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15 Blue Lakes Around the World

15 Blue Lakes Around the World

Explore the world’s most stunning blue lakes, each a perfect spot for adventurers and peace-seekers alike. From the dazzling shores of Lake Tekapo in New Zealand to the pristine waters of Moraine Lake in Canada, these natural wonders are all around the world surrounded by unique landscapes and ecosystems.

Why the vibrant blue color?

The blue color of lakes around the world can be attributed to specific factors:

  1. Due to rock flour or glacial flour: When glaciers grind against bedrock, they produce fine silt known as rock flour or glacial flour. This rock flour gets suspended in the water, reflecting sunlight in a way that imparts a blue or turquoise tint to the lake. The density and distribution of rock flour can vary within a lake, affecting the consistency of the blue color. Seasonal changes and glacial activity directly influence these factors, often leading to brighter hues in warmer months due to increased glacial melt.
  2. Due to mineral content: The presence of certain minerals, such as calcium carbonate or silicates, can reflect blue light back from the lake bed, adding to the intensity of the blue.
  3. Due to microorganisms and algae: Certain types of algae like Cyanobacteria, a type of Phytoplankton, can promote a blue when they bloom in large numbers.
  4. Due to mie scattering: Larger particles scatter shorter wavelengths of light (blues and greens) more effectively than longer wavelengths (reds), giving the water a striking blue appearance.

Band-e Amir Lake, Afghanistan

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Hidden from the world, Band-e Amir Lake in Afghanistan is a miracle in itself. Despite the country being landlocked, Band-e Amir stands proud, showcasing its deep blue mineral-rich water that seeps from rocky crevices. Band-e Amir is a chain of six lakes, all fed heaps of calcium carbonate that washes from limestone walls towering just meters away. Band-e Amir’s stunning color also stems from this chemical composition, though it’s more famous for the travertine borders that formed over time.

Lake McKenzie, Australia

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A bright white sandy shore marks deep blue waves; Lake McKenzie’s unique color combination gives it a sharp contrast, enhancing its beauty tenfold. Lake McKenzie is unique because it’s one of the only perched lakes in the world; it derives all its water from rain, which is further filtered by the sand, giving it an exceptionally clear appearance. The lake is a popular diving and swimming spot and shifts colors depending on the weather.

Moraine Lake, Canada

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Another stunning destination in Alberta, Moraine Lake, is a glacial gem that looks too beautiful to be real. The reason? The lake boasts waters so clear that you can practically see the bottom. Despite its clear appearance, the lake is tinted azure thanks to a unique composition of rock flour and the sun hitting it at an angle that scatters light around the lake. Moraine Lake is a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking, but tourists also love hiking to the surrounding mountain ranges.

Peyto Lake, Canada

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A glacier-fed lake in Alberta, Peyto Lake is so surreal you’d think it was hand-painted by Leonardo da Vinci. The lake is shaded by a bright turquoise hue, which gets lighter as day approaches and shifts to a dark hue with the night. This unique coloration is owed to glacial rock flour, which forms when rocks are crushed to fine particles by glaciers and mixed with water. Peyto Lake’s gorgeous appearance is enhanced when you take in its surroundings.

Five Flower Lake, China

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To picture this Chinese lake’s appearance, you’ll need to dip paint brushes tinged with green and blue into a pool of water. Such is the sight that greets tourists at the Five Flower Lake, transporting them to heaven on earth. The lake is named so because it isn’t just a mono-color delight; depending on your visit, it appears yellow, black-green, azure, and turquoise. The Five Flower Lake’s unique composition emerges from a high concentration of calcium carbonate, aquatic plants, and tons of algae.

Jiuzhaigou Valley, China

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Jiuzhaigou Valley is nestled in the Min Mountains in the Tibetan Plateau and is known for multi-tiered waterfalls and lakes so clear you can see the bottom. The destination is underrated and adored and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jiuzhaigou Valley lakes twinkle in bright blue, azure, and turquoise against the sun, all getting their unique color from various reasons ranging from Mie scattering to high concentrations of calcium carbonate and similar minerals in the water.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Turquoise lake with little cascade.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

If Mother Nature were an architect, the Plitvice Lakes would be her finest work of art. This Croatian gem is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with sixteen terraced lakes, all meeting at waterfalls cascading and pooling below. Plitvice Lakes mimic the sky’s bright blue color, only with a slight tinge of azure; they get this unique feature from limestone and dolomite rocks, which dissolve in the water over time. The lakes also boast an extensive mineral and microscopic organisms population in the water, which react with the sunlight, giving them an even more stunning appearance.

Rio Celeste, Costa Rica

Waterfall with turquoise water and steps leading to it on the side.
Photo credit: Emese Maczko.

A bright turquoise river in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, Rio Celeste, makes you feel like you dipped in heaven. It is one of the few places where tourists can observe Mie Scattering, a phenomenon when light hits tiny water particles in such a way that it pushes them along, changing their color. It’s also why the sky appears blue.

Blue Lagoon, Iceland

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One of nature’s finest works of art, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland contains tons of silica, which reflects light so that it dyes the lagoon a bright blue. The lagoon is also a geothermal spa; it lies in a lava field just a few miles from Grindavik, which heats the water naturally, making it the perfect hot tub year-round. The Blue Lagoon isn’t only famous for its looks; its high salinity and volcanic composition make it an excellent spot for natural beauty and spa treatments.

Blue Pond, Japan

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The Blue Pond, named rightfully so, is one of the only artificial lakes to look this stunning; it was formed as part of an effort to protect the local town from the volcanic eruption of Mount Takachi. The Blue Pond is one of the most gorgeous lakes in the world, and it’s all thanks to a little accidental mixing: the Lake contains dissolved aluminum hydroxide, which appears bright due to a unique process called Rayleigh scattering. To top it off, the lake is surrounded by silver birch trees, which enhance its appearance.

Gokyo Lakes, Nepal

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Surrounded by snow-tipped mountains on one side and rocky cliffs on the other, the Gokyo Lakes in Nepal are like a gem cradled in the hands of Mother Nature herself. Gokyo Lakes is a group of freshwater lakes, all at an impressive altitude, making it the highest freshwater lake system in the world. The alpine environment, combined with the intense climate and fine particles from the mountains, gives it a clear sheen and an incredible hue that’ll take your breath away.

Lake Pukaki, New Zealand

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Set against the stunning New Zealand Southern Alps backdrop, Lake Pukaki’s vibrant blue color stems from fine silt particles and sediments left by water, ice, and wind over time. The glacial lake isn’t just a looker; it holds a diverse marine life that most tourists and locals enjoy fishing out. Apart from its breathtaking sight, tourists can also enjoy the nearby cliffs and hike to the top to get a bird’s eye view of the glacial lake.

Lake Blausee, Switzerland

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A stunning cove surrounded by mountains, Lake Blausee, is close to Switzerland’s Kander River and is one of the finest landmarks in the area. It boasts a deep blue, fed by minerals and an incredible depth that appears almost unachievable. Lake Blausee is a tranquil spot where tourists visit to fish, swim, canoe, and occasionally spread a picnic blanket across its sandy shore.

Havasu Falls, Arizona, U.S.

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You’ll find a stunning destination amid Arizona, where blue-green waters escape from crevices in the red rocks and pool into a light blue bottom. Havasu Falls is naturally fed by calcium carbonate and magnesium, which makes it a bright blue, making everything look straight out of a Bob Ross painting. Havasu Falls is as sacred as it seems; tourists must embark on a challenging hike or hitch a helicopter to reach there, but the challenge is worth the result.

Lake Tahoe, California, U.S.

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Pebbles peeking from underneath the crystal-clear water and snow-capped peaks staring back at you—an unimaginable sight greets visitors to Lake Tahoe. The lake has always been famous for its purity and stillness, but its most remarkable quality is its bright blue color, which originates from residential algae. Interestingly, this is one of the few lakes lacking any fine particles, so the water always appears transparent.

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A woman sitting on a mountain. Behind her is a lake.
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Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.