table Mountain overlooks Capetown in South Africa. Most hikers reach the summit in around two hours or, alternatively, there is a cable car system available.
The Rockies stretch 4,800 km from Canada through the US. From camping in the wilderness to skiing, climbing to stargazing, there is a lot on offer in the Rocky Mountains.
The famous four-sided peak of the Matterhorn is one of the Alps' most challenging climbs. Surrounded by ski resorts in Switzerland and Italy, the mountain is very popular with snow seekers.