Church of Saint John the Theologian at Kaneo, overlooking Ohrid lake, Macedonia.
Destinations

Here are 15 of Europe’s Most Soul-Soothing Lake Getaways

It’s one of those unwritten rules that everyone agrees on — life is just better next to a body of water. Of all the hidden gems and seasonal city escapes that Europe has to offer the intrepid traveler, few compare to its idyllic lake getaways. From Italy’s big-name bodies to Croatia’s forest-shrouded pools, Europe’s lakes have for centuries inspired, healed, and astounded those who visit them.

With over 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve compiled a list of lake getaways that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Along the gently lapped perimeter of these enchanting escapes, you’ll find stunning scenery and sleepy communities, as well as experience Europe far from the beaten track.

1. Lake Orta, Italy

Man doubles woman on cruiser bicycle, at lake

Photo| Man and woman on cruiser bicycle| GETTYIMAGES – ASCENT – PKS MEDIA INC.

Lake Orta, best lake getaways

Photo| Lake Orta in San Giulio Island| GETTYIMAGES – ANDREA MUCELLI

While tourists flock to the Italian heavy-hitters Guarda, Maggiore, and Como, this smaller sibling remains unflustered by the crowds. An hour and a half’s drive out of Milan, Lake Orta cuts through the foothills of the Italian Alps. As it bends to the right past Crabbia, the northern shore is crowned by majestic snow-covered mountain peaks from October to May. The south, meanwhile, offers its own treasures. Arguably the most enchanting is Isola San Giulio, a sublime island topped with a Benedictine Monastery.

Where to Stay: Relais & Chateaux Villa Crespi

Relais & Chateaux Villa Crespi, hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Relais Chateaux VillaCrespi| Provided by RELAIS-CHATEAUX VILLA CRESPI

Relais & Chateaux Villa Crespi

Photo| Relais Chateaux VillaCrespi| Provided by RELAIS-CHATEAUX VILLA CRESPI

A Lake Orta highlight in its own right is this 19th-century former mansion, which sits idyllically steps from the water. Admirable for its elegant spire and lavish Moorish architecture, Villa Crespi has hosted poets and artists, royals and aristocrats. It’s tasteful rooms dress exuberantly in reds, blues, golds, and pastel pinks. Period furniture, marble bathrooms, and four-poster beds in the larger suites all add to the fairytale experience. Fittingly, the restaurant — headed by Chef Antonino Cannavacciuolo — sports two Michelin stars.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Luci sul lago, lakeside restaurant (550 meters)
  • Piazza Motta, medieval square (1.2 kilometers)
  • Punta Móvero, scenic spot (1.6 kilometers)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 645 – USD 1,018
Guest Rating: 9.5
Address: Via Fava 18, 28016 Orta San Giulio, Novara, Italy

2. Lake Geneva, Switzerland and France

Lake Geneva from Above, Geneva, Switzerland

Photo| Lake Geneva with famous fountain Jet d´Eau, Switzerland| GETTYIMAGES – BIM

Lake geneva Jet D'eau and sunset of Alps, best lake getaways

Photo| Lake geneva Jet D’eau| GETTYIMAGES – XENOTAR

As one of Europe’s most documented lake getaways, Lake Geneva isn’t off anyone’s radar. However, with 200 kilometers of shoreline that trace its crescent shape offers much that’s worth discovering. On the Swiss side, the Alpine waters near Lavaux and Lausanne are flanked by hill-climbing wine terraces. Further to the east, Chillon Castle protrudes imposingly out into the water, while Montreaux’s Belle Époque buildings provide the backdrop for Europe’s largest jazz festival. On Geneva’s more sparsely populated French shores, Yvoire is a postcard-perfect mountain village. Évian-les-Bains, meanwhile, is famous for its spas — and you can already guess what else.

Where to Stay: Beau Rivage Geneva

Beau-Rivage Geneva, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Beau-Rivage Genèva| Provided by BEAU-RIVAGE GENÉVA

Beau-Rivage Geneva

Photo| Beau-Rivage Genèva| Provided by BEAU-RIVAGE GENÉVA

Elegant with its Parisian-style roof and refined, stately interior, Beau Rivage Geneva provides effortlessly five-star accommodation. A stay here means you’ll be within an easy amble of the Jet d’Eau Fountain and city center. You won’t have to crane your neck for a view of the neck either. But Beau Rivage’s appeal isn’t just good looks. Guests love the attentive service both at the check-in desk and in the Michelin-star restaurant.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Boléro Bar (400 meters)
  • Local Flavours Tours, food tour specializing in desserts and drinks (500 meters)
  • Phare des Pâquis, historic lighthouse and lookout (700 meters)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 476 – USD 2,219
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 13 Quai DU Mont-Blanc, 1211 Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland

3. Lake Bled, Slovenia

Beautiful view of Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria, famous Bled Island (Blejski otok), and scenic Bled Lake, with Julian Alps in the background, Slovenia, Europe.

Photo| Pilgrimage Church of the Assumption of Maria| GETTYIMAGES – MARIUS ROMAN

Lake Bled is Slovenia’s crown jewel and easily one of the most magical lake getaways in Europe. Legend has it that this enchanting body of water was created by vengeful fairies after shepherds let their sheep eat all the grass in the valley. In doing so, the fairies also created Bled Island, which is now the site of a 17th-century church. You can access the island via Pletna, an awning-covered local boat. The church is a popular destination for Slovenian newlyweds, as its considered good luck to carry your bride up the 99 steps that lead to its door.

Where to Stay: Old Bled House

Old Bled House, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Old Bled House| Provided by BOOKING.COM

If Lake Bled was the setting of a fairy tale, the protagonist would likely live (or sweep floors) at Old Bled House. With over 300 years of history behind it, this at storybook cottage offers timeless lodgings. The wood-beamed rooms tell their own lullaby with cozy quilts and hand-carved headboards. Meanwhile, the rustic restaurant has its own tasty tale to tell, with local wines and gins and delightful Slovenian dishes.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Old Bled Castle, 11th-century fortress (1.4 kilometers)
  • Restavracija Sova Bled, regional restaurant with lake views (1.6 kilometers)
  • Straza hill above Lake Bled, lookout (1.5 kilometers)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 110 – USD 170
Guest Rating: 9.3
Address: Zagoriška 12, Bled 4260, Slovenia

4. The Masurian Lake District, Poland

Masuria

Photo| Masuria | GETTYIMAGES – BARTEK MICHALSKI

masurian lakes , best lake getaways

Photo| Masurian lakes| GETTYIMAGES – MICHAL SLECKZEK

Poland might not immediately leap to mind when you think of European lake getaways. But it will linger on your mind after you visit this natural treasure in the country’s east. Named for the Masurian people who mostly lived here before World War II, the great lakes of this Polish region include Lake Śniardwy — the largest in the country — and the tranquil Lake Marmy. In addition to sailing and island hopping around Kisajno Lake, you’ll find an abundance of wildlife here. Elk and bison can be found roaming its shores, as well as numerous bird species in summer.

Where to Stay: Hotel St Bruno

Hotel St. Bruno, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Hotel St. Bruno| Provided by BOOKING.COM

The St Bruno is a historic hotel with a story to tell. Housed in a 700-year-old castle, it was first a princely hunting lodge, then a military headquarters, then the private residence of Paul von Hindenburg. Finally, its location in Giżycko, Poland’s yachting capital, made it an ideal site for a hotel. You can explore the hotel’s long and varied history with a hotel guided tour, before sailing out onto Lake Niegocin with a rental from Bełbot Yacht Charter. Hotel St Bruno’s resort-style setup is ideal for longer lake getaways, especially if you’re planning a family vacation. Amenities include a bowling alley, swimming pool, live-music bar, and children’s play area.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Rope Park Wiewióra, ziplining (700 meters)
  • Boyen Fortress, historic site (750 meters)
  • Plaża miejska, beach park (900 meters)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 88 – USD 211
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: Ul. Sw. Brunona 1, 11-500 Giżycko, Warminsko-Mazurskie, Poland

5. Lake Wolfgangsee, Austria

St Wolfgang across Wolfgang See lake

Photo| St Wolfgang across Wolfgang See lake| GETTYIMAGES – JOHN ELK III

Lake Wolfgangsee, best lake getaways

Photo| Lake Wolfgangsee| GETTYIMAGES – ITCHYSAN

No, it’s not named after Mozart, but the master composer’s former residence is an easy 40 minutes’ drive away. The charm of this lake’s location wedged in-between blue-green mountains is accentuated by the principal town of St Wolfgangsee. It’s cuckoo-clock houses and historic paddle steamer will enchant you enough. But don’t leave without taking a ride on the Schafbergbahn, a 19th-century train that chugs 1,200 meters up the hillside for astounding views of the lake below.

Where to Stay: Im Weissen Rössl am Wolfgangsee

Im Weissen Rössl am Wolfgangsee, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Im wiessen Rössl am Wolfgangsee| Provided by HOMEAWAY

Also known as the White Horse Inn, this beautiful alpine lodge is best known for being the setting of Ralph Benatzky’ operetta of the same name. Im Weissen Rössl offers guest rooms and self-serviced apartments, some with corner tubs and space for up to eight people. Moreover, a stay here promises the best lakeside location in the area. The hotel’s pool and wellness center extend right out into the water. Its ample decking is an ideal spot for sunbathing or a dip in the covered jacuzzi.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Kaffeewerkstatt, whimsical cafe (160 meters)
  • Schafberg Cog Railway (800 meters)
  • Sommeraustein, mountain lookout (15 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 349 – USD 683
Guest Rating: 8.8
Address: Markt 74, 5360 Sankt Wolfgang im Salzkammergut, Oberosterreich, Austria

6. Lake Saimaa, Finland

Aerial panoramic view of archipelago in lake Saimaa, Finland

Photo| Lake Saimaa, Finland| GETTYIMAGES – MIEMO PENTTINEN – MIEMO.NET

Boat passing Olavinlinna Castle on Lake Saimaa, best lake getaways

Photo| Olavinlinna Castle on Lake Saimaa| GETTYIMAGES – DALLAS AND JOHN HEATON

In a country heralded as the “Land of a Thousand Lakes,” Saimaa stands out for its peaceful nature and crown of whispering pine forests. During the fleeting summer months, knowledgeable Finns flock to this fairytale expanse of water for fishing, hiking and boating on its glassy surface. An indisputable highlight is Olavinlinna (Olaf’s Castle) — a 15th-century fortress that once a year hosts the Savonlinna Opera Festival.

Where to Stay: Holiday Club Saimaa

Holiday Club Saimaa, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo|Holiday Club Saimaa| Provided by BOOKING.COM

Holiday Club Saimaa is an ample resort-style hotel that’s ideal for longer lake getaways. Amenities include a bowling alley, numerous hot spring baths, and five restaurants. Traditional guest room accommodation is spread across three wings, one of which is a converted hospital. Larger parties might want to consider the self-serviced apartments which offer one to two bedrooms and a private sauna.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Imatra Art Museum (6.3 kilometers)
  • Lempukan uimaranta, beach (6.4 kilometers)
  • Imatrankoski, nature trail (6.8 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 119 – USD 384
Guest Rating: 8.4
Address: Tiuruniementie 131, 55320 Rauha, South Karelia, Finland

7. Kerid Crater Lake, Iceland

Kerið Volcanic Crater II, Iceland.

Photo| Kerið Volcanic Crater II, Iceland| GETTYIMAGES – VSOJOY

Family Vacation, best lake getaways

Photo| Family looking at Kerid Crater, Iceland| GETTYIMAGES – STOCKSTUDIOX

Pictures hardly equal the impact this natural wonder has on you when you first glimpse it. Like many of Iceland’s lake getaways, Kerid Crater sits in the center of a former volcano. For a brief time in summer, it’s vibrant grassy shores and rust-colored perimeter make it one of Iceland’s most Instagram-able spots. With winter coming, it’s frozen surface is a Westerosi blue-black and its sides are blanketed with snow. Many chose to visit Kerid as part of Southern Iceland’s Golden Circle, with its dramatic geysers and thermal springs.

Where to Stay: Hotel Rangá

Hotel Rangá, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Hotel Rangá| Provided by BOOKING.COM

With its folky knickknacks, wooden walls, and sweeping countryside views, Hotel Rangá is one of those great lake getaways for you to escape. You’ll get cozy farmhouse accommodation with a stay in any one of its guest rooms. The suites, meanwhile, offer something more of a global journey, with each one decorated in the style of a different part of the world. Hotel Rangá offers numerous amenities, including outdoor jacuzzis where you can sip on wine while you look out over the valley. However, the highlight for us is the stargazing at Hotel Rangá observatory, led by their knowledgeable resident astrologer.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Strond Restaurant, seafood and regional dishes (3.2 kilometers)
  • Gljufrabui, dramatic waterfall (26 kilometers)
  • Secret Lagoon Hot Spring, magical outdoor bathing (62 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 339 – USD 1,087
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: Sudurlandsvegur, Hella 851, Iceland

8. Lake Skadar, Montenegro and Albania

Panorama of Lake Skadar National Park, Montenegro, best lake getaways

Photo| Lake Skadar National Park| GETTYIMAGES – KAY CLAY

Excursion boats and Old Bridge Stari most at dusk, river Crnojevic, Rijeka Crnojevica, national park Lake Skadar, province Cetinje, Montenegro

Photo| Iver Crnojevic, Rijeka Crnojevica, National Park Lake Skadar| GETTYIMAGES – MARTIN SIEPMANN

Lake Skadar is southern Europe’s largest body of freshwater but leaving it at that doesn’t do it justice. After all, it’s here that you’ll find a remarkable 270 species of birdlife, many of which hunt for food among the thousands of lilies that blanket its surface. Arriving from the Montenegran village of Virpazar, you can take a soul-soothing boat tour through this floral landscape. As you glide across the water, you’ll be able to spot relics of the region’s tumultuous past. Monasteries, fortresses, and island prisons all stand and crumble by the water, telling very different stories of Lake Skadar, long before it became one of the Balkan’s most charming lake getaways.

Where to Stay: Eco Resort Cermeniza

Eco Resort Cermeniza, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Eco Resort Cermeniza| Provided by BOOKING.COM

This fantastic getaway offers rustic accommodation in one of Montenegro’s most scenic regions. Cermeniza offers traditional style stone villas with wood beams roofs and modern appliances. Outside, The pool deck looks out over sweeping views of Mediterranean pine forest and the resort’s family run vineyards. Don’t leave without trying the local grape variety, Vranac, with its fruity tones and velvety finish.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Boat Eagle – Skadar lake, local tour (1.2 kilometers)
  • Besac Castle, well-preserved fortiffication (2.0 kilometers)
  • Vinarija Mašanović/Winery Masanovic (2.5 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 95 – USD 105
Guest Rating: 9.6
Address: Boljevici bb, Virpazar, Montenegro, Virpazar 81305, Montenegro

9. Lake Ohrid, Macedonia and Albania

Church of Saint John the Theologian at Kaneo, overlooking Ohrid lake, Macedonia.

Photo| Church of Saint John the Theologian at Kaneo, overlooking Ohrid lake| GETTYIMAGES – MARIUS ROMAN

Mountain Biking over lake Ohrid, best lake getaways

Photo| Mountain Biking over lake Ohrid| GETTYIMAGES – ILAN SHACHAM

The 13th-century Church of Sv Jovan Kaneo is what calls most travelers to Lake Ohrid. But there’s plenty more to experience once you’ve seen the contrast of its terracotta tiles against the blue surface of the lake. This ancient lake — the oldest in Europe — is wreathed in sublime scenery and historic trails. Near the city of Ohrid, Macedonia, numerous sites attest to this region’s long history of human habitation. Most visibly impressive is Tsar Samoil’s Fortress, a 10th-century structure whose well-preserved partially accessible walls offer fantastic lake views.

Where to Stay: Hotel Aleksandrija Ohrid

Hotel Aleksandrija Ohrid, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Hotel Aleksandrija Ohrid| Provided by BOOKING.COM

At only 5 meters from the water and hosting a fantastic terrace, hotel Aleksandrija has a lot going for it. Sit out and enjoy local Balkan delicacies just steps from Ohrid’s mediaeval fortifications, or order room service to your private balcony and enjoy sweeping views of the lake. Hotel Aleksandrija’s clean and contemporary rooms come with all the comforts you would expect from a four star, and are much cheaper than most European lake getaways.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Old Bazaar Street, pedestrian street with souvenirs (350 meters)
  • Ancient theatre of Ohrid, Greek amphitheatre (400 meters)
  • Beach Potpesh, sandy swimming park (500 meters)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 66 – USD 79
Guest Rating: 8.3
Address: Kosta Abrasevic bb, Ohrid 6000, North Macedonia

10. Windermere, England

Stile, Loughrigg Fell, Ambleside, Windermere Lake, Lake District, Cumbria, England, best lake getaways

Photo| Stile, Loughrigg Fell, Ambleside, Windermere Lake| GETTYIMAGES – JOE DANIEL PRICE

Loughrigg timeless. A stunning long exposure of a clissic English Lake District scene. UK, best lake getaways

Photo| Loughrigg Tarn with Autumn trees| GETTYIMAGES – JOHN FINNEY PHOTOGRAPHY

England’s largest lake, Windermere and the 21 other large freshwater bodies that make up the Lake District, were carved out of the ground by retreating glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age. It was the same frozen sheets that gave this verdant region its rolling, craggy landscape, which over the centuries has inspired poets and authors, from William Wordsworth to Beatrix Potter. You can appreciate Windermere’s attractive setting with a rowing boat or steamer ride from the village of Bowness-on-Windermere. However, as with much of the Lake District, the water is best admired on foot along one of main charming hillside walks.

Where to Stay: Broadoaks Boutique Country House

Blanketed with creepers and set in a charming landscaped garden, Broadoaks smiles with all the charm of a traditional English country house. A location in Troutbeck means you can dodge the weekend crowds at Windermere Village, And it’s only a 20 minute walk to Whitecross Bay, one of the prettiest points on the lake. At dinnertime, the Oaks restaurant serves delightful Cumbrian fare, from Cumberland sausage to Lakeland lamb rump.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Holehird Gardens, scenic park with a lake view (2.3 kilometers)
  • Royal Oak, popular country pub (3.8 kilometers)
  • National Trust Wray Castle (10.8 kilometers)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 243 – USD 519
Guest Rating: 8.9
Address: Bridge Lane, Windermere, LA23 1LA, United Kingdom

11. Lake Vyrnwy, Wales

Lake Vyrnwy, Powys, Wales, UK, best lake getaways

Photo| Lake Vyrnwy, Powys| GETTYIMAGES – JOE DANIEL PRICE

Vyrnwy Dam, Wales

Photo|Vyrnwy Dam, Wales| GETTYIMAGES – JOE DANIEL PRICE

Blue-gray Lake Vyrnwy (“vern-wee”) sits morosely in the hilly countryside of mid-Wales. A feat of Victorian engineering, this lonely lake emerged in the 1880s when a huge stone dam was built in the Vyrnwy valley, drowning the landscape and village of Llanwddyn under 12 billion gallons of water. Since then, it has dutifully piped water to the city of Liverpool. Interestingly, the water exits the reservoir through a fairytale tower protruding out of the water at 48 meters in height. This air of enchantment fades during particularly dry summers, when water levels fall the ruins of old Llanwddyn emerge from the depths of Lake Vyrnwy.

Where to Stay: Pale Hall Hotel

Pale Hall Hotel, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Pale Hall Hotel| Provided by BOOKING.COM

This magnificent country retreat enjoy easy access to Lake Vyrnwy as well as other regional highlights, such as Snowdonia National Park. But don’t stray too far. With its delightful landscaped gardens, sophisticated billiard room, and elegant guest rooms and suites, The Pale Hall Hotel is so much more than just a place to rest and recharge. Enjoy your splendid afternoon tea with stacks of delicious sandwiches, scones with jam and cream, and vintage chinaware. Or take a quiet walk around the hotel grounds while you contemplate the beauty of this little-visited Welsh region.

Attractions Nearby:

  • The Bulls Head, village pub with live music (4.7 kilometers)
  • Tyddyn Llan, an elegant restaurant in an 18th-century house (5.8 kilometers)
  • Pistyll Rhaeadr, pretty mountain waterfall accessible via a tea house (28.5 kilometers)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 406 – USD 1,076
Guest Rating: 9.4
Address: Pale Hall Estate, Bala, LL23 7PS, United Kingdom

12. Lagoa das Sete Cidades, Portugal

Panoramic View Of Landscape Against Sky

Photo| Ponta Delgada, Portugal| GETTYIMAGES – TOBIAS AUMILLER – EYEEM

Ringed by a former caldera in the far-flung Atlantic island of São Miguel, Lagoa das Sete Cidades is one of Europe’s most alluring lake getaways. A thin spit of land dissects this body of water at its narrowest, creating two brightly hued lakes: Lagoa Verde (The Green Lake) and Lagoa Azul (The Blue Lake). Follow the Mata Do Canário trail from Canary Forrest for stunning views of the water and the Atlantic Ocean in the distance.

Where to Stay: Azor Hotel

Azor Hotel, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Azor Hotel| Provided by AZOR HOTEL

Azor Hotel

Photo| Azor Hotel| Provided by AZOR HOTEL

This trendy hotel in historic Ponta Delgada it’s just 20 minutes drive from Sete Cidades’ otherworldly scenery. However, with the Atlantic Ocean stretching out before your bedroom window there’s plenty more reason to make this your next lake getaway. Sample regional wines and cheeses at À Terra or Azorean staples like hearty Alcatra stew. After dinner, wind down for the evening at Spa Azor, which nourishes and revives with its locally inspired beauty treatments.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Gastrónomo, casual restaurant popular for its local seafood (4 kilometers)
  • City Gates, 18th-century structure in a lovely illuminated square (1.1 kilometers)
  • Museu Carlos Machado, an interesting natural museum in a former convent (1.2 kilometers)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 158 – USD 506
Guest Rating: 9.3
Address: Av. João Bosco Mota Amaral Nº 4, 9500-771 Ponta Delgada (Açores), Azores, Portugal

13. Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

High Angle View Of People Walking On Boardwalk Over Water At Plitvice Lakes National Park, best lake getaways

Photo| Plitvice Lakes National Park| GETTYIMAGES – JAMES RONAN – EYEEM

Croatia, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Plitvice Lakes

Photo| Plitvice Lakes National Park| GETTYIMAGES – GLCHENG

Few places fill you with quite the same sense of magic and wonder as this network of 16 overlapping pools and ponds in central Croatia. Plitvice’s blue-green waters tumble playfully from one body of water to the next through numerous waterfalls. Following the winding boardwalk that explores this delightful National Park is popular with most visitors. To get even closer, rent a rowing boat and drift lazily out onto the tree-fringed water. Close your eyes and you can have Plitvice all to yourself.

Where to Stay: Hotel Degenija

Hotel Degenija, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Hotel Degenija| Provided by BOOKING.COM

A “small hotel with great service,” Degenya invites travelers To slow down and savor the delights of rural Croatia. Delights such as the villages like Slunj and Rastoke, with its iconic waterfall mill, which are an easy drive from the property. When you’re done exploring recharge by Degenya’s heated outdoor pool, which looks out over rolling greenery. Hungry? Restaurant Degenija serves traditional specialties like spit-roasted lamb and peka, a beef stew cooked in a pendulous cast iron pot.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Old Shatterhand, traditional restaurant in a country house (800 meters)
  • Drežnik (Old Town), lovely old ruin with canyon views (4.0 kilometers)
  • Željava Air Base, an interesting abandoned military base on the Bosnia-Herzegovina border (19.3 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 118 – USD 169
Guest Rating: 9.4
Address: Seliste Dreznicko 59, Seliste Dreznicko 47245, Croatia

14. Sognefjord, Norway

Tourist admiring the sunset over norwegian fjord, Norway, best lake getaways

Photo| Sunset over Norwegian fjord| GETTYIMAGES – © MARCO BOTTIGELLI

Beautiful blue ice cave in Norway

Photo| Ice cave inside Nigardsbreen glacier| GETTYIMAGES – WANDERLUSTER

A jagged crack of ice water that cuts its way over 200 kilometers inland, Sognefjord’s landscape is astounding. Colossal glaciers sliced through Norway’s mountains during the last ice age, creating this dramatic landscape. Ferries depart from Gudvangen and Flåm passing by tumbling waterfalls and towering cliffs, some rising 2,700 meters above the water. On your adventure, don’t miss the tributary Nærøyfjord, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Where to Stay: Kviknes Hotel

Kviknes Hotel, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Kviknes Hotel| Provided by KVIKNES HOTEL

The Kviknes Hotel looks out over the shore at Balestrand, placing you on the junction between Sognefjord and jaw dropping Fjærlandsfjorden. With its delicate Victorian architecture, Kviknes is one of Norway’s most important heritage hotels, run by the family of the same name since 1877. Over the years, they’ve amassed an extensive collection of artwork that can be admired throughout the hotel. If you can bear to tear yourself away, Balestrand is an excellent jumping off point for excursions into the fjord, whether by ferry, speedboat, or the sweet solitude of an individual kayak.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Norwegian Travel Museum (300 meters)
  • Sognefjord Akvarium (350 meters)
  • Raudmelen, hiking trail to the top of a 972-meter peak (1.4 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 231 – USD 273
Guest Rating: 8.1
Address: Boks 24, Balestrand, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway

15. Lake Animmen, Sweden

Given Sweden’s reputation for wellbeing — it’s literally every person’s legal right there to wander around in nature — it’s unsurprising that one of its serene lake getaways appears on this list. Located in southern Sweden, Lake Animmen breathes easily with its woodland walks and waterfront cottages. So relaxing is this rural area that a stay here is even purported to drop your blood pressure. Don’t move on from this soothing Swedish setting without first considering a visit to neighboring Lake Vänern, the largest lake in the European Union.

Where to Stay: Åmåls Stadshotell

Åmåls Stadshotell, best hotel for europe's lake getaways

Photo| Åmåls Stadshotell| Provided by ICE PORTAL

A twenty-minute drive north through pine forests and farmland takes you to Stadshotell, a stately hotel in scenic Åmåls. Opened in 1904, it’s retained much of its turn-of-the-century charm. Guests have a choice of 29 elegant mint-colored rooms, decorated with historic furniture. The hotel’s generous breakfast buffet is a popular feature, while its lunch menu has daily specials and is vegetarian friendly.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Kupén, airy Swedish restaurant (99 meters)
  • Café Marinan, harbor views (500 meters)
  • Örnäsbadet, lakeside swimming (1.1 kilometers)

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 146 – USD153
Guest Rating: 8.2
Address: Kungsgatan 9, Åmål, Västra Götaland, Sweden

Europe’s Lake Getaways Are Awash with Great Experiences

Aerial drone view of Bled island in autumn, Slovenia

Photo| Bled island, Upper Carniola| GETTYIMAGES – MATTEO COLOMBO

The appeal of a European vacation doesn’t stop at its storied past and fine food. The waterways of this great continent are crowned with diverse wildlife and wildly dramatic scenery just waiting to be explored. From the frozen fjords of Norway to the sunburnt border lake of the Balkans, the varied experiences that await on and offshore exceed a single description. But if lake getaways in Europe offer one thing in common, it’s that soul-soothing respite and sense of escape that is usually so hard to come by — that is unless you’re searching the shores of a freshwater body.

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Man with planet earth in hands

These Endangered Travel Destinations are Disappearing by the Day

In 2019, UNESCO threatened to strip Venice of its World Heritage status after it suffered some of the worst flooding seen in decades. A site of “outstanding universal value,” the Floating City’s struggles with climate change, mass tourism, and soaring living costs have led it to be considered one of Europe’s most endangered travel destinations. Some experts have even warned that rising sea levels could submerge Venice permanently by 2050.
Sebastian Morgan
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12 Apostles - Great Ocean Road

The Ultimate Eat, Stay, Play Giveaway in Australia

KAYAK, HotelsCombined, Klook and OpenTable have teamed up to bring you – The Ultimate Eat, Stay, Play Giveaway! We’ll cover everything you need for a relaxing staycation in your very own backyard – from your meals, accommodation and activities to help you live it up locally!
HotelsCombined
Flamingos on the Beach

9 Dreamy Caribbean Islands for a Crowd-Free Vacation

The Caribbean conjures up postcard-perfect images of white sand beaches, emerald waters and palm-studded islands. However, many of the top destinations also include a hoard of tourists.
Charity De Souza