Top International Lakes to Visit

Last week we focused on lake destinations in the U.S. in anticipation of Memorial Day. We couldn’t write our favorite domestic spots without also mentioning some great lakes in other corners of the globe. There are few things better than hitting the water on a beautiful sunny day, and these lakes deliver.

 

Lake Como


Northern Italy is full of gorgeous glacial lakes, and Como is the jewel in the crown. With an amazing combination of natural and human-made beauty, it’s impossible to go anywhere without having to stop and marvel. Take a boat over to Bellagio and browse the shop-lined streets for silks before lunch at Locanda dell’Isola Comacina on the lake’s lone island. In between, cruise by the ornate villas replete with perfectly manicured gardens that line the shores, set against the backdrop of alpine foothills.

 

Lake Louise


A spectacular emerald color thanks to glacial and rock runoff, Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada, is a picture-perfect sight to behold. You could spend hours just gazing from the iconic Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. At almost 6,000 feet of elevation with mountains and trails all around, it’s an outdoorsman’s paradise year-round. In winter, there’s world-class skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, dog-sledding and sleigh rides. In summer, there’s canoeing, hiking, and horseback riding, plus the ski gondolas remain in operation to whisk visitors over alpine meadows and babbling brooks.

 

Lake Pichola


The lake’s construction in the 14th century inspired the founding of the city of Udaipur, which is today in the Indian state of Rajasthan, and lavish palaces along the shoreline and on islands. The Jagdish Temple dedicated to Vishnu sports a 79-foot high pagoda with ornately carved statues on several levels. The white marble Maharajah’s Palace, mosaiced Winter Palace, yellow sandstone Jag Mandir and granite and marble Jag Niwas (now a hotel) are architectural marvels. The Virtuoso-preferred Leela Palace Udaipur and The Oberoi Udaivillas occupy prime real estate on the shore.

 

Lake Titicaca


Straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia, Titicaca is the world’s highest navigable lake at 12,507 feet and the largest lake in South America. The lake is a mecca for bird-watchers, the floating islands made of reeds by the pre-Incan Uros people are unlike anything you’ll see elsewhere. Ancient temples stand on many of the more than 40 islands in the lake, which has been considered sacred by the several civilizations that have sprung up around it. Virtuoso-preferred Titilaka Relais & Chateaux makes for the perfect base for exploration.

 

Lake Wakatipu


In the Southern Alps on New Zealand’s South Island near a mountain range aptly named The Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu stretches for 50 adrenaline-pumping miles. Parasailing, canyoneering, and bungee-jumping are a few of the favorite area pastimes, while the vineyards of Gibbston Valley offer respite after a hard day of adventure. Queenstown has the distinction of being both a lake town and a ski town, serving as a recreation capital, while Virtuoso-preferred Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Matakauri Lodge, and Blanket Bay are homes away from home.

Top U.S. Lake Destinations

Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, marking the unofficial start of summer for many Americans. It’s a holiday to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women who gave their lives serving in the U.S. armed forces. It’s also become a holiday for backyard cookouts and getting out on the water. In that regard, the U.S. is blessed with myriad lakes that can be enjoyed all summer long.

 

Lake Michigan


Touching four states, Lake Michigan has more than 1,600 miles of shoreline and the most beaches of any lake in the country. From the popular urban beaches of Chicago — you’ll never run out of things to do on Oak Street Beach or North Avenue Beach — to the giant dunes found in Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin to idyllic islands, Lake Michigan has something for those who want to be in the heart of action and those looking to get away from it all.

 

Lake Tahoe


With clear water and a ring of mountains all around, Lake Tahoe is first and foremost a feast for the eyes. It has plenty to offer your other senses, too, serving as a playground for skiing and other winter sports during cold months and for parasailing and other water sports when the weather turns warm. Elevated hiking and biking trails offer spectacular views, and casinos on the Nevada side of the lake provided entertainment year-round. Receive exclusive amenities when staying at the Virtuoso-preferred Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe or Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

 

Table Rock Lake


While nearby Lake of the Ozarks may be more well-known, Table Rock in the Ozarks of southwestern Missouri and northwestern Arkansas has all the fun without the crowds. Stonewater Cove Resort provides miles of trails for hiking or ATV rides, zip lines, canoes, kayaks, water skiing, sunset cruises and just about anything else you can think of for a perfect day out on the lake. Head into nearby Branson to catch any of a number of country music shows or take the family to the Silver Dollar City theme park.

 

Lake Champlain


The history here is unparalleled, with Lake Champlain playing a key role in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. Visit Fort Ticonderoga and Crown Point on the New York side for an education in history or search for “Champ” the lake monster to indulge your thrill-seeking side. The Moonlight Lady replicates ships from the 1920s that frequented the lake and offers multi-day cruises for exploring the area.

 

Lake Powell


With more coastline than California and famed for slot canyons, it’s easy to find a secret spot on Lake Powell for kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. Rainbow Bridge on the Utah side is one of the world’s biggest natural bridges, and there are plenty of open spaces to build up a head of steam for water skiing and other sports. Given the unique geological formations along the reservoir, hikers and those on Jeep tours are rewarded with breathtaking views.